Sigh No More, Ladies, Sigh No More*

Up with the sun. OK, maybe not quite. I honestly don’t know when the sun comes up until I’m waking up significantly BEFORE that. I’m not a morning person. I’m not even an 8 AM person. Never have been. I do it all the time, get up early…I’m just not happy about it. I went to bed early last night knowing I’d have to be up even earlier than I am on a regular school day, just so I can get to the church on time (OK, that sounds totally wrong if you know me…just know, the first event of the day is at a local church, which yes, I object to…so much for separation of church and state.). Some kid is dropping me off. A teacher friend will ferry me to school. Another kid will pick me up. I don’t wanna try and park with the throngs. I hate throngs…unless I’m dancing at a concert. Then throngs are good…until they spill their beer on you.

WHOA. So philosophical this morning.

I have my computer, my sketchbook, my weekly journal thingie (bujo), my iPad with a hefty book on it that I’m really into and would rather be reading than doing just about anything else, and some snacks, all packed in my bag. I’m ready. Have I told you how much I hate forced professional development? Yeah.

With the new school year starting, teachers set resolutions…we do them now instead of in January. Well, some people do them both times and I often do neither…but my resolution for this year is patience. It’s hard for me to be patient. But the book I’m copyediting right now (and hopefully finishing this weekend) is all about traumatized kids in the classroom. I’m pretty good at patience with most of them…certainly in the beginning of the year. Adults? Not so much. So patience. With the process, with the demands on my time, with kids, with dogs, with cats, with my own children, with my parents, with the bagger at the grocery store (I’m really always patient with them). Patience. Remind me of that some time in October. I’m going to need it.

I had some tasks for yesterday…first, ship these quilts off to Missouri, where they will be in eXtreme Fiber Art at the IdeaXFactory in Springfield. The show opens September 7 and continues through October 26. I’m looking forward to seeing photos.

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It’s nice to be invited into shows. This is my second this year. I’m waiting for my Quilts=Art=Quilts rejection…they’re old school and still send by mail. I know those on the East Coast got theirs two days ago. I’m expecting mine today. Oh yeah, it might be an acceptance, but I just assume rejection so I’m totally thrilled if it’s not. OK, so that’s kind of cynical…but I’ve entered a shitload of shows over the years and been rejected plenty of times.

Kitten will be happy for me. Once she gets her belly clean.

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Or she will be totally sympathetic for about 4 seconds before she whacks me for petting her wrong.

Then I copyedited for a while, finished the first run through finally. And then did more on the stitch down. I’m just short of 4 hours in…

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I finished the entire water area, the volcano, and the brick wall on the left side. So maybe I’m halfway through? Hard to say. I did mean to get more done yesterday, but we went to our annual Shakespeare play last night…in Balboa Park…

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I swear I post this picture or some version of it every year. We ate in the park beforehand and then saw Much Ado About Nothing

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Which I liked. Better than a history anyway. We got home late and I was tired. Plus I knew I’d have to be up at the butt crack of dawn (probably not really…now I’m going to have to look up sunrise…oh damn. I was up before dawn. Fuck me.), so I went to bed (gasp) before midnight. Welcome to my tiredness. Tonight is the girlchild’s last night here, so we are going out for her birthday dinner. Tomorrow I have all day (and night…the man has another reunion gig and I can’t crash those…well, easily anyway) to stitch, so my plan is to get it done and then pinbaste this fucker and start quilting by the end of the weekend. Because then all my days are gone. FOREVAHHHHH. OK. Overdramatic much? I am actually. Sigh.

*Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

In the Dark Backward and Abysm of Time

Shakespeare? Why not. I’m reading a book about World War II and time travel…Shakespeare was quoted. I don’t know yet if I like the book…but I liked the phrase. It’s a good description of trying to look back and figure out what happened in your life…and of what the brain does in depression. Of where you are. Of how hard it is to get out.

I worked on the drawing again tonight…

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It’s not done and now it needs another page below it. I don’t know what it means. It’s about getting old…the body aging. It’s about depression. It’s about being in the dark backward. That would be a good name for a quilt: The Dark Backward. Missy’s in it. Lots of my animals show up in my quilts. They have wings when they die. I guess that symbolism is obvious. This one needs Christmas lights too, but first I have to figure out the sides. You can’t see in this picture, but the paper is sideways and there’s a lot of space on each side. I think I was originally going to have her sitting with her elbows on her knees, but now she’s not. I don’t know what’s going on now. I just know I need to draw down more. Then maybe I can figure out the sides. Dream about it. It’ll come.

I also spent some time going through two of the smaller sketchbooks, marking drawings for smaller quilts. I may go copy some of those this week, although…deep breaths about this week. Not worrying about what hasn’t happened, but planning would help, and I’m not doing a good job of holding my head together well enough to do that. The big extended family Christmas party was today…not fun. It’s OK. I only cried twice…so I managed control best I could…until I meditated, and then it all fell out. I cried through the whole thing. He wants me to reflect on my pattern of breath, which is freakin’ impossible when you’re sobbing, because your breathing is so completely fucked. Yeah. So.

I’ve completed 100 days of meditation. I think it’s helping. I don’t know if it’s that which gives me some distance, or if it’s the depression dampening all emotions except sad. I’m less reactive. But I’m going to say (and hope) it’s the meditation.

I have lots of good family photos from today. Somehow I managed that. I didn’t socialize much. I’ve never been good at that, even with my own relatives, but today I was fragile and couldn’t handle much of anything. Oh well. Moving on. Family photos will follow when I have time to go through them all.

Girlchild drove up and back, so I sewed some more…

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Damn crazy birds will never be done. I think they’re almost all sewn down. I have 5 soccer games to go to in the next week; that’s a lot of potential sewing time. I also heard for the first time my daughter’s mom voice, as her cousin was kicking the back of her seat and she chastised him. That was amusing.

I know what my counselor will ask me about the party: “Did you have fun?” Not really. I enjoyed some moments, like the boychild analyzing pie cutting and giving me the physics equation for whether his cousin could be thrown down the cliff by a gust of wind. But I rarely have fun there. In 46 years, I think I’ve missed 3 of them: one year I was in the UK, one year I was pregnant with the boychild and really sick (he was born a week after Christmas, two weeks early…I spent most of the day asleep on the couch), and the one year two months after my husband and I separated…I just couldn’t handle it. I sent the kids with their grandparents. I was actually sick too, so I had a good excuse…really sick. But I also didn’t want to go. It’s the sense of failure, I fucked up, I couldn’t do it right. I have that now too. But then the smart part of the brain kicks in and reminds me of my kids and how amazing they are and my art and even sometimes my students, and I think I haven’t fucked up totally. I think that’s the hardest part of this time of year, being around all these couples and families and thinking you did it wrong, that you didn’t mean to do it wrong, but that’s how it turned out, and you really don’t know how to do it right and you’re not sure you ever will.

So I will just get through the holidays, the dark backward. I will just get through.

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The sky’s been amazing lately…way more amazing than this photo…I seem to be pretty good at appreciating the sky. It’s hard not to look up at a beautiful sky and feel some sense of relief.

Think but This, and All Is Mended…

Today was better. I drew last night for 2+ hours. I think that made a difference. It certainly wasn’t exercise (did that) or sleep (didn’t do that) or a decent meal (sort of) or anything else that happened during the day. I read a little, I meditated, but the drawing was what helped me focus my brain on something BESIDES all the crap and the sad. It’s strange, because I’m actually DRAWING the sad out, but somehow in being in that creative space, in the deep drawing alpha brain, the emotional stuff is flowing from my brain through my fingers out the pen and ink onto the paper, and it seems to stay out of my eyeballs and tear ducts. The emotions are there, but they’re not acting on me. I think the biggest problem is that sometimes I’m so emotional that I just CAN’T draw, I can’t even put pen to paper. So there’s some balance, fine line, cosmic something going on there. I can’t force myself to draw, but if I’m in the right frame of mind, it all comes spilling out.

Not so today. Today was busy. School was busy. After school was busy. The kids, their dad, and I made our annual pilgrimage to the local Shakespeare festival to see Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of my favorites. I’ve seen it 3 or 4 times on the stage, and another 2 or 3 times in movies or on video. This presentation was good, and it continues through September 29 at the Lowell Davies Festival Theater, the outdoor theater near the Old Globe in Balboa Park, San Diego. I love this theater. We go to two or three plays each festival season and enjoy all of them, but this one was especially good, with wonderful fairy costumes and a great Oberon character. I almost lost myself completely in it. That’s a good thing. We were lucky to get free tickets this year through a friend of the ex’s, who also got us food and drinks (we owe him)…and we had front-row seats, so we could see the fairies up close (one was planking in front of us). I love that my teenagers laugh at Shakespeare’s jokes. Next week is Merchant of Venice.

Oberon and Puck

(Oberon and Puck, photo by Jim Cox)

And yes, I’ve come back exhausted, but maybe that too is a good thing. Falling asleep has been an issue, but I’ve managed to stay asleep for 4-5 hours each night. I’m like a baby sleeping through at 6 months, eh? Sad but true. If I take myself to bed with my book tonight, maybe I can fall asleep quickly and dream of Oberon and Puck tweaking my fate, dusting my eyelids with potions that make everything wrong then right. Fairies chirping and gurgling in my sleep. Nice to think someone might be watching over you.

Tomorrow I can draw some more. In fact, I think I will just draw every night, and when someone wants to know why I haven’t graded anything, I will just tell them that I was drawing instead. I’m sure that will be OK.

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends”


–Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare

I do need Puck to come around and fix everything for me…