The last month has been one of settling. Not settling as in being satisfied with less, although we are one less person in the family. But in many ways I am alright with that fact. It was challenging the last three years, and to have one fewer worry, is fine, no more draining lungs, carriaging around town for pain medication, chemo, emergency room, therapy, insurance company calls, etc. It may sound brash, and selfish, but finally after eighteen years of marriage, I’m satisfied with our family as four minus one. I know I can’t settle (compromise) any more for less, but have to settle on more. In eighteen years, time went quickly with little direction made consciously on my part. I ended up with a life I had not expected. Not that it was all that bad, but it was in the shadow of George’s career and life, and without regard to what I needed to do with my own personal future. And with that realization, settling into my new life, figuring out who I am, and what I need, is occurring organically.
But, it is settling, coming to a resolution that we can finally close up the grave, having disposed of George’s ashes, and body to allow us three girls to move on.
A few days after his interment, I felt a real weight lifted, even though I hadn’t really thought it would be very momentous. It seemed to be a purely symbolic gesture that wouldn’t really have much emotional bearing. But, somehow, the last remaining act of disposing of the body brought a feeling that life can truly move on. It has been almost ten months since he died, time has gone by quickly. The urn was made of a beautiful amber resin. Because of the volume of George’s ashes, we used both urns. The plot was originally a double plot, to allow two urns to be placed. I know my life of the next forty years will bring a lot of changes, and I doubt that I would be buried in the same plot. We are still waiting for the grave marker to be completed. The day before the interment, the cemetery personnel rejected the stone. Imaginary Forces is having to patina the bronze so it doesn’t “stick out.” The fact that the ashes are gone from the house, and settled in the place where George imagined all his friends would want to go visit him... it’s done.
Now that the high school decision/financial aid is resolved for Elena, 2007 taxes completed, and medical bills resolved,
this past month has been one of really hunkering down, to concentrate on my business. This is my new baby. Watching it develop gradually is exciting. www.baobycaroleyu.com
I spend about four to six hours daily in the studio, and go back after the kids go to sleep. It just doesn’t seem like work, because I enjoy being in my own space, having iTunes, NPR radio, or www.Pandora.com running, with the sun coming in the studio window onto my desk, where I have my sewing machine.
Rubenia comes weekly to help seam rip all the vintage kimonos and prepare the fabric for cutting. I have been making master patterns, working with Imaginary Forces on
branding ideas, trying to come up with the company story line and working on the business plan. I am designing purses made from vintage kimono, with plans to also move into pillows, scarves, men’s ties and perhaps back to clothing. For about five years, I made children’s clothing from kimono fabrics. When George got sick, I switched to purses, no sizing, better profit, little gems. For BAO, my custom purse line, I am going to use traditional Japanese crafting methods of embellishment. First, there’s sashiko embroidery, a simple running stitch pattern done in geometric patterns. I plan to incorporate beading with embroidery, and folded origami fabric flowers for brooches, and purse embellishment. Finally, I’m going to use vintage kimono ties, and Japanese knotted cording techniques for the zipper pulls.
I spent last week developing some pillows. The patterns in the existing kimono are so rich, and the colors so complementary, I love doing the mixes.
I was really inspired to do two pillows for a friend’s birthday, so here they are. I found some amazing silk taffeta that matched the kimono fabrics exactly, for the backs of the pillows, and put in some invisible zippers.
I found a great production sewer. It took me awhile to find someone who could stand up to my picky standards. I found her through Chris Pegula, a friend who designs, and manufactures diaper bags for men. Check out his company website. www.diaperdude.com Anyway, things have been going steadily in regards to developing the business. I’ve done the practical planning for my first line, and hope to have a trunk show by the end of summer, or early fall. I’m truly excited about this work. It’s the culmination of years of dreaming, not ever having enough time, or motivation. Finally, I get to do something creative that makes me extremely content.
If you are interested in commissioning a handbag, please go on the website, and choose the style under the BAO link, and the fabric you want under the Kimono Inventory link. I’m also free to consult on pillows. Tell me the color scheme, and I’ll create something beautiful for you. www.baobycaroleyu.com
This past weekend, the girls had a swim meet at our local pool. Dara started swimming competitively at the last swim meet a few weeks ago. She swam the 50M Free, Back, and Fly
, already qualifying for a red time for the Backstroke. The Butterfly was a challenge for her this past weekend. She made it about half way across wiggling her body up and down so much her energy
went into the vertical movement, so she was barely moving horizontally. Then, her legs started to get tired, and the butterfly kick turned into the flutter kick that is used for Back, and Freestyle strokes. So she DQ’ed (disqualified).
As you can tell from the photo on the left, she didn’t really care, because the coaches were so encouraging and she was really happy that she finished.
Elena qualified for the summer Junior Olympics for the 100M and 200M Breast stroke events. JO’s will be held the first week of August. She is close to qualifying for several freestyle events also. Here Elena is swimming against her friend, Justine, who is on the Rose Bowl Team. They have become friends just by swimming against each other over the years. In the 100M Breast this past weekend, Elena beat Justine by five hundredths of a second. Then, Justine beat Elena in the 200M. Elena really has a healthy attitude towards competition, using it for motivation to improve her own times. There are a few competitors from around the region with whom she has real comraderie. They swim against each other several times a meet, and will hug each other and high five after their events as encouragement.
I’ve also settled into a new exercise regimen. I exercise about four days a week.
I choose from yoga, Brazilian Dance, going to the gym for elliptical, and weights, or hiking up the hills of Culver City. A few weeks ago, I discovered a yet unfinished trail (the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Trail) that’s on the way to the girl’s school. The trail provides several options, a path that winds back and forth gradually across the hillside, or a brutal
two hundred and seventy five step staircase going straight up the hill. The construction of the staircase up the hill has been going on for months. It looks like the steep stairs on pyramids in Mexico, or India. The first time I walked up, I was so excited, I went up and down twice. My thigh muscles complained for the next four days. The view at the top is nothing short of amazing, a three hundred and twenty five degree view from LAX all the way around to downtown Los Angeles.
When I saw that view for the first time I felt refreshed. It reminded me of all the reasons that I’m here in LA. Good weather, a broad expanse from ocean to hills, millions of people with different viewpoints, great access to restaurants, galleries, museums, wonderful opportunities for the girls, lots of supportive friends, and a life that is one of my choice. Come and join me on a hike up the hill to gain a new perspective!