One Done, Nine to Go…or Ten?

July 11, 2015

So I finished another quilt last night, actually this morning in the early dewy moments when you know you should be asleep, but you’re waiting for the girlchild to get home from a performance, so you can’t go to sleep anyway, so you might as well finish the binding, even though you’re tired of working on it. Yeah. It was one of those. Sometimes my brain just fights finishing (because it knows what’s next and it’s afraid, very very afraid).

OK, really just apprehensive because I’m not sure how the next step will work out and there’s a lot of other things hanging over me right now that I am trying REALLY hard to ignore. Really.

So I trimmed the quilt.

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I really hate having to make quilts to a specific size. It gives me the heeby jeebies. I’m sure I’m going to fuck it up. I check the size in the paperwork or online over and over, obsessively, and then trimming it just freaks me out. I’m sure it would be OK if it were a half inch larger, but I just don’t like it.

I had gone to the fabric store before and gotten the binding (plus some others wanted to come home with me…all those pretty pastel colors and then SKULLS)…

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I tried for a dark blue and it just didn’t work…couldn’t get the right shade and dark enough. And then I thought about turquoise, but I don’t know if it’s just my store (which is huge), but I haven’t seen any good turquoises for months. Something to keep in mind. I put it in the wash before I went to my quilt meeting and it was ready when I finally got done with all that and dinnermaking and cleaning the kitchen. Yes, I started after 9 PM, I’m sure…

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But this really is a small quilt, so this went relatively quickly…

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Binding on, two sleeves, bottom and top…and then the handsewing…

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While waiting for the girlchild to get home. It’s done. Emailing the photographer this morning to do this one and the Bathtub.

I also worked on some smaller quilts for sale yesterday, because it’s an easier project to lug around outside the house…I traced all the Wonder Under for 7 projects…

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Having done two of them last Friday and then not touching them all week. Here they are, all ready for trimming…

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I decided to try cats this year instead of birds. But then I digressed. Because I do. But starting with the cats, here’s 1 and 2…

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Both drawn from real life. Then 3 and 4…

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Three is the curled-up one and that was real life, but it’s also much more complicated. Julie is shaking her head at me right now, because complicated means more time.

And Cat 5…

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whose expression is my favorite. That’s Kitten’s face.

Cat 6? Well, let’s just say I can’t always be normal. I really wanted to make this one and it kept talking to me, and I realize no one will probably want to buy it because it’s weird, AND it has over a hundred pieces (Julie throws her arms up in the air and stomps away), but I like it. So there.

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So that’s 6 cats…then I liked the heart in hands that I did for the FFAC donation, so I had drawn one version that was way too complicated and one simple one…

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So the one on the left will inevitably be cheaper than the one on the right. Whatever. I don’t even know if these will sell, but it’s worth a try.

And then I did another owl…

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I actually pulled this from one of the bathtub drawings. There’s another owl I want to draw, but I really need to stop and get these started at least, because I need to draw this giant thing this weekend and start working on it, because there’s really only 4 weeks until I have to start really thinking about school (besides all the texts and emails all over the place that have been annoying me all week). And that’s not much time. And I have to finish that commission piece too. I’m kind of freaked out about the next step with that…will have to just suck it up and DO it instead of thinking so hard about it. Like that’s possible.

But I’m really pleased that I’ve stuck with my schedule so far…in fact, I’m about a week ahead. Of course, I might be screwed later today if the job I bid on comes in…screwed timewise, but able to earn August’s mortgage payment. That would be a plus. Trade-offs…one of the things I teach in 7th-grade science. Clinical trials for medications, cancer treatments, how to get money to go to the movies…all trade-offs. Yes, I can be an artist, but I am going to be behind on everything else and sometimes my schedule will go crazy, even though it’s summer and I should be relaxing. It is relaxing to be tracing Wonder Under or picking fabrics…it’s a different kind of relaxation. The sort-of workaholic kind. Oh well. It’s obviously in my genes. I will take some time off this evening and relax a bit, and then go crazy again.

Speaking of relaxing, when I’m done sewing bindings but the girlchild isn’t actually home yet so I still have to be awake, or when I’m in a Barnes and Noble Starbucks with my stitching friends and I don’t have anything portable to work on, I do these…

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This is Sue Spargo’s Bird Crazy, started three years ago? Maybe 2 1/2 years ago. I have 21 birds completely embroidered and 9 to go…here’s the 6 I’m currently working on…

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They all have feet. The bottom half have all their background embroidery done. I’m working on that task on the top three. When these are done, there are only 3 left…then I can sew it together…and start on another one. Because I do need something to work on when I’m on a plane or in a waiting room or wherever, and these are easy and relaxing and don’t require a lot of thought, but the embroidery is fun to do. So yeah, I have those to work on.

OK, so I need to deal with that giant drawing now. Or breakfast. Whichever seems less traumatic…

Stuck Down

June 5, 2015

I’m trying to stay on track. I have a list a mile long. Actually, I have multiple lists. When I wake up in the morning, my phone says alarming things like, “You have a busy day today. There are 22 items on your calendar.” What the fuck? Are any of them “eat” or “sleep?” Nope. The standard stuff isn’t even on there. That’s just the extras. And some of them are easy, like “pay the damn bills” or “enter a show.” OK, that one is not easy, and many thanks to the three varied and useful brains (plus Google) that were helping me come up with a theme/show title for a one-woman show I’m considering. Though it made me realize that a lot of the words that have to do with women just annoy me. Like “feminine.” Anyone who knows me is clear that I am sort of the anti-feminine, and yet that is the word, the adjective, that is supposed to go along with me and my parts. There’s “womanly” as well, which just means you have curvy boobs and hips, right? “She has a womanly figure.” Fuck me. I hate that stuff. “Feminine” implies pretty smells and wafting silky fabrics and a pinky raised for tea. It’s interesting what words just set my teeth on edge. “Tits”…that’s the one my male students use that just sets me off. I don’t know why. (I should probably carry warning labels…maybe I do.) Don’t call me a girl, don’t call me a lady. I’m not either.

Anyway. My brain is on overload with that, and I have about a week to figure it out…surely from the list I typed into my phone as the other three threw stuff out at me, I will be able to find something semi-appropriate.

Meanwhile, I finally made it home and tried to focus. I’ve been so tired, and I’ve been going to bed early, but then I don’t sleep, so it’s fucking pointless. I am going to buy a gun just to go find that fucking mockingbird on my street and blow its perky, loud feathers away (moody much?). Then I will sell it back (the gun).

I wanted to iron everything to the background on Wednesday night, but that was exhaustion level tired. Last night, I had a cup of tea and some food and started to revive. I cut a background piece…luckily it didn’t need to be pieced, because this quilt isn’t actually that big, and then I started ironing…

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The tree leaves tried to be fussy little assholes, but I ironed them into submission. This was actually pretty easy to iron down, because it was all one piece and only the tree was fussy.

It took me less than an hour…

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So that’s a little over 10 hours in ironing, more than I thought, but not unreasonable. Notice in the bottom right corner that Kitten is venturing out into the house again. She’s still really nervous about being out, and keeps looking around for Babygirl, and Midnight is being kind of a pissy bitch about her being out too, so there’s some growling going on, but I think they’ll adjust.

ANYWAY. Hopefully tonight I’ll start stitching it down, which shouldn’t take long. My Saturday is kind of a mess at the moment, though, so I do have to grade papers tonight. I wanted to pinbaste it on Sunday, but I don’t know how realistic that is. We’ll see. Probably not an option.

But I’m two weeks ahead again. So that’s good. Anyway. Stuck down to the fabric. Ten days of school left. Then I have to get my head above water and try to figure out how to get some extra money this summer. I have three things going…I just need enough time and space to get them moving. Right now, it’s a lost cause, but it will get better soon.

Last night, I did sew some feet…

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Although it feels like I should have been able to do more than that in an hour and a half. Whatever. Thirty-nine bullion knots in 90 minutes. OK, see it doesn’t sound so bad when I say it THAT way. That’s 2.3 minutes per bullion. OK then. I’m not going for the world record in bullion stitching. I think. Is there money in it?

Please Don’t Call Freud

May 8, 2015

Pouring rain. Heaven to California. Won’t be enough. Never is. But I can turn my water off for a week (to the plants…not the showers). I’m going to save water next year by sending the second kid to another state, a state with no apparent water issues…a state that makes its own water. Who thought greening the desert made any sense?

I have the end in my sights…which end? Lots of them. The end to tracing Wonder Under on this piece, which is strangely making my hand sore. I wake in the morning and it’s stiff and swollen. Probably this is more getting old or menopausal effects…because I never had issues before and I’ve traced for much more than an hour at a time. I’m up to 6 hours…

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There are too many large, long, and convoluted pieces in this quilt. It makes tracing difficult…I hate wasting Wonder Under. It will make ironing difficult too.

This was the worst piece…

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Crazy. Totally should have cut that up into smaller pieces. Oh well. So I’m at about 450 pieces done…didn’t do many pieces last night, even though I worked for over an hour. Of course, it probably took longer than normal because of pieces like that one above. So I need to think about the background for this one and whether or not I want to get more water or bathtub fabrics. Because that piece alone is a significant chunk of a half yard…and I don’t always have that sitting around…certainly not in water color. Whatever water color is.

I keep meaning to go to sleep earlier. I’m tired. My body protests the mornings, but some more than others. You’d think I’d be half dead this morning…stayed up later than the last few nights and it should all be catching up with me on a Friday, but I’m strangely OK. Headachy, but awake. Had headaches all week on and off. Thank you weather systems. Or students. Or financial aid. OK. So headaches could be caused by many things. They are NOT caused by donuts (don’t disabuse me of my notion please).

Totally have drawings rambling chaotically through my head. It was my monthly stitching meeting last night and they plopped a few more in there for me. It’s crazy how much stuff is piling up in there. My artist brain is rushing around, trying to record the ideas on these giant pieces of paper that she piles up in the corners, and then they all slip down and start sliding all over the place. She’s trying to keep them from getting in the way of going to school and remembering the parent meeting I have and that I have duty and it’s currently pouring rain and that I’m giving a test today and there’s that kid who can’t sign into the state testing but we think we figured out why so I have to check that today. All that’s being covered up by these giant slips of paper with intricate drawings of exploding uteri and fetuses reaching towards overloaded pregnant women and crones being pushed aside by perky-breasted skinny beasts with not a creative thought in their brains.

Yes. It’s on overload. Need to deal with that. Please don’t call Freud in on all that. I know exactly from whence it all came.

But it’s always good to just sit and stitch and talk out all your worries and amusements and giggle about stupid stuff, even though I’m old and wrinkly and decrepit and that’s not what society likes.

All I did was stitch feet.

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OK. That’s not true. I stitched around eyes too. Two hours of feet though…basically.

Sometimes that’s the best kind of stitching, because it’s just kind of brainless. I can do bullion knots in my sleep now. And we talked about how to make phones do things and I’m trying to figure out how Siri can make dinner or lunch for me, because shit, I don’t have time for that, and she seems to have endless amounts of time. And then we talked about how Kathy can make money and the Other Kathy reminded me that I used to be an editor (crap, I forgot about that…no, I really did), so I’m looking at that possibility for extra work, plus they both voted for small cat quilts this summer for sale. So I need to go pull drawings with cats in them and start reinventing that wheel. Which is stressful, but not as stressful as trying to find hours in the day where I could drive to a job location and work there after being on my feet all day at school. Because my foot is killing me, despite the attempts to rest (ha!) and elevate it (double ha!) and wear an ankle brace, which a student thought was an ankle bracelet and I was on home arrest. At school. Trust me, sometimes that job totally feels like that, like now, with only six weeks to go and the hardest test of the year today and two weeks of state testing looming over us.

Big fucking sigh. I’m good. I can do this.

Thunder and pouring rain. Kids will be absent today because of that. Stupid.


April 27, 2015

Sunday Night: Drawings are in my head, crying to be let out, much like the Golden Retriever who then stands at the doorway, staring at me as if I have asked her to sacrifice her dinner. “I don’t really want to go out, mom. I just want attention.” I carry my sketchbooks around, two of them, for two days straight, thinking that will help me, but I can’t draw around people. The drawings are shy; they don’t want attention like that. Just mine, like needy two-year-olds, clinging to mom. Fuckers.

I had an art meeting yesterday afternoon, so I didn’t have a chance to work on art stuff all day Saturday or Sunday until about 9:30 PM. And then this happened.

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And I’m negotiating with a cat. Look, Midnight, it’s bad enough that I have to have Friends on while I’m trying to do this, when I really need something dark and evil like Orphan Black or Helix, but when you repeatedly claw at the paper when I’m trying to get it out from under you? More attention-seekers.

I finally got everything out from under the cat and pulled this drawing from a few months back…

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Which was a redraw of this drawing…

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and which I liked, but…ran out of paper. Whoops. And wasn’t sure about the tree. Or the drumstick. (The top drawing, which is the second one. The first one? Has some things going for it…but…I don’t know.) So I have a deadline coming up with this idea of oasis, and I’m sure some people go straight to palm trees or a pool of water, a place where we go to escape. So I’m working with that, but the place is mental. Because when I get my brain all tied up in knots, that is what I need…a method to get away from that crazy.

I’m working with a prescribed size though. And it doesn’t work with how the drawing was in my brain on this, the third iteration…but I thought I could start by drawing the top and then I could figure it out from there…

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And oh my god, that was a clusterfuck. OK, not completely. But I needed more liquid paper than I really like to use, because I’m drawing this one to size, not enlarging it, so when I’m tracing from the back, I will still be able to see the lines I covered up, and it gets really confusing. Plus I was just fucking it up all over the place, so I walked the fuck away from it. Because the lines weren’t going where I wanted them to. The pen was fighting me.

Because if I can’t draw. Bloody hell. I thought about doing some quilting or just going to bed, but I really wanted to make this work. I didn’t want to let the drawing win. So I cut another piece of paper, measured the appropriate size, and laid it on top…

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Because some parts were OK. The eyes were fucked up. The right hand was a bloody mess. I don’t even know what was going on with the neckline, but the man’s head was good. And things were in generally the right place. Do over.

You can see on the right what I thought was OK enough to copy. Then the sketchbook is what I’m drawing from…well, sort of. And then under the sketchbook was the rejected drawing.

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At that point, it was 11:30 PM. I could stop. Maybe I should stop.

Fuck that. I kept going…got the face done…

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And the hand that bugged me before, and the outline of the torso. Much better. Deep sigh. So I guess this is really version number 4. Fighting this one out, seriously. It’s just messing with me. I think some of that is that I’m used to drawing smaller, in a sketchbook I can hold on my lap, sitting on the couch, and this is standing at the light table and it’s big and I’m trying to reach across AND make sure the pieces aren’t too small. So I needed to persuade my hand it could do all of that.

And now, when I’d really rather stay home and draw this, I need to go to work. Sigh. Deep sigh. Art brain goes off to sulk in the corner.

Finished these yesterday at the art meeting…

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They were almost done at soccer last weekend. But that’s July. Now on to August. Don’t ask what year.

Note to self: We have enough conditioner until the end of time. Don’t buy more.

Mood is better. Body is in revolution. Uterus is conducting volcanic studies. Tired. Iron depletion? Ugh.

Tip the Balance

April 21, 2015

Usually I write my blogposts in the morning. I used to write them at night. I’d meditate first and then I’d write. Often it would be 1 or 2 AM when I posted, because I wasn’t sleeping hardly at all for about a year. Now it’s easier to go to bed earlier and write in the morning. I suspect the writing is different because of that, but maybe not. Plus I get a few more hours of sleep…not a lot.

I’m writing tonight, knowing I probably won’t post it tonight. I’m kinda hoping that what I do tonight will modify my mood so that tomorrow morning sounds better, feels better, and according to all the happiness mythology, IS better.

It was a difficult day. Kids were not in the mood to do work, and I was asking them to do work. Not particularly hard work, and the ones who know how to do work and like to do it, or at least know that they have to do it, they were doing it. The others were not. My patience was incredibly thin to start the day (lack of sleep? stress? I don’t know. No art for days?), and by the end of the day, our minimum day, I was at nothing percent. Nada. Nichts. Ain’t nobody home. We had a meeting after school that was incredibly depressing…worrying even. And I know I’m not supposed to worry about future events, because there is no point. I’m not supposed to assume next year is going to suck dingdongs because maybe it won’t. I’m supposed to take one day at a time and not think about the future.

I have to tell you, it is a hard habit to break. But I’ve been telling myself that since the meeting, don’t worry, don’t think about the future (except I’m being asked to think about it, so that makes it significantly difficult), the meeting where I almost broke out in tears, and when I have to meet one-on-one later because I expressed my concerns, I will most definitely cry. Because it’s hard to explain to most people what it’s like to feel money stress hanging over you for years. To feel parenting stress solely on your shoulders. Those that have experienced it, they know. But when you then add the stress of trying to balance the parts of your life, and someone wants to add more stuff that you REALLY don’t want to do to a job that already sucks up so much energy and so many hours, and you have fought to keep your hold on the other part of your life, the art part, even just the part where you have time to do the dishes (I haven’t yet since last week), it’s like a tug-of-war game, but it’s not a game…it’s your fucking sanity, it’s your life. And I’m holding the rope and the knot is slipping over the center line, and everything on the other side of the rope (job, money, time, demands of children, demands of boss) is getting heavier and heavier, pulling harder and harder, yanking at me, pulling my shoulders out of their sockets, and I’d really just like to throw my hands up and let go of the fucking rope, let go and walk the fuck away, turn my back on ALL of it.

Yeah. So I’m meditating tonight. And I was drawing earlier. And I’m trying to at least get a tiny grip on some sort of strength to get me through most of tomorrow, because that’s all I need. And then tomorrow night, I can negotiate for Wednesday. And so on.

Tonight though. Geez. Universe. You suck. Walk the fuck away from me. I am not talking to you.

It’s the morning now. So much for my hope for today. I was apparently a horrible person this morning because I suggested watching Friends would not help learn Physics. Huh. What do I know? I love my kids, but going away to college is something they really need to do, not only for their growth and maturity, but for my sanity.

I drew this last night…

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I don’t know what it is about sitting in a bathtub. It reduces stress, makes you feel calmer, but you’re naked, so there’s this vulnerability while you’re in there. You can’t get out quickly, but that’s supposed to be OK. I used to take baths all the time at the old house, prekids, predivorce, prewhatever. The bathtub in this house kinda sucks, plus it’s in the kids’ bathroom. I think if I got into a bathtub right now, I might never get out.

I liked the hand and wineglass in this bathtub drawing…

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But wanted to try to make a better drawing…this was more of a quick sketch one night. So that’s where the second drawing came from (it’s actually the fifth). I don’t know if the other one is done. I have to think about it.

I did all that because my head was a mess. I meditated in the middle of it. I didn’t do anything else last night, because by the time I got home from school and did the grocery shopping that I didn’t have time to do Sunday (forgot the toothpaste, dammit), it was late. And then I was trying to pay the deposit for college and that was apparently too much stress for the girlchild, who admittedly is about to lose all her friends (try to tell her they don’t all go away, but she says I know nothing, because you know, I don’t.), because she went off. And I eventually got it paid, but decided that making dinner was not my problem. I was no longer hungry. I could eat a bowl of fucking Cheerios and I’d be OK. I had used up all my parenting dollars for the night. To her credit, she cooked dinner and fed both of us.

I went to bed and hoped that it would be better today. No comment on that. I can’t judge the whole day on the first 40 minutes. I can’t let the first 40 minutes color the entire day.

Here’s the two birds I almost finished over the weekend…

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I still need to add some of the lighter green to the tailfeathers on the upper bird. I should have done that in the car on the way home on Sunday, but I don’t think I had the energy. I actually don’t remember the car ride back on Sunday. I know I was in the car, because I’m home now.

Seriously though. One of the things I hate about these moods is that I don’t feel like they are entirely situational…I think a big chunk is hormonal, and that is out of my control. My science brain wants to know what percentage is my hormones and what percentage is whatever other shit causes random sadness and depression. I need a mood pie chart. (I just spent ten minutes looking at semi-disturbing pie charts that either blamed moodiness on spilled gin or the genetics of your parents, both probably factors at some point or another.)

Fuck this. I drew. Tonight I don’t know what I will do, but it won’t be school-related. Sorry Mr. Bossman…you didn’t make me want to spend more time doing it. You just strengthened my resolve to keep the balance, perhaps tip it even further towards taking care of me. (In reality, I will find that difficult to do.)

I Had Cement for Her…*

July 1, 2014

I cannot find my head. It’s lost in a book somewhere, or under a pile of things to be filed, or perhaps I left it in Google Docs where I’m apparently writing a story of my own (best to wish you aren’t in it). It could be on a soccer field with the girlchild’s flipflops or in the hotel room in Corona where I left my nail scissors (dammit). It’s not here, though. It’s not engaged in anything. It’s performing tasks as told, based on a list. I guess the list is logical: Keep working on getting the living room done. Keep working on getting the big quilt done (and then moving on to the next logical step in the quiltmaking process). Keep checking things off that are supposed to get done. Keep reading, just take up the next book in the pile or the one that’s due back to the library next or the one that has to be read before the next book club meeting.

I’m stressed. I know that. There are many things that I am juggling and I don’t feel good about it. There is no relief when one is done, when it is retired from the juggling horde. It seems every time I get rid of one, two take its place.

Where is the part of my life where I lie by the pool with a drink and birds chirping and a nice book in hand? Having an intelligent conversation with someone I enjoy? Feeling at peace with the world, content, happy with my lot in life?

Fuck me. I really suck at this.

I think I need to find more time for exercise, meditation, and drawing. Funny that. It’s vacation. I should have plenty of time. I know I don’t have any peace…not much at the moment. Even ironing tonight gave me fits…

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So I didn’t do a lot of it. I’m hoping to do more tomorrow. Hopefully I will feel less tired and more successful at crossing things off my lists. This is part of a leg…a sorta crazy chaotic leg. It will make more sense when the stitching outlines the appropriate bits.

I think what I really need is a new life. Still. All year I’ve needed that. I keep trying to make one, but it just doesn’t work out. I think it’s because I’d just rather stay home and draw or read a book or make another quilt. Even those don’t make me feel good, though. It’s escapism. People are just not in my current life formula.

Escaping your own existence. Seems like a bad TV mini-series. I don’t have the clothes or makeup for that.

Girlchild tells me every time she sees the sign at the grocery store for the shingles vaccine, she reads it as “singles vaccine” and is confused. “Dammit,” I say…”I forgot to get that when I was younger. That’s the source of all my problems right there.” She tells me to shut up, but laughs as well. She doesn’t like it when depressed mom comes out, even when she comes out making jokes about herself…which honestly, is probably the best way to be at the moment. Sure it would be great to just magically slough off the depression, but failing that (and that does fail, by the way, don’t wiggle your pretty little nose at me and tell me how if I just SMILE, everything will be fucking perfect), this is better than the alternatives. Really. It is.

So. Today was the last day of the soccer showcase, driving up to Pomona yet again…

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Girlchild stepped on a bee. Because she was barefoot. Because she left her flipflops way the freak over THERE and mom had to go get them. After the bee incident. And then there were tears.

Today was the day I finished two of these guys…

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I think that means 11 out of 30 are done. Not great, considering these are from last year. Whatever.

I listened to 10 parents talk about their kids’ college plans. Poor girls. So much pressure. I try to minimize that. I gave birth to a stress monkey, so I tell her I know she will get in somewhere decent and she will be happy wherever she goes, and she freaks out about it, because her brother got into an Ivy and that means that’s what she wants. I don’t know if that will make her happy. I don’t think it would have made ME happy. Then again, I have such a vague memory of that emotion…when it touches me, that feeling, a reminder of that feeling, because I don’t have it now, it just hurts and I cry. I know a college wouldn’t have gotten me there. Hard to tell that to a teenager though. They basically don’t listen to a word you say.

I worked on these guys…

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They are closer to done than they were. In fact, a couple of them are almost done.

I also finished this book…


in fact, if I had read less, I would have gotten those damn birds done, but my brain, it was in that bad place (spending three days dealing with soccer games, parents, and girlchild’s related moods will do that to you, unless you have a magical outlet, a rejuvenating place that brings you back to normal)…so I read instead. I’ve always been a Stephen King fan. He messes with his characters like no one else, and this detective story is good, although somewhat formulaic…King-style, though. I still really enjoyed it (and read it really fucking fast, so there).

I’m not sure reading horror is the best treatment for depression, but neither are rom-coms or YA books half the time either. Or 90% of what’s on the telly. I seem to do best with fantasy/sci fi, but even that’s a stretch sometimes. No books that remind me that at one time I had something approximating a life and now, well, now I don’t know what I have. It’s not really there, ethereal and sad, but insubstantial, feather-light in the hands. Whisks away before you can close your fingers on it. It’s not even real.

Cat puke. Laundry. Bills. Mold. Those are real.

Today’s blog title is brought to you by my favorite poet, writer, thinker ever…e.e. cummings…


Seriously. Reading him is the closest to happy I get at the moment.

Send the Poison Rain Down the Drain*

June 22, 2014

Another late night. My brain refusing to shut down. It seems to need to process at the moment. Lots of that. I don’t know exactly what it’s processing. I just know it makes me feel sad a lot. Wish it would stop. Like, brain, just get OVER it. Move on. Accept the shitty stuff and find a new way to be in the world. No no no…don’t go back in the hole. I didn’t mean it. We DO like you. We DO want to be your friend…even though you’re a total downer. Look, we can fake it. We do it all the time.

Yeah. I’m faking it. Every day. Don’t get me wrong. I do like you…I just don’t know how to feel normally or even to behave normally most of the time. I just pretend.

Yes, we painted today…

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Exciting picture, eh? Yeah. Well, the smaller room is mostly done…two shelves and windows need a second coat. Then we can put all the furniture back and start on the next section of this big area we call the living room. It’s less overwhelming in chunks…just like I teach, eh? But still overwhelming.

I made it to book club, a discussion of Dan Simmons’ The Fall of Hyperion, which I liked (the book AND book club, held outside in a park on a gorgeous day, what could be better?). Book club seems to help me by injecting some intellectual discussion into my life…I get some of that with the kids, but I’m not around enough people during the day, especially during the summer…I like to think about what I read and figure out what it really means. Or doesn’t. Or if it’s any good. And why? During the school year, I often read the book club selections and don’t go to the meetings, because I don’t have time to go to all of them…all of them meet on days when I have the kids, which is problematic…at least for now. But summer gives me plenty of time with the kids, plus I’m not trying to balance lesson plans and grocery shopping on Sundays with 2 hours spent talking about books, so that helps.

I decided to work on the birds tonight instead of the big quilt. The boychild was using my computer because his is under the dropcloth in the room we painted…so I needed to be in another room anyway. This room, to be specific…with the dogs…

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Who needs people friends on your couches when you have dogs? It is true that there may be no ROOM for people with these dogs in the house. So instead of sharing room with the two goofballs, I worked on the light table behind Jake…tracing birds. First I numbered all of them. More importantly, first I entered all of them into my task-measuring app, because if I’m going to sell these, I need to know how much time I spent on each one, so I can come up with a reasonable price. Artists undersell themselves often, make their work worth nothing when you look at the time put into it. I find it easier to have the time totals up front, so I’m not just randomly making up a price based on my mood that day. It’s just easier.

I keep track of each task separately. It helps me to know how long each stage of the artmaking takes. What’s funny with these little pieces, though, is that some tasks take so little time that it seems like a waste of time to track it…like 30 seconds to number the pieces…in contrast to the 2.5 hours it took me to number the big quilt I’m working on now…the one I maybe should have worked on tonight? Yeah. Whatever. My motivation for getting the painted room put back together tomorrow is to get the boychild out of my office, so I can keep ironing.

Calli agrees.

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Jake? Not so much.

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I don’t know why they’re so sleepy. All they did all day was try to come in the room where all the white paint was.

So I started by numbering all 10 drawings, and then I began the tracing onto Wonder Under…

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None of these has a lot of pieces or is particularly big. It’s kind of relaxing to trace Wonder Under…but when it’s this quick to finish, it makes it even nicer. Look! I accomplished something (really small)…

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That’s 7 of the 10 traced. I decided it was getting late and it would take a significantly longer period of time to finish the last three (they are the biggest ones), so I quit. For now. I’m aiming for July 10…to have at least some of them ironed down. All of them would be nice, but I need to be realistic. I’m juggling a lot of balls at the moment and trying not to drop any of them…all while my brain is doing its stupid depressoid shit, which would make anyone normal drop everything.

Just keep making. Eventually it will make you feel better. Honest.

I also stitched feet again…

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The birds fill time. That’s 8 feet I finished…or 8.5. Not sure. Oh. It’s 8. What’s lame is that I was supposed to be outlining the eyeballs with the same thread as the feet, but I didn’t realize that, so now I have to go back through all the birds and do the eyeballs. There’s one bird whose feet are not that charcoal gray color. I have not figured that out.

Today’s painting session included the only ceiling that needs painting, I’m glad to say. Textured ceilings? Yikes. Super hell. Textured walls are bad enough. Tomorrow we will clear out the next room/space. Prep Tuesday, painting again on Wednesday, I think. I need the mirror guy to call back so I can deal with space number 3…because I think that will be the most challenging space to get done.

This song popped up on Pandora while we were painting today…it gave me the post title…

Which has got to be better than yesterday’s. Sad song, though…

*Elliott Smith, Miss Misery


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