Feminism? Or Not.

April 30, 2016

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.


Vacation Rant…

November 21, 2015

Late today. Ya know why? Cuz it’s vacation. That’s why. Hallelujah, because even though I still will have to work almost every day over break, at least I can do it in my pajamas on my couch (OK, well, not every day, because I’m going to my brother’s house and I don’t know where I will be grading there. I just know I will be grading.). I think every goddamned idiot and politician (oh wait, those might be an intersecting group) who thinks teachers are overpaid, money-grubbing child-haters should come teach in my class the week before a holiday. By themselves. On the same bathroom schedule we get. And then go home and grade all the shit we grade. Yeah. That. Fuckers. I think half my team (or more) hit borderline exhaustion by the end of day Wednesday. And we got up and taught for two more days.

I worked corporate. This does not fucking compare. At all. My job is physically, mentally, emotionally, and intellectually exhausting. I haven’t been a teacher all my life. I have many years of experience outside of education. I’ve worked in the corporate world as support staff AND as a professional, and I’ve also been self-employed. This job kicks your butt.

So I deserve this week AWAY from the classroom. Don’t kid yourself that I won’t still be working. I will. Some manage to not work all break, and I know that’s what I need, but I can’t afford it right now. I’m aiming for that for Winter Break. But that means busting my butt a little right now.

Moving on. I got up this morning when I wanted to. Well, after Kitten woke me up to inform me of the imminent rabbit invasion. I calmed her down, explaining that a single rabbit was not going to take down our kingdom. And then went back to sleep, trying to make up a few of the missing 2 hours a night from the last three months of teaching (that’s 140 hours short right now…gonna take me a while to catch up).

I finished tracing Wonder Under on Bathtub 5 this morning…

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As you can see, it’s all piled up, ready to be cut out, except for the cat butt on the sheets. If you have cats, you know they must inhabit all of your projects. I eventually got her off of them, but she swiped her claws at me, so I gave up on trying to cover the light table again. Eventually she’ll go take a nap and I can clean up after her.

Both cats desperately need more attention apparently than I am giving them…

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Both of them stalking me. It’s too bad they don’t really like each other. They used to be OK, but not after Babygirl. Oh well.

As you can see, it is a beautiful day in sunny Southern California. It’s supposed to hit 90 degrees. So I’m heading for Seattle and snow, and kind of panicking about clothes and shoes, but whatever. I’ll take a big sweatshirt and complain a lot to my sister-in-law, and she’ll give me shit for having thin blood. Damn straight. I live in So Cal for a reason.

So artwise, this week might be a bit of a wash. I need to go to school tomorrow to finish grading all the cell models that were turned in. I’m hoping to finish cutting out all the Wonder Under by tomorrow night. Then last night, while trying to fall asleep, I half-dreamed moving all the drawers around in my office so that the colors I use more would be more accessible. Luckily, I recently replaced all of them, so it would be pretty easy to just pull drawers and move them. But I’m not progressing quickly on the rest of the clean up. Because I’m never bloody home! Or I’m grading. Or I’m exhausted. So I didn’t leave much time around the house this week to get shit done. Oh well. I’m looking forward to hanging with my lovely family! OK, my crazy family. So I’ll probably get some drawing in up there. Although, my big sketchbook doesn’t fit in my luggage. I’m thinking of a trip to Michael’s to get a medium-sized one. I have a lot that are 9×12″ and the one I draw most of my quilts in is 14×17″. So something a little bigger. I think. And smaller than the big one. If I can find a coupon. Found one. Love the internet. Really, I do. I also ordered a small keyboard for my iPad so I can type up some stuff on the plane. Can’t use the work computer for that. I may have a bit too much tech. It’s possible. But it makes some things so much easier and faster. Unfortunately, there is no tech at the moment that can help me get the studio straightened up. It’s just gotta be me.

I have to say one thing about the refugee situation. I honestly think many Americans have lost their humanity, that they are so backwater in their NIMBY attitude, in their fear of everything government, the military, and politics have brought down on us, that they cannot even see the fear and hardship in the eyes of the adults that are coming over from Syria or wherever, but if they can look in the eyes of these refugee children and still be assholes, then I don’t want to live in the same country as they do. My America is not those people. I hate what we project to the rest of the world sometimes, and this is one of those times. These are the kids I teach. You hear their stories, you see how small some of them are from not enough good food, and you know the shit they survived, and for anyone to think these people are terrorists…hell, I live in East County San Diego…we have some big fat white terrorists brewing right here, some true crazies. We grow our own. And they call themselves Christian. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush say they think we should only take the Christian refugees. What the fuck? I don’t care what your religion is…don’t use it as an excuse to turn away people who are starving, terrified, and scared to death. We take them in, we take care of them, we teach them, we help them. That’s what America is supposed to be about…hell, that’s what being human is supposed to be about. If you don’t believe that, then there is something seriously wrong with you. I’d like to think the students I have hear me talking about acceptance, about not hurting each other, about the biology of ALL humans, and they will grow up with that in their heads and hearts, not the hate rhetoric that I hear every day on the news. My Muslim students don’t hate like some of the Christians I’ve heard from do. They just want to be safe and warm and be able to learn without bombs falling on their schools.

That’s my rant. I’ve spent too many days listening to this shit and shaking my head at the crazy. You don’t like it? Don’t read my blog. Easy.

OK. Now I can be on vacation.


Taking Care of Myself…

November 7, 2015

I would love to report numerous small quilts bound and ready for hand-stitching, since I know Mad Max: Fury Road arrives from Netflix today, but no such luck. I went to a big contemporary art show last night, just a quick runaround to look at mostly big brightly colored crap with some bits and pieces of nice. A group I’m in has a booth there. I could have been in it, but I don’t work particularly small and there were 11 artists there, so not much space…and even then, very expensive.

Then I came home and graded. I had one period of a very nasty assignment. Well, I thought it was a perfectly reasonable assignment, but apparently their brains left the building and they forgot that living things are made of cells and things inside cells must by definition be smaller than cells or they won’t fit. So I spent the last 24 hours bleeding red pen all over these papers, hoping they would get it. Might be a waste of time. It’s been a rough week for our team. Not a lot of work completion. Frustration with trying to get kids to turn in makeup work. Wondering why the parents are so checked out. Dear Politicians: You can’t have any accountability for teachers until you get parents to buy in and be a part of the team. There’s no way I can make a kid give a shit when the parents don’t. Occasionally I’ll get one that rises above it, and I hope more of that happens in high school and college as their brains mature, but 12-year-olds? Not happening. Stop threatening me with accountability if you’ve never been a teacher. You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. This is not a job where if I work harder, magic happens and kids produce. Some kids are just checked out. I can work my butt off trying to get them to check in, but sometimes it just won’t work.

So my goal this weekend is not to look at school stuff for as many minutes as possible. I have two art openings tomorrow and some relaxation time scheduled for tonight. I need to do some cleanup in here too, try to move more stuff from the boychild’s room. If I can get the bookshelf restocked with whatever was on it, then I can move the larger furniture/storage pieces out of there. The chaos is bugging me.

I also want to get more of the small quilts done and maybe start tracing Wonder Under on Bathtub 5. Here was the original drawing back in April…

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You can see the owl in the top right is like the one I just finished. I added stuff below and in the top right. I also had to add some lines to break up the edge of the bathtub, so I wouldn’t have to find a piece of fabric big enough to go all the way around the bottom, like I did last time. Big white and off-white pieces of fabric for bathtubs…the last one had more bathtub showing. This one doesn’t have much. Not as much water showing either. But these two huge rugs on the side. Gotta wonder what I was thinking.

That’s the key though. When I draw, I’m not thinking about the production or how much of a pain it will be. I’m just drawing.

This is one of those days when I want to pretend that I am not a teacher at all, that I don’t have a frustrating week of microscopes ahead of me (actually, my co-teacher gave me an idea about how to manage the frustration and I’m totally going to use it, because otherwise, some kids will take 5 days to look at a newsprint e under the scope. And that’s just wrong.). I’m going to act like the end of the trimester doesn’t even exist. I’m going to turn off the teacher part and let the artist part just ramble. If I can.

That’s the other part that drives me nuts…when people complain that teachers don’t care about kids and that’s why we won’t (insert crazy-ass comment here about spending more hours than we already do unpaid or something about how THEIR husband doesn’t get paid overtime, which is nuts, because I don’t even get paid what their husband does and I work monster hours at this job). I care way too much about my kids. Even the assholes. And yes, there are assholes. And I tell myself repeatedly that a 12-year-old does not become an asshole without parental (or guardian) involvement or environmental shit, that they are still redeemable, that the parents aren’t doing their jobs. I care even about the assholes. And I spend hours calling home and putting together makeup work and getting in their faces or encouraging them or whatever it takes to get them to stop sitting there and actually DO something. I don’t care? My ass. Fuck you. My job is not a corporate job. I’ve had one of those. I know what that looks like. This job sucks it out of you. And if you let them, they will take even more time. I had about 20 student emails last night, panicked. I had a parent yesterday blaming me for her son’s computer not working, demanding that I fix it, or excuse her son from the assignment they left until the last minute. I just walked away from all of it. I answered one email. I ignored the rest. Most of them didn’t need anything anyway.

Yeah. Today. Going to gym. Straightening things. Putting stuff away. Playing with fabric. Hanging out. Not school. I have to be able to go back on Monday and be in a better mood about it. I just have to. I have to take care of myself…


Remember…

September 4, 2015

Remember. Remember that school only started about two weeks ago. That you feel this exhausted every year for the first few weeks. That it kicks your butt. This might be why I write a blog…simply so I can go back to early September every single year and read, “I’m tired. I’m so tired.” And then I don’t feel so bad about it. It’s normal. For a teacher.

On top of that, I think I’ve developed an allergy to chapstick after all these years. Or something. I feel like I could sleep for the entire weekend. But I can’t.

So I have completed many tasks in the last 24 hours…sending photos for a show I’ll be in come January, trying to get new house insurance because the Auto Club doesn’t like me, paying this bill and that bill, making a label for and packing up a quilt that needs to ship today!, trying to find a cord online so I don’t have to buy it in a store, stupid shit. Grading papers at a stitching meeting because I need to get them done (I didn’t get them done yet). By the time I got home from the stitching meeting, I was exhausted again. Shocking really that doing a lab all day made me tired…OH MY, we all have one period, sometimes two, where Listening to Instructions just doesn’t happen…but the best was when a kid asked “How do you measure length?” 1. The same way you did yesterday. 2. Weren’t you listening yesterday? 3. What did you do yesterday? 4. I repeated instructions today. Were you listening? I think I got a tad frustrated with that class.

Our team has had to be hard on these kids. It makes us feel bad sometimes, but there are certain behaviors I won’t deal with and now is the time to crush them. They’re really elementary kids at heart…and this is 7th grade. So while I’m standing up front giving instructions, some tiny beast will be wandering up to me and standing right in front of me and wanting to ask a question. Um. What are you doing? Go sit down. I swear, I wonder sometimes what goes on in other classes. I suspect they are just like us and kids are just like dogs…they want to be in your space. They want your attention. They hate to wait. They do believe they are the most important person in the world and no one else exists. This behavior training is exhausting as well. Sit down. Raise your hand. Ask the people at your table. Look at the board/screen for instructions. What part of it do you not understand. Don’t say “I don’t get it.” I will just walk away. “Don’t get WHAT?!” Meditation. Yup. During passing periods. Already meeting about kids who are unable to read or write in 7th grade. Meanwhile, count your extra books, put your books in piles by period for the state government check on whether we have textbooks (which we can’t check out to kids because the state hasn’t checked up on us yet), then we give you two new kids and you have to find them books, and how many headphones do you have? Tell me by Friday. Tell me the number of extra books by Thursday AM, but 10 minutes later you need two of them.

Sorry. Ranting. I have no one to talk to most of the time. That’s kinda sinking in as well. When I’m buried in work/art, it’s easier not to think about it, but last night, it was not easy to not think about it. My brain says, “Hey walk down the hall and check on a kid, just say hi.” “There is no kid.” “What? No kid? When will they be back?” “Almost 4 months. Shut up.” So that’s going well. I’m sure it will get easier. But not before it gets harder.

After a day like that, even though I had an enjoyable coupla hours with Julie, I was not ready and willing to sew, but I knew I had to. I wanted the legs done last night…and that didn’t happen. I got the second leg done down to the first…

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I really am so close to done on this part of the sewing…

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That’s it. That’s all there is. Here’s the purples already laid out for that last leggy bit (that was at 11:45 PM)…

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For tonight’s sewing excursion.

Then I’ve gone through what happens next about 100 times in my head and I’m not sure exactly what will happen, but I’m not pinbasting anything. I do still want to add some stuff on top, and I don’t think it would take much time, but I’ve basically told myself it has to happen tonight. AND I have to trim it to size tonight, which won’t be easy either. All that after an exhausting week. Then tomorrow…spray baste to batting, cut a backing, sew it on, flip the fucker, iron it, maybe stitch it a bit. Have to remember to insert tabs so I can hang it up. Install is Monday. House is still a mess. Brain is a mess. Woo hoo! Incredibly behind on grading. Haven’t put any grades in the computer at all. Could be a shocker for the kids…

Anyway. Wish me luck. I’m really wanting to be done with this one and back on the other one. Although I really really have to finish the commissioned boob first. It won’t take long. I’m hoping to get it done by the end of the weekend. I’m hoping to get some sleep too though, so we’ll see how all that goes.


Wading in Wonder Under

July 16, 2015

I have 12 hours and 12 minutes into the tracing. I’m at piece 1138, which is the hair of the larger figure. All I have left to do of her is the hair and all the crazy stuff hiding in her hair. Then I can move on to the smaller figure.

Turns out there’s actually 1852 pieces (not 1825…not dyslexic) and I missed some, as always, so there are actually MORE than that. Whatever.

I washed the batting yesterday, left it in the bathtub. The kids said something this morning about not being able to take showers. Turns out I totally forgot it was in there. They thought about telling me, decided I must be doing it on purpose (Ha! My momhood is complete! Even my crazy makes sense to them!). When I explained to them this morning that this was Menopause Brain, similar to Pregnancy Brain but possibly permanent, girlchild yelled down the hallway, “Don’t blame your stupidity on your hormones!”

And there we are. The wonder that is my household.

Seriously, I traced for about 5 1/2 hours yesterday in the long run, AND made a new dinner recipe, AND left the batting in the bathtub overnight. Which reminds me…need to go drain that fucker.

Kitten harassed me all 5+ hours by sitting ON the drawing and ON the Wonder Under…

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Calli was almost underfoot, but not quite…(see how big the drawing is…)

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And then Kitten stared at me balefully from the couch, where she slept because Mommy wouldn’t let her on the light table.

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Meanest mommy ever. But I got a lot done…

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Sometimes I want to just quit, but it’s easier to stop at the end of some section, and I crazily started the bird with 100 pieces in it at about midnight…so you know how that went.

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Up too late, yet again. Thing is, I had to be up early this morning, because I’m not allowed to eat or drink anything after 9 AM. I can’t understand the logic of telling a diabetic NOT to eat, and then having her drive all over San Diego County for an MRI and a totally different place for the doctor. Hopefully I’ll have time to eat in between. I will totally be drinking an entire bottle of water, because I’m already dehydrated, and I drank two full bottles of water last night and this morning. Let’s hope they don’t need to take any blood, because they won’t get into my veins.

It’s OK…the uterus is just full of things that are benign but annoying and causing problems. I gave it permission to STOP being annoying, you know, like you give dying people permission to just Let Go? But my uterus is more stubborn than that. It’s convinced releasing eggs is what it should be doing right now, whether I like it or not. Hence stupid doctors’ appointments and procedures and tests and annoyances.

Anyway. So there will be lots of driving and dehydration and doctor’s waiting rooms today. Not fun. I’m going to trace some more before I go, though, and then pray for caffeine. I am more than halfway through the tracing…which is interesting, because we are officially halfway through summer break too, I think…although I personally start thinking of school officially on August 1, and this summer has been filled with school batting at my brain consistently, via email and text and signing up for classes, because everything is changing again. This will be the fourth website I’ve had to do for school, wait, no, I did a Google Sites one too, so that’s five. I’m not sure what was wrong with the last one, but now we get to learn a new one. Whatever. I’m sure it will be the most awesomest EVER, but if Google Classroom let us do a few more things, then I wouldn’t NEED another one. Wait. Google Classroom is number 5, so this is 6. Bloody hell. If I didn’t have to keep redoing things every time someone changed their minds about what was the coolest (and the cheapest), I might get more of my summer.

Rant over. Tracing will begin.


Considering Women in Society

January 2, 2015

The last few quilts I’ve made…OK, let’s be fucking truthful here…the last 50 quilts I’ve made have been about women in society. OK, maybe two or three of them weren’t, but mostly? Yeah. That’s where I land. I write what I know. I draw what I know. I create what I know. And what I know is that I’m a strong woman and that strong women get by in society, but it isn’t always pretty, especially if you’re the reflective type, the kind who is always analyzing this or that or how or why or wondering what the fuck THAT was all about. Talk about my clothes, mention my boobs, please look at my face, write me off because I’m old and female, oh wait…then there’s the whole medication thing and health thing and assuming you must this or that because you’re a GURL.

Sigh. It rubs me the wrong way; always has. You should go read this article…it’s about nerdy males and entitlement. Now don’t get me wrong…I love me a nerdy guy, even gave birth to one, so you know I don’t have an issue with the nerd, the geek, or even the dork. They are my people. Except, honestly, it doesn’t matter whether you are a buff, white, football player in Texas (can you say stereotype?) or a pale pasty white nerd with glasses in Silicon Valley, you have to admit that you have more privilege than a woman does. And if you can’t? Then you are a problem. I don’t care how fucking smart you are, how many feminist blogs you read, how you’re able to quote Gloria Steinem verbatim (whatever THAT might look like)…you don’t get it. You are part of the problem. If at any time in your life as an adult (I’ll give nerdy teens a break…give them time to read up some more) you have told a woman that her uterus is not under attack by the government, the Republicans, or her health insurance company, while your Viagra prescription is refilled with no hassle, you are part of the problem. If you don’t understand why we walk the streets at night with our keys between our fingers, swinging our eyes side to side, you are part of the problem. If you don’t get that so many comics and video games are just fucking over my daughter and her friends with their giant-ass boobies and killing the hos, you are part of the problem. Don’t whine at me about being friend-zoned, don’t fucking tell me it’s not about the boobs, don’t tell me I’m imagining the shit I’ve heard, seen, felt, and smelled since I was born. You Are Part of the Problem. Listen to me. If I’m saying it, it happens. You’re telling me over and over that I’m imagining it? You are the problem. You are the rapist, you are the harasser, you are a continuation of the problem. Get the fuck out of my world. And my daughter’s world. You don’t belong here. I’m sure there’s an island somewhere that you can live. Just get the fuck away from me.

Yeah. That’s angry. I hate the entitled telling me it’s not a problem when it is.

So when my art group brought up this exhibit idea of Women at War, I didn’t think of women toting guns into war zones, or of women living in war zones trying to protect their children (although that did pop into my head next, because of the population I teach). I went straight to the war I’ve lived my entire life. The one that begrudges me birth control, but won’t support babies that come out once I follow their rules. The one that makes it OK for a boss to talk about my body and my reproductive status (sure, that’s supposed to be illegal, but let’s be real…most women have experienced some level of sexual harassment at work no matter what). The one that makes it OK to attack me if I dress in a certain way, but also gives me shit for NOT dressing that way.

That’s where I drew from…the idea had been in my head for over a year, since I think that’s how long it had been since the show theme first was floated in our group. It had one venue, but that didn’t fly, and then we found another venue and the dates were solidified, and the image burst into my head. It had to be quick…I only had 6 weeks…and that’s how long it took, one day short of six weeks. I started November 18 with the drawing and finished Monday December 29th. As I wrote before, it’s named after the song War by Edwin Starr: “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!”.

This is Absolutely Nothing, 35.5″ wide x 50″ high…

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I haven’t priced it yet. I don’t even know if it got into the show yet. It doesn’t really matter if it did, because it needed to be made. It was yelling at me…

Nida_6 copy

Yes. That’s a pile of naked men. And she’s standing on them. There’s ink on it too.

Nida_7 copy

And it was good. She said.

And maybe the next quilt won’t be so angry. I don’t actually have a problem with some anger showing up in my quilts or extreme sadness or even happiness or annoyance or joy or whatever. This is not just anger though…it’s honest frustration that it’s not any better than it was when I was a kid, except that we talk about it more and then a bunch of entitled white boys whine about how they had it hard in middle school and why do girls want to read comics anyway, and they’re really not good at science. DUDE. We all had it hard at one point or another in middle or high school, or in college, or at some point in time. Write that shit off. Now take a deep breath and walk out into the real world and let me know about the women you know, the ones you really know: your mom, sister, daughter, wife, aunt, cousin, best friend, whomever. Listen to them and let me know if you really get it, if you can have empathy for their existence even if you’ve never given birth, never had a menstrual cycle that kicked your ass, never felt so nauseous during a work event that you wanted to crawl into bed, never had a man touch you when you didn’t ask for it and didn’t want it, never had a man or group of men comment on how you look, how you dress, or what they might do to you. Never felt someone looking at you and felt afraid. Because that’s what it’s like, and it’s not like that every day, and if you’re lucky, it’s rarely like that. But if you’re female, it will be like that. Because you were born with two X chromosomes and that’s it. That’s the shit I want to kick out of the ring.

Anyway. Deep breaths. Time for a meditative moment. Read a book, drink some tea, look at the men around me who aren’t like that (and some of them are, whether they want to be or not). Rejoice in the few.

I had about a three-day period of braindead, holy-fucktitude, can’t possibly make another big quilt EVER AGAIN…and then tonight…this afternoon…I want to make another. Please may I make another? OK. Seriously. I’m fucking nuts. I have so much grading to do. I have so much other stuff to do. I’m down to a little over a week of break left and then THREE LONG MONTHS until the next one (OK, there are three 3-day weekends in there). But…I have two birds to do ASAP, and I’m going to do my damnedest to get them mostly done in the next few days, and then I have the cancer donation quilt, and then I need to look at the upcoming deadlines for April and June and I think next fall and see what needs to happen, but I think I can make another big quilt before Spring Break. Can’t I? Sure I can. Because I am woman. Hear me roar.


Official Title #3764

November 16, 2014

Can’t title things today. Brain offline. So my view last night of the world was this…

Nov 16 14 001 small

Yes, Glee…don’t judge. It’s light, it’s easy, and they sing. And their entire life experience is so far removed from mine that it doesn’t bother me. Everything else that was on Tivo felt really heavy and dark or light and fluffy and I decided I couldn’t handle it. And much as I’d been loving Star Trek lately, that means watching on the computer and fighting the tiny mean black cat for the chair, and my body was having an issue with being female yesterday (actually, it continues today…another symptom of the thyroid giving up the ghost), so I was in some pretty extreme pain and trying to sew. On the couch was better than in a chair that is only vaguely comfortable on a good day. It was fun. Really. And by fun, I mean, I got through it. Working on that needle-poke callus on my right middle finger now.

I spent all day yesterday (many hours) at an educational tech conference. It was long, but there was one very good workshop I went to and I think I saw the light! Or I have a bunch of new ideas about how to do something online that I have previously done on paper. But I only have three weeks to implement it, and that might not be enough. And I’m not really sure what I’m doing. See, that’s what you want in a teacher…someone who is willing to change it up by the seat of her pants. I want the kids to learn not only the content, but to stretch beyond it and be able to use it elsewhere (some of us have been teaching common core the entire time we’ve been teaching), AND I want them to be tech-proficient (beyond Facebook and video games) AND I’m willing to put my butt out there and hope it all works. So much of the admin and the petty bullshit we deal with as teachers is what chases creative teachers off. I’ve seen too many of them leave because of the shitty pay and the job uncertainty and the harassment by parents and admin (and kids sometimes, honestly). Those of us that tough it out, we are some level of crazy, yes. Luckily, I got the email address of the presenter, so if I have major issues, I know where he works (not far from here).

So that sucked up a huge part of my weekend, and today I’m at the Salk Institute (I always pronounce it SOCK…and then point to mine) to get trained on their DNA kits so I can check them out and do cool experiments with my kids. So it’s a weekend of school stuff that I didn’t get paid for, which again, underlines the crazy. This is what teachers do. If you are one of those people coming after my pay or my pension or my “vacation time” (I don’t get paid for the summer, people), then realize this is what we do. We lose an entire weekend to stuff that benefits OUR STUDENTS. And we do it for free. Because it benefits our students. I am doing what’s best for the kids. It would be nice if the politicians would do the same.

And this morning, I’m trying to persuade my body that it can go to the gym, despite its current tendency toward hemorrhaging (wow, a word I really can’t spell without help). Because I know I will feel better, but ouch. Ouch. And OUCH. Plus how do I staunch the flow long enough to actually be there? These are the fun questions perimenopause brings to you: How much black clothing do I own? How many menstrual devices can I use at once to avoid a wardrobe issue? How can I get better pain meds so I can actually stand up? Seriously, when the alarm went off this morning, I was curled up in a tiny pained ball yelling (probably a good thing the kids aren’t here) until that wave stopped. I think childbirth was easier…at least it seemed like there was a purpose to it.

If that’s all TMI, then you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog anyway.

So yeah, I’m almost done with this quilt, which feels a little weird. I really like the quilt though, so that’s good. And I’m ready, I think, to draw the next one this week, so I can spend all of Thanksgiving week cleaning house (whoo!) and starting that one plus a few smaller ones I promised to make (three. I promised three. Please slap me around a bit, because I am crazy).

I did write a little of the novel at the conference yesterday, and then I came home after dinner with friends (a slightly contentious dinner, interestingly), and I wrote some more. Today (in the story) is when the big bad shit starts to hit the fan. More people are going to die…not because it’s fun to kill people off (although it will be fun to kill ONE person off…yes, I have revenge fantasies at times), but because the deaths are going to highlight how dangerous it is for our heroine and why the Government Must Be Stopped. I’m really not a raging anti-government person, makes me sound like a cultist, but in this story, they aren’t nice or good. They’re bad people. They started out OK, but you know, lost humanity, lost perspective, blah blah blah.

I honestly don’t know if the story will be finished by the end of the month. I’m fairly certain I’ll hit 50,000 words, though. My stats from the NaNoWriMo website…

Nanowrimostats

I was over 28,000 words yesterday. I’ve had a couple of lighter days, but then kicked ass on days afterwards, so the story never stops flowing from my brain. It’s more that I get too tired to write. As I’m writing, I wander off into random shit and then find myself sitting there with my eyes closed and my fingers on the keyboard. Friday night was a little like that. I should have written before I did the binding, and I kept MEANING to do that and then not doing it, and so when I wrote, it was midnight. And I woke up with a start at some point (and honestly, at that point, I gave up, short for that night, but I had a cushion from earlier in the week), and when I read it the next morning, it was a whole different kind of writing. It wasn’t Bad, but it was Different. I left it. At this point, I’m just trying to get the story out. I’ll go back and revise later. I know it needs a ton of work, if just for basic editing and continuity. Did I tell you that Book 2 (not a sequel to this one) is poking at my brain too?

Anyway. I’m a few steps closer to getting my butt out the door to the gym. Need to eat and finish the tea and then gird my loins in black and cotton absorbent things. I know exercise will help, so I am going to do it, even though I’m tired and have lots of stuff to do before I go to the science thing. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for your body or brain, even if it’s not easy. Motto of my life, I guess. I personally don’t think there’s a guarantee for easy, and I’m not even sure easy is the best thing. If we never stretch or challenge ourselves by dealing with the hard, then I think we are never as strong or amazing a human being as we could have been. That said, I could do with some easy for a while. Bring it.


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