Maybe i am having a midliffe crisis
which means I'll live to 108 years old?
Alice says I'm bored, but mostly i feel rudderless
the boots won't stretch, because zipper, so
new boots or paddock boots and half chaps
probably to Dover and see what i can zip around my POWERFUL CALVES DAMMIT
No horse today, which is a fine thing, although I didn't read the email about that until I was half way to the barn, so I came home and did food shopping on the way to the hosue to work on more barn pieces.
I wonder if i am bored
or if I just need to recommit to something
(if so, what???)
or just rootless and wandery
I have, so far today,
- dreamed I was taking small brass nuts instead of pills
- sent my family off to the airshow
- painted some fabric using light reactive paint that didn't do what i expected it to
- unwrapped some contact printed fabric which ALSO did not do what i was hoping for - red from red leaves is fugitive and hard to accumulate (sorry Kath - I did try)
- stretched and framed the moon piece for taking to CT
- looked at MOAR framing options for the squares with circles, but i still don't like of them
- failed to respond to an email from the people with the horses i used to ride
- had a healthy lunch
- hugged my dad
I think I am letting my dim interest in painting fabric remove some of the urgency I should have around making other art works, and I could be a little less scattered and things might feel better.
who knows. I ahve an enormous list of crap to do outside my studio, and a pile of things I was thinking about inside. Something will become clear - I keep telling my dad
That kid? no not the recent kid with the mom, the previous kid with the eating issues and woo-for-brains mom and depression and on the spectrum? She's seeing actual medical people, has an actual diagnosis, has anti-depressants that are also helping with food issues and her mother... somehow her mother has been induced to understand some of what the kids is going through, and she is.... slowly better. Happier than I have seen her ever, and I've known her at least peripherally for five years now. It feels like an enormous relief, to be able to close that particular chapter in a happier way.
The other kid, with the mom's cancer diagnosis, and the drama around family and college and is sick again and that is increasingly complex.
I tossed my life in the air and ran away yesterday to see Great Kate and it was lovely. I took work to show her, and she took me to find fancy thread, and the place had sewing machines ranging from the fancy to the extremely fancy. I think it is funny and weird that the people who buy the extremely fancy sewing machines are NOT the ones doing amazing work - the quilters like Timna and other artists and quilters - those people are using basic machines with very few bells and whistles, but FAST, those things go fast enough to sew you onto your own work if you're not paying attention. It is increasingly clear to me that if I want to work bigger I need a 16-18" medium arm sit down machine. I think the Baby-lock might work but the one I was using did got feel great, and it was jamming in ways that were totally not my fault (Kate said so). I tried a Handi-Quilter sweet 16 at a previous quilt show (I think now it was four years ago) and LOVED it, so now I have two data points. I'd love to try a couple more, but I might have to go to MQX to find more than one or two in proximity.
minor migraine this morning, and not enough rain raining down. How does one convince the weather to yield a little more wet, please? I guess that is an ongoing problem the world over.
happy mother's day that I do not believe in. My mother's birthday is May 12. When I was growing up it was unclear if we were supposed to make a fuss over her actual personal day, or over the generic mother's day. Since she is an individual, it seemed like a better idea to pay attention to what she wanted and celebrate her birthday, with a nod to that weird flower day none of us believe in.
When I was a teenager with horses, the second Sunday in May was the more or less permanent date of the Essex County 4H horse show. This meant that Friday and Saturday were lost to a whirlwind of show preparation. Friday was dedicated to making sure the show would go well, including setting up rings of snow-fencing, dragging jump standards and rails in from three different families who were loaning them and setting up jump courses, western trail riding obstacle courses... you get the drift. It was a long afternoon and evening, with charming people doing hard work. Saturday was dedicated to readying the horse; think spa day for equines and you get the idea. Bathing, trimming, shining hooves, and then shutting them up so they wouldn't roll. Generally there was also a frantic visit to the tack store in Rowley, because new pieces were needed. This visit was regular enough that even now when I walk into a tack shop and the lovely smell of leather washes over me I think of Mother's Day and my mother's birthday. Sunday was the day of the show itself. My mother would disappear to help, with a coteries of other people's mothers, I would proceed with my show, and find her to share the joys and griefs of each class. Nothing could have been less celebratory of mothers than this process, and yet this is my most enduring memory of Mother's Days for years.
Once my daughter was born, my mother and I between us redefined Mother's Day as the day your first child is born. This made more sense to both of us - it let my mother keep her own birthday in the face of something she saw as a made up holiday, and it allowed me to think about mothering and how it might be better celebrated. So I'm not doing much about today, and I'll attempt to do something nice for my mother when her birthday comes early next week. I have ducked celebrating Mother's Day as a mom pretty much forever. I do have a weird little private celebration on Aerin's birthday, my own personal Mother's Day, but that is private.
so Happy Mother's Day to those who celebrate it. Moms are important - they make you and support you, they can really mess you up, we all have at least one mother figure we rely on, and we should absolutely pay attention. For people with more strained relations with their mothers, you have all my sympathy. It must be hard having something like mothering idealized in ways you never got a chance to experience. It is less that people want you to submit to the cult of mom, and more that, in their own ways, they are grappling with what they might owe their own mothers, and their own children if they are mothers. Mothers are such a large group of people, there are no generalizations that work well across them. Everyone has a mother. Everyone. We know them or we don't. They drive us crazy or support us or we support them or it was once one way and now it is another or we don't talk because they choose to be gone or we choose to be gone or they died, too soon, pretty much always too soon...
Mother's day makes me crazy, for so many reasons.
I did go ride today
it was lovely, EXCEPT
my boots are so tight I could just barely zip them up, which means
I have not been regulating my weight as well as i thought, and also that
I need to do something about the boots, because it is summer, and I cannot ride in the winter muck boots because my toes will bake and be completely and utterly disgusting and distressing. Although the gray horse goes to Martha's Vineyard for the summer, so unless I do something else in the scrounging up someone to ride department, riding through high summer is not actually going to be a problem.
- I could stretch the calfs and they would fit around my legs again, except they are not quite tall enough and make my legs look stumpy
- I could replace them with ones that come up high enough to make my legs look longer instead of stumpy
- I could go straight to paddock boots and half chaps and never think too hard about weight again, which would probably be wiser financially as well
- I could just soldier on, but it's not a very kind option
- go western, and buy cowboy boots instead. red ones.
It feels stupid to invest in boots when I am deciding to spend less time riding and when I feel like i have no goals. but I think I killed the boot curse with this pair. Because i used to ride always in cheap rubber boots, and they were fine, and when I outgrew them neither my mother nor I cared much and I could stomp through everything and not worry. And then I tried to get serious, and twice I sprung for leather tall boots and twice I stopped riding within a couple months, for long enough that the boots never fit again. This pair I got in 2004, I think, and I've used them steadily, and they have never come all the way up my shin, and as they've aged and softened, they've slumped worse... and I hate my legs looking stumpy. So much of my body is unexpected when photographed, this pisses me off aditionally. Although having my legs look wrong in irons because my boots are doing the wrong thing is insult rather than injury.
so NOw what do i do? prolly stretch them, and then decide later. I think I am overthinking this. Advice welcomed.
Aerin's home from college today, back on our side of the river. All her stuff fit in my tiny car, along with her sister and me and a bunch of dead daffodils that were making spring smell kind of funky. All her life is at the house now, and she will get it schlepped to various resting places over the next day or so.
Alice took the Calc AP test today, and then a huge Latin test and was kind of droopy when I got her after a stats AP prep session.
Al had the first tuesday night hike of the season.
Things are pretty good from one angle. And I am tired and unhappy and mildy frustrated with artwork from another angle. So.
I am working steadily on things i ahve no idea what I will do with. Ideas from Japanese thought and culture that I am probalby appropriating; drawing circles (Enso
) which mostly look like this (once I found the balance between brush size, canvas size and circle size):
and then kintsugi
, which is the beautiful mending of treasured porcelain, which when I try to do it in fabric looks like of like this:
I can think of a couple more variations for the kintsugi, and I have no clue what i'll do with them.
S is home from hospital for a while, and starts chemo May 18. i'm part of the group with calendar priviledges so i can open spaces for people to help with things like driving, and cleaning and cooking and taking someone shopping, and see how it goes.
no news is no news
S is still in the hospital with a drain on the other side of her lungs
H is finishing high school with minimum effort, and looking at prom dresses
they are determined not to stress the other with finances, which just sseems like a recipe for disaster, and I am not sure if I should say anything, what kind of authority I have to say... anything. I want to propose a radical honesty, with kindness. Too many times honesty is taken as license to be a dick, and that isn't the purpose, it just seems like not hiding things would make their lives so much easier right now.
On the pony front, no sooner do i think, and write in an email, that i am missing the horse, and the barn people, but not feeling a desparate urge to go there and go through the prepatory scrimmage and the clean up after myself... and Nuada's owner wants to know if I could maybe ride a day this week. Which i could, and it would be lovely, thank you.
I am being haunted by circles still, but they are getting smaller, and i am wavering about colors. I have a couple to finish stitching, and then I realized I have always wanted to make a mended tea cup piece - Kintsugi - from fabric. i was dreaming how to go about that on the way home today.
Oh - took my dad to see Pirates of Penzance. It was the local performing arts high school, which is a charter school, and which is lottery in not audition in, but they are excellent, and they had verve and enthusiasm which cannot be matched by geezers. My dad was enchanted and pleased. My favorite part was Ruth, the piratical maid of all-work had a GIGANTIC wooden spoon with a cutlass handle that she kept in a sheath on her belt. And she'd pull it out and smack people with it. I want one of those, please.
Poor Alice had a total meltdown as we were supposed to be leaving, so she and Al snuggeld on the couch and regathered composure. She doesn't crump so much anymore but it is still ugly when it happens. She's better now. popsicles, sunshine, and a book in a hammock seems to have repaired her spirits.
the prognosis for S just improved, mostly from seeing her surgeon and realizing she is a specialist not only in gynecological oncology (that is easy to spell and it reads well, but try saying out loud - it is a gigantic tongue twister!) but also palliative care, so not only does she have vast experience with cancers of all the feminine reproductive tract, top to bottom, she also has experience with comfort, and quality of life, and safety and all those helpful things. like side effects.
So much of it remains at the IF stage:
IF her cancer responds to chemo, THEN we'll know if she has six months of treatment
IF the treatment holds, THEN she has some more time, generally 2 years
IF the housing voucher comes through THEN they have an apartment for a year, even if it isn't in the best place
IF the food stamp people pull their heads out of their butts, THEN food is a smaller issue
IF S's change in health status makes a difference to the college THEN H's financial aid improves and she can go to college longer
and yet, the idea that this is chronic and manageable is a good one
in art news, circles. they are following me, and I shall just sit down and paint a dozen circles with a fat brush on 12" pieces of fabric.
I wish -
I spent last night's dinner in the company of hte woman who had made Godspell happen - the director, the producer, the music and choral director and hte choreographer. We drank wine and beer, we laughed until our sides ached, we hashed over the parts of Godspell that worked and didn't work, and then we segued (honestly I should just type segway there and be done with it) seamlessly into how we were looking after H and her mother S. We call ourselves the production team. BA taked point for most things, I deal with S's family who are distant and controlling, C, as a/her director, has had the most intereactions with the girl, BO is a teacher at the school and could be in trouble keeping her at her house but doesn't care, and K is clearing out a room so she can be in a huge and happy family and back with the pets.
The consensus is that I am willing to torch the relationship with h and should probably be second on the health care proxy and named in the paperwork regarding living wills and etc. So I get to talk to S about end of life scenarios, and ask pointy questions about pretty much everything. Which is going to bite.
never never never underestimate the extent to which unassuming middle aged women rule the part of the world you live in.
I don't know why kids talk to me, except I listen, which i am coming to believe is more and more not a thing that adults do for kids much less adults doing for/to each other.
I am grateful that kids with issues show up and I can listen and feed them and drive them around, and then they get it together, give or take, and slope off to the rest of their lives. I am good for temporary propping up, and listening as hard as I could. It is probably as well that we do not have an enormous house, because i would fill it full of strays and sad children, and try to make them happier.
Now I have this 18 year old, so she's technically an adult, yes? Insane as that theory is - and her mom's been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, and her mom is getting a long and complex surgery on Tuesday, and I am SO so so glad i have another mother to talk about this with. This kid is an only child of a single mother. They don't have a lot of family. They are skating along the abyss of poverty. Every time i hear or read someone complaining about those people taking and not producing, i want to scream in anger and frustration.
lots of art, no horses
Aerin was home, back and forth, over the weekend. She and Alice were doing friend things, above and beyond sister things, which makes me so unbelievably happy. Today we had a vat of chocolate mousse, with 5 spoons, in honor of something, and Aerin made Al Tax cupcakes because when he does our taxes, I make him a cake and that seemed like a good idea. In going over her taxes, he thanked her for winning a scholarship with many zeros after it, and I suggested he should make her a cake for that. So: cakes are gratitude for financial scrimmages.
spring feels so good, I have been walking to town for no good reason, just to stretch my legs and get some sunshine. And some coffee.