Preparing for Hell in a Handbasket

September 9, 2014

I’m trying to stay on schedule with the new quilt. I know for a fact that at some point, the schedule will go to hell in a handbasket. Some major thing will happen that will completely suck up all my time and I will fall behind, so the better I am NOW about trying to make up time, the better off I will be later. So I traced Wonder Under for about two hours last night while helping the girlchild fill out the Common App for college…aargh…I feel like I should be able to copy all the pertinent info over from the boychild’s app, like the exact date of my divorce. I looked it up last year, and since it’s significantly different from the separation date, which is seared in my memory, I can never remember the year. It didn’t matter by then. They asked for stuff I don’t remember having to look up last year, like the address of the school in Wales I attended for a year. So the ex was on speaker phone while watching the Chargers lose (as always), girlchild was on the computer, swearing at the app, and I was tracing Wonder Under.

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It kinda looked like this, except she was sitting over there. The light table is not a small thing. But I absolutely love it. It’s so incredibly convenient for what I do, so much easier than what I was doing before.

I got over 200 pieces done, so I’m now in the mid-300s. That’s good progress. If I can do that every night (questionable?), I’ll be done Friday night. Then cutting out the pieces? Maybe another three nights? Hard to say. I do actually have teacher duties and art events this week, so I might have to adjust.

I try to fill in as much of the space in between pieces as possible.

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The girlchild has a much different college-choosing process than her brother. I don’t actually know what his thought process was…I just know he eventually had a list. She had a list from all the mail she got, locations she wanted, a bunch of internet searches, and other random info. Then she talked to a college counselor, and got some more names (but also got kinda pissed off, because the counselor gave her a chunk of schools she really didn’t want, like religiously affiliated schools), and then last night, she finally did this…

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Yes, there are like 21 schools on those post-its, but she knows she needs to get down to about half those. Some she just needs to research a bit more, like the UC schools…I suggested she pick two, but she’s having a hard time deciding which two. She has a couple uber-reacher schools…she probably doesn’t have a chance of getting in, but she really would like to try. So we’ll see. The plus is that she’s not leaving it until the last minute, like some relative of hers who is now at college (cough cough, her brother, cough). Needless to say, the stress levels around here are somewhat charged.

To counteract those stressful thoughts, I present this…

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My GISHWHES diploma…I do love their sense of humor. If you can’t read it, “In recognition of the personal sacrifices and dedication demonstrated by shocking the world with public art, kind deeds and generally being an unapologetic weirdo.” I think that’s my life philosophy. I probably need to work a bit more on the kind deeds. I think I will print this out and hang it next to my credential at school. I did not choose to hang my credential at school. It was done for me, by the way. I get kinda tired of explaining why I teach science when I have so much painting/literature experience (and really, I was never much of a painter).

We had an incredibly long staff meeting yesterday. The new school year has brought us Monday Minimum Days, presumably for collaboration with co-workers, although that hasn’t happened yet. But once a month, instead of collaborating, we start a staff meeting at 2:45 PM, the worst possible time in the world for my brain, which turns into mush between about 2 and 5 PM, and then it potentially can go on until 4:45. Shoot me now. I know how my brain works, though, so I draw. My last principal, I avoided drawing, because if your eyes were not wide open and trained upon him, you would be chastised the next day for your lack of attention, so if you consider the eyeball-straining scene from The Clockwork Orange

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That’s kinda how it felt. Anyway, this new guy seems better…so I drew. One of my co-workers requested a cat. I glared at her. She glared back and said, “I know you know how to draw them. I’ve seen you do it.” True that. But I wasn’t in the mood for just a cat…

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Just so you know, because some people feel confused by this, drawing just occupies the part of my brain that otherwise causes trouble by falling asleep or spacing out. It actually allows me to concentrate BETTER on what you’re saying. I’ve always had a hard time convincing other people that I know how my brain works, but I do.

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It started with a hand on fire. Anyway. I may need to draw during collaboration days as well, based on what’s been happening in my department, which has two new teachers, both female, who may shake things up a bit (not a problem, personally).

Because of the heat here, when I’m working on stuff in my office or at the light table, I am followed by the living creatures who inhabit my house. They like to lie underfoot.

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This is better than where she was before, which was about where I was standing. I persuaded her to move over so I could actually use the light table.

Or under ironing boards so they can’t be moved.

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Eh. I do not rule my house. Pets do.

I’ve been under some reading stress lately too, which conflicts with my ability to get art done. Apparently every single book I had on hold at the library will be coming in within the same two-week time period, even though some have been on hold for over 6 months, as I was number 723 on a list of 5,000.

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I actually already finished two that came, one that was almost 800 pages. And I’m sending back the audio book, because I don’t concentrate well on those. I did not mean to get the audio version (whoops), so I re-requested it as a real book, with pages and all. I’m perfectly OK with waiting longer for that book at the moment, because I’m going to have a hard time getting through all these. Only two are book club books. And you can’t renew these, because 700 people after you have holds on them as well, so if I go over the due date, this explains my increasing fines with the library system. Pay for college? Pay my library fines? Hard decision to make.

Anyway, last but not least, here is a link to a blogpost I wrote for FIG, the women’s art group I’m in, about the installation at Art Produce opening this weekend: The Fence/La Barda exhibit

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And a picture of the flying junk-mail birds I helped install.

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And now I need to go to school and try to figure out a way to deal with Google docs without using Google Classroom, because they still haven’t figured out how to fix that. Sigh. Nothing is ever easy. Yes, I could have them all SHARE their files with me, but apparently Classroom has a really easy, efficient way to do that, and I’m not allowed to have easy or efficient at the moment. So I’m winging it. Ha ha. Birds. Winging it. OK. Need more caffeine.


Book Review: Traveling Left of Center

August 10, 2014

I recently read a collection of short stories by Nancy Christie titled Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories, through NetGalley.

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I enjoyed Christie’s writing style, although many of the stories found me wondering about the characters in them, as they made remarkably bad or just plain scary decisions. Christie says her characters cannot or will not get control over their own lives, and so the outcomes of their actions are often not what they expect. One story that sticks in my mind was Alice in Wonderland, about a woman who travels through books while her real life weighs her down. Watching for Billy was another story where you worried about the main character, often yelling out in your head, NO! Don’t be that nice person! Which is of course an interesting comment on society itself…we begin the story feeling sorry for Agnes and supporting her actions, all the while telling our paranoid selves that this will not turn out well. Still Life is a dream I myself have had, usually right before the alarm clock goes off.

That’s the beauty of these stories: they feed our paranoias, our fears, but also our dreams. Many of the characters resonated with me. I liked that each story was fully fleshed out, even in so few words. Often short stories leave more questions than answers and I feel unfulfilled by them, but this was not true of Christie’s stories. There was only one where I was left thinking, “Wait a minute. How does that work?” The creepy part of the mind is definitely at work here, but in a good way. I enjoyed reading these.

 

The publisher would like you to know that the book itself publishes Sept 9, but that the eBook of “Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories” is currently discounted for the prepublication price of $4.99 or less until September 9th (when it will go back up to the retail price of $5.99). If you preorder, it will be automatically delivered to your eReader on the publication date (September 9th). The prepublication discount is currently active on Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/q3vqvqr) Apple iBookstore (http://tinyurl.com/q3rjbkw), Barnes & Noble (http://tinyurl.com/moozc5y), Kobo (http://tinyurl.com/nt8vyyd) and other online bookstores.

If you enjoy short stories about people who aren’t perfect, but with a creepy tinge to them, because there is no way to read this book without getting a little creeped out, then you should enjoy this collection.


Book Review: Bloodlight

August 8, 2014

I recently read a NetGalley book for the purposes of review, Bloodlight: The Apocalypse of Robert Goldner, by Harambee K. Grey-Sun.

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I so wanted to like this book. The cover is nice. It starts out telling the story of a boy almost 17 years old who wrestles at school and is kind of a nerd and sort of has a girlfriend, but doesn’t really fit in, and then he starts having these hallucinations and seizures. At that point, the author has asked us to understand the book not as a YA novel (which is good, because it doesn’t do well as that), but as some sort of metaphysical event, which feeds into a strange ending that reads like an X-Files episode gone bad, and not bad in that everyone dies, but bad as in Jumped the Shark bad.

On the one hand, when Grey-Sun is writing descriptions of the brain phases that the main character, Robert Goldner, goes through, his descriptions are beautiful and poetic. In fact, if he just wrote an entire book describing say how an artist views the world or a long LSD trip, he might be getting somewhere, but the story itself is beyond any sort of belief, even for someone who loves sci fi and fantasy and a wide variety of pretty out-there fiction. And the dialogue is awful. It’s so stilted, it’s hard to read it without wincing.

I wavered back and forth between a 1 and a 2 on Goodreads, and stuck with the 2, just because I was really entranced by his descriptions of the epileptic attacks, or whatever they finally were. I had to work hard to make myself finish the book. I was hoping for sense, some clarity. Sigh. No such luck.


Rethinking…

August 5, 2014

Triggers: places where I have no definitive purpose. I had to limp the car in to the car guy, stopping every 3-4 blocks to get it to stop overheating, girlchild following me, turning the engine off at every signal. She had an early appointment and was tired and cranky, so she didn’t want to go back home. She needed makeup for her senior photo today, and though I had tried getting it last month when I was in a store I visit approximately once every 13.5 months, she didn’t answer the text in time, so of course it was my fault she didn’t think of it until 9 PM last night. So she argued I could drop her at her appointment, go to the mall (aaargh, shoot me now), buy it, and come back in time to pick her up.

Sigh. I hadn’t eaten. I thought I was going back home. But I pick my arguments these days, and sometimes it’s just easier to go along with her.

So to the mall I went. And realized Walmart and Target are here, so I might as well get school supplies off my list (your friendly neighborhood public school teacher just spent $150 of her own money on your kids…one woman thanked me for my service when she asked why I was buying so many folders.). Because that’s not depressing. Half the mall stores aren’t even open until 10 though, so I’m typing this on my phone in Panera (better than Cold Stone for breakfast), where Wyatt cheerily and spacily took my order (oh my lord, you dear sweet boy…who hired you?). But I still have 25 minutes until Macys fucking opens and the muzak and early morning mall people are driving me nuts. And I just realized the kid who told me I could keep the plate that he did his cell model on must have stolen it from Panera. Ok, probably not. I don’t want to accuse someone of stealing just because it looks exactly like this plate in front of me that had over 500 calories on it that I will have to burn off later.

And you know what? The mall, by myself, is a fucking trigger. It makes me sad. It makes me depressed. Sitting around and watching mall people in the mall doing mall things, all being mall-like, I shouldn’t be there. If I go in knowing exactly what I need, like a target strike, and get the fuck back out quickly? I’m fine. Or with other people, I’m OK. Mostly. Depending on the purpose and the people. But this really fucked my mood for the day. I was doing OK yesterday. Not great. Just OK. Bearable. Not drowning in anything. Today. Today is different. Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow does not include the mall.

At comic book club, we decided we didn’t like the book…Pretty Deadly, Vol 1. The art was nice, but the story was just not present. Or coherent. Sigh.

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Or should that be comic-book book club. Or comic book² club. No one knows.

I did quilt a lot yesterday. I got everything done up to the breasts. I only did about 4 hours though. I wanted at least 5, but when I got home, girlchild wanted help picking her photo outfit, which turned into “what’s my favorite color”…

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(yes, that’s a snake on her head and no, that’s not what she wore for pictures, although I did double dare her), and I needed to draw something for GISHWHES, and my SIL called and I talked to my brother, because he remembers “write me a note telling me WHY,” from middle school, and then it was really late and I knew I had to get up early to deal with the car. And tomorrow is a total loss (first professional development of the year, expect nothing and you will only be surprised by whatever it is, although the over-2-hour long movie presentation planned for 1-3 PM will make me sleep…is he fucking NUTS?). And now it’s after 4 PM and I still haven’t started quilting today. FUCK.

My scheduling has deteriorated into a WTF moment. I am losing it. Deep breaths. I achieve small things each day; some days the achievements are smaller than others. They are still achievements.

I think I need to go crawl into a ball shape and put a pillow over my head, and then maybe my eye will stop twitching and faeries will come and organize the hoard, plus make a reasonable schedule of all the tasks that need to be completed before August 31, and if I’m lucky, they’ll suss out my personal life as well so I can feel more human and less like everyone’s mom. EVERYONE’S mom. Yours too. Or a sad ball of snot. That’s not your mom.

So quilting…

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And more…

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And even more…

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Not much to say, except wow. There’s a lot of quilting on this sucker.

Learning to think differently about things is not the same as positive thinking. When people tell me to be more positive, I think actually it is more useful to me to have a neutral response to things that might normally cause me to stress excessively. For example, when my credit card number was stolen, in the past, I would have freaked out and stressed and verbalized all that. Instead, I had a very neutral, calm response. Shit happens. Go through steps 1-3 and shit will go away. And I did that. And it did. So as more stressful things are popping up this week with school coming closer for me and the kids, and the thought of sending boychild off with all the stuff that goes along with that, I’m better off thinking about major stressors in a neutral way. It’s in my nature to want to be prepared, so I have a couple things in my brain for one thing that’s coming up that is causing some PTSD related to authority figures. There’s a mantra in my head from a recent stressful event…”don’t say anything until they’ve talked. don’t freak out. don’t say anything.” One friend said I wasn’t being true to my self, but I’m not sure that my self is particularly helpful in these situations. Sometimes she just needs to calm down and hear all the words…and all the NOT words, because there seems to be a lot unsaid. I spent the last few years feeling attacked for having the wrong feelings and saying the wrong things, and feeling like no one was listening to what I was saying, even though I was the only one actually communicating. But what I said was never heard. It was never considered. In multiple parts of my life, that is still the case. I feel a need to guard my self more carefully now. She needs more protection than she used to, and it’s possible that communicating what she’s thinking is not in my best interest at the moment. Maybe I just need to hold what she’s thinking carefully in my head instead of putting it out there. For now. I’d love to be able to trust someone enough to not feel that way, but I don’t.

“If we decide to think positively, that may be useful, but it is not meditation. It is just more thinking. We can as easily become a prisoner of so-called positive thinking as of negative thinking. It too can be confining, fragmented, inaccurate, illusory, self-serving, and wrong.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

To me, all that overly positive thinking, the cliches and cute little things on Pinterest and Facebook, it’s just a mask. It’s not real. It’s hard for someone like me to read them and think, oh yeah, if I just THOUGHT hard enough (because I don’t think hard?), I would be happy. It’s magic. I’m just not doing it right. No, ma’am. You’ve spent two years being told you weren’t doing it right. I was doing. I was talking. I was thinking. I was watching. There is a change that needs to happen, and it is, slowly, like a snail traversing gravel, but it’s not about cute little maxims. It’s about changing the response. Letting the big bad stuff just roll over into the swamp behind me. Pushing forward through hanging vines and snakes without letting them grab on and trigger that fear, that fight-or-flight response, that adrenaline rush caused by stress. Or even that sad wave, so different than the fear, more of a washing over your head than an electrical charge to the heart.

OK. With all that in my head, it’s probably best that I quilt for the next 10 hours before talking again.


The Giver

August 1, 2014

I’m re-reading The Giver for book club. It’s amusing because (a) I used to teach it to my students (homeroom…it could be argued to be a science book, but only with a significant stretch) and (b) when I tried to get a copy of it, the library had 47 holds on 7 copies, so I turned to my teacher friends. Before, though, I realized that I have read it and both my children have read it, but we do not own it (no one really liked it). Almost every teacher friend I knew was sure they had it but couldn’t find it. One found it but didn’t have time to drop it here on the way to Alpine, and I could have driven out to her, but the timing was off, so another friend went and bought a copy for her classroom (because the movie is coming out and she is actually the language arts teacher so it kinda makes sense) and left it on my doorstep for me. Nice friend. I suck as a friend at the moment, I think. Meditation is asking me to look at how I’m being kind to others, and I don’t think the cats count. I’m not being UNkind, but I’m not putting anything out there, I think. Can’t. Can’t handle kindness back.

So Meditation has turned into Weepitation. Latin word for cry, the verb, is fleo. Meditation = Fleotation? That just sucks. I’m sticking with Weepitation. Sobitation. WAIT. Tears is Lacrimae. MUCH better. Lacrimaetation. There we go. Dear Mr. Meditation. I’m doing it wrong. Seriously. We’re in the Happiness module and the whole last 10 days have been about Kindness, and all I’ve done is CRY. That’s not kindness. That’s just plain mean. My kindness for yesterday? Girlchild forgot her gym pass…I had just dropped her off (already nice of me, at the drop of a hat) because of the Nida Car Shortage (which ends in just three short weeks when the boychild wanders off to college), and then I had to drive BACK here to get her pass, because she won’t go in and tell them she forgot it, it’s too embarrassing mom. As I handed it to her (and I didn’t even get angry or stressed or anything), she said, “Sorry. I’m retarded. Love you.” Huh. That made me cry. See? Kindness makes me cry. Please be mean to me. We’ll all be better off. There will certainly be fewer tears. Maybe I could go back to Meditation then.

Many things conspired to make yesterday what it was. Nothing was fixed. Nothing got finished. Things I meant to do didn’t happen. Whatever. Move on. What it meant was that after I ate dinner, after my stomach said, “Yes, you may eat. I will allow that now.” then I needed something really low key and not very demanding, yet artistic to do. So I did something REALLY low-key.

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Yup. I taped an enlarged drawing together. And while I was doing that, I updated all the Microsoft shit on girlchild’s computer, which prompted a flurry of disdainful texts from the boychild, who does in fact think I’m an idiot…this from the kid in long pants in Southern California in July (it was still July yesterday) with a Golden Retriever on his lap…

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Yup. Not listening. Also lots of texts about how he’s not going to do all the required things for orientation at college (you can raise them, but you can’t make them do mandatory things). Yup. I taped that fucker good. The drawing, not the boychild. Or even the Golden Retriever.

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And then I couldn’t deal with anything else. Sad but true. Not measuring it and adding to top and bottom, not even TAPING more paper on for the drawing. Nope. Not doing it. Could not handle it.

The Mammogram quilt is almost fully bound…just have to put the sleeve on it, but I’m busy today, so maybe tonight. I could easily have finished it last night if my brain didn’t get in the way. And I didn’t start quilting the other one at all. LAME. Whatever. The brain’s in charge and she’s a dumbass at the moment. I will welcome her back with open arms when she gets out of the quicksand mud again. Until then? We do not speak.

So I gave up and went to bed.

When life gives you lemons, you get out of bed after tossing and turning for an hour and you make yourself a nice hot cup of tea, because you’ve been British-trained to think that tea fixes everything, and the caffeine doesn’t really have an effect on you any more, in fact, you think tea runs in your veins instead of blood, based on how much you’ve drunk just to make up for the super late nights in the last year, but you did actually go to bed at a reasonable time last night because you knew you’d have to be up early this morning, so that totally fucking backfired says 4 in the morning, so at 5, you get up and make that magical cup of tea and grab the book you were reading for book club last night, because it’s easy and you’ve read it before and you know how it ends, unlike your own life, which is currently a badly written George R. R. Martin slashfest, except no one dies, they just disappear, and you read The Giver (yup, that book) for about an hour until your brain admits that it might like to go to sleep again, even though your neighbor just fired up his dumptruck and drove off to work, but he gets up REALLY early, and you put the bookmark in and when life gives you lemons, you don’t make fucking lemonade, because it’s always too sweet or too sour, it’s never just right, and you don’t even really LIKE lemonade, you only drink it if there’s no water and the only other choice is soda, so you make lemon chicken instead and you sit down at the table and you eat it by yourself.

After you fall asleep again, you dream. And as it often is lately, when you remember your dreams, they are happy and perfect, because everyone got rid of you and you were the problem. You know better than that, but you still feel it in your gut when you wake up and start yet another day where it will end with you trying to sleep and not doing a very good job of it.

I didn’t really make lemon chicken at 5 AM. Everything else happened though. And that damn book? It is really well-written, I have to say, even though it’s so pat and perfect that it kinda drives me nuts. Even the parts that are supposed to NOT be perfect…they are. Of course, I’ve read the damn thing 5 times and taught it to 6th graders, so I’m probably not capable of reading it with a fresh eye any more. I will, however, be able to discuss it at book club now without saying things like, “I don’t really remember anything but the snow.” Although the snow might be the most important part.


Nida Happy Time

July 25, 2014

Someone actually found my blog by searching for that. I am amused. I been looking for some Nida Happy Time…maybe they will let me know where ELSE the internet pointed so I can get there. I’ve been sitting here for about an hour, trying to find and change all of the autopay places that my old stolen credit card number might be lurking and replacing it with the new. A call to Ohio. Searching websites for the right combination of key words. I think I’ve got them all and I think I’ve found the few late charges that got thrown at me.

I was woken up this morning by the sound of thunder, loud, scary at first, then comforting. It was early, but not really bad. Just earlier than I wanted, which is always the case these days. I rarely wake up feeling rested. My body doesn’t let me sleep long enough for that. Soon the rain started, heavy at first, then slowing to that syncopated rhythm that is mostly droplets falling from tree leaves. When it started up again, that pattern of thunder, then rain, then trickle, I got up. I love that sound, that feeling…maybe because it is so rare here, especially in summer. We had one quick storm a week ago…these thunderstorms wander in from the mountains and drop their load and then leave again, bringing the temperature down briefly, but just a memory after an hour. Before that? It had been months since it rained…I think. I remember a hike in April or May that got rained out, but nothing since then. It’s a drought here, like it always is. So this a respite. Brief. But it feels like an omen. Not a bad one.

Yesterday morning, on the way to life drawing, a new drawing started to insert itself in my head. Yesterday was a maliversary, and since I know my brain is going to have issues with that, I try to baby it a little, give it distractions, give it what it wants. So it got life drawing, which was kind of a joke. My muse owes me $5 because she totally did not show up. I was overly tired (really bad night) and the model was male, which is novel, but harder for me to draw. I draw mostly women, so I’m used to their shapes. I was able to do OK with pencil, but when I switched to ink on the long drawings, holy fuck. I did a very nice drawing of the chair he was sitting on. And his bald head. The rest was a clusterfuck. It’s OK. It happens. I also started drawing a study of sorts for the drawing in my head. Honestly, most of the drawing was there, just like it popped in. BOOM. There were some changes, variations that were fluttering through my head as I tried to draw the naked guy, but I just let it process.

From there, I went to my stitching meeting, where I was working on the birds (more about that below). It was fine, but I realized the bindings are going to take longer than I thought…which is fine. I realize I can do them by machine, but I like the way the finish looks by hand, especially on something this small. There’s something to be said for craftsmanship. However out there my imagery is, I’m kinda old school with some of my practices, because I do like how they look.

There was a car issue after that, so I came home and couldn’t go to the gym because I had no car (amusing that). So I tried to finish my book…I’m getting increasingly irritated with how Jim Butcher deals with female characters. I still like the stories though. Sigh.

When the two kids finally came home, I was a good girl and went to the gym. During weightlifting, which is when my brain has the most time to get into trouble, that drawing popped up again. And it basically drew itself. Details popped in. I rearranged some things mentally and made it better. Really, it majorly sucks that I can’t just download directly to a device from my brain, because I knew actually DRAWING it would be an issue. It was complicated. But it was about today, about how I’ve been feeling this summer, the last year. Many people call this their muse, God speaking through them, whatever. I don’t really know or care what it is, but it’s a drive that can’t be shut up. I know some people ignore it, but I think mine is louder, more insistent, because I make a point of listening…of responding…of drawing at the drop of a hat…of giving part of my brain permission to run off and mess with the images. The fiber art group I’m in wants me to bring a 10-word description of my artistic process to the next meeting. TEN words? Yeah. Whatever. I think I’ll write a haiku. Boychild had a random-word generator giving me 10-word combinations yesterday that would have been about as relevant. I don’t want to play that game.

I came home from the gym, ate, and then contemplated the day. I had done a good job protecting the part of my brain that might have had an issue. I distracted it and gave it a goal and I reached that goal and was still there in one piece, my brain wasn’t raging all over the place or huddled in a pool of tears. Not bad. I still had a few hours and one difficult task, though, so I needed to keep going. It was obvious what I needed to do next, so I grabbed the sketchbook and started…

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This was the second start. The first one had the hinges on the wrong side. And it has issues, but I think I can fix them, plus I’m going to have to extend the paper down and probably to the left. I’m trying to decide whether to copy and enlarge it as is, or to trace and move things like I think they should be moved and THEN enlarge and add his feet etc.? Did I tell you about my 5th-grade art teacher who really wanted me to learn to stay on the page? She was an artist too, so don’t give her shit. She’s right. I should learn to stay on the page.

Yes, I have another drawing that needs to be finished. It wasn’t screaming at me last night. This one was.

When I got that far (an hour?), I stopped because I needed more space on the page and to make a decision about enlarging. And then I sewed the third bird. And then I went to bed, because for normal people, it was a bedtime that would be considered normal (well, no, it would still be late, but it wouldn’t be as fucking late as I normally go to bed). Because I have three weeks to get my sleep schedule back to semi-normal. Less, really, if you consider the professional development stuff I have to do before that which requires me to be up at an ungodly hour.

So there we are. It’s not Nida Happy Time, but it’s something.

I finished three birds yesterday…Bird 1…

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Bird 2…

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and Bird 3…

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I started calculating time too…gave up and did it old school on GASP paper.

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I know. Crazy. I think there’s an issue with the quilting time on birds 2 and 3…I think I must have hit the wrong task in the app for some period of time. I can go back and look at the specific dates and times, because they’re almost the same size, almost the same bird…there shouldn’t be that wide a gap between the quilting times. When they’re all done, I’ll post them with sizes and prices. Meanwhile, I have a bunch of errands to do today, but I want to get the bindings machine-sewn on Birds 9 and 10 at least. I think I’m almost awake enough to do that. And hopefully tonight I’ll have a go at the drawing stuff again. Maybe by then my brain will have made a decision about tracing or enlarging or whatever.

Oh yeah, so the living room furniture is almost settled.

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I think we’re going to put the TV on an arm off the wall and get that piece of furniture out of there too. But that big blank white wall needs art. Um. I make art. I make BIG art. Then girlchild says, “You can’t put anything with boobs on there.” Huh? “I don’t want boobs in the living room.” Sweetheart, there’s boobs within sight of the living room already, pointing out the existing Kathy quilts that hang around the house. “That’s not the living room. No boobs in the living room.” Well. Huh. Whatever. I may or may not listen to her. I know why. She has friends over and has to explain her mom’s art. I’ve heard her do it. It’s amusing. I’m sure it’s not amusing for her.

I’ve only hung one piece of art back up so far (mostly because they’re buried in my room at the moment). Plus I need to solve TV and bookshelf problems first…you see the piles of books. One pile is “outtahere,” one is “don’t know what to do with you,” one is “box it up for later dealings,” and the last one is “belongs in the bookshelf next to the fireplace.” So yeah. They’re not going away until I get my act together. Again. Still. But it’s getting there.


Book Review: The Fourteenth Goldfish

July 23, 2014

I get asked to review kids’ books sometimes, because of my teacher thing, so I recently read The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm.

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It’s a cute story about a girl whose grandfather sends himself back to being a teenager. They marketed it as being about passion for science, and there is some of that in the story, but mostly it seems like coming of age. That said, it’s a little on the young side. I would market this towards elementary school, even though the characters are in high school. It’s written to that level.

This seems silly to complain about, and it’s not the author’s fault, but I was really distracted by the fish art at the beginning of each chapter, mostly because the numbers of fish kept changing, going up, then down, but they didn’t match the chapter number, which bugged me. My brain works that way, though, and the distraction became an issue. Also, the title is explained in the story, but it doesn’t really make sense. I don’t want to give away any story details, but it seemed a stretch to relate the goldfish story back to what happens in the real story. The ending also seems a little out there, unbelievable. Not that the main premise is totally believable either, but that one I can roll with.

Like I said, though, it’s a cute story, an easy read, for an elementary school kid (or language learners in the older grades), but the story is pretty simplistic and has some issues that honestly, most kids probably wouldn’t notice.


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