Conversations with myself #1

So yeah, I…tried to do homework tonight, until I was no longer able to function, with regard to studying. That is, I started researching why my tomato plant smells funny, and eventually came here.

I am thinking there must generally be some limit on the amount of writing to a format that can be done before one’s brain quits.

At the time I’m beginning this post, it’s near 1:25 AM. I’ve just taken medication, so I should have until about 3 AM before I become entirely useless.

Yes, I am playing with the color settings on the new editor. Why?

Anyhow…what I’m working on now, is a collaborative project. Since I got my ePortfolio turned in, I’m trying to stay motivated. I did need to use one of the projects for this class within the ePort (I actually used two), but I really should have taken this class…before. At a different time.

So right now I have what I’m working on, due early this week…and three more weeks to go of this class. I can make it. The issue is feeling “done” with the whole thing, when I’m not. I have three more weeks to go. But only three more weeks.

Right now, I’m just wondering about resuming my artwork.

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This is a test photo. I could use this editor for comics, couldn’t I? I mean, if I really wanted to.

I’m thinking about getting back into painting. I have two more weeks before I go back to my regular schedule at my job, unless I pick up more hours, in the meantime.

I should have the opportunity at the end of this week, but it means working through Black Friday — and I have things I want to do, on that day. Like get a paintbrush. But then again, if I go to work, I can afford to pay full price.

Right now, I’m looking at the different way the new Editor on WordPress encourages me to break up my text. It’s much more suited to Web-optimized writing; as versus longform nonfiction, as was my working default, before.

I could do something with this, hmm? I’m thinking two or more B&W side-by-side panels in each Block. Maybe with narrative in between? I might want to review my CSS to see if I can adjust the padding or margins here, though.

Even the background colors of the text could symbolize different characters talking (if the colors repeat), though it wouldn’t be entirely accessible. It could also be narrative.

Just have to pick a story to work on…see which pens to use…

(does longevity matter? If so, use the Microns. If not, Sharpies — or anything else — works.)

Yes, I have tried to use Photoshop to create drawings, before. I’m better off working by hand…

…but that was pretty sweet when I could illustrate with the Wacom. I just didn’t have a story.

(Shut up about the Wacom!)

–But I could use a Wacom!

I have a proposed solution. Do some comic art, scan it in, and see what you can do with your current image editor and a mouse, before you jump on the Wacom thing again.

…or just buy a Wacom. Whatever. If you’re willing to pay full price, it doesn’t matter when you get it.

I gotta try this…

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Life happens when you’re trying to study

Well… well. I’ve been here only on and off recently, because I’ve been focusing my energies elsewhere (on schoolwork), but right now I don’t entirely feel like working. I was up until 2 AM last night, working on this stuff, and into the early morning the day before, as well (1:30 AM). I had to take a nap in the afternoon, today; I just wasn’t motivated to get back to it, so soon.

It is amazing, though, how much more I get done by doing work, rather than warming up first by writing about working. I have also noticed, though, the mental difference between writing by hand and typing. I go back and revise while working, much more when I’m typing. It’s easier to rephrase and rearrange what I’m doing, which I’ve noticed happening a lot, recently.

On a different frequency:

My tomato plant…is fruiting. I raised this one from a seed, so I’m a little sad to see it reach the end of its life. It’s kind of just been in the back of my mind, about how it started off so little, grew to be maybe four feet tall, and is giving me little modest presents before it dies. People talk about the tomatoes that “I” grew, but the plant grew them for me; I didn’t grow them. I kept the plant alive for months; that’s my contribution.

It was easier on me to grow an annual, though. It’s less of a psychological burden, knowing that you only have to take care of it for about six months. And if it dies early, it doesn’t seem that big a deal. But it’s another thing to have your baby that you’ve cared for all its life, giving you little things to eat, and you know it isn’t going to be around much longer. (Which seems a little silly when you had to thin out seven other little plants to give this one all the resources it needs.)

We’ve had to stake it up, actually, because it grew so big that it couldn’t support itself. One day I was even sitting next to it and saw a branch almost fall off! We put stakes in and I tied the branches up, and amazingly, that piece that almost fell off, is still alive. It must have healed somehow, or the sap could flow from the main stem to the branch alright, even though it was broken.

It was part of a little kit my folks got for me from a company called Back to the Roots. The kit contains a planter with what’s called an, “olla pot,” which is a terracotta pot that stores water and gradually dispenses it to the soil when it gets dry. I’ve had to water it much more frequently, since it got big.

It actually has been a bit of a profound experience, to grow this. I kind of feel like I connect really well with plants (and I’m fairly sure it has to do with gender and quietness). I need to ease up on watering the succulents, though.

Let’s see, what else:

There is a bead show coming up in about two weeks. I’m undecided as to whether I’ll go or not; I am leaning towards, “not,” but it will be an opportunity to stock up on Czech seed beads and pressed glass beads, in-person. I haven’t been able to do beadwork at all, since I started working hardcore on my Culminating Experience. Not only that, but I’ve cut my work hours down, so I don’t have as much money to spend, there.

I just consulted with D, who says that if I get ahead on my work by that time, I might consider going to it.

Right now, I know I have a paper to turn in by Monday night. It shouldn’t be too hard, but then again I need to review the prompt. On top of that is my portfolio work, which I can likely say that I’m more than halfway through, at this point.

It’s basically the case that I can get through one essay roughly every two days, give or take. But I don’t want to leave all this work to the last minute, which is why I gave up the extra work hours, and why I’ve been working so hard on my essays.

Today…I visited a fabric shop. M had to get some fabric for a new project; in turn, I was able to see some garments which were made using patterns that the store apparently carries? It actually made me want to try my hand. The thing is that I need more clothes that fit, and will especially need them after I begin to work more days out of the week.

It’s been brought up that instead of the Misses’ pants that I’m currently wearing, most of which tend to fall down without a belt, I might need to move to a smaller-numbered size in Womens’ Petite. Womens’ sizes are cut for larger bodies, and Petite would be shorter and more curvy.

I am very strongly considering wearing more clothes cut for female bodies, basically because of fit considerations. The thing is that I may need a smaller size number in a larger cut. The reality is that I’m now in my mid-thirties, and I’ve, eh, been growing into my body.

While I did lose a good deal of weight recently (about five pounds in three days, if I recall correctly) because of a bout of food poisoning, I’m gaining it back. And I don’t hate it. I’ve known people who have had eating disorders; what I’ve learned from them is that it’s better to be a little heavy than it is to be anorexic or bulimic. Another thing I’ve been learning is that right now, I look fairly…Polynesian, even though most of my genes are a mix of Asian and African.

I’ve also reached a level of security with my body, where I know that what conclusions others draw about who I must be because of what I look like, are generally wrong. It could also be wrong that my doctor assumes I’m overweight because of my height combined with my weight; I have potential tendency to heaviness on both sides of my family, even though (like M) I was very thin, as a youth. My sibling has also filled out as they have aged, though, so that’s another cue that my doctor may be wrong about her supposition that because I’m heavier than average, that this needs correction.

So this knowledge makes me a bit more secure in being okay about my weight. I know that some of it is definitely coming from medication, which is leading me to be more moderate in how much I eat. (Two of my medications tend to delay satiety.)

After graduation, though, I can try again to get off of the medication which is causing most of the weight gain — the problem is, it is rather notorious about being difficult to stop, without causing symptom relapse. But if I can cut down the dosage or get off of it, the slow, incremental weight gain should reverse, and from my last attempt, I know that my abdomen should slim a good bit (abdominal fat is basically the side effect I am most annoyed/concerned about, due to the fact that it can have adverse health effects).

But yeah; if I became a Library Assistant or Librarian (the latter of which, I should be able to very soon), I could wear dresses and skirts without worrying about getting them on the floor. The thing I know about dresses is that the ones I’m more comfortable with, actually don’t show too much of my body. On top of that, I’m more comfortable now with earrings and long hair — I got most of the damage cut off, recently, and the existence of a certain Samoan football player with hair like mine (Troy Polamalu), does make me feel a lot better about having and keeping long hair.

So…I guess things are more alright than they have been, at least where it comes to me and my feelings about my embodiment. I’m not sure whether this is due to age and maturity, or what…I am actually glad, though, that I haven’t so far opted for testosterone or surgery, because in my own eyes, I look really nice right now. I have no ill feelings toward my chest (except for feelings of exposure when too many details show through), and I’ve basically ceased to want to be male…especially since I’ve started settling as gender non-binary. I’m not entirely sure why it’s stopped, except I know now that what I am now is easier for me to live with, than who I was when I was upset that my body wasn’t someone else’s.

It also helps to have birth control. I feel less vulnerable on it, and it makes my body give me less trouble. The thing about it, though–! is that I’m pretty sure it’s making my chest bigger. 🙂 I’m…not totally opposed to this! But especially since I’m growing, I should really start checking more regularly to make sure I don’t have cancer. Not doing self-exams is just one of those things that I got used to when I was ignoring my chest. Now I see it as kinda special (probably helped by the fact that I call them “my dudes”). ;D

Yes, it can be a little difficult to balance this with wanting to use an eyebrow filler to see what I would look like with a beard 🙂 but…it’s OK. Wanting to play around with that is OK, I mean. 🙂 I think maybe it has to do with seeing and getting to know a lot of “normal” people, and realizing that most of them have back stories and inner lives I know nothing about and can’t predict from their appearance. From that, I’ve gotten to kind of realize that I’m lucky. I have my flaws (some of which I’m growing out of), but to myself, I’m still beautiful.

And I realize that everyone is beautiful, to someone.

Photos. I finally took photos.

I’m posting this here instead of on Hidden Jewels (for now), mainly because it’s a continuation from the past two weeks. I couldn’t concentrate on reading today, so I went back to the photos I’d taken earlier when the sun was at full blast, and did a tiny bit of photo editing.

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To the left, is a close-up of one of the quilting cottons I picked up yesterday at a local quilting shop. It’s a batik, much nicer in quality than the ones I’ve gotten at the chain fabric and craft stores. I can guess at how it was made…and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was from one of the handmade bolts.

I’m just wondering, at this point…if I wanted to go into crafting as a vocation, basically in my case, apparel design or jewelry design (though I’m more interested in apparel design, at the moment)…how I would do that.

M had been talking about my being able to go back to my art after graduation. The one place I researched which I know has a fashion design program, is FIDM, and their biggest selling point is making friends and networking, which isn’t really my strong suit.

There are a number of steps which come before being able to design apparel, however. I’m thinking that it starts with making clothes (or jewelry) from patterns, then graduates into mixing and matching elements from different patterns, then goes into draping and designing one’s own patterns.

My biggest hurdle with this is the fact that my own sense of style isn’t traditional. I can be interested by traditional work, but the lack of readily available patterns for menswear, for example, is one of those things that I notice and don’t really “get.” As a female person who sometimes wears clothing made for men (and who would wear more of it if it were cut for my body), I know that not everyone who is female wants to wear traditionally feminine clothing. I also know that clothing styled for men doesn’t have to look horrible on a female body, but the apparel industry isn’t really geared toward gender-variant expression at the moment.

Anyhow, going off of my last post, I did get up enough nerve to take some more photos. Not a lot of them, mind; I could have gone at it and photographed all of my Fat Quarters, too, but decided to try not to go overboard. 🙂

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The alternative to the carpet background is to lay down some muslin or something.

So…the above image is of the four bits of fabric I got yesterday, about 3 yards in total (each piece is .75 yards), which cost about $38, including tax. For fabric, that’s pretty good. At least it is where I live, where the cost of living is apparently pretty stupid high.

So…the two on the left are batiks; as I said, possibly hand-painted. The second from the right is faux shibori, I believe (shibori is a method of tie-dyeing which can get really intricate, though I think this one is just a pattern). On the far right, I believe that’s an indigo ikat pattern (ikat is a method of dyeing threads in a particular pattern before they’re woven, and then weaving them together so that a design shows up in the finished fabric).

I’m really interested in fabrics right now, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the color issue plus the texture issue. I just get stimulated by color (I still don’t know how or why), and I get stimulated tactilely by working with fabric…which is also a mystery. It’s just nice to feel things that feel nice. Which is weird because I don’t consider myself a highly physical person…cloth is something else, though.

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Above are the Kona Cotton Fat Quarters I got a while ago, on which to practice embroidery. Only the pink has been embroidered at this point, though (I used an orange Olympus-brand sashiko thread which doesn’t appear to be that high in quality). That, in turn, was only a trial where I was pushing myself to do anything except be on the computer. It worked…even though I did the embroidery non-traditionally, because I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t study the optimal thread path before starting.

Well. (It would matter if the stitching was weight-bearing; one of the original uses of sashiko is to reinforce fabric.)

I guess when you just want to get started as fast as possible, to kick yourself out of doing nothing into doing something, it helps.

And I guess we’re pretty deep into the night, now. Here, I mean. I’ll see how I feel, tomorrow. I might want to work; I might not want to. I might be able to work, or not.

Oh, wait: I go to my job, tomorrow.

Coming up, I’ll just start reviewing my old work for the ePortfolio, without committing to writing anything. Working from Competency to Competency, I should have an okay time getting an idea of what to write…my Prof still hasn’t returned my first essay, yet, so I don’t even know if I’m doing the correct work.

I also need to summarize Chapter 1 of the reading for Collection Development, and read over other people’s responses…

I can take my textbook with me tomorrow and try and work through Chapter 2 and review Chapter 1 on my lunch.

I can also take one or more quilting books with me, in case I can’t concentrate… 😉

Quilting??! (“Why would one need release,” you say?)

I’m experiencing a lot of levels of frustration with my work environment, right now, and the dysfunction is sapping my determination at studying.

On the bright side, I went to the quilt shop, today. I also have a bunch of quilting books to read, if I can pull myself away from what I have to do long enough to devote myself to something that doesn’t have to be done, right now.

Of course, this writing doesn’t have to be done, either: but I have just been so frustrated that I’m like, “screw all of this.” I need to remember, though, that all workplaces are going to be somewhat dysfunctional. My own workplace is likely particularly so at this point, however.

So…I was just reminded to take my medication. 🙂 I also think it’s best that I put the study away for today, even though I have a lot of review ahead of me. This is due to not having stashed my assignments into ePortfolio pools at the time of their creation.

What I need to remember is that if I don’t commit myself to anything but my work, school, and upkeep, I have a good amount of time that I can devote to studying, on a daily basis. I don’t have children or a full-time job, and I live with family. I do have a disability to contend with, but that’s more of a mental struggle, than anything.

Probably the biggest thing I need to deal with is making sure I don’t go off on anyone from built-up stress, meaning that I’ll need to watch my anger level and give myself breaks when I need them.

Right now I’m being distracted by a show on orchids…it’s easy to get lost in stuff like this and lose track of time. Is that a good thing?

Anyhow…recently, I’ve purchased about…3 yards of fabric, and a large ruler to use in rotary cutting. I’ve just been hesitant to start into cutting and sewing. I have to give myself permission to do that, first. It also requires design, which I can shortcut into by reading and following some of the quilting books I have at the moment.

Right now, I’m considering doing a small model of what I would make, using the cheap fabrics from the big-box fabric store; and use the nice fabric for the final version. Or part of it, anyway.

I do have a bunch of fabric. Maybe tomorrow, I can photograph and upload some images. It will give me something to look forward to.

I’ve also decided that I’ll use the sewing machine, which should make things vastly simpler. There’s no real reason to stitch by hand, except personal preference; and I could make something much faster (and much larger and more complicated) by using a machine.

Sewing reorganization.

I’m going to leave continuation of the career questioning for another day. Today, I cleaned off the craft table (again) and reorganized the sewing, needlework and yarn stuff. I’m posting this to remind myself where everything is.

Basically, every small item needed for sewing besides chalk pencils, DMC embroidery floss, fabric shears, transfer paper, and large or blunt needles, is in the small plastic caddy that used to have my Fat Quarters in it. That is, I’ve moved the sewing machine threads, hand sewing needles, pincushion, pins, marking wheels, both hera, sashiko threads, and thimbles, to the caddy.

The new pack of transfer paper is in my white folder; the white Saral paper is still on the table. Embroidery hoops are in the sewing box with all my fabric, including all the Fat Quarters — both the Kona cotton and the patterned fabric — along with the dark blue cotton I got for embroidery.

My new circle templates for sashiko patternmaking are in the top drawer of the black file; my graph paper is going to live on top of the altar table in my office, for now.

I took the Wool-Eater crochet blanket out of the fabric box, and am thinking that I should probably either finish it or find larger storage for it. It’s pretty large and heavy, right about now. After finishing the final rows, I’ll need to weave in the yarn ends; which isn’t going to be fun, but it will make the thing okay to wash.

It’s fairly late right now…I have work tomorrow, as well. I’ve gotten into the pattern section of Japanese Country Quilting…which I suppose I can read more of, at lunch. I think this is enough writing, for today.

Embroidery; wishing to work with fabric.

Right now, what I want to do is sew, or do something else with color and my hands…like practice my writing in Japanese. Sewing…is just very nice when I want to feel something soft and see something come together. I picked up a number of small cuts of Kona cotton the other day, just to practice embroidery and seaming.

The night before we went to the quilt shop, I realized that I could make a furoshiki as a perfect first embroidery project. (I also found a bilingual book on how to tie furoshiki at the Japanese bookstore.) Basically, a furoshiki is a square wrapping cloth that ties up so that you can carry things in it. I’ve read that these could be reinforced with sashiko embroidery, which is a specific type of embroidery focused on running stitch. I hadn’t entirely planned on going for sashiko.

It uses special thread and is usually somewhat geometric and precise. If I’m remembering correctly, we have red and yellow soft cotton sashiko thread; though I should be able to substitute perle cotton, according to the book Japanese Country Quilting: Sashiko Patterns and Projects for Beginners by Karen Kim Matsunaga.

I have perle cotton crochet thread in mauve, white, ecru, light blue, and variegated green…different sizes. The No. 20 feels substantial, though I also have No. 8 and No. 12. The green is from a company called H.H. Lizbeth, and it has a size that reads as, “80.” I’m…not entirely sure what that means, but it’s the finest perle cotton crochet thread I have.

I did retrieve my little sewing box …with a “cheaper” cotton I can practice on. I say “cheaper” in quotes because it probably cost more than what I just got, even though it is likely lower-quality.

Then again, I have something that I thought was a furoshiki until I opened it, and it was actually a heavily-starched washcloth. The label reads, Shirayuki Fukin,” which I think is the brand. After washing and drying, it fluffed up and softened, dramatically. At one time I had an actual furoshiki, but it’s either deep in storage or with family.

I think the hardest part about doing either quilting or making wrapping cloths, is keeping the dimensions accurate. I bring up quilting because…well, I’ve been thinking of going back to it. It’s just how to cut things en masse that is holding me back. Maybe I should just make little quilted sashiko coasters or something else using other forms of embroidery; just to toy around with things and practice, before I embark on a large project.

Planning possibilities for time — Fall 2018

My sleep pattern is still messed up from Las Vegas. I took a 7-hour nap, today. I also did a little bit of research, given that Fall registration closes, shortly: I would rather not take an internship this next semester, given that one of the more likely positions I would take, had an application deadline which passed 5 months ago.

I also checked for internships in the place we’re thinking of moving to; none of those are any longer open. There is the possibility of working within my own system…but it’s quite far away.

M also says I should be working on graduating. I’m thinking that it’s possible that I will need to schedule time to work on my ePortfolio and stick to it, like a job. Because it is, basically, preparation for a job. From M-F, I should be putting in at least 2 hours, a day, for a total of 10 hours, a week.

I think if I have a scheduled time to stop, it will be easier to commit to starting. Right now what I’ve been doing is checking things online every so often, as they arise. I did drop the class which would have been my third for Fall, yesterday. This means I’ll only have Collection Development, my ePortfolio project, and a possible change of jobs to deal with, for Fall.

I’m also thinking about what I want to put my time, into. I do want to get back to studying nihongo (Japanese language), and it seems my time online might be better spent, learning Web Programming…though the latter isn’t that appealing right now, obviously. I just want to give it another shot, after Fundamentals of Programming: I have a feeling online tutorials might be better than that class was.

Aside from that…obviously, there’s a lot I could do and a limited amount of time in which to do it. Beadwork is what I want to do most immediately, after having spent so long trying to avoid it. Then sewing skills could allow me to make and alter my own clothes, which will be useful. I still have the toile (muslin trial) of that Folkwear monpe (field pant) pattern, to work on. (I’ve stopped because I’ve realized that doing the whole thing by hand is inefficient, especially on long straight seams; I’m not as comfortable with the sewing machine.)

On the other hand, making images would help a lot where it comes to Web Publishing. I can see printmaking, painting, and drawing being helpful, for that. I might want to deal with CGI for that, as well; though regardless, I’ll be using an image editor. I’m just kind of happy about having a Pen Tool — but I haven’t used it, yet.

And then there are the Graphic Design books that I do want to read…I just forget about them because I haven’t read books for anything other than school, in so long.

That’s about enough.

I’m getting a headache right now, although I do also feel a bit fatigued. Part of this is from not wearing corrective lenses. I know what the other part is from.

I think doing some reading on Graphic Design will help me figure out if I actually want to do it as a career or in addition to Web Development. It’s also a relatively passive activity, which may be what I need, at the moment.