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.


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…

Damaged Goods

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.”


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.


Ironing Birds Very Very Flat…

July 11, 2014

It seems ironic to take something that can fly wherever it likes (well, within the atmosphere) and to make it flat and iron it onto a very flat piece of fabric. Those birds…some of them actually exist as quilt tops now! Except they’re so small, some of them could be potholders…the reviled statement about any small work…”Is that a placemat?” Maybe this is why I work so big…”Is that a bed quilt? It’s not the right size.”

So I ironed a bunch of birds yesterday, mostly because I was at Susan’s house and it was a portable thing, which most of what I have to do right now is not.

I started with birds cut out in tupperware…

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Which I then ironed together with the drawing under the teflon…

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And then I would try them out on a variety of backgrounds until I found the one I thought worked best…

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This one seemed to need an asymmetrical background. I may change my mind later…

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Most of the rest were a little more standard, wanting to sit in the middle of their square or rectangle…

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So then I had to decide, light or dark?

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Bright or not?

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This one looks really different on this background…I tried him on like 5 different shades of blue and this is the one that talked to me.

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Here’s his twin with the eyeball…

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Slightly different fabrics for him…including the background…

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And one that’s not so square…

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Seemed to do better with dark.

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So that’s 5 done to this stage. I also cut out the other 5 yesterday afternoon and evening. It didn’t take long. I was hoping to iron the rest together tonight, and I may still get to that, but I’m not feeling well…combination of tired and hormones and cramps and crappy mental shit that goes along with a bunch of other stuff.

BLAHHHH. Exactly. That feeling.

I ironed the 5 above onto backgrounds in about 30 minutes between hanging out with Susan and friends and leaving for my monthly stitching meeting, the only place I work on this…

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Girlchild’s Christmas stocking. It’s really slow. I gave up on trying to stitch the white AROUND the motifs and started stitching the damn motifs. It took a lot of counting…and then counting again, because we were talking about birds (shocking…real ones, not Kathy ones) and books and writing and movies and how I should make my own Meetup group of people who want to sit in the 2nd row at the movies and sit through the credits, and how I would still be the only one going. I must become one with my freak status. Even in the Art House Movie crowd, I am a freak. That is very sad.

In the parking lot, I documented these three (no, there are four) badly drawn penises…

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Materials: dust, car window, finger

I’m debating doing a series of quilts a la Keith Haring with replicas of my students’ badly drawn penises, but then I’d have to give them credit, and that would probably lose me my job. See, I DO think these things through!

Then after that, I had to drive to North Park to pick up 4 teenaged girls at a concert, but we weren’t sure when it would be over, so I had packed my sketchbook, yes, the BIG one, because I have no fear (really, apparently I don’t) and I was just going to hang out near where the concert was, in like a coffee bar or wine bar or anything that had the word bar in it? And draw until they were ready for me. Because I told the girlchild it wasn’t safe for her to walk around down there, because of some recent assaults, but I guess I was safe because I had my sketchbook.

I had gotten the drawing to this point the night before because I was too tired to keep making art stuff, but I didn’t feel like going to sleep, so I sat in front of the computer, watching videos, and decided to be bold, rip the previous drawing out of the sketchbook…this one…

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because the male figure just plain old sucked…reminded me of Draco in Harry Potter, and that’s not what I wanted. However angry I might be with particular males in the universe, my goal in this drawing is some vision of equality, of working together, of being different and yet on the same team. We can’t be the same. It’s impossible. (As I sit here dealing with menstrual cramping from hell and wondering if I can just go overmedicate myself and go to bed right now, I’m fairly sure none of the males in my life have ever felt this uncomfortable for any reason, let alone once a month, every month, for the last 35 fucking years…oh wait, I didn’t have my period while pregnant…but then I was just puking my guts out. That’s a separate hell.).

Plus the hammer bugged me. Not that there shouldn’t be a hammer in this quilt. There totally should be. Just not in his hand. She’s holding a baby. He’s holding a hammer. Not working for me.

So. I put the original drawing under a blank page and basically traced the female figure…

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because she was mostly OK. I changed her tattoo, I added some arrows, because I had forgotten them the first time around, and I gave her lungs. Can’t breathe without fucking lungs, you know. Yes, I am venturing into the 1500+ piece range at the moment, and I need to deal with measuring this piece too, because it has to be a particular size. Then I made another pass at drawing a male…different hair, different mouth, stronger face. Better. But then what? I had an idea that I wanted a tree to be growing from them, between them, and that the tree might hold some things that would be relevant to both genders, that were maybe in the realm of male or female in the past, but could be either now, like hammers and aprons and lawnmowers and Valium. Wait. Not Valium. I also debated about what to do with their arms in the middle…I was going to put their arms across each other’s shoulders, but I wanted them joined, not necessarily leaning on each other…the arm/shoulder thing seemed awkward.

Really, if you had been watching me, there were short bursts of drawing, then long moments where I just stared at the drawing, and you couldn’t tell, but I was visualizing things (like arms over shoulders) and trying them out on the drawing in my head, rejecting some, setting some aside, deciding some might work. I still have some saved in my mental clipboard.

So when I got to the bar last night, I plopped my money down for a single glass of wine (I was driving 4 teenaged girls and it was already late) and sat down at a table in a mostly empty wine bar, pulled open my sketchbook and started to draw…and no one bugged me and it was dark (not necessarily a plus) and when I couldn’t visualize what their hands should look like (I guess it’s been that long since I’ve held a hand…telling, that is), I Googled stuff until I found a few and stared at them until it made sense to me again.

And I drew…

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Yes, I stopped there. Not because I’m afraid to draw a penis in a wine bar. I’m not. It’s just that the girls had texted me that they really liked the band they were watching and we negotiated a pickup time and it was time for me to leave and go get them a half block away. (Actually, first they said they would walk to the coffee bar I was at…um…WHOOPS…not at a coffee bar) So I did.

There’s a couple things that need fixing, and it’s definitely going longer (although I don’t know how much longer…should figure that out). I didn’t work on the tree because I’d like to go taller too, and I don’t know if I have the space. So I’ll finish his body to the knees and then run a copy so I can continue the drawing down. And I will check the measurements before I do that. But I’m feeling much better about this project now, because I was able to get my head out of the shit in which it had been wallowing. Whatever my experiences in relationships have been, I do have an incredibly clear idea of what they SHOULD be…I always have…perhaps that is what gets me in trouble. I expect teamwork and cooperation and gender roles being questioned and negotiated with care for each other. I don’t have to be the cook just because I am a girl. I can mow a lawn even though I am a girl. You know, that shit. Hate that shit.

I expect both people to pay attention. I don’t really think those things are beyond most people’s ability…I just think most people treat other people badly. A good relationship requires attention and work, and if those things are diverted or ignored, then the relationship will fail.

I can believe in it even if I’ve never experienced it. Maybe that’s what this quilt is really about…a dream of equality for me personally, with the hope that my own children will get to experience something like that. It’s difficult to draw a dream…nightmares are so much easier. Reality…it’s pretty easy to draw as well. But hopes? Wishes? Dreams for something better? That’s harder to get right.


You Must Read…

June 30, 2014

So, if you were my neighbor, then just a few minutes after midnight, you saw me wandering my front yard, barefoot with a flashlight (actually, the first time I was barefoot WITHOUT a flashlight). That’s because Amazon claimed they delivered my tea (very important) and my book club selection (also important, since the library will not be coughing up a copy for a good long time) yesterday, and we hadn’t seen it…and it’s not a small box…I get 480 teabags (British) at a time…although Amazon sells them for half of what I used to pay locally. Since tearing out three tall skinny trees to put in the new septic leach field, there’s an opening to my front lawn that did not used to exist, and increasingly, delivery people believe it’s the access to my front door. I had even checked out the door from my bedroom that goes to the tiny deck off that front area, which is normally enclosed by bushes and trees and completely invisible to everyone but the gas meter guy, and I don’t think they even check that any more. Sure enough, once I had the flashlight and started checking all the available greenery, I found the damn box in the middle of nowhere, hiding behind a tree.

Yo Dad. I’m buying trees this week, if even to just put them in their pots where they will eventually be planted, because this is getting silly.

So. Yeah. Soccer. Driving. Dry wind. Hot. Hotel room. Stomach-cramping breakfast. Tired. I managed to finish yesterday’s drawing while sitting in the middle of the soccer team before the 2nd game…

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I don’t usually draw with people around because they ask questions, but my head hurt and I was tired and it was what I wanted to do, and honestly, it’s not as rated R as most of my stuff. I also stitched and read, but I was reading Stephen King, which is like a whole ‘nother issue. I think the only benign thing I did, the only thing that no one could question, was the stitching. I’ll photograph them tomorrow after the third game (and 4+ more hours of driving…I drive half, girlchild does the other half).

We could have stayed up there another night, but I needed to get stuff done here, like sanding and washing the next set of walls…we moved a piano!

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The next two walls to be painted are the one on the right, where the piano used to be (seems almost pointless to paint it when it will be 80% covered by piano and bookshelf, but whatever) and the wall with the sliding glass door and giant window. Then all we have left is the wall with the mirrors, which are coming down on Wednesday, and the one next to the fireplace, which has a mastic issue at the moment. Carpet is next on the list. Picking it this week, hopefully installing next week. I can only handle this level of chaos for a short period of time, and then I start to go a bit bonkers. (GO…ha ha ha. very funny)

So the soccer…this is the first tournament since girlchild’s back surgery in March. She didn’t do physical therapy, because she didn’t need to. They put two pins in her back and some growth hormone to persuade the bone to heal, but this is it. And it’s a joy to see her play…

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Because she was really playing, seriously kicking some people’s butts, even though she’s totally out of shape…

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And that girl jumps way higher than she does (the LA team was a little frightening in many ways)…

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But she played half the game today and is physically tired, but not hurting in a bad way, despite all the contact during the game.

This one…our player and the girlchild both hit it with their heads, but both had their eyes closed, and it basically rolled down the girlchild’s body.

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You can see the goalie behind them. If some other player had had the brains to be standing right in front of them, it would have been a goal, but no such luck. This is not really a tournament you win…it’s a college showcase, and basically girlchild has decided (quite intelligently) that she will be picking schools for their academics, and once she has her short list, she’ll start contacting the soccer coaches there. Soccer doesn’t bring the big scholarships, but I think she’d still like to play if she can.

So while we play in these, she’s not really super-bothered about who’s watching her…as she puts it, mostly it’s local schools (Southern California) and she wants to go farther than that.

So there’s one more kamikaze drive tomorrow and then we’re done for a couple of weeks, when there’s another one. Meanwhile, she communes with her friends…

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Listening to music and talking and snapchatting, all at the same time.

We saw this sign up in Pomona…

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Which reminds me, I’m making a phone call tomorrow to see if I can get a scholarship for a mindfulness class locally. It’s way too expensive otherwise. The director asked me to call, though, so we’ll see what they can do for me. Maybe nothing, but if you don’t ask? Then you don’t ever get…right? I don’t know if the Bible says that.

One of the reasons I wanted to come home tonight is because the ironing is talking to me, the talk of the artist-addict. I finished ironing this guy together…

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And then did the arm on the other side…

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It was about 100 pieces. I’m 9 1/2 hours into the ironing, a little less than halfway through the pieces at 720 or so. I found two of the missing pieces, but am now missing two more. There’s some weird universe-balancing aspect going on there…not sure I understand it. I do know I want it done and that I need to get working on the birds too.

Moodwise, spending time with the girlchild falls halfway between really nice (at dinner, at one point in the car) and absolute hell (when you can’t say anything right, it’s all wrong and I often just can’t deal with that). I know that’s normal for teens…wish I could manage my own reactions to it better, but it is what it is. It does make it hard, though…because I feel like I don’t have anyone I can check in with on weekends like this, there’s no one to commiserate with, to help talk me through it, through my emotional reaction to constantly being railed at. There’s no mood stabilizer. It’s all on me, and I don’t have it in me.

So I cry. Again. And then I get to iron for an hour or so and things get calmer, more peaceful. Note to self: less drama and teens, more artmaking. Oh, if only that were truly possible.

I finished a book this week. It took me a long time to read this…China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station

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partially because of all the work on the house and partially because it was long and DENSE (boychild’s words), but really good. What’s also interesting is googling images for the characters in the book. I think the artists have done fairly well with Lin, but I didn’t see a good Garuda, as far as I had seen Yagharek in my mind’s eye. The slake moths, yes, and the Voldyanoi…but the Cactucae? Not so much. I work really hard at visualizing a place and the characters, and I think part of what makes this level of fantasy/sci fi difficult for many readers is that it is hard to do that…Hyperion was the same way, with all the different planets and species. I will read more books by Mieville, although he apparently wanders genres like my brain wanders during staff meetings, so who knows what that will look like. Again, these literary worlds are much nicer places to live, even when filled with nasty creatures out for your brain’s emanations, than my brain is right now…so I’ll keep reading.

“You must read, you must persevere, you must sit up nights, you must inquire, and exert the utmost power of your mind. If one way does not lead to the desired meaning, take another; if obstacles arise, then still another; until, if your strength holds out, you will find that clear which at first looked dark.” 
― Giovanni Boccaccio


Revisions…

June 28, 2014

So. I’m stuck in a hotel in Corona tonight for a soccer tournament…and girlchild is in a mood…although feeding her Indian food seems to have helped. This is somewhat depressing, being here. I’m stitching, reading, even wrote for a while. Tried to meditate. It’s hard to keep on an even keel with someone squealing at you about everything you say. I brought my sketchbooks, but I’m not in the mood. I drew a little to deal with the aftermath of girlchild’s third or fourth cranky session…

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But it’s not done. I brought the big sketchbook too, but forgot and left it in the car. Plus I’m tired…long car drive, lots of traffic, getting squawked at, but now she’s fine.

Girlchild is doing awesome though, first games since the back surgery. She’s tired but kicking ass while she’s on the field, which is a very good thing.

Anyway, two more games, two more days, but going home tomorrow…on the off chance that I can get some work done at home.

This hotel room is weird…a bar in the center of the room goes between the two beds…

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Girlchild keeps moving furniture to revise the room.

Wish I could revise my head as easily. Probably best to just take myself to sleepland.


I Could Get Back Up…

June 27, 2014

I haven’t written much about meditation lately because the current sequence on my app has been difficult for me, and because of that, I haven’t been meditating as much. I’m trying to get back into it because it does help with my nasty moods, but also because if I keep going, I’ll get past this section that I don’t like. Not entirely altruistic, eh? Whatever. I know why it’s hard…he wants me to be all kind and benevolent towards someone that I dislike…and the fact is that there are very few people like that in my life at the moment, and the few that are there, hey, well, I really don’t WANT them to feel better at my expense, which isn’t exactly how he words the meditative process, but I have an anger bomb inside me at the moment and it’s making these sessions difficult to swallow. He acknowledges that, but says I just have to get past it. Um. OK. Mostly my mind wanders when I’m supposed to be wafting good thoughts and happiness towards the person I dislike, but I can’t even picture the person(s), so my brain just takes a breather and goes on about something else.

I get what he’s saying about feeling and mood and crap, I’m just really not there. I suspect I’m not doing it right. Whatever. In general, the meditation has been helpful and I’m sure it will be again. I just need to get past this section.

I have other ways to find meditative peace. The ironing continues…

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Albeit slowly. Here I am ironing the parts of the face on the drawing, to be placed eventually on the face itself to the left. At first, I thought I hadn’t gotten much done tonight, about 100 pieces in two hours? It didn’t seem like much…but I forgot that the face was in the 1200 box and consists of about 43 pieces (OK, that’s precise, not about). Then I ironed from piece 470 to 618 or so…about 190 pieces in two hours makes more sense. I’m 8 hours in now.

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This was slow going. Lots of little bits and pieces…once I finished the woman, I ironed her onto the background…

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She’s still missing a fingernail. Apparently she’s missing an elbow shadow as well. There’s an eyeball in her hand now too. Can’t see that in this picture.

I wasn’t going to go on to the next section, but then I realized it wasn’t very late, so I told myself I’d do another 30 minutes (you should know that “not very late” was 11:08 PM).

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No one should listen to me…this is an hours’ worth of work. Tiny pieces…and no, it’s not done. I thought about trying to finish it tonight, but I’m tired.

I spent three hours this morning at life drawing…

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There was something wrong with every drawing I did…this one has one leg that’s too small and too short.

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That’s the wonder of drawing in pen, though…you’re stuck with it. I did all the short poses in pencil, but still erased nothing. Her right arm has giant issues. Just imagine the drawing without it. I still enjoy the process though, getting your head into looking at the figure and the shadows. It’s more about the process than the product. I’m planning on going to these all summer. It’s cheap, just $5 for 3 hours. Not a bad deal. Even when the girlchild is texting you the whole time because she’s BORED. Holy hell, child.

I had the two of them clean out the cupboard in their bathroom…it’s a catch-all for art supplies and kid crap…I still had their painting aprons from when they were little. I packed up some stuff for the thrift shop (all the big kiddie paintbrushes and the aprons) and tossed a bunch of dried-up paint and mismatched containers…then managed to find space for some of the art supplies that had been stored on top of the piano (this was the original plan)…because yes, in all good Hoarder’s houses, that IS where you keep random art supplies. So now the 10 palettes we have (between me and the girlchild) are all in one place with all the paints and inks…in case you’re coming over and need to find them. We have the mother of all palettes up there now (inherited from Aunt Betty, who really WAS a painter…mom of Babygirl, in case you’re wondering). I kinda wish I were more of a painter so I could use this thing.

I do use palettes, just not very often. Some things are just harder to get rid of…my SIL and I had a conversation about this last night, and she told me about cleaning out her grandmother’s house, which she thinks cured her of hoarding…I’m a packrat…my whole family is. But I think a lot of mine is just a lack of time. I’d love to clean out every cupboard in the house but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. And she did allow as though my second job (artmaking) required quite a few supplies. Oh yeah. I guess. Shall we talk about all the other artistic pasttimes that are in this house? I’ve done all of them, I think.

I kinda lost momentum with the kids today, though. I pretty much did all the clearing out on my own once they had gotten it out of the cupboard, and they only did the top section…then I went and did the whole of the next living room section. Tomorrow is pretty chaotic, so I’m not sure I’ll get through the whole next step, the spackle and wash. But whatever. It will get done. I boxed up all the stuff we took down off the mantle shelves too, so it’s not like I didn’t get anything done. I just didn’t get the piano and bookshelf moved before the kids left today for their dad’s, and I really couldn’t move them by myself.

Still controlling moods with distractions…good books and drawing and ironing and cleaning. The bad times are when I’m trying to fall asleep, which is partly why I stay up so late, so I’m so tired when I get in bed that I essentially pass out from exhaustion. Also when I’m waking up in the morning…no lying around and contemplating the day. I used to really like having time to do that. Now it’s just torture. And at the gym, when I’m lifting weights, because I can’t distract myself with a book or something else. I was trying to persuade myself to write my book in my head during that time, but then I couldn’t remember everything afterwards. I can’t really type into the phone while lifting. I need some sort of memory recorder…like I can just think stuff into a folder (Google Drive in the brain!) and then access it later? I don’t know if that would be good or bad in the long run.

Anyway. Probably need to attempt sleep soon, but the brain is wide awake. That’s one of the problems of ironing at night…my brain doesn’t want to let go of that alpha art brain mode…it just wants to keep going until it passes out. It even considers all-nighters. But I know I have to be up relatively early tomorrow, so I need to at least try to get the brain to shut down. Maybe that’s the core problem with getting rid of the depression too…that the brain doesn’t know how to just drop something…it worries it like it’s a little dog. I’m hoping sometime in the future that the part of my brain that is wreaking all this havoc will come back into the herd and be one with us. It’s kind of annoying having it being so mopey all the time.

I had this song stuck in my head this morning…I have no idea why, but when I told the boychild, he started singing it, so all I can think is that he was standing over me in my sleep, singing softly to me.

You know. Like they do. I am an optimist. Really. It’s hard, but I’m always trying to find the positive. I don’t always say it out loud, but that nasty part of my brain that is sad and hiding…it’s not really who I am. Like the daily crying. That’s not me. Except if it goes on for a year, then is THAT who you ARE? Or are you still the other person that you used to be? I don’t really have an answer for that. I do still have some part of me that is hopeful, that is trying to make a future picture in my head that doesn’t feel awful. So yeah. I guess that’s optimism. I could get back up (from the song)…


When I Wake Up, Let Me Be*

June 21, 2014

In the past, summer vacation has always brought a sense of relief. Teachers and students get tired of each other, of the high expectations on either side. We need a break. It’s a lot of hours to be with a lot of kids, and for them, it’s a lot of demanding. I usually need to decompress for a bit after school gets out, just hang out and sleep in and don’t demand a lot of myself. But this summer is different than the last 12. This summer, I have to keep my brain and body out of the hole…that depression hole. I also have a ton of stuff to do. Hopefully those two needs will work together, but I also need to make sure I recharge myself this summer, which means not working myself into the ground just to keep myself distracted. I need to relax and rest and make art and get my head straight. And not slip back into a deeper depression.

Easier said than done. I try to tell the depressed part of my brain to leave me alone, to go the fuck away, to get out of here.

It doesn’t really work.

I checked out of my classroom today…took longer than usual because I had to lock up EVERYTHING so the summer school teachers and kids don’t get into the science materials. I’m not pleased about that, but I dealt.

Last night, I managed to sort all the fabric pieces for the big quilt…it took 2.5 hours… Here was the layout of boxes (with Kitten guarding them)…

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That’s a lot of sorting…I use mostly shoeboxes, but then I never have enough, so there are some weird things in there, like an ice tray from my fridge, because there’s no water hookup for the fridge, so the box never lived in there. There’s also a silverware tray in there and some bins from a kids’ shelf. It’s so much easier to do this now on the light table, standing. I used to put them all on the floor and sit on a cushion and try to lean over all of them to put pieces in. On a quilt this size, my leg would fall asleep and I’d pull muscles in my back (holy crap, old lady talk there).

Kitten was in there, pissed because she likes to sit ON the light table and I wouldn’t let her up there.

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Here are all the pieces and papers that came detached from each other. Most of them found their partner piece, but a few were left at the end…oh well. I’ll figure it out eventually.

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Here they are, all sorted out, ready to be ironed together next. Not sure when that will happen. Starting soon. Eighteen boxes of pieces.

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Kitten spent a lot of time sprawling about while I sorted.

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So today, in between cleaning my classroom and waiting for the tech chick to show up so I could check out, I went to Home Depot, where I will be living this summer apparently, to get painting supplies. We are in fact painting a huge chunk of the house this summer, so I had wandered my garage (which is like a Hoarders episode all its own self) looking for painting supplies, realized the hallway had last been done in 2007 and everything else was older than that and mostly trashed (I have never painted the living room, which means it probably hasn’t been painted in over 16 years). Anyway, we had picked a color. OK, I lie. I picked a color. The kids each picked colors I didn’t like. Boychild went gray-white, girlchild went yellow-white, and I stuck with Fresh Popcorn. I couldn’t paint it a color if I didn’t like the name. So I refused to pick Predictable. Yes, that was a color name.

The coolest thing I got was a spackle that goes on pink and turns white as it dries.

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It probably has chemicals in it that will hasten global warming. There’s nothing green about painting. It’s a shitload of chemicals and smells and fumes and yuck. I don’t enjoy painting. It’s a lot of prep and it annoys me. Always has. That’s why I do it so rarely. Plus it’s expensive. OK, it’s cheaper than buying a new house, but it’s not cheap. Boychild and I demolished the room we call the little living room, a smaller room that used to be an outdoor patio, but was built into a real room a million years ago. The ceiling was not flat and the moldings had gaps of almost 1/8 of an inch from the ceiling in some places, so I spackled the whole damn thing.

I’m a little wacko that way.

Boychild lives in this room, because that’s where his computer is. We had to recycle a bunch of stuff, toss a bunch of stuff, sort a bunch of stuff (girlchild isn’t here and I can’t just toss her stuff without her looking at it)…and then move a bunch of books out because the bookshelf is screwed into the wall and needs to come out for painting reasons. So we boxed all those books for now…

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You don’t want to know how many books we have. And a bunch of the knickknacks the boychild had accumulated as well  had to be boxed (soccer trophies etc.). If you thought the house was messy before, it’s turning into a disaster area now. Hopefully that will be shortlived. Ha! Yeah, I know. Now I have an excuse for the mess? Boychild was really helpful, a good worker. No complaints from him at all. He motivates me to keep going, because I really do hate this stuff and would totally give up if he weren’t there pushing me to do the next step. So that’s good.

Jake’s here too, so he managed to lie on the floor in all the most inconvenient places…

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Anyway, tomorrow we wash walls and then hopefully start painting. This is the only part where we have to do the ceiling as well…as the boychild says, the rest is toxic and doesn’t need painting (ah, asbestos popcorn ceilings that I can’t afford to remove…). Then when the girlchild comes back, we’ll do the dining area and the rest of the living room, which needs some major work…that damn mirrored wall is coming DOWN bitches! Finally. After how many years? So.

All that seems like enough work for the summer, but I do have other plans for my time. I’ve had a couple of requests for smaller quilts focusing on some of the birds I draw, so I pulled a bunch of my drawings and found the birds and traced them separately. They’re mostly pretty small and simple, so I figure I can make some smaller quilt tops and maybe put them up for sale for a reasonable price. We’ll see how it goes.

I got these traced off, two from existing quilts and three from drawings that are in the queue.

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Then turned around and noticed Kitten…

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Um. That’s the rest of the pile of drawings. I’m too nice. I leave her there. For a while.

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Eventually she gets bored of my staring at her and she wanders off, so I trace the rest…

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I did the eyeball bird with and without the eyeball. I personally prefer the eyeball, but I can understand that most people don’t.

The next step is to number pieces and then trace onto Wonder Under. Etc. Etc.

I’m trying to take one day at a time AND plan ahead. Talk about crazy. Tomorrow is a writing workshop where I will find out if my book-writing technique is crazy stupid or just nuts. I actually wrote an entire scene in abbreviated form when I was walking the dogs with the boychild this afternoon. It took everything I had to try to pencil it down in my brain and not stop on the hike and type it into my phone. It’s OK…it came out later on the keyboard. I’m doing the whole thing in Google Docs because I want to practice using it so I can transfer all my school stuff that way. It takes some getting used to…I like parts of it and I don’t like others. Kind of a normal response to change, I think, but I’m looking forward to having access to the documents I’m using across all my devices. Anyway, I was quite pleased with how the story developed in my brain today, and I’m hoping it keeps going into something more coherent. That’s always been my issue…what’s the purpose of writing this beyond the enjoyment of writing? I actually want a product. I do. And I think I can do the drawings for it as well.

So that’s a lot of progress. I’m trying to take some satisfaction from that. Keep up the momentum. Keep me out of the hole. Avoid the crash and burn. High expectations, eh? Whatever.

*Afraid, The Neighbourhood,

 


The Difficult

June 16, 2014

I wonder sometimes what makes the teen years so difficult for me. I don’t seem able to communicate correctly. Honestly, I’ve spent the last two years feeling like the majority of what comes out of my mouth is just wrong, not allowed, I am misinterpreting everything, and I never say it right. There are about 15 drawings in my head coming out of that…most have tape over the mouth or the mouth is just stitched or stapled shut. I don’t know if it’s worse because I am me, and that me is depressed, or if I am alone in this, and the alone compounds the wrong feeling, or if, as the girlchild says, I am just more sensitive than most. In some conversations, the wrongness seems to swirl around in my head. I wonder what protections others have that seem to keep them whole. I feel like those are missing from my arsenal. My counselor tries to help…but what she tells me to say, the script, it angers the girlchild.

It seems I do it all wrong. I don’t think anything I’ve done in the last two years was right. Except draw…and turn those into quilts.

Is that good enough? Is the art I make good enough? Does it make up for whatever I don’t seem to be able to do right? Ask my children in 5-10 years. They may be able to answer. Maybe they will write my retrospective. My previous writer has been fired from the job for not paying attention, for falling asleep on the job, for not actually listening to what I was saying. Is it so hard to hear me?

It is just a matter of surviving these years I think. But this surviving…it is hard…harder on my own. I asked today for help. I tried to explain the things that set me off…and maybe that conversation went well…hard to say. I feel so ill-equipped for my own existence.

So. The summer: artmaking, house-fixing, room-painting, lesson-planning, sanity-finding (any chance of that?), book-reading, muscle-moving, heart-mending (not sure I believe this is possible).

Parenting is a bitch.

I cut stuff out today. I’m almost there. It’s a good thing. Progress. It’s movement…better than stagnation. I try to keep moving towards something…something healthier than what occupies my brain most of the time. Here’s where I was last night…

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I did hike last night, a mere 4.5 miles; it barely felt like a walk. Fine line between what works for me and what hurts my knee. I’ll be testing it further in the next 7 days, for sure. More on that later.

Today was a giant mess of grading and managing things, but fell into this wormhole: Strong Female Protagonist…because I NEED more distractions? Naw, because it let me leave my head for a while…another troubled female trying to make sense of the world, but she can kick the shit out of robots. I bet I’d be less depressed if I could do that.

I was supposed to go to the gym, but I read instead. And I graded stuff. And then input grades. And there was the parenting thing that threw me for a loop. It doesn’t take much.

We have dinner almost every Sunday night at my parents’ house. I keep thinking it will get easier to be there on Sundays, but it is a memory of what I had that apparently I didn’t really have. Trust is an issue for me. Can you tell? I don’t even know how to draw that. Maybe when I figure that out it will get better.

I throw the ball for Calli as long as she puts it in my lap.

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She makes this funny face, where part of her lip is up under her tooth. Love this dog. Love all dogs, who am I kidding? We had my parents’ dog, Katie, here this weekend…she was well-behaved but terrified of the cats (as are we all)…it was nice to have another dog here. When the girlchild goes to college, my first expense will probably have to be a dog. I don’t have one of my own and Calli will probably stay with the girlchild’s dad…we’ll see. She goes back and forth with the girlchild at the moment. My grocery bill will go down and so will the dog quotient?

Most of the year, I’m grading while she does this, but during vacations, I sew instead. And I was done grading (well, at least for a while…until all the kids who were absent dump stuff in my lap tomorrow)…so I was stitching. I managed a whopping 5 bullion stitches before I gave up. I am so far behind on this thing that it doesn’t really matter any more.

So then I came home and cut some more…

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I really am almost there. And I have a plan for some smaller quilts that might go up on Etsy this summer…maybe. I want something that’s marketable. Well, as much as my stuff ever is. So watch for that. Don’t hold your breath or anything…it might be a few weeks…but I did go down into the garage and hunt around for some of the drawings that might help with that. I don’t need to remake the wheel…just re-trace something and iron it down. And see where that takes me.

Down a rabbit hole. Did I mention I am trying to write an actual novel? It will probably crash and burn, but I am starting. I have an idea…a start…a burning coal. Something might come of that. Strange that a visual artist has always wanted to write a book. Where does that come from? Words v. images. A constant war in my brain.

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Yup. And then there’s Babygirl. Speaking of The Difficult. There she be.


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