Our Way Is Darkest Night*

Well. In case you were wondering, making an anti-gun quilt doesn’t stop people shooting other people. And neither does voting in politicians who make stronger gun laws, because my state, although it has many positive qualities, cannot stop other states from selling angry white men more guns. And it cannot stop those men from coming back to our state, because we don’t believe walls are the solution…we believe government should be the solution, government should protect us from AK-47s…my state can’t stop men bringing those guns back to our state and killing innocent people enjoying themselves at a garlic festival. I will continue to be angry at those who perpetuate the gun sales (this gun is not necessary to anyone) and the hatred toward other and the anger and the illogical science behind white supremacy. How is a 19-year-old so angry that this makes sense? Killing a child? I’m sad. I’m frustrated.


I also have a massive headache because I had to fast this morning for a medical test and I just got some water and tea and food in me, and my body is still trying to decide if that’s enough. It’s not. More of all of those things.

I’ve been gone from the computer for a couple of days. I’m trying to manage all the things. Ha! There are too many things. Always. The copyediting project came in yesterday, so I will start dealing with that today. It’s a whole ‘nother mind set. The to-do list has spilled over into multiple days on my calendar now, so that’s an issue.

Sunday, I had an art meeting, so I will have pictures from that (also means I need to write a blogpost or two for them. One today. One next week. It’s on my calendar now.). I didn’t get much art done Saturday…I painted ceramics (crap, I need a photo of that) and went to the man’s show. Sunday, I only got this done…

Last night, I only got 5 more letters done. I’ll get there. It’s not hard. I just don’t have a lot of time right now.

Yesterday, I was at the EdInnovateLive2019 conference here in San Diego. This is Sir Ken Robinson, of TedTalk fame. He was funny…and right on.

There were some interesting speakers here, but it was a lot more sitting than I like. I missed today’s lectures for the medical stuff. The conference was at University of San Diego…and it was a beautiful day.

It’s a nice school. Although religious and freakin’ expensive.

I started drawing this somewhere…Palm Springs? Worked on it at one of the wineries we toured, and finished it in one of the lectures yesterday.

Want to color it? Join my Patreon. I need to scan it and clean it up, and then send it off to my Patreon peoples…

Calli last night…waiting for me to solve the problem of firecrackers. I cannot do this baby girl.

I finally finished cutting all these pieces out…

It took 7 hours to cut them all…

And another 41 minutes to sort them…

It was worth staying up a little late for that.

OK, now I’m ready to start ironing. Well. Except the studio is a mess. I have a pile of fabrics to put away. I have to think about guns and white boys and anger and abortion rights and trauma-based instruction (that’s the copyediting) and the beginning of the school year and getting new students. Then I can iron.

*Led Zeppelin, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp

A Few Moments…

Oh my Saturday. A day off? I think that means I don’t need to run any errands today. Because the last two days have kicked my errand-running ass. Really, trying to drive all over town in stupid traffic with stupid people cutting me off or refusing to let me get over from an only lane or not letting me out of my parking space (like really? MOVE…) is not a fun way to spend a day…or two. The plus is that a bunch of stuff is done and out of my hair and some things I actually did EARLY for once in a million years. I still have 4 bags of books that need to make it to library bookshops (why do they make it such a pain in the ass?). But I can do that. AND I got Speculoos cookies from Trader Joe’s (which I really don’t need…but whatever…). NO ERRAND DAY. Actually, today is kinda squishy packed anyway, but with sociable stuff. And dancing. With strangers. Because that’s how I roll.

So one thing I did yesterday was to check out this gallery where I’ll be entering work in September. I should have checked it when I was in Liberty Station last week, but that slipped my mind. And ironically, I’ll be there again today. So I didn’t need to go yesterday, but apparently my brain didn’t know that. Fucker.

Having seen the space, I’m feeling much better about hanging my work there.

I did a return shopping thing, smiled at Greenpeace kids, shipped two things out in a post office I didn’t even know existed, and checked out another library space for quilt meetings (they didn’t have one), plus got rid of some kid books in a responsible manner. I also did a little shopping for food…yet another potluck on my schedule. I think I solved it. Unfortunately, I did have some stressful annoying irritating moments while doing all that. Like seriously, why are people so stupid in parking lots? I just don’t understand it.

True story. It was good. I don’t remember the lyrics any more though, so no fame and fortune for me. Screaming did help.

When I got done with all that, I felt like I owed myself a moment. A few moments. Sitting on the deck with the dogs while talking to the girlchild on the phone and trying to draw.

All the sticks and bits of sticks on the the deck are totally and completely Calli’s fault. I need to sweep again.

Watching the hummingbirds race around…this isn’t a final drawing. It’s a drawing toward an idea.

We’ll see where it goes.

I spent some afternoon time prepping the dinner parts so I could take the little dog out for a short walk. The old lady is still having issues and the boychild isn’t feeling well, so it was just me and the little asshole. Nice plant.

Could be thistle. Could be artichoke? Nah, thistle.

This path goes by houses for a good chunk of it. It’s not my favorite walk, but it’s good for a hot day and a short time period. I didn’t leave until 6 PM, because it was too damn hot…and I still had to make dinner.

Nice bits of shade.

Non native.

Side eye from the puppy about this project…

My words keep getting bigger. I might fix that. I might not. Adjust. Not tear out and redo.

I wanted to cut more out yesterday, but life. You know. It does what it does.

I did spend a few hours cutting though.

See? I tired him out.

I am so not ready for school. I’m not supposed to think about it until August 1. I’m failing at that.

Think quilt! I wanna make this quilt. I like it.

So I finished cutting 3 yards, one to go. I’m going to work on it today and hopefully get done, but I’m hanging with a friend doing something else for a few hours, then the man’s band plays tonight. Tomorrow I have a meeting midday, so that will affect my time. I am hoping that I have a big enough piece of background fabric to do this…I should figure that out before I head out, since the fabric store is near where I’ll be picking up my friend. Because I want to be ironing to fabric tomorrow sometime.

But first, shower, food, hopefully cut some stuff out before I need to leave.

And That’s Fine…

Oh my, it’s hot. I know some of the hot is my body deciding it wants to be on fire, but the rest is just summer. And it’s not even really THAT hot compared to what it will be in August and September. Turning a fan on helps. Not wearing clothes also helps, but is less socially acceptable. Calli (the dog) thinks going in the pool helps…she’s probably right. That’s the one I always forget to do.

I’m currently listening to a podcast-type thing that I paid for to help me control my hours at school (or on school, because I do a lot of it at home) tell me how to delegate the shit in my classroom. Sigh. OK. I hear you. They do more work so I can do the important stuff. I have a hard time giving up control of some things. I know that.

I went to the gym yesterday. I love the gym. I love having time to read. I love to exercise (I know, weird, huh?). I love the air conditioning. I’m trying to make it a habit again. It used to be. It was easier when other people weren’t dependent on my being home to cook or to cook for. So I’m going to have to figure that out this school year. The gym needs to fit in somewhere. Somehow. I do need to remember to either eat right before I go, or take food with me. My blood sugar started crashing while I was there. That’s two days in a row where in the past, I could just be hungry or skip food and it would be OK, but now, I get really low blood sugar, then eat to manage that, and feel dizzy and like shit for an extended period of time afterward. Not good. Don’t do that again. I sometimes have the same problem with dinner…like I need to eat, so I either have to try to find a snack that won’t blow up my blood sugar, or I need the person who’s cooking to get on with it. It’s not usually a problem, but sometimes it is. I’ve gotten my A1C down to a good number, but I’m still working on the nighttime blood sugars. It’s hard. My body doesn’t always behave logically. Annoying. So my goal today is to eat lunch on time. I’m cooking dinner, so I’m in charge for that one. Good plan.

I didn’t finish all the errands yesterday. I actually left the house and did a bunch and came back and realized I’d forgotten one (sigh). Today I have 5? Potentially 6? Six. I just wrote them on a post-it. Here’s how you don’t forget them.

I’m still waiting on the final version of the book I’ll be copyediting…starting next week, I suspect. I’m running out of days before I go back to school…like always! I hate that. Summer is a discombobulation. I swear, all these cats do is sleep.

Tough life.

Yet when it’s morning and they want their breakfast, I’m not allowed to sleep. Bastards.

I am working on this every night. I am not marking anything. The words are getting bigger for no reason at all. Geez. HATE is really big. Ironic. Or not.

I need to be done by the end of August. I should be able to do that. I also spent a few hours cutting shit out…hopefully more of that today.

I want to be done today. Girlchild is texting me about having to give up her California drivers’ license for a Masschusetts one. It’s sad for her. It’s sad for me too. I’d rather have her in California, but that’s not where she is right now. Stupid shit makes me cry sometimes. This summer is like the worst for that. Sigh. Random tears.

OK. Here’s what’s done so far…

I cut one partial yard (about 3/4s full) and another yard, I did about 2/3s. I’m not doing the math. I have 2 full yards and a 1/3 of the other one to finish. First? Six fucking errands. They are all purposeful. I wish I didn’t have to do all of them, but it is what it is. Then I will come back and bingewatch television while cutting shit out. And maybe if it cools down enough, I will walk a dog. The old lady? Sigh. Maybe we will do a short walk with both dogs and then a longer walk with no dogs. IDK. I want to go out and walk and the dogs are always my excuse, but it’s really fucking hot and I’m supposed to cook tonight. So there’s a timing issue. I’ll figure it out. It’s fine. Apparently my phrase for the summer is “It’s fine” or “And that’s fine”. I’m not sure either are true. What I really mean is that it’s annoying but I will handle it. It takes a lot longer to say that. It’s fine.

I Have a List…

Today is the Day of Errands. There are a million of them. They keep piling up. They annoy me. They need doing. They’re complicated. Girlchild just got a job! It’s a temp job, but in the fields she wants, so that’s good. After 69 applications. Yup. It’s a wide-open market apparently.

Yesterday was the day of retirement planning. I don’t have enough money, apparently, Somewhat stressful. Debating whether I need a financial planner. Gonna be debating it for a bit I think.

The pro is that I got all the tracing done. The con is that it was around 1 AM and then the dogs were up early today, so I’m kinda braindead this morning. Every morning kinda looks like this. Food. Tea. Sleepy Kitten.

Me staring at a computer screen.

Washed and ironed this…

And this…although the cherry stains are still showing. I need to figure that out.

I finished the second Patreon video for this month.

Now I just need to do a drawing before the end of the month.

There’s my piece Womanscape during some event at the Carnegie Center

That’s cool. Look! Children in the room are not dying or being traumatized because of nudity. Just wanted to point that out.

Here’s my light table, by the way. It’s homemade. I didn’t make it. A friend of my parents did stained glass and was downsizing, so I got this for free. I put LED bulbs in, which is about the only thing that saves me when it’s hot out…

I turned off all the lights in the living room last night except for the light table and the TV…it puts off a lot of light.

But it’s not hot light.

There. The last yard. I think there’s about 4 yards after all that misnumbering crazy shit. There weren’t any more mistakes, by the way. I did the last 300 pieces last night, for a total of 12 hours and 48 minutes. That’s a lot for a piece this size. But the clusterfucks were major. Now I’m ready to cut it out.

I worked on this for a while too, while I was trying to get my brain to shut down…

So many things going on. Baby lizard. Simba tried to eat it and I squealed.

Don’t eat baby lizards…

Calli waiting for her meds…

Old lady. Thinks they’re treats. This one is still sleeping…

I need a shower and a list of things to do. I have a list. I just really don’t want to deal with it.

Part of the Story

So apparently evil gnomes numbered this drawing. Because there are so many double numbers, I have no freakin’ idea what happened. I must have been really tired or stressed (or both, thinking about what night it was). I screwed up multiple times. I’m like 150 pieces off. I have a’s and b’s to tell the numbers apart for like a stretch of 150 pieces. I’m hoping that after I got to wherever I stopped last night that I caught all the mistakes. One issue was that it’s round and I usually number from the bottom up. But that should have been fine because I did one half first and then the second half. I found one batch of lost pieces…I had numbered one side, started on the second side (with a completely random number…am I losing my mind?), but then realized I never numbered the arms on the other side, so I went back and did them. That does not explain the clusterfuck that was the rest of the numbering in this piece.

I didn’t finish last night. I was too busy trying to find all my mistakes and make sure I traced everything. I’m betting I still missed something. Aargh. Frustration. I don’t need things to take more time right now. I need everything to be very efficient. Fuuuck.

OK. Well. It’s done. The mistakes. They will be part of the story. The crazy story that is me and my art.

So I was at the gym yesterday, reading a book that was recommended to me by someone somewhere that I don’t remember anything about, and I get this…

Yeah. I don’t think the lack of estrogen makes us calmer. Laughing really loudly at that.

I had a stitching meeting in the afternoon…we old ladies chortle about crazy things and discuss how to overthrow the government. You think I’m kidding.

Susan spun, Kelly knitted, I stitched. I finished Earth Mother 8…

Now that’s two that need baths and ironing. One more to go.

And I started the Tiny Pricks project. I thought about how to transfer text and finally said fuck it and started stitching.

I don’t need no stinking markings. The text is from a speech he gave last weekend. It’s a rambling clusterfuck, so I’m just gonna stitch it all until I run out of space.

By the way, this is my country. I belong here. Well, the natives may feel differently, and I am sorry for that. I’m not fucking leaving. That said, if you don’t like us talking back to you and telling you how fucked up racism and sexism and genderism and all the other stupid shit y’all come up with to remove people’s rights…well then YOU can leave. My family’s been here for a good long time, but the reality is that the majority of us are immigrants here. Our families did not start here. We need to accept real life history and stop using this shit as an excuse.

The background of this piece? The signing of the Declaration of Independence…from the country we left. You know, when we immigrated.

Ahhh. Sigh. Just stitching his words pisses me off. I’ll be glad to be done with this. I have a month. I’ve done 10 words.

OK, so here’s one of the numbering mistakes…

That toenail. What the freak was I doing? I just don’t know.

The word of the day is frustration. Followed by breathe.

I traced for three hours last night. I’d like to think I’m more than halfway done, but I just don’t know how many more mistakes I have in this thing. I have to do part of the sky on one side, one whole figure, and the outline pieces. I’ve been tracing for 9 hours. I really should have been done by now, if it weren’t for the clusterfuck that was my brain. I’m on piece 439 of 727 (except there’s really 150 more than that)…so MAYBE there are 300 more pieces. Three hours? Or so. I want to be done today. Not sure I can pull that off, but I’ll try.

OK. Do you ever have a conversation with your brain about how you really need the best behavior from it now? Like please pay attention and function properly? Because sometimes it just wanders off and leaves you with a skeleton crew. Anyway. On to the day. Hopefully my brain will come along.

Double Numbers…

I’m trying to get my butt to the gym this morning. I need food first, and my brain is very discombobulated, and I’m on the phone with the girlchild in Boston, and I’m reading this weird book. Wait. I’m not reading the book right this minute. All these things do not stop me from going to the gym. The food is in the toaster oven and I’m wearing my gym clothes…that’s a start. I might not finish writing this before I decide to leave, but I’m starting it at least.

Focus is an issue. I really need focus. That’s why I make to-do lists, by the way, so when I’m wandering around the house, trying to figure out WTF I’m supposed to be doing, I can look at the list and go, oh hell no, I don’t wanna do that. Ha! And then I do it because it needs to get crossed off. I’m very motivated by crossing things off the list…by not having to move it to the next day. At least I know how my brain works.

Well, so someone gave me this to do the Tiny Pricks project and it’s a little stretchy, plus it’s not a solid base for stitching, and you can’t really see it unless there’s something behind it. So I had this fabric lying around (thanks to whatever person gifted me this, because I just used a chunk of it), and I pinned it down and stitched it…

Not a lot…just enough to hold it…

I ironed it after this. Now it’s ready to stitch. I don’t think I can transfer letters onto it, though. I could write on tracing paper and pin that on and stitch over it and then pull out the paper, but that sounds like a pain in the ass. Sigh. Not sure. I will need to figure that out before 1 PM today, I think. Maybe.

It was hot and humid yesterday. Not as hot and humid as it COULD be, but enough to make that big dog turn over to cool off.

Ugh. I ran a lot of errands yesterday. My doc is on medical leave and we’re still trying to find an answer to the weird pain/discomfort I get randomly, so this substitute doc, who is old and jolly and tells jokes about gall bladder stress tests with pepperoni pizzas, he ordered a bunch of tests and I get to sit around waiting on those. And then I went to JoAnns, which is hell on a good day. So they don’t carry my batting any more, which sucks, because I can’t buy it by the yard locally now. I can buy like a king-size batting and just cut into that, or I can buy a 40-yard roll and store it somewhere. Boychild wanted to know how long it would take to use that up. I usually buy 3 yards at a time, about twice a year, so 6 or 7 years. Nope. That’s silly. Annoying and silly. Then I went to Costco and you know how that goes. It’s just full of people who don’t know how to drive their carts. But I crossed off a big chunk of stuff on my to-do list, plus we have three bags of Ancient Grains now, so that’s good. I’ll deal with the batting later. It’s still on my list, but…I don’t know what to do about it. Make a decision.

I cooked. I exercised. I traced. Kitten is following me everywhere. It’s sweet.

So I was tracing and it was midnight and I’m realizing that I got to piece 323, and I’m looking for 324, and I’m realizing there’s a whole ‘nother set of pieces that’s got the same numbers as what I was just tracing. Seriously? I double numbered 280-323. There’s two pieces numbered 280…two pieces numbered 281. Ah sheet. So the second set all get ‘a’ after them. Plus this thing has 43 more pieces than I thought it did. So much for brain power, eh? Not sure how I did that. But I did.

That’s 280a you’re looking at. And 281a. 282a. Fuck.

I filled one yard of Wonder Under (which JoAnns still carries, but I do buy by the bolt, because I’ll use it much faster and it’s not the size of a fat middle-school kid) and started on a second. I’m almost halfway through. All good things. If I just traced all day instead of running around and doing things, I would be done tomorrow. (not happening)

Oh yeah, if you aren’t a patron of mine and you aren’t on Facebook, you probably didn’t see this video…I posted this publicly so people could get an example of what I do for my patrons…

You can also see it on my Patreon page here. My patrons will get the next part of this sometime this week. I started editing it last night. It’ll be done soon. I’m trying to build alternate sources of income related to my making art, so I can spend more time making art and less time copyediting etc. As I take on a 100K-word job because I need to pay back some college loans for the boy plus trim some trees and that whole thing where you don’t get paid in the summer but you still have to buy supplies for school and food and pay the damn mortgage even though there’s no paycheck coming. That shit is stressful.

Anyway. Selling stuff here and there, trying to figure out whether I can retire ever; these are all on my mind.

Working on the second yard. Up too late.

Then dogs and trash trucks and the man and cats this morning there is no way to attempt real sleep. I should remember that at midnight. Honestly, I was going to stop tracing before I figured out the double-numbering thing, and then I knew it would irritate me enough later to possibly delay my tracing again, so I just did it to get it out of the way.

I ate while writing this. So off to the gym I go. Stitching meeting this afternoon. More tracing tonight. FOCUS DAMMIT.

A Lot of Artsy Things…

I was gone for a few days. There was some chance I could have written a post yesterday or Saturday, but mostly I was tired, so I didn’t. I did do a lot of artsy things in the last three days though.

I finished the papercutting/embroidery class with Bhavna Mehta on Friday…and made a house. Each of us picked a body part for our house. I picked the vulva because multiple people picked uteri. This is the back of the house…I drew on the back and shaded what would get cut. To embroider, you need to make the holes where the stitches will go.

You also have to think about whether stitches will cross your cut area…that would be bad.

Also it seems to work better if you do all the embroidery before you cut. On one of my practice pieces, I tore the paper because I was trying to embroider after I had cut. I’m sure with practice, this gets easier.

I was going to make another layer of hair for this section, but we were running out of time…so I cut instead.

Then the next part is to make the house itself. I also made sperm and an egg to hang from the roof inside the house…

The building was pretty easy. And then we put them into a little body part village…

A uterus, an ear, a heart, a ribcage.

A side view of mine with the sperm and egg floating around in there.

A couple people didn’t finish…I was looking at this as a practice piece.

A couple of feet, an eyeball in the back, a better view of the heart…

I have a few ideas of what I could do in paper and embroidery, but I think they would be a lot like my teacher’s work, and not necessarily mine. I’ll think about it.

It was a fun class anyway. No matter what I do with it.

When we got home, I had planned a birthday trip for the man…up to Temecula Wine Country. We stayed in an RV…and I stitched in the morning.

I don’t know if we’ll ever stay in an RV again. But it was a quiet and relaxing morning…

Until we headed to the first winery…

I signed up for a Groupon tour that would drive us around. We were a large group of 24 people. We went to three wineries: Maurice Carrie, Longshadow Ranch, and Oak Mountain (the Cave). They were all nice enough. It was a warm day, though, and shade was often inside…

Although we did find a table in the shade here…

I drew a little. These wineries are big money for this area. And there are tons of them.

We had a good time. And a long nap afterwards. Then we headed out to Old Town Temecula for dinner.

Harvest is in August…

We’d been talking about doing this for a while, so it’s a good thing we finally did (note to self. Who plans shit? I plan shit.).

Sunday, I had an art meeting to come back for…so we came back kind of early (damn roosters). The man was done with trying to live in an RV (yeah). At the meeting, we had planned to start our version/contribution to the Tiny Pricks project…I had a few pieces, but couldn’t pick a short piece of text. Then one of the leaders asked me if I’d do this one…

Aack. Well, the big piece of text will fit on it. But I need to put it on a backing. Somehow. So you can see all the stuff. So I brought it home. The interior stretches…the edging does not. I’m trying to decide how to do this. Dark background, then bright text? Or gray background, black text? Not sure. I found it kind of overwhelming last night with not enough sleep in the last…well…ten days. Let’s be real. It was a very busy ten days. So I’ll try to make a decision on that today. Not sure how I’m going to transfer the text…

With all that in my head, I worked on this a little more.

She’s close to done. Then I need to wash this one and the last one, plus design and stitch one more.

Plus finish a quilt and copyedit an entire book. Uh huh. I worked on a public video I’m doing for my Patreon…and then started the private video for my patrons…

Kitten was glad to have me home again.

And then I started the tracing on the next quilt.

I don’t have much time for this. So I’m trying to be efficient and on task. Ha! Well. We can always try. Busy weekend. Honestly, they’re all like that this summer. It feels like there’s no down time. Oh well. I overscheduled myself.