Saturday, September 15, 2007

What Time is It?

I never have enough time.

As a result, I almost never finish anything.

I took up quilting a couple years ago because 'being chronic' seemed like a lousy hobby. I took up quilting because it gave me the perfect cover for my true love, which is buying fabric. My vision of heaven has nothing to do with streets of gold and everything to do with row upon row of gorgeous bolts of fabric -- all available for free, of course.

I'm great at buying fabric. My quilting, however, leaves a bit to be desired. I struggle to make points match. My squares are wonky and my seams sometimes look like the trajectory of a car drven by a drunk celebrity. And I'm slow. Once a month I go to quilty meetings where lots of women and one man get together to show off our work. Each month, the same women stand up and show their work, all so perfect, all so finished. Each month I go home and look at my projects, lined up along the shelves like neglected urchins. I stand there in my sewing room wanting to take up the scissors and thread and wale away until i have finished a quilt or wall hanging and reached the enchanted land of embellilshments. But usually I just go to bed.

That, dear reader, is why I have so little to show in the way of finished work: I sleep a lot. Fatigue is my constant adversary. My kind of chronic has no reserves. If I do too much and get too tired, bad things happen. You don't want to know the details, trust me. So I try to get plenty of sleep.

I have to sleep 9 hours at night, and tend more toward 10. And I take a nap every afternoon. Always an hour, sometimes two and if I've pushed a bit in the morning, I might be out for three. And, if I was foolish yesterday and spent time in the sun, walked around town with a visiting friend, drove too much, etc ... then today I'm going to pay. I will wake up late, be exhausted by the effort of eating breakfast and need a morning nap. I will wake up shortly before noon, be exhausted by the effort of eating lunch and go back to sleep. Before dinner I'll wake up long enough to load the dishwasher and figure out something for supper that requires absolutely no energy and then I sleep until my husband comes home from work. After supper, of course, I'm ready for an early bedtime.

You can see how that would make it hard to get much done.

My dear friend J recently stopped being chronic. She went to her doctor one day, expecting a change in chemotherapy, and came home with a referral to Hospice. Christmas may not come this year.

They say that those who are about to die find they are living much more vividly. They take chances and do things they've always put off.

Well, J isn't jumping out of airplanes or climbing mountains. Instead, she's selling her personal possessions so she will have enough money to eat when she can't work anymore. Yeah, it sucks the big one. Life is so unfair.

In addition to being my friend, J is a quilter. She actually has made a living quilting the quilts that other people put together. When I talked to her yesterday, she was trying to figure what she can do in the time she has left. Some projects she just has to finish: a velvet quilt for a friend who took her in at a tough time, a wall quilt for her daughter, a stuffed teddy bear and matching bunny rabbit for a grandchild she may never see. The rest of her 'stash' of fabric will be sold to quilters who are gambling they have enough time to use it.

They say people who know they are dying have more wisdom and insight into life's hard questions. So I complained to J about my lack of time, how I sleep too much and just don't have time to finish all the projects I have started. I asked her what to do, how to manage, what is the answer to my frustration? My friend shook her head, took a quick look at the stacks of fabric she will be selling in the coming weeks and gave me the full force of all her insight and wisdom.

'Work faster,' she said.


I realized today that at the end of my last post, instead of signing off 'Peace and Blessings' I had written 'Peach and Blessings.' It may have been a simple typo, or may have been some sort of associative slip caused by the sweet, juicy, bursting with flavor peach I was eating while I wrote. Either way, I sort of like the whole idea. After all, what could be more of a blessing than a perfect piece of summer fruit? On that note, I will leave you until next time with this benediction:

Peaches and Blessings and All Good Things!

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