Bringing the Brain On Line

July 27, 2014

Not the most effective use of my time yesterday. Mental breakdowns never are. The plus is I seem to recover fairly quickly now from the parts where I shake and can’t focus. Thank meditation for that. And the help of some friends who say the right stuff, remind me that I am OK…remind me that just because one person in the world believes something about me doesn’t mean it’s right.

I tortured my son and ex by dragging them to the Cornell San Diego barbecue, mostly for me, really, but also so the boy might recognize people who live near him. Not that he will use that info (but all my college friends are yelling Road Trip!). He’s disdainful of the process, and actually came up and asked why the other older students made a point of telling the kids to wash whites separate from other colors, because we don’t do that at home (it’s true, we don’t, although I was raised doing that). I reminded him that the colors of his college include RED. Which RUNS. And makes everything white turn PINK. His dad admitted to making that mistake in college. Boychild wears no white, though, so he’s probably OK.

I tried to work on bindings in the car, but the curvy roads were making me sick. I wanted to get two done yesterday, but had to settle for one…Bird No. 7

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Can’t remember what the other name is for this one.

For one thing, I also quilted a bit (not a lot) on Mammogram

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It’s piled up to keep cats off it.

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I finally found the purple fabric I needed for the birds…it was hiding under something else, of course.

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I knew it was here. I hate that my brain is still pulling this shit where I’m staring right at something and I can’t see it…I lost the teabag squeezer (probably there’s an official name for that) the other day and was going nuts, but it was right where it should have been, except up an inch or so on a pile of stuff. Right in the wide open. I don’t even understand how I couldn’t see it. OK, I know…because my brain was playing games. I can’t find my turquoise hand-sewing thread either. I’m sure it’s somewhere. Oh shit. I know where it is. Fuck. Dumbass. OK, I know I’m not a dumbass…I just need days of processing time now. Hard to know how much of that is age, hormones, or depression. Or a revolting combo of all of them. The big part of my brain is just not available on a regular basis. I send a messenger down there, into the deep hole, and sometimes the messenger comes back and sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes the message is so garbled that it’s useless. And sometimes 24 hours later, the location of the turquoise thread pops into my head.

But in order to manage some of my crazy, I called one friend and emailed another, and we ended up going to see Boyhood


Which was interesting, although I was more interested in the mother character. It was an interesting concept, although the boy was not very engaging in the first few years. He was much more interesting when he aged and had more mature opinions, and certainly, being about to send a boy off to college, there was some relevance there.

I can’t seem to get my brain working on finishing the stupid pile of small tasks that would finish the living room remodel. Which means my bedroom is a disaster. And now apparently a bunch of teenaged girls are coming to spend the night tomorrow. OK. Well. There’s some motivation to move it along. Or just shove it all in my bedroom and close the door. Whichever seems to make more sense. Taking care of myself is often a collection of behaviors that others do not understand. They don’t get that I’m dragging my brain along with me, behind me, and sometimes it’s strangling me by trying to dig its feet in. Recalcitrant asshole.

More car time today…sitting in a meeting too. Four more bindings. Today. Done. Really. Maybe then my brain will come back on line. Ha.

Under Construction

July 6, 2014

I’ve been trying to adjust my mood. It doesn’t help that it’s hot during the day or that I am at the most frustrating part of the renovation (although moving furniture for the carpet install might also be frustrating…we just haven’t gotten there yet) or that yesterday was the day when I am alone for the longest period of time. Strange how being alone is both good and bad. It messes with my head, but then I NEED to be alone to do some of the art stuff I’m doing. There must be a different version of alone that works better for me (you know there is. you had it once.).

So summer is turning out to be difficult, and I finally stopped avoiding that and/or trying to bully through it, and tried to do some things that would actually change it. Going on the hike was the first one, and it was fine. So I signed up for another hike next week; I might do two…kinda depends on the weather. I also signed up for a few more meetup groups that were doing things I might be interested in, like writing sci fi. I think I have to admit that the story I’m writing is more science fiction than anything else. I have 7000 words. That’s more than I had last week. If I get a chance today, I have another 3000 or so roiling around in my brain that could be vomited out onto Google Docs. Or is that INTO Google Docs. Webspace. Not real space. Typed characters. I also went to a movie with a meetup group…will write about that further on. I’m not sure that was successful for a variety of reasons, most of them probably in my head.

So I have been ironing, about 2 1/2 hours yesterday. I started with the face…

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This is actually like a thought bubble that’s yelling at her and crying. It’s easier to iron the eye as a separate unit and then iron it on top of the already completed face.

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Maybe that’s my brain. Or some part of my brain. It’s true that with depression and perimenopausal symptoms that often you hear things in your mind that don’t make sense, the irritation for no or very little reason, the sadness, the moodiness, and then your brain gets in your face about that as well. Demands an explanation. Honestly, I don’t know how much of that is just me and how much is some symptom of any of the things that might be affecting my mood. Even the thyroid has been screwed up lately, and because I’m not on a school schedule, I keep forgetting to take my thyroid meds (symptom of underactive thyroid? Memory issues. Seriously.), so that doesn’t help. Excuse me. I’m getting up right now to take them…late.

OK, I’m back. It won’t work as well because there’s tea in my stomach, but it’s better than not taking it at all.

There’s a wolf…I kind of think of it as a protector, her familiar maybe.

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Usually I have cats as familiars in my quilts, but it seemed she needed something bigger and more wild. I’m not sure. I know there’s no cats in this one.

Bird attacking the snake that’s in her…

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I actually researched the coloring of hawks to make sure I was doing this one right…the red-tail hawks who hang out in the tree outside my studio. Beak’s wrong, but whatever.

So I’m done with the 1500s…I don’t actually have much left to iron (if you ignore the fact of the octopus tentacles from hell). I could finish today. That’s good. A week later than I wanted, but still good. Deep breaths. I might actually finish it this summer. Easily could do that. With the other one (wait, panic moment). And…and…don’t let the brain think about the ‘ands’. You will lose it.

Someone commented that I should get a tall stool for ironing (and tracing probably too). I have one. It even rolls. And has padding. Came from a thrift shop or something like that. It’s old. But I can’t seem to keep my butt upon it. I just slip right off. I’m not that comfortable sitting for long. I am used to standing all day for work. Plus, here’s the available space when I’m ironing…

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The pieces are to the left on the white table and there isn’t much room between it and the ironing board. I suspect the tired-of-ironing feeling is more because ironing is difficult at times, trying to get all the pieces in the right place and figure out where the missing pieces are (I found two more missing pieces yesterday). One of the biggest issues I have when I start stitching is all the sitting. And tense shoulder stuff. Which doesn’t help. So the rolling chair has become a rolling storage depository for stuff like lead for mechanical pencils and tape dispensers, which is probably not a good use of it.

I didn’t iron more yesterday because I was trying to make this wall work.

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Fucking wall. I started with an online recipe for texturing and used a small roller to apply it to the patch sections. It wasn’t right. I fussed with it, sanded it a little, and tried it again with a thicker mix. Still not right.

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Fucking wall. So then I rolled the whole thing…

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Which is what I did on the wall next to the fireplace, rolled it twice though. This one, I’ve only done once…and there’s some issue in that the part where the window is has the original texture. Do I care? I might. I have to make that decision today. I have to sand the whole thing just to knock the peaks down and then probably put a second coat on the whole thing, and then maybe I just paint it tomorrow and assume that’s as good as it gets. Do I really care that much? There’s an entirely different texture on the dining area attached to this, as well as the wall behind the piano, which is also part of this room. It’s all white. Is the world ending because of the texture?

No. Stop freaking. Just do it. But it’s hot and I hate sanding. Really really hate it.

So. I love going to the movies. Always have. In college, I would buy one ticket on Friday at the first matinee, student matinee price, and then I would sneak from theater to theater until I had seen like 3 or 4 movies in one day. I missed the first few minutes of some, but I didn’t care. I just loved hiding in the dark with the big picture in front of me. The last year has been mostly movie-free, not by choice. I tried in the beginning to keep going, but it made me incredibly sad being there alone and silent and I stopped. Plus it’s expensive, ticket plus parking. And I have to be picky about what I spend money on these days. College is going to kick my financial ass (which was already kicked to the ground by divorce, single-momhood, teaching not being a well-paying career, expenses for school, etc.). So I stopped going. I went to Catching Fire with the kids, but that was the last movie I saw, and that was back in November. I hate that. I hate that the one piece of my life that I absolutely loved has been so damaged by all this shit that I can’t enjoy it any more. OK. Not just one piece.

I had joined a couple of movie meetup groups, thinking that would help, I wouldn’t be there alone and there would be people to discuss the movie with afterwards. Sounds good, right? Except they usually schedule them during the week or Sunday evenings, and it just wasn’t working for me. Finally someone scheduled one for a Saturday night and it was something I would actually consider seeing, so I took a deep breath, thought about trying to change the summer mood, and signed up. Got there and introduced myself, and then realized they were all going to sit together as a group. Oh. Yeah. I hate sitting in the middle of the theater. I’m a 2nd-row person. I went on a date after the divorce with someone who told me they couldn’t continue dating me because of that. He liked the back row. That shit is never going to work. So I suggested that since we were a relatively large group, maybe some others would want to sit up front. I got one. No problem. We talked for a while before the movie, it was totally awkward, made more so by the fact that her mom wanted to sit way in the back. I’m not entirely sure why she sat with me. She said she likes being IN the movie, that feeling that being up front does for you (that is why I sit up front by the way), but it was weird. She sat still and upright for the entire movie. I fidgeted because I can’t sit still that long. I felt weird fidgeting, wondering if I was annoying her, wondering how she sat STILL for all that time.

Then afterwards, she got up during the credits and left without a word. I’m weird. I watch all the credits. When I got up, the theater was empty. Yup. I’m really weird I guess. I went out to the lobby and there were groups of people talking about the movie and I tried to join in, but I was getting texts from the girlchild about her code for the AP tests earlier (scores came out yesterday) and I knew she was expecting me to send her that soon, so I left. It was weird. And what was worse was how I felt afterwards. I love the moviegoing. I love being in the theater and experiencing another world for two hours, but the after feeling is fucking awful. I cried all the way home and into the house and found her the code and then logged in as her (like you do) because she wasn’t answering (apparently she gave up on waiting and went to a dance instead, which I am totally OK with her doing). And texted the boychild to see if he had checked his scores. I guess I’m glad I had that distraction when I got home, because the after-movie feeling was just really bad. Like crawl into bed and put the pillows over your head and sob like the world has ended bad. I have been getting better over the last few months, but this whole experience threw me back about 6 months and it sucked. I can’t live there. I can’t be like that.

So we had 7 AP tests between the two kids: they scored 3 4s and 4 5s. I texted the girlchild that she rocked (she’d been so stressed about these, thought she would be crying herself to sleep over her scores), the boychild the same. I’m proud of them. And some part of me realizes that despite the divorce years ago and all the emotional mess I’ve been this last year, that they still were able to fucking rock it academically. And as yet another person told me congratulations last night at the movies for raising a kid who’s going to Cornell, that I have smart kids, but that I had something to do with their successes…and I hope they keep having them, because I can’t do a lot about it from here on out except be the crazy mom who’s texting them at midnight about stupid stuff. The mom who stays up until 3 ironing because making art is important to her. The mom who is depressed and jokes about it and apologizes for being such a lame-ass. My house may not be clean (hell, it’s a fucking disaster at the moment), I may be a mental disaster myself, but I did OK with them.

The movies? Yeah, not so much. That part is still under construction…

In the Far Away…

May 31, 2014

Yeah. Um. Day’s over. I survived all the bits and pieces of it. Survived yesterday too. There was lots of salt water wasted over the two-day period, but hey…that’s what I do now. You should invite me to your big event. You wouldn’t even have to pay me to cry there…I just do it anyway. I could have my own reality TV show…I could do Laura Dern…I could follow happy people around malls and try to bring them down.

Anyway, senior awards ceremony last night. Boychild is an honor graduate (no shock), but also got a commendation from the National Merit Whosy-whaty…he didn’t get beyond the top 5% in the nation because we didn’t have him take the SAT in the right month. Why? Because we’re stupid obviously. No, because their rules are confusing and we messed up. Whatever. He looks thrilled. Actually, as his dad says, he looks like the reincarnation of Meatloaf in Bat out of Hell. Except less angry.

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He’s thrilled to be there. There was a dress code. Otherwise he would be in his standard uniform of jeans and black Tshirt with random holes in it.

We handled dinner afterwards and the girlchild only gave me a ton of shit, instead of two tons. I’m sure I deserve it. I did give birth to her without drugs, by the way. Back labor. Oblique lie. She owes me. She’ll figure it out. It’s OK. But yeah, she made me cry at the awards ceremony and my ex had to separate us. I was willing to just leave, but apparently that wasn’t an option. I had to come back and sit with the family.

Seriously…being a divorced mom of teens isn’t for the weak at heart…although I suspect if we were still married, I would still be the target. I just wish I could hack it better than I do at the moment. I recognize that she needs to separate from me so she can leave and go to college. I just wish she didn’t have to be so nasty about it.

So after dinner, I came home and cut stuff out, and I made the mistake of watching Parenthood, which consistently makes me cry. Stupid, eh? When I was much younger, it was China Beach and 30-Something…and something else I can’t remember the name of…this is why I try to stick to murder mysteries and sci fi these days. They are much less emotionally draining.

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See progress? I do. Tiny progress. Tiny bubbles. Boychild asked me today, “What’s a Don Ho?” I explained. I used YouTube as a support. I’d like to say I’m tech savvy, but me and my computer are currently doing some sort of battle that I think will only end in some sort of Fatal Error, not in my court, but in the home of Shit You Don’t Have Money to Spend on a New Computer Right Now (at least not for yourself…probably for that kid who is going off to college). How am I going to survive next year without the calm words of my boy…”What’s she freaking out about now?” Hell, I don’t know. There’s the kid that cooks and the kid that follows instructions, even when he doesn’t want to. There’s the uber-needy child and the otherly needy child. One talks, the other clings and then screams. My counselor talked me through some of this today, because I’m at the end of my rope. I’m dangling off the edge of an emotional cliff. You know it’s bad when your ex has to talk you back into the chair, off the floor. Seriously bad.

I’m going to be OK. Someday. Not any time soon. Maybe in two years. Or five. Maybe. I’m aiming for age 50. It’s a nice round number. It’s far enough out that I have a good chance of being sort of OK by then. Two years, nine months. Then I can be a crone and life will be oh so easy. Whatever.

Here’s one of my frogs during dissection. If you object, sorry…this is a huge learning experience for my ignorant little kids…

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Just seeing the variation and how everything fits together is a good thing for them. It’s going to suck in two years when I don’t have body systems any more…sigh. Science teaching is changing too.

Anyway. I did about 5 hours of grading tonight, and it was just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been doing this all year, sacrificing work to some version of my sanity by doing art instead, and I just can’t keep doing that this week. I have to hunker down and just grade. For hours. With loud music blasting. And yeah, I will probably cry for part of it. Damn tear ducts. Do you think frogs cry?

Patti Smith? Yeah. Well. It’s not that I don’t like Prince, it’s that I like Smith better. Dark deep woman.

My plan…to get the grading out of the way so I can draw and make art and try to be a human that doesn’t depress me. Don’t know if it’s possible, but it’s a goal. Goals don’t have to be attainable in the moment…it can be in the far away.

Nothing is so fucked up that it can’t be fixed by a Peter Gabriel song…

I think I believe that…oh yeah. And pie.

Crappy video, great song.

Done with the Flesh…

May 4, 2014

Done with the flesh. It only took about 4 hours to find and iron all the pieces for the main figure. I think I’m at 14 1/2 hours into this ironing of fabric… May 3 14 005 small

Not a small amount. More than the Celebrating Silver quilt, but less than the Earth Stories quilt…which I can start writing about this week, I think. I had to stop in the middle, right after finishing this fabric, actually, because girlchild called because her hives were back and she had no Benadryl at her dad’s house, so I got to drive over there and deal with some screaming. Apparently I am no longer the most irritating of the two parents. Oh joy. I have to say it is incredibly difficult to deal with being the mom of a typical hurricane (aka teenager) without a spouse around to commiserate with, but at least my ex and I can joke about it. While drinking wine. Because I think that’s the only way to survive certain types of teenagers.

The bin now has all the flesh for the main figure in it…

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I will probably get around to cutting all these out not this week but next. I think I still have about 400 pieces to iron on this thing, so that’s at least 4 nights. I haven’t done the lungs, heart, eyeballs, all that stuff that clutters the human body…those pieces are all here…

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With some other stuff mixed in. I think there’s a cloud in there with a giant face. You know, like you see all the time. Sometimes I really wonder where my brain comes up with this stuff. I draw sober, people. Stone cold sober. Oh heck, it’s not really a cloud, it’s one of those thought clouds you see in comics. Except there’s no words. This entire quilt is word-free. That is a bit strange for me.

So tomorrow night, maybe, I will have the patience to deal with organs, with parts. With hair. I already know she has gray hair. It’s a quilt about menopause. I guess she could have white hair. I’ve done that before. Certainly mine is going white, not gray. Is she me? Fuck yeah, she is. Hence the cracks.

Nothing feels right. Can’t just stop being depressed. Can’t find myself. Whoops! That’s where my brain was post-gym. It’s still kinda there, but I tried to squash all the boring depressoid crap with fabric. And Brussels sprouts. Slight addiction with those. Seriously. If it weren’t so hot, I would have tossed some apple crisp into the mix. Had a craving. Tend to listen to those these days. No reason not to, and if apples and cinnamon make my world a better place, then so be it. I mean, really…it’s not going to kill me and I’m having a hard enough time as it is. Why be mean about apples?

The boychild’s piano recital went well…I have video, but haven’t processed it yet. He made no mistakes (Chopin) and it brought tears to my eyes because it’s his last one. I’m such a mopey beast. They gave him a graduation trophy and then a bunch of total strangers congratulated him (and us) after because he got into Cornell. That’s weird. I think. I mean, the kid worked hard enough to get in. Yes, I guess we raised him to think he could, but…I still think it’s his thing, not mine. I’m just glad he’s happy about it. And he is. Should I be feeling better about my own life because my boy got into Cornell? It’s his life. Mine’s a fucked-up mess. His should be better, simply because I’m not in charge of it. Move on, kid…do it better than your momma. Please.

Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far…two sets of flesh fabrics…

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I really tried to be efficient today, to get stuff done, to get that feeling of achievement, of purpose. I did finish some things. I am trying to be positive. I updated the website for one of the groups I manage, I sent my website photos in for another group I’m in, I wrote the appeal for the tax board thing, I submitted for the next SAQA portfolio, I went to the gym, I graded a bit, I prepped almost everything for school next week. I have a plan for tomorrow, groceries and hike etc. I cooked dinner. I finished two books (both of which are books I need to review, so those will be separate posts). There are about a million things I didn’t do, but there aren’t enough hours in the day. But doing all that doesn’t make me feel good.

I miss going to the movies on Saturday nights. I miss those hours of mental space and relaxation that I had. I can’t seem to replicate that on my own. Hiking is the closest I get, and that’s still not the same. Movies provide a visual/emotional outlet that hiking doesn’t always give me. I could just go to the movies on Saturday nights by myself, but I’ve found that is a dangerous place to let my brain be, so I just don’t. I really miss it. I miss lots of things, though, and that just makes everything worse. That’s what’s behind the statement above, that nothing feels right. Because it doesn’t. It isn’t just about missing the movies. It’s about missing my life. I don’t feel like me. I don’t know who or how I am. This is where I am, and I don’t like it. It’s like I’m trying to break out of my own skin. I did not ask for this.

The counselor says I need to just keep turning things around to the positive. But she says things that seem crazy to me. Things I don’t want to do. I’m sure normal people could tell themselves those things and not have an issue with it, but my brain doesn’t work like that. I do tell myself, hey! because of all the shit you’ve been through, now you get to hike all the time. You get to make more art. You get to…sigh. That’s about where it stops. There are some things I don’t have to deal with any more, and I’m relieved about that, but there are so many yucks that I have to deal with instead that it doesn’t feel like a plus. I like to hike, yes…but I feel a bit obsessive about it, like I’ll go crazy if I don’t. I’m not sure that’s healthy.

Hey, here’s the new video…actually, the video is nonexistent. It’s all about the song.

Harvey Danger, Why I’m Lonely…I wonder sometimes who in this world will put up with my weirdness in drawing, art, music, hiking. I think, from experience, the answer is No One.

I’m not sick, but I’m not well…

Tomorrow morning’s hike should help. Clear my brain. Maybe I’ll scream a little. Stomp a little. Cry a little. Maybe I’ll run the whole thing. Maybe I’ll eat Skittles and be on a crazy diabetic sugar high (bad plan). Maybe I’ll just hike fast and hard and bring my brain back some wildflowers. Whatever. It’s got to be better than being alone in my head.

Holed Up in My Head

April 20, 2014

When I don’t write, why? Why am I not writing? I’m holed up in my head (hold up? That’s what I wrote the first time). I’ve obviously set a schedule for myself to help process my brain so it doesn’t fuck with me as much as it wants to, but when I’m really depressed, when I feel like I won’t be able to write anything but WAHHH, then I don’t write. I’m tired of feeling WAHHH, tired of thinking WAHHH, don’t want to be like that, but it doesn’t just stop because you want it to. Wow, the world would be a different place entirely if we could stop the bad stuff just by wanting it.

I think that’s where most of the world misunderstands depression the most. I do want it to stop. The counselor and I often talk about my attitude toward things making them more stressful or depressing, but then she admits that yes, your life is really stressful and suggests I distract myself more from the depressing things. So then I do that, I go on a hike, I go to a cocktail party, I go to an art exhibit, I read a book (or 10), I go to the gym, and the real problem is at the END of all that, then the depressing things, which have been hiding out in the corners of my brain, they come rushing out, ten times bigger and louder and scarier, like they were multiplying back in the shadows, and then I am alone, by myself, staring at them, and the WAHHH is bigger and longer. Plus last night, I was tired (hike plus jet lag, because yes, I’m still jet-lagged), so WAHHH plus tired is a nasty-ass duo that does nothing but fuck with your head.

So I went to bed, to sleep…which was fine until 3 AM when my brain couldn’t handle that state any more (I can’t tell you how welcome the blankness of sleep is sometimes, although the dream I had where I was on a Quilting Arts episode with my ex-boyfriend’s mom and she was trying to do this crafty thing and I was supposed to be helping her and I just couldn’t do anything right, wow, Freud, have a field day with that, eh?…well, that wasn’t really the blankness of sleep, was it?)…so at 3, I was wide awake. So that’s not so good. It was a rough night, so I’m still in WAHHH mode. Seriously. Sigh.

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I drew this one in Ithaca while watching a movie…I think…

So I wake up in analytical mode, how can I force the WAHHH back into hiding (the WAHHH is some version of the depression, the one that just makes me cry all the time and feel like my guts have been ripped out of my abdomen), how can I make things feel less raw, less painful? My brain is throwing things out there, things it thinks will work, but also reminding me that school starts back up tomorrow and grades are due and today is Easter (not a huge deal in our household), and my yard and house are a fucking disaster area, and if I were NORMAL, I would clean house and pick up things and sweep and trim and go buy some flowers for the front entry planters and all that might make me feel better, which isn’t WRONG, but I don’t think it works as well as making art. The Have-To and Should brigades are rearing their ugly heads and slamming in on all sides, and some part of me just doesn’t really care about all that. What’s the point of cleaning house? Of putting away the piles of books in my room? Of uncovering the table yet again? What is the point? It doesn’t really make me feel better. It’s pointless.

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I drew this on the plane home, upgraded to first class because they messed up our flights, while watching Ender’s Game, which I picked because it was least likely to make me cry. It made me cry. Just so you know. By the way, the movie kind of confused me for about the first 10 minutes, because it seemed to leave out a huge chunk of the story, enough that I wasn’t sure what was really going on (and I actually READ the book), but then the rest of the movie was fine. Strange. It didn’t really go into the deeper emotions of the kids either.

I wanted to be further along in the quilt, but that is always the case. I accept that I am always expecting more of myself than my self is apparently capable of providing.

So it’s morning now, and I still shouldn’t be writing, because the WAHHH didn’t go away overnight…around three in the morning, it turned into some force of nature that woke me up and slapped me around, and yes, I’m still tired and physically tired and mentally tired…did I mention tired?

I’m just going to save this as a draft and hope that the afternoon/evening brain is a more focused place, a less drowning-in-the-shit existence.

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Street art on the back wall of the Weber building, where I was going to an art closing reception…

So it’s night now. And I’m still tired. I’m maybe ready to start school tomorrow? Maybe not. It doesn’t really matter if I’m ready; I have to do it. So much of my life is that way. I just roll. I didn’t manage to make art today, which is too bad, but I did clean up the office/studio enough so that I can start picking fabrics tomorrow night, if I can find the energy. I just have to put some fabrics away from the last fabric-choosing event, and then I can start. It will take a long time; I know that. Plus grades are due soon, so I did spend time today doing that. It never puts me in a good mood to grade, I have to say.

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The other side of the mural.

WAHHH is still there. I exercised, but now am too tired to meditate. I know I will just fall asleep, so I’m going to finish this and then head for bed…yes, early! Apparently last night’s interrupted 8+ hours was not enough. Meds are still off, I think. Sigh. A body in balance…something I dream of.

I’ve finished a bunch of books this week…Delirium by Lauren Oliver…


read on the first flight, from San Diego to Minneapolis…recommended by the girlchild. A solid YA dystopian novel where love is some horrible disease with a cure…her writing and world are interesting enough to keep you reading, even when you think you know what will happen next. I’ll definitely read the rest, as soon as I can get through some of the library holds that have recently shown up…all at the same time. This is the second Oliver book I’ve read. Plus the girlchild has the rest of them on her Kindle, so I just have to carve out the time to read them.

Then I started one that I read about on another teacher’s website…I was a little leery of it at first, when I started reading it, but quickly fell under its spell…The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker…



This has fantasy and reality and intrigue and politics. It is LOOONG, and sometimes the story drags a bit, but the tale of how a jinni is trapped and a golem comes to life and both survive in 1899 New York City, combining folk stories of the Jewish and Arabic culture, is really fascinating. I enjoyed this book, although it did get noticeably long. I read it on three flights and in two airports and at two separate gyms. Impressed? Anyway. Definitely an interesting story.

The last one was kind of a last-minute choice of something I could get from the library (this is before all the library holds showed up), because I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything to read on the plane…Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn…


This is sort of a murder mystery, but then again, maybe not, but then again, yes. The story of a married couple is told through the eyes of each partner as the wife disappears and the husband is investigated for her murder. This story does not go the way you think it will, which adds to the suspense. It was hard to put down, even though it was a little crazy at times.

Anyway, I have permission from my counselor to distract myself with books and art and exercise…she prefers that to any bad habits I might bring on instead to hide the depression. So although I am holed up in my head, rarely coming out for air, I’m not overdosing or gambling, so that’s OK then. Maybe the WAHHH will get bored with all the other stories I’m filling my head with, and it will wander off into the sunset to harass some other poor old depressed person. It’s good that at least a couple of the things I like to do will let me close the depression door and hide out for a while. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the door completely closed and locked, but…well, there’s nothing I can do about that except continuing to do what I do. Probably more sleep wouldn’t hurt.




Searching for Better Than This…

February 23, 2014

When my head gets all tied in knots, I have this stash of partially written or barely started posts in draft form on here, and that’s what I put on the blog. It’s like fill-in-the-blank posts, posting-lite, don’t have to think too hard about posting…like the Road to California post…I had all the pictures resized and stuck in the post. I just had to go through and add all the names and links. I can do that without hardly thinking about it…and yet it takes up mental space and time. So I don’t have to deal too much with the goo in my head that wants me to feel bad. Avoidance. Book reviews? Same thing. I have about 8 other posts that are started in draft form, just sitting there, waiting. The Chihuly glass one? Started with photos, but then words took over.

This weekend? Not so much fun. Just keeping my head above water. Trying not to think too hard about feeling bad, about feeling sad. Trying not to remember how I used to feel, because that Kathy does not live here any more. She has moved out. She is never coming back. She can’t get in past the hoard (imagining when they try to get in the front door and all the crap that’s been hoarded is blocking it, and you can only squeeze in).

I went to a movie last night. I used to go to the movies almost every Saturday night. I loved going to the movies. I don’t love it so much by myself. I did it, though, because I felt like I was being punished for being alone, that I didn’t feel like I could do the things I love because of that. I’m becoming a hermit. OK, I was kind of hermit-like before, but I’m getting worse. It’s because it’s honestly too hard to be with people. I often feel more lonely in groups than I do at home alone with my sketchbook and my fabric and a cat or two. It’s sad. I wish it weren’t true. But it is. Right now. And realistically, the movies cost money and money is really tight at the moment.

So I picked a movie I had wanted to see when I first saw the trailers ages ago (there were others, but they weren’t at convenient times), and I drove out there to the theater and I cried through almost the whole movie and all the way home. I saw Her.


It was good…although it had some slow bits and the ending was…eh. Thing is, when I see people with technology now, out to dinner, hanging out in groups, everyone is doing that…talking to themselves, to their OS instead of a human…so it’s creepy, but not that far off of reality. Shades of that book…crap…Wake, by Robert Sawyer, where the WWW becomes conscious and starts talking to a teenage girl…because I know that’s who I would choose to talk to if I were the web (not). Anyway. Here’s why I’m on Goodreads…so I can look shit like that up, books I read before that I can’t remember the name of because my brain is like mush.

I suspect it’s really that so much of my brain is otherwise occupied that stuff like that just slips through.

So that was really successful, guys! I joined a couple of movie-going groups on MeetUp…maybe it will be a better experience. Of course, I can only go like one night a week, and most of their movies are not on that night. Sigh. But it’s better than this. It’s got to be. Something has to be. I keep searching for Better Than This…it’s an island in the Atlantic and there are no boats that go there. I might have to swim.

All the hikes I wanted to go on this weekend were too many hours for a two-day weekend…I had too much I needed to get done, so I got up this morning and hiked Cowles Mountain instead. It’s a quickie, but still is a good workout. San Diego has two mountains that get the shit hiked out of them by every weekend-walker and lame-ass wannabe hiker in the whole town: Cowles and Iron Mountains. The annoying part is the number of people…and the number of people who don’t know trail rules (yes, I’m a hiking elitist, sorry, get the fuck over if you are hiking that slow please)…and the number of dumb bimbos and assholes who are hiking up the side of the mountain, not following the trails, destroying it for future generations. Yes, I yelled at two girls. I apologize. Wait. No I don’t. They were being stupid. Ladies, if there’s a fence, it’s there for a reason. Where are the vicious rattlesnakes when you need them? Avoiding Cowles, for sure. I should carry one in my pack for times like this, just hurl it at the dumbshits who can’t walk on a trail without damaging sensitive habitat. Yes, they went over a fence right next to a sensitive habitat sign. I don’t feel bad about yelling at them.

That said, I did it fast (the hike) and proved I am much more fit than I was 7 months ago, when I would have to stop to rest. I didn’t rest at all, and I ran the downhill, passing two of my former students. HA! That was funny. And their mom. YOUR MOM. Sorry. Middle-school brain took over. I did pass your mom though. She’s looking good. You should be proud of her.

I didn’t do much in the way of art, because I was doing a lot of work-related shit. Which sucks. Always. I did a whole 16 minutes of cutting out Wonder Under…

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The thing is, there isn’t much more to do on this one…then I’ll be on to the next step of picking out fabrics. But to what purpose? Hell. I still don’t know. Still don’t feel it. Maybe that’s why I didn’t push it. I knew I’d be done and have to go on to the next step and I wasn’t in the mood. It’s depressing to finish a step right now. I hate that. It used to be fun, sometimes even exhilarating. Now it’s just fucked up.

Then I cleaned photos off my phone. My computer is actually getting full. I have too much music and too many photos. I need to do something about that, like soon. I meant to do it over Xmas and freakin’ ignored it. It’s too much for my brain to handle, like the broken sprinkler lines. I just can’t take it on. I have to though.

The girlchild got reading glasses.

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Which is funny, because it was the boychild we thought needed glasses and turns out his vision is almost perfect. She describes her vision as “buzzy.” We said, “vibrating? blurry? fuzzy?” She said, “No, buzzy.” The child has her mother’s way with words. Oh well.

There was this…

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Now, it’s one thing to put all those words on the back of your car (to remind you? because it’s not reminding others…driving along, OH SHIT…I’ve blown number 8. Dammit.); it’s another to spell one of them wrong. Sigh.

Jake helping the girlchild make her bed…

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I am still learning to take panorama photos on my phone…I inevitably do it wrong three times before I do it right.

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That’s Penasquitos last weekend. NOT a panorama.

And here it is again…done almost right this time…

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Pretty, huh?

And here was the top of Cowles’ Mountain this morning…

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San Diego does have the weather, doesn’t it? OK, summer will suck. I’m a little worried about summer. I won’t be able to hike like this. I don’t do heat well. Maybe I will borrow my ex’s kayak a lot. Maybe I will swim more. I don’t like swimming though.

I finished this book…A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore…


which is a good thing because book club is Wednesday. I liked it. I liked his turn of phrase. I like his weirdo stories. It’s the second of his books that I’ve read. It’s a little wacky, a little out there, but amusing and not dreary. Probably that was a good choice for the weekend, because it was a bit dreary…except for the hiking bit.

I watched this, a Tate Gallery video on nudity in art through the ages…

What’s funny is that to actually link to this video, I had to persuade YouTube that I didn’t need Safety Mode on my videos. They thought it was unsafe…I guess you shouldn’t watch it at work (I thought it was pretty benign myself). I like their shorts…educate the public about art. God knows we aren’t doing it in school any more.

This week? This week is the girlchild’s team finally making it to the CIF playoffs…two games this week guaranteed unless a volcano swallows us up (could happen), a book club meeting, and I think I signed up for two hikes next weekend, just because I think one will get canceled due to rain (she’s a real water wimp, the leader is). I set some goals on the art stuff for this week…I have two drawings I’d like to get done…one is in the sketchbook and one has been copied full size, but needs more. I want to finish the Wonder Under on the Mammogram quilt and start ironing it to fabric. I’d like to get all the wool cut out for Ivy’s quilt too, but I suspect I just shoved more into a busy week than can actually realistically get done. All that is better than thinking about the muck my brain wants to wallow in, though, so hopefully it will keep me distracted. If not, I may be back here again, clearing out photos and writing filler posts that don’t let my brain think too hard about reality. My other goal is to try to go to bed earlier…those super late nights aren’t helping. Maybe just 10 minutes earlier each night until I get back to something in the realm of sanity? Or not. It’s got to be better than this.

Art Keeps Me from Flying Apart

December 1, 2013

So I had art goals for this week off from school…and as always, I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to…but that’s OK. I got a lot done, including grading for school (that’s what I do during all those Avengers’ movies…by the way, someone needs to explain how Captain America’s actor changed his body so much in that movie, and Thor? Love Thor.), which puts me ahead for the next few weeks…that will help. I don’t have a life, so I have more time to get art done, I guess. I have even less of a life over the next few weeks…the holidays suck for that, plus the high-school soccer season is starting, plus tournaments, plus crazy school crap, plus family stuff, plus ex is going to the UK. And that Xmas holiday. Sucks. Whatever. I’ll figure it out. Anyone wanna help me with the shopping? I’m flailing.

I did all the outline quilting on the Love (not love) quilt.

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It only took about 3 hours and 15 minutes.

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Look. It’s Kitten. I’m not sure why I didn’t get more quilting done. It was hard to just quilt, even with music playing, because it’s too much free time for my muddled little brain.

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It gets upset. Angry. So then I had to go for a walk. A long walk. With a dog.


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So I did that. And found a British phone booth. Strange.

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It was a beautiful day. After about 30 minutes of walking hard and fast with the dog, I was feeling a little better. Less angry. Less sad. Not a good combination, those two emotions, especially while driving a fast-moving needle past your fingers.

Nice gate…

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This was my quilting setup…big table with machine (under the quilt), boychild often on the couch or the chair. Headphones on. Both of us.

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It really was too dark to quilt at night…on navy blue fabric with navy blue thread. A little crazy. I do this every year. Really. I do. Go back and look at November for the last I don’t know how many years. Routine.

I meant to cut pieces out for the Celebrating Silver quilt too, but that didn’t happen at all. It could have, but I was too tired. Funny, because tonight? I’m wide awake. And it’s bloody late. Stupid brain.

Last night, I managed to clean up the fabric a bit…the mess I’d left before we went to the mountains…

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It was fabric chaos…because I had wanted to get halfway through, so through the 600s…but I didn’t. Too much bullshit on Tuesday morning. Couldn’t deal. Need mental space to be able to pick fabrics. My brain has to be able to access that mellow art space where it can color the picture in my head. I wasn’t there on Tuesday morning. Too freaked out. So it waited until last night.

Babygirl has apparently decided ironing boards full of fabric are nice to sit on. Nope. Give it up.

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These were all the fabrics for the Maiden, which I got done last night…

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She got to be blonde. Her sister, the Mother, was a redhead. The Crone? She’ll be silver. I already know what her hair will look like.

Then I looked at the clock. Super late. I’m not doing much better tonight. I managed to finish off a bunch of stuff, bird and skull and big stick…

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Don’t remember what else…I’m only at piece 747, though…so 500 to go. Not ideal.

I thought about starting the Crone tonight, but I’d still be ironing now, and I have to try to get my body back on school sleep time. That means not staying up until 2 AM. So I stopped. I’m 8 hours into the fabric-choosing stage…probably got 4-5 hours left. So it’s unlikely that I’ll finish before I go back to school. That’s OK. I also wanted to finish the quilting, and I’ve got probably 2-3 hours left there as well. Because of the setup in my office/studio, it will be easier to finish the ironing before the quilting, so I’ll do that. If I can finish the quilting in the next week or so and get the binding on, that quilt will get done this month…which is good, because it needs to be photographed before the end of January. Then the other quilt, I’ll need to get it ironed down before Christmas so I can get it stitched down and quilted over Winter Break and photographed before February 1. I’d like to start another one in that time period too, so that’s on my mind. Not sure if I’ll do a smaller one (or two) first, or if I’ll do the next one on my list. We’ll see. I don’t have to decide right now. I just need a loose plan…goals to get through for December. I’ve got those. Make lots of art to distract my stupid brain. Check.

Remember how we needed white shirts for the family photo? I found this one for the boychild…


You can buy it here. He is also planning to dye his hair and do a mohawk (he has a lot of hair, so this could be really impressive). Grandma will love it. Really. (I’m not really planning on doing this. I just dream about this type of rebellion.)

I really want to be a street artist when I grow up. Street artists have this ability to paint and realize it will be gone…sometimes in days…

Amazing how they even paint over the stuff they just painted. I wanna be that free with my art. Maybe that’s my goal in the next year. Plus I want to use spray paint and do stuff that’s really big and looks awesome in timelapse photography. Plus I want to be on a couch and spray paint the ground. I have really simple needs.

And I need this pregnancy app for when I teach human reproduction…

Unfortunately, it’s not free. The useful stuff rarely is…because education has so much spare cash lying around? Seriously…my students would really benefit from this.

My mood today? I got through. I did stuff. I ran errands. I went to the gym. I finished a book, the second in a series…Crossed by Allie Condie.


It was pretty good. More YA dystopia where we try to eradicate anomalies (and disease) from society and realize that would fail because humans have free will and all. Plus love. You know. The ending was a little iffy, but there’s a third book in the series, so they had to set up for that. I would have done it differently, but I haven’t managed to write my breakout novel yet, so I can’t really complain.

Life. I get through it. Art keeps me from flying apart.


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