These Pieces Are Kinda Small…

So yesterday was 4/20, which if you’re a middle school teacher, you know why I’m bringing this up. Every year, it’s a Big Deal for middle schoolers that it’s 4/20 because pot and ha ha ha and do you get it wink wink. Teachers roll their eyes and explain this is not new, they are not amazeballs, and we move on. Yesterday was 4/20 and I didn’t even realize it (like most of you) until I was creating an invoice at the end of the day, and then I was like, HOLY CRAP. The last two years, I don’t think a single kid has said a freakin’ word about 4/20…or about pot in general. Like at all. So many of the annoying behaviors we see in the classroom just disappear online. Also, unfortunately, some of the kids just disappear online, but that’s another issue. So weird. No 4/20 this year.

The good school news is that they are hiring two more teachers and I will be losing around 20 students in 2 or 3 weeks. This will get me close to 150, the lowest all year. I’ve had 170+ students in previous years, but in a physical classroom with only one prep, science. This year, with the multiple preps and having to create so much curriculum from scratch that will actually work with online students has buried me like no other year. I’m walking exhaustion at the moment. Even hiking yesterday, my legs complained for the first mile (although my speed was good). I felt like I was dragging wood blocks through molasses. Ugh. Today I need to grade like the wind and be efficient, more than I was yesterday. I say that, but I worked all day, then worked through the SAQA conference after school, so I’m doing the things. They just feel really hard at the moment. MOMENT=all year.

The plus is that I did walk yesterday. It’s been warm and it looks it here, but it was starting to cool off.

It’s flower and also weird pod season. I see these every year and they are always fascinating.

I managed to trace another hour’s worth of Wonder Under both on Monday and Tuesday night…

I’m supposed to be trying to go to bed early, and I do look at the clock and make that attempt, but then I just lie there in bed, unable to fall asleep. Singularly frustrating. And that’s after meditating. Sigh. Bad sleeper, that’s me.

These pieces are kinda small.

I did through piece 600, so I have 290 pieces left to trace. Damn. I thought I was further along. Ugh. OK. It’s fine. If I’m efficient with grading today, since I finished the copyediting finally, I will have some extra time for tracing. It’s all good.

Couple things: the bees left the composter, so that’s good. Now I need to wash the wax off. They tried to start a hive and I don’t want them coming back. They will come back though. The bitchy neighbor in me wants to put a bee hive up on the slope where the neighbors want to build a fence. Sigh. They haven’t done it yet, but whatever. I don’t want a fence. Chain link. Ugly. And then she wants to plant bamboo, the ‘non-clumping kind’. Stupid. And blocks my light. Whatever. So annoyed by neighbors these days. And the movie Mary Shelley. Double ugh. Is that really her story? She did write Frankenstein at a really early age; impressive. But the story of Percy Shelley and their relationship just sucked. So it turns out that some of it was inaccurate. You can read about it here. Interesting that this Shelley researcher says the book Frankenstein focused on her anxieties while pregnant, and that they didn’t even use her words in the movie; they used her husband’s. Sigh. So I just finished reading nonfiction about teaching. I try to read some nonfiction. It’s not my favorite. Reading is escape, right? But I am trying a new Zoom book club, and I now need to read another nonfiction book by next Tuesday, and the book is good, but it will just boggle me and make me feminist angry (like I’m not already). It’s called Invisible Women and is about the data biases that disappear the entire gender in the world. It’s not that I don’t know about some of these things; they just irritate me. As well they should.

The man is still hiking…the boychild delivered a supply box yesterday, and now he has 70 miles to the next store. It’ll be a few days. I can’t see him this weekend; I’m buried in meetings and stuff, but hopefully the weekend after that. Although grades are due for progress reports; that complicates things. Sigh. Dumb job. He did text me about Derek Chauvin though…because he saw the news before I did. Tears to my eyes. America, let’s do this. Make it better. We’re not done.

Here’s a cat.

Here’s a bunny. We have lots of them.

And here are two more cats…

I think it must be nice to be a cat. They certainly get more sleep than I do. It’s probably not as nice to be a bunny. They always seem so scared, and we have tons of predators outside.

OK, efficient grading day. More tea to counteract the tiredness. It’s somewhat chilly today. I have pilates (yay) and then I can trace for a chunk of time. Maybe I will finish? Probably not, but maybe. I did get more Wonder Under, a whole bolt of it. That should last me a while. These are the plans. And the positives. Wonder Under. Tea. Pilates. Tracing.

It Needed a Chandelier…

Day 20: Proudest Achievement…still making art after so many years? Nah, I do that to keep me sane. Oh yeah, they probably mean with quilting…I used to think that once I got into Quilt National and Visions (two big art quilt shows), that would be it. And I’ve done both…I’ve been in Quilt National three times now (the latest to be 2021) and Visions once, and they are prestigious shows and fun to meet all the artists and be part of the group (well, you know me and groups…I do my best, but sometimes I need to introvert for a while). So then what? Because yes, it’s cool and awesome to hit a goal, but are you just gonna stop making? So then it was wanting a solo show, and I’ve managed that twice plus another 2-person show with a sculptor, which I thought was pretty cool. Give up? You’ve done it? Nah. Still making. What should my next goal be? I think I’ve admitted to myself that I’m just going to keep making and entering shows and getting offers for interviews and videos and putting my work in shows, more invitational stuff, which has been happening more, and I fully appreciate those things, because they aren’t things I tried for or asked for…they just happen because people think of my work for those things. So that’s awesome too.

I’m not that good at proud, really. I’m proud of my kids and my students. Proud of myself is more complicated. It’s not in my nature. I do know to say ‘thank you’ when people say nice things about my work, instead of downplaying it or making excuses. I know how hard I have worked over the years and how much of me has gone into my pieces. So thanks to those who acknowledge that and tell me they like my work. Appreciated.

I’m having a rough weekend. I’m tired and family stuff is all around. Stressful. Work is hard too, even with days off…I have too much grading to do and I just want it done. I’ll feel better when more of it is done, let’s put it that way.

Last night’s drawing with fire in fireplace and really difficult movie on the telly (Tenet…the man watched it twice, the second time with closed-captioning on, and even then, I’m not sure he got it all)…

I didn’t have the patience for a second try…straight up. Started with the hair and somehow ended up with a chandelier. It needed a chandelier. I can’t explain why.

I thought I’d have everything cut out in the current quilt last night, but no…I still have some to go…

I’m watching total escapist television (The Wilds on Amazon Prime), so tonight, I’ll draw, watch some episodes, cut some more pieces out, hopefully all of them, and then ideally tomorrow will be better. I have work tomorrow, lesson planning, actually AT school, if I see you, I will spray you down, because I’m in super-paranoid mode at this point. By the way, if you know someone has anxious tendencies, telling them to stop worrying is really useless. It makes us feel worse, actually, like we don’t have a right to be anxious or worried…and we usually do, but maybe not about what we’re voicing our concerns…those are maybe easier to say than what we’re really worried about. You can say “don’t worry about it until it happens,” but you know, I’ve been this way for a long time, and one part of my brain is constantly saying that while another part of my brain is worrying, and sometimes one part wins out over the other, and I have to try to sway it back. I do that when I feel supported and loved, and not when I feel chastised for natural feelings. More helpful? “I’m sorry you feel that way. Is there anything I can do to help?” There probably isn’t, but I feel better when you say it. So there.

Yeah. Rough weekend. Gonna go draw it out.

Like a Leper Messiah*

The girlchild is currently observing lemurs in the middle of cellular nowhere. I might hear from her on Thursday. I’m kinda glad she’s far away, because there are apparently no showers. I am looking forward to lemur pictures though.

Meanwhile back here, I managed to walk the dogs yesterday on my day off…this does in fact feel like a great achievement. It’s hard to get those walks in when I’m dealing with meetings etc. after work and the sun goes down so early. This is one of the few walks where we haven’t seen coyotes yet…

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Oh, I know they’re there…they’re just not in my face, so I’m reasonably OK with it. I try to avoid sundown, best I can.

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The green popped up from the little bit of rain we got two weeks or so ago.

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There’s still water in the stream…

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And there’s more and more of the weird cones protecting some plant that’s supposed to grow here. Makes for a strange landscape sometimes.

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But it tired the assholes out, so that’s good. No barking at night. Some cranky snapping at the cat. He misses Midnight.

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We all do…

I finished a quilt…this is BirdFoot. It’s ancient, like 2007. We watched Hidden Figures (good!) and I sewed the sleeves on. I’ll get it photographed the next time I go in to the photographer.

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I probably kept track of how many hours were in it up until it became a quilt top, but who knows where…in a calendar I tossed years ago? Yeah, probably. Oh well. I can estimate based on stuff similar to it, luckily.

I started ironing late…

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I did a lot of things in the sky. Not all of them. I still need to pick some more purplish fabrics for the last little bit.

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I did get into the 300s though…not quite halfway, but close. Next up is flesh, and that’s time consuming.

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Here’s everything used so far…and the pile to be cut out.

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Today’s gonna be a really long day, but it’s all good…I’m going to have work in another show and I need to go get a piece from another artist. Long story. Maybe later. There’s no rest for the already busy, apparently.

*David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust

Dancin’ and Singin’ and Movin’ to the Groovin’*

So I drove my quilt 45 minutes north of here yesterday and then drove another hour back (same distance, welcome to traffic), and while I was driving, an entire drawing populated itself in my head. I’d had a vague idea of it before, but it was flat out laying down lines and spaces during the drive, to the point that I don’t remember a good chunk of it (let’s hope all the safety parts of my brain were fully engaged). So when I got home, I could start working on one of the things that needed working on, or I could sit down and draw.

Well. Um. So even though I have a to-do list 17 miles long with some pretty damn important things on it, this was a compelling drawing, so I sat and drew for about an hour before we left to finally see The Last Jedi

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I did pencil in general shapes before I started, because the overlaps on this thing are numerous. So that’s about an hour of drawing.

And then when we came home from the movie and dinner, I finished it.

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Maybe another hour. It felt really good to get it on paper. So that’s that thing…I can plan all I want, but sometimes, I just have to do what my brain wants. I blow off what my brain wants when I’m working and when I need to grade things, so it seems fair to let it have its way sometimes. And now I have a drawing from it.

Here was the Oceanside Museum of Art yesterday…there was an artist’s talk going on, I think, but the quote on the building was cool…not that you can see it that well in a tiny picture.

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Luckily, it’s part of the installation with the wall above, so you can see the quote and its explanation by the artist, Marcos Ramirez, on the page associated with Undocumenta, one of the exhibits that just closed in the museum.

I finally took a decent picture of this so I can put it on Etsy. It’s 11″ square.

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It’ll be up there in a little bit.

And today? Today I actually have to do the things on my list. Like a lot of them. But that’s OK. I got a drawing out of it yesterday. I’m good.

*Wild Cherry, Play That Funky Music

Mahna Mahna*

So the girlchild got stuck in Paris for about 5 more hours than she was planning, which sounds like an awesome thing, unless you’re stuck in the airport and haven’t slept in 24 hours or more. She just left for Madagascar, 11 hours long, but she has the whole row in the airplane to herself…I suspect as soon as they hit altitude, she’s stretching out and drooling sleepily for as much of that as possible. It’s a horrible feeling, not being able to lie down when you’re that tired. So sometime tonight, I’ll hopefully hear from her again.

Meanwhile, I’m sick. I guess your body holds off all the crazy sick around you (all my students are sick) until you release some of the stress by putting your kid on a plane…and then that’s it. Not true, actually…I must have been exposed Friday or Saturday. Oh well. It was gonna happen sometime. It’s not the crazy flu everyone’s been having…feels like a bog-standard cold. Woo hoo! While teaching! And setting chemicals on fire! I was so tired yesterday that I forgot to go to the chiropractor. Unfortunately, because I think I needed it.

Instead, I cleaned up all the girlchild’s leavings…we had boxes and plastic wrap and those stuffed-with-air bags that Amazon uses. I sorted it all and recycled most of it. And then went around finding her left-behind bags and water bottles and all the stuff she borrowed from my dad that she didn’t take with her (she did take a lot…just not the 20-year-old lotion…Dad, if you’re reading this…I threw it out. It smelled really awful. I’ll buy you a new one.). And I did some grading and some school tasks. I even made dinner from scratch, but it turned out weird. Dunno why. Probably did something wrong. I’m not an awesome cook like she is.

Then we watched Ghost in the Shell, which was OK…still don’t know why they cast white people in Asian characters…that shit is stupid.

It’s been a while since I worked on the SJSA blocks, and I’m almost done with the last one…

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Gotta decide what to do with the gunshots…

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It was really cold last night…

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Simba is super cranky at the moment. All his favorite people left and he’s stuck with us. We don’t sit still enough for his liking.

Girlchild texting me from over the Atlantic Ocean…

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No such texts on this flight…batteries are dying.

So there were a few small changes I needed to make to the commission drawing…I re-angled the “perfect”…it was bugging me…

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The original poem was about a boy…but this quilt is about a girl…so one request was to change the two gendered words…

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And then these screws are like what is used in scoliosis surgeries (and perhaps other back surgeries), but they weren’t exactly like what was used in hers, so I had photos of the screws to change them…

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So I did…I just cut out the space and put new paper in and redrew…just a few things…

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Easy fix…

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Straightened out…

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And then, I numbered…because I couldn’t stand it anymore, not knowing if I stayed within my own boundaries. I knew I tried, but I often suck at that.

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Because the piece needs to be under a certain price, I aimed for something the same size and complexity as one of the bathtub quilts, because they are under that price. I figure cost by keeping track of my hours. It’s the only way that makes sense to me. Some big quilts have fewer pieces (which affects the time) than some smaller quilts. So I can’t do it by the inch or foot, like some quilt artists do. This works for me. Plus keeping track of that shit for the last 15 years or so has made me better at estimating time.

Not perfect, just better…

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I wanted to be under 800 pieces…and I was! A miracle.

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Now just waiting for the final OK and partial payment, and then I’ll get started. I set up the contract so that they can refuse the quilt at the end if they don’t like it, but I still get a percentage, so I’m not working for nothing. I don’t think it will happen, but I want the new owner to be happy with it and I want to be protected in case they aren’t…so this was what I came up with. It’s hard for someone to look at my black and white drawings and get a good idea of what the quilt will look like. I have a better idea in my head, but I haven’t even colored it out or anything. That stuff kind of comes as I’m staring at the drawing and the drawers of fabric. It’s a very intuitive process.

Also just waiting to know the girlchild is safe on land again…that’ll be a longer wait. I’m excited for her but also nervous. I didn’t sleep much last night because I would wake up and see if she had texted that she had left…because I was worried she would fall asleep in the airport and get left behind. Mom worries, right? Because she’s a capable and amazing adult and she will be fine. Looking forward to seeing her pictures and hopefully reading her blog.

OK, taking my snotty self to school, where, I’m not kidding, I’ll be setting shit on fire. Stand back! I should take a hairband, huh.

*Cake, Mahna Mahna

Warm…

It’s warm here in my part of town, hovering around 100 degrees, although they say the “real feel,” which is the sweat dripping down my back, is 110 degrees. Ugh. Love summer out here in non-air-conditioned land. All the animals are flat and splayed out. I don’t blame them.

I worked most of yesterday, and will continue that today, as much as I can…waiting on a decision between style guide and opinions. Apparently not everyone works all weekend. Shocking!

I got no Wonder Under done yesterday, although I could have…but I decided to draw instead. I was driving and this drawing slammed full-force into my brain. You could almost feel the impact. I have a couple/several shows coming up that I need to make work for this summer, and so they are always floating up there in the netherwhere that fills my brain, percolating in a smelly corner, fires fanned by crazy-ass artistic fairies who form images and then squish them together until they are almost fully formed. So I drew. And this isn’t really it…this is the practice drawing…

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For one thing, the real one needs to be big, and this is the 9×12″ sketchbook. So I’ll do it again and stretch it out. I think the largest figure does actually need a head. And more of a torso. And something in the background. Maybe. But it’s the first official drawing of Summer 2016. So that’s cool.

I drew it while watching the second of the Somm movies about wine sommeliers and winemaking. I liked the first one better.

So here was my view most of yesterday (and continuing into today…).

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As time went on, the cat got longer and more into fondling the keyboard and the mouse…not helpful. Right now, she’s covering the number pad and blocking half of the mousepad and trying to whack my hand every time I touch the mouse. Must be warm…

Boychild decided to teach Simba about the pool…Calli already knows how to cool herself off…as is apparent…

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Simba was not thrilled, but did know how to doggy paddle (apparently some don’t). But then got out and rubbed his entire body in dirt. So he got his first bath from us right after. Apparently that was also traumatic. And exhausting.

The heat certainly does suck energy out of you. OK. Back to work. I will resurface for Father’s Day dinner and then see if I can get some of that Wonder Under done, despite the heat and the workload. I can’t actually finish the editing without a definitive answer, so that’s OK. It’s good to have an excuse not to work all night.

And maybe I’ll get another drawing in there too…

Feminism? Or Not.

I started this post two years ago and was collecting links, but really, I should just let it go out into the world…as I tell you about the new show I’m in, Feminism Now. It’s not the 1st, 2nd, or the 3rd wave…it’s just what we are now, and if you’re a woman and you think you should get equal pay and not get harassed when you’re on the internet or out in the real world, for any reason…your clothes, your looks, whatever…then as Maisie Williams offered up, it’s not that you’re a feminist…”I also feel like we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist. People get a label when they’re bad.” And I don’t care if you’re male or female or identify somewhere else, if you don’t agree that it should be as equal as we can get it? Then you are sexist. You are making it worse for everyone with your attitudes. Knock it off.

Here’s the announcement for the show…the opening is May 14, 6-10 PM, at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. It’s during the Barrio Art Crawl, so there are about three galleries just within walking distance of Gallery D and others close by.

email invite

I have two pieces in the show about being a single mom and what that looks like…one from 2011 and one from 2016…the updated version.

This is an interesting article about sexual harassment and geek culture by Dr. Nerdlove.

Here is an interesting article about the role women’s magazines played in the beginnings of feminism. Because I used to read mom’s magazines, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, etc. when I was growing up. And they do make you question how you’re doing it…I’m Womaning Wrong is the basic message I got out of it.

Here is an article about feminism and comics, another issue…”For me, a feminist comic is one in which female characters aren’t just a plot device providing male characters with an opportunity to react. They aren’t a thing to be rescued, fucked, killed and discarded. Feminist comics show women as people, not tits and ass whose stories are only interesting if they’re sexy.” –Casey Gilly, providing a list of 15 feminist comics. And yes, there are way more than what’s here, and I love that we are now seeing choices out there for girls and women to read…because we ARE reading comics and watching sci fi and playing games, and y’all need to get with the program and respect us.

Here is a page Lucy Knisley did about nerd girls.

Here is a BuzzFeed article by Kristen Radtke called Let’s Draw Naked about why we should have more depictions of women drawn by female comics doing things normal women do…so boys realize how normal those things are and stop calling us names for being normal. And now let’s add in ideas of sexuality and trans and gender-queer and accept those in comics and stories and gaming and movies.  And even in toys for kids. The whole Star Wars Where’s Rey? issue. Seriously people. Do you HATE us?

Here is an article about a Gender in Comics panel at San Diego Comicon 2014…and I love the comment that Laura Hudson (writer, “Wired”; former EiC, ComicsAlliance) makes,  “If you’ve grown up in a situation where everything is about you and is catered to you, I think there is a degree to which equality can be perceived as oppression,” said Hudson. “If you’re used to having everything be about you, to some degree, and then suddenly it’s not, I guess in a way you perceive that as oppression.” And in recent discussions about all the superhero movies and how they portray females…sure, some of them are STRONG, but then they’re dead. Or being saved by Thor. Or whatever. Hudson continues, “If you work in the bell factory long enough you stop hearing the bells. I think super hero comics has stopped hearing the bells for a long time, but now you have other people coming in from the outside and [the gender issues in super hero comics are] very apparent. Having the Internet, having these other perspectives that are suddenly in front of us and are not subject to gatekeepers and are far more able to be heard exposes a lot of [these issues].”

Here is a blogpost about how to figure out if you’re a feminist. If you’re still reading, you probably are. If you clicked off and are now swearing about hairy women who just need a good fucking, well, you’re gone, so I’m not talking to you anyway. That’s the problem with talking about feminism…the ones who really need to hear it aren’t listening. Well, except for the boys who THINK they’re all pro-women and talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Their actions show them to be what they really are. They WANT to be feminists, but they don’t have enough empathy with women to actually BE one. By the way, this blogpost is funny. It’s not a test or anything.

Here’s an article about why feminism needs men. It’s fucking annoying, honestly, that we can’t just say, HEY, you fuckwads are doing it wrong without men having to support it for it to be real. There’s one of the major things wrong with society Right Fucking There. That said, if you’re a man and calling yourself a feminist and ACTING like it too (because you can’t just say it, you have to show it), then thanks. At least you’re not one of the bad guys.

Oh shit. Don’t accuse me of hating men. I don’t. I hate power trips and sexism and violence against anyone and I really hate that like over 60 million girls don’t have access to a decent education Just Because They’re Girls. That is truly fucked up. But I don’t hate men. Because feminism doesn’t mean hating men. It means hating privilege and inequality and violence and stereotypes and all that. Are you really gonna say you’re pro all that stuff?

Here’s an article about Anita Sarkeesian and the whole sexism in video games issue. If you’re a man who thinks there’s no problem here, wow. You need to be a woman for a month. Maybe then you’ll get it. In fact, that’s one of the things that drives me nuts. Men who don’t think there’s a problem. Way to downplay my existence, asshole. Why not speak up for women’s rights and deflect some of the rape and killing anger that has been directed at women who dare to criticize the gaming industry. Because I look at all those games and I know I don’t belong, simply because of how my people look when I log in. Even the book from Cory Doctorow, In Real Life, the young girl gamer picks an avatar who is much much skinnier than she is…and why? Because we know you don’t want to look at us any other way but cute and pretty and laughing at your jokes.

It’s not like there haven’t been new links about sexism in the last two years. I think I just got really overwhelmed by the negative vibes towards feminism…especially with politicians and tampons and Trump and pregnancy and my growing invisibility because I’m not a hot 25-year-old (wait. I never was a hot 25-year-old). Coming up next…my women’s art group is doing a show on Sexism in the Art World, and yeah, we’re going after Comicon as well. Because if we keep yelling, maybe y’all will stop. Or start making it all equal. Like it should be. So posting this now…with added content.

My Brain Is Like a Rampant Bunny

I have two mornings this week when I have to be at school early for meetings, which just throws me off. It makes it harder for me to fall asleep, and then my overactive workaholic brain wakes me up a full hour early to make sure I don’t sleep through the alarm (silly brain, I never sleep through alarms), and then I can’t go back to sleep. I’ve tried telling my brain how counterproductive that is, but then it blames the early wakeup call on the local birds outside my window. Also under your control, I argue…with my brain…which doesn’t ever freakin’ listen to me.

I will pay for this lack of sleep later, for sure, on the busiest day of the week. Unfortunate really, but whatever. We bully through it. We soldier on. Both good words for how I get my brain to keep going when it doesn’t want to. Years of practice with middle-schoolers? Maybe. I spent two days fighting to get them to do what I needed them to do, and then I gave them a similar assignment yesterday, and I must have broken through some wall, because they were dead silent and working. Still had to repeat instructions about 70 times for the kids that didn’t pay attention AND can’t read them (proof that I could write poetry about boogers and ear wax in my instructions, and only 5 kids would ever see it).

My brain is still like a rampant bunny, bounding through tall grass, sometimes moving uber-fast to get away from predators, and sometimes stopping to smell the daisies. I can’t get it to focus at all, but at least I have plenty of projects lying around to distract it. Although then it just gets over-interested and I can’t get it to mellow out and go to sleep.

I started with cleaning…I put all that stuff in the boychild’s room because it would force me to clean it all up before he came home. So I filled that trashbag hanging off the door and piled up some other stuff in logical piles.

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Not that you can see logical piles from here. You’ll just have to trust me. That yellow bin is empty though and can now go away. It’s circa 1985 I think…and not in great shape. It certainly held a variety of crap, most of which was just that…crap. Like samples from a flower-pounding session I did with the kids. Man those were ugly. Tossed them. And a ton of quilt patterns pulled from magazines that I will never do. That goes way back. Recycled those puppies.

This the bookshelf that has been blocked for years. I have bags of tie remnants to sell too. Back to eBay. I hang a lot of stuff off of there that probably doesn’t need to be there…quilt tops I may never finish. Blocks for quilts I’m not even working on.

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Kitten had a rousing game of find the lizard on the window. Really. You can’t see it? Because the only reason I knew it was there was because she was batting at its foot…it’s hiding behind the center bit. You can just see its fingers/toes on the left side where she’s looking.

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Or not. Then I quilted. I found it rather frustrating. I really just wanted to be done, but thread breakages abounded. No fun.

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I got about halfway around. I still need to do the hill as well.

Then it was 11:30 and normal people would have gone to bed, but I knew my brain wasn’t ready, so I drew instead.

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Cried all the way through the episode of Call the Midwife where Jenny…oh geez, don’t wanna ruin it for you. It was sad. Well and hormones. Because it probably wasn’t THAT sad. Notice that damn lizard is in my drawing. Can you see where? I don’t know what to say about that. Except that’s how I draw. Brain wanders, plops on paper.

Damn, I even graded last night and wrote an extra blogpost on here and another blogpost for someone else. Maybe that’s why my brain was in overdrive. Too much stimulation, getting stuff done. Plus I need to get some exercise in this week, but it won’t be today…dual meetings and then book club. Hopefully I’ll be able to come home and just go to bed. With my book. For next month’s book club.

By the way, I saw Deadpool over the weekend, and yeah, it was violent, but hysterically funny, except when it was being sad, but more importantly…Wade is a stitcher! He made his own costume…over and over again…and the character Blind Al, played by Uhuru from Star Trek, is my favorite.

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I get a little irritated with the goody-goody attitudes of some of the superheroes, like Thor and Captain America, and it drives me nuts how much the movies blow off good female characters who aren’t wearing slinky bras to kill bad guys with, but this guy is kinda fun. And he sews. Can’t be all bad.

Bringing the Brain On Line

Not the most effective use of my time yesterday. Mental breakdowns never are. The plus is I seem to recover fairly quickly now from the parts where I shake and can’t focus. Thank meditation for that. And the help of some friends who say the right stuff, remind me that I am OK…remind me that just because one person in the world believes something about me doesn’t mean it’s right.

I tortured my son and ex by dragging them to the Cornell San Diego barbecue, mostly for me, really, but also so the boy might recognize people who live near him. Not that he will use that info (but all my college friends are yelling Road Trip!). He’s disdainful of the process, and actually came up and asked why the other older students made a point of telling the kids to wash whites separate from other colors, because we don’t do that at home (it’s true, we don’t, although I was raised doing that). I reminded him that the colors of his college include RED. Which RUNS. And makes everything white turn PINK. His dad admitted to making that mistake in college. Boychild wears no white, though, so he’s probably OK.

I tried to work on bindings in the car, but the curvy roads were making me sick. I wanted to get two done yesterday, but had to settle for one…Bird No. 7

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Can’t remember what the other name is for this one.

For one thing, I also quilted a bit (not a lot) on Mammogram

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It’s piled up to keep cats off it.

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I finally found the purple fabric I needed for the birds…it was hiding under something else, of course.

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I knew it was here. I hate that my brain is still pulling this shit where I’m staring right at something and I can’t see it…I lost the teabag squeezer (probably there’s an official name for that) the other day and was going nuts, but it was right where it should have been, except up an inch or so on a pile of stuff. Right in the wide open. I don’t even understand how I couldn’t see it. OK, I know…because my brain was playing games. I can’t find my turquoise hand-sewing thread either. I’m sure it’s somewhere. Oh shit. I know where it is. Fuck. Dumbass. OK, I know I’m not a dumbass…I just need days of processing time now. Hard to know how much of that is age, hormones, or depression. Or a revolting combo of all of them. The big part of my brain is just not available on a regular basis. I send a messenger down there, into the deep hole, and sometimes the messenger comes back and sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes the message is so garbled that it’s useless. And sometimes 24 hours later, the location of the turquoise thread pops into my head.

But in order to manage some of my crazy, I called one friend and emailed another, and we ended up going to see Boyhood

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Which was interesting, although I was more interested in the mother character. It was an interesting concept, although the boy was not very engaging in the first few years. He was much more interesting when he aged and had more mature opinions, and certainly, being about to send a boy off to college, there was some relevance there.

I can’t seem to get my brain working on finishing the stupid pile of small tasks that would finish the living room remodel. Which means my bedroom is a disaster. And now apparently a bunch of teenaged girls are coming to spend the night tomorrow. OK. Well. There’s some motivation to move it along. Or just shove it all in my bedroom and close the door. Whichever seems to make more sense. Taking care of myself is often a collection of behaviors that others do not understand. They don’t get that I’m dragging my brain along with me, behind me, and sometimes it’s strangling me by trying to dig its feet in. Recalcitrant asshole.

More car time today…sitting in a meeting too. Four more bindings. Today. Done. Really. Maybe then my brain will come back on line. Ha.

Under Construction

I’ve been trying to adjust my mood. It doesn’t help that it’s hot during the day or that I am at the most frustrating part of the renovation (although moving furniture for the carpet install might also be frustrating…we just haven’t gotten there yet) or that yesterday was the day when I am alone for the longest period of time. Strange how being alone is both good and bad. It messes with my head, but then I NEED to be alone to do some of the art stuff I’m doing. There must be a different version of alone that works better for me (you know there is. you had it once.).

So summer is turning out to be difficult, and I finally stopped avoiding that and/or trying to bully through it, and tried to do some things that would actually change it. Going on the hike was the first one, and it was fine. So I signed up for another hike next week; I might do two…kinda depends on the weather. I also signed up for a few more meetup groups that were doing things I might be interested in, like writing sci fi. I think I have to admit that the story I’m writing is more science fiction than anything else. I have 7000 words. That’s more than I had last week. If I get a chance today, I have another 3000 or so roiling around in my brain that could be vomited out onto Google Docs. Or is that INTO Google Docs. Webspace. Not real space. Typed characters. I also went to a movie with a meetup group…will write about that further on. I’m not sure that was successful for a variety of reasons, most of them probably in my head.

So I have been ironing, about 2 1/2 hours yesterday. I started with the face…

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This is actually like a thought bubble that’s yelling at her and crying. It’s easier to iron the eye as a separate unit and then iron it on top of the already completed face.

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Maybe that’s my brain. Or some part of my brain. It’s true that with depression and perimenopausal symptoms that often you hear things in your mind that don’t make sense, the irritation for no or very little reason, the sadness, the moodiness, and then your brain gets in your face about that as well. Demands an explanation. Honestly, I don’t know how much of that is just me and how much is some symptom of any of the things that might be affecting my mood. Even the thyroid has been screwed up lately, and because I’m not on a school schedule, I keep forgetting to take my thyroid meds (symptom of underactive thyroid? Memory issues. Seriously.), so that doesn’t help. Excuse me. I’m getting up right now to take them…late.

OK, I’m back. It won’t work as well because there’s tea in my stomach, but it’s better than not taking it at all.

There’s a wolf…I kind of think of it as a protector, her familiar maybe.

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Usually I have cats as familiars in my quilts, but it seemed she needed something bigger and more wild. I’m not sure. I know there’s no cats in this one.

Bird attacking the snake that’s in her…

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I actually researched the coloring of hawks to make sure I was doing this one right…the red-tail hawks who hang out in the tree outside my studio. Beak’s wrong, but whatever.

So I’m done with the 1500s…I don’t actually have much left to iron (if you ignore the fact of the octopus tentacles from hell). I could finish today. That’s good. A week later than I wanted, but still good. Deep breaths. I might actually finish it this summer. Easily could do that. With the other one (wait, panic moment). And…and…don’t let the brain think about the ‘ands’. You will lose it.

Someone commented that I should get a tall stool for ironing (and tracing probably too). I have one. It even rolls. And has padding. Came from a thrift shop or something like that. It’s old. But I can’t seem to keep my butt upon it. I just slip right off. I’m not that comfortable sitting for long. I am used to standing all day for work. Plus, here’s the available space when I’m ironing…

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The pieces are to the left on the white table and there isn’t much room between it and the ironing board. I suspect the tired-of-ironing feeling is more because ironing is difficult at times, trying to get all the pieces in the right place and figure out where the missing pieces are (I found two more missing pieces yesterday). One of the biggest issues I have when I start stitching is all the sitting. And tense shoulder stuff. Which doesn’t help. So the rolling chair has become a rolling storage depository for stuff like lead for mechanical pencils and tape dispensers, which is probably not a good use of it.

I didn’t iron more yesterday because I was trying to make this wall work.

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Fucking wall. I started with an online recipe for texturing and used a small roller to apply it to the patch sections. It wasn’t right. I fussed with it, sanded it a little, and tried it again with a thicker mix. Still not right.

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Fucking wall. So then I rolled the whole thing…

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Which is what I did on the wall next to the fireplace, rolled it twice though. This one, I’ve only done once…and there’s some issue in that the part where the window is has the original texture. Do I care? I might. I have to make that decision today. I have to sand the whole thing just to knock the peaks down and then probably put a second coat on the whole thing, and then maybe I just paint it tomorrow and assume that’s as good as it gets. Do I really care that much? There’s an entirely different texture on the dining area attached to this, as well as the wall behind the piano, which is also part of this room. It’s all white. Is the world ending because of the texture?

No. Stop freaking. Just do it. But it’s hot and I hate sanding. Really really hate it.

So. I love going to the movies. Always have. In college, I would buy one ticket on Friday at the first matinee, student matinee price, and then I would sneak from theater to theater until I had seen like 3 or 4 movies in one day. I missed the first few minutes of some, but I didn’t care. I just loved hiding in the dark with the big picture in front of me. The last year has been mostly movie-free, not by choice. I tried in the beginning to keep going, but it made me incredibly sad being there alone and silent and I stopped. Plus it’s expensive, ticket plus parking. And I have to be picky about what I spend money on these days. College is going to kick my financial ass (which was already kicked to the ground by divorce, single-momhood, teaching not being a well-paying career, expenses for school, etc.). So I stopped going. I went to Catching Fire with the kids, but that was the last movie I saw, and that was back in November. I hate that. I hate that the one piece of my life that I absolutely loved has been so damaged by all this shit that I can’t enjoy it any more. OK. Not just one piece.

I had joined a couple of movie meetup groups, thinking that would help, I wouldn’t be there alone and there would be people to discuss the movie with afterwards. Sounds good, right? Except they usually schedule them during the week or Sunday evenings, and it just wasn’t working for me. Finally someone scheduled one for a Saturday night and it was something I would actually consider seeing, so I took a deep breath, thought about trying to change the summer mood, and signed up. Got there and introduced myself, and then realized they were all going to sit together as a group. Oh. Yeah. I hate sitting in the middle of the theater. I’m a 2nd-row person. I went on a date after the divorce with someone who told me they couldn’t continue dating me because of that. He liked the back row. That shit is never going to work. So I suggested that since we were a relatively large group, maybe some others would want to sit up front. I got one. No problem. We talked for a while before the movie, it was totally awkward, made more so by the fact that her mom wanted to sit way in the back. I’m not entirely sure why she sat with me. She said she likes being IN the movie, that feeling that being up front does for you (that is why I sit up front by the way), but it was weird. She sat still and upright for the entire movie. I fidgeted because I can’t sit still that long. I felt weird fidgeting, wondering if I was annoying her, wondering how she sat STILL for all that time.

Then afterwards, she got up during the credits and left without a word. I’m weird. I watch all the credits. When I got up, the theater was empty. Yup. I’m really weird I guess. I went out to the lobby and there were groups of people talking about the movie and I tried to join in, but I was getting texts from the girlchild about her code for the AP tests earlier (scores came out yesterday) and I knew she was expecting me to send her that soon, so I left. It was weird. And what was worse was how I felt afterwards. I love the moviegoing. I love being in the theater and experiencing another world for two hours, but the after feeling is fucking awful. I cried all the way home and into the house and found her the code and then logged in as her (like you do) because she wasn’t answering (apparently she gave up on waiting and went to a dance instead, which I am totally OK with her doing). And texted the boychild to see if he had checked his scores. I guess I’m glad I had that distraction when I got home, because the after-movie feeling was just really bad. Like crawl into bed and put the pillows over your head and sob like the world has ended bad. I have been getting better over the last few months, but this whole experience threw me back about 6 months and it sucked. I can’t live there. I can’t be like that.

So we had 7 AP tests between the two kids: they scored 3 4s and 4 5s. I texted the girlchild that she rocked (she’d been so stressed about these, thought she would be crying herself to sleep over her scores), the boychild the same. I’m proud of them. And some part of me realizes that despite the divorce years ago and all the emotional mess I’ve been this last year, that they still were able to fucking rock it academically. And as yet another person told me congratulations last night at the movies for raising a kid who’s going to Cornell, that I have smart kids, but that I had something to do with their successes…and I hope they keep having them, because I can’t do a lot about it from here on out except be the crazy mom who’s texting them at midnight about stupid stuff. The mom who stays up until 3 ironing because making art is important to her. The mom who is depressed and jokes about it and apologizes for being such a lame-ass. My house may not be clean (hell, it’s a fucking disaster at the moment), I may be a mental disaster myself, but I did OK with them.

The movies? Yeah, not so much. That part is still under construction…