There’s Not a Line Here That Goes with Anything*

June 15, 2017

Today I am dressed like a ninja. Don’t get freaked out. I’m just wearing all black, which I actually do fairly often. BUT…today is the last day of school, I have the same kids for 3 1/2 hours, and I woke up this morning with my voice completely gone.

Oh yeah. Laugh your ass off. I did. Silently. More like my chest moved in a laughlike manner.

So yesterday we took the 7th grade bowling (this is so NOT like taking the skinheads bowling, if you’re old and hip enough to remember that song)…

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There you are…

We have this newish washing machine, and every time I accidentally brush up against it, it turns on and sings a little tune, at which point I tell it to fuck off. I’ve done it twice already this morning.

So after the field trip, we have this lame thing where we end up with kids sitting in our classrooms for almost 2 hours until they can go home. I’ve always thought this was idiotic, much like moving the field trip from the last day of school so kids can experience graduation, one of the most boring events of anyone’s life, is idiotic. But we do it. The first hour was horrendous. So the second hour, I laid down some rules, and it was fine. The field trip was fine…well, as always, exhausting…but definitely better than last year or the year before. All those are good things.

I’m apprehensive about this morning though. Seriously so.

I had a union meeting after…so an exhausting day followed by a meeting. The last one of the year is sometimes in a bar with free food and one adult beverage. Yup. We earned it.

These were clouds painted on the ceiling. I quite like them. Might incorporate them into something.

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Came home and went to book club, because I really liked the book and wanted to see what others thought…the book we were assigned was The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, but it was good enough (once I got through the letters part, which I didn’t like) that I read the sequel, Stiletto, which I actually think is way better.

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I immediately went looking for Book 3, but there’s no mention of it yet. The Rook was his first book…so maybe this is it. I hope not. He certainly set it up for a continuing series. Amazing world-building in these two books. Plus the dichotomy between supernatural powers (however weird-ass they might be) and bio-engineered powers. Although I’m still trying to figure out the reality of the main character in the first book…is she a new person or was her brain just wiped? I need that explained.

I came home and tried to get my head around the upcoming art entries…having gotten another email about another show coming up for one of the groups I’m in. For some, I can use existing stuff, assuming it comes home in time…but I need to potentially make 5 quilts before the end of the year. Ha! OK. I’m getting my head around that.

Then I traced stuff for a while.

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I didn’t have the brainpower to draw by then. Boychild and I talked about music too. And graduation…how to get everyone there. I think we might be camping out for a few days. Yeah, and there was a FaceTime event between me, my SIL, the girlchild, and the boychild…involving three phones and an iPad. Very impressive tech skills.

OK. So today has a social event after school plus quilt class…and I have to go in tomorrow to clean up all the chemicals that 8th grade dumped on us. But otherwise, I’ve almost survived my 14th full school year. Awesome sauce.

*Camper Van Beethoven, Take the Skinheads Bowling


Let Me Take You There*

February 26, 2017

Well I’m head down (and ass down on the chair) on grading stuff. I even resized the photos for today’s post (yeah, it’s Sunday, but I had an early up and get going, so I’m trying to take advantage of the day and get my work done), and then I forgot to write. I’m taking a break from grading right now, because it’s hurting my head, realizing that I have to rework how we teach one thing that we do all year, because so few of our kids can do it, and we’re more than halfway through the school year.

Anyway. My goal is to do grading now so I can do art later. I started a drawing last night and I’m going to have to restart…but maybe that’s later today. It’s mostly in my head at the moment.

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The world is still pissing me off. Not surprisingly. I solve that by signing petitions and sending emails to my stupid state senator and postcards to the people who need them, and then supporting kickstarters and artists who are making resistance art and donating part of their proceeds (or all, if they’re into that…I think artists need to make a living too) to good causes. Plus making art myself. And continuing to yell out that this shit is not right. Freedom of the press, dammit. Even if you don’t like what it’s saying. I love my country right now for all the parts who are protesting, devious as some of them are (the CPAC Trump/Russian flags…what genius). This is what my country does when there’s a dictator in charge…what you read about in the dystopian novels. This is what we are. We are unfortunately also the stupid stuff. It’s the yin/yang. Can’t have the good protest without the stupid.

I did Friday and Saturday’s stitching yesterday…The tree trunk/branches are done, I think. I might add some more twiggy stuff tonight.

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And before that…I’m stuck with both dogs this weekend, due to my ex being in Boston with our daughter. They needed some exercise yesterday, so I went to Sweetwater to see how bad the crowds were.

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The bridge was all about photo shoots, as far as I could tell…one down at the far end, and then two more when we came back. Weird.

There had definitely been rain out here in the past…I don’t usually walk here, because there’s too many people and bikes, but also fewer coyotes in sight during the day because of that…

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It’s pretty damn green this year…

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Went to the bridge so we could see the stream below…

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Simba likes to stand in big grass.

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We saw another trail camera…but this one had a card explaining it.

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So I emailed her…because she had a bobcat picture and I wanted to know where the fuck THAT was. But also she asked about trail data from hiking apps. And I have that.

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Although yesterday we only did 2 miles. I’ll go back, maybe even tomorrow, and do a longer walk. Until I can go back to the other one with fewer people. I’m not a people person, I guess. I like to be out in nature without humanity mostly.

Anyway, so many art-related things crowding my head today, and work has to happen. I want to finish tracing the other piece today and start cutting it out, but also do that other drawing. Plus I think I’m getting sick…knock on wood. I’ve been healthy for a good long time, but so many students ill is a hard one for even a strong immune system. Gonna go take some more vitamins. Ugh. I don’t have time for sick.

*Led Zeppelin, Kashmir


I Follow Where My Mind Goes*

October 13, 2016

Brain muddle. Good description of where your brain goes sometimes, right? I’m sitting here trying to write artist statements for two pieces that aren’t even done. There are days when I can’t explain what I HAVE done…today is apparently not the day to try to explain what’s still unfinished and largely exists in my head.

I didn’t get home until late last night…I’m a union rep, so those meetings just seem to go on forever. And then the parental mail and check up on their stuff. In good news, though, educating children went a little better yesterday after the previous day. I had to be mean to some kids, but that happens sometimes. I think I need a baby gate for one of them. Or an exercise ball (she wouldn’t sit on it).

So I didn’t get started on anything artistic until late. I thought about drawing on the nightstand, but I really need a new thick Sharpie for that. So that’s on the to-buy list for today, along with more milk. Too bad I can’t get those in the same place. I need a general store. Grocery stores don’t cut it. Maybe Target. I was just there Monday night, desperately buying a pair of headphones that didn’t turn out to be so desperate (still a good thing, though, because both of mine stopped working on the same day). I need to finish proofing the coloring book too. That came out of nowhere…this is why my phone calendar is so full of stuff.

So no drawing…I still needed to finish cutting out the pieces for the quilt portion of this thing…so I did that. And then I sorted them. There’s only 200 of them. Well, there’s more than that because I misnumbered, but close enough.

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Ideally, after that, I would have gone to my studio and started ironing, but it was after 11 and I was tired. Ugh. This is such a tiring year. So I didn’t. I’m starting to panic about the timing on this project. And trying to write a statement! I need to go back and read the organizer’s info and make sure I’m talking to that. I know I did mentally in the beginning, but I don’t have a clue what I was thinking way back when. In May or June.

Calli distinctly does not give a shit.

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Sometimes I wish I could be her.

OK, but I do better if I think this shit out. I need to iron down this quilt top, which will probably take 2-3 hours…mostly because I have to figure out attaching the sheet with the body on top of it. Then I need to do stitch down, which should take less than an hour. Then sandwich and pinbaste it, which ought to be interesting, because of the sheet again. I think this is why I keep delaying work on this…it’s an engineering problem. My SIL asked me last night why I don’t do 3D work, like make a person and stuff them, and all I could think was “because Susan Else rocks it and I can’t think like that.” The construction throws me. But I like it when this art group I’m in makes me think outside my box.

So I’m up to maybe 4 hours. Then it needs quilting. This is where I can cut time if I need to…but let’s say at least 2 hours. I’m not binding it for this show. I just want raw edges. In fact, raw should be in the statement. So I only need 6 more hours. I have Saturday, most of the day…I have Sunday, a little. So maybe that’s my goal…is to finish the quilt part of this thing by Sunday night. Then I can draw a little at a time all week on the nightstand, varnish it on the 24th (shhh…I’m taking the day off), and it should be dry by the opening.

No Problem. I Got This.

Really. I just needed some mental space to place all that work time. Now I can concentrate on sticking to that schedule…

*The Psychedelic Furs, Love My Way


Pinned Down…

July 28, 2016

Well. It wasn’t the most effective day in the world, but I eventually ripped some usefulness out of it. Proof that I can flail for hours and still look like I got shit done. So yeah. Lack of sleep kicked my ass. I tried napping, but barking dogs and daylight were not my friends. I couldn’t concentrate for many hours, probably due to heat. But when I look at my post-it note for yesterday, I crossed off three and a half things (out of seven), so I did OK. I think. I feel like I’ve been fighting this all summer. All I do is work and sweat and clean and make art and sometimes eat or do random stuff like Shakespeare or art exhibits (OK, those aren’t really random). I’d really like to go on a travel vacation, one that is somewhere cool I’ve never been. I see lots of friends doing these things and I think, well, I could plan a year out and save up for it…in fact there are three possibilities in the next 12 months…but then I get fucked over by a cat swallowing thread and needing surgery. Sometimes I feel pinned down by my own life. An insect struggling with pins in her wings.

The kids are leaving this morning for Arrowhead with their dad and grandpa, an annual tradition that leaves me alone for four days (well, I get the little dog and two cats, so not totally alone). I have a shitload of stuff to do, so keeping busy is not a problem. It’s just that my brain was already in a cranky place…so I’ll have to work that out (drawing?). I even have a fridge full of food, so I could notionally get away with not cooking mostly. Except eating the same stuff over and over gets boring.

If you see me in a wine bar with a sketchbook, feel free to come over. Just don’t ask to see what I’m drawing.

So sandwiching a quilt this big (63″w x 73″h) is a pain. I found four yards of a backing fabric (that’s probably another nod to Sandi Fastnow there…) and pieced it together…then earlier today, I bought batting (and thread…JoAnns still has it, but in smaller spools) and washed it. So I cleaned out the entryway (again) and the floor and kept the dogs off of it while making and eating dinner and then laid it all out and spent an hour lying on the floor pinning. Yeah. I know. Pain in the ass.

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I still like her. She hopefully has exhibits in her blood…at least one. I hope.

Simba was pretty good about leaving it alone (notice the ONE paw). He’s confused by my projects, but he behaves pretty well.

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Check out all those pins. I finished after 11 PM. I had the fan on me in there as well…way too hot for this. No wonder I had all those weird dreams last night…

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There were some fussy bits that wanted to puff up and be cranky…as always. But I think I tamed them.

I had another one to sandwich, but there was no way I was lying on the ground for another hour or so. I’m hoping to do that one today, before the floor gets really dirty again…but honestly? I don’t know where the backing fabric for that one is. It’s one of the Sue Spargo quilts, so it came with a background, and I think I have to piece it as well, but I don’t know what I did with it. Sigh. I am losing my brain.

See how hot it was? Kitten gave up lying on my keyboard and mouse and annoying the fuck out of me while I’m trying to copyedit, and went to lie in the sink.

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Way cooler in here mom. You should try it.

OK. Copyediting, then something, then stuff, and things, and then sandwich another, and then start quilting and/or drawing and stuff. Be effective. Efficient. You only have two weeks and a bit before you go back to school. Don’t THINK about that, because you’ll panic, but remember you need to be working better than yesterday. Keep an eye on the post-it.


The Rest Will Have to Wait…

May 28, 2015

Done. Finis. She’s all cut out.

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Please don’t ask me how late I went to bed. I needed to feel like I had achieved something last night. Yes, there are some tiny pieces in the bottom right corner that I won’t cut out until I’m ironing, because I know I will lose them. I’ve learned things as I’ve aged, as I’ve progressed through the artmaking process. Seven hours and 44 minutes of cutting stuff out. And I graded stuff last night too. And cooked dinner. And did a bunch of other administrative stuff for school and other groups I’m in. After monitoring 140 kids dissecting frogs.

No wonder I have a headache this morning (or is that the late night? Hard to say.).

I get to iron things together next. That’s the part I really like. That’s the part where it’s hard to get me to stop. Plus I have another one I need to have done by mid-July and I haven’t started it. This is getting a little crazy. Or maybe crazy is my normal. Really, I’d probably be happier just making art all day, but I’m not sure I’d make any MORE art than I do now. Maybe I’d get more sleep and the dishes would be done. Or not.

There are 15 days of school left. I can do that. Panicking about getting grades done still. As well I should be. Tried to push boychild into jobhunting yesterday. Not sure how seriously he took it. Going to start sending him job-finding YouTube videos. In fact, maybe all of you should do that. It might help. SIGH. And he ate all the girlchild’s lunch food. Of course, I put a post-it note on MY lunch food explaining where the ingredients were if he wanted to make his own. Does that make me smarter than she is? No. Just more experienced. I had a dad and a brother who went after my food even if I labeled it. Then a roommate’s boyfriend as well. So I have been traumatized. Seriously…my SIL says my brother and I are way too protective of our food. We both point to Dad. Food stealer extraordinaire.

OK. Well. I have a ton of stuff to do for work this morning, including a parent meeting. I wish I could just hang out here and wax poetic about my desire to iron things, but it seems the need to pay the bills is strong today. No, I don’t have my car back! Oh well. Took meds for the headache, prepped the best I could for some portion of the day. The rest will have to wait. As always.


Poking at Me…

March 3, 2015

So apparently after mostly recovering from pneumonia (I’m still coughing on and off), exercise can kick your ass. I finally got back into it last night, and I needed a nap afterwards. This is proof of old age right there! It’s OK. It was a really long day already, and an occasional nap is not a bad thing. I can either nap in the late afternoon (OK, it was early evening), or I can stay up really late, or I can do both! Like last night.

It did mean I started dinner late and then I was working on grades, which went even later. I have five things that still need to go in the gradebook, but I’m not collecting two of them until tomorrow, and the other three will get handled on Friday. Luckily, they are not grading things…they are just calculations of stuff the kids are supposed to do all trimester, so it won’t take much time. I want to be done on Friday night. Seriously done. And I will be. I still need to grade makeup tests, which I hate doing, but whatever. And then on Wednesday, kids are handing in the last unit and taking a test, but those will go to the next trimester, because there’s no way I can grade them in time. I’m really trying to be organized!

I’m trying to be organized because the art…she calls me. I was reading entry forms on Saturday (trying to be organized again) and one blurb made an entire drawing just pop right into my head. That’s two that are residing up there. I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to get them on paper. I keep thinking about it, but it takes mental energy and space to do that, and I haven’t found that yet. Last night, after dinner and grades, I had choices about what to do next: trim the two cancer hands and put bindings on them? Ugh. Sounds like decision-making. Finish quilting the upholstery nude? Ugh. Sounds tiring. OK, then there’s only one thing left (besides drawing, which I had already dumped off the table, due to a lack of available brain power): cutting out Wonder Under for the Ventura piece…

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So that’s what I did. It was sufficiently brainless enough that I could handle it. Obviously, I had way more available brain power over the weekend (because I gave up on the grading?).

I also traced some stuff on freezer paper…

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This is the piece I’m not allowed to show. In fact, I don’t know when I’m allowed to show it…it’s not my pattern anyway. This is what I work on at soccer games at the moment. I really should be finishing all those birds I’ve been working on for the last two years, but I haven’t been in the mood. The more tense the game is, the less I can do complicated embroidery. Just stitching bits of wool together seems to be all I can handle.

In other news, the girlchild should start hearing back from colleges in the next 2-4 weeks. No stress here! Seriously, I’m not looking forward to it…we know she’ll get in to a few of them at least, but then how does she choose? Hard to know…wait on the financial aid stuff, I think. The boychild really only had two choices…so it made it much easier.

Meanwhile, those two drawings in my head are poking at me like small children…hungry to be released. Maybe I should find a way to get one of them started today…or tomorrow…she says, looking at her calendar and all the shit that is piled upon it (metaphorical, vague shit…not actual shit). It’s possible I am overextended. As usual.


Ever-Changing Mood

November 25, 2014

I hear the wind blowing. It’s blowing quite heavily at the moment. I considered sweeping leaves up in the driveway this afternoon, because trash pickup is tomorrow and I never finished from last time (weeks ago). Ran out of room in the green recycling bin. But then I thought, what’s the point? I had seen the wind advisory. I knew I’d have a million more leaves by the morning. Better to wait and do it later this week. I don’t like to waste energy on things that need to be done more than once in a short period of time. I don’t have much time.

I don’t know how to feel about today. I don’t know how to feel about most days. Those questions “How are you?” or “How’s [insert name of current project] coming along?” or “How was the hike?”…I don’t know how to answer those. The hike was good, because I was outside and the rocks were really cool, but the last two miles kicked my mental butt, and yet I kept moving, but I’m debating that 14-miler I signed up for, because I’m not sure I can hike that far. Is that what you wanted to hear? Or did you just want to hear “Fine. It was fine.” I can’t answer the “How are you?” at all. I don’t have the words. I could draw it, but we’d be here for a while and you’d be frustrated by my answer. The projects? They’re moving along. There’s nothing I really want to talk about in depth about any of them at the moment. I’m just progressing, moving forward, continuing the process. I don’t know.

NaNoWriMo, for example: I totally forgot to write yesterday. I wrote for a short period while waiting for something, I don’t even remember when, but I only did like 400 words. I’ve haven’t done that few words a day all month. But I was busy yesterday and I got into art-brain mode and I just plain forgot. So this morning, I wrote 2500+ to make up for it. I have a little over 4000 words to go to hit 50,000. And I figured out how to kill off one of the characters. While I was watching David Attenborough’s show Life in the Undergrowth (fascinating, by the way, and kinda creepy), he talked about how ants use formic acid to attack plants and predators, and I had a lightning bolt hit my brain. It’s gonna be SO COOL. OK. I know. This book, it’s just plain weird how it’s inhabited this part of my brain. It’s writing itself. It really is. By Thursday, I will have hit 50,000 words this month, which I think means the book will be at 75,000 words. And I’m in the rising climax part of the book or whatever it is when all the good stuff happens that makes your heart race. I know the book itself won’t be done on Thursday. My goal is the end of the year. Then edit its ass. Then start the next one by next November.

Meanwhile, a car had a brake issue, so it went to the mechanic, my body went to the doctor and we tried to diagnose all my frailties (elbow brace, toenail collection, weird exercises with soup cans and hammers, more blood, changing meds. Holy moly.). I picked up my quilt and the photos. Warned him there was another one coming in December. Heard the story of his dog and cats.

The hardest part…parts…it’s been parts…about this vacation have been my mood swings (down, down, down) and the girlchild’s moods. So moods. The theme for Thanksgiving this year is MOODS. And none of them particularly good. I say everything wrong. I do everything wrong. I get irritated by having to stand in line at the post office to sign for a shirt she ordered (my name on the package, so I have to sign for it, plus she’s not 18), and then she’s out to lunch and at a friend’s for hours, so she doesn’t clean, and because we’re down to one car, she’s texting me to hurry up while I’m in Target trying to do all my errands in one place (I failed at that, by the way). Big Fucking Sigh. This is not fun. I have been on the verge of tears (or just outright crying, let’s be honest) more times in the last few days than in the last month. OK. That might be a lie. It’s been an emotional month. Blame hormones. Blame my thyroid. Blame the fucking moon. I mean, how could they ever have looked at the moon and NOT seen that it was a sphere? I just don’t understand. It so obviously has the sun reflecting off of it in crescent stage. It’s such a beautifully awesome thing. And yet it’s obviously fucking with me.

See. This is how my mind works. It’s on a crazy train.

I guess the good thing is that I worked. I finished tracing all the Wonder Under, despite almost needing to walk out of the living room twice due to girlchild’s intolerance for ANYTHING or ANYONE. (I do live here. I do. I have rights. Inalienable rights.)

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It took almost 10 hours to trace this beast. Only 768 pieces, so you know the pile of men really did slow me down. It should have been 8 hours. Julie says I should copy the pile and color code the bodies. She may be right, but I feel like it’s time I don’t have. On the other hand, then I’ll waste the time trying to figure out what piece goes with what body. GAARHHH. Cannot Decide.

I also traced two more birds that were on order…

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I’m hoping to finish them by the end of the year as well. By the way, there are three birds that have not sold. I should put them in their own post. I’ll try to do that tomorrow.

And then I sat down and started cutting Wonder Under out.

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I only did it for an hour, because it was getting late. And some of it is releasing from the paper, which is always annoying. And I need to buy background fabric or decide if what I have in house will work, because inevitably, I will be ready to iron on Thursday and nothing will be open. Must Plan Ahead. And I have to clean house and straighten up my studio so I can tear it apart again, and now I have a window screen AND a screen door with issues, and for every one thing I solve or resolve, two more pop up in its place.

And dammit. I’m still depressed. That’s the only thing to call this blob in my head that keeps raining on my parade. That keeps dragging me into the mud. That keeps eating at my peace of mind. That won’t shut the fuck up and leave me alone.

Knowing that this is not how you want to be? It doesn’t really help make it stop. This war quilt I’m doing, women at war: it’s women at war with their own bodies, with failing uteri and thyroid glands, with fluctuating hormones and clogged ducts and irritated tendons and pus-filled pores; at war with their children and their parents, with people trying to push them into holes, into slots, into places they think you should fit, telling you what to do, how you’re doing it wrong, constantly getting at you; at war with men, the misguided, the nice-guy misogynists (so many of those), the crazies, the assholes, the arrogant, the self-centered, the clueless; at war with society, which is trying to control my parts, my mind, my place in the world. Nature vs nurture. There’s outliers and I guess I’m way the fuck out there. Like in outer space outlier. I’ve never wanted to be easily categorized or explained, but that makes it harder…to just be, honestly. Sometimes it just makes it harder to exist. I’m here because I want to be. I’m here because that’s where I belong. I never meant to be here by myself though. And it’s hard. It’s hard to deal with the girlchild’s drama without any support. I often just want to crawl into bed and never ever come out. Just put the pillow over my head and ignore all of it. Never fucking come out.

I don’t know how many times I have to scream “This is not where I want to be!” before someone hears me.

That’s why I keep these guys around, the furry ones, even though all they did today was sleep, bat at me with claws out, and vomit. I swear I cleaned up more vomit today than I did anything else. It’s just not right.

So this looks like a picture of the girlchild messing with her hair, but look closely.

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What is that in the back, in the corner of the couch?

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I do not know how to explain the dog.

Then this evening, the scary bitchy cat ventured out again, and this is the closest I’ve ever seen her to any living thing that was not human without her trying to kill it.

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It’s not even that cold tonight.

But I had both of them for a while…

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It’s hard to cut out Wonder Under with her on your lap, but again…she’s old and I feel sorry for her, so I tolerate a lot. Besides, she didn’t vomit today, so she’s on my good side.

Tomorrow I finish cutting out Wonder Under and hopefully start ironing to fabric. Dammit. That means I need a background. Aargh.

And the song the post title comes from…one of my favorite bands…

The Style Council. Weird-ass video. Great song.