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…

It Just Seems That Way…

August 19, 2014

Birds are back. It was late when I started ironing. Busy day. School starts Wednesday. But the birds…the birds need to get done, whether school starts or not. I’ve started school like 13 times now. Must be my lucky year. I keep thinking I’m forgetting something major. I might be. So what? I’ll figure it out and bring it the next day. Or maybe I’ll just wing it for the first month. Science is science…make the kids figure some experimental stuff out, aim for the standards, they haven’t done science in our school a whole lot, so anything I give them will be a learning experience. I have too many ideas. Not enough time as it is.

So I focus on the birds. Because I know when they have to be done. I ironed Bird 11, another dove…

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I lay out all the pieces on quilts this small…then iron them down. The drawing is under a teflon-type sheet, so I can see it as I’m ironing. I love these things. I have about 5 of them, two that are really big and three smaller ones. One of the cats tried to eat one once. Not sure why. There are teeth marks in it. Will I throw it out? Nope. Need it some days when I’m ironing something big that needs more than one sheet. Not often, but sometimes. Yes, this is how hoarders are made.

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I don’t think it’s the same as the last one. I couldn’t figure out what fabrics I’d used. So I guessed. The tail looks right, but the body is much lighter. Then again, that fabric is mottled all over heck and gone, so maybe I just picked a lighter part of it. Who knows. Who cares. This one will be for sale at the Art Produce exhibit in September.

I did pick the same background though…

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There’s hardly any of that fabric left now.

Then I did this one again. I really like this one…

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And it exists on a quilt that will premiere at IQF Houston at the end of October. I’ll be there. Woo!

I think this one is pretty much the same…

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Because I really liked it. Someone wants this one already. Bird 12. Eyeball Bird 2.

There are three more to iron, but it’s late and I have to be up earlier tomorrow than I was this morning. I was at school most of the day, and then girlchild had her wisdom teeth pulled. She did not deal well with the pain, and the doctor called around 9 PM to check on her and said they were “tough little teeth.” I don’t know what that means, but I do know her tolerance for pain is not great. So she’s iced and medicated and sleeping. She hasn’t eaten since early this morning. I made her mashed potatoes (by request) but then she didn’t want anything but water. It’s OK. They’re in the fridge for tomorrow. She’s not a happy camper. Someone needs to work on a genetic vaccine that gets rid of those wisdom teeth before they grow…like it predicts mouth size based on genetics and says, “Um, no, they will NOT fit, so let’s not even waste the resources on them.” And then they don’t grow.

Yes, this is how I can write sci fi. My brain goes to those weird places without you.

Anyway, so much of my evening was punctuated by moaning and whining and bloody gauze (which eventually she could deal with, which is good, because she only bit me twice and that was more spit and blood than I really wanted to deal with today) and ice and meds and cooking, lots of cooking. In between that, I reduced the hoard. I’ve been trying to get my room cleared of all the stuff from the living room, and part of that is finding homes for many things that used to live in there but really don’t need to live in there. So I have this closety thing in the hallway that I’m sure is supposed to be for linens and towels, but fuck that. I store art supplies, stitching stuff, computer bits and pieces, slides (from the days when that’s what we submitted to art shows), photos, and extension cords. Lots of those, for some reason. And it’s a disaster. It was organized right around the girlchild’s 2nd birthday, and I was still married then. So that tells you something about the state of those cupboards. And yes, I got a weird bug up my butt, because I knew there were photos in there, and I had a ton of photos in my room that used to live in boxes in the living room, and they needed a new home. So they should all live together, like with like.

So I started pulling things out of the cupboards…

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And yes, I filled the hallway. It was un-traversable at some point. And then I filled one trash bag and another. Here’s an example of what I found in there. When I came back from the UK in 1988, I was hooked on EastEnders (yes, whatever, judge away), and when I was in my last year of college, the OC played EastEnders on PBS, so I could keep watching. Then we moved to San Diego and no such luck, so a friend of mine who lived in San Francisco would tape the show on videotapes with a VCR (oh my lord, the olden days) and send them to me. And I would watch them. I found 10 of them. In a box. Dated 1995 and 1996. Impressed? Yup. I tossed them. If I really want to watch EastEnders again, I will get the DVD. And I don’t, by the way. I really don’t.

I managed to throw out a lot of crap, because I did a lot of stitching in the past and apparently wanted to keep all the patterns of things I had already stitched and tiny bits of thread that I had knotted onto labeled index cards and carefully stored in bags with the already used patterns. Yup. Tossed them. I still have some stuff to rehome, whether at a thrift shop or in the garage (because I probably don’t need to keep my respirator from my screenprinting years in the house. Because I’m not screenprinting at the moment, and if I were, it would be in the garage, not in the house).

My SIL was so proud. Oh yeah, so going back to the early years of Kathy Quilting.

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It’s an abstract pattern made of three main blocks.

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I never made these blocks. Piece 26 in the middle of that log cabin-type block is 1/4″ square. I’ve never pieced that well in my life. My art brain vomited all over my shoes when I tried. Then I learned how to applique what I really liked to draw, which at this point, was all being made into screenprints, and I’ve never looked back. But I wanted you to see some of the places I went before I got to where I’m at. Because it’s amusing, that’s why. How did you become an artist? Well, I tortured myself with the rules for a while and then I gave up and made what I wanted.

Which doesn’t explain why I’m making more birds, of course, but they serve a purpose and they will be done soon. It’s really probably just procrastination from the next step…because finishing that drawing or the floating house might kill me.

Not really. It just seems that way.

Remind me tomorrow morning why I thought it was a good idea to stay up this late?

Last Sunday Before…

August 18, 2014

Sunday morning. Last Sunday before school starts again. Newest teacher mag says that to make this year the best, I should already be dreaming of summer vacation. Next year’s summer vacation. That’s just thoroughly fucked up. I don’t think that’s healthy at all. I mean, there are quite a few vacations BEFORE that. Although, I guess my looking at artists’ residencies is a form of dreaming about next summer.

So there’s no traffic driving up to the OC, which is kinda miraculous. We get here after quite a bit of sniping on both sides (my patience is seriously stretched at the moment), and realized I forgot my damn chair. Yesterday the second backpack strap broke, which makes it a pain to carry. I was going to fix it (again) last night, but forgot until about ten minutes before we were supposed to leave this morning. But I remembered! Sewed both of them up, but shattered a needle doing it. Good thing I wear glasses, because the pieces flew everywhere.

I even moved the chair out into the entryway so I wouldn’t forget it. Yup. Forgot it. At least I have my chair for bleachers…better than nothing. And there was toilet paper in the Portapotties. This is also a miracle. Will they never cease?

Deep breaths. I’m pretty sure we only have one game today, so I won’t have to be here all day like yesterday. I’m banishing all the bad thoughts. Really. Over there. Sit down and shut the fuck up.

This really is the blog of a depressed single mom artist who is trying to figure out how to NOT be the first one and be MORE of the last one and I don’t get to do anything about the middle one. Because they’re almost raised at this point and although their dad was here and paid mostly when he was supposed to, parenting has been a singularly lonely and unsupported thing. I mean yes, people drive the kids places and drop them off here or there, but the real crap, the down and dirty of it…it’s all been on my shoulders and I’m tired. I really am.

I guess that’s how we know it’s time to send them to college. Too bad the girlchild has to finish high school first. Not really. I need her still. Probably will need her even when it’s time for her to leave.

This license plate seen on the way to the soccer tournament yesterday. I NEED THIS. Because it’s true.

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Arty soccer photo. It was better but then one of her teammates ran in front of her. I still kinda like it though.

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Yes, more soccer. Only one game yesterday, but we were gone for 5 hours. Better than the day before, when we were gone for 11 hours. They lost all 3 games. There are some issues, not the least of which is injuries.

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I cut out the other two birds last night…this one was fairly similar to the original…

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Calli was underfoot the entire time. I had to go out into the living room to persuade her to follow me out of the room so I could come back in and move the ironing board. Twice.

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The second version of the owl is different, though…purples.

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And then I sat, late into the night, and cut out all the pieces.

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It didn’t really take that long. Although it was after midnight and now it’s morning and I have to leave for school in 14 9 minutes. Tonight I’m hoping to iron them together, but the girlchild is having her wisdom teeth pulled this afternoon, and as a single parent, I know better than to assume everything will go to plan. OK, I guess ALL parents know that (at least the smart ones do). Plan, but realize your plans will be fucked. Because that is the way it is.

I should take a picture of the floating house too…because it’s turned into a giant cat toy. Or not. I don’t know what to think about it. Girlchild was disturbed about my hanging worry dolls off of it.

Tired. Not ready. Never am. Why change? Accept.

Dyar Springs Hike

August 17, 2014

I picked last Saturday’s hike because of my knee…it was supposed to be about 5 1/2 miles with very little elevation gain/loss. The knee doesn’t like going downhill at the moment. So we went out to Dyar Springs in the Cuyamacas. I’m always amazed by how many hikes there are out there. I’ve been on so many hikes out there and there are always new ones.

It’s a typical California landscape…

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I always imagine native people hundreds of years ago tramping across the landscape and what they would see.

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It’s August, so it’s warm even in the mountains…it hit the 80s really quickly.

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Some of this area had been hit by the fires over the last 10 or so years…but also bugs have killed some of the trees…

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But those rolling, brown, grassy hills are what I see in my mind’s eye when I think of MY California…

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With pines in the distance or oaks…

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There was wildlife…a California horned toad (aka a horned lizard)…cute little creatures, aren’t they?

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And a stick insect…

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He had some plant life tangled around his head? Is it a HEAD? We tried to pull it off, but he wasn’t having it. Fought it the whole way. Don’t know that I’ve ever seen one of these in the wild. Belongs on WTF Evolution.

We hiked off trail a bit for some reason. I don’t remember what.

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And then back towards the springs.

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There wasn’t much in the way of springs…mostly mud. We stopped for lunch here, near these oak trees and rocks.

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Those old California oaks are part of my sense of home too…

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There weren’t a lot of flowers around this late in the season…

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And some of the trees looked a little worse for wear…

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Hard to know if they’re still alive sometimes, especially at this time of year…

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This was the view back the way we’d come…

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And here’s where we set up our potluck picnic…

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Lots of good food and debating how many calories we’d burned so far and how many more we’d have to burn after eating everything that was laid out for us.

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The path back was that typical mix of grass and trees…

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Mountains in the distance…I think that’s Stonewall Peak to the left.

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More dead trees from the fires…

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Some monuments to the destruction that keeps this area alive.

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And then? Strangely? A patch of watermelons. No water to be seen around. No reason for them to be there…WAIT! My loyal reader Julie (who is a bit of a native plant expert, certainly more than I am) tells me this is calabazilla (which is the funnest name around), aka buffalo gourd or more interestingly stinking gourd (glad we didn’t figure out why). It has a great Latin name, for sure: Cucurbita foetidissima. I’m always looking for the word foetid involved with food.

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We kept hiking…

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It was good. It was peaceful. It was 7 3/4 miles instead of 5 1/2. Oh well. And there was dirt and mud and I sunburnt the BACKS of my knees (nope, didn’t even think to sunscreen those). And my knee hurt briefly…but that’s it. Good.


August 17, 2014

I spent pretty much all day on a soccer field today, which explains the dehydration, the sunburn (despite multiple applications of sunscreen and the use of an umbrella), the 65 pictures of soccer playing, and my mood in the evening. Girlchild can be difficult to manage when she’s hot, tired, sweaty, etc., and all of those things happened today. I weathered most of it, but it wore me down, and by the end of the day, there wasn’t any strength left in me.

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I had some moments of depressoidness today, moments when it was quiet and I wasn’t distracted enough from the inner workings of my disturbed little mind, the bit that keeps nattering on about all the things I’ve done wrong and how none of them will ever be right…you know, the standard depression fare.

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I spent the hour before the first game and part of that game writing…writing this weird-ass science fiction story that just spills out of me when I turn it on, sputtering like a barely used faucet, words flowing out in big gouts of semi-literate paragraphs. I wrote about 1500 words in that hour plus. We’re out of the woods and back into the city, storywise. It’s good.

OK. I don’t actually know if it’s good. I’m just writing until I’m done, and then I’ll put the editor hat on and go back in and kick its ass. Then and only then will I read it for story. Actually, I’ll probably let other people read it then. It could really suck. Who knows.

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The team lost the first game. It was very hot out there. The picture above, the girl on the other team was hooking her arm through the girlchild’s elbow, and when the girlchild swung her around as she got the ball, the other girl tried to get the ref to call a foul. He did. On her. BOOM. We then spent an hour in a chilly Panera. Much nicer, except for all the noisy people. I read. I wrote a little more. We went and bought water. I got yelled at, but not seriously.

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Then we sat on the field waiting for game number two. Still hot. Sleepy. Napped a bit. Read. This is where the brain started wandering. It started thinking about life a few years ago and what it was like and all the stuff I’m missing and that I’ll never have again and trip! There you are. In the damn hole. Drag yourself back out. Tell yourself to be in the fucking moment. Watch the weird seed pods floating balletically (it is TOO a word) across the soccer field, feel the (ultra) warm breeze waft across your face (and dry your eyes out). Deep breaths. Traffic on the south Interstate 5 is finally clearing up, so we might get home in a reasonable time frame. POSITIVE FUCKING THINKING BABY.

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Then girlchild made a goal, which was good, because she is more likely to be in a decent mood if she is successful at something (shocker, that. Must be genetic.). The photo above is right before the goal…she actually had to kick it past the goalie and then come around with her left foot and bend it (not like Beckham) into the goal. Which she did.

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I stitched during the second game. Not a lot. I really wasn’t in the mood. Sometimes it all seems very pointless.

I talked to people. I tried to be sociable. I tried to shut up the bad parts of my brain with all the wondrous seed pods and warm breeziness. SIGH. And then I got yelled at in the car on the way home. So I turned the music up and cried a bit all the way home.

And after dinner, after I heard the litany of why girlchild is so stressed, which I can’t possibly understand (seriously, she said that), I decided to do what I wanted. Yes, I’m fully aware that school starts in four days and my house is a disaster and my lesson plans are questionable. I know all of that. I also know that BALANCE is what I need and that means the only really good thing I learned last year is that even if I am so depressed I barely function, I can do my job and come home and make some sort of art every night and I will survive. So I should keep doing that part. I should not bury myself in my job, because although it can be very fulfilling, it also sucks my soul out of my body and spits it out in a sewer. Art? Not so much. It tends to be much kinder. It is a better place to be.

I’ve got 5 birds to get done by September 1. Well, two birds HAVE to be done by then…here’s the first, another one of the doves…

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I pulled the original picture up on the iPad, but couldn’t figure out what fabrics I’d used, so I winged it.

Because there’s a shortage of fabric in my room? Yeah. I didn’t think so.

The dove and a new version of the diving bird will be at the Fence/Barda exhibit that I’m involved with at Art Produce Gallery in North Park (San Diego), which opens September 13.

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Both will be for sale at that venue…which means I need to finish them slightly differently and not spend too much time on them, because I don’t get all the money.

I got this one cut out too, but it should already have a home…

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Two more to do tomorrow. I did this one slightly differently too. Can’t always find the original fabrics. Lots of fabric in here.

Anyway, I think I fought off most of the depressoid stuff…at least, if I go to bed now, I have a good chance of leaving it here instead of bringing it to interrupt my sleep, which is what happened this morning. I could have used the extra hour of sleep, but no…my brain does not allow it. Anyway. I’m trying. Know that I’m always trying.

I Will Not FedEx Your Underwear

August 15, 2014

Parenting. Is sometimes one of the weirdest experiences. After a series of texts this morning where I tried to explain to my daughter that I was busy trying to get ready for school and deal with life tasks, I ended up (giving up and) driving to her dad’s house and delivering a check, her mascara, and a pair of underwear. Seriously. He seemed to think she had underwear there but didn’t want to look for it. And I’m wondering if in a year from now I will be FedExing her a check, mascara, and a pair of underwear to college. Because that won’t be happening. I’m making that clear right now. (Just so you know, girlchild doesn’t read the blog. Occasionally she skims for pictures, but that’s it. And if she knew I was writing about her underwear issues, she would scream at me. Then again, she screams at me for a lot of things and I basically don’t hear it any more. I’ll get screamed at later for something else I’m sure, and since I’m the parent in charge of soccer this weekend, because her dad has another team going to another faraway tournament, the screaming will probably make me cry at some point this weekend because I’m not in a great mental space and then she’ll get upset about that and and and. So the underwear comment is the least of my worries.)

While I was there, ex and I had a discussion of the boychild’s imminent departure for college (less than a week now) and how unprepared he seemed to be to actually FLY out of here (with his dad, who seems similarly unprepared). And now I have to make a list for them so they know what to do when they get there. 1. Find room. 2. Find all the boxes and books that are all over campus that we’ve shipped out there to make sure he has bedding and textbooks and maybe even clothing. 3. Get him anything else he needs. 4. Don’t text me, don’t call me, don’t panic and freak out. Deal. Am I allowed to put that on the list?

Because it’s not like I’m starting school next week guys. It’s not like my room’s not an utter epic-fail disaster at the moment because of the kamikaze destruction I had to do at the end of the school year so the summer school special ed classes could SAFELY be in a science room. I don’t know where anything is. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I can’t focus on any of it.

So yesterday, I did the online stuff I was supposed to do to “train” me for using tech in my classroom (cough cough. not helpful.) and then went down to my classroom and did that crazy thing I always do, where I start one endeavor (empty boxes, unlock cupboards) and then like a squirrel enticed by a nut stash, I quickly switch to another task, and then while doing THAT task, another job rears its ugly little head, so I start that, and then I wander back over to the first one again, until I sit down somewhere, put my head in my hands, and wonder if I might make a good barista. Or a wonderful gas-station attendant. Or perhaps a bagger at the grocery store. These seem like worthy tasks. I might feel more successful. I might be less crazy.

Then after I finally gave up and started driving home, I notice movement from the car next to me at the stoplight. It’s one of my former students (a real jerk that year) waving at me. I roll my window down, music blasting, tell him his music isn’t loud enough and wave back. Take off when the light turns green. He’s on Clash of Clans with me (except he doesn’t know it’s me) and reports a Nida sighting.

Fuck me. This job will alternately save my life and drag me under.

And you wonder why the meditation and exercise are so important to me. OK, maybe you don’t wonder that.

I did exercise yesterday, after I found and ordered the rest of the boychild’s textbooks (he was here…he’ll have to do it himself in December or whenever he signs up for the next lot. Like a good teacher, I have now provided direct instruction and modeled best behaviors. He can now do guided instruction by texting me his questions while he’s trying to order for next semester. And hopefully by next year, he will have graduated to independent practice and I will just be the one paying the bills.). And then I came home and stared at the things I needed to do and I picked the ones that hurt least. The ones that gave me the most peace of mind. The ones I could handle the best.

Because my brain was slipping back into that depressoid place. It was quiet here last night, third night running with no one but cats. Hours of silence and no interaction with anyone but the chick at the gym who scanned my card and the guy who handed me my dinner. “Hot sauce?” “Yes please.” He’d already put it in there. I only go there once a month…it’s all I allow myself…but he knew I wanted the hot sauce. Thirteen hours of silence.

I worked on the binding for the big Menopause quilt, which is almost done…

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And I cut out all the Wonder Under for the 5 birds that need to be done by the end of the month.

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Actually, I have leeway on three of them and none on two of them, and they have to be a certain price, so I will be shortening up some time on those two to make them hit that price in my head. Plus there’s a gallery commission on them. So they won’t have a hand-stitched binding. I’ll satin stitch the edges. Much faster.

But I”m almost at the point where I can call the photographer on the two big quilts I will have finished this summer, and then I need to really really really get my butt in gear on the next big one. Maybe tonight I will work on that, or iron the birds down to fabric. I’m stuck on soccer fields all weekend (actually, if I’m lucky, we’ll have Sunday afternoon free) and then school takes over my life. School and soccer.

There are so many things that need to be done and I just don’t feel like I can handle all of it. So I make a list and start crossing things off of it. It’s the only way to survive this type of shit. Right now, my list consists of: 1. find my watch 2. take meds 3. make more tea (you need it) 4. go to school and make it happen. I can’t get beyond number 4.

OK. Going to look for the watch.

Because It Has to Be…

August 14, 2014

So I hiked last night. I think it will be very difficult for me to pull these hikes off during the school year, though…the mid-week after-work hikes? I didn’t get home until 9:30 and then cooked dinner and laid around like a sloth for a while, which is what you do after a 5- to 6-mile hike at the end of a long day, and then I did some more stuff on the floating house, but it really sucks hours out of your day. Three hours just gone. And I’m gonna need those hours. Sigh.

We did Iron Mountain again…

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It’s a nice hike. Not too hard. Harder coming down in the dark. We led a Swedish team of kids down (actually, although I was in front, I led no one…Gail had to tell me where to turn, because I suck at that).

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It was beautiful at the top. We ate snacks and talked and watched the sun drop below the marine layer and the colors reflecting off the mountains and clouds to the east.

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Every time I get to the top of a peak in San Diego County, I look out and see this beautiful undulating, rocky landscape that is home. Maybe I need to put mountains on my floating house (shit. I don’t think I have the right colored organza for that). The surrounding landscape is home too. Living in the UK for a year, it never felt like home. It was too green and verdant, and although it was undulating (I was in Wales), it wasn’t very high or rocky. It was hills with sheep cavorting across them. It didn’t take long to climb to the top of anything. You were never very far from sea level.

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And I tried to figure out last night, Why Hiking? What is it about putting the pack on, pulling 720 foxtails out of your boots from Saturday’s hike (seriously, I am not kidding), slathering deoderant on so you don’t smell too bad, stomping up a steep slope in the late-afternoon August heat, into the cool shade of the back side of the mountain, shading your eyes from the low-slung sun as you come around the corner facing west, summitting the peak, taking your pack off so the sweat drenching the back of your shirt can dry before heading down, thinking the downhill might never end, slipping a bit because you’re hiking in the dark, blinded by the lights behind you that splash your giant silhouette across the trail in front of you. And you don’t have dinner waiting, you barely ate all afternoon, you had a handful of peanuts and two grapes and five carrots at the top. And you come home covered in dust and needing to shower, sweaty to the core despite the cool night breeze for the last half of the hike. Why do this? What does it bring? There is this sense of accomplishment, of survival sometimes on the longer/harder hikes, this mental rush from the adrenaline, the serotonin release, and it makes you turn up the music LOUD on the drive home and you feel all I Am Strong for a while, and then the rush slips away and you are sad. Because there is no dinner waiting; there is only silence. And yeah, you did it. Good. You will strengthen this body and make sure it lasts as long as possible. This is one reason why you hike. And you hike so you actually TALK to people in the evenings or Saturday mornings, because otherwise the silence overwhelms you. But that feeling doesn’t last. It’s not sustainable. And that is the depression talking. It always has a cord around your neck, pulling you towards the hole, and when you are tired from the hike and you haven’t eaten yet and the thought of cooking something is already exhausting, then that cord can pull you back down really easily.

I came home and meditated while dinner was cooking. Jake, the German Shepherd, was not very respectful of my meditation time and kept plopping toys into my lap (I had left him alone all day). Tired won for a while. I worked on the house after professional development yesterday, before the hike…

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I started the veins on the other side of the house…I run the stitching line first and then trim…

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And then I put a second layer on top. Because if you’re using organza, you should overlap it.

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And I’m not sure I like it at the moment. I liked it last night, but today I’m not so sure. I have some other stuff that needs to go on it. But I may just leave it hanging there for a bit to get used to it. Maybe. And I have another idea for something I want to do, but I’m supposed to be simplifying my life, right? So it doesn’t overwhelm me right as school starts?

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It looks so different in artificial light…

I just don’t think that’s in my nature. Simplifying. I mean, maybe on some level, because last year, I worked really hard to streamline stuff so I wouldn’t have to bring so much work home, and I think that worked, but…reducing the amount of time I’m in the art mode? Or the number of things I work on? That doesn’t seem healthy. I know I cause more stress to myself by taking on artistic projects, but these are also the things that keep me functioning. They keep me from falling into that hole and staying there. Even though I’m barely out of the hole, hanging on by my fingernails, slipping back down on a regular basis, at least I’m mostly out. And that’s the art. The hiking might help a little, but it’s the art that sustains me.

Anyway. Back to school again today and tomorrow. In the old days, I would have fought it more, stayed away longer, but in the old days, I had more that was at home that sustained me and kept me recharged. I don’t have any real rechargers any more. I don’t feel like summer has given me the break I need to start a new year of teaching, but I think it will be OK. It will be different, and I don’t know what that different will look like, and I’m sad about some parts of it and excited about others, but I also know at the end of every day, I can come home and draw or sew or cut up pieces of organza and hang them from a coathanger in some crazy-ass desire to express what home is. And for now, that is enough. Because it has to be.


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