Not So Single-Minded…

Hello 2023. And Happy New Year to those who make a mental shift about now for that reason. We made a nice warm dinner, played a wordy game for a while (until someone got tired of losing), and then I mentally flailed while watching Serpent Queen until 11:57 PM, when we searched for a fake ball drop that happened 3 hours earlier, kissed, and went to bed. It rained all night.

The mental flail was more about what to work on…this is why I don’t like a lot of down time between art projects. It makes me uncomfortable to just SIT and not do anything. That said, I have a book I need to finish by Wednesday at 7:09 PM. I think I’m going to make it, but I had to stop reading the one I was almost done with and focus on this one, which I wasn’t expecting much of, but it is proving more interesting than I thought. I joined a new book club with my friends in the old one, this one focused on mysteries. Hoping for some more recommendations. Hoping to read more, actually. It’s been hard to fit that in once school is in. Too much visual stimulation, reading-like, for school. Not very interesting stuff most of the time. But I managed 55 (almost 56) books last year…not bad…could be better.

So I made a goal to do better in 2023. Things I care about right now: reading, art, travel, my family, my friends. My job is pushing it this year. I obviously care about it because I don’t blow it off. I just think it is taking more than it should from me. Yeah.

Anyway, what else has been going on? Well you know that drawing I started the other day? I rolled it up and put it away. I have two deadlines I’m looking at that are pretty far out, but I find both of them interesting, so I had picked one, the one I’ve been thinking about for months, but then when I got to the paper, I felt like I didn’t know enough to draw it yet. I do have a rough sketch on that paper and I’m not giving up on it; it’s just that the other one started talking to me. Mostly during this hike we did on New Year’s Eve (trying to avoid the rain and the people who like to hike on the first day of the year, by hiking on the last day of the year instead).

Hollenbeck Canyon out past Jamul…

It was nice and cool…well, actually cold and rainy at times…

Totally great for letting your brain wander around…

My knee behaved fine…I’ve been doing physical therapy and trying to exercise enough. I find it’s hard to get out of the pajamas right now. Easier when it’s cold and wet to just stay on the couch and not do anything.

But I feel worse after that. So this is better. I think today is officially the last day of break when I have nothing that I have to do on my calendar. Which sucks. Lots of work and medical stuff over the rest of the week, with a little art stuff sprinkled in. I guess I have to think about work. Don’t want to. As usual.

ANYWAY, back to the drawing, I had done some research (I like to research stuff) and came up with some things tickling my brain, mostly Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy (my goodness, how DO you spell that…ah, one more capital letter). And some other stuff. Anyway, I cut out a piece of paper, walked away from it, and then started drawing.

So far, I’m all in pencil.

Yeah, I need to put the Xmas stuff away. Didn’t want to pull the boxes out yesterday with all the rain and wet. Maybe today.

So I will probably start some ink tonight, then some more pencil. Today is the boychild’s birthday. He is getting old enough that it makes ME feel old. Until it doesn’t. Because I’m not that old. Anyway, I don’t think any of that will stop me from drawing tonight, but I do want to get to a stage of this piece that is easier to do with less energy before school starts, because I know I will HAVE less energy when school starts, both mentally and physically. I’m having to full-on STEEL myself for going back (you can do it, one day at a time, you will get through it). Maybe that is always the case, but it seems worse right now. Certainly I feel in giant flail mode.

I have been slowly trying to stitch my way around this giant-ass quilt…

And I finished the April Homegrown blocks (Sue Spargo) finally…moving on to May now.

That sun in the lower right block took a goodly chunk of time on New Year’s Eve. And thread!

Oh yeah, more of the piñata show at the Mingei…

Not what you would expect from a piñata show…

Definitely worth going though…

Just think of it more as papier-mache sculpture. Plus the Mingei has other funky craft work all over the place…

Gotta love a giant Earth covered in beads.

Nova would. If she were allowed to.

Instead, she loved me.

Right up there in your face.

OK. I dreamed (nightmared?) about not having a shower last night. I’m not sure why, but it made me really want one this morning. I have a quilt to quilt, a drawing to draw, and a lot of work to work. I’m hoping to do some of all of it. Also need to pack up a fabric donation box or two, plus cut up more blocks for a donation quilt. I’m liking deadlines that are a long ways out so I don’t have to be so single-minded about making, although it freaks me out when I don’t have something to be single-minded about. I also need to read another third of my book so I finish it before it’s due (I figured a third a day would work). And enjoy the last day of break before the have-tos really kick in. Seems doable.

“We Lived, as Usual, by Ignoring.”*

So I was trying to pick a place for dinner this week, a celebration dinner, and I was cruising through Yelp…one of the restaurants that I was considering (and now am not) was Bo Beau, one of the Cohn Restaurants here in San Diego. They have great food and interesting restaurant environments, but on their menu is a statement, a political one for sure, that I just don’t agree with…so I won’t be eating there. Ever. It’s that statement that they will be including a 2% surcharge to cover increased minimum wage and health costs for their employees. You know, most grownups who run a business realize that this is a good thing for the people they employ, that even if you don’t personally want to pay for better wages, for wages that actually might support someone, you should keep your mouth shut to your customers. Because you just lost one…well, and since I influence a few others, a few others will also not go to your restaurants now. Any of them. Good job. I teach the children of some of those minimum-wage workers, Cohn Group, and your lack of respect for their needs and for the vote of the majority is telling. Telling me to go somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong…wrap that surcharge into increased prices without making it sound like you object to paying your lowest-paid employees more? I have absolutely no problem with that. I want them to be paid more. But stop whining about it. I’ll go somewhere more mature about people’s rights to a fair wage.

I’m in political brain mode at the moment, drawings slamming into my head. Wish I had time for that. Part of it is the next birthday, age 50. I’m OK with achieving cronedom in general (wish my uterus would get the hint), although in the specific, there are things I would change in my own life. But that’s a work in progress, always. But the daily wham of stupidity and disregard I see in my elected officials? Sheesh. Meanwhile, my book club is reading The Handmaid’s Tale, which I read when it came out or soon after…1985…the year I graduated high school.

Here’s my cover…it fell off this time I started rereading it…


Now I just marched in January for women’s rights…because I’m tired of being told I’m not worth as much, I’m not as smart, I can’t make decisions, I’m too emotional or illogical, or whatever other bullshit you’ve come up with about my DNA that makes you think you can decide for me…


The variety of covers for the book over the years is intriguing…how they decide to depict what the story is about. I’d forgotten about the personal part of Offred’s story. I remembered the main part. It’s been a while since I read it last…


Pears. Pears?

I also marched for women who couldn’t march. I marched for more equality for ALL women. I realize being white makes a lot of things easier for me than if I were any of my students, women of color, women with disabilities, women of a variety of religions, immigrant and refugee women. It doesn’t make sense to just fix it for the rich white chicks. It’s been unfair for so long…even more so for others. I’m tired of it.


Don’t tell me to smile, to laugh, to ignore. Don’t shut me up. Don’t tell me to be nice. Don’t apologize for me.


Some women having more rights than others for any reason doesn’t make sense. A bunch of rich white men making that decision doesn’t make sense. Why would we want to go backwards?


This cover completely creeps me out. It’s from the first edition hardback released in Canada in 1985, artist Gail Geltner…a collage artist and feminist.


I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane last night and there was a creepy moment in the movie when the male character couldn’t come up with the word “woman” with regard to the main female character. Although she was obviously an adult, he used “girl” and “princess”. As creepy as the movie was across the board, that moment sticks in my head. Like YIKES.

No video for you though…sorry.


Yeah, I enjoyed my foray into the Prisma app.

This is a nice cover…except why flowers? Because she’s fertile?


And they’re calling the 1980s vintage again.


This cover…there’s pills and syringes and umbrellas and gloves and nooses? With your umbrella? The bleeding heart flowers…those are from the book.


I actually think this is the best cover of all of them.


If you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s relatively short. And Atwood is an amazingly eloquent and psychic writer.


Here’s the whole picture of the wall (a WALL?!) that’s on my cover. A wall? Controlling women? Controlling immigration? Getting rid of the constitution? Protests? Oh sigh. It’s going to be a long presidency. At least I know there really was a conspiracy against those with uteri…I didn’t imagine it. It just wasn’t in my face all the time. Now it is. Thanks.

With that, I’m going to wear what I want to the grocery store and read the signs and buy what I want, even lotion if I like it, and I’m going to come back and make some political art with a uterus in it (oh wait, dammit, there’s no uterus in this one…just a vulva big enough to hide the world in). And you can’t stop me. Yet.

“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Genetics Followed by a Bit of Quilting

I managed to get in two hours of quilting last night after going to listen to a science guy talk about genetic engineering. It always sounds so good when you talk about curing diseases or conditions, but scary when you think about modifying food, or the consequences of messing with the other stuff. For all we know, without my diabetes genes, I’d be someone totally different. I’m thinking of the study they did on the foxes in Russia, where they linked fur color to tameness (along with a lot of other crazy things, like floppy ears). So there’s a risk in fucking with DNA…no cancer, but everyone is a ginger? Probably not a bad thing. Or we all have floppy ears. Somewhat goofier looking.

This week is crazy for meetings out of the house…wish I could spread them out a bit more during the month instead of having three in a week, but it doesn’t work out that way. I haven’t finished my book club selection, but I read it when it first came out in 2003 or so…Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. Read the whole Maddaddam series (more about fucking with genetics! A trend!). Definitely good stuff. Atwood has always been one of my favorite writers. I don’t remember what professor made me read (and then watch) The Handmaid’s Tale, but I thank them mightily. I’ve read everything she’s ever written since then.

It’s still warm here in San Diego…we were promised rain, but it’s been reduced to a tenth of an inch sometime today…much less than the half inch plus they said we’d get starting yesterday. It’s cool enough though that the animals are back in the office with me fulltime (it is one of the warmer rooms in the house). There’s a bit of competition for space, jockeying for position, although Calli is never on the desk or chair or table, so that’s a plus. Midnight likes to lie behind the machine though, even while I’m quilting.

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You can see how close she is…you can even see when my machine was last serviced. I was looking for that label. Usually they put it on the inside so I can see it. Good to know I have some time before I need to take it in. Yup, I take it in once a year. I use this beast more than most people.

Calli inhabits the floor. If I’m lucky, she doesn’t lie right behind my chair, like she is right now. She was completely zonked out yesterday.

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Too much excitement? Probably not from me.

I didn’t start quilting until 9:30, because I didn’t get home until 8:30 or so and then I had to eat.

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Around an hour into it (while I was stitching down those tiny powerlines and electrical towers), I was yawning, tired, wanted to go to sleep. Nope. I need another hour. How about another half hour? See, my body does tell me to sleep. I just ignore it. And if I really had gone to bed then, odds are I would have been lying in bed for an hour, unable to fall asleep. That happened Sunday night and it was later when I went to bed. My brain really doesn’t get it.

Apparently bullying through makes you wake up (or the caffeine finally kicked in, hard to say), because I managed a second hour. While I’m sewing, I set goals…I’m going to get this part done…all of the left breast and the arm…

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I did actually do that, but by then I was awake and it was more a matter of looking at the clock and reminding myself what mornings feel like with not enough sleep, and the fact that I teach 7th graders, which are more than a bit demanding of my energies…well, then I set a different kind of goal, like you are going to bed when you finish that left breast.

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I just happened to sew a riveted heart and a bunch of nuclear plant towers as well.

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I listen to myself about as well as my students do.

There’s a pin in the heart because I didn’t sew that keyhole down…missed it. So I’ll do it after I finish outline quilting probably. Sometimes I end up doing them at the end, assuming there’s more than one. I was going fast, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more than one.

So the first figure is barely started, the bottom border is completely done, and the second kneeling figure is done except for her (very complicated) head, right arm, and right breast. I need to do some writing tonight as well, but should be able to get her done and start on the other figure…because this is just the outlining. It’s quilting the background that’s gonna kick my ass. Dark blue thread on dark blue fabric, sewing mostly at night. Yeah! That’s how we roll.