Brain Wanders Off…News at 11…

July 17, 2014

Interesting day. Bad anniversary. The word anniversary seems like it’s supposed to be good. There should be a different word for bad anniversaries…like anniversaries of someone’s death or planes crashing into buildings or bombs going off. We shouldn’t use the same word that we apply to getting married or hired or being born. It should be like a maliversary or a downerversary or a shitversary. Better, huh?

Yeah, whatever. It’s all about distraction for me at the moment. The whole summer, a distraction attempt. I fail.

I stitched a lot of things down today while listening to Pandora. Pandora and I have a troubled relationship. Sometimes she rocks my world and I get up and dance around my office, out into the hallway, where if my kids look up from computers or phones, they see mama gyrating, pumping fists, in the hallway, yelling out (scary huh?) But so often, she’s lost in this young girl YOLO mentality or romantic shit that I don’t believe in anymore. Maybe I never did. Pandora, when you get like that, I don’t want to hang out with you any more.

That’s wrong. I did. I’m not sure I will again.

So I stitched for almost 4 hours today…and I almost finished.

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I probably have an hour left, maybe two at the most.

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View of sewing machine and yard while filling yet another bobbin…

It was hard to force myself to keep going. It’s really hard to do this part. But then it got late and I just wanted to finish, but I have to be up early again tomorrow, so I stopped.

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Seriously, though. I could just stay up all night. Why not? I have no life. I can just stitch for 24 hours straight and then go to bed. Whatever.

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Who’s gonna care?

I got on a roll at some point. But then I had to stop and deal with girlchild’s wisdom teeth. Apparently she is too wise and they have to come out…

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There they are. What sucks is that we can’t get her in for the surgery until the week I start school. And boychild leaves (aargh). I am not going to be a good or happy person that week. I am going to be a mess. Naw. My counselor says not to assume anything. I am actually really good at that now. I just don’t think I will be or do anything. I just show up and go from there. I go with the flow and if I don’t like it, I step right out of the flow and watch everyone continuing on. And I crawl back into my hole and hang out there for a while. Hermit is the antiflow.

Yeah. I didn’t say it was the healthiest thing in the world to do. It just is what I do at the moment. I set a goal every day and I try to reach it. Most days I don’t, but that’s because I have high expectations for myself. I guess that means I should be regularly disappointed in myself, but I don’t think that way. I think, Oh Hey, you tried. You’ll finish up tomorrow. It’s OK. Because none of it is life or death.

So yeah. My goal to finish stitching down today didn’t happen, but I got close, so I’m OK.

The back…

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And more of the front…I just have the head and the thinking bubble with the yelling face. That’s it. Then I can sandwich and pinbaste it as well. I don’t know if I’ll get to that tomorrow, just because of what’s already on the plate for that, but definitely Friday. So that’s good. It’s progress. I won’t think about the show I didn’t get into. I really don’t care. I don’t. I will keep entering. Eventually I will get in. That’s how you know the maliversaries are going badly…because I’ve progressed past the constant crying (not that it’s stopped) into not feeling at all. I’m not sure which is worse. They both worry me.

Go read another book. Anaesthesia for my brain. Side effects? No engagement with reality. You know, you can’t see the cat in this picture…

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But you can see the yelling face. I love that face. I mean, I don’t love it because I know what it means, what it represents, but it’s so well done. The angle is perfect. The teeth. Midnight agrees. But she wishes I would stop making the desk vibrate. She doesn’t like it.

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So the carpet went in today…part of why I had so much stitching time. I was trapped in my office.

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I couldn’t distract myself by moving stuff. Until later. Padding going down…

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They were quick. They asked permission to play music (conflicted with mine, man). It was funny…they played the same stuff the girlchild listens to, except they were way older than her.

Speaking of girlchild…she experiences new carpet in a different way.

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We moved a bunch of the big stuff back in the house, but girlchild wants to try a different furniture layout, which probably means getting rid of some furniture. Might not be a bad thing. It’s just a storage issue with some of it. I have a lot of thread and other supplies in the living room that probably don’t need to live there. Or they can live there in a different way. We agreed to try her way out…

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This is not it. Grandpa has moldings to put in tomorrow, so nothing can go anywhere really at the moment. I have a couple of places to patch. We need to make some decisions about bookcases and the TV and other stuff. Honestly, I felt like I had already made more decisions this summer than I could handle, so I just gave up. Maybe I will have more of a brain tomorrow. Maybe not. It certainly seems to have wandered off. Unfortunate.

Hiking Iron Mountain for the Full Moon

July 16, 2014

Last week there was a full moon and a huge hike planned for Iron Mountain, which is just north of here. The last time I hiked Iron Mountain was more than 10 years ago, also at night, so I thought it would be good to try it again…a further test of the knee as well. The hike was cross-posted with three groups, so about 70 people were supposed to be going up together, and that doesn’t count all the people who do this on a regular basis. There’s a huge parking lot at the bottom of the mountain because lots of people do this hike, especially after work or on the weekends…in fact, this is what we started with…

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with Iron Mountain rising up on the right side. Wait a minute. That’s where I’m going? We had dogs and kids and lots of food…potluck at the top.

The hike started at about 6:30 PM, so it was still warm, in the 80s. That’s the hard part about hiking in San Diego in the summer…it’s hot. Night hikes really are the only way to go, unless you start at 6 in the morning. I’m not a fan of 6 in the morning.

With so many people on the hike, my goal was to get out in front and not have to follow anyone who was walking too slowly. I’m not the fastest hiker in the world, but this group was slow-moving.

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This isn’t a horribly hard hike. It’s about 5.8 miles round trip, with some steep bits. It is a mountain, you know. You will have to climb it.

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But as the sun went down, it started to cool off and it was like a good sweaty workout at the gym.

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In nature…

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The views of San Diego from this hike are great…you can see why we have so many hiking trails…there are so many hills to climb.

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The sun was only in my eyes for a short part of this hike, unlike the Cowles Mountain hike a week or so ago, where you were squinting for a good portion of the trail.

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However hard you might think the trail is yourself, there’s a mom and three kids all beating me up the mountain. I was OK with that.

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Another view on the way up. The evening before had been cloudy and I wondered if it would even be worth going…but it cleared up beautifully.

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At the top, you can get 360 degrees of views of the county…to the west and the ocean…

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As we were up there, the sun started to set…

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And we set food out, as you do…everyone pulling this or that from their packs, from olives to homemade salsa to wine to chips to avocados and crackers.

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There were two tables set up like this…rumor is there’s a third table up there, but I never saw it (I am actually in that picture).

This is the view to the south…

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More to the southwest…

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And the southeast…

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We got up there in about 55 minutes (I slowed down my hiking partner, who usually does it in 48 minutes…sigh). Then we watched the sun set, talked, ate, and drank.

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It was gorgeous.

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Vast expanses of pretty-colored sky. Someone asked me (because I’m a science teacher) why the colors, and I was able to tell them…because I teach that.

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Then we moved over to the other side of the mountain for the real reason we were there (well, the REAL reason is exercise, right?), moonrise in the east.

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The moon was really big. I realize it doesn’t look like that in these photos, but what can I say?

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Maybe it was just big in my head. It was a beautiful and peaceful experience watching it rise.

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I kept my eyes open for animals on this hike…I had heard the scorpions would glow in the dark and someone was carrying a black light. I never saw them myself, but stole this picture from someone who did…

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They’re not very big, but they look pissed off. Reason why you should wear real shoes up there (one guy was hiking in flipflops with no water).

We headed down around 8:30 or so…and for part of the downhill, didn’t use anything but the light of the moon (my depth perception can’t do that on rocks, but flat surfaces are fine). The actual hiking was about an hour and 40 minutes…plus an hour or so at the top. It was very cool…and a good hiking temperature for most of it. Not so cold that you needed a jacket (though some had them), but not so hot that you were dying. Definitely worth doing again.

Insert Quote about Tomorrow…

July 16, 2014

Stitching down. I had to negotiate with myself to keep stitching tonight. I started late…today was exhausting and I didn’t sit down at the machine until almost 10 PM. Tomorrow will hopefully be better. I have 3 1/2 hours into the stitching-down process and I’m about a third of a way through. I could finish tomorrow. Maybe. If I’m crazy and don’t listen to my chiropractor. Place your bets now.

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I had to re-iron some stuff because it won’t stay stuck. It’s humid here; in fact it was raining yesterday afternoon and misting this morning. So the Wonder Under is releasing.

I’m still down in the water section…I think of it as the aquarium section, like she’s sitting in front of a giant aquarium, except I think she’s really IN the aquarium. There’s a lot of stitching in there…

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Those damn octopus tentacles…

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Those fucking beautiful octopus tentacles. So I made a deal with myself that I would stop when I finished the water section, except then it made more sense to finish the silly boat above the water…

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So that was the new deal with myself, except my self kept trying to say I’d stop at midnight, because I have to be up early to deal with carpet people, but mostly because this stitching-down stuff is mentally and physically difficult and I get upset and bored. Anyway. I finished the fucking boat. That boat that is the bane of my existence. All my pain rides in that boat. And it can’t even face me.

Sigh. Have I told you how much this month sucks? Please time travel me to a new place and time. I’ll even deal with Dr. Who if I have to, but only if it’s this one…


He looks like a nice guy. The others, not so much.

Hey, signs that you raised a Geek Girl (besides the fact that she’s seen every Dr. Who episode): She wanted me to sit with her on the floor this afternoon (I actually fell asleep down there with the dog curled up next to me…she was also freaked out by the lack of furniture)…and was reading me stuff from a Harry Potter Pinterest board. Yup. That’s a geek.

SIL, she says change is good. I don’t argue. It’s usually true. Except when it’s not. I know the change in my house WILL be good; right now, though, it is sorta hellish. Maybe the change is good once the changing part is done, and the process of change is just painful and torturous.

All the furniture is out except that damn light table (and the girlchild)…

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The light table would have to come apart to get out, and it’s just not worth the work. They say they can move it around as they work. It’s not that heavy. It’s lighter than the piano and we moved that.

It took us about 2 1/2 hours to get everything out…on the deck, on the driveway, and in a variety of rooms…and as soon as we did, girlchild brought in a pile of pillows and blankets and complained that we hadn’t reconnected the TV properly. There was a web of cords back there, and we untangled it, but I’m not sure we’ll ever get it back right. It may not matter. There were two cords that were attached to one thing but not another.

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Why I fell asleep on the floor with the dog? Stayed up too late last night, plus all that work. I was tired. My doctor called me her hero because of my blood tests. My A1C is normal. Let’s ignore my daily blood sugars. But we’re reducing another med. My liver says thanks. My diabetes is CURED! Not really. No one cures it. Stop telling people it’s cured.

There’s at least two places on the walls that are already damaged and there’s a molding issue and boychild’s damn dirty feet already made one wall dirty (seriously?). I think I’m going to hang a sheet where his dirty feet go. The kids want a new chandelier (and so do I, because this one is uncleanable), but that’s not on my list at the moment.


Although it’s fun to Google those…

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Maybe I should make my own…


Because these aren’t wild enough…


It’s a big space.

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All those white walls, all they do is make me want to go grab a bunch of spray paint cans and graffiti the shit out of them (reasons why you shouldn’t let me help you remodel), but then some sense of reality takes over and I realize I don’t ever want to do this again, so I leave it alone. White will do. I actually HANG art on my walls, unlike most people, so it will not look this blank for long…although the boychild likes this and girlchild complains about the dark furniture.

The great Rift Valley…where the carpet seam was, where the dogs nibbled and feet wore away at it. These carpets are from the early 80s.

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I did actually sit in the middle of the floor by myself for a bit to eat my dinner. I’ve been sitting at the table on the deck since we started painting, but it’s hard to get to at the moment. I was visited by two different cats, seriously confused and perturbed by the lack of furniture to (a) scratch, (b) hide behind, and/or (c) lie on.

You can see we managed to get the piano into the entryway. Boychild likes the acoustics there (less fabric, higher ceilings), but I’m not leaving it there. Maybe I should take up piano again.

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Tomorrow we get carpet. Then we move everything back. Well, I’m reconsidering some of the everything. But I’m not sure how much I can really not move back in.

I’m trying to keep control of the emotional landslide I’m currently living in, so I’m being good about food, exercise, and meditation. I suck at sleep, but there are other factors that affect that, like my thyroid meds, which I’m trying to be better about taking as well. Because that was the one number that was off…STILL. Meditation has gotten easier, in that I don’t have to focus on someone I’m not happy with any more…instead I’m taking on the whole world and taking in all their pain and suffering and “sharing my feelings of joy and happiness.” Um. Mr. Meditation, I don’t have any of those. I have feelings of relief sometimes. Some mental peace at times. Some thoughts of, Oh, Thank God, That’s Done (when the couches made it out of the house and no one died). That’s all I got. Perhaps someone else who is meditating can forward me some of their joy and happiness so I can share it out.

Things that made me cry today:

1. The season finale to Sons of Anarchy (yes, I’m behind in watching stuff). Dammit, SOA, I count on you guys for a good dose of violence and none of that pulling at the heartstrings shit. This is why I watch you and X Files. Don’t fuck with me. Oh yeah, and that fork thing? You jumped the shark. Plus I knew you were gonna kill her. It was the meanest thing.

2. Elton John (goddamned Pandora)

3. Meditation (see above)

4. Random shit at the gym, including a sweet kiss between two people I used to work with in a former life, who weren’t together then but now are. It wasn’t a bad thing that they kissed. It was sweet. So I guess that’s my issue. Sometimes things that make me cry are all about what’s missing.

Tomorrow I stitch. Tomorrow, the world rights all the wrongs in my living room. Tomorrow, I can start putting it all back and the Hoarder house will go away. I’m hoping that helps.

Lost Cause

July 15, 2014

I sat down this morning to write a blogpost and even resized the one single picture I had and then realized the mood I was in and decided, no, no, no. Do not write now. Live the day, try to change that shitty mood that dragged you up out of deep blank sleep, or at least dreams that you don’t remember, change it and then write.

So I set out to change it. (BTW, WordPress, WTF? Way to completely change everything. I am weirded out. Totally new interface. Radically different.)

I can’t say that I was entirely successful, but since my counselor saw me today (to make up for missing last week) and told me multiple times that I was feeling all the normal feels and nothing was crazy talk, except the part where I call myself a loser, but that’s crazy talk from a year ago that I can’t seem to shake, and we talked about the two parts of my brain and how sometimes one part wins over the other, but the other, more practical and mature part of my brain is still there, talking away, shaking its head at the stupid drama, saying “I’m not crazy. I’m just tormented at the moment.” Odds are I’ll get over it. Someday. That’s the shitty part. The Someday Part.

There are other shitty parts, but believe it or not, I don’t write everything I’m feeling on here. Some of it just gets cried out in the car on the drive between here and there. The worst of it, you never see it. Think about that. I really wanted to be in a different place by now, but you can want things all you like, and you can even be one of those perky people who think that if you just WANT it HARD enough and SMILE a LOT, then it will be YOURS. (Fuck You, by the way)

Those people have not lived my existence. They are not negotiating golf clubs with a teenager at 11:30 PM. They are not determining if an axle boot needs fixing. They are not trying to decide how much weight the deck can hold. And they are certainly not trying to decide whether it’s possible to just stay asleep, deeply asleep, blindly and blankly not dreaming, for at least another year or two, until it doesn’t hurt to wake up. Because it still does. And I can’t even describe to you how much that sucks. How much I want it to stop. And there’s no magic that makes it stop. Just like there’s no magic to stop the tears that are falling down your cheeks as you drive up to your destination. 

Thanks, by the way, to my chiropractor for the second emergency appointment in two months. Am I stressed? I guess. I don’t know. Was I crying in your parking lot? Damn straight I was.

I often wonder if people know I’ve been crying. Yet again. Because that hasn’t stopped. That’s the new me. Crying Kathy. Woo!

Anyway. So I set out to make the day at least…well…um…insert adjective here. Not unhappy. Not depressing (impossible at the moment).

I finished stitching down the Mammogram quilt…
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And then I sandwiched it and pinbasted it.

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Which meant I had to clean a floor first, and that floor promptly became dirty again, but that’s OK. It’s gonna be worse tomorrow. It was a temporary clean. I wanted that done before the carpet guys came, in case I finished stitching the Menopause quilt down before Wednesday, because I’m expecting to get a lot of stitching done on Wednesday, since I’ll be trapped in my office pretty much. I’m OK with that. I need more of that…because then I can’t see the chaos in the rest of the house.

I can’t tell you how much I need that chaos gone. It’s transmuted into my head. I think it’s making everything worse.

Once that was done, I started in on the ten bird quilts…pinbasting all of them. 

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They didn’t take long…

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Five minutes for the smaller ones…

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They all have the same backing fabric, an old cotton from before I was really sewing quilts, but when I made fabric frames. I wasn’t sure if it was cotton or poly cotton, so I burned it in the sink.

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It was really old cotton. I really don’t need to be buying more fabric right now…

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Although I’m a bit concerned about bindings. The dark quilts are easy, if I have enough of the dark fabric left. Although that one could do a green or orange binding and be OK.

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And this one could do black…maybe.

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But I need to quilt them all first. 

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That could take a while.

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But they’re all ready now.

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The longest it took to pinbaste one quilt was 12 minutes.

The day was still shitty after all that. I’m in the middle of writing a post about art and why I do it and how it doesn’t do magical things like solve all my problems and make me leap out of bed in the morning and sing joyous songs during the day. So art helps, but it doesn’t really make everything OK. It’s there. It saves me in many ways, but it doesn’t make everything pretty and nice-smelling. I think people who are not artists and really want to be think it’s so cool that it must solve everything and make everything fucking awesome and they really wish they could be an artist like me, but they don’t realize that it’s not something you choose to do…it chooses you. And it doesn’t make it good. It just makes it. And. I don’t know. It’s not magic. I keep saying that. I want there to be magic. I really do. I’m Scully though, not Mulder. I wish I were Mulder.

Girlchild has been fussy lately and keeps wanting me to sit with her while she watches television, like while dinner was in the oven tonight (she did cook)…so I can’t quilt during that time and today was so bad I had thought of drawing about 17 times, so I grabbed this drawing and finished it up…

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This is good. It needs to be a quilt. Not anytime soon of course. Really I should have been drawing the other one, but apparently I can only work on that one while sitting in a wine bar waiting for teenagers to get out of concerts. Or something. I wasn’t going to draw a penis while sitting next to my daughter on the couch. I knew what kind of commentary that would produce.

After dinner, I started stitching the Menopause quilt down…that’s not its real name, just its inspiration.

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Cracked skull and all…I’m about halfway up into the water…this is gonna take a while.

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Which is probably OK. I sorta persuaded Pandora that it should be playing young angry-man rock instead of that mopey shit that makes me cry. Of course, when X-Files makes you cry, you know you’re a mess. So there’s been a lot of Linkin Park and Nirvana. So that might tell you a bit about where my head is at the moment. 

And this song…was the last mopey song Pandora played before I fucked with it and explained my current mood…

Beck’s Lost Cause…”There’s a place where you are going…” Hopefully that place is into a deep sleep with an easy wakeup call.

Book Review: Broken Monsters

July 14, 2014

I recently read Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes, a South African author also known for The Shining Girls. NetGalley recently offered up Broken Monsters, her newest US release.



I started reading the book assuming it was a mystery, not having read Beukes before (she’s listed as sci fi, dystopian, urban fantasy, which this may fall under, but only by the skin of its teeth). I do think it reads well as a mystery. She had a couple different story arcs going on between the detective and her daughter, both dealing with the grittier aspects of Chicago. There’s a vlogger (by accident, I would say) who brings in an internet aspect to the story, and there’s definitely a mystery to be solved.

I really liked this book until about the last 20 pages. Then it went all nuclear on me, and I have to say, I’m a very tolerant reader. I can handle stuff that’s out there in terms of genre, and this book does mess with the mystery genre. The ending is simply not satisfying. I don’t need a happy ending (although this one attempts that). I just need one that has some sense, and if you’re going to go out there, to attempt to bring the supernatural or some such into your book in the very end, tying it to whatever is inhabiting your killer’s brain, then it needs to either BE there or not. The vague random semi-spiritual/evil/I don’t know what was at the end of this book? Eh.

That said, Beukes writes well and I will read at least The Shining Girls, but I was disappointed by the ending. It felt like it was written by a different author for a different book. Scary thriller mystery? Yes. Mostly.

Never Feel Bad Anymore*

July 13, 2014

So Friday night, I was going to iron more birds, but I like to watch things while ironing (it keeps the bad/sad parts of my brain occupied so they don’t make me cry) and the kids were hogging Netflix. So I decided to stitch stuff down instead, because I’ve got plenty of that to do, and I listen to music while I’m doing that, but it doesn’t do a very good job of occupying the bad/sad brain. In fact, I think it brings it out more, which is not necessarily a good thing. That said, this part of the quilting needs to get done and I’m just going to need to suck it up and stitch…and let’s be honest here, I cry while stitching. I try not to. I try to distract myself with stuff in my head, I try to pseudo-write the story I’m working on, I try a lot of fucking things that don’t fucking work at all, so maybe I should just accept that this is the crying stage. And just make sure I am well-hydrated.

I started with the mammogram quilt because it’s got fewer pieces and will take less time, and my plan was to get it done and sandwiched before the carpet guys come Wednesday, so I could quilt Wednesday if I wanted to. Not that I’ll be done with everything else, probably, but it’s good to have plans…

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I got about halfway done before I got tired. It was late at night, almost midnight when I quit.

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I fold it up on the machine, because otherwise I will find a cat laying upon it at the first opportune moment, and then I will have to remove all that cat hair. It will take about another hour to finish this, so hopefully I will get to that today. I’m sitting here, only sort of awake (sleep is a real bitch at the moment…can’t fall asleep, then nightmares wake me up, then can’t fall asleep again until early morning. HATE IT), trying to persuade myself to go to the gym, and the quilt brain is like, “Don’t go to the gym. Stay here. Sew. You know you want to.”

It’s true. I want to finish that one and then do all 10 birds. But I need to go to the gym as well. Grr.

So yeah, I finished ironing birds yesterday…Number 6 was a strange one…

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but its shape appealed to me…

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In the actual drawing, there’s a face next to it. That drawing does not exist as a quilt. Then I did number 7, which is actually on the Mammogram quilt that I’m stitching down at the moment…

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I think this one has the fewest pieces…

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Number 8 has the most pieces, with 61, and is also kind of the weirdest one…

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I liked the feathers though. Making these little quilts is really about my messing around with pieces of my work, which I don’t usually do, but someone liked a bird and thought they might like a small bird quilt. So I figured it was worth a try.

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I don’t really know whether I like this process or not…it’s quick, but it’s like Quilting Lite to me. No depth to it. I’ve always had that problem with smaller quilts.

I think that’s why I don’t make very many of them.

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They’re too easy and I don’t engage in the process.

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That might be why I made 10 of them…it makes it a large enough project for me to have to pay some level of attention. And I think it’s funny that one of the most complicated birds is the one that’s getting the most attention…

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First owl I’ve ever done was this one on the Celebrating Silver quilt. I looked at a bunch of owl pictures to draw this…and decided there’s definitely a Harry Potter feel to it as well…

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Anyway, the next step is to stitch them down, hopefully today. These will all be for sale, and some people are already in line for choosing one, but I’m not allowing any of that until they’re finished and priced, because I know that might be an issue. I do value my time and although these are small, so far the smallest ones have taken almost an hour to do (not bad, but only about halfway through, if that) and the largest ones have taken almost three hours to do. So I’m trying to be fair to myself and keep track of the time so I don’t rip myself off.

Anyway, more of that today.

On Friday, we also did a lot of moving stuff out of the living room area, prepping for the last bad day before the carpet guys come. We needed the entryway clear (which is why it would be a good time to get that quilt done and sandwiched, because that’s where I do that), so we moved all the boxes and books out of there into my bedroom mostly. Then we moved anything smallish or that would fit in my bedroom or the hallway, plus the piles of stuff we had stored in the little living room as we cleared out the dining area for painting. I am glad to announce that I could in fact have a full Hoarders house, complete with really skinny hallways full of crap.

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Seriously, I get totally claustrophobic walking through this…

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I could not be a serious hoarder. I would go crazy. My bedroom at the moment is like some sort of junk cave…

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The cat is freaked out by it and so am I. That’s the view back down the hallway toward the more open part of the house. I will be so glad when all this is done and I can move everything back and put it away. It will be a pain in the butt, I’m sure, but I am going nuts living like this. No earthquakes please.

I hiked last night, which was nice (will post it later)…still no knee pain, so that’s good. But I didn’t get home until after 10, and then I showered and meditated (trying to be better about that), and then I had no energy for anything after that really, so I came in here and stared at the computer, and the story in my head knocked at the door. So I started to write. And I kept trying to stop, because I was tired, my neck hurt, my fingers were still going, but I mentally was done, but apparently I wasn’t, because I wrote almost 4000 words before I could stop. I seriously tried stopping in 5 different places, and my fingers would keep going. I guess that’s a good thing. I’m hoping to do some more tomorrow, because I wasn’t really trying to tell my brain how to write this thing and it went off on a tangent, which is good, because I didn’t really know where the story was going next, and now I do. Well, sort of. I have a vague idea of what’s next, but it’s turning into something scarier than I started out with. I’m at 12,000 words. Not great, but not bad. A good solid start.

Then I went to bed and read for a while with the heating pad under my tweaked neck…same place as before, dammit. Might have to call the chiropractor again for another emergency appointment. I had to read because my brain wouldn’t shut down.

For the post title, I was looking for a song I knew I had heard lately about “can’t control my brain” and this one popped up. And the video is sweet, all puppies and kittens and wild animal babies, and it’s a nice sentiment. To never feel bad anymore. Weezer: Islands in the Sun

I think I was originally thinking of a different song, though…not the Ramones, I Wanna Be Sedated (although there is that sentiment), but there’s another one…tickling around in my brain somewhere, but these two are crowding it out. That’s probably a good thing…

Ironing Birds Very Very Flat…

July 11, 2014

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

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

I started with birds cut out in tupperware…

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

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

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

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

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So then I had to decide, light or dark?

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Bright or not?

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

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Here’s his twin with the eyeball…

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Slightly different fabrics for him…including the background…

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And one that’s not so square…

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Seemed to do better with dark.

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

BLAHHHH. Exactly. That feeling.

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

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

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

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Materials: dust, car window, finger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I drew…

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

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

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

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


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