Sunday, February 14, 2010

New Project - Celtic Lady Summer

Last week, I started working on Celtic Summer project. Here she is... I already had to do a couple of un-dos and re-dos, but it only inspires me more... I want her to be perfect, and working on her brings me satisfaction. With my recent concentration problems, I have not been able to complete much work, but I can concentrate on her. Selective memory problems, isn't it? Don't know. All I know is this is one thing right now that keeps me going.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stitching Project - Hunting for Threads

A couple of days ago I started the Celtic Summer project. I picked up the DMC threads; found the beads; now I am on the hunt for Needlepaints and Rainbow gallery... I must have visited about 20 stores - physical and virtual - and Ebay has proved itself once again. Although with Needlepaints being phased out, they are hard to come by. I found one shade - six colors; nothing else is available.
I looked up the conversion chart from Needlepaints to DMC and to other floss manufacturers. I think by the time I am done with this project, I will know enough to write a paper on floss manufacturers and conversions of color.
I am glad to see that my hunt has paid off. Does anyone have any advice? I have not stitched enough to post a picture on the SAL blog yet, but it is coming along, and I like it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Year's Resolutions, Goals, and Updates

After recent events I felt I needed an outsider's point of view - someone who was familiar with the general problem I was facing, but not entirely in the picture. That point of view came from an old friend; he said (adding that he was probably quoting someone) - "People try to "help" fixing someone else's life when their own lives are not quite working out. And the more successful your life is, the more "helpers" you may expect. Ignore them and stick to your own business - no attitude, no "I'll show them" behavior; that's the best way."
Now that I am translating his words into English, I know I've heard this before. Maybe I had to read these words in Russian to get inspired. In light of this, I have decided to try and ignore "helpers" and "supporters" of this sort. Another words - I am going to try and ignore all stupidity. I am going to focus on my own health, my children's health, and my family's improvement. We all have been through a lot this past year, and we will need time to recuperate.
Since last week, I have found myself unable to concentrate on tasks: cross stitching does not get done; reading is not an option; I can't focus when watching a movie. Tutoring job had to go - I have neither patience, nor attention span necessary for this kind of work. A good friend advised me to do small tasks - housework, dusting, sweeping - something where I will be able to see the results of my work instantly.
I can, however, write in my journal. That helps. Describing feelings and emotions provides an outlet and brings relief. Writing this blog helps - even though I am not sure how many people read it; but it is truly a stitching time - a stitch in time - one step at a time - process; just like life.
Now about my cross stitch and embroidery plans. About two weeks ago, after my splints were removed, I was so excited, so full of ideas and plans... I wanted to sign up for the Celtic Lady SAL - and I went to the store, got the chart, and over the next week found the linen and most of the floss needed for the project. I also planned to sign up for the Oriental Bunka Art lessons at Community education - to learn Japanese embroidery. Then - I noticed my concentration problems. Bunka art had to wait - to save myself the embarrasement of crying in class. Stitching at home is also put on hold - hopefully only temporary. I hope to get back to it, a little bit every day - even if only 10 minutes at a time - and build it up, just like everything else...
This is what amazes me: the whole stressful event took maybe ten minutes - but the affects of it are still showing up, and are far from over... It's a gift that keeps on giving, someone said. I can see and feel myself changing - I don't even care if it's for better or worse; I just know that I will never be the same because of what happened during those ten minutes. My changes happen suddenly, unexpectedly, but, strangely enough - also one step at a time... Just faster steps.
We'll see what happens. I change - one step at a time; I write - one word at a time; I live - one day at a time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Racism and Loneliness

Well, as if I have not had enough crap happen to me, yesterday another thing resurfaced... How would I put it delicately? ah, fuck it - there is no way to put it any other way: my husband's sisters are racists. The younger one has been easy to understand: she disapproved of me from the start. When the tensions finally mounted to the breaking point, she called and left messages on the phone cursing and swearing about her brother accepting " the white bitch that walked into his life" and "forgetting of who he is" and "forgetting that he was a black man." I remember sitting in the living room alone with my 3 week old daughter and having to listen to every message - I did not want to pick up the phone....
After many calls and screams and yells between Joe and his sisters he assured me that "this was not going to happen again". I was not sure how he was going to guarantee that, but I wanted to believe him. On my part, I did the only thing that seemed reasonable - I isolated myself from that woman and her attitudes. I made it known that she was not welcome in my home, and I did not want to expose my children to that kind of attitude ( yes, I specified my children - Joe felt that Mike and Alex should not stop seeing their aunts).
The older sister, who calls herself an artist, was not as abrupt. In the end, though, she turned out to be just as strongly opinionated as the other one. That one hurt more, because her poison was slow and almost untraceable: no, she did not mean to be this or that, but this family is just so special and it has so many things going on and you just have to be one special person to understand its dynamics. No, it's no disrespect meant, but this is a family matter, and I should not be involved. Oh, I should really keep my opinion to myself. Ah, I really do not understand my stepsons - after all, let's name it loud and clear - they are African American, American Indian (the tribes were mentioned - every time in particular order), German, Jewish, and - at the end - Caucasian. It was stated to me - ever so subtly - that I simply was not capable to understand. Why, and who would? A black person would - because of that person's culture... For a second I actually regretted not being black - then - wait a goddamn minute!!! Since when did the skin color was an indication of ability to understand a new, different culture? I never fully voiced my opinion - not that I did not try, but I was always shut up in the process - but I ended up never being comfortable around my "ever so cultural" sister-in-law. Especially when she yelled at me at the top of her lungs for trying to breastfeed my baby in the room with her artwork - I was "being disrespectful and insulting" to her masterpieces by taking care of my daughter's basic need. Her accusation seemed even more awkward because we were surrounded by paintings and statues representing family, and preceded by a lecture on family values. So -real family live dynamics are offensive to the family art? Suddenly all her words, all her works turned into idols - ugly and lifeless representations of her self-importance, nothing more. From that moment on, I was doubting whether she was a real artist - perhaps, I thought, a mere craftswoman who knew techniques well, nothing more. Was there soul in her work? Where?
The conflict finale took place yesterday. After my "incident" of injury - another lovely way to avoid calling it what it is - an attempt on my life - Joe and I had to go to court. The "artist" sister wanted to come too - "for support," as she said. Some support it was. After we left the room (another continuance, nothing new) she started shooting out questions: did you talk to the attorney? Can Alex be released? You need to find out what can be done - Alex is part Native American, so "they" can't even judge him by American laws - he'd have to go before the Tribal Council. When I tried to answer, she waved her hand and said sharply, " I am not talking to you, I am talking to my brother!"
Excuse me???? excuse the FUCK out of me!!!!! I AM HERE TOO!!! that's what I wanted to say, but instead - I lost my breath and could only say "Excuse me?"
She says - "Get out of my face!"
For several seconds I felt like I could not breathe. Joe was saying something about respect- disrespect and how I was to be respected and how she did not have the right to treat me like that... it was obvious to me that she couldn't care less. I turned around and walked away. And Joe stayed - perhaps, to explain to her the error of her ways...
Finally I walked far enough and started to be able to breathe again. I collected my thoughts... What to do, what to do? I wanted to go home. I turned around and walked back - Joe was still talking, and she was still talking over him. None of them turned to me - I did not exist to them... At least that was how it felt. I am really becoming more and more familiar with that feeling...
Finally, I said, "Joe, I need to talk to you - separately." Joe pulled himself away from his sister, and I said, " I need you to take me home - now. If you want to talk to her about this, please do it later." Joe said his quick good byes and took me to the coffee shop - to get over the shock.
Yes, he said all the right things. He said that he was "on my side," that she was wrong, and I was right, and this was "never going to happen again." And then - he walked out of the shop and called his sister on the cell phone. And I was left alone to deal with my feelings...
She said to Joe that "perhaps I would be more comfortable around people of Caucasian descent." I never heard anything more ridiculous...
Again, just like seven years ago, I had to make the decision. All this time they said I was part of their family... or not... I decided - I don't want racists in my family, and I do not have to accept their deformed views!
Of course, Joe keeps telling me he loves me. he says... many things, and they are all the right things. But it's all in the details. while he "explains the error of her ways" to his sister, he actually talks to her, while I stay alone.
I feel alone. Sometimes I want to disconnect the phone - no one calls anyway, except bill collectors. Except my children, I have no one. I do not feel loved. I do not feel protected. I do not feel anything but pain and disappointment. Sometimes I do not want to feel any more.