Don’t Worry About the Extra Piece of Chicken

OK, I wrote an entire blogpost that WordPress deleted. Asshole. I don’t have time for this.

I think the cat is annoyed when I’m copyediting. She’s not half as annoyed as I am that she won’t keep her head off the keyboard.

That isn’t a bad position…it’s the current one, where she’s batting at my hand on the mouse and using the number keys as a pillow that I object to. Yesterday she eventually gave up, probably because I was playing loud music and the speaker was vibrating her butt, and went and laid in the blue fabric drawer that she prefers.

Heat rises, cats go low.

I’m panicking. Too much going on. Too many details to remember. I can’t even remember to write them all down. I even just messaged my prescription service to tell them NOT to call me to tell me I need a refill. They already emailed me, and the phone message just says I need to call, not why. So then I call and yell at the computer message because I KNOW YOU FUCKER. I don’t need the system to second guess me. I should be able to turn those off online, but no. I can’t. I can stop email spam from a company, but not phone spam from my own health insurance. Like spend less money on those phone calls and more on discounting my meds, you assholes.

OK. It’s gonna be fine. But I’m copyediting this manuscript, and I’m not even halfway, which is fine, but it makes me second guess everything I did last year. At the beginning of the year, teachers are all like making new resolutions to be amazing and build awesome relationships and conquer the pile of grading and be oh so efficient, and then we get to about January and we’re crying in the prep room because there’s this one kid who sucks and we’ve tried everything and grading sucks and everything sucks and by the end of the year, we’ve written off that kid. And sometimes that kid will grow up and still fail, but sometimes they figure their shit out and come back and tell me about straight As and a full ride to UCLA or even just that they’re a journeyman electrician and married to this awesome woman who appreciates that I taught him about birth control and I remember that I don’t really suck as a teacher. It’s a lovely ride.

I gave Calli a stick yesterday during the copyediting. She likes sticks. She also likes walks, the swimming pool, and pine cones. I think long walks are out of the picture for her future, unfortunately.

Later today, we’ll take the little dog and my parents’ dog, along with the nephew, for a nice long walk. I need that.

I picked colors for this.

And I decided where they should go…

I didn’t decide on some because I was worried I’d run out of certain colors of thread. I’ll decide later. Plus that cloud. Sigh. I need 6 colors. I also traced it on the fabric, so it’s ready for me to work on. When I have time.

And I cut more stuff out. I’m at about 5 1/2 hours…

I’m not sure that pile on top looks like 4 1/2 hours. I don’t know. Tonight anyway. I won’t finish, obviously.

I’m experimenting with some new food things. This is a sconecake. It wasn’t meant to be a scone cake. It should not be so flat. I used almond flour, which is lower carb than regular flour. However, it’s higher in fat…which isn’t a plus.

We’ll see if the frozen ones behave better. So many food things I’m trying to work through. They’re not all logical. It actually doesn’t always make sense to do the low-carb thing, and gluten-free or paleo doesn’t always work for diabetics either. It’s not just wheat that’s the problem. Plus I hate sweet potatoes…so it’s fine that they’re low carb, because I’m still not gonna eat them. Blech. Same with peanut butter. I’m still on the fence about almond flour.

OK, so tomorrow I’m working on school stuff all day at school with my team. Today, I’m copyediting like a speedy beast, then walking with the peeps. Then cutting stuff out. Trying not to stress too much. Right now though? Right now I need more deep breaths. The title? One more thing I need to deal with. Later. It’ll be fine.

That’s When the Energy Comes*

OK. The animals are starting to get a clue that mom doesn’t budge in the morning until later. That mornings are longer than they used to be. That’s a good sign, because it’s the first summer in a long time that someone else gets up early (and wakes them all up) and I still need to be asleep. It seems fair…I’m going to sleep like way later (still) and my body doesn’t actually have to be up at 6:30 in the morning. Those who work with me know that I am not a morning person. I can do it, but don’t talk to me. I don’t wanna talk. Chat. Trade niceties. I want silence until I’m ready. I will however totally have a conversation with you at midnight about the motivations of the characters in The Handmaid’s Tale. You don’t want that? OK. Well then. That’s what my late-night texting friends are for.

Now my brain takes a lot longer to get functional. I’m really trying to hit relaxation mode…the place you have to be in order to recover from the school year so you can teach the next one. I met with my co-teacher yesterday to try to plan next year (another mess of reordering units and tightening some and adding to others…this is year 3 of new standards…maybe we’ll finally have it?). I now have 17.000 more things to think about. Whoops. I think we’re just going to plan the first unit and then be done with it. Hopefully I won’t have jury duty some Monday or Friday in early July and we’ll be able to pull that off. First we need a place with free wifi, beverage service, A/C, and bigger tables than a Starbucks. Preferably at the midpoint between where we each live. I’m sure there’s a solution…I just don’t know what it is yet.

Meanwhile, I didn’t have a lot planned yesterday. I could have done some things, but apparently school planning sucks your brain out. So I did a lot of sitting on the couch, binge-watching Doc Martin (which now I have to find elsewhere, because Netflix is not getting the current seasons…although some part of me is significantly annoyed by the series and doesn’t know if I want to watch it anyway.), and trying to just keep my hands busy. So more of sewing these bits down…

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Because it’s totally brainless and yet I’m achieving something. I’ve thought about drawing like every day for the last 5 days, and I can’t get there. I’m aiming for it. Maybe today? Just sit on the deck with a beverage of choice and some music and just draw. What will be my epic quilt this summer? What deadlines am I actually going to take on? When will I get my act together? Why don’t I just accept that the first week of summer is always a lost one? Anyway, almost all the things are sewn down on that month. I think I have to sew blocks together for the next month…and it’s easier to embellish on smaller pieces than big ones…so I’ll have to think that through.

Meanwhile, so I have to try a new diabetes medication. I’ve been diabetic for 16 years now and my control is iffy at the moment. I need more exercise. I need more time to exercise. And I suspect menopause (which is still not totally a thing here, unfortunately) is messing with blood sugar etc. So I agreed to try the new medication, even after last year’s clusterfuck. She suggested one and I immediately Googled it and found a similar side effect to last year’s, so we rejected that one. This one does not have that side effect, but it does mean injections. Sigh. This disease sucks. So those were delivered yesterday. I have to do everything mail order that’s a long-term prescription, so I get this huge heavy box…

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This is so annoying though…I really am trying to reduce my footprint. I’ve been cutting back on using plastic, recycling more, trying to keep plastics out of the house. Now I have a huge styrofoam box coming every three months that is almost filled with ice packs. Plastic ice packs. Which apparently I can’t return to them to be reused.

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So they just get thrown out? There has to be a better way. This is such a waste. Plus the injection equipment, single-use. So annoying. So don’t get sick! There’s so much waste in medical stuff…and yeah, I know it’s better than passing on disease and infection, but it’s still hard to stomach.

This was on the way back to my car yesterday. Impressive…

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Next Saturday, the 30th, my cohabitant here will be playing at Nicky Rottens with his cover band, the Radio Thieves. Their lead singer likes to make funky retro record covers…

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I’ll be there with my sketchbook and a table…maybe I’ll be relaxed by then.

I’m still embellishing balls. I did four last night…stepping up the pace!

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And then I finished cutting all these out, which means I can start ironing things together tonight. That’s the fun part…when the image starts to show up.

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It took a little over 10 hours to cut them all out. It’ll probably take 15 or so to iron it together…

This is Calli…she wants her morning meds. She thinks it’s a treat, but it’s really just arthritis stuff. She’s a good girl.

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This one, Simba, wants to lie around in the sun. I should probably walk them sometime today.

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After I get my hairs cut. Might be drastic, might not. You never know. I kinda want to color it too. Maybe this is just a ruse to get out of jury duty (is purple hair a good excuse?)…or maybe I’m just tired of having the same haircut for a million years.

One of the things I track is how many hours I spend each month (week?) making art…the stuff that I track (which doesn’t include drawing or any of the hobby embroidery). In the last month, I’ve only done 36 hours of artmaking…less than 10 hours a week (that’s grading and being sick for you)…the month before, which included teaching fulltime, I managed 75 hours (almost 19 hours a week, on top of working 50 hours or more a week). Kind of crazy that. With no actual day job at the moment, I should be able to do 50 hours a week of artwork. Hear that, brain? I know. I’m giving you a break right now. You need it.

*Sarah McLachlan, Building a Mystery

Tying My Neurons into Knots

Well. That was it. Summer break. Oh thee of little sleep and lots of moving shit around, thy will did not include a big summer quilt like always (there was a quilt…it just wasn’t big). My left eye never stopped twitching (that’s a new one).

My goal this year, because I always have one, is to be more zen. Now the girlchild claims I’m the least zen person she knows, so it should be easier to be More zen. Anyway. Let’s see how it goes.

I did enjoy the sunrise this morning. It was brief, but beautiful.

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Guess I will be seeing more of those. Although normally I wouldn’t be up and showered yet. Today is special for that. Thank you, today, for the sunrise, which makes up for how I feel right now (not really, but maybe it will later).

I’m supposed to be wearing Hawaiian stuff today for the back-to-school conference. All black it is. Because if I were in Hawaii, I’d probably be wearing all black at least one of the days. I don’t own any Hawaiian. I’m not buying Hawaiian. I am the worst team player ever (unless it’s shit I care about…then I’m one of the best).

Midnight hangs out in here. Well. When I’m in here, everyone is in here, except for Simba, who likes the boychild better, because he scratches his belly nonstop and lets him loll all over him.

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One of the biggest problems of the new school year (so far) is that my prep moved to the afternoon, which affects my food schedule. This is a big deal when you’re a diabetic who manages her blood sugar with diet. People say dumbass things like, “Well, just eat during class.” When I’m teaching, I’m pretty fully engaged with what I’m doing. Which is what you WANT for the teacher of your child, right? No way in hell am I gonna remember to eat until it’s too late and I’m shaking. Unfortunately. So I need some solutions. This would be good if I could remember to do it, or not hate the meal by Wednesday if I premake them. Or whatever.

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Girlchild suggested I go to bed earlier so I could get up earlier and prep a meal. Yeah. Well. Just because you go to bed earlier doesn’t mean you will fall asleep earlier. I guess that’s an old-people problem…except I’ve always been like that. So I’m trying to figure that out. Realistically, I have until next Wednesday, because that’s when the kids start.

Anyway, I was determined to finish quilting yesterday so I could go buy binding. So that’s what I did.

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I finished the quilting in the middle of the afternoon, which worked out perfectly, because I went to the fabric store on the way to counseling. I even remembered wiper fluid for the car, after going without it all summer (a mistake). They even tried to upsell me an engine additive. Sigh. No.

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So after that, I spent about 2 hours cleaning the bedroom, including trying to move the bed by myself, which was a huge mistake. But I made major progress in there, which is awesome. What’s not so awesome is how many sets of sheets I have. I’m pretty sure if there’s a zombie apocalypse, sheets are not gonna save me. (I don’t buy sheets. My mom does. It’s a thing. Actually, I buy one set of flannel sheets every 10 years or so, because I like them in winter. Plus they have cool things on them like penguins.)

That said, all the sheets are now homed appropriately. And in an organized fashion (not by set, but by type…I like to mix and match.).

So it was late when I started this. I was working on the bedroom because I had to wash the binding fabric (I wash everything) and then I just kept going on the bedroom. But trimming the quilt was a bitch. Sometimes it is. For one thing, it couldn’t be wider than 24″, so there was that…and then the boxy bit at the bottom wasn’t quite perfectly boxy, so that made trimming it a pain in the ass. Hence all the recuts and recuts and can we trim this shit again?

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But I eventually (sweatily) got there.

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I don’t usually leave more on one or two sides than the others, but I liked how it looked. Kind of like an ancient scroll, the story of climate change in the future, when we are all living on a very small piece of land because nowhere else is habitable. That’s my other nightmare right now, after North Korea bombing San Diego, because it’s a military town…oh, and the Yellowstone Caldera. That too. Because I’m less than 1000 miles away. I don’t want to experience any of those things. And I was only halfway kidding when I told the boychild I was turning the pool into a bomb shelter this fall.

Then the binding went on. I used to always do darker bindings, but that doesn’t always work, especially when the background is already dark. I wanted to stick to that gray blue from the bottom part of the quilt…

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I stayed up way too late, yes. And yes, that’s Bloodline. A cheery show. Really. Tortured people who don’t seem to be able to do it right. A good choice.

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So there she is, staring back at us. The artist’s gaze. I hope you can see the What the Fuck Did You Do in her look. This thing needs a title (and it probably can’t be that…although it’s appropriate to the quilt).

Today I start the new school year. Tonight I (a) move the bed with the boychild’s help and (b) sew down all that binding by hand. And let my brain percolate over the next one, which is tying my neurons up in knots, let me tell you. I can storytell what I want it to say. I’m just not sure how to say that in images. I’ll get there. I’m just not there yet. I do have something else I can work on for the next few days if it’s an issue though, so I’m OK. No worries brave readers. There’s always art to be made.

Seriously…

I have that weird weather throb in my head again. It’s been there for two days now, as the weather flip flops around from hot to cold. It means monster headaches. It means taking all the Motrin I had in my purse yesterday and gulping it all down and actually calendaring Get More Motrin on my phone so I wouldn’t forget to restock my purse stash before school today, because today we are doing microscopes and heads might roll. Seriously.

Yeah. So I’m having issues balancing blood sugar again and now I know it is at least partially (if not completely) hormonal, which sucks, because I can’t control that. So I’m having to remember to pack extra food that isn’t high in calories but will keep me from passing out at inopportune times, like when I’m teaching or driving. I’m hoping when I get out the other side of menopause that it all calms back down to the semi-normal level of blood-sugar-tending that I had to do before all this, because this is just annoying. I get so paranoid about food. You have to be obsessive about it. I envy people who just eat whenever they like, whatever they like, and don’t have to think about what it will do inside you, or worry that I’m having to go to 2 meetings after school and I need to prepare for that like I’m going camping or something. Like there will be NO Food Available (and certainly there’s the issue of you can bring food but we won’t let you eat it in here, which has been an issue in the past…I just argue medical necessity).

I don’t feel very organized at the moment, either at home or at school. Both places have too much going on and I’m getting overwhelmed. Deep breaths. Make lists. Calendar shit. Pick your battles.

So I should have graded tests last night, and I didn’t. I always have to look at the overwhelmed feelings and try to figure out what’s going to be best for me tonight. Is more grading going to make the difference? Or does it need to be exercise and meditation and artmaking? The latter is winning most nights, at least some combination of those. It’s been difficult lately to find time for all three, especially since I’ve been working really hard on getting more sleep…even an extra half hour or so a night I think will make a difference. It seems like every two or three nights, my brain pitches a fit and doesn’t want to sleep. I don’t even go to bed until my brain has capitulated, decided that the idea of sleep is not a heinous thing. I don’t want to lie awake, letting it wander. That’s when I end up back in the pit.

This morning, I woke up with the alarm, screaming in my head, “Stop it, Fuck off, Go away!” Um. OK. And adrenaline surging. Not a good way to wake up. I have no idea what was going on in my head. I was watching The Americans while I cut out pieces last night. I’m reading The Fall of Hyperion. Neither seemed relevant to the dreaming. I wanted to draw last night…maybe I should have (ran out of hours, minutes, seconds).

I only cut stuff out for 47 minutes. See, when you’re thinking about how much I get done, realize that most nights, I get an hour in. That’s it. I don’t spend a ton of time a day (wish I could). Less than an hour last night…which is why it still looks like this…

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There is still a lot to cut out. I’m 9 hours into the cutting. I had estimated 12. I think I’m wrong. Who knows…but certainly I spent a good chunk of that time cutting pieces out that looked like this…

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Yup, that’s full on crazy. Those are the outer parts of the octopus suckers. Technical term. Holy crap. I think they really are just called suckers. If you’re in the mood for sorta irreverent sciencey talk about octopus suckers, yet highly educational irreverence, go here. I’m not really sure how I ended up with the science leaning. Coming out of college, I was pure literature and art. There’s some really cool vocabulary in that article though, like ‘infundibulum.’ Yesterday, I taught my students ‘endoplasmic reticulum’ and told them to pull THAT out at dinner time. Earlier this year, I taught them ‘vex’ and ‘irk.’ They’re still using those words. I love that I have taught 160 middle-schoolers to say “You VEX me,” instead of all those other lame words they use.

Which reminds me, someone told me this weekend that my use of the word “DUUUDE” guaranteed my California residency (I was not actually born in California…born in an Alaskan military hospital to two California parents though).

Anyway. Another hour of cutting stuff out and I might have had some mental balance, but I had to consider the sleep component as well.

Midnight was a worthy couch companion…

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She misses her mommy at night and harasses me instead.

If I’m at the computer, I get Babygirl (stupidest name EVER)…

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who insists on sitting ON the mouse, or IN FRONT of the screen, or trying to drink my tea or eat my oatmeal. And then she gets all pissed off if you don’t pet her at the same time. Try resizing photos when she’s sitting there. It’s impossible.

I wanted to clear out a couple of posts-in-progress last night on hikes and Earth Stories, but girlchild needed my computer to write an essay (the computer she uses is apparently barely functional at the moment, which is unfortunate, because I’m not able to get a NEW one…she can use her brother’s when he gets his graduation laptop, whenever that happens). Then she asked for my advice, which is like asking someone to tell you if your butt is big, when you ask a writing mom with a Comparative Literature degree about your intro paragraph and she actually tries to help you, but you’re an emotional 16-year-old and holy god, why did I even open my mouth, because there were tears and it was not pretty. I should have just told her that her butt looked big. It would have been less traumatic. For both of us.

Remind me never to talk again. Seriously. I’m done with it.

Holy Imbalance, Batman

Batman seems to be featured in my blog entirely too much, considering I’ve never met the man…bat. I don’t think I’m channeling Robin, but who knows. I always thought he was kind of an immature twit. I’m on a teeter-totter of imbalance at the moment. Run from one side and it flips up to try to bounce you off the other side; run back to stabilize it, and it rushes up to the other side. Can’t seem to straddle the middle and keep it all at bay, keep the sides even. It’s one or the other and all about unseating…well…me.

The doctor was happy with my numbers. She has pulled me permanently off one of my diabetes meds, after many years of being on it. This is good. This is success. She was definitely more excited than I was, because she also said I might see more of the low blood sugars, precisely because I am more in control. Hmn. This is not control. It seems like luck. She also talked about hormone imbalances, which honestly may have been the majority of my mood issue over the last two or more years…but it’s not so much the estrogen, that wacky hormone of womanhood, but my psycho thyroid. We adjusted meds for that not 4 months ago, and they are low again. Sigh. So we’re upping those. Low thyroid can cause problems with sleep, irritation, periods, depression, blood sugar…sounding familiar anyone? Yeah. So maybe everything can be blamed on my thyroid. Well, except for the idiocy that happened apparently because of my thyroid, but that wasn’t me. I know. Long story.

I guess my hardships are all mine own. No one else wants to own them. Or be a part of them.

At one point, I typed hormone as hotmone…makes total sense.

Ironic that I feel so out of balance emotionally…it goes with the physical imbalance. Probably the most logical part of my life. LOOK! This one number explains everything.

I’m a week into Spring Break, and my brain is still all over the map. Thursday was nice…life drawing in the morning, first time at this class. I’ll go back. I may even do this all summer. I could. Then I had lunch with Linda and Dean Moran of Marble-T Design. I first got in touch with them a million years ago for flesh-toned and gray marbled fabrics. I wanted a run of grays from dark to light, and then I wanted a selection of flesh colors. I am still using bits and pieces from what they did for me…I think they show up in almost every quilt I make. It’s not their fault I don’t use much fabric at a time. Anyway, we had never met in person, so this was the first time…and they brought me fabric!

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Beautiful gorgeous dirt fabric, or even brown flesh…could go either way with this. I’m very happy, AND they are nice, smart, amusing people. It was good. Plus they were nice and bought me lunch.

Then I went to Susan’s for a stitching meeting and started cutting out the Wonder Under for the next big quilt, which I’m going to just call Menopause for now, because it’s easier, but it does have a real name…and I’ve written it down (typed it) somewhere; I just can’t remember where. And it may not matter.

Oh wait. It does matter. It’s from this…

The title. Anyway. At least for now. I keep hearing some songs over and over and can’t get them out of my head (not the Kylie Minogue song). Oh yeah, the title is from the lyrics…it’s not called Afraid. I’d like to say I’m beyond Afraid, but I know that’s not true.

So I started cutting it out Thursday and I didn’t get much done…

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I was way too tired. I went to the gym too and I meditated and probably fell asleep doing that. Really, truly, at the moment, there’s two things that happen when I meditate: I either fall asleep or I cry. Neither is particularly satisfying, but each seems to fulfill a need…a niche even. OK, sleep is probably supposed to be a necessity and not a niche.

Friday…Friday was the doctor and a bunch of crazy running around. I guess I can finally admit, now that I’ve sent it off with its new owner, that this is sold…

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May they enjoy it and all its political issues. I still love the brick fabric. OH! And the gray in the sidewalk? Yup. That’s Marble-T Designs again…so THAT’S cool. Anyway, so I didn’t get much done Friday night because I was still tired, and I knew I had a long hike this morning, so I went to bed at a semi-reasonable hour (unlike tonight, when I seem to be making up for gained sleep by frittering it away on god-knows-what purpose).

I hiked this morning; more on that later. Suffice it to say that there is Julian Pie Company pie in my fridge and I was very good and did not eat any of it, because it is for tomorrow night’s dinner.

Then I decided to put on my pajamas and sit down and cut out Wonder Under for a million hours.

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Because there was a million hours’ worth of Wonder Under that needed cutting. I started with 7 pieces, I had cut out the smallest one. I think I did a little last night, but mostly it was this evening, almost 4 hours straight. I’m up to 7 hours and I only have 2 1/2 of the larger pieces to cut out. So that’s good. It won’t take 20 hours. It will probably take at least 11, though. There’s some minor chance I can get done before we leave for New York. Maybe. Or Nah. (sigh. I now know where that’s from. Hopefully my students will have forgotten about it over Spring Break so I never have to hear it again…because yes, it is TOO HARD TO SAY THE T SOUND.)

So spending 4 hours Saturday evening watching TV and thinking depressing thoughts and cutting out Wonder Under does indeed include me in the Old Lady Loser Rock N Roll Saturday Night Hall of Fame. Feel free to join me.

Some fun stuff going on with the Wonder Under…some pieces are releasing the paper from the fusible web. This was a problem with the old old web, but then they went overboard and it got Way TOO Sticky, and now we’re back to EDGES…edges releasing. So the pile below needs to be redrawn on Wonder Under that is not falling apart, because I don’t want to match all those pieces up while I’m ironing.

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Does that make me lazy? Hells no. I am retracing pieces that I’ve already traced once. I don’t know what it makes me, except more or less insane.

More insane…in the middle, those 4 pieces? They are traced into the middle of some really long complicated piece, so they also had to be retraced onto their own piece.

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Did that. More work. Then I thought I was missing a cat…hadn’t seen her in a while. Went and looked, texted the girlchild for possible hiding places, came back, sat down, and felt the little pyscho jump up behind me to her regular nightly seating spot.

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Nice to see you, Midnight.

I feel like I just camped out here for hours…

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Because I freakin’ did. Top box is trash, in case I accidentally throw away something useful. Below are the real pieces…I took a few breaks. Made lots of tea, ate dinner, read a little. Not a lot. Wanted to have the focus on. For some reason. Not sure why.

Kitten’s been venturing into the living room regularly lately. She settled down into a corner and hid…

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I guess she’s lonely too.

There’s where I was at when I decided it was getting awfully late and I might want to sleep tonight.

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Getting there. Closer than I was 4 hours ago. Trying to tell my head to get on straight. Oh yeah, I meditated in the middle of it too. It was crying instead of sleeping tonight. Interesting. Now Babygirl is trying to harass me into sharing the chair. Or maybe all she wants is to be petted. She’s lonely too.

So here’s a series (that is just starting) by Peter Drew…and his hair, which disturbs me, about art-related things and reality, which I find amusing because art has so little to do with reality. That said, it’s an interesting take on why (and how) art galleries exist.

This is apparently the same Peter Drew as is in this Hyperallergic article…where he was threatened with expulsion for creating the art he had been accepted to the school in order to create. Really convoluted sentence. Don’t care enough to fix it. Don’t judge.

Naked yarnbombing. Enough said.

Here is my post on the California Fibers exhibit at Soka University (there is no way I’m posting that whole thing here as well, so you’ll just have to go look. It’s OK. I’ll still be here when you’re done. Take your time.).

Every ebook I had on hold at the library has come in during the last two days. Luckily, it is Spring Break and I’m spending a million hours flying in the next few days, so at least I know what I’ll be doing on those flights…competitive speed-reading. Or something. I won’t have to talk to anyone.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. I’m taking my moody cranky imbalanced self to bed. I love that something I have no control over has so completely messed up my life. Sigh. Moving on.

My Brain Is Offline

Note all the book reviews? What do I do when I can’t think straight? When my brain has wandered off? I read. I hunker down on the couch or in bed with a nice cup of tea and a blankie and a cat or two and sometimes a dog if it’s my day to have her, and I read. I read and read and read, like an addict. Sometimes I think what’s wrong with the world and with people is that they don’t read enough. I have a quote about that somewhere. I’ll find it later…wait, here it is…

By accident, the bound codex taught us sustained focus, abstract thinking, logic. Our natural tendency is to be distracted–to scan the horizon constantly for predators and prospects. Books made us turn that attention inward, to build higher and higher castles within the quiet kingdoms of our minds. Through that process of reflection and deep thinking, we evolved. There was no going back–only ever forward.     –Alena Graedon, The Word Exchange

It’s from one of the books I just finished (but haven’t reviewed yet). I like the idea of reflection happening while I read other people’s stories. I think it’s problematic right now to focus too much on my own story. Too much of it is up in the air. I’ve got nothing to hold onto…except Wonder Under, apparently.

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Yards and yards of Wonder Under. I traced a bit today…and yesterday…and the day before too. I’m about 1100 pieces in, 14 hours so far. Only 650 pieces to go? There were a bunch of other things that went on as well, like a local SAQA meeting, which was interesting. And cleaning my classroom. And a dance performance, which I’ll write about eventually. And the girlchild’s back checkup, which went really well.

But the tracing, I seem to only be able to do it at night. Not sure why. Really do have way too many errands and stupid crap to deal with at the moment. This is not a well-focused holiday, like some have been. It’s sorta chaotic. Oh well. It is what it is.

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It’s like my brain is offline. Maybe it just NEEDS to be offline for a while. Reading, sleeping, exercising. Forgetting half of the dinner ingredients yesterday at the store, going out today for the rest and STILL forgetting one of them. I just can’t keep track of stuff. Too much. My brain is having a mini-revolution. I wish it the best of luck. May it fly a new flag, conquer new lands, maybe even put someone else in charge. Surely I suck at it. Someone else SHOULD take over. Even meditation…shit, it’s just difficult at the moment. I can’t get to the spreading happy bubble of light that’s supposed to start at my center and radiate out. I just get lost in trying to force that. I broke another glass. I dropped it. It just broke. I don’t even know how I dropped it. I almost threw a mug the other day. Got angry at it. What it represented. Just wanted it shattered, like me. Then put it back in the cupboard. Enough with the violence. It doesn’t solve anything.

So the doc pulled one of my diabetes meds. I emailed her a few days ago with all of last week’s crap and she decided one of the meds might be the issue. They took about 10 gallons of blood this morning…the appointment is Friday. I’ve seen some of the results already. Nothing really shocking, although some stuff has changed. The diabetes, it’s like the happy. People tell you that if you do x, y, and z, then the diabetes will go away (then you will be happy). Liars. That’s not how it always works. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, the diabetes is still there, maybe worse. Same with the happy. Just because you follow all the rules, do all the steps, there’s no guarantee that happy will stop by and knock on your door. It’s harder during vacation, because I don’t have all the noise and bustle and distraction of the kids at school. There are too many quiet lonely hours. And I have a ton of stuff to do, so going out and doing stuff isn’t really the solution. Hanging out with more people doesn’t solve my problems. The work I do, the stuff in my head, the stuff that becomes art, it’s such a huge part of me and so few people are around for that…on purpose, mind you. I don’t create well with people around. I’m an independent worker. I don’t want help or company or critiques. I just want to make my art, but at the end of the day, the art isn’t enough to make me happy. There’s some happy mix that works, and I lost that. I had it. I thought I had it. I didn’t have it. Obviously. Because it’s not here.

Vacations are a slap-in-the-face reminder of all that. So I just get through. Hoping to finish the tracing tomorrow and start cutting this stuff out. Not exactly on track, but since my mind left me, I’m not really sure where the track is any more.

More Is Better

Hey. So I’m feeling much better tonight. I think the biggest issue with the hypoglycemia is that it comes fast and I feel like crap with it, and it takes a long time for that to go away. The effects of last night’s episode continued well into the morning. I don’t think I started feeling OK again until after lunch. And I ate normally. So. But I ate normally the day before too. It’s the unpredictable nature of the crashes that is difficult. I worry about being alone and having it crash fast and not having someone around to help me. Anyway. The doc and I will have a conversation. We’ll figure it out. Hopefully.

Meanwhile, today was our team’s field trip to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Museum in Balboa Park. We saw one of the IMAX movies on the human body (probably it doesn’t help that IMAX makes me want to puke…but it was good), then we watched 140 or so students try to destroy all the exhibits inside the museum, and then let them out into the sunny gorgeous day to run around and eat and act like goofballs. It was a really well-managed field trip, thanks to one of the team teachers, and I didn’t feel anywhere near as crazy about it as I have in the past. And there’s only one day of school left until Spring Break, when I will have a little bit of freedom. I do have about 700 errands to run and another 30,000 things on my to-do list, but hopefully art will be part of it. After last night, I’m kind of trying to relax my desire to get a lot done. I think I will get done whatever I can, and I will have to be happy with that. Or at least content. Happy is still not part of my vocabulary.

So I practiced that tonight after getting home from my stitching meeting (which is really just hanging out with good people and sometimes we stitch and sometimes we don’t and we try to support each other with our wacky lives and existences…which is all you can do sometimes…is support). I ate some food…I’ve been paranoid about food today. Shockingly.

Then I traced for about an hour…

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It’s still going really slowly. I’m in the middle of the lowest body on the piece…

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She’s got some weirdly overlapping pieces, which means I really have to think while I’m tracing about what goes on top and what goes on the bottom, since I draw the overlaps into the pieces. I’ve finished her legs and belly, and am just starting on the arms. I was getting tired, so I tried to find a decent place to stop…I’m in the 370s, over 6 hours in.

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This piece really is a bit crazy. See all those empty spaces? I try to fill them in as I’m tracing smaller pieces. I try to do a decent job of fitting pieces in so I’m not wasting too much Wonder Under. I also try to trace pieces that I know will be the same fabric together so I save on cutting time…I only have to cut them out as fabric, not as Wonder Under as well. That really helps if the pieces are super small too…I often don’t cut them out until I’m ironing everything together…like I already know I won’t cut out the fish eyeballs until the very last ironing minute…which will be in June, at the rate I’m going.

The yawning, though. I had to stop. I had to make myself stop.

I got some done on the girlchild’s Xmas stocking at the stitching meeting…

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this piece is really slow. But it’s meditative. I’ve had a hard time motivating myself to actually meditate for real lately. I think I need to go back to doing it earlier rather than later at night…if I’m tired, I can’t handle it. I get the feeling he’d really like me to meditate in the morning, but I find that difficult. I’m not even really awake in the morning. I feel like you should be awake to be mindful. I’m a night owl. That’s why we call it meditative PRACTICE though…you’re supposed to actually practice it. Plus practicing makes you better at things.

Anyway. At least I’ll get some more artmaking time in the next few weeks. Nothing major, nothing lifechanging. Just more. More is better. Hopefully more is better will apply to hours of sleep as well.

Crash

Stupid fucking blood sugar can’t behave again. Can’t figure out what the deal is…I ate healthy, then was exercising and it crashed so fast. I got the tester and lowered myself to the floor, told the girlchild to call 911 if I passed out (way to freak out your kid, eh?). BAD. Makes no sense timing-wise. I drank my milk, tested again. Better, but then started down again. Dammit. I ate a real snack and it leveled out, but now I am exhausted by the body’s machinations.

Didn’t finish exercising, didn’t meditate, certainly didn’t grade papers or make art. Can’t even think straight to write a whole post…have all the photos done from last week’s hike, but then this stupidity. Stupid body. Knock it off…it’s annoying and terrifying and I need it to stop.

Don’t worry…doc is aware and my blood tests are next week, appointment to follow. But now? Now is for sleep. I will try to have a normal life again tomorrow.

Mood Management

Managing my moods is becoming a full-time job. There’s food, there’s situations, there’s stress, there’s exercise. I’m now carrying my blood sugar tester thingie (it needs a name, like Ralph…or Daisy) with me everywhere I go. My meds get tested again in another three weeks…I’m suspecting my diabetes meds are off. I’ll email the doc before testing so she knows what to look for. I’m a little paranoid about hiking this weekend…in fact, I’m not sure I will do this hike, because it’s supposed to be really warm, but I really WANT to do it. So. I can pack carbs and sugar and…dammit…sigh. It’s not like I didn’t hike last weekend with no blood sugar problems. In fact, I’ve hiked ALL the weekends with no problems. I’m just paranoid now. The last thing I want is to be in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of people I barely know and have a major problem like last night. That would be bad. I remember one hike post-divorce with two guys I knew fairly well and my blood sugar dropped (it was also hot), and they dealt remarkably well, but I had all the right stuff in my pack and was coherent enough to tell them what was going on. And I’d warned them beforehand. It really has been a long time since I’ve had issues.

The moods are tied to blood sugar, but also to hormones and then the emotional sine wave that I seem to live on…I had the wave graphed earlier today (in my head, of course), with a listing of what made it zoom up and down and hold steady at numbness. Trying to control the seemingly uncontrollable (blood sugar and mood swings) tosses the curve downwards. Yet another art rejection (too many of those lately) sends it downwards even further. Analyzing my own life? Hell, should just stay away from that most days. It’s down down down, all the way down. Girlchild tells me I am in a bad/sad mood on the days I have detention. She’s right. I should just give up. Is detention creating world peace? No the fuck it’s not. Then why do it?

But I didn’t give up. I got my hairs cut. They needed it. They are getting fussy in their old age. And then I made it to the gym and that was good. I read. I cooked and ate dinner. I forgot to do a bunch of stuff (sigh. I always forget a bunch of stuff…I am the Queen of Winging It). But then I was ready.

So I drew.

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And I can’t even describe the peace in my head, my heart, that drawing gives me. It’s like a wave of calm washing over. It’s therapeutic. It’s stupid that I don’t do it more often (I run out of time, no more hours in the day). I haven’t meditated in a few days (more time/energy issues). I completely forgot tonight, but it’s OK, because I drew. And that is Kathy Meditation. It was so worth it. So the bottom is mostly done. I think. And the middle section is done. So now I need to go back to the top, to the first page, the one I started in December…and I need to finish it. I don’t know if this is next in line to get done. I haven’t decided. Maybe. It could be. It’s kind of a crazy beast. The ones I love don’t get into shows. At the moment, nothing gets into shows. Artistic angst. Why am I making all this art if it never gets out to be seen? You make the art because you have to. It keeps you sane. The getting out and being seen? That’s the least of your worries. Just keep making it.

You’re so lucky. You get to hear all the conversations I have in my head.

Meanwhile, I remembered that I hadn’t finished ironing the Mammogram fabrics, so I headed into the office/studio/national disaster area and pulled everything out, reminded myself of what I was doing whenever I last worked on it (March 7), and started picking blood vessels and heart parts…

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so often a part of my quilts, the heart. My heart, the one that’s destroyed, eh? So yeah. This drawing was done before all that. Broken hearts. Shattered. Cracked. This one is still whole. I wonder what that feels like. Maybe some day I will know.

I keep thinking I will be better. I am better. But I’m not BETTER. If you know what I mean. I’m someone else. That someone may never be truly better. She may just be OK. My hair person asked (sort of) if I was done with love, like how some (old) people say they have experienced great love and they feel OK with that after their great love dies and they don’t need to go through it again. But I don’t want to be alone for another 30 years. I still don’t feel like I’ve done it right…that sounds awful. But it’s not right if they can’t stick around, if they can’t make it through the hard stuff, if they can’t be supportive, if they can’t stand next to you as an equal. So no. I’m not done. I haven’t given up, but I don’t have a lot of hope. I’m not OK with any of it. I think I need a dog. Dogs are nice. Except then they die of cancer at age 6, and it takes you two years to get over that too. Maybe I just need to sit alone in my house for a long while. Quietly. In a corner. A dust-free corner. Then everything will start to make sense again. Or not. Because maybe there is no sense to be made.

I still cry every day. In case you were wondering. I don’t know when that stops. Maybe never. I was never a crier like this. This is hard. I would cry when really bad shit happened. I cried at sad bits in movies. I cried when I saw babies born (usually in movies or on TV…when I teach human reproduction, I cry every time the baby is born on the movie I show my students). I cried during PMS if something was really funky in my head or in real life. It wasn’t a daily occurrence. It was rare.

Now? Not so much in the rareness. I’m always on the verge. So if you’re wondering when you’re talking to me if you hear tears in the background, you do.

I ironed a lot…

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And I was pretty sure I was done…until I started to fold up all the fabric…

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And realized I hadn’t ironed the bird. That damn fucking bird.

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I didn’t have the energy to do the bird. I couldn’t even imagine the bird, let alone decide on her colors (orange. black. maybe some turquoise.), so she will have to be done tomorrow. Thirteen whole pieces. I know. I should have just done it. But sometimes the brain just rebels and yells NO NO NO over and over again and you don’t really want to push it too hard, because it is your brain and it kinda controls all the important stuff, and you kinda need it to keep doing that. So maybe tomorrow.

Now that’s two quilts I have that are ready to be cut out (or nearly there). Maybe my goal for Spring Break will be to trace this one I’ve been drawing and then draw the one I need to have done by November, with the assumption that I will work on it over the summer.

Or not. I do know that the mood is better. Drawing AND ironing: the cure for a fucked-up mind. I don’t know what the permanent cure is. Maybe there isn’t one.

 

Poking the Finger

Wow. So that was low blood sugar. Not sure why, but I think that’s what happened the other night as well, both after exercising. Sigh. It’s so exhausting and scary to have blood sugar drop like that, especially when the kids were already in bed, so I had no one to check in with. I had graded tests with the girlchild helping me, and I wanted to get something art-related done, but I had exercised in between 7th and 8th period’s tests, and I was sitting there finishing the grading, trying to figure out why I was so dizzy. I was too shattered last night after the blood sugar dropped to do much of anything. It’s OK…I took care of it and it went back up to normal. But my bigger question is WHY…why now? What’s different? Who knows. I will log it and will bring it up with the doctor next time. I’ve had the diabetes under control really well for about 12 years now…I didn’t do anything different. And this was lower than I’ve ever had, unless I wasn’t eating or I was sick.

Oh wait. The Google says it could be hormones fluctuating with impending menopause. Wow. Really? So I could be dealing with this crazy for another year or so? Seriously? Sigh. Deep breaths. When the physical body is this out of control, it’s really hard to keep the mental body on an even keel.

Then this morning, I’m down on myself because I haven’t gotten any art stuff done in DAYS due to grades and being tired and fixing computers and grades and tired. There seems to be a pattern there. And yes, there’s no point in berating myself about what I didn’t get done. I just get more depressed when I feel like everything I do is just work and slog and clean and work and then do it all again. The art is what gets me out of bed and in a better mood. It’s necessary.

Yesterday was also girlchild’s pre-surgery appointment…she’s having two screws put into bones in her lower back next week. It was the first time we’ve seen a clear scan of the bones in her back and it was kind of a shock to see the two fractures…hell, no wonder she’s been in pain. So she’s going to have to spend at least one night in the hospital (which probably means I have to spend the night as well, which is fine). My work brain is trying to plan out in time in case I have to be out for more than three days (the worst-case scenario is that she’s out of school for 2 weeks, but we’re hoping for less than a week). Unfortunately, my parents are out of the country, so me and my ex will have to juggle work and the girlchild best we can. She’s convinced she will need no help; I’m on the more cautious side (let’s see…how can I move a bed into the prep room at school?). I warned my students…but there’s always chaos when teachers are out for more than a day. Plus I’m teaching DNA and non-science guest teachers are notoriously non-science-educated, so it’s got to be easy, yet engage the kids and give something that keeps them on task. Not an easy job. I can’t show movies for a week.

Suffice it to say that I have art on the menu tonight. I also need to go to the gym, though, so I’m going to have to hope the low blood sugar doesn’t hit again. Seriously, both times it’s been after I ate a healthy meal and exercised. Everything’s out of whack. Sigh. Back to poking the finger three times a day. My doctor gave me permission to stop a few years back because my blood sugar was so controlled. Guess my body is telling me something else. Got the message, bastard. Whatever. One more thing.