One of the Best Days of My Life

I had my bass lesson today. It was everything and nothing. I had the day off. I practiced my bass. I exercised. I rarely wear makeup, but today, I put some makeup on my face and a nice outfit instead of living in my nursing scrubs. I generally do not do this, but now I have more often. It is so unusual, that I am running out of makeup foundation. I ate stir fry for dinner. I came home. Believe it or not, it was one of the best days of my life and I want to have more days like today.

Since I ran the Chicago Marathon and resumed contrabass lessons, everything has changed. I have always been interested in writing, music and nursing since before I even started attending college. I just didn’t know how to pursue them all, so I did it one at a time. So far, I have pursued nursing and writing.

Music? Not so much? Even with doing The Artist Way weekly since 2012, I simply could not fully accept myself as a musician. Maybe it was previous negative experiences trying to play a contrabass, but finding it difficult to get appropriate mentorship. Maybe it was the upheaval, both personal and artistic, I knew would come to my life by taking it on again.

However, ignoring and denying my desire hasn’t been enough to silence my dreams. Now that I have resumed my bass studies, I am asking myself why didn’t I do this sooner?

I gave myself the chance to find a quality instructor, but now, I want to go to my local community college and take courses for an associate’s degree in music performance. Even if it is one to two classes at a time until I am done, I am more than willing to be patient and do the work to get to my goal.

One by one, I am coming across stories of late bloomers, but I need to hear about them. I once met a woman who said it took her 14 years to complete her undergraduate degree because she had to work a regular job to support herself and her children. She said she did one to two classes at a time and she took the summers off. She received her undergraduate degree anyway.

I just saw a concert at City Winery of Sonny Knight and the Lakers. He was an ex-Vietnam veteran and a truck driver who is now retired and working with James Brown’s old musicians on his CDs. Although he is working with musicians half his age, his musical and life experiences make him the most interesting member in the band.

In the book Daughters of the Moon, Sisters of the Sun, I read that Anisa Romero of the musical group Sky Cries Mary started her musical training at a local community college when she received a breast cancer diagnosis.

Why do we wait for things like this to shake us into “pursue your dream with gusto” submission? Her story always stayed with me and I had visions and dreams for years of going to my local community college for music performance.

I’m serious. I’ve been trying to “practice containment” as Julia Cameron has advised and I have talked to no one, but my local community college about my desires.

International Quilt Festival 2015

This year, the International Quilt Festival had a Rubies quilt exhibit. The International Quilt Festival is held each year in various locales throughout the country: Chicago, Houston, Long Beach and Cincinnati. Although the International Quilt Festival was a few months ago in Chicago, I feel writing about it in light of the patriotic holidays (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day) is appropriate, hence all the red and white fabric from the main quilt exhibit. I love Americana fabric (fabric with a patriotic theme). I donated my proceeds from working the festival to Quilts of Valor, an organization that makes quilts for veterans.

Considering my father is a Vietnam veteran, the Quilts of Valor organization was of interest to me. Also, because Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), a very breakthrough trauma treatment I personally had for PTSD due to rape trauma and domestic violence, actually originated in the veterans hospitals. I felt my donation was a way of giving back for some of the help I received, thanks to the veterans and their advocacy for appropriate trauma treatment.

Other than that, the International Quilt Festival is one of the most wonderful times of the year for me. Other people live for the holidays. As a healthcare worker, I usually work the holidays. So, I live for the International Quilt Festival.

I adore being a part of the quilting process, whether it is making them myself, packing them up at the festival, unpacking them and/or displaying them. It is all pure joy for me. Quilters from around the world send their quilts to be exhibited within these conferences. There are a lot of traditional designs as well as art quilts that are featured. I meet all kinds of different people and it is a lot of fun. I appreciate being around other people who know what goes into an endeavor like making a quilt. I also appreciate the fact that they understand the psychological benefits of creating something by hand and I do not have to explain it to them.

International Quilt Festival 2015