“What they expect us to want”

Maybe I’ll have to keep better daily records about what I’m doing. It would have helped if I had been cognizant enough this afternoon to realize that I could have read, or worked on in-process jewelry, or something, instead of ignoring these at first and messing around with Derwent Drawing Pencils (capitalized because “Drawing” apparently means something special to Derwent; these aren’t regular pencils; more like really soft, really waxy colored pencils) on top of tinted paper.

I’ve also been looking for books on what I would presently call the process or psychology of art (what we’re doing on a cognitive level, when we make art; not just the physical motions). However, I don’t know the key terms to search (on top of my normal OPAC [Online Public Access Catalog] being notoriously difficult to navigate), and will probably need a librarian’s help.

I found one book yesterday and realized upon trying to read it tonight that it focuses on portraits…which is REALLY not what I need to know about. I have a strong urge not to do portraits, though I can make them well enough. The aversion even has begun to extend to disliking making cartoon faces; I don’t know why, unless it seems too “basic” for me.

Not to disparage people who do make portraits; I understand that it takes a lot of practice to make faces look right and to make expressions look as intended. It’s just not my thing. My thoughts go to the place where you can see a circle and put two dots and a mouth on it (I’m thinking of, “Annoying Orange,” a kids’ Graphic Novel series, or the Ed Emberley “Funprint” books) and then suddenly it’s imbued with, “humanity,” and people feel empathy toward it. WHY.

For one thing, what makes “humanity” so especially important, and what is this thing about faces? (Then again, you’re listening to someone who takes into account the way a person physically conducts themselves, behaves, sounds, and smells, before noting the finer details of their faces or hair or clothes.)

It doesn’t help that the Derwent Drawing Pencil range, and Strathmore tan paper, seem to be primarily made for portraits. It’s like, “hey, if I wanted to draw people’s faces, this would be great…not like I particularly do, but hey.”

I guess it’s kind of like women’s underwear always being available in pink. (“Hey, if I wanted to wear pink underwear…”) Not to mention that I have had an aversion to the Barbie aisle for years. Kind of parallels it, I guess.

Or it could be like my aversion to taking photos of displays in Las Vegas because it’s so obviously human-centered (“what they expect us to want”) and artificial. Or my more recent aversion to drawing cut flowers, as versus living ones (even though the latter means getting out of the house). Or the aversion to department-store jewelry (though that’s probably because all my favorite pieces are by craftspeople).

Yeah, maybe I just have a lot of aversions (no, I don’t expect you to agree with me, I’m just trying to figure out what’s behind all this).

Maybe I’ll work on a “portrait” of one of my plants, as I intended when I first got them. I don’t have an aversion to them. The reason I haven’t done it is that they have weathered…my overwatering them. Or not watering them, in one case. (Maidenhair Ferns always sound good, in theory…until the SOIL WON’T HOLD ANY WATER…okay, I’m going to stop there.)

On top of that, my succulents (I’m pretty sure) need more light than they’re getting. The little one in the front yard (from a leaf that dropped off a different one and fell into a crack from which I couldn’t recover it) still has its maroon color; I can’t say the same for the indoor ones, which were variously maroon and violet and blue and yellow, as babies. They’re pretty much, “green,” and leggy, now.

I didn’t really become alert today until about 4:30 PM. I think it’s likely due to taking medication too late. I had hoped to work on cleaning up my stuff…there are three areas which need to be helped: the craft area, my bedroom, and my office. All of these have needed it since before Winter Break. But…well, looking forward to cleaning things doesn’t really encourage me to get out of bed…

Anyhow. I’m thinking of restarting the rose-colored bracelet I was working on (now that I know and have graphed the pattern repeats). And I’m thinking of wholly disassembling the pearl necklace. I can do something better than just stringing and knotting them…but I’ve got to get some modular components (e.g. Quadra Lentils) to figure out, how.

In the meantime, I’ve got fine-gauge copper wire and now some gold-fill wire. (28 gauge!) I can do something with these, especially if I want to make that drop necklace…unstringing the pearls will free up the grey AB firepolished glass beads.

I should take some photos first, though…



Well, even if I don’t get this term paper done to my own satisfaction in a few days, I at least have a good enough start on tracking down my topic, in order to continue the work after the semester is over. If, that is, I retain access to Library resources — I may not.

Actually, I just looked it up: I will not. Time to search through my Public Library memberships.

Anyhow…I did a good amount of research today, and identified 12 articles of interest, four of which I’ve read through entirely. The other eight are no longer than 15 pages, each. I also found a few e-books which will help on the deeper side of things, though I’ll need to target my reading for the next few days. I probably won’t be able to trace citations as much as I’ll want to.

I feel kind of disharmonious for having retired to bed so early last night, and neglecting to get up at 5:30 AM this morning, which is when I seriously awoke. I had planned on getting up early — but before sunrise was not anything I expected. As it turned out, I only really became functional after about 10:30 AM, I think (I’d have to check my sleep log).

Tomorrow — that is, after the sun comes up, this next time — I should be able to devote entirely to studying and writing. Well, that, and laundry. I’ve left some notes to myself in the papers I’ve located.

I might also want to prioritize the newer articles.

While part of me wants to put notes about my paper down, here…there’s no upshot to making them public. The only reason to write them here is to either publicize my work, or to avoid writing by hand…

…the latter of which, is kind of sad. I’m sure the urge to do everything on the computer is familiar, though. I should be keeping notes on thoughts that come up in longhand, not only within my files…

Worked on Folkwear #112 some more.

At this point, I am wondering if I should have taken a Digital Libraries class over the Summer as well as Fundamentals of Programming, which is straightforward enough to leave me a lot of time. Which …I should be using to develop my portfolio.

Today…I could really feel that I had taken medication way too late, last night. I wasn’t really up and active until after 2 PM, but that’s because (for those new to this blog) my medication is sedating and I took it at least three hours late. Sometimes it will knock me out until around 5 PM the next day if I take it at 1 or 2 AM. (For some reason, it affects me for around 17 hours when it’s late, less than that when on time. I think it has to do with Circadian rhythms.)

The good thing is that, due to tracking when I actually do take it, I’ve realized what happens when I try to stay awake by not taking it. If I don’t have anything I have to do the next day (like a class meeting or work), that day is often wasted asleep. Which…then, causes me to want to stay up and again delay taking the medication (if I’m finally awake at 5 PM, I hate to re-take that stuff four hours later and get knocked out again in an hour and a half). Which causes the next day to also be a wash.

Kind of a vicious cycle. On the bright side, when I take the stuff at 9 PM, immediately get ready for bed, and go to sleep when I’m tired, I end up waking at like 5-6 AM…so the loss of having a day only 5.5 hours long is basically…better than the alternative. And I guess I have a tendency to wake up earlier, too, though I can’t really predict that.

Having to do that is one of those things that will make me feel disabled for real, though.

I did see someone today I hadn’t seen in a long time, though I wasn’t up for talking, much (unfortunately). In lieu of working with the new leather project (on which I’m basically still in the design stages), I opted to go back to the trial garment (or toile) from the Folkwear 112 pattern (monpe). I did get a good amount of work done, though at this point I’m questioning why I’m doing all this by hand when we have a sewing machine.

Of course, in the finished garment, I would be using backstitch for my seams, not a running stitch. Backstitch is actually more satisfying for me to do, but I don’t really know why, except for the fact that it actually takes advantage of the fact that I’m hand-stitching. It could also be superior in a way to machine-stitching, in that it’s more elastic.

I’ve also realized that I was premature in cutting down my pattern pieces: one step of the pattern (the one I’m on) says to take different seam allowances for the different sizes — AFTER having cut out different size pattern pieces.

Since I’m sizing this up to a 16, I’ve had to go beyond what the pattern has written (if the instructions are accurate)…and now have no room for a seam allowance on the outsides of the legs. Even though I already added 0.5″ to the edges of the pattern pieces (which stop at Size 14 — I have the old version of the pattern). That adds a total of 1″ in diameter. The seaming instructions would add another 1″ in diameter, making an additional 2″ in diameter, total.

I do have one option, since this is just a toile, which is to just whipstitch the edges of the fabric together (or something), then try the thing on and see if it fits. The only reason for me to be making a toile is to learn what is being asked of me and to fit the garment, that is. It doesn’t have to look nice. Or last.

Speaking of which, I found that a certain stitch I was using on a patch pocket in lieu of machine topstitch only works to catch the edges of the fabric (I can’t remember the name of the stitch right now, and am too tired to look it up: the needle travels for about 1/8″ in a fold and then catches a few threads on the other piece of fabric, then goes back into the fold for another 1/8″). I would need to work back around the edge of the pocket with something more secure, even if it’s embroidery. Otherwise, that pocket is not going to stand up to use, as it’s being held in by tiny stitches.

That same stitch, though, is fine for things that aren’t going to be stressed (like the hem at the top of the pocket).

Also, somehow, I messed up one of my shoulders. I don’t know exactly how that happened, but I have been typing in some weird positions lately, causing pains in places I’ve never had them before. (I thought I might have had appendicitis, yesterday, but the pain isn’t here today. The day before yesterday, the small of my back hurt on the other side of my spinal column.)

I also helped unpack bins at work yesterday. That could have something to do with it (it’s possible that this activity has injured others). But I was also doing a lot with that arm, including lifting and holding heavy stacks of books, which could also be the cause. It just feels like before, when I lifted something heavy and then turned my elbow outwards, and then at certain angles, it felt like my arm would fall off.

Speaking of injury, I’m also getting good enough at hand stitching that I only hit my left thumbnail twice with the needle today. Unfortunately, one of those times was enough to split off the upper layers, but I’m still mostly intact! Without the thimble!

And…I think my brain just stopped working…

It seemed a lot more intimidating, before I did it.

This was another day in which I slept for way too long because of not wanting to face schoolwork. However, the anxiety was pretty much for nothing.

I opened a window here and started typing out my feelings while I also contemplated dealing with my Programming homework, then switched over entirely to my Programming homework, and now am ahead in my studies!

It seemed a lot harder before I started!

Breaking things down step-by-step actually does help, which is useful because Programming pretty much demands breaking things down step-by-step.

So…tomorrow is Friday. I have the option of going in for extra hours, though to be honest, I really don’t feel like it. And yes, I know that if I don’t go in, the situation is just going to be worse on Saturday, but it’s not my responsibility to pick up all of the slack.

I did, however, just knock out my main reason for not going in.

What I can do tomorrow — to be useful, at least, and justify staying home — is to begin going into my archives to deal with this portfolio issue. It is the beginning of June: I should be getting to this.

What I can do is start categorizing things by class and then by Learning Outcomes, then go in there and deal with looking at and sorting through objects in each of my classes. It might help to start with the most recent, first, though I’m not positive on that.

I also might want to copy the entire directory and put it someplace where I can reorganize it.

And, right: my Programming class is just a taste of Web Programming…but so far, it’s actually pretty fun. One of my friends in Tech told me not to be a Programmer, and I don’t know exactly why they said that. Nor do I think I should really listen, at this point: it could have been a gender issue.

So, well.

Tomorrow, I can also work on the monpe model, and that may help me get out of bed in the morning. I can also exercise, which I haven’t done in a while.

And…there is the continued issue of the disorganized office. I need to go through my papers and books, though at this point…I wonder about what books to keep, and which to give away or sell back. The major barrier here is that I know I will have to shower afterwards (and I don’t know how to take short showers, and the hair is always always an issue), though if I combine this with exercise, it should help me feel like I earned it.

Sigh. Two more semesters left of this and then I can throw out so much accumulated stuff…though if you asked me today what I would get rid of, I wouldn’t exactly know. I am aware that I have a lot of metaphysics material that I have off-and-on felt was a waste of time to read; on the other hand, there’s some really creative ideas in there. 😉

I think a major issue is just not having read deeply into a lot of the books I have, and some books I want to keep for inspiration, even though they aren’t worth much as reference material. Like the book, Gemstone Settings, by Anastasia Young (published by Interweave Press). It’s a really pretty book! Helpful? I haven’t found it so.

Like some other books I have, there is an introduction to technique, but not nearly enough information to practically and successfully attempt the process without outside help. It’s a good starting point for beginners who need to know what can be done, and who need basic background information, but it won’t take them all the way through doing it, if they don’t already know how. I guess I wouldn’t call it a really serious book, more than a book intended for general audiences. But then it’s like what do I expect when I didn’t get it from a specialty bookstore or jeweler’s supply shop.

Anyhow, this feels like personal Collection Development stuff, and I haven’t taken that class, yet.

Dealing with the bookshelves and the papers and the archives is going to be an issue taking more than one day. But it needs to be done.

Of course, the big fear is not being able to locate anything after the reorganization…

…nor am I certain whether to work on the portfolio or the mess, first. I guess it depends on what I feel like, in the morning.

Work-life balance swings back toward work…

I need to clean this office up, so freaking bad.

I got back to schoolwork, recently. The semester hasn’t started yet, but I’ve been trying to catch up on reading I delayed in favor of Finals, for one of my classes. One of the librarians at my work said that reading it when I didn’t have to…left a good impression on her. I’m not sure anymore what the word was that she used (it “showed enthusiasm,” or something), but I thought it was a way to put a positive spin on it.

And…man, that reading is SO DULL. I was seriously falling asleep trying to read it.

I should probably go to bed sooner rather than later. I have to be up early, tomorrow, and may have shifts both Friday and Saturday. I had issues waking up, today, and even forgot to let the light in for my plant. 😦

Eh…too much free time isn’t a good thing for me…

Deadline closing in:

I meant to write this entry last night, but at 3 AM I realized that it was probably better to give it a rest. Or, give myself a rest. Little did I suspect that I would sleep until 1 PM.

I have wanted to get away from dealing with the subject of my Research Guide (Zen and Art) sometime today…I just don’t know if I’ll have the time. I have a few tasks clearly laid out before me, and they need to be done by Wednesday night. I also have work on Wednesday morning and afternoon, which I don’t want to miss; also meaning that I won’t want to stay up until 3 AM again, tonight.

That’s if I want my immunity to be high enough to be around patrons.

The major challenge is integrating all the information I’ve found on Zen and Art. I have narrowed my scope down to 12 books I can review on the subject.

Right now, I kind of just want to bliss out on some knitting or sewing, or something. I also need to do some laundry, and take a shower.

Maybe I should make a schedule? Or say, hey, I can start my laundry and sew until 4 PM or something, and then I need to get back to work?

I don’t anticipate falling asleep until 1:30 AM tonight — it’s what happened the last time I stayed up until 3 AM the night before. That gives me about 10 hours to work with…

Surprise! Accidentally falling asleep.

I’m not entirely sure what happened — I lay down a little after 6 PM last night and slept all the way through to 4 AM this morning, despite being woken twice. I did have an assignment due that I was at least going to attempt to accomplish, but it obviously didn’t get done.

Right now I need to finish normalizing a database, as I had realized the night before that I had inadvertently missed a step for at least one of our tables. As this is the component I’m working on…I should try and attempt it.

I’m sure you can tell that I’m still tired, which is mostly due to having taken medication about 10 hours ago (at 4 AM), and likely because I didn’t get up to be active at 4 AM, but instead went back to bed until 11-something AM.

I also have a cramp starting in part of my lower back (I spent too long in bed)…and a lot of stuff to do, today. Which I don’t want to do. But.

It’s kind of hard for me to put everything into words, right now, so I’ll try and stop staring at the screen, and try to do something useful.