I Got Some Lovely*

I realized this morning that my brain has been a week off…well, all week…simply because I forgot to cross off the days of the week on the paper calendar that hangs to the right of my computer. I kept thinking I have more of January…but in reality, January has slipped through my fingers. I’m such a visual person. As a teacher, I write and say the date multiple times a day and it just doesn’t stick until I SEE it. This is one of the reasons I started doing something like a bullet journal this year, although I dunno if it’ll stick. But it helps me to see the tasks and write them out or cross them off, even though I’m using online calendars and to-do lists as well. I have paper calendars on my wall at school and in my office, and a white board-type calendar on the fridge, but I often lose the little tasks, the tiny stuff, the transfers, the payments, the mailing of this or that. I think the weekly thing is helping with that. Maybe. I know for me that writing it down, not just typing it, helps me remember it.

Plus if I’m feeling a little unmotivated to do other stuff, I start drawing in it.

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I don’t usually do a lot of color when I draw. Wait. I don’t do any color when I draw. But when I was a kid, the best Christmas present ever was the big pack of 50 different color pens…because all the ones from the year before had dried up, except for the really ugly colors. I find myself buying colored-pencil  or pen kits, even though I don’t color. Yeah, maybe I should color. In my spare time.

I’m still sick. Not horrendously sick, but not feeling my best. Just want to lie around in my pajamas all day and read fiction while drinking tea. Can’t really justify doing that though, because I also want to finish my quilt and get some grading done, because it’s weighing on me. Last night was gaming, though…so I was working on this a little. Just the tree to go really.

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Came home and sat on the couch until I realized I was really tired and should go to bed. The animals are smarter than I am.

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I got up this morning and saw this…this is what I want to finish this morning. So I will.

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Girlchild was silent for like 14 hours…and I realized she was flying to Northern Madagascar, done with orientation and starting her first home stay and classes. When there’s no wifi, I don’t hear from her. There’s going to be a lot of that. Really, 14 hours is nothing. When she’s in Boston, I sometimes go days without hearing from her, but I see her liking my photos on Instagram or whatever, so I know she’s there, I feel her presence. I paid her parking tickets from school, so hopefully they won’t tow her car while she’s gone. Hopefully her friend will move the car around too. We couldn’t find anywhere to store the car for the 4+ months she would be gone, so this was the solution.

When I was driving to gaming last night, a 20-minute trip I can do in my sleep, I had this idea for a series, but not just my own work…so I don’t know if I’ll be able to ever pull this off, but I like the idea. When reading all the negative stuff toward white women, with the Trump vote and white feminism overwhelming the feminism of others, it’s not enough to say “It’s not ME!” because really that’s irrelevant. The real question is what can I do to (not fix that, because that’s not a thing…I can’t fix it)…to open up the conversation with all women and those who identify as women and those who don’t fall within the two-gender system. I always think of my art as a conversation with the viewers…easier for me as an introvert to talk through my art than to talk in person, I think. So I had some ideas about having a real live conversation with someone who is not a bog-standard cis hetero white chick, like me, but who has a view of themselves that can be drawn…ideally they can draw, although maybe not necessary.

I have this one woman in mind who is engaged in her ethnicity, her color, her race, her culture, and her femininity (honestly, she’s way more feminine…I hate that word…than I ever am), and she draws. And we talk…we talk about our experiences…being a woman in the world (or however she thinks of herself as being in the world) and we draw. You’ve seen my work…I like figure drawings. I imagine she draws herself or a figure that is her, and I draw myself. We surround our drawings with the things we feel about the conversation, about how to find the intersection between our experiences. I listen a lot, because honestly, I know my experiences of being a white woman raised in a fairly affluent community and expected to go to college and following through with that…these are much easier than the experiences of say my female students, who didn’t go camping with the Girl Scouts or to summer camp or to art classes when they were in elementary school or freakin’ tennis lessons (I hated tennis. I sucked at it. But I did have lessons) or cotillion (oh holy crap, another thing I hated). Or knowing you were going to be able to go to college. It’s funny, because I don’t feel like those tennis and cotillion lessons are part of who I am now…but they probably pushed me into what I am. I don’t know. But I feel like if we can talk one on one, then maybe some connections can be solidified. Because it’s true that there is no equality for women unless there is equality for ALL women…and honestly, if we could figure out how to dump this either-or system of you are male or you are female, that would be cool too.

So she draws her figure and I draw mine, and we try to draw some intersection between the two. Then honestly, I want to make a quilt out of that. But I wonder if that is my taking over her image, and I don’t want to do that. I could teach the process and let her create her half…I could do the drudge work, the cutting, the ironing, the quilting. Or I could have her color a cartoon and then follow that when I iron her side to fabric. Or have her bring fabrics to the table. Some of this may be overwhelming to someone who doesn’t create similarly to me though…I don’t know. Maybe even just asking for the figure is too much…although I’d be totally OK with having this conversation and both of us drawing and then maybe coming back together and they have this painting or drawing or charcoal or sculpture that is their version and doesn’t even have a figure in it, but it sits/stands/hangs next to mine. I do want some sort of intersection though, some connection, some place where we come together. So that’s part of the conversation. Where do we intersect? Where do we have things in common? Where can we live and converse and support and create a better, more inclusive world?

Anyway. It’s in my head. Maybe it will become something real in the next year. I do know that even if all I had was a drawing and I did all the fabric choosing and ironing and quilting, it would still be a piece by both of us. Owned by both of us. Then maybe it can go out there in the world and speak to both sides. If there’s a lack of understanding, maybe the viewer connects with one side and can try to see the other side. If that’s a problem…and I think it is. It might even be worthwhile to try to find some white woman who voted for Trump and would be willing to have that conversation with me and draw with me. That might be the hardest conversation, because this is about empathy in many ways, and I have a hard time holding on to empathy for a group who seems to inhabit hate for others as part of their existence. But I realize some of that is my misunderstanding of why they voted the way they did. Change is hard. Change is scary. Some of us embrace it more than others. Some of us jump on its back and ride it into the sunset. Some hide in the closet.

Of course, there’s a strong possibility that my idea is just more white feminist trying to fix it all. Hence the need for conversations.

But today? Today I’m going to finish quilting this little piece. And hopefully the cold meds will kick in. And maybe I’ll draw some stuff. I’ve only got about 17 drawings in my head right now.

*XTC, My Brown Guitar

Not Lesser Than

Happy Candy Day to those who celebrate it. Being a teacher today is not always the easiest thing in the world. Actually, tomorrow is worse for candy and trash. Fridays for Halloween are always best. They have the whole weekend to eat all their candy and get tired of it before coming back to school.

That said, we get to dress up…not much this year, but a little. I had an idea but then lost my roll. Oh well. It’s also the last day of the month, which means it’s almost November…that’s crazy. October is usually one of the longest months of the year, but I feel like I took a breath and it’s gone. I guess the plus is that I have some vacation days coming up, so more artmaking! Yay. Looking forward to that.

So I graded last night…I’ve been super efficient lately, so that’s nice. It feels better than being really behind.

We have a sick kitty, so there was some time last night trying to assess what her issue is and how emergency-like it is. I’m still not sure. I know the vet closes early today, so I’ll have to go tomorrow. Sigh. She’s not a happy kitty, but I can’t really say what’s wrong. And they’ll ask about her eating and peeing, and this is the cat I never see eating or peeing. She’s very secretive. Strangely, I thought she was only 10 years old, but when I was checking my records, she’s actually 12…going on 13. Yikes. So I freaked out about that for a while, because I haven’t had a lot of cats live past 13. It’s like finding out your parents were 90 years old when you were sure they were only 60. Whoops. I’m a space cadet. Anyway, lots of pets for Midnight and hopefully we’ll figure out what’s bugging her and it will be simple…after $500 of blood tests, because you know that’s how it goes.

My ex exercised the puppy yesterday afternoon, so he was asleep on my shoulder while I was worrying some of that out last night.

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I did some more on the left…fly stitches…

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Trying to make a shape that can be enclosed in a crazy quilt in some way. Not sure how I’m going to do that. I don’t have to know until January 1.

When my brain eventually started to behave, I grabbed the enlargements I made after school. I did one set at 250% and then realized how big the main head would be and sized it down to 200%.

Then I cut and pasted them together…they actually fit pretty well for once. I’m not even sure why sometimes it’s better than others. It could literally just be the copier I picked…or it could be some other variable. But here’s 200%…

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The group I’m making this for is called Things That Matter…and I’m focusing on women’s issues again for this one. It needs to be at least 60″ wide, so I added paper on all sides to make the head not quite in the center. There’s more below her than above her.

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I knew I wanted a nursing baby, so I penciled that in. I don’t always draw directly with Sharpie. At this size, there’s a lot of pencil that happens.

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Then I inked in some of the basic shapes.

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I’m just getting started. That was about an hour last night of drawing. I’m still letting the sides and upper area (above the shoulders) percolate. There are a lot of things in my head. As always. I’m tired of all the attacks on women in the last years, especially this year. It’s exhausting. I even had a student tell me that men work harder than women. This is a kid who is majorly failing. A boy. He said women can’t be scientists because they don’t work hard enough. I love it when a 12-year-old is sexist like that. Then I had to explain sexism, because they thought I said sexy. Whoa. No 12-year-old is sexy…sorry. Not to adults. Unless there’s something wrong with them. So that was a fun moment.

Sometimes I wonder if I have any effect on some of those boys whose cultures tell them women are lesser than. LESSER THAN. Hmnnn. That’s a place to go for a title maybe. We’ll see. Meanwhile I continue to try to brainwash them while they’re young. Respect all people, male, female, or other. No judgement on what is better. There is no better or smarter. There are those who work hard and those who work average and those who don’t work hard and those who try but can’t work hard and those who don’t try, but even they often have so many things in their heads from home and family that they honestly can’t be engaged at school. But they all have potential. And a place in our world.

Not lesser than.

Sleep Don’t Visit, So I Choke on Sun*

Hello Friday. I appreciate your showing up this morning, albeit a little early. Perhaps you could make sure that you are more quiet in the morning next time, so you don’t wake the puppy up. He barks and wakes me out of a deep and sound sleep, which at my age, is a rare enough thing that you should be much more careful. That said, you’re here, and I am glad. I’m hoping you go quickly, though, at least the daytime part, so I can, well and let’s be honest here, go back to sleep and wake up to Saturday. It must be hard to be Friday, to be so celebrated but basically asked to go away as quickly as possible…or at least get to the dark part of Friday, because it’s much easier to handle.

I spent about 3 hours at the vet yesterday, arriving after the dogs and my ex, to find out that the dogs were significant victims of foxtails. (Not my yard.) Oh yay and the future is fun. Pills for some and liquids for the other (in retrospect, pills might have been easier…), soaking of feetsies (oh my, they love that), and general mayhem with cones and trying to lick and manipulation of the cone zone. I guess I need to learn to shave those paws. Or find a groomer. Yes the right paw is the worst. Poor babies.

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And those claws. Yeesh.

It was significantly late when I got them home. I had these threads in my mailbox, trying to pick an iris color…long story. It will make sense later. The one on the left is out…debating between the other two.

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I have until tomorrow to decide. I think.

More progress on the hand. I did do seed stitch in the lower part of the wrist area and then filled in with some stem stitches. It’s almost all filled in.

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Yeah. It’s strange. What can I say?I’m sure some people would be happier with all flowers, but I was getting sick of them.

Then I traced. Finished it, in fact. It’s small. It has only 290 pieces. It only took a little over 2 hours…

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I was going to start cutting them out last night, but I was way too tired. I actually went to bed before midnight. Twenty-four days of school left. I’ll be gone for two of them. One of them is testing. One is a field trip. One is the last day of school, which is always a bit hellish. We start teaching sex ed early this year…more content…so next week. I don’t feel ready. Oh well.

And then there’s this. Some of you may have seen this.


I don’t doubt that…it’s just the definition of nice that’s the problem. Some parts of this world we see every day are really pissing me off at the moment. It makes it hard to be NICE. Really. Anyway, I’m hoping to have some energy to cut stuff out tonight, but will also have all the stuff I was supposed to do yesterday and didn’t do. Crap. Oh well. It is Friday.

*Radical Face, Welcome Home

Love Was Changing the Minds of Pretenders*

Hello International Day of the Woman. Hello American Day without a Woman. I salute you both with a uterus and a few women at work in stereotypical ways…

Art Quilts and Fiber Arts

This is from my newest piece, I Can’t Be Your Superwoman, which can be seen in full at the Visions Art Museum in July. I am going to work today. Yes I know some school districts have shut down for today, but I also know my population. It’s not good for my kids. I won’t shop for anything. I might need to buy food at book club tonight, where we will be discussing The Handmaid’s Tale, which I finished (for the 17th time) last night at around midnight. I’d forgotten the ending. I’m wearing red…ironically, it is my union meeting today as well, a day where we also wear red. Not my favorite color to wear, honestly…but there’s a message there…especially after seeing how the GOP’s healthcare plan bashes women for their reproductive systems. Bashes poor women and their families across the board. How is this better for all? Their ignorance is noted. Their misogyny is noted. Abortions will be expensive and difficult to get…ironically, only the rich will be able to get them. Birth control is again on the chopping block, and maternity care…really GOP? You care about the unborn child but not the mother carrying it? It’s like going back to the Dark Ages. The elderly with no additional income? No break? Pay more. I am lucky to have a good job with good insurance. I know people who aren’t so lucky. I’m betting Viagra is still covered, and so are procedures for erectile dysfunction. Don’t mess with a man’s right to be a man; penalize a woman for being born with this inconvenient set of parts that just happens to be the source of new men (and women, hallelujah).


Rants aside…hug a woman today. Or a womanchild. Try to walk in their shoes. If you are a woman, hug harder. We need all the support we can get.

More leaves. At some point, I will have the guts to venture out of the leaves. At some point, the tree will tell me to leave. Ha. Leave. Funny.

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I was a pet couch last night for a while, until I shoved them off and to the side so I could work.

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So here’s how it works when I don’t go to bed early enough…first of all, I started cutting out pieces after doing some other stuff. It was going OK, but looking at the pile, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to finish last night. OK, no problem. I don’t think I said I had to be done on Tuesday. Just keep cutting. I’m watching Victoria at the moment, which I have some issues with (ironically feminist issues), but it’s still nice to watch. I’m tired. I look at the clock. Huh. Well it’s only about 11:20 PM…I’ll finish this episode and keep cutting and then go to bed. End of episode comes. I look at the pile of what’s left and it’s SMALL now. How did that happen? I was not paying attention. Well dayum. I’m not quitting now. It’s not going to take long. Start the next episode, keep cutting until I’m done.

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So that’s how I stay up too late, although I did OK last night. After midnight? Yeah, but not too bad. Then I went to bed and read the last 10-15 pages of The Handmaid’s Tale, because I knew I wouldn’t have time today before book club. That probably didn’t help. But that’s how my brain rolls. And now tonight I can sort pieces and maybe start ironing the damn thing together. Certainly tomorrow I will be ironing…ironing a woman down…ironing down a protest quilt. Seems like a good thing.

*Earth, Wind, and Fire, September

It’s Not an Empty Room…

Sleep, glorious sleep. Occasionally you get a night where your head hits the pillow and stays there, no flopping about, no weird noises in the middle of the night, blessedly snoozing through until a normal waking time, no alarm waking you out of a weird-ass dream that drops you into a waking world, unsure of reality. I got that last night. And part of it was the rain that came Thursday night and washed away that damn mockingbird. It wasn’t out last night either, so maybe it’s moved to warmer, dryer climes. I’m cool wit dat.

I’m posting late because I had two quilts to deliver this morning for a show that opens next weekend, Feminism Now, at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. I also picked up my copy of the catalog…they are only $20, cat-approved, and full of feminist art from the US and Sweden, which is where this show will travel in 2017.

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Midnight thinks it smells nice. You’ll have to show up to the opening to see the two pieces. I made the second one as a response to the first one, only 4 1/2 years later. And my life 4 1/2 years later is much different. New relationships, kids gone to college, making even more art than back then. I honestly think the art is my healing web, what connects all the broken pieces of me back together. I get lots of questions about how it feels to have both kids gone and then how does it feel to have both of them coming back…good, but temporary. I know it’s only 3 months, not even that for the girlchild, and this might be the last summer I see both of them. OR…like many of my friends, they’ll move back and never leave. But I doubt that. I actually had a conversation with my counselor about renting a room out to someone…what that might look like, and is it something I could even handle (as I’m sitting here in my office, getting ready to finally clean some floors a good month after they started needing it, and blasting music. Plus the house smells like bacon. And my parents’ dog peed in the hallway. That carpet just needs to go. That’s the second dog of theirs that’s peed there, and then there was Babygirl, who considered the space outside my door her pissed-off litter tray, because I wouldn’t let her in there at night.). But OTHERWISE, it sounds like an idea. I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but at some point, it might be necessary.

I didn’t make art yesterday. I came home from gaming and finished this…


Great book. Hysterically funny and yet right there on top of mental illness and other crap that fucks with you. Sending it to the girlchild. She’ll giggle on the plane to her cousins.

“You don’t have to go to some special private school to be an artist. Just look at the intricate beauty of cobwebs. Spiders make them with their butts.” Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy (she says her dad said it though…)

Honestly, all I want to do today is sit on the couch and read. But I have to work my butt off…not to make cobwebs unfortunately. I’m behind in grading again. I’m not sure how, but it has hit a level that makes me start to panic. I keep a list of assignments in a task manager, because it helps me organize and remember to grade the online crap, but also because I really enjoy checking it off and watching it disappear when I finish it. Weird, I know. But whatever. I have another book I started reading this morning. I just want to curl up with it dammit.

Sigh. And then while I was driving to deliver those quilts…

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(here’s my packing up…dehairing and cutting dowels etc.) I realized what needed to go in the space of the torso in the large drawing I’m doing…and it’s not a cute animal or a nice plant. San Diego has an increasing homeless issue here, and the problem is not just the growing number of people who are living on the streets in tents (if they’re slightly luckier) or boxes or not even that, but also our responses to them, as a local agency fills a space under a bridge where homeless folks used to shelter with sharp pointy rocks so they can’t, or a government agency does sweeps to clear areas of homeless encampments, so they have to go somewhere, people. We can’t ignore it and push it out and try to make it invisible. We need to feed them and house them and employ them and clothe them and medicate them (when possible). We need to CARE for them.

And I don’t know how best to do that, because I don’t have thousands of dollars or resources or anything but a sense that we suck. Because we often do. Anyway, that’s what’s getting drawn in there, somehow. Haven’t quite figured out the how and specifically what. I just know what it should be. A homeless woman framed in an Earth Mother who does provide shelter…safe and clean and dry and warm. And then I go back to having extra space here, but knowing I can’t afford to feed and clothe, let alone care for any more people than I already am. But maybe that will change. Who knows. I’m just thinking, not doing yet. Realistically, what would that look like? I don’t come home from work with extra energy for taking care of more people. Yeah.

So I’m gonna go work for a while, and then maybe I’ll read. Because I should be allowed to do that for a bit…and not just work for hours each day, right? Or maybe I should just fill one of those rooms with foster puppies and kittens. Then go lie in there for an hour a day, letting them romp all over me. That would be good. Anyway, it’s not an empty room yet. So thinking…and drawing…

Feminism? Or Not.

I started this post two years ago and was collecting links, but really, I should just let it go out into the world…as I tell you about the new show I’m in, Feminism Now. It’s not the 1st, 2nd, or the 3rd wave…it’s just what we are now, and if you’re a woman and you think you should get equal pay and not get harassed when you’re on the internet or out in the real world, for any reason…your clothes, your looks, whatever…then as Maisie Williams offered up, it’s not that you’re a feminist…”I also feel like we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist. People get a label when they’re bad.” And I don’t care if you’re male or female or identify somewhere else, if you don’t agree that it should be as equal as we can get it? Then you are sexist. You are making it worse for everyone with your attitudes. Knock it off.

Here’s the announcement for the show…the opening is May 14, 6-10 PM, at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. It’s during the Barrio Art Crawl, so there are about three galleries just within walking distance of Gallery D and others close by.

email invite

I have two pieces in the show about being a single mom and what that looks like…one from 2011 and one from 2016…the updated version.

This is an interesting article about sexual harassment and geek culture by Dr. Nerdlove.

Here is an interesting article about the role women’s magazines played in the beginnings of feminism. Because I used to read mom’s magazines, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, etc. when I was growing up. And they do make you question how you’re doing it…I’m Womaning Wrong is the basic message I got out of it.

Here is an article about feminism and comics, another issue…”For me, a feminist comic is one in which female characters aren’t just a plot device providing male characters with an opportunity to react. They aren’t a thing to be rescued, fucked, killed and discarded. Feminist comics show women as people, not tits and ass whose stories are only interesting if they’re sexy.” –Casey Gilly, providing a list of 15 feminist comics. And yes, there are way more than what’s here, and I love that we are now seeing choices out there for girls and women to read…because we ARE reading comics and watching sci fi and playing games, and y’all need to get with the program and respect us.

Here is a page Lucy Knisley did about nerd girls.

Here is a BuzzFeed article by Kristen Radtke called Let’s Draw Naked about why we should have more depictions of women drawn by female comics doing things normal women do…so boys realize how normal those things are and stop calling us names for being normal. And now let’s add in ideas of sexuality and trans and gender-queer and accept those in comics and stories and gaming and movies.  And even in toys for kids. The whole Star Wars Where’s Rey? issue. Seriously people. Do you HATE us?

Here is an article about a Gender in Comics panel at San Diego Comicon 2014…and I love the comment that Laura Hudson (writer, “Wired”; former EiC, ComicsAlliance) makes,  “If you’ve grown up in a situation where everything is about you and is catered to you, I think there is a degree to which equality can be perceived as oppression,” said Hudson. “If you’re used to having everything be about you, to some degree, and then suddenly it’s not, I guess in a way you perceive that as oppression.” And in recent discussions about all the superhero movies and how they portray females…sure, some of them are STRONG, but then they’re dead. Or being saved by Thor. Or whatever. Hudson continues, “If you work in the bell factory long enough you stop hearing the bells. I think super hero comics has stopped hearing the bells for a long time, but now you have other people coming in from the outside and [the gender issues in super hero comics are] very apparent. Having the Internet, having these other perspectives that are suddenly in front of us and are not subject to gatekeepers and are far more able to be heard exposes a lot of [these issues].”

Here is a blogpost about how to figure out if you’re a feminist. If you’re still reading, you probably are. If you clicked off and are now swearing about hairy women who just need a good fucking, well, you’re gone, so I’m not talking to you anyway. That’s the problem with talking about feminism…the ones who really need to hear it aren’t listening. Well, except for the boys who THINK they’re all pro-women and talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Their actions show them to be what they really are. They WANT to be feminists, but they don’t have enough empathy with women to actually BE one. By the way, this blogpost is funny. It’s not a test or anything.

Here’s an article about why feminism needs men. It’s fucking annoying, honestly, that we can’t just say, HEY, you fuckwads are doing it wrong without men having to support it for it to be real. There’s one of the major things wrong with society Right Fucking There. That said, if you’re a man and calling yourself a feminist and ACTING like it too (because you can’t just say it, you have to show it), then thanks. At least you’re not one of the bad guys.

Oh shit. Don’t accuse me of hating men. I don’t. I hate power trips and sexism and violence against anyone and I really hate that like over 60 million girls don’t have access to a decent education Just Because They’re Girls. That is truly fucked up. But I don’t hate men. Because feminism doesn’t mean hating men. It means hating privilege and inequality and violence and stereotypes and all that. Are you really gonna say you’re pro all that stuff?

Here’s an article about Anita Sarkeesian and the whole sexism in video games issue. If you’re a man who thinks there’s no problem here, wow. You need to be a woman for a month. Maybe then you’ll get it. In fact, that’s one of the things that drives me nuts. Men who don’t think there’s a problem. Way to downplay my existence, asshole. Why not speak up for women’s rights and deflect some of the rape and killing anger that has been directed at women who dare to criticize the gaming industry. Because I look at all those games and I know I don’t belong, simply because of how my people look when I log in. Even the book from Cory Doctorow, In Real Life, the young girl gamer picks an avatar who is much much skinnier than she is…and why? Because we know you don’t want to look at us any other way but cute and pretty and laughing at your jokes.

It’s not like there haven’t been new links about sexism in the last two years. I think I just got really overwhelmed by the negative vibes towards feminism…especially with politicians and tampons and Trump and pregnancy and my growing invisibility because I’m not a hot 25-year-old (wait. I never was a hot 25-year-old). Coming up next…my women’s art group is doing a show on Sexism in the Art World, and yeah, we’re going after Comicon as well. Because if we keep yelling, maybe y’all will stop. Or start making it all equal. Like it should be. So posting this now…with added content.

What Next?

With very little stitching left on the new quilt, which is being photographed Monday (that’s one in January, one in February people…don’t expect that level of crazy to continue), I’m already looking forward to the next quilt. Except it’s supposed to relate to a larger piece of mine. And I’m sure some of the artists, maybe the painters, can do two pieces in a month, but I can’t, certainly not while teaching at the same time. Then the show is about feminism, or at least the things listed on the prospectus, which leaves it pretty wide open: sexism, body image, class, race, family, gender politics, biology, history, etc. But I have a ton of my newer quilts out traveling or already promised to shows. Or they’ve been entered in shows and I won’t hear until too late if they got in or not. So I can’t base a new small quilt on a piece that might not be here for the exhibit.

So I started making a list of what was available. Like Tsunami

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I do love this quilt, but it’s more of an Earth Mother quilt. I have lots of those. And I don’t know if that’s got anything to do with feminism, except that we have a history of earth as mother, which probably leads into the female as caretaker…not just of the world, but of children and husbands and houses and food. But I think I’m pushing it with that. And I’m not getting a hit for a smaller quilt that goes with that idea.

Then there’s Spread Out on the Pavement

Nida009 copy small

Made it into Quilt National. Funny I really don’t like this quilt. Seriously. I originally drew the body, head and part of the car back in 2002, as my marriage was dissolving. Then I pulled it out 10 years later, finally able to process it, and added the rest of the truck (now it was a truck) and the eyeball tree. It has all the things that are supposed to make you feel better: meds, chicken soup. It’s not a happy quilt. Which isn’t the problem. It’s about a failed relationship. I have lots of quilts about that shit and I don’t really want to dwell on it right now. And I guess it’s gender politics, but it’s not speaking to me.

Then there’s this one…One of My Kind

NidaOneofMyKind small

I love this quilt. This is four generations of women in my family (plus the boychild, who loves that his naked ass is up there). This is all the connections and history of being a single mom, my mom holding all the things she taught me, my grandmother, long dead, her bones still in me, still part of me. Not all good, of course…she had some crazy ideas about race and my daughter’s name that kind of drove me nuts, but isn’t that how you decide who and how to be? Based on not only the good stuff you saw growing up in your family, but also the bad stuff. Stuff to avoid. My daughter mentioned something about how I had reacted to something my parents had pushed when I was younger, how they dealt with my college choices versus how I dealt with my own children’s choices. We learn from the shit we don’t like as much as from the shit we do like.

It’s a powerful quilt…that’s never gotten into any show but the one it’s in now, the one I put it in. Totally feminist. No problem. Easily could do a smaller quilt related to this. But it’s HUGE. And if there are going to be lots of other people in this show, I don’t know if I can get away with such a large piece. I’m debating emailing the curators about it. Because there are other choices. The other issue is that a lot of the people in this group have already seen the piece in the Grossmont show. In fact, about three of the pieces I thought about for this exhibit are hanging in Grossmont right now, so maybe they should just be out of play.

This is Here…it’s actually the first one I thought of…


But I have shitty pictures of it. Wonder if I should rephotograph. This one is old. It’s about being female, but mostly about breast cancer. A friend was dealing with treatments and this came out of me. I already have an idea for a smaller version of this, and it does apply to body image and biology, so it’s an easy fit. It’s also a smaller quilt. So…we’ll see.

I also considered this one, So Deep, So Wide

So Deep So Wide 004 small

But the feminist link is sketchy. And there are other reasons I don’t want to use it.

And this one, Held Hostage…which needs new photography.


And is all about the biology but doesn’t even have a uterus.

And High Tide…about being a single mom…


But not really what I want.

So I’m down to two possibilities. Emailing the curators now. That might just make the decision for me.

Then I can draw. But I need to do a bunch of schoolwork first. Heinously behind in grading. It’s a gorgeous day. Gonna sit inside and stare at a computer screen. Not by choice. It just has to be done. But at least I’ve worked my brain around this new quilt a little bit.

Considering Women in Society

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nida_5 copy

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

Nida_6 copy

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

Nida_7 copy

And it was good. She said.

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

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

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

What’s That About…

I mentioned that I had some drawings pop up in my head in the last few days. One has actually been popping in and out for about a month. It thinks it wants to be the equality quilt that has to be done by November, but I’ve already told it that it’s not what I want, it’s not appropriate. It’s interesting, because I had picked gender equality, because that’s a big issue for me, always has been, and the image that’s popping up is not a good one…and I really do believe gender equality is possible…eventually. But some shit needs to change. The boychild is an editor on the newspaper at his high school and one of the writers (female) wrote an article about why we need feminism, and there was nothing new or earth-shattering in this article, being as it was written by a teenaged girl who hadn’t really experienced much of anything, but she obviously knew the code words and the issues…but another student (apparently) at the school wrote a comment, a huge long diatribe against feminism and women, claiming she was a 17-year-old female, showing enough knowledge of the school that our guess is that it’s the PARENT of a student, but because of some of the stuff in the comment, they can’t post it online as is (because if they could, me, my SIL, and half my friends would be commenting on her ass, for sure). The assumption is that every women CAN have whatever she wants, that nothing gets in the way of that, but then some stuff about being a proper wife (oh dear, well, I’ve blown that…in fact, I can’t even be a proper girl, or woman, in her terms…and I’m so totally OK with that).

So I need my drawing to be on the good side, the positive side of what gender equality is going to look like, because I have to believe that can exist, despite some of the shit I’ve seen throughout my 47 years (as she wrote about her vast experience of 17 years). So that drawing…it will happen, but the bad version of it might need to happen first. The one where despite what people SAY, they still believe in the lame divisions of who does what, with no understanding of the work involved or the assumptions behind it. If you want me to cook for you dammit, then pick a meal and go buy the supplies, and THEN we can have a discussion…don’t drop all that shit into the lap of someone who cooks all the time and thinks of it as just more work when she is already overwhelmed…do you know how many nights I make TWO dinners, one for tonight and one for the next night? Cooking is not my friend.

On Saturday’s hike, someone (male) slapped my ass. I didn’t say much…not sure what his assumption was, but I refrained from saying something…well…rude, honestly…but it certainly reframed the conversations we’d had over the last two hikes. Women in general will talk about almost anything on hikes…I talked with women about hiking, knee surgery, hysterectomies, teaching, raising children, artmaking, sleep, hormones, allergies, the view, hiking again, shoes (hiking, not the other, plus sandals for post-hiking), diabetes, and food…and that was just today. The men? Always a different conversation. We never know what they do for a living, unless we ask (women tend to drop this info quickly and easily). We don’t know whether they have kids half the time (they rarely talk about their children…we talk about our kids constantly). They appear to have no lives. They probably would say they come on these hikes to get AWAY from their lives, but you know that shit follows you…you might as well let it out.

So if he slaps my ass again, I will probably have to say something, but I’ve learned enough from dealing with middle-school kids that I have two routes: embarrass the crap out of him (burn! as my students say), which is sometimes effective, or grab him on his own and explain that I don’t like it. Either way, I am now that feminist, eh? And I’m OK with that. So my dad and I had a conversation about that and he said there were some women who slapped his ass (which he does NOT mind, the old lech), which I think is just as bad, personally, unless you know the person well and this is part of your interaction with them. I don’t know this guy well. And that’s my ass. So get off of it.

Sigh. There I go being all confrontational again.

So instead of drawing gender equality last night, I drew one version of the bathtub that’s been in and out of my head since I saw Frida Kahlo’s version…


reminded of George Bush’s version (it scares me that I keep remembering art that George made)…


and it’s not done, and I don’t even think it’s right, but it is. She needs a head though.

May 18 14 100 small

There’s a lot more that needs to go into the picture. I need at least a half a page above this one. It’s funny…I remember being in 4th or 5th grade, Mrs. Westcott was my teacher, and she was an artist on the side as well…in fact, my parents have a portrait of me that she drew, pastels I think? Anyway, she would get so frustrated with my inability to stay ON the page. My drawings, paintings, etc. always fell off the page. My tree trunks would extend so far up the paper that there was just the bottom part of the leaves showing. I distinctly remember her pointing that out to me, and telling me I needed to look at the page and try to FIT on it. Didn’t happen. I need paper that extends automatically. Anyway. I drew. That’s the real point. It felt good. It’s such a good place to be in my head when I’m drawing. Everything else goes away.

That woman standing in the bathtub…she was a skeleton when I saw her for the first time in the drawing Saturday. Before that, when I saw this drawing, she wasn’t there at all. So I’m not sure what that’s about.

I had another low-blood-sugar event yesterday, the first since I went off the apparently offending medication. It was a strange one, too, and I’m starting to pin these occurrences on hormones instead of anything else…I was feeling nauseous but knew I needed to eat, so I had some fruit with frozen yogurt about 30 minutes before, and then it crashed…which makes no freakin’ sense. Basically I ate pure simple sugars there, and my body flipped out. Sigh. So I logged it and dealt with the ensuing exhaustion that follows, and the blood sugar came back, but it just annoys me that I do everything I’m supposed to and it still doesn’t behave. Story of my life.

So I didn’t get much cutting done, because I drew instead (plus I graded a ton of papers, which I really needed to do)…

May 18 14 101 small

But there are the bins…some slightly fuller, one slightly less full. It’s not a short process…it takes for-freakin’-ever, basically. I had hoped to be done cutting out last week, though, and you’d think with having a full day off for fires I could have pulled that off, but my brain and I don’t always agree, so I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. I do have a goal for this weekend, though, so I should get that set up (means sorting pieces into bins again…that’s a truly boring part of artmaking). But before all that, apparently I have to be a good citizen mommy responsible adult and go to work.