Reworking the Past…

September 2, 2014

So, I’m starting this post Monday night, already knowing I won’t finish it until the morning, but I’m not mentally ready for bed, so there we are. I started my blog in Spring 2005 and although the pictures are all gone, the blog still exists in words here…I didn’t write much the first year. The second year, I calendared it and started writing every third day or so (it was Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, I think, in the beginning). A little over a year ago, I started writing essentially every night to try to keep the bad nasty away. Writing became therapy. Words out. Good.

So I went back to the installation today, now totaling 7 hours on this installation, and that doesn’t count the probably 6 hours I already have in the floating house and the almost 3 hours on each of the two birds (19 hours, bitches), and I brought this quilt I started a million years ago and never finished, because it had houses in it and we had this wall with nothing on it, and I decided that I wasn’t going to try to finish the quilt last night…I was gonna wait until the group OK’d it before I spent the time, because years ago, fucking YEARS ago, I had given up on this thing. In fact, I think I have a painted version of it after I took a Hollis Chatelain class here in San Diego, so you’d think I could track the years on that, but it was before I started blogging in 2005 and before I started my electronic journal in 2003. I started using Wonder Under in 2001 (documented here)…

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Well…in the top right corner…

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when I was trying to do a different block every week (I didn’t make it for very long).

But here’s what came of it…

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And I suspect this is after the Laura Wasilowski class, but I’m not positive, because it took me a while to finish the quilt from that class, so the date’s not really indicative of when I did it. This was supposed to be an experiment, not a serious quilt.

Anyway, I don’t think this quilt I found has a lot of WU in it.

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The big pieces feel loose. The drawing is probably down in the garage somewhere, but I don’t have time to search it out (and it might not even have a date on it anyway…I wasn’t so good at documenting back then). So I’m thinking this quilt is probably predating my divorce. My guess is late 90s, early 2000s. Seriously. And I know why I stopped…the hand-embroidery. I got it almost all quilted, except for the two houses, which I could quilt now in about 30 minutes flat. And I had crazy-quilt-pieced the background onto muslin…when did I start crazy quilting? I took my first quilt class in 1990. At the age of 23. I think I picked up crazy quilting soon after…so this thing was crazy pieced, and the bigger pieces, like the hills and the house and the hands, were put on top and stitched down without WU, like after I took the Joan Colvin class, so whenever I did this quilt, A Study in Flesh

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which is circa 1999. No WU at all in this one. In 2001, I was using WU, but sporadically, and my drawings were usually to size. And some of the background fabric in this quilt was used as the background in Let There Be Light, November 2001, so that implies after that.

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No matter what data I have, and it’s limited from this era, I’m thinking it was started in late 2001. So before I was divorced. Holy god. A whole different existence.

And that means it’s over 10 years old, and I never finished it. I folded it up and left it in a pile. Until last night, when I pulled it out and decided to bring it today. And tonight, I put a binding on it.

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And tomorrow, I’m probably going to finish quilting the houses. And maybe do some hand embroidery on the other side, the light side. I’m curious why I used that fabric for the backing…

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I love that fabric. I must have gotten it on sale. I don’t usually use the good stuff on the back.

It’s interesting that I’m showing a good house and a bad house well before the divorce. There were certainly issues before, starting about 2 years earlier. It was not a good time for me. Not easy. Not fun. My freelance job was disappearing and so was my husband. It was a bad time.

And here I am now, in a bad time again. This quilt…it’s so different from what I do now, it’s almost comical to finish it…let’s assume it’s 13 years later. Anyway.

I also cut out the bindings and sleeves for the last two birds. I’m trying to finish this one by Thursday…

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This one has another couple weeks before it has to be done…

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So a little bit more pressure than I was hoping for this week. I really thought I could survive the weekend and it would all be better. Cue maniacal laughter here. Explains why my stomach muscles are sore…I’m finding myself clenching them sporadically, trying not to freak out. I meditated last night. Will be doing that all week. Must keep everything calm(ish). Must stay focused. I can do this.


Not in My Nature…

September 1, 2014

Oh Holey Batpuddle. OK, so the plus is that I have had a breakthrough on the painful drawing of death (it’s not really a drawing of death. It’s a drawing that was trying to kill me. It failed. Fuck you, drawing. I will prevail. I am way more stubborn than you are…Yes, I am arguing with a drawing that is coming out of my head and is composed of paper and pen). I got it to the right size (even this was an issue on Friday and Saturday nights) and then penciled in the legs…

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I wanted to make sure the proportions were right. I already have issues with the length of the arms, but have decided I don’t fucking care. Once I had them in pencil, which yes, required some erasing and redrawing (apparently I think people have HUGE feet), I inked in most of the bottom.

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I kept thinking I should add more stuff on the bottom bits, but I do need this to actually GET MADE. It’s not anywhere near done, of course…the tibias and fibulas are missing. Extra credit points if you know what those are. Of course, then crazy brain popped in and suggested drawing phalanges and the other foot bones, so I slapped myself around a bit and moved on. I’ll work on it again tonight, although I’ve been exhausted all weekend, despite TRYING to get more sleep, so I don’t know how well that will go. Yes, I wanted to be done with the drawing by tonight. No, I won’t be. Oh well. Moving on.

I also worked on one binding last night…

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I have two more to put on, one ideally by Thursday night, but it’s the smaller one. I think I have another week or so for the larger one.

In the morning, I had an idea for adding something to my floating house…

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Last-minute decisions. A human figure that hangs down on the inside.

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I will never be able to sell this for the time and materials I put into it, which is kinda sad.

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Oh well. The cats will be quite happy when I bring it home and hang it so they can reach it.

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I spent most of the day dealing with stage 1 of the Art Produce install…

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Which was supposed to be hanging all the houses. We spent the first hour locked out (ah, the wonders of miscommunication) and tying fishing wire to the houses for hanging.

We had a wide variety of types of houses. Most people did more than one…

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I decided to do one big one…

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Linda Litteral’s houses are beautiful…

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Hand-drawn on tracing paper glued to wooden bases.

We got the fence parts in place…

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Installed some hanging apparati above…

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And I spent about 2 hours going up and down a 10-foot ladder, tying fishing wire to the supports above. I was a little tired afterwards.

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One of the other artists was going back today to install a bunch more, and we’ll all be there this afternoon to install birds.

Here they are attaching the fence to the wall…

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Art Produce is a gallery in North Park (San Diego) that has applied for nonprofit status. The exhibit we’re installing is called Fence/Barda, and is in coalition with a group of Mexican women artists who we have barely met. There is an American side of the gallery and a Mexican side.

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But mostly the houses went in today…the inside of mine from below.

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I was down there for 3 hours yesterday and it will be another 4 today. We got the fence location put in place and then moved it out of the way so we could start hanging houses. Then put it back with a ladder on each side for installation purposes.

I finished the two birds for this exhibit. If you come to the show (the opening is 6-9 on Saturday, September 13), the birds are all selling for $100. This meant I had to spend less time on mine than I had with the original versions. First of all, the birds are all 8×10″, so that was smaller than my originals. Then I didn’t bind them…I just satin-stitched the edges. I also didn’t put a sleeve or a label on them…I just wrote the info on the back of the quilt and sewed on two little rings that can hang on nails.

This is Bird 11, Dove 2:

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And this is Bird 13, Diving Bird 2 (although this one is less divey than the original):

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They will be in the show through October; if they don’t sell there, I’ll put them up here when the show closes.

I’m also possibly hanging a quilt that I never finished from way back. I’m taking it in today and asking if they want it…it has two houses on it and it’s a significant departure from the work I do now, but we have some blank wall space on the American side and I think it might fit. I just need to put about 2-3 hours into finishing the quilting and putting a binding and sleeve on it. I was going to do that last night, but decided that I wasn’t going to put time and energy into it if they didn’t want it. So I’ll take it today and see what they say, and if they want it, I’ll finish it by next weekend, when the Mexican contingent installs…I can just go over and hang it on the wall in about 5 minutes flat.

Anyway. So I made lots of progress yesterday. I’m exhausted today and still have 12 things on the to-do list, not the least of which is getting ready for school tomorrow. Yikes! And the girlchild is in a mood (finally school stress starts to weigh on her). I miss the boychild. We had a brief text conversation yesterday about the lameness of Mexican food at Cornell (a shocker). We would FedEx him burritos, but suspect they won’t make it.

My mood’s been halfway between too busy to even notice how I feel (there are pros and cons to that) to sinking well below into the depths of yucky shit. Fun stuff. I’m hoping artistic progress will keep pulling it back out. A girl can hope. Whenever you think the depression might be gone or reduced, it comes back to remind you that no, no it’s not. HERE I AM. Whatever. Fuck you. Now I need to jump on the rest of my to-do list for the day. While many people are lazing around, planning their Labor Day barbecue, I’m trying to decide what I’m taking to an installation potluck (I’m not making anything…there’s just no way) and how to fit 10 more hours into the day. Such is my life. I keep making more work for myself. Trying to draw the lines…I won’t do this or that, I will keep a balance. Ha. It’s not in my nature.


Should.

August 31, 2014

I’m watching a tiny hummingbird (yes, tiny even for them) hovering around the tree outside my window, landing every few moments, but not able to stay still. It peers around, flies off a little further, and then comes back and settles, resting briefly. There’s no flowers out there, nowhere for it to find food (go to the other side of the house!), and I don’t know why it can’t just SIT there for a moment.

Huh. I’m a tiny little hummingbird.

I wrote yesterday’s post while sitting in my car, waiting for the other hikers to show up. I’ll post the hike later…it was OK. Not too strenuous, although I was tired from sitting too much in the middle (it takes too long to feed that many people). And I was home early enough to deal with the cable guy (apparently the positioning of the planets is causing my cable/internet issues), grocery shopping (hate the store always, but especially on Saturday nights), 14 errands (not all successful, unfortunately), trimming (not done…couldn’t reach the worst of it, but rescued two birds nests), packing up shit for the boychild (by myself), and finally eating out, because I wanted this one thing to eat that I didn’t feel like cooking myself.

Here’s the thing about me and cooking. I don’t like prepackaged food. It tastes funny. I cook mostly from scratch. It’s healthier too. I do that most nights, with help from the girlchild sometimes. I don’t really LIKE cooking. This was an issue in both relationships, that women are supposed to be those who cook, but I don’t LIKE it. It was supposed to be some proof of my feelings towards them, but really, I cook all the time. It feels like work. It IS work. Why do you want me to show my love for you with WORK? With something that makes me feel BAD, IRRITATED, ANGRY? I could lesson plan for you too. It would still be WORK. Girlchild? She loves cooking. She gets in the kitchen and she’s the happiest little bunny in the world. Me? UGH. Now I do the same with sewing, which girlchild hates. So I get it…I understand. But I get TIRED of cooking all the time. So I try to give myself one meal every two weeks or so that I don’t have to cook (and it helps if girlchild is cooking, because then I just count that one and I don’t have to try to find the money and calories to go out). When I was first divorced (a million years ago), I would occasionally go out to dinner by myself, because I didn’t have anyone else to go out to dinner with, and I would bring my sketchbook and/or a book and it would be OK…not great, just OK. The waiters are usually pretty nice to you and it’s easy to find a seat for just one person, so you don’t usually have to wait, and yes, it can be a bit depressing to eat out by yourself while everyone around you is chatting away, but hell, it would be just as depressing to be eating at home alone, AND I would have had to cook.

So after running the 17th errand last night, I walked into a restaurant, sat down in the bar, started drawing, and ordered dinner…

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And ignored all the people around me, because honestly, who the fuck cares. I just needed to be somewhere besides home. I had already fought through a ton of depressoid thoughts and crying that afternoon and I was done. The waitress was a little freaked out by the drawing, wanted to know if it was just something in my head (do you see me copying from something?), and really, it was Tanya’s fault for reminding me of the perimenopausal random hair growth, because girlchild’s stolen my tweezers again and I think those random hairs COULD IN FACT take over the world if they wanted to. And my younger readers are thinking, “But why are there snakes around her nipple?” and my perimenopausal readers ALREADY KNOW, and yes it’s annoying (it’s not really gross, although some people will say that, because we do in fact have hair all over our bodies, and our reactions to said hair are kinda lame, you know? Really? So there’s HAIR. And it’s going to hurt you how?).

And when the food arrived, I read my book while eating. I was hungry. I hadn’t eaten since the early lunch I ate on the hike. Well, snacks, but they weren’t really satisfying. It was a satisfying meal and it wasn’t cheap (sigh), but I have to be able to do that once in a while, or it really does feel like life sucks shit because I can’t go out and I have to do all the cooking (holy shit, when the girlchild goes to college…). SIGH. Fucking sigh.

When I got home, I glanced at the list I made yesterday for this weekend…

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I went old school. I had stuff on the phone, in email, on post-its, and I needed to see the WHOLE FUCKING LIST in all its torture-me glory, so there it is. On paper. In RED pen (really only because I couldn’t find a black one…not for some other reason). And I keep writing more shit on it, which is just crazy. And crossing things off is a little harder. Sigh.

And then I tried to at least set the stage for good drawing last night.

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Obviously this picture was taken this morning, not last night, but you know what? I cleared the table and carefully put everything away and found the start of the damn fucking stupidass drawing and laid it out there. And then I went and sat on the couch and read my book and realized how fucking tired I was and gave up and went to bed, where I slept fitfully all night, worried about all the shit I have to do and unhappy with the silence and the absence of people and talking and friendliness and FUCK.

Long weekends. Not my friend. It’s OK. The girlchild comes back today, so it will not be as bad, but I certainly need to find a way for it to be OK for no one to ever be around by the time girlchild leaves for school in a year, so I don’t just crawl under my light table and dessicate there. Fucking free time. Should be able to enjoy it. Should be able to look forward to having it. Should. FUCK.


You Wanna Elaborate on That?

August 29, 2014

I didn’t do well last night. I was fine as long as I was ensconsed in my book, lost in someone else’s reality. As soon as my brain was allowed its own space, it sank like a stone. It’s strange, because I’ve spent most of the week in a daze, just floating above any major issues, cushioned by school’s chaos and busyness, unable to really feel anything. Apparently a few hours at the gym and the girlchild being gone were enough to throw me off. Not a good sign.

But I’m better, I think. That word better is troubled though, because it can just mean you are not as bad as you were, or it can mean everything is all good, you are cured, healed, in remission, I don’t know. I know I’m not that, and after last night, even what little progress I occasionally feel on the Better Continuum seems kind of fake.

I’ve read 350 pages of my book in 36 hours. You can tell I’m trying to hide from something. Yeah, it’s a pretty good book, but it’s not THAT good. I just wanted to curl up on the couch though, wishing it were cold enough for a big blanket and a steaming mug of tea (OK, y’all know I was drinking the tea anyway), reading until my eyes fell sticky closed and that peaceful dreamless sleep took over.

Huh. No dreamless sleep lately either. Just tortured crap that I can’t really remember when I wake up, but feels bad and stressful and dangerous and did I mention bad?

Sigh. And then I walk through the house and think about all the things that need to get done and how I’m not getting them done and I just feel like climbing back in a hole. It’s quiet in there. I don’t care about the mess in my room in there. I don’t care about all the other crap I’m supposed to care about. Well, I care about my kids and my art, although sometimes even that is back over there and I can’t get to it.

It’s a 3-day weekend coming up. It’s full of stuff I need to do, including a major installation, but I’m hoping to find my brain some space, some time, to get closer to better. Last night felt bad and I still feel bad today. Tired is part of it and hormones probably are too (who can tell? My body does what it wants, when it wants to.), but maybe more sleep and exercise, plus some drawing will help. I’ve been really good this week about not bringing much work home (it helped to have girlchild and a teacher’s aide do a lot of the grading and organizing this week). I’ve done art every night, although sometimes very little.

Last night, I put the binding on one of the 3 remaining birds…

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It wasn’t that late, but it had been a long day with a full day of teaching, using Chromebooks (which went really well, actually), and then the gym, where I was obviously tired, and then cooking dinner. I was hoping to do all three of the bindings, but realized how tired I was with the first one and went to sleep instead. Well, I went to bed. Sleep is something else. It came eventually.

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So I will try to finish the other two tonight, or if the girlchild is needy and wants me in the living room, which she has been this week, then I will try to get that damn drawing done. My brain is really fighting that. It’s so hard to conceive of gender equality at the moment. Things you want that don’t exist? The bigger problem is that I want it to be a positive quilt, because it really is something that I would like to aim for. The entire show is about equality…imagine trying to draw something about racial or LGBT equality when you were being subjected to inequality on a regular basis. If you were in a good state of mind, a positive frame, you could imagine this and have an easy time of producing a piece that showed all your dreams of the future, of equal rights and access etc. But if you aren’t in that place, if you’re feeling dragged down by your existence, then it is that much harder to visualize a better way, a positive outcome. I know what it should be. I’m just not sure I have evidence of its existence.

It may not matter. Didn’t I say I needed to be done with the drawing by the end of the weekend? Yup.

I’m hiking this weekend. I might go to the sci-fi writers meeting, although my brain currently thinks I need the time at home. I’m finishing three bird quilts and delivering and installing two bird quilts and a floating house. I’m getting my photos from the photographer on the two most recent quilts. I will finish that damn drawing. I will pack stuff up for the boychild for shipping next week. I will read my book. I will go to the gym. Girlchild wants to walk the dog around a lake. I will write. I will draw. Notice I wrote it last. Maybe I should draw some bad nasty stuff and then try the other one.

The title is a quote from Agent Doggett on X-Files, so you have to imagine his voice, sarcasm and all. I think I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s in my brain, what’s causing it to sink like it did last night, to hide in fluff like it’s been doing all week. I’m trying to find the brain I had before, or at least pieces of it, the pieces that were happy. It’s actually impossible to get it to stop thinking…trust me, I’ve tried. I’ve yelled at it. I’ve ignored it. None of that works in the long term. I can’t box up all the stuff that hurts or that I don’t like and lock it away somewhere. It breaks out of the box, comes hunting me down, more pissed off than before. I’m really better off grappling with it whenever it shows up, relieved at least that it’s not as omnipresent as it was say a year ago. But hopeful that in another year it will be even less apparent.

With that, apparently I have to go to school. I don’t quite have the energy, but I usually find it between here and there. Sometimes.


Figuring out How to Make the Feels

August 28, 2014

It’s highly possible the girlchild and I are related. I often come home from work and my brain is fried. I have no ability to get anything done. I sit and read, whether blogs or book, and I can’t move off the couch or the chair. Inertia. I’m tired. My job can be exhausting. Tonight, I come home and read, because I have 5 books that were on library hold and all came in at the same time and will all be due in 3 weeks. I love this STRESS to get the reading done. I start with the 800-page book. It’s long. Read it first. 

When girlchild gets home, she’s upset. There’s drama, there’s sad, there’s hormones, there’s just a whole lot of stress and worry and shit. She’s worried about her future, her college choices, her soccer team, what she will wear the first day of school (in contrast, I have no idea what I’m wearing to school tomorrow). I’m working really hard at ignoring the big future things, about not worrying about her leaving, but I’m sure she knows I worry about it. That said, I want her to go. I want her to go and have a college experience without living at home, to be far away and functional all by herself. To know we love her and will jump on the first plane if necessary, but meanwhile, she needs to handle her own laundry. 

And we’re a year away from her leaving. It’s just amplified by the boychild being gone. She misses him already (it’ll be a week in about 5 hours). I do too, but not like she does. It’s different between brother and sister. I don’t remember missing my brother, but I was the one at college, and college is noisy and messy and busy and inhabits your entire brain. 

So instead of all the things I thought I would do tonight, I hung out with the girlchild. We cobbled together some lame-ass meal after seriously considering Menchies for frozen yogurt (it’s almost a healthy dinner). It wasn’t the greatest, but it was food. It reminds me that we should have better plans once her school starts, because there are some nights when neither of us want to cook. Before, the boychild’s presence would kind of force the issue, unless I was totally dead, and that was usually Friday, and then I would just order pizza. Now, with just the two of us, she’ll tell me she’s not hungry, and so I’ll just forage. I think we need to spend one Sunday a month cooking and freezing meals for those nights, or we’re going to be in serious trouble. If we’re smart, we’ll start this Sunday. I don’t know if we’re smart (I already know I’m working on an installation on Sunday).

Anyway. The plus is her moods seem less volcanic. The minus is they are swimming in salt water. Luckily, my brain is still holding me well above the water line…mostly. I can’t say I feel normal, because I feel…I don’t know how to explain it…distant. Distracted. Emotions are mostly held far away. I don’t know what that means. It just is at the moment. It just is. I honestly am not feeling most of the time, or the feels are so far away, they don’t really affect me. Strange.

I spent about 4 hours with her, talking, hanging out, reading, because she needed it…and then she went to bed and I started quilting the last bird, the second owl…

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Background and owl color. I trimmed all 3 bird quilts that will be bound…maybe tomorrow night I will get the bindings on. I also need to make some decisions about the floating house and how to hang the other two bird quilts, and then DRAW DRAW DRAW. No more fucking excuses. I really could have sat in the living room with the girlchild and comforted her as I did anyway, and I could have been drawing. Except my brain said no. I’m not sure why. There’s some mental space I need to be in, and I can’t be there at the moment. Unfortunate. I expect to be done by the end of the long weekend. I do. 

Expectations? Modify. Every day. Deep breaths. Modify again. 

Girlchild does not want to leave her pets behind when she goes to college. She was feeling mopey today and subjected Calli to full body hug…

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Calli put up with it for about 20 minutes. That’s all the doggy love she’s got, apparently. Although that’s a little closer than I get to the dog on a regular basis.

It’s a rough week. Lots of adjustments at school. Parent meetings are already starting. Trying to keep on top of things, to use my staff (girlchild and student aide) appropriately. To put art in every day. To take care of myself. To take care of my mind. To be myself. 

The path to happy? I don’t know. I follow this path and get distracted and end up on another path, one that doubles back or ends at a cliff, and I pick my way back, or I just end up bushwhacking across the hillside, stickers in my socks, scratches on my calves. I don’t really think, this one thing, it’s what will make me happy. All those things are now troubled choices. I think what made me happy before? I won’t trust it for a good long while. Thanks for that. That’s not my construct. It’s what others do…they damage the normal neural pathways and we have to route around. You think, “This SHOULD make me happy, but due to all the heinous shit I associate with it, it no longer works.” How else will we get there? Sometimes that’s the hardest part, is figuring out how to make the feels. One step. One day. One.

 


On a Tuesday Night…

August 27, 2014

In which another thousand words of a sci fi novel randomly pop out of my head into Google Docs…where they righteously belong. For no apparent reason. After hiking 6 miles. Really, I shouldn’t be capable of much after a night hike, but apparently those words needed out. I don’t actually read what I’ve written, unless I’ve forgotten something, but even then, I usually just tag it with a comment to be fixed later, because I’m over 35 pages at this point and trying to find that one paragraph where I explained whatever it is I explained (probably something to do with government takeovers) is pretty much impossible.

There is a cat ballet going on in my house at the moment, as the most likely petter of cats has left for college. Yes, boychild was home the most and would search out cats and scratch their heads and pet them and sometimes comb one or two of them. Without him here, they are constantly gathering around whatever space I inhabit and I will turn around and try to shepherd one into the space and one out (none of them like each other, some actually hate each other). Last night, while letting one out of the laundry room (home of food and litter trays), Babygirl came kamikazing out of the boychild’s room, front legs cycling like a windmill, caterwauling at Kitten like she was a foreign invader. Made me scream. Little pyscho. Aren’t you the oldest one? Kitty equivalent of 80 years old? Feisty old bitch. It’s the only excitement I get at night.

So I hiked last night after school. It was nice, but it will be my tutorial day in a few weeks, so I probably won’t be able to do it again. It was hard enough to find the energy for a Tuesday night…I suspect Thursdays will be considerably worse. When I showed up for the hike, I was told I looked like I was moving slowly (I was…it was after school…I was tired), but my body eventually figured it out and got moving. The group I hike with mostly looks normal…until cameras come out, and then the weird happens…

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See? Normal…for zombies. Well, we started out normal.

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We did Cowles Mountain to Pyles Peak from Barker Way, leaving at 6 PM and coming back in the dark.

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Yeah, it was hot yesterday, probably in the high 80s when we started, but it wasn’t too bad…do you see the little tiny thundercloud in the back of that picture?

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It got bigger.

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I kept trying to get the color that was really showing, but my camera wasn’t quite up to the task.

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The sunset reflects off the clouds to the east. This one is from the top of Pyles Peak.

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It was nice and cool by the end of the hike. And dark. Yes, dark. But in the beginning, you could see all the clouds and marine layer in the distance to the west…this is from the top of Cowles.

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This is facing north from Cowles, looking out toward Pyles Peak, which always looks a million miles away from here.

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And from Pyles, here’s Cowles Mountain. At this point, we’re halfway through and it looks like a million miles to get back. It’s not really. It’s only 1.5 miles to the peak and then another 1.5 down. At 8 PM. On a work day. Before you’ve eaten dinner. Yeah. A little crazy.

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As the sun set, we had popsicles! It felt really good to have icy sugar with the heat.

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It’s hard to capture the look of the hills. I love looking at them, but I can never get a good picture of what I love looking AT. The graying out of the different layers of hills in the distance. Totally opposite of what they taught us in painting class.

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There was wildlife. This scorpion is maybe 2-3 inches long.

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I decided this was a gopher snake because it’s skinny and has a pointy tail.

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Lovely. Spider creepout.

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When I got home, I was feeling tired (OK, physically exhausted but mentally alert), but I really want to make a point of art every night. It makes me feel better. I’m still falling into these nightly downspaces, especially on the nights when the girlchild is not here. Plus I have deadlines. I want to be making progress. I need to be able to show that something is getting done. That there’s a purpose to everything. That it’s not just Go To Work. Go Home. Watch TV. Like some people.

I had decided in order to reduce the price on the two quilts that will be in the Art Produce show, which is being installed this weekend (some pressure to get done, eh?), I wasn’t going to bind the edges. In the olden days, I used to participate in a weekly or monthly challenge (don’t actually remember) that was one word? Maybe two? And you’d make a small quilt for it. I have about 7 or 8 of them. I’ll try to find them maybe. They were fun to experiment with, but I didn’t want to spend the time binding them, so I remembered a technique that I think Ellen Anne Eddy taught us using cording to help satin stitch an edge. Now I’m sure I could do the same thing without the cording, but for some reason, the cord seemed to make it work better.

Unfortunately, I think it took 20 minutes last night to FIND the cording.

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Once I did, I finished the two edges…it was kind of amazing that I had thread to match the lighter one.

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OK, maybe not so amazing. I do have a lot of thread. Now I just have to figure out how I want to hang them. Keep it simple.

I was really tired when I finished all that, but I think it was better going to bed with something completed, something that I’d accomplished…yes, besides teaching all day and hiking 6 miles. I didn’t say any of it made any sense. I do spend a lot of hours not talking to anyone though and it wears on me. Girlchild is still coming to school each day with me, so that helps, but that ends this week. Then I go back to talking to myself. I already know how those conversations will go. Anyway. My goals for the week are to get the other three birds and the house done and get that damn drawing done. Holy moley. That needs to happen.

Apparently I will also be writing more sci fi…it’s crowding into my brain even now, waiting for the end of the day when it can all spill out. I guess that’s a good thing.


All Over My Head…

August 26, 2014

My art goals during the school year are constantly challenged by work, kids, general life stuff falling all over my head. I succumb for a while to work demands and come home and work, and then the art brain pitches a fit and lets the art take over for a while. During the first few weeks of school, general exhaustion also plays a part as the brain and body adjust to a more demanding existence. It’s usually about the time back-to-school night occurs when you realize how slammed you’ve been and you start to fight back for some modicum of balance, whatever that means. More sleep. More art.

I have so many deadlines, though, that I have the art brain front and center. So when I was finally done with errands yesterday, I realized I had two quilts going to the photographer in 24 hours that needed inking, ironing, and dehairing. So I started with the Mammogram quilt…

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A little bit of cross-hatching is a good thing. Jake was underfoot, waiting for his dad to come back (yes, the ex is back from Ithaca with a list of things the boychild wants)…

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The smaller one took about half an hour. The larger one, the one nicknamed Menopause, it took more like an hour plus…

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I took some detail shots before I took it to the photographer. I’ll have photos back on Sunday.

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There’s a bunch of detail in this quilt. It’s kind of crazy.

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I ran the total hours on both quilts…Mammogram came in at a little over 41 hours and Menopause at a whopping 144 hours. Funny, they’re not that different in size…but definitely in detail and number of pieces.

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I guess my biggest worry now is that I’ll enter it in shows and I won’t get in, like with a couple of my earlier very-complex quilts. It’s a scary thing to put so much of yourself in a piece, so much time and effort and blood, sweat, and tears, and have it be rarely seen. I joke about how I’m saving those special pieces for my retrospective, but…

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Sometimes I wonder if they are just too much for the average show I enter. So many entries this year and nothing gets accepted. It wears thin.

Then I started quilting the 14th bird, the second version of HeyBird

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It was a bitch last night and a bitch tonight. Thread breaking a million times. Frustation.

Girlchild made a million blueberry muffins last night. I wanted to take them to school, but she claimed some quality control issue…bigger than normal tunnels due to the less-acidic content of the batter (we didn’t have buttermilk, so she used half and half…yes these are fully freakin’ decadent. And tasty. You wish you lived here.). I don’t know if I believe her, but I don’t care, because I live here so I get to eat all the blueberry muffins I want (nom nom nom a la Cookie Monster).

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I finished quilting Hey tonight, although I’m exhausted again. It seems never-ending, this feeling that my eyes need to close and stay that way.

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One more bird to quilt. Then 3 bindings and 2 edges sewn.

People keep asking about my mood, if I’m OK, whether from the boychild leaving or depression in general, I’m not sure. I’m not really sure how to answer that. I seem to have shoved all emotion deep down and am just floating above on a cloud of Have-Tos and hot tea. I guess that’s good for now. I’ve had moments each day of Holy Fuck, and tears follow, usually out of control, but I seem to be holding it off for now. I don’t trust it to be permanent and I’m not even sure it’s healthy. I think it’s more of survival mode. I’m good at that survival thing. It keeps happening so I get lots of practice.

More tomorrow…although I don’t expect much happening in the way of art. There is a hike instead. That fucking balance again.


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