Friday, February 10, 2012

Gimme the blue pill, Larry!

I am a 42-year-old woman. I have given birth to two daughters. I have made a (small) name for myself as a writer. I am at my peak intellectually and creatively. I am happy, sane, and - lung chunks aside - relatively healthy. I am no longer a teenager, as far as I can tell.


I'll tell you why. Because the Endocrine Gods have decided to fuck with me, that's why. Never mind that I'm still years away from menopause, my body has decided that my early forties are a great time to mess around with the chemicals that not only control my reproductive cycle but also play a far too large role in my moods and the state of the skin on my chinological area.

I have not had a period since early December, and that ought to be a good thing, because periods are a big pain in the cooter. But when I start skipping periods, I also start getting cranky. Then I crave carbs and sweets so bad I am willing to bake when it's not even the weekend (gasp!). And then, worst of all, I have zero - I mean ZERO - interest in my, um, marital duties. (Thank god for the donuts, or there wouldn't be any point in going on.)

But then things start cranking towards the Red Letter Days, but it's like watching a very old person with a walker cross the street. The only indication I have that things are progressing towards an actual menstrual cycle once again is the return of the Chin Zits. Big chin zits. Zits so deep I can feel them on the back of my head. I have layered on concealer with a trowel and you can still see this thing from across the room with the lights out. And its twin is trying to hatch on the opposite side (I guess it knows how I feel about symmetry). All last year, my periods were regular again, I was only cranky some of the time, I was more interested in my, um, marital duties than I have been MY ENTIRE LIFE (and it was awesome) and I had NO ZITS. Not one.

So, how do I get back to that? Can I go to a doctor and say, "Give me drugs and make me like that again?" Or will they just go, "That's peri-menopause, bitch. Deal with it."? What's a cranky, fat, be-zitted woman with a very patient husband to do?

In Quilting News...

So, last week I had this bright idea about something that I was gonna do that would be so funny, and it involved making a quilt, so I made the quilt in, like, one day (it was very simple), but then realized that I had made it way too big to use the way I wanted to, so I ended up just using it for free motion quilting practice. I have been stippling the living crap out of everything and it's a fairly acceptable way of getting a quilt done, but I know myself, and I am not going to be content with that for long. I need to learn how to control a large quilt in my machine and get some other designs under my belt.

I have a pretty good set-up for my machine, with a table to the left and one behind the actual sewing table:

This gives good support to the quilt and I highly recommend this if you are struggling with your FMQ-ing (and thanks are due, of course to Leah Day, who taught me to do this). I would love, love, love to replace my sewing table with the Gidget table that Leah sells because it comes with special acrylic inserts for where your machine rests, so you have a smooth, flat surface that is even with the table. Even though the needle plate on my machine is even with the table, the bed of the machine itself is curved, creating a lip in the table and the quilt does sometimes get hung up on that. I've learned to work around it, but the flat surface would be nice. Sadly, it's $245, and that means I can either have that or electricity for another month. I'll have to think about it.

I marked off 8.5" squares on the quilt and chose a design from Leah's library called Matrix. I decided I would do every other square in this pattern and then choose another for the ones in between, maybe something loopy or more flowery. Now I think that 8.5 inches is too large an area to work in, and I would go with 5 or 6 inches next time. The effect so far is kind of neat, even though it looks like trolls attacked my quilt with thread when you look at it up close.

I think it might end up being fairly interesting when it's all done, and I may even try something similar again.

I'm glad that with quilting, there's always something to challenge me, always more techniques to learn and farther to progress. Otherwise, I'd just be a cranky, fat, be-zitted, frigid woman with a lot of bad quilts lying around. And that would be awful!

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