Passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Deep Shit*

It’s one of those introspective weeks. I want to get more art stuff done, but there is so much other crap that needs doing…plus honestly, spending time with the monsters kind of takes precedence. I say that, but I’m stressed about getting the art done that NEEDS to get done. I have deadlines. I’m not a flake. I can’t ignore them. And my brain keeps getting tied up in knots, tripping over itself. I wish it would just get ON with it.

It doesn’t help that I’m still dealing with grief and depression, or both, or some sort of frittata of the two. Even the counselor was trying to decide which…she thinks I’ve been suffering from a low-level depression for a long time (yup. agree. since about March of 2012) such that I don’t know how to NOT be depressed. But there is definitely a difference between how I was feeling then and how I feel now. Now it is just a dead, empty feeling…a constant sad, even when things are good. The things that made me happy, joyous before? Even when I was depressed? They don’t. I keep doing them. I know I have to keep doing them. The art is part of that. I get a sense of peace from certain artistic tasks, like drawing and tracing, but some of it is just like work, and finishing one part just means there will be more work. There is a sense of relief from finishing a task, but not the sense of celebration, hallelujah, that I used to get. I think that just takes time. Some people think it takes meds. I’m not in that camp yet. I don’t see how that will speed things up…it will just put the emotions off, over there; I will still need to deal at some point. I’d rather deal now…even if it’s fucking slow and hurts like a bitch. I can take it. Better now than reliving it later.

And that just fucking sucks.

Today? Today I should be celebrating my ass off. I finally FINALLY finished quilting the Love (not love) quilt…

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Yup. I hunkered down a couple of days ago and thought I would be done, but the thread conspired against me and kept breaking and there was cat hair everywhere and I just didn’t have the stamina.

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Yes, it takes fucking stamina sometimes. So it took a total of 7 hours and 36 minutes to quilt that sucker. I’m buying binding fabric tomorrow. I won’t finish it until 2014…there’s really no point in trying to finish it as a 2013 quilt…it’ll age out even sooner.

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I started quilting it over the Thanksgiving week break, so it took a month. I was kinda lame during that month though. You have to get into the rhythm to quilt and I didn’t get there. It’s not a huge quilt either…so who knows what my problem was.

I also finally finished cutting out the damn pieces for the Celebrating Silver quilt. Here’s the trash…

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I’m scared to throw the trash out, in case I messed up and threw a real piece in there (it happens). It took me a total of 15 hours and 35 minutes to cut all those pieces out…

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I started on November 25 and have worked pretty consistently on it. The pieces were fussy…that’s why it took so long. Tomorrow I’ll sort them and start ironing. I realized I probably have 40 hours left in this quilt and only two weeks of break left. Insert panic here. I’m figuring another 15 hours to iron it alone…so that’s my New Year’s Eve plans right there, eh? Yes, I’m a loser. I do actually LIKE working on quilts as the year changes over. Maybe it will signal a better year for me.

Insert conversation with counselor here. We’re having some growing pains, the counselor and I, wherein she believes certain things and I believe others, and the two are not meeting in the middle. I don’t think it’s a death sentence to the relationship, but there is some understanding that needs to happen. Meditation usually helps me with that…it seems less judgmental…more supportive of the shit I am dealing with. There’s the semantics of “letting go” vs. “moving on.” I think I’ve done the first on some level, certainly in my head, but am completely unprepared for the second…and probably that will be for a good long while. It’s not just a matter of trusting others…you have to trust yourself, and that’s a harder deal for me at the moment. I get real caught up in words, in what they really mean. But there was the question of what is making me so sad? Is this grief? Depression? Does it really matter? What did I lose? Did it ever exist? My brain worries these things into the ground and comes up gasping for air and weeping disconsolately. Fuck. Just shut up. This is why I go to the gym and read books…so I don’t have to listen to my mind trouble things out. Meditation has been very relevant lately…when someone else does something wrong to you, you are the one carrying it around. You can’t control what others think and feel…you can only deal with your own response…so that is what I’m trying to modulate…my own response. I need peace and resolution within myself. Everyone else can go fuck themselves right now. I just need to give my own head the space to heal. I’m doing that on my schedule. If you think I should be further along? Well whatever. You can think what you like…it’s not my reality.

This all comes back to finishing…finishing things should feel exultant, joyous, successful…like achievement has occurred…and it doesn’t. I just try to fill the empty space that is now there with another project.

The cats have been helping in here…really…

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by leaving fur everywhere…

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I had to pack up two quilts for a show opening soon and the cat hair was the biggest issue. I dealt. I deliver tomorrow. Two more to be delivered in the next three weeks. These are not bad problems to have. I just wish they filled me up with some sense of achievement. Instead, they seem to magnify the emptiness. That just really sucks. I hate that feeling.

Jake…Jake was farting heinously tonight…

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But we played with him and I think he even got popcorn and maybe some chicken. Big mooch. Girlchild was in a mood, alternately happy and psycho angry. It’s kind of typical for her…

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I have to go to a thing next weekend and needed a nicer top for that, so she helped…but really, she wanted to shop (and she did, and hey! The 80s are still back and are still frightening). I managed to get her to stop watching sitcoms for a while so I could finish cutting pieces out (I have a very low tolerance for stupid happy)…

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This is the embellishment I finished last night at the alumni game…

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Not much of anything, but something. I’m grading stuff too, a little at a time. I’m trying to be efficient, to make lists, because otherwise I just completely forget what I’m supposed to be doing. My brain is on vacation in Tahiti and it’s not answering texts. Asshole.

I finished this book today…Hammered, by Kevin Hearne…


It’s the third book in the series of the Iron Druid Chronicles…there are three more books out in this series, which is considered urban fantasy. The main character is a druid, but there are witches and gods and vampires and werewolves and demons and all sorts of good things going on. This was a good book…the last one, there was some argument about Hearne’s treatment of female characters, but he riffs on that in this book, talking about the macho imperative. I will keep reading the series, but need to get through some of the other books on my docket first.

*the title is from Hammered, Kevin Hearne. It’s how many days feel…better than being in the valley, but still in the shadow.


I’m feeling more and more braindead this season. Intellectual conversation? With whom? Occasionally a kid or two, but on nights when they are with their dad, the conversation is missing. I talk to the cats. I read. I talk to nothing human. Seriously…I have talked to no one since 5:25. Before that, it was the guy at Petco who wanted to know why I looked so tired (gee thanks mister). That’s it. I joined some groups where I might be able to get some of that conversation, but it’s hard to fit it in to days when I don’t get to the gym until almost 6 PM. Am I really thinking I’ll be going out after I work out, shower, and eat? That’s after 9 PM? Yeah. Not happening. The non-gym nights are taken up by kid stuff and soccer games.

Then I realized it’s already December 10 and I haven’t dealt with Christmas much…I usually send a letter (um. yeah.) and I need to do the online shopping like very soon. Plus there’s all the holiday parties with potluck stuff, because I have time to cook as well. Sigh. I’m not a fan of this time of year. I say no to lots, but there’s some things I just can’t get out of.

So once I had finished the gym and feeding the body (don’t really care much about food any more), I had an internal debate between the brain that wanted to draw and the brain that was worried about getting everything cut out before Winter Break. Drawing won.

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It’s been a while. I have about 17 drawings in my head. I’ve taken notes on some of them; they’re on my phone. This one obviously isn’t done. More crone/menopausal stuff. I do have a couple more in the sketchbook that I still haven’t finished, though. I need some concentrated time to draw without other things weighing on me (cough school cough). I’m already thinking ahead to what’s next, trying to make plans.

I’m hoping to finish the quilting of the Love quilt sometime in the next week (it’s probably only an hour or two), plus finish cutting out all the Celebrating Silver pieces. There’s a soccer tournament right before Christmas that will eat up a ton of time…I’d like to have the quilt all ironed down before Christmas, but I’m not sure I can pull that off. I need to have the Silver piece done by the end of break. I think I want to do a couple smaller pieces to start the new year, but there are also two larger drawings I’d like to make into quilts. BUT, I have another piece I have to finish by November as well. I haven’t drawn it yet…maybe my goal over break is to just get it drawn. I think I’m OK on time even if I toss another big quilt in there somewhere.

Of course, reality usually kicks my ass, so we’ll see. I like to make plans, though. People always tell me how impressed they are by how much I get done. I write it down. I have time spreadsheets in my head. I hold myself accountable here. I probably chastise myself for not getting stuff done too much…obsessive? Yeah. I guess. It’s a drive, though. It’s so strong, I feel sick when I don’t make/create. It’s worse now…miss one DAY, and I start to get antsy, like I’m coming out of my skin. It really is my sanity at the moment.

I finished Kevin Hearne’s Hexed tonight…


It’s the second book in the Iron Druid Chronicles…easy but interesting read…vampires, werewolves, druids, witches, and a variety of gods and goddesses…always fun. Quick to read and enjoyable. Not sure what book is next on the list…there are quite a few. There’s another book club book, plus the third book in a series I’m reading, plus I don’t know what else. Hard to choose sometimes. I have about 6 real live paper books on hold at the library, some are on their way for pick up and some are hold 43 of 280. I don’t know when I’ll see that one. Then I have another 4 books on hold through the online library, which is the same library but a separate lending system, which is often confusing. Then the girlchild has a couple real live books for me to read and wants to loan me a series of three or four books that are on her Kindle, which means I have to be able to read them within 14 days, because that’s how long she can loan them to me. Confused yet? I am. I see so few people reading these days…except for Facebook and email. It’s sad. I love reading.

I also seem to be getting back into reading graphic novels, partially because of NetGalley, but also because I just like them. I don’t have the money to go to the movies as much as I used to, so this is the next best thing, when I can find them free…which is hard sometimes, because I like the more alternative stuff and it tends NOT to be available that way.

Anyway. I blame my braindead status on reading and drawing tonight. Oh and the gym. I don’t know if braindead is good or bad. I did meditate too…it talked about change. Do I want it? Yes I do. I just don’t know how or when. That’s always the problem, though, isn’t it? I don’t want to change so much that I am no longer making art or spending time with the kids. I don’t need something big. I need a change IN me more than outside…a change in how I feel about life, because this isn’t fun. But that’s the harder thing, isn’t it? Being able to change this cloud over me, the hole I’m in…that’s just slow and plodding. There’s no magic wand or pixie dust for that. Meanwhile, my brain is blank. Maybe it’s just tired. Try again tomorrow.