To Take Away the You*

January 21, 2018

I was marching yesterday…hence no post. Up too early. Left early. All that stuff.

I made my sign Friday night…

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Two sides. Last year, I knew it was going to rain and I left everything too late, so I just printed out a sign and taped it so it wouldn’t run too much…

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This year, I even managed a stick.

The rest of Friday night was pretty laid back. I was exhausted by the end of the week. Apparently, so was the puppy. Girlchild was trying to read her textbook (supposed to be done by the time she arrives in Madagascar), but really was binge-watching SVU.

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I did some grading…one whole assignment in two days. I know part of my lack of efficiency is because she’s leaving. It’s stressful to send your kid that far away. I am barely used to the 3000-mile distance. This is so far. And we know communication will be difficult. No daily texting. No FaceTiming whenever she’s stressed or wants to talk. It will be hard. For her…and me…

Simba also finds it stressful. He wants to sit on her (or someone) constantly.

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But she came along for the march…

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It was a pretty day, although pretty damn cold (for Southern California) in the beginning…

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And we did actually get a tiny bit of rain…

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And they always take too long to get us walking. This sweatshirt design was pretty awesome.

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37,000 people marched (apparently) in San Diego…more than last year. The president seems confused by our purpose.

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Honestly, sometimes I think we’re confused by our purpose. Well. I’m not. I want equal rights for everyone. I want those who are hurt by racist and sexist policies and behaviors to have a voice and rights. There’s a lot of things I want. Accessible and cheap healthcare for everyone. Consequences for discrimination. More support for the groups who need it…my students…the refugees, those stuck in poverty and affected by jailed family members and disability and familial deportations and the fear of deportation and drugs and gangs and all that shit. The threat of being sent back to where they came from…Yo! White folks who threaten this! YOU GO BACK. Seriously. How uneducated are you to think you were here first? SIGH. Oh my. Seriously.

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Anyway…we marched. We yell. I make art. I write. I teach. I hope. Sometimes I laugh.

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Oh yeah. I vote. Every damn time. All these women vote.

So two problems to solve: how to encourage people to vote, and to vote thinking about everyone on the planet and not just themselves. To vote with empathy. Then how to talk to the white women who voted for Trump…who thought that was a solution to whatever they are missing or whatever they need. I have a hard time with that…I just don’t understand. Especially those at my job who voted that way…because how can you work at my school and not have empathy for those you work with? I don’t know how to have a conversation about that. What are you trying to protect? Sigh. Big sigh.

After that, I graded some more and then went to the Visions opening…beautiful quilts by Jane Sassaman and Betty Busby…totally worth seeing those. Then dinner and a drawing in their receipt book.

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Then came home, finished Stranger Things, and tried to go to bed. Unfortunately, my stomach rebelled. Food poisoning? Who knows. I’m OK this morning. Finally got a decent amount of sleep. Still have a million things to grade, to do, to clean. And up super early in the morning to drive the girlchild to the airport. Then I count the days until she’s back, even though I know it will be an awesome trip.

*Ingrid Michaelson, Sort Of


“We Lived, as Usual, by Ignoring.”*

March 5, 2017

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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Yeah, I enjoyed my foray into the Prisma app.

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

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And they’re calling the 1980s vintage again.

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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.

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

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

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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


She Splutters Pistol Shots*

January 28, 2017

A late afternoon post…not because it’s been a lazy day, of course, but because I was up and out early, too early to get my act together on the computer. Now it’s mid-afternoon and I’ve spent three hours in an educators’ meeting for those trying to protect our students from any political fallout (wow…I don’t even know what to say about the immigration crackdown), but also to protect teachers who are facing issues with what they’re required to teach and parents or community members who are clueless. Honestly. They are clueless.

I stitched during the meeting. I listen while I stitch…

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I even sign up for committees, take notes, look stuff up, and contribute. Because I can do two things at once. Some people can’t…and that’s OK. I love being told I can’t stitch and think at the same time. That didn’t happen today, but I’m having some work-related frustration that goes with that.

I don’t get much done on these normally, because I’m not sitting in a lot of meetings really. Or I grade during meetings, because that’s a have-to.

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But now I’m on a subcommittee. Or a committee. I’m not sure which. It’s OK. It’s the stuff I’m trained for…how to protect teachers who are being told to change what they teach so it doesn’t scare the public. That’s a block from Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails Block of the Month, by the way. I’m way behind.

I had to laugh though. A few people have commented that they didn’t like the Women’s March because of the inappropriate hats…not the pussy hats, because those are cats, right? (although some were upset that we used the word pussy) But the (as they called them) Vagina Hats (yes this is related to the educators’ meeting). So. I googled that shit. Because I’d seen some hats that were what I think what she was talking about…but I also saw some of this…which I love.

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But I think they meant more like this…

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And here’s the deal. Y’all need to be educated if you think that’s a vagina. It’s a vulva. And why they’re reviled, I will never know. They bring babies into the world. They are a source of pleasure. They are a pain in the (um…) vulva because they also deal with periods and shaving stigma and all that crap, but in general, I think very positively of the vulva and its attributes. But we in America are terrified of this small stretch of feminine territory and all it encompasses, so yeah. So that means some people think it’s inappropriate. But they aren’t even educated about what it’s called. Probably aren’t really clear on what it does either. Whatever. So stay home. We’ll march for your freedoms.

Probably this political stuff doesn’t reduce my stress. But I think I’d go crazy just sitting at home and not doing something about the batshit crazy I’m seeing out there.

I came home to a really nice package though…bits and pieces of hand-marbled fabric from the Morans, who did some commissioned fabric for me years back. I think their fabric is in almost every quilt I make, because I only use small pieces and I still have stuff from way back. Seriously, I was still married when I had them do the commissions. I love this batch of colors, though…they will definitely find their way into my stuff.

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Go click on that link and get some of their awesome fabric.

Yesterday. Ah yesterday. So here’s why I got no art done yesterday. First of all, labs all week have stretched the patience of me and my coworker so thin…but we did manage to hammer out a rough version of something I will probably be drawing next week some time…

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And that’s only part of it…trying to connect all the different pieces as we go into teaching climate change. You know, that thing that apparently doesn’t exist. If you believe that, your ignorance is showing.

Here’s the branches I came home to…well, minus the huge one in the backyard. Nothing hit any structures…and they are all now cut up.

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The picture is deceptive. Two of those were heavy enough that they took me pulling with all my might to get them to that spot in the yard. I didn’t even try with the one in the backyard…it was too damn big to drag.

And then I gamed until late. No energy for sewing after that. I went to bed with my book and a cup of tea and eventually passed out.

I’m posting this for Tanya, who is worried that my house is falling down. Oh, yeah, that board that slipped? We currently have a 2×4 propped up in a cement block that is holding it up until everything dries out enough to do something.

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Of course the board with the K on it is rotten. It’s been rotten since 1998, when we moved in. They were supposed to replace it back then and we missed it. So there’s wood to be replaced and boards to be reattached. If you don’t know anything about teaching, you won’t know that making phone calls and trying to get service people to show up on our schedules is virtually impossible during the school year. I’d have to take the day off just to make phone calls, and that’s not an option. I’ll aim for Spring Break. The house isn’t falling down. I just need a decent carpenter or contractor. And money. Ha! That might be the biggest issue, as I send the monthly college tithing off this afternoon. It’s more than I get paid in a month.

Please don’t notice that I don’t have a stitch a day today. You’re right. I’ll have two done later today and then one tomorrow. I always catch up.

Yeah. It’s never-ending. I wanted to go to an art event this afternoon, but I’m tired and can’t deal with parking downtown today. So I’m going to finish this up and try to stitch down for a while. While wearing a vulva hat. Yeah.

*alt-J, Breezeblocks


This One Goes Out to the One I Love*

January 23, 2017

‘Twas a busy weekend…a march, two meetings, two openings, some level of exhaustion. School prep and grading in the middle of it. I’m still short a printer cartridge, so I can’t print anything. I think I have enough groceries for the week. I think the house and yard are still intact, although more and more damp and muddy each day.

The Women’s March was an amazing thing. A wondrous and beautiful (although slightly damp, thanks go to the other Kathy for buying me a poncho at the last minute) thing. I saw a friend I hadn’t seen for years…

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And in Boston, my daughter marched as well.

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And in Seattle, my SIL and niece; in Ithaca, my son…and about 5000 of my closest friends throughout the world (and another 3 million I’ve never met?). I feel for those women who feel like it wasn’t about them. I read one FB friend’s account of a pro-lifer told not to attend. I would have no issue with a pro-lifer marching right next to me. My real problem is when they take away my choice. I don’t want to take away theirs…I want to make sure they have all the choices available to them so they can personally make the best choice for them. They often do not want the same for me. So I guess my politics are clear. It’s funny…because some of those same people think my quilts are beautiful and amazing, but they often have these messages running through them. I guess that explains why the one quilt I did two years ago that was politics-free and only a beautiful creature covered in plants and animals (it had its own politics there) was one of the most popular quilts I posted.

The politics aren’t going away. They’re gonna get louder. There’s no other way to go through the next 4 years…loud. Nasty. Adamant. Insert your favorite descriptive word here.

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So that was all good. And now I’m continuing not just to protest with art, but also with action where I can find it…I’m starting here: with 10 actions in 100 days. I can’t go stand in my representative’s offices (although I keep getting invited to town hall coffees and the like…I’m going to make an effort to show up to some of those), and it’s really hard for me to make phone calls, just because of my job, but I can write and do other things. And draw. I can do that.

So sometime last night, late, I was going to start stitching down. I had one piece that was missing, a forehead wrinkle. I had found it flopping around and put it in the box to iron down when I ironed everything to the background, and then it disappeared. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Oh well, I thought. I guess she wasn’t meant to have that forehead wrinkle.

And then yesterday morning, there it was, in the middle of the hallway floor. Uh huh. So cat, right? Yup. Cat.

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I did iron it on before I started stitching down. There’s Simba!

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I took a break about an hour in…to do my stitching for the day. Saturday night, I managed the stitching for both Friday and Saturday, which was the curly bullions to the left of Long and the thick green grass and the & for the rest of the phrase. Then last night, I did the pink stitching to the top right…they have a name, but they always look like bulls heads to me, and then some french knots to finish off the thread.

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Then I found renewed energy for the stitch down (often happens when it’s late) and went back to it…

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I was trying to finish the bottom part of the stove…just to have a place to aim for…

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And then I realized how late it was and went to bed…

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But as you can see, there’s some feminist commentary going on in this piece. That’s always been there. It’s not going away. I don’t foresee any just-pretty quilts coming in the near future. Sorry. Not sorry.

*R.E.M., The One I Love