Friday, August 31, 2012

I'm not ready to have another birthday! I'm not ready to have this birthday. I don't think I get to be ready though.... :-/

Work at the blueberry farm is done. I have been asked to come back in March so as to learn how to prune the bushes (happy dance)! Am looking forward to that, but first have to get through the winter. Picked up a bunch of birch firewood logs (free)...some aspen. A few of them are heavy and green and need to be cut into firewood lengths, but since they are free and good firewood, I'm not complaining. They will be dry enough to use at some point. Still having issues with the water pump.

The piano seems to be different on this version, more intricate, more....I don't know. I'm not feeling especially articulate right now. Whatever it is more of, I like it that way.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Maybe love and acceptance, in a pure, enduring sense, don't really exist. Maybe I'm a deluded soul for thinking otherwise. Maybe my expectations have been all wrong. Maybe what other people call love is a combination I'll-scratch-your-back-if-you'll-scratch-mine + mutual attraction. (ugh, what an awful idea!)

Maybe they're right.

Maybe the men who have said that all men are like them, that men are inherently not gentle, that they can't help hurting me or being rough....are right. Maybe my expectations for acceptable behavior are way too high. Maybe other women do like to be pounded and handled like a piece of meat and the problem was in me, not in the seemingly brutal men. Maybe all those things are normal. Maybe I am in a state of unreality to think otherwise.

I can't accept that. I don't know anymore how things are supposed to be, what is reasonable of me to expect or want. I don't know. But....I am a stubborn thing. I can't help being this way, being hardheaded. If they are right, then I guess they are....but I cannot bring myself to give up on wanting something different. Maybe I am sick for thinking that when you love someone, you don't give up on them, to think that there should be something lasting and dependable and reliable in life, to think that it can be different. I would have to admit that all the hard evidence supports the other side much better than mine. But I don't want to live in such a world. I can't resign myself to that, to believing that that's the way things really are.

There are breeds of dogs that have something called "rage syndrome" occur more often than in other breeds. If rage syndrome is hereditary, then it isn't always an owner's fault when a dog goes bad, but that's a separate topic. What I am wondering is whether there is a human equivalent, what is going on in the dog's brain when the rage syndrome has been triggered, and so on.

I know from raising and breeding dairy goats that there are strains and even breeds that are more aggressive, nervous/anxious, intelligent, emotional, calm, loud, quiet, stupid, etc, than others. There are steps that can be taken to play down these traits...sometimes. For example, you can take a kid from a line that's nervous and bottle raise her (or simply habituate her to humans while her dam is raising her, which is what I'd do), spend a lot of time with her, etc....and she will turn out better than if she hadn't been worked with....but the tendency to be anxious will still be there. Aggression can be situational (crowded conditions and scarcity of resources result in a LOT more aggression than usual) but there's definitely a genetic component, at least some of the time. My observation has been that there are some that should be given up on or that I personally cannot deal with (loud, unintelligent drama queens)and others (like the fearful ones) that can be helped and that show enough improvement to be worth helping.

Animal rights people say that we should never, ever give up on any dog. I don't agree with that. Sometimes putting the dog down is the kindest choice for everyone.

Quakers say that we should never, ever give up on any human. I think I mostly agree with this. I do think that there are certain humans who should not be allowed to run loose in society at all, ever. I also agree that prison reform could be a good solution for many people whose lives are being destroyed, that they could lead productive, happy lives. Being able to distinguish between these two groups is essential. I struggle with the idea of being able to see "that of God" (and for me God would be not a person but a concept of order, sustainability, continuity, life energy, etc) in people such as sociopaths. I want to be concerned for and interested in justice for perpetrators such that they will change in a positive way, but to be honest, I am far more concerned about protecting their victims, defending them, etc. People tend to be interested in helping a victim (of whatever, whether a house fire, death, rape, etc) immediately after the event and after the initial hoopla, not so much....even though the trauma can take years to resolve or never really be resolved at all, not entirely. Any one person only has so much time to invest and if I am honest, I would much rather invest that time helping victims than the people who hurt them. I feel like a bad Quaker for saying that.

I also feel very conflicted about the "mind our own business" stance that many Quakers take regarding domestic violence and abuse. Why is slavery wrong except when a child or spouse is being enslaved and abused by their parent or partner? Where is the consistency? Why is domestic violence "not our business" and something that we should "stay out of" even when it is right in our own Meeting, but helping hard core criminals that we don't even know is our business? Is it easier to help people we don't know and to ignore those whom we do know? Why? This seems all kinds of wrong to me and I am not prepared in any way to accept it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No college this semester, not even the ceramics class. I feel like never going to finish this stupid degree, only two classes away. And it is an associate's degree for Christ's sake. I will try to come to terms with this and with my failure to progress in life in general...but not tonight.
This was my first day in tech processing at the library (still volunteer). So far I am getting new books ready for the shelf. This process involves all sorts of little steps that I just took for granted before...but it's a lot of fun and is calming, methodical work, but not boring (because of the books!). The girl who is training me is about to have a baby so I need to learn as much as I can before she goes on maternity leave.

Otherwise...filled out an Asperger's inventory (part of the never ending psych eval saga)and as usual, felt devalued, hopeless and profoundly dysfunctional by the time I was through. One of the questions asked if I'd had an imaginary friend, either in childhood or now...I turned to my friend and said, "Yes! That's it! I do have an imaginary friend, his name is (not going to write that here)!" She said that wasn't what that question meant because you are a real person....but I wasn't exactly joking. :-/

Monday, August 27, 2012

Today was less productive (hauled off a LOT of garbage cleaned up from the property) but still, we got a reasonable amount done. I am having more and more difficulty waking up at 4 am to get everyone going to the blueberry farm. Well, I wake up, but actually getting out of the time I get up it is closer to 5, or worse. Oh well. My dreams have been....I don't know what they were. They were good, not in an extremely good, extremely interesting way, just...calming, quieting, stop being so freaking upset because it is OK, sorts of dreams. Cannot remember any details or sort of substance at all.

And then, the day sort of continued on in that vein.

I think is so easy to get upset, and then to think it over to death and get more upset...and then to look for or be hypersensitive to the slightest of things to verify whatever horrible end result I arrived at, which will continue the cycle of being distraught....and it can be really hard to get out of that again. It's like one piece of something aversive, whether true, not true, etc, drops into my lap and I immediately run right over to my closet (storage unit!!) of painful horrors of the past and try to figure out what matches up with this new piece, where it fits in, how do all these pieces come together and make sense? And I end up building some sort of a Frankenstein that scares the hell out of me and hurts me, forgetting all the while that if I made it, I can take it apart again....

I mean...there are nice pieces, beautiful pieces...pieces that make everything else seem bearable and worthwhile...that I take out and look over and cherish and put away carefully again. But people tell me that these pieces aren't real, that I'm mistaken, that only the awful ones are genuine. The nice pieces felt real. I look at them and they look real. I can definitely see how they don't match up with the ugly pieces, and maybe that's why they say that.... But they are mine, and I need them. I need to know that life isn't always ugly and painful. Other people don't have to validate or know about them.

--->How can I get to the place where, when something aversive drops into my lap, I stand up calmly and walk away from it without going into that cycle, to begin with?

The other two alpacas, the one whose owner says they are spoiled, are not Huacayas; instead they too, are Suris! So it looks as if we will have four male Suri alpacas chomping on the vegetation and....hay. About the hay: I had no idea how little alpacas eat! One bale will last an alpaca ten days. I was worried about the amount of hay we would need, probably thinking of the goats and all the (very high quality second cutting alfalfa) hay they needed. Grass hay is cheaper, the bales are lighter and easier to handle....and we will need so much less of it.

Edited to add, also, she said they are not friendly and spoiled? They work with these animals regularly, walk them, feed them treats out of hand and pet and cuddle with them....they may not be friendly as dogs are friendly, but they sound very friendly for alpacas! By spoiled, I guess she feeds them fruits and veggies year round as treats along with their hay and gave them a kiddie pool to cool down in during the summer (their fiber is very, very warm).

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This is really funny....poor guy!
Somebody keeps reading the post where I talk about writing and editing the other blog. That post is so short and insignificant that I can't understand why. So, just in case: here is the link to the other blog (because trying to figure out why that post is so fascinating is really perplexing me!): Idaho hard times.
Found a Spin Off magazine in the free magazine section of the library! Rumor has it that our library used to carry it, but they don't now, so this is the first one I've gotten to read.

Yesterday was fairly productive. The Sandpoint Friends were having a bake sale at the farmers market to raise money for the food bank. I had committed to making gluten free scones for this bake sale (at least one other Friend is also gluten free and GF items are not always easy to find at the farmers market) but for a variety of reasons, decided to use a bag of gluten free brownie mix to make GF brownies instead, which was fine. Did minor networking there.

Picked up stock panels (2) and the cup leather for the pitcher pump. We replaced the flapper leather a day after my son sliced his thumb open in an attempt to make our own. For the price of the stitches required to sew him up again, we could have purchased a few brand new hand pumps.... We had used up considerable amounts of water (about ten gallons!) trying to prime it to get it to work before I began to realize that the cup leather also needed to be replaced. Once the hand pump is working we will have water on demand for uses other than drinking. Until we get it tested for drinkability, I will continue hauling drinking water, but having this water available for all other uses will be very useful and save a lot of work. We could always boil it for drinking, but boiled water tastes lousy. I thought about buying a wooden pallet to use as a gate for the pen, but they were $2 each and I have seen them free elsewhere.

On the way home, stopped at the dump. Now, my dumpster diving years ended largely when I left my mother's house and completely when I was no longer living on the streets. While I heartily dislike the amount of perfectly good stuff Americans throw away (if not for use as intended, then it could be recycled) and my frugal nature screams at senseless waste....I also distance myself from those folks who tear through the garbage bags (literally! ugh!) in the dumpsters. Even when I was thoroughly destitute, I didn't do that, just as I never once panhandled or held up one of those awful "will work for food" or "need cash, please help" signs. One has to have standards even in the face of extremity. With that in mind.....I was appalled at the amount of waste. In the metal pile, there was a stock tank, a giant sea chest, a perfectly good bicycle in working order....and the guy came out of the building to tell me that none of this stuff was up for grabs, it gets crushed for scrap. He said that the wood, on the other hand, is free for all. There were countless pallets there for free, a nice wooden bunk bed, various shelves and dressers that probably could have been fixed before they got thrown there, and....lumber and firewood, LOTS of it. There was pressure treated lumber, beams, planks, wooden doors, plywood, wood that is only good for very small projects or to burn....I could not believe the sheer quantity of usable wood. There were actual rounds of firewood logs.... I am not going to have to buy any firewood. Probably it is more tasteful to buy wood, but this wood is in a pile of only wood, there's no garbage or stinky stuff on it, and I cannot in good conscience pay people to cut down trees for me to burn when this wood is getting thrown into the landfill. Much of it will not even need to be sawn; it can either be broken in half or is short enough to burn. Unbelievable.

Next: went home with the best gate quality pallet I could find and two rounds of firewood, unloaded the stock panels and showed my son how to connect these to make a sturdy round pen for the alpacas. Put the cup leather into the pump, reassembled the pump but lacked sufficient water to prime it....gathered dirty laundry, cleaned out the van and removed the last seat so as to make room for the alpacas (they fold up and so can ride easily in the back of a minivan). What else....oh, I don't know...I did a lot. The plan was to pick up the alpacas today; I am not sure now that this will work out but I am ready if it does. Otherwise, we will do it next weekend and will have an intervening week in which to put field fencing up for them. The round cattle panel pen is for rotational grazing, not a year round pen.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I have the two Suri alpacas reserved and already another lady is offering two more! Um....they do taste good. If hay were free I could take all four. However, the lady says that they are not friendly and that they are spoiled. I think I might stick with the first two Suris. It will be challenging enough to provide for them; will have to find a work in exchange for hay situation!

It's not a bad day. Yesterday kind of sucked. It wasn't awful, it just....the only way I can say it is that while I am no longer at an acute level of distress, the long term, cumulative element is just as bad in it's own way. Every day that passes only underscores all the things that I better not start thinking about right now if I don't want my day to start going downhill......

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This is not a good day. But...I will try to either make it better or get through it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It looks as if I may have found some Suri alpacas, for free. If so, time to start building a little barn! I am pretty excited! (And, will have to bring in hay, which is not so exciting, lol).
The locks are changed, windows locked. If he comes in again, I guess I will call the police. I don't know why he doesn't just write a list of stuff that is his and still in the house, instead of barging in like that. I don't want his stuff; it is just that so many people have lived in this place before and after him that I have no idea what stuff belongs to anyone except for the things that are mine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Came home to find that the former renter, who hasn't lived there for a year, came into the house and took a lot of stuff that I guess was his, including the bathtub. Yes, that's right, the bathtub. The health club's amenities are far more appealing to me anyway: shower, sauna, steam room, hot tub, pool, etc. But that's really not the point: to have some stranger going through my stuff and setting it aside, rearranging things, being in my space, feels highly invasive. Also I cannot stand the way this guy smells. It took weeks to get the smell of him out of the house, finally it has been smelling like home, and then he comes in and the house stinks like him all over again, ugh!!

But also, he's schizophrenic and has those crazy looking eyes. I know this from all the photos and various ID cards that were all over the place..... I have never met him and don't want to.

Clearly something has to change. I can't live like this, feeling anxiety and apprehension every time I come home, wondering if someone's been there, if someone might still be there, or if they might come back! I could not sleep all night, feeling hypervigilant for intruders, and the dogs kept barking at something out in the yard or woods. Changing the locks tonight and I guess if this continues, I will be forced to pursue legal measures. :-/

Monday, August 20, 2012

Where did I ever get this crazy idea that what I think or feel is of any consequence?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A few weeks ago, I was explaining my reasons for wanting to switch therapists when my friend asked me, "Would it help if I told you that that wasn't something he ever wanted with you?"

I felt eviscerated, speechless, blinded by pain, dissociative....and then you drove in, only seconds later. In retrospect, I am not sure why she thought that might help. It didn't. It only hurt, and kept hurting. It's only in the past week that the answer to her question has come to me:

No, that doesn't help. Rubbing my nose in that sort of thing does not help. Please stop.

What on earth makes anyone think that I ever wanted for the person I would fall so hard for to be you? I didn't want to find myself in such a problematic mess. I never asked to feel bonded to someone to whom I mean nothing at all. It takes years and years for me to heal from this sort of thing and if I'd had a choice in who I would feel this sort of intensity for, I would have tried for something with more certainty and less risk. But we don't get to choose who we just doesn't work that way.

Cannot seem to locate any Killarney Red seed garlic. Might end up having to replant from the best of what I just harvested, take good care of it, and replant from the best of that.
The hardneck garlic, Killarney Red, cleaned up, came out to about 7 lbs. I planted less than a lb. What I planted was very nice sized eating garlic, not seed garlic, I didn't tend it as I should have, and so only one or two of the bulbs is the same size as what I planted. Clearly, next time I need to use seed garlic, weed and water it more faithfully in order to get nicer bulbs. Still, it's edible and this is the garlic that was grown for personal use.

Not happy with the delightfully soft, gentle brown alpaca fleece that I have. My friend says this fleece is "tender", that it has brittle tips that break off. This could be nutritional, stress related (for example, if the alpaca was castrated while he was in fleece, that would make the fiber a smaller, weaker diameter in that time frame in the fleece, so it would break at that point) or could be due to my handling of it. She uses a dehairing machine that doesn't do well with soft, fine fiber. I used hand cards. The fiber is exceptionally long, about 6 inches! At that length, it could well be that it has gotten sunburned on the tips. Another factor in play here could be that I am spinning it too finely (can try a larger diameter). Or, maybe the fiber is not suited to carding because it is very fine and soft. I will try spinning it directly from the lock and see how that works out. It is so deliciously soft that I'm not ready to give up on it yet. The alpaca who made this fleece has been slated for dog food this winter....if I can find out why his fleece is this way and solve this, there is a possibility that I could buy/get him and rescue him from that fate....

Scanning the art has not been going well. I know: how hard could it be? More difficult than I thought it would be, that's how. :-/

Dreams....with shades of nightmares. Your voice, down a hall, coming closer. I couldn't see much of anything, my contacts were so gummed up with salt and proteins that everything was just a blur. Trying to clean them off, trying to be able to see again.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Scanning the 2007 artwork. It has a lot of water damage; I am grateful that the damage is confined to an inch or two of the edge at worst, however it still pisses me off that the water damage is there at all. These are colored pencil drawings which took me days to complete. I don't remember exactly how the water damage occurred or who did it, although I do remember screaming, really screaming, when it happened. Anyway, the cardstock it was drawn on is large, 12 inches square, which is a bad size for scanning, so I have been trimming the damaged portions off and then trimming some more in order to balance the composition out again. The drawings were done in relation to the paper they were on, so I'm not sure that they look right trimmed, but it's better than showing water spots. One of them (the only one without water damage!) is too large to scan without taking it to a much larger scanner than I have at my disposal right now. It goes almost to the edges on all sides, so it cannot be trimmed- good thing it has no damaged areas!
Trying to figure out why the hell they are celebrating fashion/couture in the Olympics closing ceremony? Why? The music and featured musicians are pretty cool, but for that matter what are they doing there? This looks like a celebration of British culture, and in my not very humble opinion The Olympics are about celebrating athletic achievement and excellence and that should be the focus here. :-/
Reconsidering the alpacas. Suri alpaca fiber is expensive. Also, if I were being handled by people I wasn't familiar with and having those things done to me, I also would react badly. These animals were not habituated to being handled or worked with. That isn't necessarily their fault. A goat that was hardly handled would behave very differently than one that is worked with every day.

Some of the alpacas were awful. They spit gobs of green slop all over, screamed (they sounded very much like my youngest son when he's having a tantrum/screaming fit), peed, crapped, reared and struck out with their front feet, thrashed....and when I say screaming, I mean that some of them screamed for the entire 15 minutes that it took to shear them, really loudly! But then there were others who submitted to being tied up, laid down, shorn on one side, flipped over, shorn on the other side, given a shot (wormer), and having an ear tag punched through their ear, all without complaint or struggling. Some of them winced and blinked their huge, liquid eye in pain as the ear tag was inserted, just suffering quietly, waiting for it to be over. And when it was over, they stood up and walked off, looked dazed for a moment and then went to find their herdmates. The snotty ones looked around indignantly when they got up and would spit at you if you were close to them or made eye contact. So what I am getting at is that I don't think it was fair to paint them all with the same brush....

Today's goals:
  • To scan more art to upload online.
  • To card and spin some of the alpaca fiber that I have, get an idea of how it handles.
  • Various small things to take care of, paperwork, business stuff.
  • Clean/braid garlic
  • Seriously consider how and if I am going to be able to take that ceramics class.
Hung the kid's laundry up to dry, made another garbage run (there is so much junk on this place!).

Friday, August 17, 2012

Is it inappropriate, shameless, or distasteful to actively seek out more regular modeling work? I do not want to model for photography....artists only...and preferably a group, although if there were an extremely trustworthy, very non-threatening artist I might consider working in a studio.

I think people are still a little weird about art modeling and nude art in general, at least they are in northern Idaho. I do not understand why the nude body is inseparable from sex in the minds of such people, especially when the genitalia are not even showing! (so glad I'm not a man, when it comes to modeling!) Perhaps that are unable to distinguish between porn (sexy poses, women looking like they want to be fucked) and nude art (aesthetically pleasing poses which has more to do with shapes, planes, light/dark, line, etc and very little to do with sex). Anyway, my point of view is that if I approach the topic in a straightforward, matter of fact way, then it is more likely to be perceived in this way. If I am all secretive and shameful about it, then it will be perceived as something dirty, as something which it is not. Perhaps this is a bit naive.

The laundromat isn't my favorite use of time, but I was running out of familiar things to wear. And those kids!!!! Tell me one good reason why I should pay to dry their clothes in the dryer when they treat their clothes as badly as they do! It might be mean, but I'm seriously tempted to line dry their clothes.

I am having a great time shelf reading at the library, finished weeding the field of blueberries I was assigned to, and am trying to talk myself out of a nice, cold americano coffee after the clothes are done. Last night, got significant cleaning done in the shed behind the house (lots of garbage) and hauled off the garbage. There is still a lot of cleanup all over the property and need to start getting firewood in. Anyway, it's been a productive couple of days, but there is still so much to do. Thinking about curtailing the number of days I go to town (including to work) due to the amount of gas the traveling eats up.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I write such horrible things sometimes.....I get so defensive, so reactive, everything hurts. It's like having an abscessed tooth that sends you way beyond the pain threshold every time something enters the mouth which is not exactly the same temperature, or too hard, or too sweet, or whatever... and then there's the constant awareness and being careful and afraid of anything that might trigger it to flare up into being insanely painful again..... I am often ashamed of how badly I cope with this whole thing.....

I can't shake the way I feel about's like the way mycorrhizae work their way into the root system of a plant. It's like asking a lichen to purge itself of the algae in its makeup. asking a cell to give up the mitochondria that didn't initially belong there at all. I cannot mark you out of my mind, out of my heart, replace you with someone else. It doesn't work that way. I can only try to be inoffensive...try to strengthen other areas of my life...try to hide the limp.

Spent the day helping my sheep shearer friend shear her alpacas, only it turned out that she had a surplus of help. I felt a bit like a fifth wheel....but it was fun nonetheless.

Have decided I don't want to raise alpacas. Maybe 2-3 Suri wethers, but not as a large scale thing. They cost about a ton of hay to feed per year ($125) and the fleeces go for about $40, so it would make more sense to just buy the fleece, unless I got them, had them shorn and then ate them (they taste wonderful)... They are very picky about hay, will starve if you don't allow them to waste it, but more than that, I don't find them personally satisfying to work with. They look cuddly, don't they? Well, they are not. They don't even like to be looked at, let alone touched. Some of them have personalities that are pretty horrid. On the other hand, I wouldn't feel bad about butchering them for meat, because they are more like livestock than the more personable goats. The Angora goats, on the other hand, are easy to raise, not as mischievous as dairy goats, friendly, witty and much more therapeutic than either alpacas or sheep. They reproduce at a much faster rate than alpacas, have fewer birthing and other health problems, are easy to handle....and are shorter so would be more suited to grazing underneath fruit or nut trees.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Planted most of my perennial herbs in the Holzer style raised bed. It now has, on the peak, sugar snap peas just coming up, an apple seedling, a Rosa glauca, and on the rest of the bed (especially around the perimeter at the base), spearmint, peppermint, comfrey, chives, monarda, calendulas, valerian, borage, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, rosemary and others. On the sloped sides (about 45 degrees), I will seed in a late summer sowing of lettuce, spinach, broccoli and other greens which will mature before the ground freezes. It was satisfying to get this done before leaving for town in time to get to my first appointment of the day which was....

Orientation for my new volunteer position (the idea here is to prove myself as a volunteer and get hired eventually, hopefully a sooner sort of "eventually" than later. I love it here already. I can hyper focus and perseverate on order and categorizing all I want and they'll be tickled pink about it! :-)

Then I spent some girl time with my daughter, because it's her birthday. We were short on time due to being sandwiched between appointments, but hope to plan some more of this at some future time....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Small babies crying...the lady must have twins or two babies very closely spaced. One is hurt, the other is hungry. I can tell by their cries. It is very hard not to offer to hold one of them. :-/ One would think that, having had six of these cute little instruments of sleep deprivation, I wouldn't still have the whole mothering urge thing going on....but the truth is that I like babies and I like toddlers even better. Probably a good thing I can't have any more. :-(
I try to stand up straight, to don dignity as though it were a garment, to act as if I'm pretty. I manage to fool quite a few people. But in the end...desolation. Because you remember my weakness, my flaws, you see through it all....and I never, ever, feel good enough, not anymore. But it's the only thing I can do to save face, even when I feel so lame...I hate having to pretend that these things don't hurt.

I hate it, I hate it. I don't know what I have to do in order to be human in your eyes again.

Monday, August 13, 2012 seems like my goals in life had something to do with sustainable farming and art. I'll admit that the goals weren't as defined as they could have been, particularly in the art department (antique apple trees and other fruit/nut trees, cutflowers, rare chickens, angora goats and sheep, etc was pretty specific)...but there was some kind of a direction there. That got derailed when I realized that there is just no way I'm going to be able to buy a farm unless I win the lottery or get a job that pays well. Also, I wanted to be a good mom, to be there for my have a relationship based on love and equality, trust, respect, with actual communication going on. So, that last part probably isn't going to happen, and I don't want any more dysfunctional relationships.... I had all sort of personal goals...

I mean, I think the goals, the general direction, is there, it's just that sometimes I lose hope and it all seems pretty impossible and unlikely. Not only There are a lot of times when I live primarily for my kids...or because the Friends at the next Quaker meeting will want me to be there....or because I just cannot bear to make that phone call. If I could get the motivation back, probably things would improve.

At any rate, today I was assigned to the landscaping and weed maintenance of the farm we've been picking at. The kids can still pick while I work. This pays better and looks as if it will be more stable.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sad. I hurt. Talked to a fellow potter yesterday at the Arts/Crafts fair; this guy has made a life of pottery and has a lot of wisdom and perspective to spare, and he gets right to the point and doesn't mess around playing nicey nice, although he isn't unkind either. He remembered me from last year when I was looking for apprenticeships, asked me how I'm doing since then, regarding my work. Told him. He said the reason I'm not getting anywhere is that I don't have a goal, I don't have a vision. That was uncomfortably close to home. He said that once I find this goal and decide what I want to do, then I can do it and things will work out.

Woke up this morning and saw that he was right. My life is this horrible amalgamation of broken dreams, derailed goals, hopes torn and tattered to shreds by various means and for various reasons. I have lost the courage to try, to dare to hope for anything, to plan or to reach for anything, have resigned myself to believing that I am a person for whom things simply do not work out. There isn't very much that I care deeply about anymore, and people criticize me for quite a bit of what I do care about.

I don't know how to fix this. I have no idea... It's all so senseless, so pointless. I am drifting at sea without any direction, only clinging to some piece of a shipwreck. They want me to forget you, but the memory of your voice, your smile, your eyes, is what sustains me.

I don't know what the answers are to any of this. :-/

Friday, August 10, 2012

Starting to set up my fine art america profile so that prints and cards can be made and sold of the work. I will admit to being a bit dubious as to the likelihood of this actually happening, but so many people have said that I should have them made into cards that it seemed worth a try. For now they are only available in cards.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Yes!!! I get to volunteer at the library! :-)
Landed another modeling job unexpectedly. It went very well, paid well, the group had artists who are serious about their work (the other group does too, actually). There is something very therapeutic, empowering and centering about art modeling. Getting paid to feel healed, in unity with my body and to be an element in the art process seems almost too good to be true. Make no mistake: it is work. It can be hard work and be physically painful. You have to take it seriously, do your homework and really think about what a pose will offer in terms of line, negative space, balance of expanses and details, etc while still being a workable pose that is possible to hold for an extended length of time without moving at all and hopefully without being in pain...and personally I pick poses that are not explicit or sexual in tone, because it is not about sex, it is about art and the beauty of the human form.

One of the artists gave me one the the drawings he did! I've heard that this sometimes happens, but it was a first for me. The pose was very similar to the one in the link I am about to post here. The funny thing is, I hadn't seen this guy's work, but this is a pose that I could have done (feeling the pain in the elbows looking at it though) and the emotion being expressed is very close to the one that I used for my pose, which was sort of a slightly opened up version of the "I hurt so much that I never want anyone to get close to me again, oh my god I wish I could have a hug because this sucks, instead I will curl up in a ball, pressing my face and heart to the ground/bed", position.

So here is the link; funnily enough it is also the pose he gave me the drawing of! :-)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

When I close my eyes, I see.....blueberries. Clusters of big, ripe blueberries with the bloom and dew coating their lush oblate forms. I guess picking blueberries for hours on end will do that to you, but I'm still not tired of them yet!
This was supposed to be posted last night just before midnight....somehow it didn't.

Waiting for my son to arrive (flying in from visiting my dad). Since I was in Spokane anyway, went to the arboretum. Now, understand: I love the arboretum. I love all the trees there. But when I go there, the stewartia pseudocamelia is foremost in my mind. Sadness and longing lurk in the background of my heart. I walked past all the other trees, went to this one, embraced it with the sort of familiarity and affection as one would hold a lover....and felt peace. I cannot say why this tree is so special to me. Even if there were a number of others of the same species, I think I'd still prefer this one. I only know that as special as the other trees are, they pale into the background when I think of or see this one.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Can a person find life meaning in a vacuum, that is to say, isolated? If so, how? If not, why?
Think I am falling in love with blueberries....the plants, not only the berries themselves although those are great too!

The week is quickly filling up with a glut of appointments, work and such. And I got another modeling job, for which I am very happy. Different group this time, so hopefully they are all adults and professional. I am allowed to bring a drape, so if things are not entirely comfortable, will use that. :-)

Sunday, August 05, 2012 idea, a concept, a theory.

Inside each of us, there's a compartment where we keep...what to call it? It's like ATP for the soul/heart, currency for one's wellbeing and sense of worth, but unlike currency it doesn't get used up, although some of it may at times be rendered invalid. This ATP for the soul is indispensable; without it you die. This is why infants who have never been held or cuddled die; they didn't get any of that very necessary commodity.

When you have a hard time, a blow to your self esteem, etc, you go to a storehouse of this stuff and use it to repair yourself inside, to reinforce the broken places. If you have a lot of this currency, you heal more easily than someone whose storage room or treasure chest of it is close to empty. The harder times are, the more you have to draw on your reserves, but like I said, it doesn't generally get used up, which is good.

Where do you get it from? Is it love? Positive self esteem? Some of it has to come from childhood or as I said above, one would have died or withered away within. Positive achievements can add to this currency, but in my opinion, the most valuable source is from the warmth of other people or living beings (so yes, animals would count). I have thought about what sort of input generates this currency and have come to the conclusion that the main requirements are that it must be believable and meaningful. For example, fake compliments ("good job!!!!!!" for small, routine accomplishments) lack power and meaning so are no good as currency. Telling a little boy that he is very good at something he doesn't appreciate is meaningless, so that also lacks value. Input from a complete stranger or someone you have no respect or feeling for similarly will lack meaningfulness, maybe pennies compared to the same input from a much loved grandmother or role model, being gold coins. It doesn't have to be a big thing either. Some of my most valued currency is made of simple things; a small gesture, knowing that I matter, a sense of solidarity, a single sentence.

Okay. So, let's say that you have a spouse and they've put lots and lots of currency in your emotional treasure chest. Then you find out that it was all a joke; they don't really care for you, they just wanted a generic person and you happened to be that person. You might as well be made of cardboard for all they care, and oh my god, that hurts, because they meant a lot to you. I had something like this happen to me once; it sucked. Eight years of meaning essentially nothing..... So what becomes of all that currency you thought you had from them? It's mostly counterfeit. Along with the agonizing pain of what has just happened and the crying, screaming need for some nourishment for the heart/soul, your storehouse has just lost a lot of what you thought it had, sort of like losing in the stock market. That's a bad place to be and it takes a lot of time to accrue more currency. Also, the people you'll accept it from in the future might be more limited due to the sucky experience you just had.

And that's kind of the position I'm in. I need the soul ATP in that treasure chest, but the list of people I'll accept it from is limited, sometimes due to trust issues but also because it often doesn't seem believable to me. Sometimes it feels like people are trying to declare some of those gold coins counterfeit; they don't feel fake to me and I cannot understand why they would want to deplete a supply that's already sort of slender. So I hide them within myself. They're mine, after all, I don't have to expose or share them or divulge how much of what kind of currency I have. Some of it could be phony, I really don't know...but all of it? No.

Meanwhile, probably I should work on generating some more, for safety's sake. And it makes me very mindful of the need to supply my children and those that I love and care for with this food for the soul. One cannot only need...and it doesn't cost anything to give it.

Thought I had left my art stuff in the van of the friend I rode to Yearly with, but she says she hasn't seen it and will check just to make sure. The bag contained all of my Prismacolor colored pencils (they cost about 2 dollars, each and there are between thirty or forty of them), most of the Liquid Stylist pens (which is why all the work is going to be done in red until I find them or buy more), other high quality art pens, an entire set of bamboo crochet hooks and the mohair yarn I was using for the Irish crochet project.

What can I learn from this? To branch out and make use of materials which are not my favorite? I do have a habit of developing a preference (usually extremely narrow, singular) and then sticking to that. This habit extends to every facet of my life with only a few exceptions (there are areas where variety is nice!). Or, is it about being disorganized and having too much stuff, such that the things I like best are not sufficiently cared for and kept track of? I need organization desperately.

Was thinking about this last week as I put my favorite polo shirt on. It has favorite status due to it's fit (just right), composition (all cotton, no synthetic) and color (exactly, precisely the right shade of sky blue). It has a 50 cent piece sized bleach spot on the lower back. I wear it anyway because I can't see the spot when it's on me. Looked in the mirror...oh, that spot! Ugh! Had to tuck it in. Then, had to wear a belt because it was tucked in. Sigh..... The solution is to buy at least one more polo shirt just like it. There is only one bra that I like to wear, which means that it must be washed often (while grudgingly putting up with a different one). Again, if I had a few of these I could throw away all the sorry substitutes. Etc....

I need to see these flowers, these things that I draw, in real life. That's part of what's wrong with the second flower; didn't use a reference photo. I never copy a photo anyway, but do look for cues on the shape and feel of the petals, the way they curl, twist, droop, etc. Seeing them in person is better, working from photo references gives a flat feel. There are a couple of places I could go for this: a public garden that is almost always in bloom or curbside plantings (too public!), along the hiking trails I frequent. The one that has the orchids, wild ginger, shade loving plants, I haven't been to at all this year, haven't been able to afford the gas. Wait...yeah we did, earlier this youngest son hugged the trees, petted the moss....managed to lock myself completely out of the van and we somehow managed to thread a bamboo fishing pole through the side window to push the back hatch button. That was stressful. Haven't gone all the way up this year though. The public garden is closer. It sort of comes down to wild vs domestic flowers and plants. There's a lot of wild ginger where I live...can find it there.

Really wish I had taken a picture of those centipedes mating, not so much because they were mating, but because of the brilliance of their orange bodies, the way they curled around and towards one another, the beautiful lines of those curves and the segments.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

I like this one less well, of the two, even though it has a happy little insect on its leaf! The leaves have less movement and flow than the other...I was feeling a little uptight when I drew it. :-/ At least it has six petals so is botanically correct....

The ghee turned out well enough. Four pounds up butter made about a quart and a half of ghee. Note: do not attempt to strain ghee through a coffee filter, it doesn't work well and overflows and makes a mess (in other words, there might have been more if some of it hadn't overflowed the coffee filter)! Switched to a fine metal screen and this was more effective.

Garlic- dug it all up, it didn't turn out as well as I'd have liked. Some of the bulbs, particularly the Killarney Red, which was the one I'd grown to keep and eat, are rather puny. It will taste fine, but since you only plant the large cloves, it doesn't leave much to plant if I want bigger bulbs next year. That's what I get for not watering it more often!

A short but reasonably interesting youtube vid on the Quaker testimonies.

Friday, August 03, 2012

I think about Daniel Haugen sometimes. For a very long time, he was the only man who was able to make me believe that I was attractive and truly cared for and wanted. Maybe it's not surprising that he retained his place in my heart for years after we'd both gone on to lead separate lives, and even years after his death. People frequently ask me why I didn't tell him what was going on in my family. After all, we were engaged and besides, he could have helped me escape. The simple answer is that I was afraid he would see me as damaged and wouldn't want me anymore, that he might think I had wanted for my step-father to act that way. I really loved him and I was terrified of doing anything to upset that.

Love shouldn't be that conditional and fickle, but I had learned early on that it was. Not only did Mom leave when my sister and I were toddlers, she abducted me again and then left me again, this time alone on a street corner instead of an adult-less apartment. Later, in third grade, she called and said she was coming to pick me up from school. Predictably, she was a no-show. (For clarity, she was 100% absent between these erratic appearances and afterwards as well). She couldn't decide if she wanted me or not, and the final answer always seemed to be "not". Nevertheless, I always hoped she'd appear out of the blue and change her mind.....

Because I didn't tell him, I never found out what he would have done. I was able to maintain and nurture the idea that at least once in my life, a good, kind man had truly wanted me. It might not be true, but it was important for me to be able to believe that it was. :-/

Thursday, August 02, 2012

I have two tulip drawings done now, but need to find a library book that I foolishly checked out on my account for my 17 year old son, before I can scan them on the library computer,or visit a friend who has a scanner or take a picture and email it to myself, but that never produces good results. Realized that they have a very art nouveau feel; that wasn't intentional, probably is due partly to the influence of Aubrey Beardsley, whose work I have long admired. Huh.

Otherwise....spending one on one time with one of my sons who hardly ever gets me all to himself. We've decided to have steak for dinner tonight; more blueberry picking tomorrow.

I miss you a lot and don't think anyone else is ever going to come close to filling your place....but remembered something this evening and---> I am not crazy or delusional. And on that disjointed note, the library is closing now.....

Maybe I haven't been fair in my interpretation of (struggling to find a word that fits here and failing) stuff. Maybe I assign the most negative messages possible to input that isn't meant to be. Maybe half the shit getting thrown at me comes from my own hand.

But....maybe not. Can I afford to take the risk of being wrong?

Looking at Mapplethorpe's flower photos. They are so beautiful, he had such a feeling for them, that I could almost cry.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

With livestock, sometimes breeders practice what's known as single trait breeding. This is where you breed for one trait without paying any attention to others. For example, if you were breeding for high milk production, crooked faces, weak leg structure, misaligned jaws and backs that won't hold up over a long life would all be ignored (allowed to persist, not culled out of the breeding program) as long as the animal produced a LOT of milk. Strange things happen when you select for only one or two traits, because sometimes those traits are tied into others, which get unexpectedly reinforced.

I think that's how my family ended up with me, because there are a number of others like me. We are the by-products of a breeding program for brains and success, because eccentricity was seen as a possible indicator of intelligence. That's just my theory...

I'm not the only embarrassment in the family, and it hurts to see my reflection in the others, struggling to hide their deficits, bearing up bravely, not speaking about those struggles, trying as hard as they can to be good enough, to save face and be successful. These are the ones who don't get gloated about and preened over. These are the ones who are hardly mentioned.

I watch my dad. He works so hard. He tries so hard. He's so......self conscious and defensive about his social status. The man is building a yacht, for Christ's sake. If building that thing is a dream he's always had and will make him truly happy, then good. But....I sort of question whether this is the case. He was the eldest, and a son besides. He was the one who was supposed to carry the family mantle (black bag?) and be a doctor. He's certainly intelligent enough to do so, but he loved music. And, he had me. I don't know what to think of these things...but I do often feel guilty for making it impossible for him to go to medical school.

People ask me why I'm so sorry all the time, they say that I don't have to apologize for my existence. But frequently, that is exactly the case; I am sorry that I exist and make a pain of myself to the people I love most, that I don't seem to be able to help doing this, that I cause so much trouble just by being here and taking up space.

Thinking more about my family, the lessons they tried to teach me, the values and little (big!) rules they tried to inculcate in me with varying degrees of success. There is a word or phrase for the phenomenon of someone choosing to take a step down in status. I cannot remember it. At any rate, however I might sneer at their priorities, at their way of life, part of it is steeped in bitterness, but also an awful lot of the way I was raised persists within me, causing all sorts of conflict.

I'm not certain that thumbing my nose at them and going my own way in life, despite their warnings, was the smartest thing to do. I was questioning the little social rules and complexities from early childhood, was always different. Sometimes it occurs to me that I should turn around and make my way, very arduously at this point, down a path more closely aligned with those values and rules. Maybe I could redeem myself in their eyes. Maybe I could get to a point where they wouldn't be embarrassed of me anymore. Maybe I could be one of them again and feel respectable. The thing of it is, there was so little love and warmth in that childhood, which is most of why I rejected that lifestyle. I had decided that happiness and love, creativity and acceptance, were more important than money, social status, and conformity. I'm not sure why I decided that those things were incompatible, why I thought that ditching success as a goal would bring me a happier personal life.

(more is forthcoming but need time to think)