Nothing’s Stopping You Except What’s Inside*

It’s a late post today. I’ve been up and doing shit all day, running all those errands that don’t get done during the week. Groceries are done for the week, I got dog food, shipped the Xmas gifts to Seattle that needed to go there, found some weird spice thing the boychild wanted (he comes home this week), managed a couple of Christmas gifts I should have bought a week ago, and wrestled with the environmental difficulty of loving Christmas trees. I love the smell, I love the lights, I love decorating them, I love sitting in the living room, stitching or drawing, with Christmas lights all around. So. Yeah. But cutting trees down every year is kinda stupid, and so is having them trucked down from Washington state or wherever.

So I drove to a couple of local nurseries and wandered all over the place and asked some questions and googled some shit, and finally hoisted this bad boy into my car and drove him all around San Diego to do the rest of my errands (only 6 stops)…

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It’s an Eldarica pine, sometimes known as the Afghan pine. It tolerates heat and wind and dry weather (wow, just like this week). The plan is that it will be a Christmas tree on the desk this year, then go outside until next Christmas, where it should have grown a foot, so it will have to be on the floor…or a coffee table maybe. Then back outside for YOU. Then the following Christmas, it will probably only fit in the entryway…and that might be when it gets planted out in the yard.

It already has a kitty friend (gaaack).

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I’m quite happy with it. Let’s hope I can keep it alive. Positive thoughts, people. Positive thoughts.

The lights are up outside, which also makes me happy.

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So it was in the 80’s and still windy here. Fires are still burning, but none near me. Word is my grandmother is out of harm’s way, no evacuation necessary. Hopefully the fires will start to get under control soon and people can go back home, those that have homes. Fire is terrifying and devastating. I’m never sure what to do to help…since having extra money is not my strong point. But maybe I’ll figure something out.

Meanwhile, this is the girlchild’s school back east. A definite difference from the weather here…

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But beautiful.

Satchemo decided he wanted to sleep in Simba’s crate last night. Yes, we crate him, because he’s a peeing beast otherwise. Plus running around and barking at the coyote population, which seems to be getting closer and closer. Over break, I’m hoping the boychild will help me prune out some of the backyard, to reduce the number of coyote hiding spots really.

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We did pull the cat out. Simba looks worried.

I have gotten absolutely nothing done on the quilt ironing…although I did email the photographer, so now I have a deadline. It’s incredibly close though. Scary.

I did have my stitching meeting last night, which is partly why I didn’t iron. No energy when I got home. I’m still trying to get all this stitched down. I finished all the eyeballs and two roofs, but still have the rest of the houses and the tree, plus that sun bit. And probably some other things that haven’t been pinned on yet. Who knows.

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Pretty brainless stuff, if you ask me. I’ve got about 30 minutes right now with nothing going on…I think I’m gonna iron a bit. Then I’m hoping for a chunk tomorrow, but I have to finish grades first. This is not a relaxing time for most people, myself included. Go go go. Eye twitching all the way. I’m really looking forward to Winter Break.

Art opening tonight though and a decent dinner that I don’t have to cook. That should be good.

*U2, Get Out of Your Own Way


It seems I spent 24 hours straight cooking and cleaning and doing household mom-type things. I’m exhausted. How weird. Some people like doing this shit? Whatever. They crazy.

So this is how Kathy’s brain works: Yes, these are homemade cinnamon rolls…

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No, they are artistic shapes. See how they expand to fill the space and the spiral changes to fit that shape?

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And when the dish is a different shape, they do even weirder shit? Yup. Who needs hallucinogenic drugs when you have Kathy’s brain. On the positive side, we did just freeze that last dish of cinnamon rolls, because otherwise there is entirely too much sugar in the house (they are now covered with a river of maple-flavored sugar that might kill the diabetics among us). Plus there’s a drawing (or seven) that I need to do BECAUSE of the cinnamon rolls. Totally.

So Christmas morning started late, due to teenagers who sleep in (oh hell, I slept in)…

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So did Grandma. Besides, it’s all about the children…I mean, the dogs. Calli got a tummy rub from everyone.

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She loves Christmas. She doesn’t seem to notice that Jake is gone, but she’s never been the smartest dog in the world…Babygirl is getting used to boychild again…

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Mostly, though, she sleeps a lot in the sun and on the chair in my office. She is directly behind my butt, even as I type.

I had two hours yesterday after gift-opening and cookie delivery to finish all the cooking and get to my ex’s house (turns out, I really had three hours, because girlchild was behind)…so I made green beans, cookies, and deviled eggs all at the same time while watching an amusing Wild West movie on television.

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I actually frosted MOST of the cookies this morning. I took some over last night, but the frosting is supposed to dry, and I didn’t have enough time to do that. These are the POST-Xmas cookies…for the POST-Xmas sugar hangover. Which is why I’m going hiking in about 20 minutes. Probably I should go run 10 miles (not happening).

While waiting for dinner to get done, I drew…

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I really like the dog. I might mess with this a bit more, try again maybe. I want to be in the habit of drawing.

Then I remembered I only had 10 minutes left on this bird…so I finished it.

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There’s another soccer game tonight where I can start the next color way.

Finally, I left the ex’s house at around 9, after listening to girlchild read out all the comments on his old report cards (nothing was a surprise…to anyone at the table)…I fortified myself with caffeine, because yes, I was tired. I don’t want you to think I never get tired. I do. Freakin’ exhausted sometimes…but I bully through, have a cup of tea, and persuade my brain to keep going. Usually if I can get beyond the 8 PM slump, I can go for a while. And I hadn’t quilted during the day…I flat out ran out of time. So I was determined…

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I got 2 1/2 hours in. That was good. The whole body is done and I’m up in the tree.

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My goal is to finish the outlining tonight (after the soccer game) and start the background quilting. Of course, I also have to fit in some hiking, some hanging out, some eating, some soccer, some cleaning (again? WTF.), and who knows what else. I did just bribe the kids to do one of my errands though, so that is cool. Checks one thing off my list. Because part of finding the right balance in your life means not taking it all on yourself. Saying yes when people need help, but then also saying no. Or putting your foot down and saying, “I’m taking this time. It’s mine.” I’ve been working on all that shit for so many years…I’m almost getting good at it. Sort of. Going to put my boots on now…

Hooves on My Rooftop

OK, so it’s 10 minutes after midnight on Christmas Day. In the old days, I would have just finished putting all the Santa gifts out at whatever house Christmas morning would be. I might be stumbling into bed, actually tired, instead of wide awake like I am right now. I did nap earlier, though, so that’s like cheating. But once again, Christmas Eve was a psychotic race through shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Exhausted? Yeah. A bit. I did quilt though, and that was my goal. I wanted to be pinbasted yesterday, but the world conspired against me…so I got up early this morning and did it then instead…

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This one is smaller on purpose…had to get done quicker, plus the gallery is relatively small and my work tends to be bigger than other media. I had to get up early because the plumber was coming at 9 to deal with the toilet that hasn’t worked for a good long time (turns out it was a nasty long living root) and I had to be at school at the same time. Our school staff donated over $1000 to a few needy students, and this morning, we delivered food and presents to 4 families. I was in charge of drawing/sketching supplies for a 7th-grade girl, so that was easy. I can always find a sketchbook and some stuff to color with. So the only time I was guaranteed to get it pinbasted was early. So I did. Because that’s the entryway floor and so you can’t have people coming in and out while you’re pinbasting.

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The backing I found when I was moving fabrics around…I had quite a large chunk of it, so there’s still some left…

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I seem to have a small piece of every skull fabric ever made.

After all the delivery of stuff and some errands, girlchild had finally sent me the Christmas dinner grocery list, so I headed over to get her and we went grocery shopping. Only two stores and 700 crazy people. It was good. OK. It was. I hate shopping under the best of circumstances, but at least most people are in a good mood on Christmas Eve, whether they want to be or not. We came back and I spent the next 8 hours cleaning and cooking. Girlchild went out to finish her Christmas shopping (we did some of that too), and I did one batch of cookies, then cleaned some more, then prepped something, I don’t know what else, there was a breakfast casserole in there, plus dinner, and also cookie dough to be cooked tomorrow. And cleaning. I hate cleaning. I especially hate it when it’s trying to find homes for things that need homes but you don’t really know where that home should be. I try to throw out as much as possible, but some of this stuff needed to be put away, not thrown. I wasn’t totally successful, but it’s better than it was. Really, why do we have three guitars?

It was a lot of hours. Honestly, I really wanted to be sitting on the couch, reading my book with a nice glass of wine at about 5 PM, but that didn’t happen. The glass of wine has finally shown up after midnight.

One of the things I wanted to do was a family photo. Not sure why. I’ve always done the kids and animals, but I guess I thought I should be in there too this year. Don’t know why. Girlchild and Calli are the only ones who are good at smiling…

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But there it is. Now I can do a Christmas card. Yes, I realize it will be late. Whatever. Don’t judge. Let’s call it a 2015 card.

Girlchild wanted one with her and Calli by the tree.

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They are both way more photogenic than I am.

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Sweet puppy. She was sleeping on me while I napped.

So at some point in time…FINALLY…around 9 PM, I started quilting…

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And I just did that until I started to get really tired…for almost 2 hours…

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I wanted to do more, but my brain says that sewing while tired is a bad plan. Besides, I will have part of the afternoon tomorrow. I still need to make cookies (the dough is in the freezer) and green bean casserole (not the one everyone else makes…we have a special Nida version with no onions or cream of mushroom soup) and deviled eggs. The breakfast casserole is ready to go in the oven. Our fridge is so freakin’ full it’s crazy. I almost drove the chickens over to my ex’s house, because she’s cooking there tomorrow and his fridge is mostly empty compared to mine…but here…

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She made cinnamon rolls from scratch. She crazy.

Anyway. I’m quilting. That’s good. It was a crazy busy day, but mostly it’s done now. And I wish I had gotten more done, but then again, I always wish that. I wish for the sound of hooves on the rooftop too…it’s a sign of magical doings during a magical season. Remembering when the kids were small and there was that crazy excitement…instead of the crankiness I’ve been experiencing lately. Theirs…not mine. And half the house is really clean, which is nice. The other half…I’m working on it. Have I thought about grades? Fuck no. They can wait. How long will the quilting take? I don’t know. The last one took 17 hours to quilt. Holy crap. I hope this one doesn’t. It’s smaller. It has fewer pieces. I don’t think I can finish in time if it’s 17 hours. Maybe I can. Whatever. I’m two hours in. All I can do is log more hours tomorrow, because it’s Christmas Day, and it should always include artmaking…the gift to myself.


To Settle My Soul

Christmas Day: The house smells of red velvet cake, then cauliflower soup, and now short ribs. The deviled eggs are made, spiced with fresh pepper and mustard (it’s one of the two things I was allowed to cook). I’m watching The Paradise, a British program set in the 1870s (supposedly an “intoxicating love story”…I’m not sure about either the intoxication or the love, but it’s so far from my reality with the young girls falling in insta-love that it doesn’t hurt to watch it), while trimming fabric for the Celebrating Silver quilt. I’ve cleaned up all the gifting trash and the girlchild is cooking dinner. She’s a freakin’ expert at this point, needing zero help most days, creative in her exploration of food while simultaneously destroying the kitchen. Seriously…it’s now 24 hours later and I still haven’t cleaned it all up.

The day is quiet…

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We have parents and dogs and cats, but their dad is missing (yes, he’s usually here), and the girlchild misses him. The boychild may as well, but will not admit to it (yes, he’s covering his face).

Calli is quite happy with her new toy…

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And with all attention thrown her way.

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I stitch through most of the present-opening. Stitching occupies the part of my brain that likes to wander off into WishLand or Depressoid World. So it’s better to keep it working on something.

Girlchild put on an amazingly presented meal, which of course, I do not have a photo of…or maybe I do on the phone. I don’t know. She even gifted me placemats and napkins for the dinner table, plus borrowed matching plates and bowls from her dad’s house (she preferred his color scheme to mine apparently)…

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Impressive. I don’t know where all her cooking/presentation brain power comes from…it must be related to the part of my brain that makes art…the creative bent. But I couldn’t care less about food presentation…it’s just fuel to me…although she makes very good fuel, that’s for sure. I feel exceedingly lucky to have her and her cooking expertise in my life. I am a better cook because of her, and I eat better too (tonight’s open-faced chicken sandwiches with pea pesto were to die for…seriously. I wouldn’t even have made them, because it sounded too weird, but they were damn good).

After dinner, we play a rousing game of SmartAss (you know, like you do). It goes on for a long while; we don’t set an ending time (besides, I won in about 10 minutes on the first round…apparently I was a super SmartAss on Christmas Day…probably to make up for being a Space Cadet the rest of the time). I stitched through most of the game as well. By the end of all the festivities, I’ve managed an hour and 37 minutes of cutting out pieces for the new quilt PLUS I’ve sewed almost everything on the wool birds…

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Actually, last night I thought I was done, but I realized this morning that I still have two cotton pieces to sew on…

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Whatever. It means I start embellishing at tomorrow’s soccer game. I don’t know if it’s healthy to always be distracting my brain from the bad sad stuff, but I’m getting pretty good at it. It won’t go away all day, though. It always surfaces somewhere: at the gym, in the car, during meditation, when I wake up, in my dreams. There’s no escaping it. It’s just there. I don’t know when it will go away…maybe never.

We usually do a family photo with the kids in front of the tree with whatever animals we have that year. This year, we decided to toss me in there as well, because we have three cats who don’t like each other enough to be held by the same person. Kitten is my cat; she barely tolerates Midnight, the girlchild’s cat, and Babygirl, though she likes me as well, is definitely the boychild’s ward…as much as she is beholden to anyone (she really does channel her previous dead owner’s personality). Calli belongs to the girlchild, and Jake is their dad’s dog, but he was better at sitting still and in place than Calli, so we gave him an honorary spot…

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There it is…the official 2013 family portrait. I do have copies of the real-live official family portraits my mom had done a few weeks ago…maybe I’ll post them later. It’s sad that I’m the shortest…by far. Oh well. I never claimed to be tall.

This is my Christmas fabric haul…

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Mom says I needed more dirt because I seem to be making quilts with lots of dirt in them. OK. And flesh. I’m always using flesh…although I think some of that flesh fabric might be better as hair. And that black spotty fabric…now I feel a challenge to use it as flesh. Or dirt. Or both. Or not. I did enlarge a bunch of smaller drawings at the copy place on Christmas Eve…I had to go pick up my Sightlines quilt, which has now returned home after almost 4 years of traveling, so I decided to use the copy machines as well, since I was already there and it was on my To-Do list for break. I’ll hopefully be doing some of those in January. I copied WAY TOO MANY drawings, but they’re small. I’m worried about not having anything to do. Crazy, that, really, considering the number of big drawings I have sitting around too…and my To-Do list is staggering for the rest of life too, at the moment. But if it’s 10 PM on a school night and I need some art-related activity to chase away the depression, then I should be prepared. I’m a Girl Scout through and through.

I cut more pieces out today…almost three hours’ worth…

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I’m over 14 hours in now…you can see the pile of trash is big. I was hoping to get everything done today, but the bin on the left still has a couple of hours’ worth of pieces to do. So I quit. I’ll hopefully finish tomorrow. Then I can start ironing on Saturday. I got all freaked out about getting done…with everything. I’m going in to school tomorrow to grade stuff too. I can’t let stuff slip, however much my brain is trying to force my hand, make me wallow in shit and not get work done. It needs to grow up and deal. The eye-twitch is gone. That’s good. I’ve been sleeping more…although not well. That’s good. Exercise has obviously been a priority, and that is helping. Spending time with the kids is also good…we’ve watched movies and played games and hiked and shopped (seriously, the boychild stayed shopping with me rather than go home with the girlchild…stranger things have happened!). I appreciate this time with them, because they will be gone soon…off to college and then to their own lives…and I hope they do it better than I did. I haven’t been the best role model for relationships, although I have definitely taught them how to get back up off the ground and survive, despite all the shit. I guess that’s something. I hope they have less shit in their lives…there are people I know who never go through anything really bad…may my kids be in that group.

The title to today’s post come from the PBS show I was watching…”I long for peace…to settle my soul.” Mr. Moray in The Paradise. I actually think Moray is a total ass in this show, but whatever…I’m with him on the sentiment.