You Can Draw, Kathryn…

September 7, 2014

So there was all this sneezing and snot at school this week, and even though I tried not to touch papers too much, one of those snotty little beasts got me sick. The thing is, I felt like crap this morning, and even came home from the girlchild’s soccer game and slept for an hour (although that could have been the less-than-stellar sleep from the whole week finally catching up to me), and although I AM sick, I am not REALLY sick. Knock on wood. Because maybe tomorrow will be way worse. I’m spacey, I’m a little achy. But I’m not really really sick. I even bought the good drugs, just in case, but haven’t needed them. Yet. So yeah. I can make meth in my backyard now. A very small amount. Breaking Bad? Not so much. Assholes on that show. I stopped watching…couldn’t deal with all the assholes.

Until maybe tomorrow I will be OK. Anyway, I canceled the hike I was going to go on tonight, because I felt like crap, and then I tried to get a bunch of stuff done, like finally entering Quilt National (donating my money to them, because I’ve only gotten in once). Then I got an email about the quilt for the local show, and there isn’t room for it any more (sigh…then why oh why did I spend time working on it at ALL, because I don’t have any time to spare at the moment. AARGH.), so I gladly folded it up (it has a binding and a sleeve now…needs a bit more quilting and some hand embroidery and it’s done, but who the fuck cares? I don’t.) and persuaded myself I could draw tonight.

You Can Draw, Kathryn.

I actually penciled a bunch of stuff in, because I didn’t want to fuck anything up at this stage…

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When I’m drawing to size, it’s really better to NOT be using a lot of white-out. It’s hard to see through all those lines when it’s upside down on the light table. So the bird had some loosely drawn pencil lines and then I went in with the Sharpie and drew it final. I don’t follow the pencil lines exactly…they’re just a guideline. And I was looking at some of my old bird drawings for this one…but I had to really fight the desire to add more detail. Because it needs to be done by mid-November and there’s already a fucking shitload of detail on it.

Here’s things floating in air…

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with a tree to be drawn afterwards. Something about the couple being connected by the tree. They ground it. Wish they could ground me too. Ground as in feeling attached to something…not grounded like you’re not allowed out because you fucked up.

And eventually the tree and leaves got drawn as well.

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This thing has been in my head for so freakin’ long. I don’t know what my problem was. It took about 4 hours tonight to finish the drawing and number it…maybe a little longer than that. An hour was numbering…it’s at 1067 pieces…it could have been A LOT worse. Really. I was afraid of another 2000-piece quilt needing 150 hours to complete. I just don’t have that many hours free between now and mid-November…not if I’m gonna leave the house for anything else but work and soccer.

So I’m a little relieved. Still freaked out because I’m behind schedule, but it’s numbered now, so I can start tracing Wonder Under this week. Maybe 11 hours for that? I’m hoping. So I should be done by the end of the week? Maybe? This week’s a little bitchy.

I can at least get started.

I wanted it traced and cut out by mid-September. HA! OK, so that’s technically about 9 days from now. I’m thinking that’s pushing it, but at least I have a goal. Six hours to cut it out? So 17 hours of work in the next 9 days. Uh huh. With a Shakespeare play, back-to-school night, and an art opening. Uh huh. It’s possible. I don’t really need to sleep. I’m not very good at it anyway.

I’m also not very good at numbering. I missed the toes on the left…so they are all 362a, b, etc. through i…

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I think those are the only pieces I missed, but I’m sure I will find more later.

Sometimes I wonder about my art practice, about how to explain it to someone who doesn’t know me. Like, yeah, I number all these pieces and trace them with all the overlaps and it takes HOURS and no, I’m NOT crazy, why do you ask?

Fuck me.

I am more than a little bit crazy.

And this little bit will be fun, because I need to have like 10 flesh-colored fabrics in a color run to pull this off, I think.

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OK, I think I can do it in seven. Maybe. I love those hands, by the way. They are nice. A dream for me. Holding hands. Sigh.

The counselor says I am no longer officially depressed…just lonely. Huh. Not sure what the difference is. It feels the same. And it’s pretty sad to be lonely when you have someone who actually lives with you at least part of the time…although, she’s a teenager with a social life. Sigh. I’m really not doing this life thing right.

Anyway. It’s progress on this fucker. I’m glad of that, because I was starting to really hold that stress in my gut, and that’s not a good place for it to be. I just needed to get past that hump and move on.

Girlchild had a freakin’ early game in Coronado. Plus: it’s the beach, so it was cool. Minus: it was a long drive very early in the morning. Plus: we were back home fairly early.

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They lost. Badly. Probably not a plus. The parents were dumbasses. Seriously. The dad next to me yells, “Get a foot on it!” and the girl’s name, and she looks at him like he’s fucking insane, because she didn’t think of that already? I don’t yell a lot…just encouraging stuff when the girlchild makes a goal. I graded papers and watched her fall.

 

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I thought she did pretty well though…

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Certainly, there was a lot of heading the ball…although the one below? I think the girlchild was not involved, but how can you NOT put that picture in?

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At least the ball is in SOME of the pictures.

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She hates it when I take pictures, because none of them make her look beautiful. I personally think she looks pretty amazing, but I’m her mom.

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Tough little beast. As we get closer to sending her off to college, despite all the yelling she does, I’m gonna miss her.

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Three soccer games in one weekend though? Huh. That’s a lot. I skipped the one where she was coaching the under-10s. Mostly because I hadn’t eaten.

Anyway. I just realized how late it is. Time is kind of difficult when I’m drawing for hours upon hours. And not talking to humans. Seriously. Last human communication? Around 4 PM, I think. That was the grocery-store checkout lady. The one who put the fruit in with the cans. She was nice, but…my fruit does not appreciate her.

Anyway. Whatever. I’m making the art, but not necessarily doing the life thing right. I’ve never been good at that. And someone fucked up my ability to deal. So there we are. Moving forward. Making the art. Because otherwise…what would I be doing? No one knows.

Note to self: Music is not helping. Stop trying to find songs that make you feel better. You suck at this late-night mood transformation. It’s just going to suck for a while. If you’re lucky, “a while” will not be forever.

Sigh. I’m just glad I’m moving on to the next stage on this quilt. I thought I was never getting there.

 

 


Not in My Nature…

September 1, 2014

Oh Holey Batpuddle. OK, so the plus is that I have had a breakthrough on the painful drawing of death (it’s not really a drawing of death. It’s a drawing that was trying to kill me. It failed. Fuck you, drawing. I will prevail. I am way more stubborn than you are…Yes, I am arguing with a drawing that is coming out of my head and is composed of paper and pen). I got it to the right size (even this was an issue on Friday and Saturday nights) and then penciled in the legs…

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I wanted to make sure the proportions were right. I already have issues with the length of the arms, but have decided I don’t fucking care. Once I had them in pencil, which yes, required some erasing and redrawing (apparently I think people have HUGE feet), I inked in most of the bottom.

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I kept thinking I should add more stuff on the bottom bits, but I do need this to actually GET MADE. It’s not anywhere near done, of course…the tibias and fibulas are missing. Extra credit points if you know what those are. Of course, then crazy brain popped in and suggested drawing phalanges and the other foot bones, so I slapped myself around a bit and moved on. I’ll work on it again tonight, although I’ve been exhausted all weekend, despite TRYING to get more sleep, so I don’t know how well that will go. Yes, I wanted to be done with the drawing by tonight. No, I won’t be. Oh well. Moving on.

I also worked on one binding last night…

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I have two more to put on, one ideally by Thursday night, but it’s the smaller one. I think I have another week or so for the larger one.

In the morning, I had an idea for adding something to my floating house…

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Last-minute decisions. A human figure that hangs down on the inside.

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I will never be able to sell this for the time and materials I put into it, which is kinda sad.

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Oh well. The cats will be quite happy when I bring it home and hang it so they can reach it.

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I spent most of the day dealing with stage 1 of the Art Produce install…

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Which was supposed to be hanging all the houses. We spent the first hour locked out (ah, the wonders of miscommunication) and tying fishing wire to the houses for hanging.

We had a wide variety of types of houses. Most people did more than one…

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I decided to do one big one…

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Linda Litteral’s houses are beautiful…

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Hand-drawn on tracing paper glued to wooden bases.

We got the fence parts in place…

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Installed some hanging apparati above…

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And I spent about 2 hours going up and down a 10-foot ladder, tying fishing wire to the supports above. I was a little tired afterwards.

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One of the other artists was going back today to install a bunch more, and we’ll all be there this afternoon to install birds.

Here they are attaching the fence to the wall…

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Art Produce is a gallery in North Park (San Diego) that has applied for nonprofit status. The exhibit we’re installing is called Fence/Barda, and is in coalition with a group of Mexican women artists who we have barely met. There is an American side of the gallery and a Mexican side.

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But mostly the houses went in today…the inside of mine from below.

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I was down there for 3 hours yesterday and it will be another 4 today. We got the fence location put in place and then moved it out of the way so we could start hanging houses. Then put it back with a ladder on each side for installation purposes.

I finished the two birds for this exhibit. If you come to the show (the opening is 6-9 on Saturday, September 13), the birds are all selling for $100. This meant I had to spend less time on mine than I had with the original versions. First of all, the birds are all 8×10″, so that was smaller than my originals. Then I didn’t bind them…I just satin-stitched the edges. I also didn’t put a sleeve or a label on them…I just wrote the info on the back of the quilt and sewed on two little rings that can hang on nails.

This is Bird 11, Dove 2:

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And this is Bird 13, Diving Bird 2 (although this one is less divey than the original):

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They will be in the show through October; if they don’t sell there, I’ll put them up here when the show closes.

I’m also possibly hanging a quilt that I never finished from way back. I’m taking it in today and asking if they want it…it has two houses on it and it’s a significant departure from the work I do now, but we have some blank wall space on the American side and I think it might fit. I just need to put about 2-3 hours into finishing the quilting and putting a binding and sleeve on it. I was going to do that last night, but decided that I wasn’t going to put time and energy into it if they didn’t want it. So I’ll take it today and see what they say, and if they want it, I’ll finish it by next weekend, when the Mexican contingent installs…I can just go over and hang it on the wall in about 5 minutes flat.

Anyway. So I made lots of progress yesterday. I’m exhausted today and still have 12 things on the to-do list, not the least of which is getting ready for school tomorrow. Yikes! And the girlchild is in a mood (finally school stress starts to weigh on her). I miss the boychild. We had a brief text conversation yesterday about the lameness of Mexican food at Cornell (a shocker). We would FedEx him burritos, but suspect they won’t make it.

My mood’s been halfway between too busy to even notice how I feel (there are pros and cons to that) to sinking well below into the depths of yucky shit. Fun stuff. I’m hoping artistic progress will keep pulling it back out. A girl can hope. Whenever you think the depression might be gone or reduced, it comes back to remind you that no, no it’s not. HERE I AM. Whatever. Fuck you. Now I need to jump on the rest of my to-do list for the day. While many people are lazing around, planning their Labor Day barbecue, I’m trying to decide what I’m taking to an installation potluck (I’m not making anything…there’s just no way) and how to fit 10 more hours into the day. Such is my life. I keep making more work for myself. Trying to draw the lines…I won’t do this or that, I will keep a balance. Ha. It’s not in my nature.


Should.

August 31, 2014

I’m watching a tiny hummingbird (yes, tiny even for them) hovering around the tree outside my window, landing every few moments, but not able to stay still. It peers around, flies off a little further, and then comes back and settles, resting briefly. There’s no flowers out there, nowhere for it to find food (go to the other side of the house!), and I don’t know why it can’t just SIT there for a moment.

Huh. I’m a tiny little hummingbird.

I wrote yesterday’s post while sitting in my car, waiting for the other hikers to show up. I’ll post the hike later…it was OK. Not too strenuous, although I was tired from sitting too much in the middle (it takes too long to feed that many people). And I was home early enough to deal with the cable guy (apparently the positioning of the planets is causing my cable/internet issues), grocery shopping (hate the store always, but especially on Saturday nights), 14 errands (not all successful, unfortunately), trimming (not done…couldn’t reach the worst of it, but rescued two birds nests), packing up shit for the boychild (by myself), and finally eating out, because I wanted this one thing to eat that I didn’t feel like cooking myself.

Here’s the thing about me and cooking. I don’t like prepackaged food. It tastes funny. I cook mostly from scratch. It’s healthier too. I do that most nights, with help from the girlchild sometimes. I don’t really LIKE cooking. This was an issue in both relationships, that women are supposed to be those who cook, but I don’t LIKE it. It was supposed to be some proof of my feelings towards them, but really, I cook all the time. It feels like work. It IS work. Why do you want me to show my love for you with WORK? With something that makes me feel BAD, IRRITATED, ANGRY? I could lesson plan for you too. It would still be WORK. Girlchild? She loves cooking. She gets in the kitchen and she’s the happiest little bunny in the world. Me? UGH. Now I do the same with sewing, which girlchild hates. So I get it…I understand. But I get TIRED of cooking all the time. So I try to give myself one meal every two weeks or so that I don’t have to cook (and it helps if girlchild is cooking, because then I just count that one and I don’t have to try to find the money and calories to go out). When I was first divorced (a million years ago), I would occasionally go out to dinner by myself, because I didn’t have anyone else to go out to dinner with, and I would bring my sketchbook and/or a book and it would be OK…not great, just OK. The waiters are usually pretty nice to you and it’s easy to find a seat for just one person, so you don’t usually have to wait, and yes, it can be a bit depressing to eat out by yourself while everyone around you is chatting away, but hell, it would be just as depressing to be eating at home alone, AND I would have had to cook.

So after running the 17th errand last night, I walked into a restaurant, sat down in the bar, started drawing, and ordered dinner…

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And ignored all the people around me, because honestly, who the fuck cares. I just needed to be somewhere besides home. I had already fought through a ton of depressoid thoughts and crying that afternoon and I was done. The waitress was a little freaked out by the drawing, wanted to know if it was just something in my head (do you see me copying from something?), and really, it was Tanya’s fault for reminding me of the perimenopausal random hair growth, because girlchild’s stolen my tweezers again and I think those random hairs COULD IN FACT take over the world if they wanted to. And my younger readers are thinking, “But why are there snakes around her nipple?” and my perimenopausal readers ALREADY KNOW, and yes it’s annoying (it’s not really gross, although some people will say that, because we do in fact have hair all over our bodies, and our reactions to said hair are kinda lame, you know? Really? So there’s HAIR. And it’s going to hurt you how?).

And when the food arrived, I read my book while eating. I was hungry. I hadn’t eaten since the early lunch I ate on the hike. Well, snacks, but they weren’t really satisfying. It was a satisfying meal and it wasn’t cheap (sigh), but I have to be able to do that once in a while, or it really does feel like life sucks shit because I can’t go out and I have to do all the cooking (holy shit, when the girlchild goes to college…). SIGH. Fucking sigh.

When I got home, I glanced at the list I made yesterday for this weekend…

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I went old school. I had stuff on the phone, in email, on post-its, and I needed to see the WHOLE FUCKING LIST in all its torture-me glory, so there it is. On paper. In RED pen (really only because I couldn’t find a black one…not for some other reason). And I keep writing more shit on it, which is just crazy. And crossing things off is a little harder. Sigh.

And then I tried to at least set the stage for good drawing last night.

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Obviously this picture was taken this morning, not last night, but you know what? I cleared the table and carefully put everything away and found the start of the damn fucking stupidass drawing and laid it out there. And then I went and sat on the couch and read my book and realized how fucking tired I was and gave up and went to bed, where I slept fitfully all night, worried about all the shit I have to do and unhappy with the silence and the absence of people and talking and friendliness and FUCK.

Long weekends. Not my friend. It’s OK. The girlchild comes back today, so it will not be as bad, but I certainly need to find a way for it to be OK for no one to ever be around by the time girlchild leaves for school in a year, so I don’t just crawl under my light table and dessicate there. Fucking free time. Should be able to enjoy it. Should be able to look forward to having it. Should. FUCK.


Exhausted Slam

August 24, 2014

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

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And then did the second diving bird…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes on Life Drawing

August 3, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Things that happen at life drawing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Giver

August 1, 2014

I’m re-reading The Giver for book club. It’s amusing because (a) I used to teach it to my students (homeroom…it could be argued to be a science book, but only with a significant stretch) and (b) when I tried to get a copy of it, the library had 47 holds on 7 copies, so I turned to my teacher friends. Before, though, I realized that I have read it and both my children have read it, but we do not own it (no one really liked it). Almost every teacher friend I knew was sure they had it but couldn’t find it. One found it but didn’t have time to drop it here on the way to Alpine, and I could have driven out to her, but the timing was off, so another friend went and bought a copy for her classroom (because the movie is coming out and she is actually the language arts teacher so it kinda makes sense) and left it on my doorstep for me. Nice friend. I suck as a friend at the moment, I think. Meditation is asking me to look at how I’m being kind to others, and I don’t think the cats count. I’m not being UNkind, but I’m not putting anything out there, I think. Can’t. Can’t handle kindness back.

So Meditation has turned into Weepitation. Latin word for cry, the verb, is fleo. Meditation = Fleotation? That just sucks. I’m sticking with Weepitation. Sobitation. WAIT. Tears is Lacrimae. MUCH better. Lacrimaetation. There we go. Dear Mr. Meditation. I’m doing it wrong. Seriously. We’re in the Happiness module and the whole last 10 days have been about Kindness, and all I’ve done is CRY. That’s not kindness. That’s just plain mean. My kindness for yesterday? Girlchild forgot her gym pass…I had just dropped her off (already nice of me, at the drop of a hat) because of the Nida Car Shortage (which ends in just three short weeks when the boychild wanders off to college), and then I had to drive BACK here to get her pass, because she won’t go in and tell them she forgot it, it’s too embarrassing mom. As I handed it to her (and I didn’t even get angry or stressed or anything), she said, “Sorry. I’m retarded. Love you.” Huh. That made me cry. See? Kindness makes me cry. Please be mean to me. We’ll all be better off. There will certainly be fewer tears. Maybe I could go back to Meditation then.

Many things conspired to make yesterday what it was. Nothing was fixed. Nothing got finished. Things I meant to do didn’t happen. Whatever. Move on. What it meant was that after I ate dinner, after my stomach said, “Yes, you may eat. I will allow that now.” then I needed something really low key and not very demanding, yet artistic to do. So I did something REALLY low-key.

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Yup. I taped an enlarged drawing together. And while I was doing that, I updated all the Microsoft shit on girlchild’s computer, which prompted a flurry of disdainful texts from the boychild, who does in fact think I’m an idiot…this from the kid in long pants in Southern California in July (it was still July yesterday) with a Golden Retriever on his lap…

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Yup. Not listening. Also lots of texts about how he’s not going to do all the required things for orientation at college (you can raise them, but you can’t make them do mandatory things). Yup. I taped that fucker good. The drawing, not the boychild. Or even the Golden Retriever.

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And then I couldn’t deal with anything else. Sad but true. Not measuring it and adding to top and bottom, not even TAPING more paper on for the drawing. Nope. Not doing it. Could not handle it.

The Mammogram quilt is almost fully bound…just have to put the sleeve on it, but I’m busy today, so maybe tonight. I could easily have finished it last night if my brain didn’t get in the way. And I didn’t start quilting the other one at all. LAME. Whatever. The brain’s in charge and she’s a dumbass at the moment. I will welcome her back with open arms when she gets out of the quicksand mud again. Until then? We do not speak.

So I gave up and went to bed.

When life gives you lemons, you get out of bed after tossing and turning for an hour and you make yourself a nice hot cup of tea, because you’ve been British-trained to think that tea fixes everything, and the caffeine doesn’t really have an effect on you any more, in fact, you think tea runs in your veins instead of blood, based on how much you’ve drunk just to make up for the super late nights in the last year, but you did actually go to bed at a reasonable time last night because you knew you’d have to be up early this morning, so that totally fucking backfired says 4 in the morning, so at 5, you get up and make that magical cup of tea and grab the book you were reading for book club last night, because it’s easy and you’ve read it before and you know how it ends, unlike your own life, which is currently a badly written George R. R. Martin slashfest, except no one dies, they just disappear, and you read The Giver (yup, that book) for about an hour until your brain admits that it might like to go to sleep again, even though your neighbor just fired up his dumptruck and drove off to work, but he gets up REALLY early, and you put the bookmark in and when life gives you lemons, you don’t make fucking lemonade, because it’s always too sweet or too sour, it’s never just right, and you don’t even really LIKE lemonade, you only drink it if there’s no water and the only other choice is soda, so you make lemon chicken instead and you sit down at the table and you eat it by yourself.

After you fall asleep again, you dream. And as it often is lately, when you remember your dreams, they are happy and perfect, because everyone got rid of you and you were the problem. You know better than that, but you still feel it in your gut when you wake up and start yet another day where it will end with you trying to sleep and not doing a very good job of it.

I didn’t really make lemon chicken at 5 AM. Everything else happened though. And that damn book? It is really well-written, I have to say, even though it’s so pat and perfect that it kinda drives me nuts. Even the parts that are supposed to NOT be perfect…they are. Of course, I’ve read the damn thing 5 times and taught it to 6th graders, so I’m probably not capable of reading it with a fresh eye any more. I will, however, be able to discuss it at book club now without saying things like, “I don’t really remember anything but the snow.” Although the snow might be the most important part.


In the Silence

July 30, 2014

In the silence, there can be peace. There can be lies. There can be fear of the truth. Silence can be golden. It can be heavy. It can be loaded. It can be beautiful. It can carry memory. It can remember. Silence is painful, awkward, and deadly. Silence is a relief. Silence is torture. Silence is a treatment.

Three nights a week here it is silent, except for the sounds of my cooking, the cats complaining about my presence or lack thereof, not petting their bellies or actually doing so. The TV is on, so people are talking. Sometimes they are something I have on to just fill space while I cook (tonight, it was Real Housewives of somewhere richer than here). Sometimes it’s something I am actually watching (tonight, it was The Lottery…how can they set it just a few years from now? Not realistic. I was eating while I watched, AND reading a book. Too much brain stimulation needed these days.). Sometimes it’s something I like but don’t really need to watch because I’ve seen it enough times (tonight, it was X-Files…again…still). It’s not that I want TV as a companion. It’s that that’s what I have. Sometimes it’s music, if I’m quilting, although tonight, I chose X-Files over music, because music has more emotional triggers for me. I had been listening to music before and it was causing issues, so I chose not to tonight. It’s easier during the day when the kids are around. They are my emotional buffers. Yes, I often think about what it will be like when they are gone.

I quilted for about 3 hours today…

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This thing has about 4 hours in it at the moment (quilting, that is). I probably have another hour at most of outlining to do, if that, and then there isn’t actually much background quilting. The image pretty much fills the space. I’m hoping to finish early tomorrow so I can get a binding on it and move on to quilting the next one. That of course presumes that I have an appropriate binding fabric for it (I’m pretty sure I don’t). Road Trip! To the fabric store. Which is a whopping 5 miles away. I’ve been good, though. I haven’t gone for a long time.

Quilting blood vessels. I wonder how many miles of blood vessels I’ve quilted. When I posted a photo on Instagram of where I was in the quilting, girlchild liked it. I wanted to tell her it was past her bedtime (because it was). She’s not here. Hence the silence. Last night, it was all girls giggling and yelling and TV on and squealy girl noises. Tonight? Tonight is so silent. I can hear the fan. The computer keys tapping. The computer humming. Occasionally there’s a cat-related noise: scratching, mewing, hissing.

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The first part of quilting involved not stitching through the cat’s tail.

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See Midnight behind the machine? I just draped the quilt over her and she would occasionally twitch, but she wouldn’t move. Whatever. Remind me again why sleep is so important?

If these lung bronchioles and alveoli (if you don’t know what those are, you didn’t have me for 7th-grade science) don’t look just like Dr. Seuss’ trees, truffula trees, I don’t know what does.

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It’s hot here during the day. The house was 90 degrees when I went to the gym at 5 PM. There’s not a lot of sleep happening in that heat, so I just stay up late anyway. Plus I don’t sleep. Bad brain. So cats and dogs sprawl…

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Wherever they think it might be cool. Temperature cool, not attitude cool. Although with Babygirl, you never know.

I’m officially doing physical therapy on the knee for a month. He thinks it’s a sprained LCL…possibly an IT band issue as well. The right knee is definitely weaker than the left, and he’s given me strengthening exercises to help. I’m not allowed to hike for a week, but after that, it should be OK. He thinks it’s a very solvable problem.

I wish I were a solvable problem.

I also got the materials for the weird-ass project I need to do for my local art group, not quilting at all. Well, that’s not true. I think they want a wall quilt too, but I’m just not sure that will happen. It kind of depends on what I get done this week. If I can get both of these quilts quilted and bound, then I’ll think about a wall quilt too, but right now, I’m designing a 3D floating house. It’s been in my head for months. It needs worry dolls. It needs organza. It needs coathangers and wire. Wire tomorrow. Then build this sucker. Worry dolls go on last. They’re getting mailed to me. But I have to finish the rest first. I shopped in the fancy fabric section of the store. It’s been a while since I’ve hung out in there.

I wanted to draw tonight…got drawings pawing at me at the moment to come out…”Please Please Ms. Nida. Let me out. I’ll be good. I promise. Just let me out.” Pleading. There are only so many hours in the day. So I quilted instead. Sometimes I’m not sure if letting more drawings out of my head is a good thing.

It’s so quiet here. I hate it.


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