To Settle My Soul

Christmas Day: The house smells of red velvet cake, then cauliflower soup, and now short ribs. The deviled eggs are made, spiced with fresh pepper and mustard (it’s one of the two things I was allowed to cook). I’m watching The Paradise, a British program set in the 1870s (supposedly an “intoxicating love story”…I’m not sure about either the intoxication or the love, but it’s so far from my reality with the young girls falling in insta-love that it doesn’t hurt to watch it), while trimming fabric for the Celebrating Silver quilt. I’ve cleaned up all the gifting trash and the girlchild is cooking dinner. She’s a freakin’ expert at this point, needing zero help most days, creative in her exploration of food while simultaneously destroying the kitchen. Seriously…it’s now 24 hours later and I still haven’t cleaned it all up.

The day is quiet…

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We have parents and dogs and cats, but their dad is missing (yes, he’s usually here), and the girlchild misses him. The boychild may as well, but will not admit to it (yes, he’s covering his face).

Calli is quite happy with her new toy…

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And with all attention thrown her way.

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I stitch through most of the present-opening. Stitching occupies the part of my brain that likes to wander off into WishLand or Depressoid World. So it’s better to keep it working on something.

Girlchild put on an amazingly presented meal, which of course, I do not have a photo of…or maybe I do on the phone. I don’t know. She even gifted me placemats and napkins for the dinner table, plus borrowed matching plates and bowls from her dad’s house (she preferred his color scheme to mine apparently)…

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Impressive. I don’t know where all her cooking/presentation brain power comes from…it must be related to the part of my brain that makes art…the creative bent. But I couldn’t care less about food presentation…it’s just fuel to me…although she makes very good fuel, that’s for sure. I feel exceedingly lucky to have her and her cooking expertise in my life. I am a better cook because of her, and I eat better too (tonight’s open-faced chicken sandwiches with pea pesto were to die for…seriously. I wouldn’t even have made them, because it sounded too weird, but they were damn good).

After dinner, we play a rousing game of SmartAss (you know, like you do). It goes on for a long while; we don’t set an ending time (besides, I won in about 10 minutes on the first round…apparently I was a super SmartAss on Christmas Day…probably to make up for being a Space Cadet the rest of the time). I stitched through most of the game as well. By the end of all the festivities, I’ve managed an hour and 37 minutes of cutting out pieces for the new quilt PLUS I’ve sewed almost everything on the wool birds…

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Actually, last night I thought I was done, but I realized this morning that I still have two cotton pieces to sew on…

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Whatever. It means I start embellishing at tomorrow’s soccer game. I don’t know if it’s healthy to always be distracting my brain from the bad sad stuff, but I’m getting pretty good at it. It won’t go away all day, though. It always surfaces somewhere: at the gym, in the car, during meditation, when I wake up, in my dreams. There’s no escaping it. It’s just there. I don’t know when it will go away…maybe never.

We usually do a family photo with the kids in front of the tree with whatever animals we have that year. This year, we decided to toss me in there as well, because we have three cats who don’t like each other enough to be held by the same person. Kitten is my cat; she barely tolerates Midnight, the girlchild’s cat, and Babygirl, though she likes me as well, is definitely the boychild’s ward…as much as she is beholden to anyone (she really does channel her previous dead owner’s personality). Calli belongs to the girlchild, and Jake is their dad’s dog, but he was better at sitting still and in place than Calli, so we gave him an honorary spot…

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There it is…the official 2013 family portrait. I do have copies of the real-live official family portraits my mom had done a few weeks ago…maybe I’ll post them later. It’s sad that I’m the shortest…by far. Oh well. I never claimed to be tall.

This is my Christmas fabric haul…

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Mom says I needed more dirt because I seem to be making quilts with lots of dirt in them. OK. And flesh. I’m always using flesh…although I think some of that flesh fabric might be better as hair. And that black spotty fabric…now I feel a challenge to use it as flesh. Or dirt. Or both. Or not. I did enlarge a bunch of smaller drawings at the copy place on Christmas Eve…I had to go pick up my Sightlines quilt, which has now returned home after almost 4 years of traveling, so I decided to use the copy machines as well, since I was already there and it was on my To-Do list for break. I’ll hopefully be doing some of those in January. I copied WAY TOO MANY drawings, but they’re small. I’m worried about not having anything to do. Crazy, that, really, considering the number of big drawings I have sitting around too…and my To-Do list is staggering for the rest of life too, at the moment. But if it’s 10 PM on a school night and I need some art-related activity to chase away the depression, then I should be prepared. I’m a Girl Scout through and through.

I cut more pieces out today…almost three hours’ worth…

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I’m over 14 hours in now…you can see the pile of trash is big. I was hoping to get everything done today, but the bin on the left still has a couple of hours’ worth of pieces to do. So I quit. I’ll hopefully finish tomorrow. Then I can start ironing on Saturday. I got all freaked out about getting done…with everything. I’m going in to school tomorrow to grade stuff too. I can’t let stuff slip, however much my brain is trying to force my hand, make me wallow in shit and not get work done. It needs to grow up and deal. The eye-twitch is gone. That’s good. I’ve been sleeping more…although not well. That’s good. Exercise has obviously been a priority, and that is helping. Spending time with the kids is also good…we’ve watched movies and played games and hiked and shopped (seriously, the boychild stayed shopping with me rather than go home with the girlchild…stranger things have happened!). I appreciate this time with them, because they will be gone soon…off to college and then to their own lives…and I hope they do it better than I did. I haven’t been the best role model for relationships, although I have definitely taught them how to get back up off the ground and survive, despite all the shit. I guess that’s something. I hope they have less shit in their lives…there are people I know who never go through anything really bad…may my kids be in that group.

The title to today’s post come from the PBS show I was watching…”I long for peace…to settle my soul.” Mr. Moray in The Paradise. I actually think Moray is a total ass in this show, but whatever…I’m with him on the sentiment.

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