Tuesday, January 17, 2012

more that's new...including some sort of lesson (I think)

First of all, thanks for such a great welcome back! As anyone with a blog will agree, sometimes you just don't know if anyone is really out there reading. You've inspired me to make posting more of a priority like it used to be.

I also want to thank those of you who sent me sweet messages on my birthday which was a couple weeks back. It was a very special day for me (well, a couple of days actually) and made turning 50 about as good as it could be. Went to the Carmel/Pacific Grove area for a couple of days where the weather was beautiful and the sunsets were anything but dull.

Periodically sent Pam texts asking for restaurant suggestions, etc...and at Rosine's in Monterey I got my slice of birthday cake. Yes, that's one serving of cake sitting there. Delicious cake, I might add.

Before I get onto my next subject I just want to reassure all you quilters that yes, there soon will be pics of my latest project--but right now it's just weird chunks of fabric. And a rusty key. Hard to photograph. But it's a Valentine's project that Pam and I will both make but in different colors. For what I'm thinking will be a limited edition pattern. So stay tuned. Especially if you like pillows.


I've always wanted to learn how to ski but never had the opportunity. My parents were the ultimate stay-indoors kind of people. We'd go to Yosemite every winter, but it was to look at the snow. Maybe walk in it a little. In fact, my mother didn't learn how to ride a bicycle until she was 50. I do not have an athletic bone in my unusually tall body.

Just before Christmas, I took my first skiing lesson. It was scary but I did it. I didn't have fun, not exactly, but came away with the sense that I could have fun if I knew what I was doing. First week in January brought my second trip to the slopes. And by "slopes" I mean that area where the little kids who are barely out of diapers go effortlessly careening down the incline. There was nothing effortless about anything I did that day. Unless you count falling down. Which it turns out is something I have no trouble doing.

Here's the thing. I'm pretty good at quilting. It was never difficult for me. I learned by reading books--meticulously following the instructions and studying the techniques. Slowly, and at my own pace.

Well, you know what? Skiing isn't like that.

Last Friday was my 3rd day skiing. I'm 3 for 3 falling when I get off the chair lift at the beginner hill. My first time at that "real" hill? I froze. Metaphorically speaking. I ended up walking down the entire hill. Me, my new fancy boots and my new fancy poles. The ones with the flowers on them. I was told "you can't possibly walk down this hill". Oh, just watch me.

It was everything I could do not to cry like a little girl. Like a very big little girl. Got another lesson that day. From a fantastic teacher whose only goal was getting my confidence back. He convinced me to get back onto the chair lift (where I fell again). It took me 20 minutes to get down a hill that anyone else could have skied down in under 2. My hour long lesson had ended when I was probably still 3/4 of the way up the hill. But the instructor, on his own time, insisted that we try it again. And yes, I fell getting off the chair that time as well. And slid rather impressively I might add. But you know what? I did it again. I skied down that hill. I was terrified every single minute, but I did it. Once I reached the flatter part? I was having fun. I'm told I was smiling. I was a little too busy trying to keep my now jello-like body upright to tell.

Why am I sharing this story? I've had students who were afraid of the whole quilting process. From picking the "wrong" fabrics to the worries of less than perfect stitches, learning to make a quilt can be stressful. Accepting the fact that you simply can't control everything that happens. You learn by doing.

Tomorrow I think I'm gonna try it again. It's not defeatist to say that I'm gonna fall some more. It's just reality. I'm gonna fall some more. But I have waterproof pants and a waterproof parka and fancy gloves and a scarf to match. Gotta be stylin' when you're lying in the snow, you know.
And I may be the worst skier in the entire county, but I've got the coolest looking skis. Because I'm a quilter and my gear must color coordinate.

When I get back? I'll be curled up by the wood stove working on that pillow. Because making quilts is easy. You can't fall down.


Anonymous blop said...

That is life...falling down, picking yourself up and starting all over again....stitching can be the same...pic out the bad stitches or just move forward...let it go!!
You have to be proud to face your fears and keep on movin!!
Good job!!

6:13 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Good luck with skiing. It isn't easy learning to ski as an adult, I learned in my 20's and that wasn't easy. I always feel admiration for people that are willing to learn to ski as adults. So I hope that you keep at it because the pay off is so worth it.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a unusual mix of colors going on, at least they will find you when you fall. Good luck, and I hope you don't break anything.

8:42 AM  
Blogger lifeinredshoes said...

I love your analogy, I used to ski and loved the freedom I felt, like flying!
But for me, quilting is like skiing is for you. I keep picking myself up, dusting myself off, and trying again.
I have no idea why I am so drawn to something I have no natural aptitude for?

12:33 PM  
Blogger Kelly L. said...

At least you tried. I had the same problem with a segway over the summer. The third time I fell off, my tour was over!

4:56 PM  
Blogger Sewn With Grace said...

I wish I had your courage. Skiing terrifies me. I'll stick to quilting but try to learn a new technique. My 50th birthday is this week. Happy Belated Birthday!

6:03 PM  
Blogger Aunt Marti said...

Elizabeth, I am so glad Pam linked to you -- I love your quilts and look forward to seeing more. Welcome back to blogging!

5:56 AM  
Blogger suz said...

I too am glad Pam linked to you...missed you!

12:28 PM  
Blogger suz said...

I too am glad Pam linked to you...missed you!

12:28 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Good luck with the skiing. I'm having the same trouble with quilting, but now reading your story I'll get back up and try, try again. Happy 50th Birthday!

2:04 PM  
Blogger Pat / Silver Thimble Quilt Co. said...

YOU GO GIRL..If I fell down at the top of a mountain I would just keep rollin down the hill. I'd be a snowball by the end.

New adventures are a great thing.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

What a lovely spirit you have!

It's not in how many times you fall down...ever...it's how many times you hoist yourself back up!

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

Welcome back Elizabeth. Hope things are going well for you. My first & last attempt to ski was a disaster. My skis kept falling off. I went up a baby hill & tried to ski down. Somehow I managed to get turned around backwards going downhill & ran right into a rack of skis. I kept stabbing my poles into the snow to stop but it didn't work. I'm a big baby & gave up, went inside for a warm drink, sat by the lodge fireplace & watched out the window. Safe & warm.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Bari Jo said...

It is soooo good to see posts from you! :O) I got your book and love the pattern for the pillow in it! I cannot wait to see what you are making!!!! :o) Your work is just gorgeous - and you made me laugh - about quilting - and you are right - you can't fall down! LOL.... although I have missed my chair once when I was really concentrating after ironing a seam and I did fall - LOL

6:44 PM  
Blogger mascanlon said...

Oh I do remember those first times skiing but it such a sense of accomplishment when you make it down the beginner hill the first time without falling! Sounds like 50 is going to be just fine Elizabeth, just fine!

5:05 PM  
Blogger Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

First off, LOVE the skies and poles! Scott - but of course! At least you LOOK good~ tee hee. I know the very hill you are talking about. I used to ski before my back injury - no more now, but sure miss it. With perseverence, you can do it - I did - and my tall body felt like jello many times, especially the legs. It is a good workout and at the end of the day an accomplishment to make you smile about. Any hot adult beverages in the lodge?

love ya!!


PS; my first day of skiing I had on brand new blue jeans. Each time I fell - skidded more like it - I left a blue stripe on the slopes! HARDY har!

9:14 AM  

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