Flail Day

July 22, 2014

I’m a fan of nominating one day of the month (hell, one day of the WEEK, why don’t we?) as Flail Day…the day when we completely neglect everything we should do, all our set plans for the day, blow it all off, don’t even shower until we have to, wear pajamas most of the day, and don’t do anything real at all. Keep saying we’re going to get up as soon as we finish this or that, then look at the clock and realize it’s after midnight.

Yes, I realize many people designate the weekend as their flail days, but I’ve never been able to do that…oh, that’s not true. In the early married days, with no kids, Sundays were often flail days. Sit around and watch home-improvement television while reading the paper, claiming we were planning a trip to Home Depot, but just having another cup of tea instead until it was dinner time.

Yesterday was a Flail Day. I couldn’t get my brain to wake up, let alone my body. Boychild and I managed to fill most of one bookshelf (alphabetized even!), but I then flailed all over the place about any other moving decisions. I did finally get to Costco, but only after I had spent 2 hours in the vet’s office (itchy dog), which seems to have cured Flail Day tendencies. I think it’s because I read 300 blogposts about other people who were doing so much MORE than me. Or something. Maybe it just wore off. I really got mostly nothing done yesterday…and today I feel guilty about that. Lame? Yup.

Except I know when I do that it’s because there’s a reason. A need. There’s some reason I need to keep the brain distracted and doing totally lame stuff. There’s stuff in there that wants to come out and it’s just gonna hurt. Or make things worse. I’ve had a few people say to me something recently about “going backwards”. I guess there is no clear forward movement to recovering from depression. It’s a wandering trail, up and down, mostly down, until at some point you realize that might have been an up.

My up yesterday? Leaving Costco with the girlchild, I decided to RIDE the cart…like a scooter. I got that behemoth moving through the parking lot and almost hit a Jeep. (whoops). Looked back and girlchild has her hand in front of her face and is trying to both keep from laughing out loud and totally dissociate herself from her mom. So I kept going…because it was fun. And it didn’t tip over, more importantly. That shit? That’s almost the old Kathy.

I did manage to quilt the last of the ten birds last night…

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The next step is to trim and bind the fuckers. Tells you kinda how I feel about them at the moment. It’s OK…it’s how I feel about most of my quilts at this stage.

So I started trimming and cutting out bindings and sleeve fabrics…I wasn’t very creative with the first one, because I thought anything else would detract from the bird…

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I was a bit more out there with this one…

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although that fabric is in the bird…unlike this one…

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which totally isn’t. That’s because the two darker blacks in the bird both have straight lines in the patterns, and on skinny little bindings, that’s just asking for trouble. There’s no way they’re going to line up, and that’s just going to be distracting.

The binding and sleeve were two different fabrics for this one…

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Because there wasn’t very much left of either one.

I might get around to doing the others tonight…I’m hiking tonight and taking the girlchild with me for the first time with this group. Should be interesting. It’s warm out…ugh. That’s not so interesting. In fact, I need to go chase down clothes and flashlights and crap like that. I’m planning on getting all the bindings sewn on, the machine part anyway, today and tomorrow (that might be a problem, but we’ll see) and then handsewing at Thursday and Sunday’s meetings. Meanwhile, I can start quilting the Mammogram quilt and taping and drawing the rest of the gender equality quilt. Plus I really should put everything away, but I really don’t know what to do with most of it. That’s a problem. Maybe just get it out of my bedroom and pile it up in the entryway? Sigh.

Tomorrow also includes such fun activities as getting two fillings fixed and having the plumber visit. There are probably better ways to spend my day.

Meanwhile, I’m dropping the ball on multiple things that I really should be doing. Such is my mental state. Distracted and fucked up. Flail Day.

Show Updates

July 21, 2014

As I get yet another art rejection, I have to remind myself that my work is out there (well, yes, it’s OUT THERE, but it’s also out THERE…for you to like see it and stuff).

Here’s some updated show info…

The collection of Quilt National that includes my piece Spread Out on the Pavement is going to be at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County in Moorhead, Minnesota, from August 14-September 28.

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My two pieces Fully Medicated and I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket will be at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, from August 7-10, as part of the ArtQuilt Portfolio: People and Portraits exhibit based on the book of the same name. The author, Martha Sielman, will be doing a talk about the quilts while she’s there on Friday August 8 and Saturday August 9. She has heard ME talk about them, so hopefully she was listening, because I don’t remember a word of what I said.

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Then they will also travel to the Festival Internacional de Patchwork e Arts Afins, Curitiba, Brazil, from August 27-30, 2015, thus traveling more than I have in my lifetime (OK, maybe not…it just feels that way). Really. I’m jealous. Not fair.

Celebrating Silver will open at Houston on October 30, where you can hear me try to explain my piece Awakening the Crone (ha!). The exhibit will follow the normal IQF route in Chicago and Portland, but will also be at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, in August 2016. Yikes. That thing will be gone for a good long time, I guess. I still can’t show full photos of that quilt, but it will rock your socks. Off. Or something.

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It’s one I’m really proud of. I really like it. Which means normally it wouldn’t get in to any show, but because I made it FOR this exhibit, they are stuck with its awesomeness.

So the fact that nothing I’ve made SINCE then has made it into a show is irrelevant. It is really. I know that. It’s just frustrating in the moment. Especially when you’re updating your resume and realizing that you haven’t gotten into a show for like 6 months. Fuck. Oh well. Moving on. Go make more art. It can’t get in if you never finish it because you are having one of those days. Seriously. Get off the computer. Pick up the fabric. Ignore the wailing cat.

Kicking Gratitude’s Ass…

July 21, 2014

I’m trying to tie my brain down to writing at the moment. It’s like a balloon floating around the room. Grab it and pull it down.

At counseling, we talked about trying to shut the part of my brain up that wants to be sad, or more like can’t get out of being sad. I’d hate to think I actually want that, but I do seem to have a hard time shaking it. There are about a million gratitude rituals online. It’s kind of annoying when you’re depressed to see all of them and realize, yes, you should be grateful that you have food and a house and the internet and enough fabric to make your crazy art quilts. Yeah. I know. I get that. But we decided I might be able to shut that brain part up by throwing those gratitude things at it…like, hey! You have nice new carpet and a freshly painted living area (see, that part of my brain starts freaking out about putting everything away, and I don’t blame it, because that’s a pretty overwhelming THING looming over me. So I do a little every day, and boychild follows me down the hall and just picks stuff up and helps me, not a word.). Walk in the house and tell yourself how grateful you are…narrow vision, so you don’t see any of the piles or mess. Because that just fucks up the gratitude right there. (Are people who are doing these gratitude things just like total Pollyannas? I don’t get it.)

So yesterday I managed to keep badness away (mostly) with distraction and distance. I’m never sure if those are healthy. It seems like I’m not really dealing with my feelings and issues when I just push them further away. Not dealing with YOU. Go AWAY. I distract you with a book, with words.

So today, I realized it was sinking, the mood, that is…sinking like the Titanic, with all the pretty boys slipping under the water to save the pretty girls. Yup. So I said to myself, “Self, as the bad things assault you, bring up something good.” Now this was not easy. I hate grocery shopping, and I had to really work at the positive thoughts in the grocery store. Brussels sprouts were a positive thought, but then the pork chops tried to drag me down, so I had to boost myself with a dose of cornmeal, brand-new box, no bugs. And when they didn’t have the pita bread I normally use, I psyched myself out about all the positive aspects of the NEW pita bread. Look…it’s BIGGER. For less money. But then the cost of grapes pulled me back under until she told me I had saved $16 using the online coupons. Damn. OK.

I swear. My brain can be really dumb. It’s really not. It’s sitting over there, ankles crossed, leaning up against a column in the store, arms crossed on my chest, giving me that look. “You think I don’t know what you’re doing? It’s not working.” Fuck you, brain.

You know it’s bad, though, when you start crying on the way home and you start telling yourself, “but you have a car full of groceries,” and THAT makes you cry harder? Wow. That’s evidence of depression winning out over those gratitude rituals. Again, I keep saying this…depression, she’s a bitch and she doesn’t give a shit about your internet memes. She’s gonna kick your ass. “I’m thankful for…” Oh shit. Fuck that. Just grab another book, or meditate some more, or draw, because that’s all that really works. I’m grateful for my ability to draw knives stabbing into eyeballs, because that’s how it feels every day. At least I can communicate that.

You know me, though. I’m a bitchy fighter myself. I’m in numb mode again…after crying all the way through one of the quilted birds…

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I don’t know why. I just was having moments in my brain of pure unadulterated waves of sadness. So. I guess quilting equals crying? I kept trying, “Oh look, you’re almost done with number 8! You can do bindings tomorrow and maybe be done with these things next week sometime.”

Yeah. That didn’t help. I did another quilted hill on this one…it shows up more than the other one because of the lighter fabric. I seriously don’t know how I quilted this. I couldn’t see, I was crying so hard. What the fuck? Just turn that off. You can’t tell me there’s a gratitude meme that will kick that ass.

Then I did number 9.

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Holy fuck. This one kicked my butt. I think the thread broke about 20 times. I don’t know why. I tried many things.

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Swearing did not help. I did some funky quilting on this one too. I just breathed deep, tied off where it broke, and started again. There’s really no point in getting all hung up on thread breakage. It happens. It’s not karma (don’t fucking believe in karma). It just is. It happens. Don’t stress about it. Clean stuff, replace stuff, rethread. Then move on.

Just one more bird left. Hopefully tomorrow. Then trim them all down and try to find binding fabrics. I have two meetings in the next week where I can get a lot of hand-stitching done. It would be smart to have them ready for that. The smaller ones are at about an hour and a half of work, and the larger ones have hit almost 4 1/2 hours.

I went to the book club meeting today that was voting on all the books for the rest of the year. I’m not sure why, since my vote seemed mostly useless. I really went to vote against the biographies (not a fan) and the books I’d already read. Yeah. Well, I think they’re reading three books I’ve already read (that’s what comes of being 20 years older than most of them…I’ve had more TIME to read all those books…there was actually an argument about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance…now I think I need to reread it.) and there’s at least one biography. It’s OK…this is the meeting that is hardest for me to actually attend, especially in the Fall, so I’m not that worried. I stitched through the whole thing. I started stitching because my brain was wigging out. I did about 60 french knots. Forgot to take a picture.

There was also soccer…

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(Please tell me you don’t think the other team’s uniforms are as weird-looking as I thought they were…reminded me of band uniforms).

Luckily, they didn’t get into the semifinals. Oh wait, am I supposed to say that out loud? Probably not.

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I really wasn’t in the mood for multiple games today. She did well again today. I think she’s getting her soccer legs back on the ground…

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I’m glad. Now I just wish she would do her dishes without squawking about it and get her summer homework done. And clean her room (if I’m going pie-in-the-sky, I might as well go all out).

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Yeah. I know. Whatever. This picture? We nicknamed this tournament the “sluts and skanky hoes tournament.” There was a lot of swearing, pushing, pulling, grabbing, and generally bitchy behavior…amusing because it’s not like this is the World Cup, ladies. Get over yourselves. Why get injured before the real season? So the girlchild is in fact whacking that girl in this photo because of whatever shit she was pulling beforehand. She’s a bit vindictive.

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There was definitely some physicality in this tournament.

She has college prep camp all week, with college coaches coming to watch them practice and play. But she doesn’t care about any of the schools, even the one I suggested as a backup school…so whatever. We have next weekend off, then we have another tournament. Hate the summer because of all the tournaments. Luckily the next one is not a traveling one…that’s the one AFTER that. Hate sitting in hotel rooms and having to go to dinner with all the parents. There is this one mom who has known me for ages and constantly calls me Kathryn, which I associate with being in trouble with my mom. I’ve tried to tell her to call me Kathy, and she just hasn’t processed that request. It’s like she goes out of her way. OK, I know she’s not doing it on purpose. I keep meaning to say, “Hey, just call me Kathy,” but I think I HAVE already done that. Sigh. It’s just how I feel about the whole traveling-with-the-team experience. Between spending time with the girlchild when she’s tired and cranky without any buffers (her dad will be at another tournament with HIS team) and spending time with parents who can only talk about their girls’ prospects in college soccer, it just makes me want to scream and rip my hair out.

So yeah. Fun stuff. I think I need an outlet for all my emotional crap. Oh wait. That’s my art. Or writing. Or the blog.

I should be drawing tomorrow night…hopefully. Finishing that gender equality piece. Finishing the birds and putting bindings on them. Then starting the quilting on the other two. Seriously, just get it done. There’s where the brain needs to focus. Cry while you’re doing it, if you have to…but just do it. Gratitude? I’m thankful for my over-functioning tear ducts. They keep everything hydrated.

How to Spend a Weekend

July 20, 2014

This is not recommended: it’s a soccer tournament weekend, so there’s lots of driving back and forth and sitting on fields and a lack of mental space. Tournaments put me in a weird frame of mind. It’s like a stasis. Can’t get anything done.

Girlchild is doing OK, playing full time now. She’s still trying to get back into shape, and her back gets sore.

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I wrote most of yesterday’s blogpost while waiting for this game to start.

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Then we came home, and I decided to pinbaste the Menopause quilt, because I had a chunk of time. Plus I wasn’t sure I had enough batting, so I thought I might need to go shopping. I knew I could piece a backing if I needed it. Luckily I seemed to have tons of batting (when was I efficient enough to do that?). My entryway is still a disaster, but I just shoved all the paint and carpet out of the way, and laid the backing and batting out on floor…

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Then I laid the top out for pinbasting…

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I know some people don’t pinbaste, but I can’t spray in the house…don’t really have anywhere else to lay it out flat. It works for me at the moment. Here’s the pinbasted face…

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So now it’s ready for quilting as well. I used one of my handdyed fabrics for the backing. It wasn’t very nice anyway, and I’m using up fabric. That’s not a bad thing.

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Then I got Bird number 7 quilted; I actually put a hill in there in the quilting, although you can’t really see it.

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I started number 8, but didn’t finish. Then we went back to soccer…

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This is a college showcase tournament, so all the college coaches are showing up to watch the games, but girlchild’s not interested in the schools that are showing up, so we really don’t care.

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I stitch birds while I’m there…the other birds…

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It’s interesting how the games don’t matter much any more. We just want her to enjoy the game..

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Then I spent 3.5 hours at a writing workshop. Boba tea is too sweet. I need to write more. I don’t know when (or if) I’ll be ready to have other people read what I write. I’m so inured to reactions to the quilt art. It’s such a core part of me, but if you don’t like it, I really don’t care. I have to make it. The writing is the same way as I’m doing it, but the convention seems to be to have people read chapters etc. At some point, I’ll probably get there if I keep writing.

I’m sitting on another soccer field this morning writing this, listening to the other parents chat about their kids and their summer and college plans. This is one of the places I feel most alien. Not so the writing workshop. Not sure what that means.

Girlchild and I reviewed 7 options for tonight’s dinner, and I think we’re flying to Paris this afternoon. Well, we wish we were anyway. We might have to revise our plans…

Damaged Goods

July 19, 2014

Before you get all freaked out about the title, which surely is appropriate for so many things at the moment (the exercise bike is currently duct-taped together because boychild went a little macho on moving it…and then there’s my brain, which I would use duct tape on if I thought it would help), I got invited to this last night…

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It was great. There were three writers who told their stories while 3-4 dancers interpreted…well, the boychild was disdainful of the phrase “interpretative dance,” and I wouldn’t call it that…I would call it a multimedia presentation: words, video, dance, a little music/sound. Kind of like a play, but not really. So the dancers were part of the act. It was put on by the Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater with So Say We All, which you might remember from the winter, when I went to a couple of their events where writers read their pieces on a particular theme, often with powerpoint pictures in the background, illustrating their words. This was similar, except the dancers were not illustrating…or really interpreting…but adding another facet to the literature. During the first piece on PTSD, Justin Hudnall spoke passionately about what PTSD feels like, while the dancers became the feelings, vibrating or falling, or at one point, grabbing his limbs and torso and lowering him to the floor in uncomfortable positions.

In April’s story, April Ventura tells about being diagnosed with an STD and its effects on her life, with an amusing twist, while the dancers interact with a shopvac. And in the last one, Brian Simpson tells a story of a gun and being in foster care. All three writers/speakers performed their stories well, with a touch of sarcasm and humor in all the right places, because their topics were uncomfortable, and the dancers did not shy away from enhancing that feeling. The dancers were Rachel Holdt, who also did the videography, Liv Isaacs-Nollet, Zaquia Mahler Salinas, and Trystan Loucado.

It was a good last-minute invite. I have always enjoyed dance, more the modern stuff, for the movement and ideas it puts into my brain for drawings, how limbs move and fit together. Storytelling has always been a love of mine, so this was the best of both worlds.

It did mean I didn’t get as much done yesterday as I had planned, but that’s OK. I had a good reason. I came home tired, but also to teen drama, so that didn’t help. I guess it says something that she already knew she was in trouble.

Earlier in the day, I managed some quilting, finishing Bird 5…

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And then Bird 6…

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I spent some more creative energies on quilting 6 because the quilting shows better on the lighter backgrounds. Plus it’s in the air, flying, so I wanted to emphasize the movement of the wings affecting the space around it.

At some point, the machine was doing that stupid excessive thread-breakage thing, so I fussed with it, changed a needle, used something on the thread, which is probably old. Tried to slow down. Less herky jerky.

I set up for Bird 7, but didn’t find the time or energy to get going on it. Maybe today. I’ve already been to one game in a soccer tournament, at least two to go, maybe four.

When I got back from counseling (yes, twice this week, which might give you a clue as to how things are going in my head; basically I summarized it to the counselor as alternating between raw blinding pain mixed with gut-wrenching sadness and completely numb. Neither seems right. Or healthy.), boychild had emptied like 8 boxes of books into 3 bookshelves. He’s super-efficient…

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whereas I’m sitting there with that one tiny bookshelf, trying to decide whether I need all these books, finding one acrylic painting book from my dead great-aunt where she had obviously torn out half the pages in the book (huh?) and it was mostly useless. We worship books in my family. It’s very hard to trash anything, let alone get rid of it, especially if it seems to have some historical significance. So in my section, everything is piled up on the floor as I try to decide what to do with everything.

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Piles of sketchbooks too…I’m trying to reduce the crap here. Anyway. No, I’m not done. Leave me alone. And I find if it’s not out where I can see it, I forget it exists.

When I got home from performance, I realized that waiting around all day for the plumber who never showed meant that I never copied the drawing from the night before. The copy place doesn’t close until 11 (score!), so I left teen drama central and went and did that…so I can maybe work on it tonight? I want it done!

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I’m trying to leave space at the top for the tree. But they need feet too. Or do they? Have not decided what happening at the bottom. Actually. Wait. I lie. I have decided. Just now. Huh. The brain works well sometimes, at least on things of significance, like finishing drawings. Cuz that’s gonna save my world.

And then I finished my book, another of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I’m ignoring his sexist crap for now, because I think he truly believes he’s on the side of women, although that is another topic of discussion, as I’m reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, current CEO of Facebook, formerly of Google. And doing that drawing. And wondering about how comics treat females. Or for that matter, how anything treats females. And wondering if I can drop that whole issue into my own book somehow (how many major issues can you have? Probably not a lot). I actually like the Dresden Files…I just know I’d have to knee him in the proverbial balls if I ever met him…Butcher, I mean…not Dresden. He’s fictional. He has an excuse.

So lots on the plate for today and tomorrow…forcing myself to consort with humans and return house to normal…but also pushing the art stuff in there to keep the duct tape in the right parts of the brain.


You Can’t Be Trusted with Feathers So Hollow…*

July 18, 2014

In my original plan, the whole house would have gone back to normal today. Everything would have been put back in its place, all boxes emptied, all furniture in a permanent home. I even have it on the calendar: “House back to normal.” (not really. It just says Furn Move.)

I should know better.

So it’s still chaos here. New moldings are in, but I can’t paint them until tomorrow morning. Well, I could paint them right now, but that seems a bit crazy. Then we can move some stuff back, but it seems we will be culling big pieces of furniture. I think I’m OK with that. There’s some things to solve, some issues with where to put things and whether we actually need certain things, but it will all work out, right? We also got a new screen door installation out to the deck to replace the piece-of-crap thing that’s been falling down for 10 years or more now. I remember when the kids were little that I read if there was something they were doing that was driving me nuts that I should find some way for it to go away. So when the boychild felt a need to remove all the CDs from the shelves two or three at a time while screeching, I finally put a baby gate up in front of them. He continued to screech for a while, and then gave up. Well, then he headed for the bookshelf, so everything important went up a few shelves and we bolted the damn thing to the wall so it wouldn’t fall on him. Remove the frustrating item.

Hence the screen door. Of course, if I really apply that theory to my WHOLE life, there won’t be much that survives. But I keep doing the things that help the frustrations be smaller. My credit card number was stolen earlier this month and over $1700 of charges showed up, so when I went to pay the bill today, there was a bit of a shock. I don’t know whether to blame meditation or depression or both, but I just dealt with it (again…this is not the first time) and made a list of the companies where I would have to change the autopay card number when I get the new card.Reported it. Fixed it. Moving on. No panic. No anxiety. Deep breath. Move on. Who the fuck cares. It’s just one more thing to manage. So I managed it.

I guess I have the mental distance to do that now. It’s interesting, because the sadness is right there, about to spill over at a moment’s notice, but the stress…I’m about 10 steps away from it. It’s over THERE. I can watch it, but I don’t have to BE it. I guess that’s good. It would be good if I could do the same with the sad, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards at the moment.

I finished stitching down the Menopause quilt today.

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It’s really long. It took almost 8 hours to stitch it down. I was comparing it to the Celebrating Silver quilt, which is about the same size, but I did some research on that. First of all, it only took 5 hours to stitch Silver down. Plus it only had about 1237 pieces and this one has more like 1764 pieces. So it took 14 hours to quilt Silver…I’m thinking it will be more like 20 hours to quilt this one. So that’s gonna take a while. I’m hoping to sandwich and pinbaste it tomorrow, assuming I have a big enough piece of batting. I can piece a backing easily enough. I’ve gotta kind of work around a plumber visit. Apparently he is a born-again Christian. Possibly this quilt taped to the entryway floor might perturb him. Hell, it might perturb me. I’m going to quilt the Mammogram one first anyway. It will take less time.

I quilted 4 birds today…about 45 minutes per bird…

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These are the smaller ones…

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They don’t take long.

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This one…I wanted it to look like the bird was diving through the air, so I tried to quilt it so it would look like that.

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Maybe he’s just falling.

Six more to go. I thought I would work on them this evening, but after the gym and dinner, I was in a sad mood again…plus I know I need to finish this drawing for gender equality…or maybe I should use the word ‘equity’, because I’m not sure equality is the right word. No wait. Equality is right. Equity is nice, but Equality is right.

So drawing seems to help when I am depressed. Quilting and stitching down are problematic because they don’t engage enough of my brain to shut up the whiner, depressoid part. Tracing Wonder Under does. Ironing fabrics does. Cutting stuff out does. Maybe that’s why I need to get this drawing done…so I can balance the quilting with the tracing Wonder Under…have days with both tasks, and when my brain starts to wig out, to fall into the depression hole, I can do something else to bring it back out, or at least hold it on the edge…keep it out of the soul-sucking mud at the bottom.

Sigh. Big Fucking Sigh.

So here’s the drawing…

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I need to go copy it and draw the rest of it to size. It’s actually smaller than the one I’m working on now. I guess that’s a good thing. If I can get it to the ironing stage by the time school starts, I think I’ll be OK. And by next Thursday’s meeting, I want to have all the birds quilted, trimmed, with binding on and ready for hand-sewing. Remember what I said about setting crazy-ass goals? Yeah, well, I can get close to that, despite this weekend’s soccer tournament and all the furniture that is still inhabiting my hallway. The office could use a serious clean-out too, but that just sounds crazy when I have all this quilting to do. I still have one, maybe two major projects to get done before the end of August. And the teachers I was hanging out with today reminded me of an online thing I need to do soon as well. School. Damn. I’m not supposed to think about it for another two weeks. Fuck.

Midnight’s not thinking about it.

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Funny how the carpet changes colors during the day. It’s gray, it’s blue. Here it’s brown. And it’s really not.

Blog title from Rufus Wainwright’s Go and Go Ahead

Rufus and I also have a troubled existence. I love him, but he reminds me of many things that just cause me pain. I wish I had gone to see him in December, despite all the shit that act would have dealt me. He is an awesome performer. Concerts. One more thing I can’t afford to go to…movies too.

Speaking of things I CAN afford to do…I’m still writing this crazy book. Over 14,000 words done. Meeting with a group about audience on Saturday. Not sure whether meeting with people really helps me write, but maybe. I don’t know what helps. Telling myself to write. A little every week. At this rate, I will have a finished book (within the acceptable range of words) by the end of the year. Maybe sooner. Probably I should figure out how it ends by then. I know what I want the notional ending to be…but the real-live ending? That’s something different. A story within a story. What I care about versus what readers will care about? No, that’s not it. It’s like the art. People are so, like, “Oh, you’re an ARTIST, that’s so cool, you make ART, and that’s COOL.” Yeah. I make art because I have to. Because if I don’t, I get sick. I make art because there’s some weird chemistry in my brain…actually, I think of it more as a steampunk/techno device that forces the issue: YOU WILL DRAW…OR YOU WILL DIE. You think it’s cool because it’s not like that for you. It doesn’t solve world hunger. It doesn’t fill an empty heart. It doesn’t cure depression. It doesn’t make an empty house feel better. It doesn’t stop you from hurting or crying. It’s just art.

Yup. So there we are. Hollow bones. Hollow life. Really the key is “you can’t be trusted.”

Brain Wanders Off…News at 11…

July 17, 2014

Interesting day. Bad anniversary. The word anniversary seems like it’s supposed to be good. There should be a different word for bad anniversaries…like anniversaries of someone’s death or planes crashing into buildings or bombs going off. We shouldn’t use the same word that we apply to getting married or hired or being born. It should be like a maliversary or a downerversary or a shitversary. Better, huh?

Yeah, whatever. It’s all about distraction for me at the moment. The whole summer, a distraction attempt. I fail.

I stitched a lot of things down today while listening to Pandora. Pandora and I have a troubled relationship. Sometimes she rocks my world and I get up and dance around my office, out into the hallway, where if my kids look up from computers or phones, they see mama gyrating, pumping fists, in the hallway, yelling out (scary huh?) But so often, she’s lost in this young girl YOLO mentality or romantic shit that I don’t believe in anymore. Maybe I never did. Pandora, when you get like that, I don’t want to hang out with you any more.

That’s wrong. I did. I’m not sure I will again.

So I stitched for almost 4 hours today…and I almost finished.

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I probably have an hour left, maybe two at the most.

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View of sewing machine and yard while filling yet another bobbin…

It was hard to force myself to keep going. It’s really hard to do this part. But then it got late and I just wanted to finish, but I have to be up early again tomorrow, so I stopped.

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Seriously, though. I could just stay up all night. Why not? I have no life. I can just stitch for 24 hours straight and then go to bed. Whatever.

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Who’s gonna care?

I got on a roll at some point. But then I had to stop and deal with girlchild’s wisdom teeth. Apparently she is too wise and they have to come out…

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There they are. What sucks is that we can’t get her in for the surgery until the week I start school. And boychild leaves (aargh). I am not going to be a good or happy person that week. I am going to be a mess. Naw. My counselor says not to assume anything. I am actually really good at that now. I just don’t think I will be or do anything. I just show up and go from there. I go with the flow and if I don’t like it, I step right out of the flow and watch everyone continuing on. And I crawl back into my hole and hang out there for a while. Hermit is the antiflow.

Yeah. I didn’t say it was the healthiest thing in the world to do. It just is what I do at the moment. I set a goal every day and I try to reach it. Most days I don’t, but that’s because I have high expectations for myself. I guess that means I should be regularly disappointed in myself, but I don’t think that way. I think, Oh Hey, you tried. You’ll finish up tomorrow. It’s OK. Because none of it is life or death.

So yeah. My goal to finish stitching down today didn’t happen, but I got close, so I’m OK.

The back…

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And more of the front…I just have the head and the thinking bubble with the yelling face. That’s it. Then I can sandwich and pinbaste it as well. I don’t know if I’ll get to that tomorrow, just because of what’s already on the plate for that, but definitely Friday. So that’s good. It’s progress. I won’t think about the show I didn’t get into. I really don’t care. I don’t. I will keep entering. Eventually I will get in. That’s how you know the maliversaries are going badly…because I’ve progressed past the constant crying (not that it’s stopped) into not feeling at all. I’m not sure which is worse. They both worry me.

Go read another book. Anaesthesia for my brain. Side effects? No engagement with reality. You know, you can’t see the cat in this picture…

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But you can see the yelling face. I love that face. I mean, I don’t love it because I know what it means, what it represents, but it’s so well done. The angle is perfect. The teeth. Midnight agrees. But she wishes I would stop making the desk vibrate. She doesn’t like it.

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So the carpet went in today…part of why I had so much stitching time. I was trapped in my office.

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I couldn’t distract myself by moving stuff. Until later. Padding going down…

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They were quick. They asked permission to play music (conflicted with mine, man). It was funny…they played the same stuff the girlchild listens to, except they were way older than her.

Speaking of girlchild…she experiences new carpet in a different way.

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We moved a bunch of the big stuff back in the house, but girlchild wants to try a different furniture layout, which probably means getting rid of some furniture. Might not be a bad thing. It’s just a storage issue with some of it. I have a lot of thread and other supplies in the living room that probably don’t need to live there. Or they can live there in a different way. We agreed to try her way out…

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This is not it. Grandpa has moldings to put in tomorrow, so nothing can go anywhere really at the moment. I have a couple of places to patch. We need to make some decisions about bookcases and the TV and other stuff. Honestly, I felt like I had already made more decisions this summer than I could handle, so I just gave up. Maybe I will have more of a brain tomorrow. Maybe not. It certainly seems to have wandered off. Unfortunate.

Insert Quote about Tomorrow…

July 16, 2014

Stitching down. I had to negotiate with myself to keep stitching tonight. I started late…today was exhausting and I didn’t sit down at the machine until almost 10 PM. Tomorrow will hopefully be better. I have 3 1/2 hours into the stitching-down process and I’m about a third of a way through. I could finish tomorrow. Maybe. If I’m crazy and don’t listen to my chiropractor. Place your bets now.

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I had to re-iron some stuff because it won’t stay stuck. It’s humid here; in fact it was raining yesterday afternoon and misting this morning. So the Wonder Under is releasing.

I’m still down in the water section…I think of it as the aquarium section, like she’s sitting in front of a giant aquarium, except I think she’s really IN the aquarium. There’s a lot of stitching in there…

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Those damn octopus tentacles…

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Those fucking beautiful octopus tentacles. So I made a deal with myself that I would stop when I finished the water section, except then it made more sense to finish the silly boat above the water…

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So that was the new deal with myself, except my self kept trying to say I’d stop at midnight, because I have to be up early to deal with carpet people, but mostly because this stitching-down stuff is mentally and physically difficult and I get upset and bored. Anyway. I finished the fucking boat. That boat that is the bane of my existence. All my pain rides in that boat. And it can’t even face me.

Sigh. Have I told you how much this month sucks? Please time travel me to a new place and time. I’ll even deal with Dr. Who if I have to, but only if it’s this one…


He looks like a nice guy. The others, not so much.

Hey, signs that you raised a Geek Girl (besides the fact that she’s seen every Dr. Who episode): She wanted me to sit with her on the floor this afternoon (I actually fell asleep down there with the dog curled up next to me…she was also freaked out by the lack of furniture)…and was reading me stuff from a Harry Potter Pinterest board. Yup. That’s a geek.

SIL, she says change is good. I don’t argue. It’s usually true. Except when it’s not. I know the change in my house WILL be good; right now, though, it is sorta hellish. Maybe the change is good once the changing part is done, and the process of change is just painful and torturous.

All the furniture is out except that damn light table (and the girlchild)…

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The light table would have to come apart to get out, and it’s just not worth the work. They say they can move it around as they work. It’s not that heavy. It’s lighter than the piano and we moved that.

It took us about 2 1/2 hours to get everything out…on the deck, on the driveway, and in a variety of rooms…and as soon as we did, girlchild brought in a pile of pillows and blankets and complained that we hadn’t reconnected the TV properly. There was a web of cords back there, and we untangled it, but I’m not sure we’ll ever get it back right. It may not matter. There were two cords that were attached to one thing but not another.

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Why I fell asleep on the floor with the dog? Stayed up too late last night, plus all that work. I was tired. My doctor called me her hero because of my blood tests. My A1C is normal. Let’s ignore my daily blood sugars. But we’re reducing another med. My liver says thanks. My diabetes is CURED! Not really. No one cures it. Stop telling people it’s cured.

There’s at least two places on the walls that are already damaged and there’s a molding issue and boychild’s damn dirty feet already made one wall dirty (seriously?). I think I’m going to hang a sheet where his dirty feet go. The kids want a new chandelier (and so do I, because this one is uncleanable), but that’s not on my list at the moment.


Although it’s fun to Google those…

chandelier 2

Maybe I should make my own…


Because these aren’t wild enough…


It’s a big space.

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All those white walls, all they do is make me want to go grab a bunch of spray paint cans and graffiti the shit out of them (reasons why you shouldn’t let me help you remodel), but then some sense of reality takes over and I realize I don’t ever want to do this again, so I leave it alone. White will do. I actually HANG art on my walls, unlike most people, so it will not look this blank for long…although the boychild likes this and girlchild complains about the dark furniture.

The great Rift Valley…where the carpet seam was, where the dogs nibbled and feet wore away at it. These carpets are from the early 80s.

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I did actually sit in the middle of the floor by myself for a bit to eat my dinner. I’ve been sitting at the table on the deck since we started painting, but it’s hard to get to at the moment. I was visited by two different cats, seriously confused and perturbed by the lack of furniture to (a) scratch, (b) hide behind, and/or (c) lie on.

You can see we managed to get the piano into the entryway. Boychild likes the acoustics there (less fabric, higher ceilings), but I’m not leaving it there. Maybe I should take up piano again.

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Tomorrow we get carpet. Then we move everything back. Well, I’m reconsidering some of the everything. But I’m not sure how much I can really not move back in.

I’m trying to keep control of the emotional landslide I’m currently living in, so I’m being good about food, exercise, and meditation. I suck at sleep, but there are other factors that affect that, like my thyroid meds, which I’m trying to be better about taking as well. Because that was the one number that was off…STILL. Meditation has gotten easier, in that I don’t have to focus on someone I’m not happy with any more…instead I’m taking on the whole world and taking in all their pain and suffering and “sharing my feelings of joy and happiness.” Um. Mr. Meditation, I don’t have any of those. I have feelings of relief sometimes. Some mental peace at times. Some thoughts of, Oh, Thank God, That’s Done (when the couches made it out of the house and no one died). That’s all I got. Perhaps someone else who is meditating can forward me some of their joy and happiness so I can share it out.

Things that made me cry today:

1. The season finale to Sons of Anarchy (yes, I’m behind in watching stuff). Dammit, SOA, I count on you guys for a good dose of violence and none of that pulling at the heartstrings shit. This is why I watch you and X Files. Don’t fuck with me. Oh yeah, and that fork thing? You jumped the shark. Plus I knew you were gonna kill her. It was the meanest thing.

2. Elton John (goddamned Pandora)

3. Meditation (see above)

4. Random shit at the gym, including a sweet kiss between two people I used to work with in a former life, who weren’t together then but now are. It wasn’t a bad thing that they kissed. It was sweet. So I guess that’s my issue. Sometimes things that make me cry are all about what’s missing.

Tomorrow I stitch. Tomorrow, the world rights all the wrongs in my living room. Tomorrow, I can start putting it all back and the Hoarder house will go away. I’m hoping that helps.

Lost Cause

July 15, 2014

I sat down this morning to write a blogpost and even resized the one single picture I had and then realized the mood I was in and decided, no, no, no. Do not write now. Live the day, try to change that shitty mood that dragged you up out of deep blank sleep, or at least dreams that you don’t remember, change it and then write.

So I set out to change it. (BTW, WordPress, WTF? Way to completely change everything. I am weirded out. Totally new interface. Radically different.)

I can’t say that I was entirely successful, but since my counselor saw me today (to make up for missing last week) and told me multiple times that I was feeling all the normal feels and nothing was crazy talk, except the part where I call myself a loser, but that’s crazy talk from a year ago that I can’t seem to shake, and we talked about the two parts of my brain and how sometimes one part wins over the other, but the other, more practical and mature part of my brain is still there, talking away, shaking its head at the stupid drama, saying “I’m not crazy. I’m just tormented at the moment.” Odds are I’ll get over it. Someday. That’s the shitty part. The Someday Part.

There are other shitty parts, but believe it or not, I don’t write everything I’m feeling on here. Some of it just gets cried out in the car on the drive between here and there. The worst of it, you never see it. Think about that. I really wanted to be in a different place by now, but you can want things all you like, and you can even be one of those perky people who think that if you just WANT it HARD enough and SMILE a LOT, then it will be YOURS. (Fuck You, by the way)

Those people have not lived my existence. They are not negotiating golf clubs with a teenager at 11:30 PM. They are not determining if an axle boot needs fixing. They are not trying to decide how much weight the deck can hold. And they are certainly not trying to decide whether it’s possible to just stay asleep, deeply asleep, blindly and blankly not dreaming, for at least another year or two, until it doesn’t hurt to wake up. Because it still does. And I can’t even describe to you how much that sucks. How much I want it to stop. And there’s no magic that makes it stop. Just like there’s no magic to stop the tears that are falling down your cheeks as you drive up to your destination. 

Thanks, by the way, to my chiropractor for the second emergency appointment in two months. Am I stressed? I guess. I don’t know. Was I crying in your parking lot? Damn straight I was.

I often wonder if people know I’ve been crying. Yet again. Because that hasn’t stopped. That’s the new me. Crying Kathy. Woo!

Anyway. So I set out to make the day at least…well…um…insert adjective here. Not unhappy. Not depressing (impossible at the moment).

I finished stitching down the Mammogram quilt…
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And then I sandwiched it and pinbasted it.

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Which meant I had to clean a floor first, and that floor promptly became dirty again, but that’s OK. It’s gonna be worse tomorrow. It was a temporary clean. I wanted that done before the carpet guys came, in case I finished stitching the Menopause quilt down before Wednesday, because I’m expecting to get a lot of stitching done on Wednesday, since I’ll be trapped in my office pretty much. I’m OK with that. I need more of that…because then I can’t see the chaos in the rest of the house.

I can’t tell you how much I need that chaos gone. It’s transmuted into my head. I think it’s making everything worse.

Once that was done, I started in on the ten bird quilts…pinbasting all of them. 

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They didn’t take long…

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Five minutes for the smaller ones…

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They all have the same backing fabric, an old cotton from before I was really sewing quilts, but when I made fabric frames. I wasn’t sure if it was cotton or poly cotton, so I burned it in the sink.

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It was really old cotton. I really don’t need to be buying more fabric right now…

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Although I’m a bit concerned about bindings. The dark quilts are easy, if I have enough of the dark fabric left. Although that one could do a green or orange binding and be OK.

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And this one could do black…maybe.

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But I need to quilt them all first. 

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That could take a while.

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But they’re all ready now.

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The longest it took to pinbaste one quilt was 12 minutes.

The day was still shitty after all that. I’m in the middle of writing a post about art and why I do it and how it doesn’t do magical things like solve all my problems and make me leap out of bed in the morning and sing joyous songs during the day. So art helps, but it doesn’t really make everything OK. It’s there. It saves me in many ways, but it doesn’t make everything pretty and nice-smelling. I think people who are not artists and really want to be think it’s so cool that it must solve everything and make everything fucking awesome and they really wish they could be an artist like me, but they don’t realize that it’s not something you choose to do…it chooses you. And it doesn’t make it good. It just makes it. And. I don’t know. It’s not magic. I keep saying that. I want there to be magic. I really do. I’m Scully though, not Mulder. I wish I were Mulder.

Girlchild has been fussy lately and keeps wanting me to sit with her while she watches television, like while dinner was in the oven tonight (she did cook)…so I can’t quilt during that time and today was so bad I had thought of drawing about 17 times, so I grabbed this drawing and finished it up…

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This is good. It needs to be a quilt. Not anytime soon of course. Really I should have been drawing the other one, but apparently I can only work on that one while sitting in a wine bar waiting for teenagers to get out of concerts. Or something. I wasn’t going to draw a penis while sitting next to my daughter on the couch. I knew what kind of commentary that would produce.

After dinner, I started stitching the Menopause quilt down…that’s not its real name, just its inspiration.

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Cracked skull and all…I’m about halfway up into the water…this is gonna take a while.

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Which is probably OK. I sorta persuaded Pandora that it should be playing young angry-man rock instead of that mopey shit that makes me cry. Of course, when X-Files makes you cry, you know you’re a mess. So there’s been a lot of Linkin Park and Nirvana. So that might tell you a bit about where my head is at the moment. 

And this song…was the last mopey song Pandora played before I fucked with it and explained my current mood…

Beck’s Lost Cause…”There’s a place where you are going…” Hopefully that place is into a deep sleep with an easy wakeup call.

Never Feel Bad Anymore*

July 13, 2014

So Friday night, I was going to iron more birds, but I like to watch things while ironing (it keeps the bad/sad parts of my brain occupied so they don’t make me cry) and the kids were hogging Netflix. So I decided to stitch stuff down instead, because I’ve got plenty of that to do, and I listen to music while I’m doing that, but it doesn’t do a very good job of occupying the bad/sad brain. In fact, I think it brings it out more, which is not necessarily a good thing. That said, this part of the quilting needs to get done and I’m just going to need to suck it up and stitch…and let’s be honest here, I cry while stitching. I try not to. I try to distract myself with stuff in my head, I try to pseudo-write the story I’m working on, I try a lot of fucking things that don’t fucking work at all, so maybe I should just accept that this is the crying stage. And just make sure I am well-hydrated.

I started with the mammogram quilt because it’s got fewer pieces and will take less time, and my plan was to get it done and sandwiched before the carpet guys come Wednesday, so I could quilt Wednesday if I wanted to. Not that I’ll be done with everything else, probably, but it’s good to have plans…

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I got about halfway done before I got tired. It was late at night, almost midnight when I quit.

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I fold it up on the machine, because otherwise I will find a cat laying upon it at the first opportune moment, and then I will have to remove all that cat hair. It will take about another hour to finish this, so hopefully I will get to that today. I’m sitting here, only sort of awake (sleep is a real bitch at the moment…can’t fall asleep, then nightmares wake me up, then can’t fall asleep again until early morning. HATE IT), trying to persuade myself to go to the gym, and the quilt brain is like, “Don’t go to the gym. Stay here. Sew. You know you want to.”

It’s true. I want to finish that one and then do all 10 birds. But I need to go to the gym as well. Grr.

So yeah, I finished ironing birds yesterday…Number 6 was a strange one…

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but its shape appealed to me…

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In the actual drawing, there’s a face next to it. That drawing does not exist as a quilt. Then I did number 7, which is actually on the Mammogram quilt that I’m stitching down at the moment…

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I think this one has the fewest pieces…

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Number 8 has the most pieces, with 61, and is also kind of the weirdest one…

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I liked the feathers though. Making these little quilts is really about my messing around with pieces of my work, which I don’t usually do, but someone liked a bird and thought they might like a small bird quilt. So I figured it was worth a try.

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I don’t really know whether I like this process or not…it’s quick, but it’s like Quilting Lite to me. No depth to it. I’ve always had that problem with smaller quilts.

I think that’s why I don’t make very many of them.

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They’re too easy and I don’t engage in the process.

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That might be why I made 10 of them…it makes it a large enough project for me to have to pay some level of attention. And I think it’s funny that one of the most complicated birds is the one that’s getting the most attention…

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First owl I’ve ever done was this one on the Celebrating Silver quilt. I looked at a bunch of owl pictures to draw this…and decided there’s definitely a Harry Potter feel to it as well…

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Anyway, the next step is to stitch them down, hopefully today. These will all be for sale, and some people are already in line for choosing one, but I’m not allowing any of that until they’re finished and priced, because I know that might be an issue. I do value my time and although these are small, so far the smallest ones have taken almost an hour to do (not bad, but only about halfway through, if that) and the largest ones have taken almost three hours to do. So I’m trying to be fair to myself and keep track of the time so I don’t rip myself off.

Anyway, more of that today.

On Friday, we also did a lot of moving stuff out of the living room area, prepping for the last bad day before the carpet guys come. We needed the entryway clear (which is why it would be a good time to get that quilt done and sandwiched, because that’s where I do that), so we moved all the boxes and books out of there into my bedroom mostly. Then we moved anything smallish or that would fit in my bedroom or the hallway, plus the piles of stuff we had stored in the little living room as we cleared out the dining area for painting. I am glad to announce that I could in fact have a full Hoarders house, complete with really skinny hallways full of crap.

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Seriously, I get totally claustrophobic walking through this…

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I could not be a serious hoarder. I would go crazy. My bedroom at the moment is like some sort of junk cave…

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The cat is freaked out by it and so am I. That’s the view back down the hallway toward the more open part of the house. I will be so glad when all this is done and I can move everything back and put it away. It will be a pain in the butt, I’m sure, but I am going nuts living like this. No earthquakes please.

I hiked last night, which was nice (will post it later)…still no knee pain, so that’s good. But I didn’t get home until after 10, and then I showered and meditated (trying to be better about that), and then I had no energy for anything after that really, so I came in here and stared at the computer, and the story in my head knocked at the door. So I started to write. And I kept trying to stop, because I was tired, my neck hurt, my fingers were still going, but I mentally was done, but apparently I wasn’t, because I wrote almost 4000 words before I could stop. I seriously tried stopping in 5 different places, and my fingers would keep going. I guess that’s a good thing. I’m hoping to do some more tomorrow, because I wasn’t really trying to tell my brain how to write this thing and it went off on a tangent, which is good, because I didn’t really know where the story was going next, and now I do. Well, sort of. I have a vague idea of what’s next, but it’s turning into something scarier than I started out with. I’m at 12,000 words. Not great, but not bad. A good solid start.

Then I went to bed and read for a while with the heating pad under my tweaked neck…same place as before, dammit. Might have to call the chiropractor again for another emergency appointment. I had to read because my brain wouldn’t shut down.

For the post title, I was looking for a song I knew I had heard lately about “can’t control my brain” and this one popped up. And the video is sweet, all puppies and kittens and wild animal babies, and it’s a nice sentiment. To never feel bad anymore. Weezer: Islands in the Sun

I think I was originally thinking of a different song, though…not the Ramones, I Wanna Be Sedated (although there is that sentiment), but there’s another one…tickling around in my brain somewhere, but these two are crowding it out. That’s probably a good thing…


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