I Always Need It…

Twenty-four-hour break from most of the world. I did check email. I rolled on social media. But I wasn’t home, where the quilt and the copyediting are currently making me breathe fast and panic. It’ll be OK! Seriously, brain. You can do this.

Hey, Simba is OK. He was attacked by a coyote and suffered a little bruising and one puncture wound…

In his side, not the neck, which means he was doing that roll-away-from-you thing he does when we try to catch his fast roly-poly ass. Good choice, pup.

I suspect they will keep a closer eye on him at the other house now. He was barking before he was attacked, so knowing his tendency to bark at everything that is bigger and scarier than him, he was probably barking at the coyote. He hasn’t stopped doing that, as my one night in Arrowhead proved.

Anyway, so we left a little late on Wednesday to get to the mountains, but we got there…a quiet night…

Some embroidery…

Oh yeah, one more thing that needs to be done by the end of this month. I’m taking it with me today to the first day back to school…it’s all sitting and listening, things I’m not particularly good at on a splendid day, and today is not a splendid day. My high-school history teacher will tell you that this will not be the first time I’ve brought some sort of hand craft to keep me awake during the droning of professional learning, and it certainly won’t be the last.

We got up, I went in to get my boating license (I was the only expired boater), and then down to the dock…where Calli got what she really wanted…water time.

She’s on the leash because her back leg is still gimpy, and she doesn’t swim very well any more. You can’t tell HER that though. Girlchild helped…

We spent the morning there, alternating on the kayak and just sitting around reading…

The parentals will probably be selling the cabin and dock in the next year…so we should enjoy it while we can…not sure what will happen to the canoe and the kayak.

We took advantage of both…

Girlchild probably has a million picture of the dogs…

Our attempt to keep Simba’s wound clean was not so successful. Warm compresses helped though.

Boychild takes off on the kayak as the girlchild and Simba watch.

I love the kayak…

I also love to draw…

I should have been stitching, but couldn’t focus…girlchild in the kayak…

We came back and ate lunch, went to the village briefly, and then went back to the dock. Why not enjoy the water and the breeze?

Cute kids…

Calli was hurting by the end of all of it, mostly because of the climb down to the lake and back out, a few steps (more than a few!)…we all got some reading time in.

My dad was up there with us…manning the dock box and making sure everyone had wine…

I think he’ll miss this place.

I finished the drawing…I think. Working on awkward limb placement is always a challenge, especially when you run out of paper at the bottom…

In other news, here’s my piece Not Less Than at the 22nd International Open at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL…

Through the end of the month. Glad she made it there.

With that, I need to make it to school to start the 2019-2020 school year. Wish me luck. I always need it.

The Last Day of Summer

I sort of disappeared for a few days. Not really, because Instagram is easy and I was there, but I feel like it’s hard to write the blog if there’s no real art progress and all I’m really going to say is that I read a lot and hung out a lot and ate some foods. Not that those are bad things…we should all do that at some point in our lives. I just wasn’t motivated to write about it. I find that writing here does motivate me to get stuff done, though, which is mostly why I do it. Plus the whole family knows that if we can’t remember when an event happened, we can just check the blog. Which is how we know Kitten is 10 and not 9 (my phone thinks she’s both 9 and 10, and that’s not possible). Most important use of my blog? Figuring out how old the animals are. Yup.

So we were only at Lake Arrowhead for two nights…a short trip. The girlchild isn’t here for long and I have a pile of crap to deal with before school starts, which officially is tomorrow. We have Shakespeare tonight and a birthday dinner tomorrow night, and then she leaves. And school starts. And life continues.

So here’s three days of Arrowhead in no particular order. Lots of blue skies, cooler temperatures, and lake water.

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Oh yeah, and sleepy dogs. Very sleepy dogs.

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And not dogs. Also sleepy. This is what the week after working 10-hour days all summer looks like. Plus maybe some jet lag.

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She claims I took this picture last year. I did not. It must have been her other mother.

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Views of the lake.

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It was beautiful.

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That’s a huge acorn cap.

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We don’t have a regular boat. We have access to a canoe and a kayak. It works.

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Calli plays in the water, as always…

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There’s a bit of a hike back up to the car…

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I’m obsessed with manzanita at the moment…want one for the front yard…far away from the house.

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We have to haul stuff to and from the dock.

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Like dogs.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these in the water…

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More dog entertainment. We do a lot of that.

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Girlchild in the kayak…

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While me, the boychild, and my ex all canoe. Yeah, it’s weird that I vacation with my ex, but when your kid is only home for a week, you do shit like that.

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It was a little rough out there…

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Hogging the shade…

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Grandpa comes too…he’s in charge of keys and dogs and boat maintenance. Like the 17 spiders we had to kill in the canoe.

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Everyone reads. Well. The dogs don’t.

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They mostly sleep.

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Even with concrete as a pillow.

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We all had a chance in the kayak in the afternoon…there’s the boychild wandering off.

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Dad sits on the dock with the dogs. I got pulled over by the Lake Association during my kayak trip out. He assumed I didn’t have a boat license. Bam! I did. It was in my bra. I pulled it out. It was exciting. No one else got pulled over. He was probably worried about my technique.

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Whatever. Sitting around on a dock reading is not a bad thing.

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I did finish one binding and started another very-not-important one while watching a video.

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While guess who slept.

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At night we attempted this musical game…and then poker.

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With marbles, because we couldn’t find poker chips.

We had two cars because of the dogs…who found ways to sleep on the way back…

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I did a final steam iron of the big piece in the afternoon, but then was fighting tiredness and significant nausea all evening. The new meds may be the problem…hard to say. I did finally start stitch down at around 9 PM…and fought the machine for a while. It took about 5 or 6 tries to get the tension right. Aargh. It’s different every time I do it. I had the spool horizontal, but the thread was catching on the spool edge and feeding irregularly. So now it’s vertical and threaded differently than the manual tells me, but it’s mostly working. Remind me to take it in after I finish this one.

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I got most of the water parts stitched down…I still have a little bit of it plus the mermaid’s head to do.

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See? Good tension. Not a rat’s nest. Such a relief.

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I went to bed early because I was tired, but the nausea was still pretty bad. I gave up on water and tea last night and found a ginger ale hiding in my stash. It helped. But it’s way too high in sugar to drink regularly. It’s better this morning, but I’m afraid to eat anything. I barely ate last night.

Anyway, today is full of tons of things…need to find two quilts and ship them out of here, and then copyedit, and stitch down…plus be ready for school tomorrow (ugh. So not ready. Positive attitude! Um. Really. For tomorrow’s conference of random professional development? I don’t have any. Really. Can’t.). Last day of summer. It’s the last day of summer. Sigh. It’s OK…last year, I also felt like I got nothing done all summer. Seriously something wrong with that.

Art Keeps Me from Flying Apart

So I had art goals for this week off from school…and as always, I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to…but that’s OK. I got a lot done, including grading for school (that’s what I do during all those Avengers’ movies…by the way, someone needs to explain how Captain America’s actor changed his body so much in that movie, and Thor? Love Thor.), which puts me ahead for the next few weeks…that will help. I don’t have a life, so I have more time to get art done, I guess. I have even less of a life over the next few weeks…the holidays suck for that, plus the high-school soccer season is starting, plus tournaments, plus crazy school crap, plus family stuff, plus ex is going to the UK. And that Xmas holiday. Sucks. Whatever. I’ll figure it out. Anyone wanna help me with the shopping? I’m flailing.

I did all the outline quilting on the Love (not love) quilt.

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It only took about 3 hours and 15 minutes.

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Look. It’s Kitten. I’m not sure why I didn’t get more quilting done. It was hard to just quilt, even with music playing, because it’s too much free time for my muddled little brain.

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It gets upset. Angry. So then I had to go for a walk. A long walk. With a dog.


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So I did that. And found a British phone booth. Strange.

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It was a beautiful day. After about 30 minutes of walking hard and fast with the dog, I was feeling a little better. Less angry. Less sad. Not a good combination, those two emotions, especially while driving a fast-moving needle past your fingers.

Nice gate…

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This was my quilting setup…big table with machine (under the quilt), boychild often on the couch or the chair. Headphones on. Both of us.

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It really was too dark to quilt at night…on navy blue fabric with navy blue thread. A little crazy. I do this every year. Really. I do. Go back and look at November for the last I don’t know how many years. Routine.

I meant to cut pieces out for the Celebrating Silver quilt too, but that didn’t happen at all. It could have, but I was too tired. Funny, because tonight? I’m wide awake. And it’s bloody late. Stupid brain.

Last night, I managed to clean up the fabric a bit…the mess I’d left before we went to the mountains…

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It was fabric chaos…because I had wanted to get halfway through, so through the 600s…but I didn’t. Too much bullshit on Tuesday morning. Couldn’t deal. Need mental space to be able to pick fabrics. My brain has to be able to access that mellow art space where it can color the picture in my head. I wasn’t there on Tuesday morning. Too freaked out. So it waited until last night.

Babygirl has apparently decided ironing boards full of fabric are nice to sit on. Nope. Give it up.

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These were all the fabrics for the Maiden, which I got done last night…

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She got to be blonde. Her sister, the Mother, was a redhead. The Crone? She’ll be silver. I already know what her hair will look like.

Then I looked at the clock. Super late. I’m not doing much better tonight. I managed to finish off a bunch of stuff, bird and skull and big stick…

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Don’t remember what else…I’m only at piece 747, though…so 500 to go. Not ideal.

I thought about starting the Crone tonight, but I’d still be ironing now, and I have to try to get my body back on school sleep time. That means not staying up until 2 AM. So I stopped. I’m 8 hours into the fabric-choosing stage…probably got 4-5 hours left. So it’s unlikely that I’ll finish before I go back to school. That’s OK. I also wanted to finish the quilting, and I’ve got probably 2-3 hours left there as well. Because of the setup in my office/studio, it will be easier to finish the ironing before the quilting, so I’ll do that. If I can finish the quilting in the next week or so and get the binding on, that quilt will get done this month…which is good, because it needs to be photographed before the end of January. Then the other quilt, I’ll need to get it ironed down before Christmas so I can get it stitched down and quilted over Winter Break and photographed before February 1. I’d like to start another one in that time period too, so that’s on my mind. Not sure if I’ll do a smaller one (or two) first, or if I’ll do the next one on my list. We’ll see. I don’t have to decide right now. I just need a loose plan…goals to get through for December. I’ve got those. Make lots of art to distract my stupid brain. Check.

Remember how we needed white shirts for the family photo? I found this one for the boychild…


You can buy it here. He is also planning to dye his hair and do a mohawk (he has a lot of hair, so this could be really impressive). Grandma will love it. Really. (I’m not really planning on doing this. I just dream about this type of rebellion.)

I really want to be a street artist when I grow up. Street artists have this ability to paint and realize it will be gone…sometimes in days…

Amazing how they even paint over the stuff they just painted. I wanna be that free with my art. Maybe that’s my goal in the next year. Plus I want to use spray paint and do stuff that’s really big and looks awesome in timelapse photography. Plus I want to be on a couch and spray paint the ground. I have really simple needs.

And I need this pregnancy app for when I teach human reproduction…

Unfortunately, it’s not free. The useful stuff rarely is…because education has so much spare cash lying around? Seriously…my students would really benefit from this.

My mood today? I got through. I did stuff. I ran errands. I went to the gym. I finished a book, the second in a series…Crossed by Allie Condie.


It was pretty good. More YA dystopia where we try to eradicate anomalies (and disease) from society and realize that would fail because humans have free will and all. Plus love. You know. The ending was a little iffy, but there’s a third book in the series, so they had to set up for that. I would have done it differently, but I haven’t managed to write my breakout novel yet, so I can’t really complain.

Life. I get through it. Art keeps me from flying apart.


Have you noticed that I haven’t been posting about emotions and grief and all that crap? I preloaded two benign posts (I put all the pictures in before we left Tuesday) so I could write two posts up in the mountains without having to think too hard. I  figured I would have issues up there, and I did. The emotional stuff…it’s heavier now with the holidays. I was so relieved, even happy last year at this time about an issue that I thought was finally solved, that I could finally feel comfortable about the holidays and how we dealt with them, and I guess this year is proof that I knew nothing. That nothing is permanent or works out…and yes, I know that’s negative thinking, but the holidays sort of bring that out, you know? You have expectations, and this year, I had none…and I got that. Nothing. I got nothing that I really wanted, because who the hell knows what I want? I’m just moving through the days, doing the stuff people expect me to do, but not happy about any of it. Living in the moment? Really just trying not to think at all. That’s one issue I have with this concept of living in the moment…if you don’t look forward at all, you can’t change what’s happening. If you don’t look back, you can’t change where you are. In the actual moment, I don’t do anything but live THAT moment. And that doesn’t change anything for me. I need change. I need reflection.

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We go to Lake Arrowhead every year for Thanksgiving. This year was no different.

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We left Tuesday. The plus is that the girlchild wanted to drive and she’s fairly competent, so I sewed birds until we hit the mountain…

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Calli slept in the back seat with the boychild…

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She’s a very good car dog…

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As long as you don’t mind her sleeping on you. She did have an extended back seat…we put the ice chest behind the seat and covered it with towels so she COULD sleep that way, but it’s more fun to be ON someone.

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Traffic wasn’t bad. The weather was nice.

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And I cried on and off. Music set me off. Plus the holiday itself. And stupid memories. Hard to shut those off. Just stitching, my brain has too much time to wander off into sentimental crap that won’t help it. It does it anyway.

I don’t feel good enough. I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t the right thing. I know that’s not about me, but it doesn’t make it hurt less or feel better. It really just feels like shit. I wasn’t worth working for…and that’s happened twice now. Please don’t say “you’re better off…” because that just ignores the pain I’m in right now. It may be true…I certainly got there in my head post-divorce and still believe it, but it doesn’t make any of it feel any better while you’re living it. All those things we say and write…they are so meaningless, and sometimes downright cruel. Just say “I’m sorry.” That’s all you have to say. You can’t fix it, so don’t even try. There really isn’t anything you can say that will make it better. You can show me some lame comic off of Reddit or a stupid Vine video of BatDad…that might help…once.

On Tuesday night, the kids and I went to see Catching Fire


It was good, although I almost ended up in the boychild’s lap during the baboon scene. He is very tolerant. I wrote this down during the movie, a quote from President Snow’s daughter: “Some day I want to love someone that much.” Snow answers, “And so you shall.” Even the movies conspire against me. I had a conversation with the boychild…something along the lines of, “you’ve watched your mom cry for 5+ months now…keep that in mind as you are dealing with women or anyone else in the future…don’t run away…make sure you communicate and be responsible for your actions…don’t you dare do something like this to someone else. It’s not OK.” He says he knows. In the moment? Who knows what he will do or think or feel. He is very kind to me, though. Then again, I’m mom.

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This was Tuesday night’s sky. It helped, briefly. Nature helps. Beauty helps. Briefly.

I felt bad about writing about depression and grief on Thanksgiving, so I just didn’t write. I mean, I wrote here, but I didn’t post any of it. I was there with my family and friends and I should have been thankful for food and time off and people who love me, but I’m not. I’m in that mind space where I’m just surviving…I’m trying to tell that whiny voice in my head to shut up. I’m not reading blogs, because I can’t handle other peoples’ happy or thankful at the moment. I’m staying off Facebook…same deal. I have nothing good to say…all I can say is wow…this still sucks. Thus is depression, and it has its claws in me. I will get away, but not today. Today I will do what I need to do to get through, and I will try not to think about last year, because how can you now be thankful when you have less and what you have hurts all the time? And that is depression. It’s not something where I can just get up and make a decision to be OK. I have to work through it.

My dad gave me an article about the difference between being lonely and alone: I still feel lonely in a room surrounded by others. I’m not ready to go out and party. I’m still hurting and sad. It’s a sign of how deeply I was committed to what I had, how deeply I was hurt. Respect it. Let me find my own way, in my own time. I’m alone because that’s all I can handle. I’m lonely because I haven’t figured out how to fix that yet.

We came home today; I drove down the mountain. We had Pandora playing most of the trip off the girlchild’s phone, and tried a variety of ways to rig the speakers…this was NOT the best choice…

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Boychild finally typed up his essays for the University of California college app (due tomorrow)…in the back seat of the car…

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Calli had her head on the keyboard for part of it. He has now officially applied to two colleges…only eight to go (seriously). I’m feeling a little less stressed, or a little more stressed, depending on what part of his going to college I think about…paying for it or sending him off or having finally started the process or I don’t know. His actually getting in? Scary stuff. Paying for all of it while trying to budget for Christmas is a whole ‘nother issue.

We switched drivers at the bottom of the mountain (I get carsick easily, plus didn’t want to white-knuckle the trip down in the rain)…

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Calli was awake for that (briefly).

Then I went back to sewing, in the rain this time…this is where the speakers ended up…

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More crying on the way home. Girlchild notices…doesn’t say a word. I cried on the way up because she had been yelling at me, typical teenaged stuff, but I just couldn’t handle it. On the way back, I don’t even know what set me off…songs…the trip…my brain. She said sorry on the way up. Don’t cry. Please don’t cry.

I didn’t manage meditation up there at all…too tired by the end of the day. I think we saw three Avengers movies in the last 5 days, plus lots of people and food (more about that later). I really should have meditated, but would have just fallen asleep in the middle of it. I kept having dreams and nightmares…mostly dreams that turned into nightmares…makes sleep a bad place to be. The house was on fire, I kept going back for stuff, someone was helping me. Kids were little; I grabbed electronics and chargers. I couldn’t get to my sketchbooks, clothing, or meds. Calli was the last thing I grabbed. The house gets sprayed by something, but it’s not helicopters, it’s people flying through the air with their arms outstretched, spitting water from their mouths. It’s not enough. I woke up terrified. That was the nightmare. I couldn’t remember the dream by the time I had typed that out.

I meditated tonight, a relief really (remember that), but with a cat on my lap, squawking at me and kneading my thighs with her claws, while the dog cried at me with her ball, wanting me to throw it, headbutting me until I petted her. While breathing. While counting my breaths. While noting my emotions. While crying. Meditation with interruptions is still better than no meditation at all.

Mr. Meditation says I need to allow my emotions the space they need to exist. I think I do that. I don’t run away from them. They are part of human existence. We can’t control when they come and go. We can’t get away from them or control them. There needs to be a willingness to listen within. Listen to my own emotions and watch them and exist with them. If more people did that, I think there would be a lot less pain in the world. Fear of one’s own emotions seems to cause an awful lot of stupid behavior.

Despite all the bad mental stuff over the last three or four days, I found myself today being grateful for the art. I’ll write tomorrow about what I’ve gotten done, but better than that…I currently have 9 pieces out for shows, either in shows right now or traveling to a show that will open soon. I have 4 pieces guaranteed for shows in the next few months, another one that I will finish in the next few months that has a guaranteed traveling exhibition starting next winter, and another one I haven’t even started that will be in a show next January. There is no shortage of work in my head that wants to be made…one was crying out to be drawn during meditation today and I ignored it…at least for now. The art brain is there, it’s active, it’s holding my head out of the water. The art brain doesn’t mind being alone…it’s the non-art brain that gets lonely. The two don’t exist apart from each other, unfortunately though, so I have to help one to help the other…at the moment, the art brain is ruling the roost…it hears the other part, but it knows that the art will get me through…so it keeps making and dragging that part of the brain along with it. They don’t often get along, the two pieces of my brain, but they do know to take care of each other…give art brain ample time to create, but let the rest of my brain have a life outside of art, and they will both be happy. Right now I will settle for one part being hard at work and somewhat distracted by that. For now.