Just Plain Tired…

July 29, 2015

I’m taking a break from ironing, mostly because I’m tired of standing. I’m actually just plain tired. Today was a harder day for me. I had to go to the doctor for a followup and that meant driving and walking and stairs and waiting and standing and then more of all those things when they decided I needed to give blood and try to make another followup. I even took a nap after dinner (which both boy- and girlchild made, although their dad had to berate gently for that to happen). I set the alarm and made sure I didn’t nap more than I’m supposed to. But I’m still physically exhausted right now. It’s OK to sit down for a while, and maybe I shouldn’t try to iron any more tonight. Maybe I should just go settle down on the couch and rest.

But I feel like I lost yesterday somehow. I made no art. I did a million other things, but art was not apparently on the table. So I lost a day. No time for that. Not with all the days I’ve lost so far.

So I managed to iron today. This was a snake I had seen online…I liked the coloring, so it became the snake around her legs. Bright!

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All those little pieces to the right were the ones that weren’t so easy to locate, the shadows or the pointy shapes. It’s a complicated snake.

Then I ironed a lioness and a cat and a small landscape. That might have been it. It doesn’t sound like much, but the snake alone was about 150 pieces. I have 10 hours into the fabric part, still probably less than half, and the large figure still isn’t nearly complete. There’s a spider and a bee and some plants, and then the huge bird and all the seawater and sealife that makes up her hair. Probably there’s about 800 pieces ironed, maybe a little less. Like I said, less than half.

Those are all the things in or on the body that still need doing, plus the bird is in its own bin…

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And I still have 5 lost raindrops. I have faith, though, because I found the lost bird in its nest. Those raindrops are hiding somewhere.

It’s almost like I’m running on a treadmill though…like I’m not getting anywhere. It’s just endless work on this one figure. I know it’s not, but the pile doesn’t look much different. What did I actually DO for three hours today? The logical part of my brain will start to argue about how the entire snake was in another bin, not on the table, so it does look like I did almost nothing. But I look at the calendar and hear the countdowns and planning beginning with my fellow teachers, and it’s my late July, early August panic. The knowledge that I never ever get enough done during the summer and I’m running out of time and school is going to kick my ass and I’m not going to get done in time.

Seriously. I hear this in my head every summer. It’s a drumbeat. I go into hermit mode. You can’t barely get me out of the house, out of my office even. I don’t want to talk…it distracts me from the (insert appropriate word here…ironing? sewing? quilting?). And I look at what I haven’t even come close to finishing, and I know that I need to get up tomorrow morning, while I’m fresh, and NOT listen to the siren call of fabric pieces, but quilt that commission piece NOW. Get it done. Seriously. Out of here.

Aargh. I’m so tired. And yet, when I lie down, I can’t sleep.

Here’s all the crazy piles of fabric I’ve used so far. Totally disorganized.

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Much like my brain. Usually I have them in neat piles by color.

Here’s the pile of stuff to be cut out. As soon as I finish here, I’m picking it up and heading to the couch.

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I will still be working on the quilt. I just won’t be in here. This part is addictive, I must admit. It’s so purely creative and enjoyable. Hard work, but enjoyable.

Tomorrow I can pick out the spider and its web, the bee, the plants. I can even start on the giant bird. Maybe. I’ve got a lot going on tomorrow too.

I am glad I get to be an artist though. I think I’d be really bored if I weren’t.

 


Feverish…

July 28, 2015

Good morning. Ugh. Between my uterus speaking to me in the middle of the night and the dog needing to pee, I’m feeling like a new mom. Something’s waking me up every two hours and then won’t let me back to sleep. Otherwise, though, I was much better yesterday, after ditching the mind-bending opiates that weren’t kicking the pain. I was up more, ironing more, and resting when my body said it was time (going to get pet food kinda kicked my ass). And now I have stuff I can cut out as well, so I’m not wasting time (in my mind) when I’m just sitting on the couch. Progress!

I don’t do sick well. You might have noticed.

The night before, I managed to get all these flesh colors and pieces sorted out, but it wasn’t even all the way up the torso and I had to stop.

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In a previous quilt, I wouldn’t have stopped, but I really am listening to the body. Pushing it a bit, yes, but listening. Two and a half days on the couch were enough for me. Then I got up yesterday and sorted more…

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but as I went through and picked out what had to be flesh colors, I realized the figure on the left had almost 1100 pieces in it (it’s big) and about half those pieces (maybe more) weren’t flesh. They were heart or lungs or the vast number of bugs, mammals, and plants that I placed all over it. The spider and its web. The thistle. An entire rooted tree with birds nest. So. I started putting those in groups on the table by what it was…a pile of heart and blood vessels. One pile of clouds and lightning bolts and raindrops (5 raindrops are currently missing in action, documented on a post-it). A pile of hair, including the top of the head, the eyebrow, and the pubic hair.

And then I considered what to do with the flesh of the second figure. And decided one thing. Fell asleep Sunday night and decided another thing. Waffled over it all day yesterday (still don’t have a decision…honestly). So I stopped and started ironing the first one…

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And honestly, now that I’ve ironed one figure, the two lightest fabrics in the run? I don’t think there’s enough of them to cut out the second figure from the same fabrics. Which is OK. It’s not like I have a shortage of flesh-colored fabrics. I can replace the first two in the run or I can pick a whole ‘nother run for the second figure.

So at some point, I had a box full of stuff to cut out…

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And honestly I had overdone the physical, get out of the house and act like a normal human being stuff, so I sat down on the couch for almost two hours to recover, and cut stuff out…

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Then made dinner and put it in the oven and then sat down again…still running a fever on and off (it’s OK, it’s another acceptable symptom).

I could have ordered out. If I’d had more than 20 hours’ notice of the procedure, I would have cooked some stuff and frozen it before all this happened. Girlchild was at soccer practice last night. I could have pushed her to prep the meal, or even the boychild, but I didn’t have the energy. I had picked an easy meal on purpose. Plus leftovers. Because I’m not particularly hungry these days. I eat because I know I have to, but girlchild ran to the store yesterday because I expressed an interest in popcorn (of all things) and all we had was kettle corn (bleck) and a year-plus-out-of-date packet of the normal stuff. She ripped them out of my hands and came back ten minutes later and put it in the microwave and cooked it. Sounds silly, I know, but food. Right now? Yuck. I guess that’s the “poor appetite” symptom.

Then I managed more ironing of all the bits…here’s the pile of fabrics now…

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The iPad is for looking up things like ivy and wolves for approximate coloring. I do my research. The thermometer is there too…I keep taking my temp to confirm that it’s not a hot flash…it’s a FEVAH!

And here’s the new pile to be cut out…lots of little bits now…

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In fact, I have one whole box that is just the snake wrapped around her legs…it’s that many pieces…

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And another box that is just the giant bird above her hand…

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And here’s the rest of the stuff in or on her body that is not flesh…

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Well, except all the stuff in and on her legs (a moth, a wolf, some plants), because I did those yesterday.

Usually I know how many pieces I’ve finished, because I go in order. I have no freakin’ clue how many are done. I know I’ve done all the flesh pieces through 1100. And I’ve done some of the non-flesh-colored pieces on the way there. I did about 4 hours of picking and ironing fabrics yesterday, with almost 7 hours total into the fabric part. Probably there’s a good 14 more hours to go. I should be able to get that done this week.

I only spent about an hour and 15 minutes cutting pieces out yesterday, so there’s a lot more work on that section. That’s OK, though…I can sit down for that. So I’m stronger each day, but still definitely recovering.

So I ran into a post by someone who’s been on my blog-reading list for many years…Kate Kretz. She makes beautiful work that is sometimes challenging (for some, not me). Actually, I like the word ‘disturbing’. I don’t think that word is BAD. I think there are times we SHOULD be disturbed by what we see and read and even think. I believe artists SHOULD disturb. I think the first pieces I saw of hers were the mouth pieces done in hair embroidery, and that’s when I started following her blog (that’s 2006?).

Yesterday she wrote a post on shocking art that is right on. I’ve had a few people over the years accuse me of making work that shocks on purpose, that I’m TRYING to piss people off or upset them or whatever, and I try to explain that I’m really never thinking about the work in that way, and mostly people nod their heads, like SURE you’re not. But I’m really not. I draw from a place in my head where I don’t even consider my audience. I don’t care who they are or what they might think. They are so far away from my point of view that they might as well not exist. I don’t make art for y’all. I make it for me. Now once I’m making it, sure, I’m putting it out there and entering it into shows (and getting it rejected more times than not), but that’s the other part of the artist brain…trying to figure out where it fits, making sure it’s out there, that people eyeball it. The one I’m working on now? It’s not that controversial (I think), but someone’s panties will get in a twist about it, I’m sure, just like some of the other work I’ve made. Anyway…great article.

Now back to recovery…and artmaking…temp’s gone up a full degree since I started writing this. Sigh.


Sorta Standing…

July 26, 2015

So I think I spent about ten hours yesterday in this space…doing some hand stitching on all that stuff over there.

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I can’t show you pictures of that stuff until it’s published, but it’s more Sue Spargo blocks. It’s easy and brainless…I’m just stitching wool pieces down, not doing the embroidery yet. I had no brain power for that.

I was determined to stand today. It didn’t have to be long, but I wanted to get something done. It always helps when Calli covers half the floor.

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Kitten had the chair. It’s a good thing I didn’t need to be sitting down.

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I ironed all the stuff on the bottom of the quilt, at the base of the two figures.

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Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far…

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Lots of colors already. And here’s all the pieces ready to go…

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I could start cutting them out tonight I guess. If I can sit up again.

I only made about 55 minutes of standing, and that was pushing it. Sad but true. I’m back on the couch now, lying down, because even sitting up is too much. Aargh. I stopped taking the heavy-hitting meds, because they weren’t helping much and I think they were messing with my sleep. I sleep more on the couch than in my bed. So I’ll try Motrin tonight instead. It’s kind of amazing how tired I am with no actual wound or stitches. It’s just dying fibroids making me sick. Poor things. No really. I’ve had these things for over 20 years. They show up in my art, in the uteri of multiple quilts. They’re my little alien beasts. The doc says I’m really good at making them…there were over a hundred of them. Impressive, eh? And now I’m killing them. Weird to think of it that way.

Anyway. The healing process continues. Too slowly for an impatient person like me. I just want to make art. I don’t do a good job decorating the couch.


On the Couch…

July 25, 2015

It all started on the couch…well, it’s still on the couch honestly. But Wednesday morning, after I found out my procedure would be Thursday and might knock me out of commission for a week or more, I had a goal. I didn’t REACH that goal, but I tried. I’m still on the couch today…been home since about noon yesterday. I tire easily. I’m in some pain, not a lot, but the meds are also making me tired…especially the Benadryl to counteract whatever I was allergic to in the hospital.

So Wednesday, I finished trimming all the Wonder Under, taking about ten hours total…

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It doesn’t look like much, does it? Then I found a plastic bin for each 100 pieces, not an easy feat at the moment…

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A lot of them were being used for other things. Kitten was after a bug in one of the bins, but the Wonder Under was also intriguing.

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Then she sat right up against the first three bins, pissy that I was taking up space on her light table.

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It took about an hour and 40 minutes to sort all the pieces out…

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Then I headed to my office and hung up the drawing, and put away some of the fabrics that were piled up in that room (which really needs a serious deep clean…something I was supposed to do this summer)…

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I started by putting the first 100 out in order and then began the ironing…

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And got a whopping 35 minutes in.

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Before I realized I had to be up in like 4 1/2 hours to go to the hospital. Yeah, so that’s where I didn’t meet my goal. I wanted a huge pile of stuff ironed so I could sit here, on the couch, and cut little pieces out. I guess I could do that, but it wouldn’t take very long. I think there’s only about 30 pieces ironed.

What I need now is enough energy to stand and iron fabrics to Wonder Under pieces. And that’s not happening today. In fact, I’m sitting here with my computer on my lap and my eyes are drooping again. Sigh. So I don’t know if I’m getting that burst of energy today.

I’ve been sitting on the couch and watching stuff saved on Tivo and stuff on Netflix, and then I’m sewing some wool bits to other wool bits, nothing fancy, just basic. Because I can’t deal with anything beyond that. Last night, I tried to go to bed at a reasonable hour, but then didn’t fall asleep until after 4:30 AM. At some point, I finally got up and read a book. An entire book. The Sculptor, by Scott McCloud…

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I like the idea of this book, but had some issues with the story. I’m not sure it needed to be as long as it was (and it’s 400 pages long)

I think I need another nap. I don’t WANT another nap. I WANT to be making art.

Note: I put the computer down because my eyes were drooping…it’s now 2 hours later, so I guess I really needed to sleep. I’m hoping tomorrow is better. I know recovery takes time.


Damn Demanding Art Brain

July 22, 2015

Imagine my eyes wide open like this…

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Yup. It’s been 24 hours or so of that. I might have slept a bit, but crazy nightmares of mud and blood and car accidents and disturbing imagery (I know, crazy, when you look at my drawings, but they have to come from SOMEWHERE, right?). And I think, what the hell were you doing last night? I went to an art opening (4th one in the same number of days?) and then I came home and ate dinner quietly by myself and watched four episodes of Elementary (um. Kathy. Sherlock is a bit creepy.) and cut out a shitload of Wonder Under.

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The container on the left has all the stuff that’s cut out. The pile on the right is all that’s left.

It was 1 AM and I wasn’t in the mood to spend another 45 minutes cutting that out. I was tired.

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It’s still not cut out though and that was my plan for today: cut it out, sort it, and start ironing. But it’s 4:30 already and I haven’t even touched it. Why? Well hell. I’m having a surgical procedure tomorrow, just found out the timing today, so I’ve been running around like a crazy person labeling a quilt, driving to Home Depot for the slats for the quilt, cutting those, dehairing said quilt, boxing it up, driving it to someone who will deliver it for me, because now I can’t, and then the grocery store on the way home. I think I also made stuff for lunches for the next few days, so if I have an appetite when I get home, there’s some stuff I can eat. Because I have teenagers, and although they are both capable of cooking and cleaning and even fetching, they are also not always here or reliable or even sane. Boychild did fetch my library book for me.

It’s OK. Don’t panic. It’s not major surgery. I’m not even having stitches. It’s just the uterus and it needs some persuading to stop misbehaving, and because of that, I get to have flu symptoms for like a week. Or more. Because I have time for that shit right now. It’s OK. I do have time for it, because otherwise, I’m going to need to buy stock in a tampon company. But I don’t have time for it. I’m assuming the worst on recovery, and trying to prepare for it. So I still want to finish the Wonder Under, sort it, and start ironing tonight, even though I have to be at the hospital tomorrow at holy shit in the morning. I have 8 hours before I have to go to sleep. I can sleep ALL DAY tomorrow. Maybe I should just stay up all night. See those eyeballs up there? Yup. That would be a bad plan.

Anyway. With all that in mind, I’m a little overly stressed and a tad worried, because nobody likes to be put under and have drugs pumped into them and to lie in a hospital gown. Those damn things are freakishly uncomfortable, and just when you finally fall asleep, some loud nurse comes in and turns on all the lights and pulls the blankets off of you, scaring you half to death, just to check your incision. Yeah. Things I try to avoid.

So art…in a minute. First I want to talk about the three openings on Saturday. The first one was at Visions, a collectors’ exhibit. It’s worth seeing. I wasn’t overwhelmed, but it has some nice work in it. I’m not allowed to take pictures there. The second one was fun, but a little crazy…

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The Frida Kahlo Group Art Show at the La Bodega Gallery in Barrio Logan. There were a million people there by the time we got down there, many of them dressed as Frida (somewhat disturbing). Some of the art was a bit TOO derivative, but much of it was an interesting take on people’s idea of Kahlo or her art. Artists’ names are on the tags below. Sometimes I try to link to websites for artists, but I will never get this posted this week if I try to do that.

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So people kept posing this young Frida lookalike under the paintings, and she kept moving under the green one (one of my favorites), but then someone would move her back to the blue one…

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And here’s the green one. Maybe we should have let her stay there.

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Then a tiny room off to the side had David Van Gough in there…and I couldn’t possibly get any good pictures of his stuff, because it was hella crowded in there. But you can go see it here.

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Outside? This awesome photo opportunity. Seriously cool.

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After that, we went to a pop-up gallery with work by Spenser Little and Jaclyn Rose, both with amazing pieces. Then the night finished with a good burger and some wine, and you can’t argue with that. I still have a hike to post and some Wonder Under to manage. There was a side trip (while you weren’t looking) through a bunch of financial and copyright shit that I have now banished or managed or scared off. So I can get on with what I’ve wanted to do since I was awakened this morning by bad nightmares and cat breath. Damn demanding art brain.


Full-Funnel Conversion

July 21, 2015

First of all, no, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. I have 95 pictures on my camera to prove I’ve been out in the world Doing Shit. Never at home long enough to actually type a blog post. There are some pros and cons to that of course. First of all, I don’t have time right now to deal with all 95 photos. But I’ll get there. I’m sure.

Second of all, LinkedIn is convinced that I want a job…and it’s not that I don’t need work and money and all that, but it’s possible that I have Too Many jobs at the moment, hence stress levels akin to the beginning of school…but LI keeps suggesting the weirdest jobs. Post title: apparently I may be qualified to be a full-funnel conversion rate optimization specialist. Hmn. Boychild and I Googled that shit and we’re pretty sure I don’t know how to do that. Full-Funnel (cake) I can handle…the rest? Not so much.

So Saturday night was three art openings and a damn good burger. More about the openings later (can’t deal with that many photos right now). Sunday was a friend arriving from parts north. We hung out in her hotel room for a while and talked, because this was her view…

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And it included over an inch of rain…

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In fact, while sitting there, I think that entire inch of rain had drenched me between grocery store and car and then car and house and then house and car and then car and hotel room. Or something. Think I missed a step. But still warm and humid out. Dudes…this is why I don’t live in Florida.

But while sitting there, I started cutting out Wonder Under. Because my life is such that at the moment I cannot just sit anywhere. I have to be working. And that’s OK. Most of the time.

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Once we left there for my parents, where there were lots of people and girlchild cooked, and I did manage to sit through dinner without cutting stuff out, I got really tired. Something about not sleeping well or long enough for two many nights in a row. So I went home and took a 20-minute nap. I do actually set the timer on my phone to wake me up. And that and a significant dose of tea woke me back up long enough to finish tracing the damn thing. First I had to readjust this sweetheart…

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Um. Kitten. Excuse me. Sweetie, I need to move you. It’s really hard to move them when they look this adorable.

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But I did. Because I wanted to be done. I had about 400 pieces and at first thought that was too many to get done, because it was late already…apparently I traced that night for 3 hours and 10 minutes. Yeah. So I got it done.

I had already trimmed one yard at the hotel and my parents’ house, so there were 6 1/2 yards total…

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Laid out on the floor. It took 21 1/2 hours to trace the whole quilt. There are about 1852 pieces (more than that, but not a lot more…yes, I always miss some). So it wasn’t super easy to trace apparently. Last year’s big quilt took about 18 minutes longer to trace and it had 100 fewer pieces. I don’t know what that means. It also took me 12 days to trace and this one only took 6 days. That’s the difference between being in school and being on vacation.

Then yesterday, I had brunch with my friend before she left…then headed over to my quilt class, where I continued cutting…

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And then hiked 5 miles with the kids (more on that later), ate dinner (do you need to know more about that? After hikes? It’s pizza. Delivery. Hallelujah.), and kept cutting for almost 5 hours yesterday (finished Wandering Pines and am still not sure it hasn’t jumped the shark in the first season, if that’s possible). I’m at almost 7 hours total, and there are 2 1/2 yards left to trim. I could do that today. Today is actually pretty wide open (except the girlchild needs stuff and I have money crap I’m trying to manage and I need to do a ton of writing today and I have an opening to go to tonight and I didn’t do all the grocery shopping Sunday because I ran out of time to plan and I wasn’t sure when my procedure would be scheduled and I’m still waiting on that).

Wow. Deep breaths Kathryn. But if I can get all these trimmed today and sorted (which will probably take an hour or more), then I can start picking fabrics. Fuck. Wait. I don’t have a background fabric. Add to list. Must go to fabric store (oh my) today. And I need a big piece. This thing is 60″ square pretty much. Need 4 yards. OK. So that’s on my list for today as well. Girlchild can handle that errand mushed in with her need for a suitcase, right? That’s what I thought.

Someone’s in the shower and it’s not me. Did I mention I have a leaky sprinkler issue on the deck? Tried turning the whole mess off last night, but it didn’t stop water dripping. Not sure what’s up.

My lord. I need an assistant. AND a house cleaner. I’ve been watching the show Humans and reading a book about AI, and maybe, if humans weren’t so creepy about how they would USE AIs, this would be really incredibly helpful to me. Seriously.


On With Life…

July 18, 2015

This morning, at around 6 AM, a mere 5 hours after I found my bed, the dog woke me…crying, whining, scratching at the bed, trying to burrow under the bed itself. Why? Thunder. She’s developed an intense fear of thunder, and we aren’t sure why, but it woke most of us up this morning. The thunder stopped hours ago, and she’s still scared and hiding. She refuses to go out and pee. And I’ve been up since 6 AM basically, so I kinda feel braindead. What’s new, you ask? Exactly. She’s lying so close to my chair that I can’t move.

I only have about 78 things to do in the next three days. I should be totally blowing off sleep to get all that done. This is not the most relaxing summer vacation I’ve ever had. That’s unfortunate. I should work on that.

I’m still tracing Wonder Under…

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Some days, it feels like I will be tracing forever, but I think I hit a place last night where I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m at 1450 pieces, with only about 400 to go. That’s a day. Maybe 4 hours. I have the torso, one arm, and the head of the smaller figure, and then I’m done.

Kitten is absolutely no help. She was lying on the couch, but STILL lying on the drawing and pulling it towards her as she cleaned herself.

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Nice. Well, I’ll be done tracing soon, and then she can lie all over the light table to her heart’s content. (But mommy, there will be nothing to lie ON.) Sigh.

I actually didn’t do much tracing yesterday, only about two hours. I spent the afternoon re-learning how to crochet and then cutting out Wonder Under for the smaller quilts I have on my list. I didn’t start tracing until well after dinner.

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I’m over 18 hours in though. It hasn’t felt like that…

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I did finally force myself to stop around 12:30 last night. Some part of me just wants to bully through, stay up all night, get it done, because I’m pretty booked the next three days, but realistically, not sleeping at my age is not a good plan. I already have enough issues with staying asleep, although I was doing fine last night, until the dog and the thunder.

Can I take a nap today? I did take all the Wonder Under that was traced with me to quilt meeting yesterday, but then the crochet thing happened (girlchild wants a hat and her birthday is coming)…I’ve gone completely through my stash of rubberbands saved from when we used to get newspapers (I quit those years ago), so am forced to tie things up with ribbons now. I have tons of those. I keep a bunch looped over a clothes hanger in my office, for when I need to tie things up…

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But I haven’t actually started cutting them out.

Deadlines are piling up. My proposal for a collaborative art thang was accepted, so I will be working on that in August, opening on September 12, but I don’t even know what THAT is yet, due to the collaborative part of it. Then I have to do a surgical procedure thing on the lovely fibroid-filled uterus that will leave me feeling out of it and tired for up to 10 days (I don’t have time for that shit)…if they can schedule it far enough in advance of school…which they say they can. But that would then be happening in the next week or so.

I think, OK, this big quilt ALSO needs to be done by about September 20. And I’m booking at the moment, moving uberfast, but that will change. Things I can do while sitting on the couch: cutting stuff out (good). So if the procedure is early next week, I’m still cutting out Wonder Under. OK. Or if it’s early the following week, maybe I will have made it to the ironing stage and I’ll have more stuff to cut out. I suspect picking out and ironing fabrics will be problematic if I feel like shit. Standing for hours doesn’t sound like it will be an option. So the timing is not great.

So I’m all stressed out about making art. Oh well. It’s because I’m pushing myself and challenging myself with new types of projects, and that’s good, and it’s just unfortunate that all this other crap has to happen at the same time.

Plus I really REALLY need to meditate every day. Seriously. Did it in the MRI machine…it was rhythmic. Nice. Can’t have one of those at home though. Gonna have to just do it on the couch.

Enough writing. On with life.


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