Exhausted Slam

August 24, 2014

I think I finally hit the exhaustion mark, slammed into it last night at about 10 PM. Surprised I made it that late. I was quilting the birds and realized my eyes were having a hard time staying open. Just a note to the inexperienced: if you quilt with your eyes closed, there is a much higher chance you will sew through your finger. So I stopped. I finished the eyeball bird first though…

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And then did the second diving bird…

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Smaller than the last one. It’s for the Art Produce show, so it has to be a particular size. I still did all the windy quilting though…

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And that’s what made me slam into the tired wall. I wanted to finish the other two last night too, but I fell asleep on the couch and then went to bed after that. There’s no point in trying to quilt when you’re that tired. You’re going to fuck it up. But that’s what school does…it’s amazing how exhausting it is being ON for 7 hours straight. There’s no down time really. There’s lunch and your prep, and you’re usually doing stuff during those, like peeing and eating. It’s just On On On. After the more relaxing pace of the summer, where I didn’t really get enough sleep either, the start of school is always kind of a body shocker. It takes a couple of weeks to get it under control.

Saturday I was going to get all this stuff done and my brain just rebelled. It was done. It was tired. I managed the gym and then the girlchild and I went to a local British pub for the Dr. Who season premiere with about 150 other people…there were lots of people dressed up, kids and adults. Girlchild says I shouldn’t even be allowed to go, because I’ve only seen like 5 Dr. Who episodes (true…time issue, eh? I started watching from Season 1 this week finally).

But we had a good time. It was a good show. Funny. And I drew during the commercial breaks…

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I love my Tivo. No commercials. There’s a phone booth at the bar, so even though her face is still swollen from the wisdom-teeth removal, she allowed photos…

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A friend texted me and asked how the first boychild-free weekend was going. Well I’ve had the girlchild all weekend, so it’s not like what it will be once school starts and she has a social life and isn’t around all the time. Or ever. So I cleaned his room a little (mostly laundry) and his dad has called every night to report, so it’s not the same. He texted back that he does NOT want a monogrammed laundry basket like his roomie has (damn.), although there is a list of things he does want, so we’ll deal with that. He texted back and forth with his sister last night while I was asleep on the couch, so we know he’s alive. And still up at 1 AM. So all that is normal. His cat misses him. She’s been a whiny butt for a few days now. It probably doesn’t help that Jake, the amazingly large-nosed German Shepherd, is here. He sticks that nose into cat faces, despite the claws, and they don’t like it much.

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So. Yeah. And I’m pretty busy. Not a lot of time to stop and think about much of anything, whether it’s his being gone or my pitiful social life or anything else that tends to bring me down. I’m too damn tired. I really want to take a nap right now, but I have 70 trillion things to do this afternoon, and they’re all time-sensitive and incredibly important. So really, I should get my ass off the computer and get the freak out of here. (I’m finishing my tea. That’s why I’m still here. Plus I had to get all the online grocery coupons. Yup. I do that. It’s $20-40 a visit it saves me…that pays for my Netflix, right?). Anyway. Girlchild is gone all afternoon. Social butterfly. It’s not that I would be chatting it up with the boychild if he were here on a Sunday afternoon, but at least it would be another body in the house. Watching me nap. Can’t nap. No time.


I Must Proceed…

August 20, 2014

A day. A bruise on my hand. Realizing at the gym that all the raucous music and distracting literature in the world can’t keep me from thinking. Dammit. Boychild leaves for college in 30 hours. School starts in 8 1/2 (yes, I should be asleep…I may finish this in the morning). I left school at about 1 PM today. I was done. I had stuff in my head that was unsettling me, throwing me off, and honestly, there wasn’t anything left to do. I came home and finished up what I could. I did physical therapy and the gym and meditation.

I did all the things.

And then I started in on the birds…this is number 13, Diving Bird 2.

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It’s the same fabrics, but I flipped it by accident…

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traced it upside down onto the Wonder Under. It’s a pain to iron then, because I can’t see the pattern through the paper as well. I did that once with an entire quilt. It was very frustrating. This one is not the same size, because it’s supposed to be 8×10 for the Art Produce show…so slightly different.

This one was the same, although…

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I think the background fabric is different, because I was out of the other one.

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I think. Not sure. Yeah, it’s different (you didn’t even know I clicked over to my website to look, did you?). Yes, I use my own website to figure out what I’ve done, thought, planned. So that was Bird 14, Hey Bird 2.

The last one was completely different fabrics…

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because I knew I didn’t have enough to reproduce it as it was in the original. Well, that was the second version of it anyway.

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And then I fussed about the background and decided on this one. It’s a little smaller than the other one. Maybe. Not sure. Won’t know until I finish it. Stitching and all. Hopefully tomorrow night I can stitch some down. Maybe? Who knows. Boychild is not packed for college, although he finally started thinking about it. It’s OK. I’ve already shipped two boxes with bedding, towels, and sundry other items, including a Horton Hears a Who plate. Because who doesn’t need that? Girlchild is already planning what she will bake to send him. He will gain the Freshman Fifteen because of his sister. Or he will be best friends with everyone on his floor. If he’s smart.

I wanted to finish watching the X-Files episode that was on Netflix, so I worked some more on the binding for the Menopause quilt…

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I think I need to call my photographer and just set a drop-off date, because that will force me to finish it.

I gave boychild one piece of roomie advice, which he will probably ignore: Assume positive intent. I wish people did that with me. Because I’m really not out to get anyone, and I’m voted most likely to let you show me who you are, even if I have prior experience with you as an asshole. Yes, that has been on my mind today. Sigh. I always tell my students that I don’t care if your older brother/sister was a total asshole (OK, I don’t use that word), I will not hold it against you. You are your own person and I am waiting for you to show me who that is. Especially that kid who got 12 suspensions last year. I don’t wanna know about it. Come into my classroom clean. Start over. Clean slate.

Wish I could do that with my life. Wake up one morning with everything erased. Start over. There’s so much baggage weighing me down at the moment, I don’t even know where to start getting rid of it.

Anyway. So. School starts tomorrow and I might even be ready. I can’t get onto Google Classroom because I’m not special enough (or I am entirely too special), but I know how to use Edmodo and will do that if I need to.

Mental status? Eh. There’s so much change and shit rolling around that I’m just pushing everything into the corner again. I have a big bubble around me and I try to bounce all the unhappy and nasty off of it. I saw 5 of my girls from last year today and got hugs from all of them (let’s not tell them that I couldn’t remember their names for another 5 hours because I am that lame). So I’m sorta holding everything at bay. I cry because I realize the boy will not ever really come back. He’ll be here for vacations, but then he’ll graduate and get a job and go off into the world. I’ve been a full-time mom for so long. I expected to have a transition stage, but there was something there to transition into. I’m not sure what I’m transitioning into any more. More quiet with fabric. I don’t know if that’s good or not.

I have this sketchbook that fits in my purse and I used to carry it (or others before it) in my former life, when I went out to dinner once or twice a week, and I would always draw while waiting for dinner to come, and I would date and locate the drawing, so there’s all these names of restaurants in all these old sketchbooks. Now there are only dates, because I never really go out to dinner any more. The first few a year ago were at the movies, when I was trying to feel semi-normal and I would go to the movies on Saturday nights and sit there by myself and cry in the movie theater.

Now I just don’t go. I miss them. I can’t afford them…financially or mentally. So I just don’t go.

None of this is particularly healthy. Maybe the drawing is. I need to do more of that, I think. In between all the other stuff. Sigh. Time. Such constraints. And ALL the FEELS.

I am so not ready for the next few days. Or maybe I am ready, but ready means that I will cry. I am sad now and maybe in two days I will be all saddened out and it will be OK again. I just don’t know. I made the mistake the other night of looking at all the photos I was trying to put away, to find a home for, and there was the girlchild, not even age 2, at my brother’s wedding, and the boychild, happily wearing a button-down shirt and tie, shaved little head, big smile on his face, age 3 1/2. Girlchild holding her sippy cup and her hair isn’t even girl-length yet. It took so long for her hair to grow.

And I know I didn’t do it all wrong, because boychild is off to a good school, to Cornell, where he will be exposed to lots of smart people and hard thinking and he will come back a different person, and I know he is there because I did a good job raising him, but it still feels like I did something wrong. Like I didn’t follow the rules so I’m being punished. And I know that lots of moms (and dads) feel sad when their kids go off to college, but it feels like abandonment. I want to lecture him on all the diapers I changed and how long I nursed him and how long it took him to potty train, and dammit, call your mom occasionally and send some pictures of your roomie and where you live and don’t forget that she was there for you. Eh? OK? I see him rolling his eyes from here.

Yeah. I think I’m just gonna be surviving the next few days. Weeks.

I must proceed.

Yes, that’s e. e. cummings he’s talking about. I read Barron Storey’s blog, well, look at his drawings anyway. Must Proceed…


Notes on Life Drawing

August 3, 2014

One of my goals for the summer was to go to a local life-drawing class once a week. I miss the focused time with a sketchbook, plus the looseness of pencil and quick poses, just to get your hand and brain talking to each other again in that free and loose and wiggly way. I’m pretty constrained and tight when I draw…not in a bad way, because my brain is fairly loose about it, but the drawing itself is not very freeform. It’s very focused. And that’s on purpose. So life drawing is different, but useful to keeping the drawing progressing or developing or something.

I went over Spring Break and it was good, and I had done one or two Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School events last year (haven’t been able to make it to one since then), so summer seemed like a good time to try to go regularly.

Basically I suck at that. Mostly that’s because although I have a good time (in the dead silence with my pencil sharpener and only that really weird slightly mentally maybe ill or I don’t know what woman talks to me, and she’s not all there) and it relaxes me and I enjoy it, it’s not always what I want to be doing. The summer is so tight with deadlines, because the school year is a bitch when it comes to making art, and those deadlines make me NOT want to leave the house for any reason at all, especially to do something I already know how to do.

Except it’s not about knowing how to do it. It’s about keeping those two, the brain and the hand, in close contact, communicating with each other.

There is a Saturday morning class I could go to all year long if I wanted to, but if I don’t have something like a hike planned for Saturday morning, then dammit, I want to still be asleep for once…especially during the school year, when waking up gets downright painful. So I go to Thursday morning, which because it is a work day for most of the normal world, is full of old men, a few old women, and some college kids. Lots of old men. Did I mention old men? And some are very nice and even smile and say “How are you?” like they might even care, but most of them are crotchety growling old crankballs.

Things that happen at life drawing:

Once the light fell down on one of the artists, bonking him in the head. That caused a lot of frantic chattering for a while.

There’s no air-conditioning, and they have to place the fan so it doesn’t ruffle paper or overly dry watercolors or acrylics or push pastel dust across a drawing. Difficult to do.

Someone talked about playing music while we drew and one of the old guys (there are lots of them) said it would be OK if we were basket weaving or knitting, but not for figure drawing. The guy then said, what about classical music? And the old man went off on types of music and not wanting to hear all that rabble. UM. First of all, music is OK if we’re working with FIBER? I’m fairly sure there was a sexist thing going on in there, and now every time I look at that old guy (because he’s there every time, probably because his wife kicks him out of the house because she’s annoyed by him) I imagine him yarnbombed. Seriously. Just his eyes are showing and we left his hands free so he can paint or draw without any noise whatsoever but the sputterings from his constrained mouth.

There was once a long discussion of the merits of ten 2-minute poses vs five 3-minute poses.

There are lots of old men. I said this already. A few 20-something’s. A couple of old ladies. A gay man with his spiky-red-haired woman friend. I know he’s gay because he keeps pronouncing all these things about gay men and then reminding everyone around him that he IS one. If a straight man did that, he would be called a homophobe, so I guess this guy is a heterophobe? I don’t really believe that. He won’t shut up though. One woman whom I suspect of having a mental disorder. Hearing aids. There are a lot of hearing aids. I think I’m going to try Dr. AntiSketchy again soon…because it was more fun. Although trying to draw all their costuming is a pain in  the ass. I’d really just rather deal with the body without all the clothing crap (as I’m sure is obvious by my own art. Fuck the clothes. They’re a pain and I’m all about what the body is doing, inside and out.).

I don’t like sitting at a table in a chair. I’m short and I can’t see over other people, plus you’re looking at the model from underneath because of the staging situation. So I sit on the counter around the edge. This disturbs most people. They feel a need to comment. It doesn’t seem to be against the rules though.

Models are always pretty young girls and one older tattooed guy. I have been doing life drawing since I was in college, that was starting almost 30 years ago, and there is always only one guy and he’s older and significantly muscled and tattooed. Honestly, I wanted to draw his tats. They were more interesting, but I needed to be closer to do that, and then you’re just drawing someone else’s drawing, and that’s just weird.

One of the older women is wearing a University of Mars T-shirt. The old men are cranky or wearing suspenders. Or sometimes both.

So I don’t know if this is something I really need to do every week. I’ve done it twice during summer and I’m running out of days I can continue to do it on Thursday. But did I mention that Dr. Sketchy events are always held in or near a bar (drinking while drawing!) and later in the day so I don’t have to get up early after staying up until the roosters crow AND, here is the most important thing, you crotchety old man: There’s fucking music. So. Unfortunately I can’t go in August or probably September even, but at least I know what my preference is. I will keep doing life drawing on and off (I really miss the class I used to do way back when I was still married…the organizer did an awesome job of getting a variety of models and it was always interesting and not silent and just more fun. That was the class that significantly upset my then-husband. He didn’t like me drawing naked people. They’re NUDE when they’re up on the platform. They’re NAKED when they step down, and they always get dressed before they step down.). I don’t need entertainment, but I do need to feel like if I’m gonna sneeze, people will bless me instead of cursing me.


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.


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.”


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