Maniacal Pencils

First of all, does anyone actually win the book giveaways on Goodreads? I feel like I’ve filled 100 of those things out and I never win. So the competition is stiff for the weird-ass shit I like to read? Seems unlikely. The book I’m reading now, that I just started reading, expires in 1 day and 15 hours. Now I know it doesn’t actually expire until midnight on that day, despite its dire warnings, so I have until midnight on Friday to read it, or to get halfway through and then renew it (except for every copy the library has, there are 4 people waiting for it, so I won’t be able to get it again for a long time). My internet friends have clued me in to turning airplane mode on that device so I can continue to finish the book. I need to remember to do that. Because I don’t think I can finish the book, teach for two days, go to two social events, grade a million things, and sleep at least 5 hours a night, AND get the book done. And so far, it’s an interesting book, so I want to read it. Although I think it’s my book club book from May. Whoops! I know I’ve already read June’s book (it was eh). I read July’s book last year. I’m looking forward to reading all summer, right? It’s about the only thing I’m allowed to take to jury duty if I get called in.

The WordPress app is being cranky this morning. It’s continually refusing to save. It’s not me…everything else here is working. Sigh. On the iPad now. Tiny little buttons…fingerpeck typing. It’s letting me force save it, but won’t do it automatically. Technology is so cool and so annoying.

Six days of school left. I’m sick, but not horribly. I’m tired because I stay up too late. I’m not done with anything. I almost finished grading websites last night…have two to deal with this morning. Imma gonna buy me some maniacal pencils.

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We’re going to make some changes to the project for next year…for a better outcome from the kids and less torture on us, hopefully. But I’m down to only two assignments for grading that aren’t just recording whether they did it or not…so that feels very doable. I started cleaning my room yesterday too. Because we will have teachers in our rooms the first day back (hate that…they aren’t always respectful of our space), I have to hide a bunch of stuff. That part sucks.

So I graded until 10 PM, texting back and forth with three other teachers during that time (weird times, people…weird times). And then I ironed all the flesh pieces down. This is fabric number 3 in the run from light to dark.

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This is fabric number 1…this is ALL I have of it. So there’s not much left, eh? It’s a hand-dye from somewhere…when I see flesh tones, I buy them.

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Here’s everything I’ve used so far…the flesh run on this one is very not pink. Sorta beige.

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Here’s everything I’ve ironed so far…

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It’s not a huge pile. There’s a lot of little flesh bits in there on the bottom though. They were on the top until I upended the box into a bigger one. So I could start cutting them out at tonight’s meeting, but with the deadline extended, I’m not feeling that scary rush to get it done, so I think I’ll take some of my embroidery stuff. I haven’t done that for a while, except for those Palestrina knot stems…I did more of those last night…almost finished one of the short sides. So 7 more nights should do it on those. They’re pretty relaxing. I’m not measuring them or marking them. I’m all into it being a bit wonky. Wonky is good.

So if you compare this table to Tuesday night’s table, it looks very similar…because basically I took over an hour to iron all those other flesh pieces down and then I ironed like three other things off this pile of stuff and quit.

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It was well after midnight. Too well, probably. More tonight…won’t be done tonight…probably won’t be done until Saturday or Sunday. It depends on grading. I have too much to do before Monday.

We’re still at three dogs. I try to get them to stay in one place for photographic purposes and they pretty much see the camera and rush me. I might have food, you know. I might pet them. I might walk them (I thought about it for one crazy minute last night…I got home right at 6 PM and still had to make dinner though).

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Poor things…end of the school year is hard on them too.

Thanks to whichever hardy reader told the boychild to confirm life. Here is Lake Erie. He’s alive.

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I thought it was the Atlantic Ocean, but apparently not. I guess that puts him a few hundred miles closer. Hope he’s enjoying it. I’m kinda jealous actually. I wanna get in my car and just drive for like a week, hanging out, seeing stuff. Then I remember how exhausting that can be. I want one of those pop-up camper tents so I don’t have to set up a tent and all that…plus food delivery. Not junk food…good homemade stuff. So that’s not happening.

Hello right eye twitch. Sigh. Stress off please. (Soon. Very soon. Not soon enough.)

Today I Read

The first week back to school after a break is always hard. This one seems to be chock full of meetings and other afterschool stuff, which just makes it harder. I’ve needed to go to the chiropractor for days, but had to reschedule to pick up my car, and now it’s gotten worse. Today is the day! Hooray! Tonight is also an art opening. Yesterday was book club…there was a lot of discussion about the characters and the world the book was written in…The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison.


I used to do book reviews on here all the time. I don’t know why I got out of the habit. I still read all the time. Anyway, this book was good, good enough for me to read the whole thing in about 3 days flat over break (while driving around New Mexico and Arizona), mostly because I panicked and realized book club was this week. There’s a lot of interesting geological science in the book, obviously from a fantasy/sci fi viewpoint, plus some version of a post-apocalyptic/dystopian future. All the good things! And the 2nd book is already available…I think the 3rd book is out as well.

I also started (and finished) Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire, which is a pretty trite title for a kind of dark little book. It’s short and not sweet, but definitely an interesting read.


I know I’ve read something from McGuire before, but I don’t even remember why this was on my list (probably someone at book club mentioned it and I requested it from the library). Honestly, at the beginning of break, every book I’d requested from the library showed up at once, so I had to re-request two of them, and this was one of them. It’s about, well, wayward children, but those who go into different worlds and then fall out of them for a variety of reasons and can’t figure out how to get back. It’s a fast read.

I now have two books (only!) on the library app. And about 2 weeks to read both.

Last night, when I got back from book club, I was too tired to engage the drawing brain, so I finished the McGuire book and started a new one, a Louise Erdrich book (been reading her for years). It’s not like I have tons of time to read…I have to usually choose between reading or art, which might be why I’m reading less than I used to. I miss it. I miss sitting around on the couch for a couple of hours, immersed in a novel. So often these days when I try to do that, I fall asleep. Or I feel guilty because I know I should be grading. I didn’t grade yesterday because I had a union meeting and I was making a slide presentation for today so I wouldn’t have to write the same stuff 5 times. Grading is kicking my butt right now. I can’t find the time.

Did I tell you my sleep apnea study was fine? I sleep normal…for me. Which is badly. Unless I’m on the couch trying to read a book. Then I sleep fine. Although I woke up to the sneezy cat on my chest.

Anyway, after tonight’s opening, I’m hoping I have the energy to come home and work on the drawing. I miss making art when I don’t do it. It makes the next work day harder. I feel emptier. So I guess reading fills the space with a story right then and there, but art makes me feel like I accomplished something, that I’m making something, and that’s somehow more important to me. Good to know.

Crazy It Is…

No real pictures today. And this will be a speedy post. Already managing school stuff without a full cup of tea in my brain (trouble). But spent a goodly amount of time last night with friends discussing vivisection and 120-year-old science and beliefs and the terrors of online dating for old ladies like me…


My book club read The Island of Dr. Moreau this month in honor of Halloween. I had never read H.G. Wells before. It’s difficult to admit that I, as an artist, had a hard time visualizing the characters in a book, but this one did it to me, and this cover Does Not Help at all. I love my geek book club…such wacky discussions from so many directions, from gene splicing to zombies to chemical dependencies and corporate structure. I go for the smart discussions, because I don’t get that very many other places. Thank god the book was short, but it’s interesting that (1) such a short book brought up so many things to talk about and (2) I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t sure how she felt about it. I did rate it well on Goodreads, but only because it made me think (and look up about 400 words on I have been reading a lot lately, but not posting about them here. Not sure why. Time.

Yes, I cut out pieces of fabric last night…for about an hour…interrupted by the girlchild’s food poisoning. Fun week. Really. I could use a break. But more pictures of cut-out pieces just depressed me last night…mostly because progress is really slow (of course, it helps if you get home before 10 PM). And right now, I’m trying to type this with a cranky old bitch of a cat pawing at me, purring, desperately wanting (a) my tea and (b) my full attention. So she sits on the mouse. Sigh. Hey! I’m also considering a modern-dance class for beginners (it doesn’t outright say Total Klutzes Like You, but it should). I know, crazy. But crazy seems to be my middle name these days…whether it’s trying to do way too much at one time, get all this art done, go on hikes, or just make it through the day…crazy it is.

Not Good with the Waiting…

So one of the triggers for my bad moods, the sad stuff, is not getting anything artistic done. I know this. I tell myself this all the time, but I get to this place where I can’t DO anything…except pick up a book, even though I know I need to. I’m physically tired, mentally exhausted, and the only thing I can handle as I’m standing in the chaotic space that is currently my house is a book. So I’ve read a LOT of them in the last two days. I really just need to shake off the mood and DO, and I think it will be better. There’s a lot of waiting around when you’re doing renovations though…waiting for contractors to show, waiting for things to dry. I hate waiting. I suck at it. Really. I do. I fidget and I can’t get anything started because I don’t know how much time I have, and I hate that.

I don’t wait well. Best if you don’t make me wait if at all possible, or if you do make me wait, give me a fairly accurate time of unwaiting or I will get irritated. I try to deal with my dislike of waiting by playing stupid games on my phone or reading blogs (they don’t take long to read), but at some point, I’m fairly sure I have better things to do than wait. Really, it’s rude to make me wait beyond a certain amount. But there are plenty of reasons why you have to wait…I’m better when I know there’s a reason (like the carpet has to come from some other state or the contractor already has jobs lined up). I get those. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t bug me. I don’t like waiting when it’s just because you forgot or you lost track of time…and yes, I know there are people like that. I gave birth to one. You tell her we’re leaving in 5 minutes, and when that 5 minutes is up, THEN she gets up and gets ready. Which is why I tell her “5 minutes” when it’s really 10. Yeah. Someday she’ll figure out that I’m doing that.

Anyway, this house stuff is a shitload of waiting. My life, honestly, is tons of waiting without really knowing what I’m waiting for or how to make it stop being waiting and instead being. Remember that interview question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Oh hell. Fuck if I know. With both kids graduated, me completely broke (like worse than now). That’s all I can see. The rest is unknown. I can’t predict it. I don’t even want to hope for anything, because then where are you at when you get there and that’s not where you are? I thought I knew where I’d be this year at this time, and I was completely wrong, and that still feels like shit and probably will for a while. So what’s the point of that question? I know, they want to know what my ambitions are: “I see myself more sane than I am now, and hopefully the house is cleaner because the kids will not be living here.” Beyond that? Don’t know. Can’t see that far. Don’t want to see that far in case it’s just more of this.

So yesterday I waited for the mirror guys…see that wall o’ mirrors, the wall o’ 70s flashbacks?

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They showed up with their fancy tools and their hang-loose hand gestures (seriously, he did the hang loose and then said “ciao”…) and in 20 minutes, they had all 4 panels down and out of the house.

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OH MY GOD. Why didn’t I do this 17 years ago when we moved in? I thought it would be a lot more expensive than it was. The kids say the room looks smaller, but I don’t see it. I just see a Lack of Mirrors and I have to tell you, that is the closest I’ve gotten to happy happy joy joy in a year.

It didn’t last long, though, because then I’m looking at this.

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Giant Sighs of Drywall Damage Hell. The plus is that my college art degree qualifies me to fix this. OK, really, it’s not that hard, right? There is texture all over this wall, so I’m going to have to patch the texture.

The carpet guy showed up in here too (didn’t have to wait for him…he just showed up without calling, which honestly is better). Unfortunately, we’re not getting carpet NEXT week, so I will have to live with chaos through the middle of July. AARGH. Sigh. I knew that might happen and I have a plan to move stuff a bit more slowly and stash it in my bedroom and the boychild’s bedroom (because the girlchild’s room looks like a hurricane hit it, which technically it did, and there is zero available floor space. It’s just damn scary in there)…and then the day before, we will deal with the major furniture issues. But I need to get those two walls done first…

I spent yesterday scraping mastic off, with dad helping, and then when I went off to an appointment, he started patching…the hole on the right had a speaker wire in it. I don’t know why. We don’t have speakers. It didn’t appear to be attached to anything.


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I had book club last night, which turned into an interesting discussion of women in science and how it’s STILL an issue to be a woman and to do science, and so many people, men and women, believe that it’s so much better, when really, it’s not. After the last few book clubs I’ve gone to, I find it impossible NOT to evaluate a book’s ability to be fair to female characters, and the comics industry is even worse when it comes to this because of the art involved…you aren’t just imagining what a character looks like and what they’re thinking, you have a freakin’ picture of them. So now I read both comics and literature with this eye towards how we represent women, how we treat them when they are dealing with things that are purely female (periods, pregnancy, sex–which is different for women, menopause, aging). What questions do we ask in interviews of women that we don’t ask of men? Can you tell the gender of an author merely by reading their text? Dan Simmons? Obviously male. Robin Hobbs? I thought she did a relatively good job with males and females. And dogs, for that matter, although she needs to stop KILLING them. OK, it was for the story. I get it. I thought it was interesting to read LOCAS II, because Jaime Hernandez is a male Hispanic artist, but almost all the characters are female, and he does a relatively good job of portraying a wide range of truly female emotions and actions. His men? His men are a little freaky. Ray’s probably the best…

ANYWAY, I came home tired and ate and exercised and read a whole ‘nother book, because it’s all I could handle, and then went to bed and was awakened by the phone ringing, which I ignored, but probably shouldn’t have, because it was followed by dad knocking on the door to finish spackling.

Well, and there was THIS noise…I don’t know what the damn cat was doing, but I came in to this.


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And there’s dad, sanding up a storm. He finished all the spackle, but I’ll be spending Independence Day texturing stuff. And hopefully ironing, because REMEMBER?


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This is my road to a decent mood. Not the wall. The art. I gotta do some waiting before that though. Sigh.

Send the Poison Rain Down the Drain*

Another late night. My brain refusing to shut down. It seems to need to process at the moment. Lots of that. I don’t know exactly what it’s processing. I just know it makes me feel sad a lot. Wish it would stop. Like, brain, just get OVER it. Move on. Accept the shitty stuff and find a new way to be in the world. No no no…don’t go back in the hole. I didn’t mean it. We DO like you. We DO want to be your friend…even though you’re a total downer. Look, we can fake it. We do it all the time.

Yeah. I’m faking it. Every day. Don’t get me wrong. I do like you…I just don’t know how to feel normally or even to behave normally most of the time. I just pretend.

Yes, we painted today…

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Exciting picture, eh? Yeah. Well, the smaller room is mostly done…two shelves and windows need a second coat. Then we can put all the furniture back and start on the next section of this big area we call the living room. It’s less overwhelming in chunks…just like I teach, eh? But still overwhelming.

I made it to book club, a discussion of Dan Simmons’ The Fall of Hyperion, which I liked (the book AND book club, held outside in a park on a gorgeous day, what could be better?). Book club seems to help me by injecting some intellectual discussion into my life…I get some of that with the kids, but I’m not around enough people during the day, especially during the summer…I like to think about what I read and figure out what it really means. Or doesn’t. Or if it’s any good. And why? During the school year, I often read the book club selections and don’t go to the meetings, because I don’t have time to go to all of them…all of them meet on days when I have the kids, which is problematic…at least for now. But summer gives me plenty of time with the kids, plus I’m not trying to balance lesson plans and grocery shopping on Sundays with 2 hours spent talking about books, so that helps.

I decided to work on the birds tonight instead of the big quilt. The boychild was using my computer because his is under the dropcloth in the room we painted…so I needed to be in another room anyway. This room, to be specific…with the dogs…

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Who needs people friends on your couches when you have dogs? It is true that there may be no ROOM for people with these dogs in the house. So instead of sharing room with the two goofballs, I worked on the light table behind Jake…tracing birds. First I numbered all of them. More importantly, first I entered all of them into my task-measuring app, because if I’m going to sell these, I need to know how much time I spent on each one, so I can come up with a reasonable price. Artists undersell themselves often, make their work worth nothing when you look at the time put into it. I find it easier to have the time totals up front, so I’m not just randomly making up a price based on my mood that day. It’s just easier.

I keep track of each task separately. It helps me to know how long each stage of the artmaking takes. What’s funny with these little pieces, though, is that some tasks take so little time that it seems like a waste of time to track it…like 30 seconds to number the pieces…in contrast to the 2.5 hours it took me to number the big quilt I’m working on now…the one I maybe should have worked on tonight? Yeah. Whatever. My motivation for getting the painted room put back together tomorrow is to get the boychild out of my office, so I can keep ironing.

Calli agrees.

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Jake? Not so much.

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I don’t know why they’re so sleepy. All they did all day was try to come in the room where all the white paint was.

So I started by numbering all 10 drawings, and then I began the tracing onto Wonder Under…

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None of these has a lot of pieces or is particularly big. It’s kind of relaxing to trace Wonder Under…but when it’s this quick to finish, it makes it even nicer. Look! I accomplished something (really small)…

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That’s 7 of the 10 traced. I decided it was getting late and it would take a significantly longer period of time to finish the last three (they are the biggest ones), so I quit. For now. I’m aiming for July 10…to have at least some of them ironed down. All of them would be nice, but I need to be realistic. I’m juggling a lot of balls at the moment and trying not to drop any of them…all while my brain is doing its stupid depressoid shit, which would make anyone normal drop everything.

Just keep making. Eventually it will make you feel better. Honest.

I also stitched feet again…

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The birds fill time. That’s 8 feet I finished…or 8.5. Not sure. Oh. It’s 8. What’s lame is that I was supposed to be outlining the eyeballs with the same thread as the feet, but I didn’t realize that, so now I have to go back through all the birds and do the eyeballs. There’s one bird whose feet are not that charcoal gray color. I have not figured that out.

Today’s painting session included the only ceiling that needs painting, I’m glad to say. Textured ceilings? Yikes. Super hell. Textured walls are bad enough. Tomorrow we will clear out the next room/space. Prep Tuesday, painting again on Wednesday, I think. I need the mirror guy to call back so I can deal with space number 3…because I think that will be the most challenging space to get done.

This song popped up on Pandora while we were painting today…it gave me the post title…

Which has got to be better than yesterday’s. Sad song, though…

*Elliott Smith, Miss Misery

Seesaw World…

Still freezing tonight. Must be fighting something off. I actually managed a social evening, although I was meant to socialize with 11 other people (and did for about an hour), but then ended up talking the rest of the time to the one other person I talked to LAST time I was at book club. The plus is…I like the books…and these are my people. Sort of. Counselor dings me for always remembering that I don’t fit in. Yeah well. I’m old. I don’t know where all the old people hang out, but it’s not where I am…actually, I am middle-aged. The old people are retired and they all show up, and the young people all show up, and all the people my age are on vacation? Who knows. The discussion wandered through books, cleaning, Myers Briggs, food, childhood, and god knows where else. For two and a half hours, I was mostly at peace. Good thing.

I was a giant stress monkey before that, though, because the financial aid stuff is due sooner than I thought, despite W-2s JUST showing up on Saturday. So I finished my taxes tonight. In January. Earliest ever. Tomorrow I will try to track down the vast quantities of data the other schools need in order to give the boychild an education. Meanwhile, he has another interview…someone should do his laundry so he has something to wear to that.

It was eyeball dissection day today…

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It was pretty easy. Sometimes I think I could do some of this stuff in my sleep. I think I’ve walked almost 2000 kids through eyeball dissection at this point. I need to do the dishes tomorrow. Exciting stuff.

Boychild had Academic League and knew some amazing stuff…

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He’s on the left. They beat the rival team by 10 points, but it was a tense match (funny to say that for Academic League, but it WAS!). Two of his answers were Walt Whitman and women, but I don’t remember the questions. One had something to do with the State of the Union speech, which I didn’t watch and he apparently memorized. Make me feel stupid, boy.

Girlchild had soccer last night…but he wouldn’t play her. I spent a lot of time watching the sky…

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The sunset was gorgeous…

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but I watched her get angrier and angrier.

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Don’t blame her. There are girls who mess up continually who are playing. It’s frustrating for her and for us.

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I think her dad is just going to stop coming.

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I will still be there. There are nice sunsets at the away games (which always face into the sun)…

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I stitch…I did this…

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Finished the bottom one, and started Month 3…just barely got started on the background stitching.

And then today at Academic League, I did this…

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Finished the background stitching on the blue ones and one of the purple ones (Month 4). I end up getting about 5 hours a week of stitching in at kid events. I can’t grade in the crappy light of soccer games. I guess I could have graded at Academic League, but I didn’t feel like it. Sigh. That will come back to haunt me at some point.

I really need to get some focus. I started tracing Wonder Under for the mammogram quilt, or whatever it is, lumpy breast…

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I did NOT get very far. Like I said, I didn’t feel right last night. I feel off again tonight, but not like last night. Obviously I’m doing financial aid tomorrow night or Friday night, whenever I can find the time. Lots of numbers to locate and input. Stress.

Trying to think about things I can do that will be good for me, like book club, but won’t take so much time. I thought about joining another book club, but I don’t have time to go to another meeting right now. Same with life drawing. Number of hours in the day is a finite number. I don’t have any. What was interesting about last night is that I went to bed about an hour and a half earlier than I have been for weeks, but I couldn’t fall asleep, and then I woke up for a significant stretch of time in the middle of the night and right before alarm time, so I got about the same amount of sleep as I have been every night (nowhere near enough). Have I trained my body to only allow itself 5 hours a night? Or is there something else going on?

Stop thinking so hard. Go to bed. Sleep…sigh…maybe it’s just not something you get to have enough of for a while. Maybe it’s like ice cream…it does affect my mood, though. Not enough sleep and I get more sad, more depressed. No balance. Seesaw world.

The Expiration Date on the Milk Is All That Matters…

I only managed 9 1/2 minutes of ironing tonight…all I really have left is the owl…

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I couldn’t get my head around his coloring tonight (I always think of owls as being male…strange, that), so I did the thorny bushes around the Crone’s head instead…

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Red thorns…gray twigs. The box is almost full.

But I’m down to just a few pieces left to iron, maybe 25. Then it’s done and I move out of the studio into the living room to cut them all out. This quilt is progressing quickly. That’s because I have no life. Oh well. Actually, tonight, I pretended to have a life. I went to a book club meeting with total strangers. Yup. I did that. I should clarify that this group is for “geeky women” (their term) and so I wasn’t sure I belonged (I am always the alien, no matter the group). Girlchild said that because I spent over an hour worrying about whether I was a geek and googling definitions of geeks and nerds and dorks that I WAS in fact one and I should just shut up and join. Sigh. Anyway, the plus is that it’s a group of women who read A LOT and FAST, and I got about 400 book recommendations just tonight (plus TV and movies) and sat next to a woman who said something about listening to audiobooks while IRONING FABRIC and what are the odds? She does costumes, but where else do I go where that happens? (nowhere)

The book we read, Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire, was pretty good…it had its flaws, definitely light fiction, but I’ll read the next book in the series…


I still have questions and the character wasn’t horrible…she had issues, sure, but hell, so do I. There are some interesting characters and it’s not often you get urban fantasy AND mystery in one book.

Anyway. I ordered the next book for the January book club from the library system. And yeah? We met in a bar. Books and wine. You cannot go wrong. There was food too, but I didn’t have a lot of money. And good music, which was free.

This week is full of social events…tomorrow night is my favorite stitching people and I don’t want to talk about Friday night. Sigh. It can’t all be good. Sometimes it just has to be.

My right eyelid started twitching yesterday. I googled it (see geek reference above). I don’t know WHY I googled it…I already know what’s causing it: fatigue or stress. You know what’s interesting is that even though I am getting even less sleep than last year at this time, I’m often not tired. Weird. Some brain chemistry thing? You Don’t Really Need All That Sleep. I know that’s not true, but I still think it’s strange.

So yeah, eyelid is stress. I spent 2 1/2 hours at Children’s Hospital this morning with the girlchild and we are now taking the next step towards surgery, a CT scan. We think we can schedule surgery between the high-school soccer season and the beginning of the club season. Yes. That’s crazy. We’re also scheduling between the ACT and SAT. Really crazy. The doctor did answer all our questions and we trust him, though, so I’m hoping this is relatively easy.

At school, we are getting closer to the kids being 1:1 on technology…which is more than a little scary. What does it look like? What is the purpose of the technology? It can’t just be a toy we trot out to make admin happy…it has to serve a purpose within the content. So the thought of flipping how we do stuff in the classroom is sort of mind-boggling at the moment. My head is trying to wrap itself around it. So it was not at all amusing today when the server went down and we were on computers doing research all day, and I had to log in 22 kids in one period on a server they shouldn’t be on (don’t ask) and there were a lot of deep breaths and meditative thinking and seriously deep brain stuff about Is This Really What I Want to Do? This is what using technology is to me in the classroom right now: a management nightmare. I can’t even deal with content issues because the technology issues are so vast and varied and fucking frustrating. You always have to have a backup plan, because inevitably, something won’t work. And the kids may be digital natives, but they give up SO easily when stuff doesn’t work right the first time and they suck at LOOKING for stuff…like a tabbed menu on a website is apparently invisible to them. WHERE does it say CAUSES? I wonder. Key words. If I put them on Facebook, they could find it immediately, but the Mayo Clinic website? Completely incomprehensible. I’m thinking of rewriting the medical websites to LOOK like Facebook with status posts on some beautiful woman who has had a heart attack or has atherosclerosis, just so they will READ them, and then turn a bunch of it into Vines so they’ll watch all SIX seconds, and then only then maybe will we be getting somewhere. Training them to be observant. It can be extremely frustrating. I’ve gotten very good at it, and I kept my cool today (even after spending most of the morning at the hospital, where they were running an hour late). I blame the meditation. I can deal. My eyelid can’t deal, but the rest of me can. I have not found eyelid-specific meditation.

I just found all these Thanksgiving food pictures.

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Girlchild cooked almost everything…

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We had another family over, friends of ours that we’ve had Thanksgiving with for a million years…

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The food was good; we played that silly word game we always play.

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Everyone is getting older.

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That was Wednesday (of course) and then Thursday, we went to their cabin for a spaghetti dinner (of course)…

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Where there was more food (girlchild did desserts this time)…those are not just rice krispies treats…they are brown butter rice krispies treats. They make you want to curl up and die, they are so good. They are gourmet rice krispies treats. She has to really like you to make those. I rate.

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And there was more talk and lots of Snapchat (not my generation…the younger).

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That’s my mom and the girlchild. And it was relatively good. I still have issues with gatherings just because of my alien status…but these were people I had known for forever. They accept me. They are kind. So I’m working on it, not being a hermit. Coming out and not moping around. Some. It’s hard.

So I’m still distant, numb, probably not a bad place to be this week. I had a good book-related conversation with ten total strangers tonight and an even more focused book/fabric/life conversation with two of the women. I talked to both kids about future stuff and driving and cars and college and soccer and stupid people and whether or not I should let the girlchild take penne a la vodka to school (it does have alcohol in it, per se, although it is cooked off/down/something). I just thought about it and wondered…is this OK? Should I worry? Naw.

I would have liked more time for art, but such is life. Life and art…a balance. I can’t just have one. I need both. The art alone is very isolating, very lonely, very in my head. Sometimes I have to get out of that dark gloomy place and wander outside in the real world. I did cry, though. Still. That doesn’t seem to have wandered off. Strange. It’s still hard to exist in some moments. Lots of them still. I don’t know when that shifts…or perhaps it’s shifting so slowly that I can’t even see it.

To bed, eyelid twitching and all…tomorrow is another one of those days. From the book we read for book club tonight: “All I have to do is get to the point where I’m so panicked I can’t see straight, and suddenly the expiration date on the milk is all that matters. I guess that’s how my mind protects itself.” Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire.