I managed to record my dreams, or at least, attempted to capture and recount strange fragments of an alternate reality. In the process, I can’t say that I unlocked the secrets of my brain but I did learn a couple of things:
-Most nights I remember two dreams. The first dream of the night is longer and more in-depth making it harder to recall details, the one right before waking is easier to remember but not very substantial.
-My subconscious mind is preoccupied with moving and getting a job.
-I don’t remember my dreams every night.
-To have any chance to remember an average dream you have to write it down right away. If you write down your dreams, make sure you go back and read what you wrote in a timely manner, otherwise it just looks like the ramblings of a mad person.
-The dreams of adulthood are different from those of childhood. It’s not surprising that three of the five popular dream themes listed in the book–monsters, being lost, and being chased– reflect feelings of powerlessness. As an adult I can’t remember the last time I dreamed about any of those things. It’s not that adults don’t dream about feeling powerless. Apparently, when I am feeling powerless, I dream that my teeth are crumbling out of my mouth. I have had that dream from time to time and, man, am I glad when I wake up and realize it’s only a dream!
Several people mentioned their recent dreams to me. Did you know that if you dream about wearing inappropriate shoes that could be indicative of feeling unprepared for a situation? If you dream of falling, and you aren’t afraid, you might be overcoming obstacles. If you’re falling, and it is scary, it could indicate that you feel a lack of support. If you are cleaning an object in your dream, the related area of your life might not be functioning as it should. Being late? You might be taking on too much. Naked? Vulnerable.
So, did you attempt to write down your dreams? Remembering to do that was not as difficult as I thought it might be. Did you learn anything? I’ll admit that I like the world of my dreams and I enjoy it when I remember them. If you recorded your dreams, or even just remembered them, I’d love to hear about it.
Before you go…do you know how difficult it is to capture a dream in a photo? If you are following the blog on Facebook or Instagram you are well aware. No matter how hard I try it ends up looking like an ad for a feminine hygiene product or a bad 70s album cover. Maybe I missed my calling.
This challenge could be very interesting…if I can remember to do it. RECORD YOUR DREAMS FOR A WEEK. THEN TRY TO DECODE THEM TO DISCOVER WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR BRAIN WHEN YOU SLEEP. From what I understand, everyone dreams but not everyone remembers. I am one of those people who remember their dreams. Although my dreams are vivid and strange they are usually forgotten once I start my day. It will be a challenge to 1) remember to write them down and 2) take the time to do so. Trying to decode my dreams might be even trickier. Do I really want to know what’s going on my in brain when I’m asleep?
Sometimes decoding my dreams is easy. Because I often dream about things that I have on my mind when I go to bed, I have a rule that I don’t talk about subjects that could be stressful or thought-provoking right before bedtime. This rule was initially put into play when my sister, Emilie, and I started a reusable bag company, circa 2006. Lee always wanted to talk about it as we were heading to bed, thus the institution of the “no bag talk after 8pm” rule. This rule has morphed and been used for many topics. I highly recommend it. It’s necessary for my self-preservation and required if I’m going to get a good night’s sleep. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I won’t be able to fall asleep, although that happens occasionally, but that I will spend the night living out our discussions with strange tweaks and weird settings. Not conducive for restful sleep.
Recurring dreams are supposed to reflect an unresolved conflict. My first recurring dream happened when I was in either 6th or 7th grade when my sister, Emilie, left for college. I dreamed I was riding my bike around Stillwater, OK looking for her but whenever I arrived somewhere she would have just left. I’ve had other recurring dreams but I wouldn’t say most were the result of unresolved conflict as much as a reflection of a large change in my life.
The biggest challenge might be translating my dreams into writing. If you’ve ever tried to describe a dream to someone you realize that there is really no language that allows you to adequately detail such a singular occurrence. I’ll do my best and you’ll just have to promise not to conclude I’m a weirdo. One especially peculiar aspect of dreams appears when you “know” you are in a particular place, like your home or work, but it looks nothing like your home or work. Another occurs when you have a famous person in your dream, let’s say Derek Jeter, but as the dream goes on you realize it is not Derek Jeter but your husband instead. I’m not saying I’ve ever dreamed about Derek Jeter, that’s just an example.
So, do you remember your dreams? Are they vivid and strange, like mine? Please tell me they are! Do you find it difficult to capture them for other people? If you are up for this challenge, I’d love to hear about your dreams. I’ll be writing down my dreams each morning for a week. Next week, I’ll be back to let you know if I remembered to write them down and, more importantly, if I’ve managed to decode them and crack the puzzle of my sleeping brain. Oh, boy, wish me luck!
Before you go, I think we’ve all had that I’m-at-school-naked dream at one time or another but I’m wondering if you have work specific dreams as an adult? I’ve had a couple of library Storytime dreams…most recently I had a Dance Party nightmare!
I’ve been in procrastination mode. Unfortunately, that’s a fairly standard mode for me. What needs to get done always gets done but I often require the pressure of a deadline. The big deadline in my future is the move to California. As deadlines go it’s not exactly looming. As I write this I have about 7 weeks until my new best friends, the packers and movers, roll up to my house and touch everything I own. But, this is a big job. Getting ready for a move, especially after being in a house for four years, is a very big job indeed! Now, for those of you who think that four years in a house is not a very long time, I will concede that you have a point. However, for those of us who tend to pack up and move every two years, it is! The challenge we are about to embark on meshes perfectly with my approaching deadline: DONATE YOUR OLD CLOTHES AND TOYS TO A CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION.
This certainly isn’t the first time we will be donating items. And, it’s going to involve more than just clothes and toys. Actually, I’d say every couple of months it seems like we drop off a box or two of clothing and other items that have outlived their usefulness in our lives. You might think that people who move as much as we do would travel lightly. Either our items are reproducing like rabbits or we just buy way too much stuff. Regardless of how it’s gotten to this point, it’s time to take some action.
I started reading a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo which had been previously recommended to me by more than one person. Confession: I did not finish it. I didn’t even get very far. Not because it wasn’t good. I may go back to it again at some point. I just realized that while it seemed like the perfect time for just such a book it was actually the worst time. At least for me. I couldn’t even follow the bit of advice that made complete sense to me. Kondo recommends tidying not by location (for example, your closet) but by category (clothing). I think this makes a lot of sense and then I immediately did the opposite. Reminiscent of when I signed up for a gym membership and immediately thought to myself, “I’m never coming back in here.”
The poor kids who are taking their cues from this book have no idea that this is not a singular task that they’ll never have to tackle again. Little do they know they’ll be pitching stuff the rest of their lives! Hopefully, they will try to donate and not just trash. It helps with the guilt of having too much stuff. Honestly, I’ll probably be pitching stuff up until my previously-mentioned mover friends arrive. But, I’m motivated and that’s half the battle. Rachel and I got a good start on the garage a couple of weekends ago. Our goal was to get her things organized and ready for Lee to move them to Greensboro for her post-college apartment. We finished that task…now I just need to finish the rest.
So, is it spring cleaning time at your house? Are you a pack rat or a minimalist? I think I’m somewhere in the middle. Do you have favorite organizations for your donations? When we lived in Northern Virginia the Military Order of the Purple Heart would put a postcard in our mailbox to let us know when their trucks would be in our area. All we had to do was let them know (online) if we’d have something to pick up and then put it at the curb. That’s how I like it. Convenient and easy…like pizza delivery.
Before you go…if you have a hard time deciding what to give away and what to keep, I have a plan for you. Put your items in boxes. Stack the boxes in the corner of your garage. Wait four years. Dust off the cobwebs. Presto…donations!
Oh, and if your items (or books!) are themselves covered with cobwebs or mouse droppings or have gotten wet, please just throw them away! No charitable organization (or library!) wants them. Trust me.
You may not realize it but April is National Poetry Month. Which means it’s the perfect month for this particular challenge: WRITE A POEM. If you are like me you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about poetry. I probably haven’t written a poem since I was in school…possibly grade school. The good news is that this time I don’t have to present it in front of a class. The bad new is that I’ll be sharing it on a blog but at least I don’t have to make eye contact.
I’ve always been a prose person. Give me a novel any day. As an English major I read plenty of poems and as a Youth Services Librarian I’ve purchased my share of kid’s poetry books. But, if I’m honest, I can’t say that I’m a big poetry fan. I think that says more about me than about poetry. I’m relatively sure that appreciating poetry requires more thinking than I’m inclined to apply to a free time activity. It’s probably no surprise that my favorite book of poems hasn’t changed since I was in grade school: Shel Silverstein’s classic, Where the Sidewalk Ends. I only own three books of poems and they are all by Shel Silverstein. I’m going to assume that everyone is familiar with the poems of Shel Silverstein. If not, please at least google him and read a couple. Or better yet, check one of his books at your local library. They’ve held up very well. Plus, his accompanying illustrations improve on the text, just as they should. Maybe that’s why I’m stuck in the poetry of my youth…I need pictures.
I will spare you the agony of reading a traditional poem crafted by me. However, I am a fan of the six word memoir. The story goes that when asked if he could write a complete story in six words, Ernest Hemingway offered, “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Using that as inspiration, in 2008, Smith magazine invited writers, famous and not, to write their own Six Word Memoirs–some were funny, some were sad. The best have been compiled into books if you are inclined to seek them out. If you haven’t ever tried your hand at describing your life using only six words, you should. It’s actually kind of addictive once you get started.
Last weekend we had to say goodbye to our fourteen-year-old basset hound, Luke. He was a great dog and beloved member of our family. In his honor, my six word memoir:
Lucky to have loved my Luke.
This might not technically count as writing a poem, but as I’ve said before, this is my blog and I can do what I want. Plus, my dog just died so I think I get a pass.
Before you go…whether you are a poetry person or not, I invite you to join me and write your own six word memoir this week. Your life story in six words: funny, sad, touching or clever. I will be writing and posting a different one of my own each day on the Before You Grow Up Challenge Facebook page. Post yours in the comments here or on the FB page. I dare you to stop at just one. Actually, I beg you to write at least one!
I’ve spent some time writing blog posts about not-so-important topics and hoping someone will read them. Now, it’s time to write a letter about an issue that is important to me and hope that someone reads it. WRITE A LETTER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I’ve never written a letter to any of my congressional representatives. I did make some calls earlier this year about a certain nominee for Secretary of Education but it appears that no one listened. I certainly never wrote about anything important to anyone as a kid. I did write a fan letter to my favorite local dirt track race car driver when I was probably 10-years-old. He sent me a brief note and a signed picture in return. As a teen, I wrote to the movie reviewer at the Daily Oklahoman basically to ask him what I needed to do to get his job! He wrote back and was both kind and encouraging. Those letters were definitely in the self-serving column. Time to do something for someone else. The 100 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU GROW UP book says that even before you can vote you are “definitely old enough to express your opinions and create positive change”. I’m definitely old enough vote, let’s see if I can create positive change.
Today, April 13, 2017, is the first Take Action for Libraries Day. I’ve written letters to my Congressman and Senators asking them to commit to saving federal library funding in Congress. I’m under no illusion that my letter alone will create change. However, I’m hopeful that my letter joined with the letters, emails and phone calls of others might lead to something positive. It wasn’t hard to write a letter advocating for libraries. I believe in libraries and the essential role they play in the communities they serve.
How about you? Do you put pen to paper to try to affect change? Have you ever contacted your representatives to share your opinion? I’d love to hear about it if you have!
Before you go…I’ve included the text of my letter below. I’ll admit I used one small section from a template written by the American Library Association demonstrating what to say when advocating for libraries but the rest comes from my heart.
“It is no surprise that as a Youth Services Librarian I believe in the power of libraries. I’m not sure if you are a library user but, if you are not, let me paint of picture of what happens everyday in our public libraries. Everyone knows that libraries provide free access to books, but a library offers so much more to the community it serves than just books.
Everyday in our libraries children and parents in early literacy story times are encouraging the skills kids need to be ready to learn to read, teenage volunteers are gaining valuable work experience, distance education students of all ages are working on online classes on the only computers they have access to, unemployed and under-employed adults are working on resumes and applying for jobs, students with public school issued devices are using free wifi to complete homework assignments, homeschoolers are accessing online resources and databases and families are attending free cultural and community events. Libraries add value to their communities everyday in more ways than I have time to list. Many people rely on their libraries as a way up, a way out and often the only way forward.
The President has proposed eliminating the tiny amount of federal money ($183 million) provided to every state in the country for small, innovative, community-building grants – hundreds every year– by eliminating the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). In 2016, North Carolina libraries received $4,229,540 for everything from workforce recovery efforts to computer programs for homeless populations. I am also a parent and a military spouse. I support defense spending and understand the necessity for a strong military. However, the $183 million saved by cutting ALL federal funding to museums and libraries will not even begin to help fund a $54 billion increase in defense spending.
Please protect the Institute for Museum and Library Services and fight to save federal library funding in Congress. We must continue to fund education, arts, and libraries, and to fund them well. Otherwise, what exactly are we defending?”
I set a goal for myself way back in January. Run a 5K. My first BIG challenge and I did it! Hours of boring time on the treadmill, miles on the road, a new pair of shoes, an assortment of hip stretches and exercises, a time-tested playlist, one running coach (thank you, Mona!) and a lot of good advice, guidance and support.
By the time Andrew and I rolled into Raleigh late Friday afternoon to pick up my race packet I was finishing up my final day as an employed librarian and fresh off of a wonderful send-off by my coworkers. I was a tad emotional, so it was nice to have this challenge to focus on. If you’ve ever participated in a large race series you know something about the Health and Fitness Expo: part packet pick-up, part museum gift-shop for the running set. I was first introduced to this type of event when I walked the Shamrock Half-Marathon in Virginia Beach. Andrew was unfamiliar with this particular aspect of the racing industry. I think he found it both exciting and a little overwhelming. It always makes me feel like I’ve wandered into an alternate universe where everyone is fit, motivated and runs for fun! Yikes. It is quite the spectacle, though, and served as my first reality check as to just what I had gotten myself into.
I tried hard to remind myself that I had earned the right to call myself a runner, to be a part of this. No one made me feel this way. I was battling myself and that disparaging little voice inside my head. I guess, I won that argument because the next morning I found myself in corral 8 waiting for the start of my first official 5K.
When I registered for the race I had to estimate my finish time. The time I gave was overly optimistic and so when I received my corral 6 assignment I was worried that I would be starting with much faster people. So, I ended up closer to corral 7 which then morphed into corral 8. However, it quickly became apparent not everyone was as worried about being in the correct corral. Walkers in the front corrals, sprinters in the back. I ended up running around people and stepping aside for others. When will I learn that time spent worrying is time wasted?
Once we actually started I could feel my anxiety release. It was a relief to finally get going. This was really no different from any other training run. It also served as a refreshing reminder that runners come in all shapes and sizes. I trained in coastal Carolina and the rolling hills of Raleigh provided a challenge to my run-the-whole-thing goal. But, I allowed myself to just relax and keep moving. As I climbed the first long, low hill I could hear Lee in my ear, “Accelerate up the hill when others slow down. That’s where you make up ground”. Which, I think is probably great advice if your goal is anything other than just surviving. I quickly realized that if I wanted to run most of the race I’d need to walk the hills. Luckily, there weren’t too many. I’d like to be clear here, Lee did not give me that advice for this particular race, I’ve just heard him say it before.
I can’t say the time went quickly but I played my regular playlist and pressed on. I know that part of the fun of the Rock ~n~Roll series is the live music but I needed my music. There was comfort in knowing how much time I had left in the race based on where I was in my playlist. I listened to music when I trained to walk my first half-marathon. It motivated me. Sometimes it was the only thing that motivated me, especially on the longer walks. The day before that race I picked up my race packet and I was instantly anxious when I realized that headphones were not allowed on the course. Now, I’m a rule-follower. It’s who I am. So, I followed the rules. You are already probably well ahead of me in this story and know, of course, that I was basically the only person who did NOT wear headphones during the race. I walked the entire 13.1 miles alone with my thoughts and without an accompanying soundtrack. Fun. I did that race again and, you are correct if you’ve guessed, that I listened to music that entire race. Sorry, that’s a long story just to say, not without my music! Never again.
One of the worries I had while I was training was my hip. When I first started I had some issues with my knees. Luckily, those were short-lived. Unfortunately, my right hip, or more precisely, my right IT band was not loving my transition from couch to 5k. I endured a lot of painful runs and even more painful days following runs. I became well acquainted with a foam roller and got better at stretching but many of my runs were still painful. So, I was more than pleasantly surprised that as I ran I had no hip pain. Maybe it was adrenaline. Maybe all of my preparation and foam work helped. Maybe I was just lucky. Doesn’t really matter. All I know is that running without hip pain is so much better than running with hip pain.
As much as I’d love to impress everyone with a remarkable time, I’ll be keepin’ it real.
I would have liked to have finished under 40 minutes, but I’m happy with the results. When I started this challenge I was more interested in finishing than in putting up a particular time, and finish I did. I will admit to being somewhat emotional as I made my way toward the race start. I’m a pretty unassuming person (not sure how that squares with writing a blog about my own life and expecting people to read about it–I’ll leave you to discuss that later) but I let myself feel a bit of pride and, dare I say, accomplishment for having even gotten to that point. Approaching the finish line my primary emotion was relief. Seeing my kids cheering me on motivated me to pass the lady running in front of me. I felt like I had a good final kick but my finish photo looks like I’m barely strolling! Ah, how the way we imagine ourselves doesn’t always align with reality. Kind of like how, in my head, I still look 30 and then I walk by a mirror. Don’t worry, young’uns, age will come for you, too!
The best part of the race? When it was over. Is that true for all runners? Does anyone actually enjoy the race during the race? I’m asking honestly. I’ve considered running another 5k, but upon reflection, I think I’ll stick to walking and leave the running to someone else. Thank you for your encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you. I told you I’d do it and because of that I did. My friend, Ofie, actually made the trip up to Raleigh and ran it, too! We didn’t find each other before the race but we caught up after. In fact, she took the photo of me “sprinting” across the finish line.
Can I admit now that there were several times during the process of completing this challenge that I was harboring some serious regrets? In the end, I’m glad I did it. This blog has served an interesting purpose in my life. It’s pushed me to push myself and I’m better for it. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, now that I’m officially unemployed, you’ll probably be hearing more from me. I can only spend so many hours a day cleaning out my garage. Thanks for reading along. If you’d like to get emails notifying you when a new post is published just click the FOLLOW button and do anything they ask you to…within in reason, of course.
Before you go…I’ve discovered that I’m an angry runner. You may be more familiar with this concept in reference to the term “angry drunk”. I myself am not an angry drunk. I can honestly count on one hand the number of times I would have even qualified as being drunk and I can tell you I’m more of a giggler than a jerk. But, during the course of training I discovered that the songs that motivate me the most during a run are not the fun, inspirational ones. Apparently, I run best with a chip on my shoulder. I need the Gym Class Heroes to tell me I’m a fighter, Busta Rhymes to yell at me, and Eminem to feed some unresolved respect issues I didn’t even know that I had. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’m not sure I like it.
We are on a quest. A quest for luck to be precise. FIND YOUR LUCKY CHARM. I don’t really consider myself to be a particularly lucky person. I’m not unlucky but I’ve certainly never felt like I was destined to win the lottery or that a trip to Vegas would be anything other than a chance to catch a couple of shows and probably eat too much. And, that’s fine with me. I’ve somewhat held to the notion (fairly ridiculous upon re-examination) that any stroke of incredibly unlikely good luck (a one-in-a-million lottery purse) could make you just as likely to be plucked from the masses for an incredibly unlucky fate (being struck by lightning). The idea being that I’d rather be one of the many unremarkable folks moving through life managing an average amount of both good and bad luck. I’ll pass on the one-in-a-million opportunity because odds are it could be the bad one-in-a-million not the good.
I do believe you make your own luck in many situations. But, there are some people who just seem to be luckier than others. When our daughters were in grade school we used a common deciding tool for many everyday situations: the coin toss. Over time a unusual pattern developed, Rachel won-if not every toss-almost all of them. It got so bad that when we would even mention tossing a coin as a means to resolution Elisabeth would cry. Coin tosses became a thing of the past as we adopted a more, shall we say, flexible mode of decision: pick a number. I wouldn’t say that Rachel is any luckier in life than Elisabeth but she certainly had a way with a quarter.
Our guiding book suggests being “on the lookout for these 10 symbols of good luck”:
Let’s talk about some of these lucky symbols. Obviously, I will not be on the lookout for a rabbit’s foot. I’m embarrassed to admit that at some point during my childhood I won a rabbit’s foot keychain at the state fair and didn’t think one bit about it being awful or disgusting! Frankly, I can’t believe it’s still on this list. Thanksgiving was the big day for the wishbone. That’s a pretty disgusting one, too. Really kind of a messed up version of making a wish after blowing out your birthday candles. But, you have to battle for the chance to make the wish. I had no idea that bamboo was considered good luck. Maybe lucky symbols are regional? In Oklahoma, you get a rabbit’s foot and in Florida you get bamboo? Does bamboo even grow in the US? It might be tricky to find. Does it count if you buy it at the store?
Do you have a good luck charm? A lucky number? I am partial to the number 10, probably like everyone else born on the 10th. Does anyone have a lucky number that isn’t the number of their birthday? Do you have a superstitious routine required before you complete a particular task? Superstitions and luck are close relatives. I’m a knock-wood and fingers-crossed type of person. I’ll admit it. I say them without even thinking about it! I’m not sure that I know what I consider to be my good luck charms. Join me as I try to determine what I think brings me good luck. Keep your eyes open for some of these good luck symbols. Let me know if you come across any along the way and maybe together we can find all ten! I mean, all nine…you know which one we are skipping.
Before you go…did you know that your odds of being struck by lightning during a single year are 1 in 960,000. Your odds of being struck by lightning twice in your lifetime are 1 in 9 million, which is still a higher chance than winning on of those giant Powerballs!
I’ve had a good time working my way through all of these challenges. Obviously, some are more fun than others. If you’ve ever sewn on a button you know that it’s not for entertainment. But, I have to say this challenge was the best. I’m not exaggerating when I say we have been a Marine Corps family for a long time. Other than the occasional reduced hotel rate, we don’t really take advantage of a lot of the available military discounts. Then we discovered, after attending a Military Appreciation Day hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes, that they are not exaggerating about their military discount. This time last year I sat in the best seats I’ve ever had at a professional sporting event. I spent more the year before for seats that were so high up we had to wear an extra layer of clothing. As I called my hockey-loving brother, Daryle, from PNC Arena to wish him a happy birthday I just knew that he had to come with me the next year for his birthday. Fast forward 365-ish days and here we are.
As an adult, I’ve never lived close enough to a professional sports team to be able to attend regularly and become one of the local fans. I’m hoping that if someday I do have a local home team that it still generates the same feeling. There’s nothing like entering a stadium or arena for a sporting event. The excitement feels electric. I particularly love it when the players enter. The music, the introductions, the spectacle. It’s awesome. This particular game was especially exciting because not only did I get to share it with my brother and my kids but we had really great seats!
You know you are in for something special when the guy who looks at your tickets to tell you where your seats are located says, “You’ve got great seats.” When I bought our tickets I wanted to get something up close, center ice. Well, I succeeded. We were on the second row behind the opposing team’s bench. If I had it to do again I’d buy seats a few more rows back. The seats I purchased were row D which to me equated to the fourth row, not the second. But, no one was complaining. It was pretty awe-inspiring to be so close.
So, there you have it. The best challenge yet. Impressive athletic feats, rockin’ songs to get you pumped up, t-shirts floated down in parachutes from the rafters and a brother who traveled half-way across the country to share it with me. I realized that, all of the excitement aside, what makes these events even more memorable is that I always get to enjoy them with the people who I love most in the world. Building relationships and making memories. I think that’s what this life is really all about.
Before you go…even though we had a great time we did not get to celebrate a Hurricanes victory. The defeat did not discourage the usual heckling idiot fans. And, don’t think just because we had great seats that we weren’t going to have to listen to it. I’m never a fan of the loud-mouth who yells during the game but occasionally you’ll find one that, while annoying, is at least begrudgingly funny. Our trio of fools couldn’t even come up with a good taunt. On the upside, they did not curse. But, on the downside, repeatedly yelling, “You’re the worst!”, with an intermittent “You’re literally the worst!” thrown in for emphasis is just embarrassing. I’m not trying to encourage more negativity in the world but study up on your insults if you are going to try to insert yourself into the game.
This challenge brought up a bit of an irrational fear of mine. I don’t like needles. Not in the I’m afraid of shots way, although I don’t love those either, but more in the I’m going to step on a needle! way. I don’t think I’ve ever stepped on a needle before but apparently it’s a real concern in my deep dark subconscious. It could be related to listening to multiple tellings of Lee’s childhood story of getting a thumbtack stuck between his toes. I understand a thumbtack is not the same thing as a needle but the pointy end makes them close cousins. I also have some vague memory of my Mom getting a needle stuck in her foot. Not even sure if that’s a fact or an alternative fact but it’s in my brain anyway. Whenever my kids wanted to do some kind of craft that required pins or needles I was probably not very encouraging. I was pretty sure that some carelessly supervised pin or needle was going to slide itself comfortably into the fibers of our carpet and lie in wait for it’s unsuspecting victim.
In addition to my needle issue, I did have a couple of other challenges to overcome. I could not find a garment that needed a button replaced. I also could not find a sewing kit (possibly linked to the previously stated needle phobia). However, I did persevere. After clearing a couple of initial hurdles, I am now fully licensed in the state of North Carolina to sew a two-hole button- at least onto a scrap of fabric. I’m also the proud owner of a new sewing kit.
The 100 Things You Need to Do Before You Grow Up book sometimes offers additional information to help the reader. I decided that even though this wasn’t going to be my first button I might want to follow their ten helpful steps.
Everything was moving along nicely. Each step was concise and easy to follow. Until I got to Step 8 which I could not comprehend. Maybe Step 8 is the litmus test for full acceptance into the Button-Sewing Club. If so, I failed. However, I did not leave my button unsecured. I just chose to use the method I’ve used before.
I was unfamiliar with the term shank in reference to sewing. If you watch shows about crime or prison you might be similarly confused. I did, however, google it and it does make sense. It allows for space between the button and the fabric when the garment is buttoned. My method allows for the same thing, I just didn’t realize what I was doing…or why.
I now have a sewing kit so I am prepared for any future button-sewing. Plus, this summer I’ll be in California with my own personal button-sewer who can then take ownership of said sewing kit. I’m assuming most of you have sewn a button on before. If so, were you aware you were creating a shank? Do you worry about your needles getting away from you and making a new home in your carpet? Do you ask yourself why you keep reading this?
Before you go…I would like you to know that when sewing my button onto my scrap of fabric I did take the time to cut a buttonhole ensuring that my button is functional and not just decorative. Thanks for reading along.
The latest challenge appears simple on the surface and could easily be dismissed. LEARN HOW TO SEW ON A BUTTON. I’ve sewn a button or two in my time. I don’t sew, so any button-sewing for me is strictly in repair mode. I used to be one of those people who saved those replacement buttons that come with shirts, jackets and sweaters, but after moving several times with a jewelry box compartment filled with buttons for apparel I no longer owned, I stopped. Maybe I just get rid of clothing before the buttons fall off or possibly when the buttons DO fall off. (Now, I’m picturing landfills filled with perfectly good shirts just missing one button and feeling a bit of guilt.)
In reality, I don’t wear a ton a clothes that have buttons. From 2 1/2 until approximately 7 years of age my daughter, Elisabeth, actively disliked buttons. Functional or decorative. She wouldn’t wear them, didn’t like it if I wore them, even disliked pillows that had them. Buttons were “gross”. Searching for clothing without decorative buttons: easy. Searching for clothing without functional buttons in reality means your child wears a lot of t-shirts. Not a lot of button-sewing going on at our house during that period of time. I didn’t stop wearing clothing with buttons to appease my four-year-old but if I didn’t love it, I didn’t wear it. It wasn’t worth it. When you have little kids, who has time to button up a shirt anyway! Plus, shirts with buttons also tend to be shirts that require ironing. I’m not usually organized enough to have a shirt ironed and ready to wear. Lee has always been the chief ironer in our house and ,now that I think about it, he’s probably the primary button-sewer, too. The Marine Corps prepared him well for a lot of things including button-sewing and ironing.
What about you? Are you someone who saves those replacement buttons and actually uses them? Are you the person people seek out when they’ve lost a button? When is the last time you sewed on a button? Any tips for me as I proceed? I’m off to find a button that needs replacing! Failing that, I’ll just do some practice button-sewing so that I’m prepared for the future. I do think this is a good skill for kids to learn. Maybe I’ll make Andrew sew on a button, too.
Before you go…I’m feeling the need to explain that when I do get rid of clothing, I donate it to the local Goodwill or some other charity organization. I’m not marching to save the trees everyday but I’m not as callous about the environment as it may appear. Also, today, I’m exactly one month from my 49th birthday and feeling pretty good about the challenges I’ve completed so far. Thanks for taking this journey with me! It wouldn’t be the same without you.