Saturday, December 31, 2016

Sad Endings

It’s dark, cold and snowing a blizzard. But starting tomorrow it is supposed to be sunny for several days in a row and that is a delightful way to begin a new year.
I went to a small dinner party last night with people whom I have known a long time. I had an exchange with one of them, whom I like a lot, that made me uncomfortable. No one did anything wrong. However: He debates with emotion in his voice and I don't care for that; I prefer debates—and I love formal debating—to be properly neutral. I keep having experiences that make me want to only socialize with long-time proven friends.
I’ve sourced some stuff for the apron and I’m starting to feel some enthusiasm for it. I’ve been having trouble with this one because I felt compelled to do the text on fabric—I like the look I got but fabric and paper don’t mix. Not in my world. So the rest of the costume cannot be paper. Thankfully I’m okay with ribbon and trimming materials like laces for my project and that is what I found today—ones that please me.
The apron isn’t an “oh look at that” piece. Its power is in the text that is magnified by the context of the show.
So far today, the last day of the year, I have had two phone calls. One was from Bruce who wanted to tell me that our mutual friend Alex had passed away in Puerto Vallarta where he loved to spend every winter. Alex Bruce and Michael, three single gay friends, have lived in separate apartments in the same building for decades. I’m very sad for the two who are left.
The second call was from Bev. We go way back—to high school in fact. And in college we were a car pool with two other friends, Corinne and Donna. Donna, Bev and I were soul mates, so Bev called today to tell me that Donna, too, had passed away. And not only that, she was killed by her husband who had a psychotic episode and then attempted suicide.
The world is too much with me today. I am ready for the new year.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Alissa not TED

The TED talk is not going to happen. I’ve learned a little about how the talks thanks to my friend, Edwin. They are carefully curated and so I’m letting go of this idea. I’m glad I met my “fans” who thought we should approach TED and I don’t regret contacting them, but I won’t be speaking at TED. I’m certain of (and fine with) that.
As I enter 2017, I know myself better than ever before. That’s due to the impact of my breakdown and the insights derived in therapy and between sessions. I am also fatter. And my living space is dwindling as my dining room is overtaken with mannequins wearing my dresses.
The first significant events of the year will be the speech assessment sessions at Columbia and getting the results from all the cardiac testing. What I am most excited about for 2017 is to see if and what comes of my Defiant Dress project.
I melted immediately when I saw and heard Alessia Cara, a tiny powerhouse of a singer that got to my pop music loving soul. I love pop music but it is rare to find some that have both literate lyrics and good hooks. She certainly delivers and today I was positively thrilled to discover that she is Canadian.
I never clicked with Justin Beiber, Drake or The Weekend. But Alissa soothes this old soul.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wheat Dress Profile

Okay: I’ve found something about my C-PTSD to be positive about.
I saw Dr. Shoja yesterday and like every session, it was great. We talked about my speech and about taking drugs and during our discussion she told me that it’s her experience that patients with complex somatic/psychological issues tend to have a dominant single physical symptom. Mine is speech. But, she said, she has several patients in whom distress is focused on their gastro-intestinal tract. Oh spare me. Can you imagine?
Dealing with the stunted wheat is challenging. Were I a perfectionist, I’d be having a nervous breakdown right now. The stunted wheat is thinner in the stalk, bent and the kernels are smaller; they look like took cocaine or meth growing up. So I have to adapt and make compromises and I do. Working with stunted wheat is much slower but then who cares?
In The King and I, when Anna and the king dance, her dress flows out in the back. I loved that dress, that song and that movie so my wheat dress has a similar line in the back. However: I love the process in spite of the challenge of doing it with stunted wheat.
I’m kind of excited because I think I will finish with the wheat today — and thank God. My house looks like a granary. Then I’ve only to wait for the leaf skeletons to arrive to finish it.
This dress has, sadly, a big footprint. Something in my living room is going to have to go. I think I have to get rid of my dining room table temporarily, until I find a friend with an empty room or rent a studio.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wheat Dress: 70% Done

Boxing Day was relaxed and quiet; I stayed home all day and got a lot of work done on the wheat dress. Same on Tuesday so I made a lot of progress in two (obsessive) days; I’m really happy with the way it is coming together.  
I am short of some leaves but rather than go through the leaf-stripping process again (boil; dry; bleach; dry; starch; dry), I found some online I could buy for the few more I need.
Working with the wheat is messy and slow. The wheat kernels have threads attached to them that almost cut your skin if you drag them across a finger. They attach to everything, so my place looks like a barn. I have to clean up frequently. 
It’s going to take me a very long time to do this dress. It’s a demanding project because it fans out at the back — it’s supposed to be a wedding dress so I want an elegant line to its silhouette. Sadly, the second order of wheat is very different from the first; I’m glad I used the “royal” variety for the front. That was a fluke. The other order — the stunted wheat will be where it belongs.
When I get the leaves I bought, I will add tissue to them and there will be leaves scattered down the dress when it’s finished and the waist of the bodice will be lower. It should come together this weekend. That will be dress #5 finished; then on to the apron.
The apron is going to assemble fairly quickly I think. The hard part of the bodice — the text — is done. I may sew text into the ties, too. I love that idea. But when I finish it, it is #6 so I will be half way through my project.
Initially, this was just a time-killing project. I set out to make five bird dresses as part of my therapy. Now its become a show of six different dresses and their stories — and … I am half-way through and I like my work. Making the peacock dress (#1) seems like so long ago.
Today: Dr. Shoja first, then lunch with Cathy and then back to the dress. And I think I am going to be able to keep going into working on the apron. My mojo is back. Yahoo.