Chelle Summer


Patience, Patience, Yeah, and More Patience

Michelle Rusk

I always believe I can get more done in certain time periods than ends up being realistic. Last year I believed I had enough time to have a swimsuit collection ready to make custom suits by January of this year, but as time crept up on me– and not because I was lounging around watching television– I realized this wasn't going to happen. And then I realized it wasn't going to happen by March (next month) either.

Writing a book is a completely different game than creating a product where you have to then create more of them so you have inventory to sell. But you also need people to buy the product so you have to spend time working on marketing. There's a whole list of other items that consume my time; I don't get to be creative 24/7. And it's not that creating is a problem for me, it's more than there aren't enough hours in the day for everything I want to do.

That then circles us back to swimwear– and this photo of my mom taken in what I'm guessing was about 1961 in my grandfather's boat (I believe that's my dad next to her– before they were married). 

Most of us aren't old enough to remember swimsuits had zippers are were made with fabrics that now would seem outlandish to use for swimwear– like flannel. None of these fabrics could stretch, would give, nor would they dry quickly. Spandex was introduced in 1958 but wouldn't make its way into the swimsuit market just yet.

Working with vintage patterns has opened my eyes to the changes in fabrics (no zippers today!). We take for granted the quick drying material we plunge into swimming pools wearing– or the fact that the fabric doesn't fade from the chlorine like it used to. 

There is a journey involved in creating a swim line that I'll be happy with. I want everything to fit well, for women to want to wear a swimsuit because it's not just flattering but also comfortable. And to do that I have to slow down the process and continue to explore and sew, making mistakes while also making new discoveries along the way.

On Friday when I met with the priest with whom I do my spiritual direction, we talked about this continued to road building patience that I am on. I have written about how life is quiet now, how I'm productive but there's not much to share. And, honestly, not much going on. 

"You'll be up to your ears in stuff before you know it," he reminded me.

I won't say it's been easy. It's much like so many other goals I've set– it always takes me longer to get there.

And I will get there. Not just yet.

Learning to Run Again

Michelle Rusk

I couldn't blame Lilly. I'm sure she didn't see me coming when she bounded down the stairs– probably because she heard the door or Hattie stir. But when she ran her head right into the inside of my right knee as I trekked up the stairs, well, as I said to Greg, "That didn't sound good." But was it Lilly's head or my knee that incurred the damage?

For a week I felt something a little weird but nothing that kept me from running, or running and walking the dogs.

Until the next week when I couldn't run at all.

I've gone through phases where I hurt, I ache. I'm getting old, I'm trying to accept that. But this, this was different. I went for acupuncture and besides the usual moxa and needles, she cupped my knee, trying to pull the pain out. Then there was the day where I stepped on uneven ground trying to pick up a zucchini and could barely walk at all.

"It looks like you're dancing," My Chinese doctor's husband said when I showed up hobbling for acupuncture an hour later.

I could barely walk, I tore into my stash of heavy duty ibuprofen so I could walk. I took two days off from walking the dogs but I couldn't stand being away from my community in the early morning hours at the park. 

I walked, I swam, I was cupped and needled to stop the pain and help the injury heal. Weeks went by and suddenly I realized I hadn't gone that long without running since I was in high school. I missed my route, seeing my friend Jennifer and giving her the morning temperature as I do every day when we pass each other.

I kept busy with work, writing, making bags, dreaming about where I'm going to take Chelle Summer.

I won't deny it, it was a big challenge for me. I begged God to let me learn whatever lesson I needed so I could go forward and get back to my routine. 

It was a severe bone bruise, easily possible from the force of a strong German Shepherd on her way down the stairs. And slowly it would heal. I worried I might never run again, and when  did run I felt as if my body were all over the place. And then I rammed my knee into the metal bleachers at a soccer game, Lilly hit her head on my knee again. It felt never ending.

But two weeks ago, slowly it really began to get back. Finally I could run-walk my nearly three-mile route. 

Patience. Patience. All is well. Everything is passing.