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.


November 30, 2013

Have you noticed that I haven’t been posting about emotions and grief and all that crap? I preloaded two benign posts (I put all the pictures in before we left Tuesday) so I could write two posts up in the mountains without having to think too hard. I  figured I would have issues up there, and I did. The emotional stuff…it’s heavier now with the holidays. I was so relieved, even happy last year at this time about an issue that I thought was finally solved, that I could finally feel comfortable about the holidays and how we dealt with them, and I guess this year is proof that I knew nothing. That nothing is permanent or works out…and yes, I know that’s negative thinking, but the holidays sort of bring that out, you know? You have expectations, and this year, I had none…and I got that. Nothing. I got nothing that I really wanted, because who the hell knows what I want? I’m just moving through the days, doing the stuff people expect me to do, but not happy about any of it. Living in the moment? Really just trying not to think at all. That’s one issue I have with this concept of living in the moment…if you don’t look forward at all, you can’t change what’s happening. If you don’t look back, you can’t change where you are. In the actual moment, I don’t do anything but live THAT moment. And that doesn’t change anything for me. I need change. I need reflection.

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We go to Lake Arrowhead every year for Thanksgiving. This year was no different.

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We left Tuesday. The plus is that the girlchild wanted to drive and she’s fairly competent, so I sewed birds until we hit the mountain…

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Calli slept in the back seat with the boychild…

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She’s a very good car dog…

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As long as you don’t mind her sleeping on you. She did have an extended back seat…we put the ice chest behind the seat and covered it with towels so she COULD sleep that way, but it’s more fun to be ON someone.

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Traffic wasn’t bad. The weather was nice.

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And I cried on and off. Music set me off. Plus the holiday itself. And stupid memories. Hard to shut those off. Just stitching, my brain has too much time to wander off into sentimental crap that won’t help it. It does it anyway.

I don’t feel good enough. I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t the right thing. I know that’s not about me, but it doesn’t make it hurt less or feel better. It really just feels like shit. I wasn’t worth working for…and that’s happened twice now. Please don’t say “you’re better off…” because that just ignores the pain I’m in right now. It may be true…I certainly got there in my head post-divorce and still believe it, but it doesn’t make any of it feel any better while you’re living it. All those things we say and write…they are so meaningless, and sometimes downright cruel. Just say “I’m sorry.” That’s all you have to say. You can’t fix it, so don’t even try. There really isn’t anything you can say that will make it better. You can show me some lame comic off of Reddit or a stupid Vine video of BatDad…that might help…once.

On Tuesday night, the kids and I went to see Catching Fire


It was good, although I almost ended up in the boychild’s lap during the baboon scene. He is very tolerant. I wrote this down during the movie, a quote from President Snow’s daughter: “Some day I want to love someone that much.” Snow answers, “And so you shall.” Even the movies conspire against me. I had a conversation with the boychild…something along the lines of, “you’ve watched your mom cry for 5+ months now…keep that in mind as you are dealing with women or anyone else in the future…don’t run away…make sure you communicate and be responsible for your actions…don’t you dare do something like this to someone else. It’s not OK.” He says he knows. In the moment? Who knows what he will do or think or feel. He is very kind to me, though. Then again, I’m mom.

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This was Tuesday night’s sky. It helped, briefly. Nature helps. Beauty helps. Briefly.

I felt bad about writing about depression and grief on Thanksgiving, so I just didn’t write. I mean, I wrote here, but I didn’t post any of it. I was there with my family and friends and I should have been thankful for food and time off and people who love me, but I’m not. I’m in that mind space where I’m just surviving…I’m trying to tell that whiny voice in my head to shut up. I’m not reading blogs, because I can’t handle other peoples’ happy or thankful at the moment. I’m staying off Facebook…same deal. I have nothing good to say…all I can say is wow…this still sucks. Thus is depression, and it has its claws in me. I will get away, but not today. Today I will do what I need to do to get through, and I will try not to think about last year, because how can you now be thankful when you have less and what you have hurts all the time? And that is depression. It’s not something where I can just get up and make a decision to be OK. I have to work through it.

My dad gave me an article about the difference between being lonely and alone: I still feel lonely in a room surrounded by others. I’m not ready to go out and party. I’m still hurting and sad. It’s a sign of how deeply I was committed to what I had, how deeply I was hurt. Respect it. Let me find my own way, in my own time. I’m alone because that’s all I can handle. I’m lonely because I haven’t figured out how to fix that yet.

We came home today; I drove down the mountain. We had Pandora playing most of the trip off the girlchild’s phone, and tried a variety of ways to rig the speakers…this was NOT the best choice…

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Boychild finally typed up his essays for the University of California college app (due tomorrow)…in the back seat of the car…

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Calli had her head on the keyboard for part of it. He has now officially applied to two colleges…only eight to go (seriously). I’m feeling a little less stressed, or a little more stressed, depending on what part of his going to college I think about…paying for it or sending him off or having finally started the process or I don’t know. His actually getting in? Scary stuff. Paying for all of it while trying to budget for Christmas is a whole ‘nother issue.

We switched drivers at the bottom of the mountain (I get carsick easily, plus didn’t want to white-knuckle the trip down in the rain)…

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Calli was awake for that (briefly).

Then I went back to sewing, in the rain this time…this is where the speakers ended up…

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More crying on the way home. Girlchild notices…doesn’t say a word. I cried on the way up because she had been yelling at me, typical teenaged stuff, but I just couldn’t handle it. On the way back, I don’t even know what set me off…songs…the trip…my brain. She said sorry on the way up. Don’t cry. Please don’t cry.

I didn’t manage meditation up there at all…too tired by the end of the day. I think we saw three Avengers movies in the last 5 days, plus lots of people and food (more about that later). I really should have meditated, but would have just fallen asleep in the middle of it. I kept having dreams and nightmares…mostly dreams that turned into nightmares…makes sleep a bad place to be. The house was on fire, I kept going back for stuff, someone was helping me. Kids were little; I grabbed electronics and chargers. I couldn’t get to my sketchbooks, clothing, or meds. Calli was the last thing I grabbed. The house gets sprayed by something, but it’s not helicopters, it’s people flying through the air with their arms outstretched, spitting water from their mouths. It’s not enough. I woke up terrified. That was the nightmare. I couldn’t remember the dream by the time I had typed that out.

I meditated tonight, a relief really (remember that), but with a cat on my lap, squawking at me and kneading my thighs with her claws, while the dog cried at me with her ball, wanting me to throw it, headbutting me until I petted her. While breathing. While counting my breaths. While noting my emotions. While crying. Meditation with interruptions is still better than no meditation at all.

Mr. Meditation says I need to allow my emotions the space they need to exist. I think I do that. I don’t run away from them. They are part of human existence. We can’t control when they come and go. We can’t get away from them or control them. There needs to be a willingness to listen within. Listen to my own emotions and watch them and exist with them. If more people did that, I think there would be a lot less pain in the world. Fear of one’s own emotions seems to cause an awful lot of stupid behavior.

Despite all the bad mental stuff over the last three or four days, I found myself today being grateful for the art. I’ll write tomorrow about what I’ve gotten done, but better than that…I currently have 9 pieces out for shows, either in shows right now or traveling to a show that will open soon. I have 4 pieces guaranteed for shows in the next few months, another one that I will finish in the next few months that has a guaranteed traveling exhibition starting next winter, and another one I haven’t even started that will be in a show next January. There is no shortage of work in my head that wants to be made…one was crying out to be drawn during meditation today and I ignored it…at least for now. The art brain is there, it’s active, it’s holding my head out of the water. The art brain doesn’t mind being alone…it’s the non-art brain that gets lonely. The two don’t exist apart from each other, unfortunately though, so I have to help one to help the other…at the moment, the art brain is ruling the roost…it hears the other part, but it knows that the art will get me through…so it keeps making and dragging that part of the brain along with it. They don’t often get along, the two pieces of my brain, but they do know to take care of each other…give art brain ample time to create, but let the rest of my brain have a life outside of art, and they will both be happy. Right now I will settle for one part being hard at work and somewhat distracted by that. For now.

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