Getting to what has to be done.

I really need to stop posting at 2 in the morning (I say at 1 in the morning: I started writing, around 11 PM). Sorry about the lack of coherence of my last post; I didn’t have a lot of time to edit it, and had been mulling over a backlog of posts for a while, likely hours. Long enough for my mind to start falling asleep, apparently.

Since I have time now, it would probably be better to do this a little earlier in the evening, or hold onto the drafts for 24 hours to allow for editing, before publication…so I don’t have to worry about posting at 3 AM with my mind not all there.

I also didn’t have enough time to get together even the basics for work, this morning. I thought I had brought nothing to eat on break (what I brought was breakfast), but then I found an unopened pack of trail mix in my purse. I didn’t eat it, but it was comforting to have. Still, though, I didn’t have time to pick a sketchbook in addition to grabbing the Monolith sticks, so I wasn’t able to draw during my lunch hour.

What I did do, today at lunch, was take another typing test. I needed to verify my WPM in preparation for a job application. The latter is done now, so I don’t have to worry about it, anymore. Maybe I should have included a cover letter, but I don’t think I’ll absolutely need it. I was more worried about actually decreasing my chances of getting a job by writing a messed-up or ill-considered cover letter under time pressures…

Though I really didn’t need to turn it in, so soon. I have just been worried that the hiring call would close early, due to so many applicants.

But it’s one thing off the table. The next thing is getting the content of my portfolio started, which I can do easily once I transfer my files. I’ve just got to remember that nothing needs to be set in stone, at this point. So there’s no penalty for going ahead and starting.

The big fear is that I won’t have the evidence I need, but even if that’s so, it’s still to my benefit to get started, early. At least I’ll know where I stand, and I can try and make up the deficiency while I still have the time to study and write.

And it will give me something to do if and/or when I decide that I need to stop with the arts and crafts. It might be good to get back to something, academic. Or that matters most urgently, you know. Maybe the difficulty I have is with balancing my wants and needs. Or with…studying and making. And I don’t know which is more important, sometimes.

Today was a good day, at work. It actually made me want to go in, more. It helps that I have someone to talk to about art stuff. It also helps to have a sense of upward mobility. And purpose. You know. There is a purpose — for the library, and for me — to my staffing Circulation, even if I’m not a Clerk and not being paid Clerk wages.

It also helps to know that my final semester won’t be the end of my learning; continuing education is expected for librarians. And if I’m getting paid paraprofessional wages, I can afford to go to classes, in order to hone skills for my future path(s).

I think that part of the problem I’m having is that I have way too much free time and way too much that I want to do, in that free time. If I were working a 40-hour week, there would be no way I could even consider doing as much as I’m trying to do. With the amount of technology in use, I wonder about how much less time people spend working, than we were built to. It’s just not…it doesn’t seem to my advantage, to have so much time.

Which is ironic, based on how many of my posts are about trying to assign how much time, to which projects. There’s just so much to do. So much I could do.

Since I was little, so much of my education has been about my keeping my options open. Maybe that pattern is working against me, now.

I do think that mathematical and logical thought, aren’t the most pleasant ways for me to spend my time, though! I mean, judging from my experiences in several of my classes. I think I’m more of an Arts and Humanities person.

I guess that’s a good thing to know. It’s a step towards focusing, that is…

Advertisements

Distance grown from past pleasures

At the risk of being wiped out from lack of sleep, tomorrow, I’m going to give in a little to the urge to write. The most significant theme I have right now is that much of I was once enthusiastic about, I’ve grown distant from — because I haven’t had time to devote to actually doing what I wanted.

Along with this comes the recognition that what I know isn’t necessarily correct, just because I know it (or thought I knew it). This applies to my cultural studies, particularly with Buddhism…that is, just because my ancestors and heritage have something to do with it and it’s part of the fabric of my existence, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily correct or true, or not-problematic, or better than anyone else’s heritage.

These are two different topics that I may be able to intertwine, though maybe I shouldn’t. Actually, the latter could be its own post, so maybe I’ll actually save it for a different one, and link to it from here, after I’ve actually written it.

Time division

Looking in my archives, I’ve realized that I’ve grown a bit distant from a lot of things I used to like. These include:

  • Reading
  • Drawing
  • Beading
  • Writing creatively
  • Learning Japanese language

Now that I’m planning to factor in time for myself (aside from University requirements), how to spend that time is coming to the fore. The major focus (or distraction) I’m having now is that some of these things require more or less daily commitment in order to progress and avoid losing skills. Japanese language is pretty much like this. Drawing is like this, too. It’s a reason I stopped playing guitar. And, of course, reading even a single work, requires a set time commitment.

There are also some just basic things that I need to do or maintain, like:

  • Hygiene
  • Driving
  • Exercise and stretching
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping

And then there are more urgent things, like:

  • Applying for jobs
  • Preparing my portfolio

When I put it like that, it’s easy to see how the first group of items got left behind. They just aren’t that urgent.

Fear of flying: Overthinking design

Right now I’m coming off of a few days of intensely dealing with beadwork and jewelry design. While I could plow forward and keep at it…the phrase that came to mind is, “I wonder if I’m missing something.” I mean, I could definitely keep moving forward on this, but I know my hands will be sore. Maybe that could be a self-limiting thing; like, I can work on micromacramé until my hands get sore, and then I’ll stop and do something else?

That could work, actually!

My major concern is that I tend to over-intellectualize things, when I need to be diving in and learning by experience. Of course, that’s hard when you’re afraid to mess up or fail…when messing up and failing is how you learn.

So there’s tension here between my intellect and its perfectionism, and the part of me that is generative and messy and creative, I guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if those are actually different brain regions in conflict.

I really should have taken a picture of the craft table before I cleaned it up. It was…awful.

But something grew out of all that messiness, and I’m wearing it, now. And I actually now have a storage solution for all my wires and cutters and pliers, that actually works (I used the big toolbox I got the other day that turned out to be gigantic). So now I have another free flat storage area…

Maybe I just need to get more comfortable with uncertainty. I mean, you can’t fly if you’re afraid to jump.

And no, I don’t know where that last sentence came from…it just came. I guess that counts as a, “jump.”

But I’m not going to learn macramé if I’m afraid of, “wasting,” cord on learning. My necklaces aren’t going to make themselves, but to make them, I have to be willing to be wrong a few times (maybe, several). And I have to be willing to experiment if I want to ever make truly great and original art.

I mean, it’s not like I don’t have unpopular cord to play with. For supporting frames, it’s not like I don’t have heavy (and cheap) wire and tools to form it, with which to experiment.

I just have to let myself experiment. Like give permission, to.

After all, those spools of cord are meant to be used, not meant to be hoarded. Hoarding them doesn’t make me an artist; it makes me a collector. Using them (to learn or to make) is something different.

Fear of drowning: Tension in drawing

Drawing is one of those things — another one, anyway — that I get scared to jump into, because I keep forgetting that I know how to swim. But I’ve been looking back over my work for the Art program, and …I have had this “thing” about not wanting to be tight in my drawings.

My drawings — a lot of them, anyway — aren’t tight. Most of them aren’t what I would consider, “overworked.” And yet there is this fear of making tight and overworked drawings, likely because I’ve seen them and I’ve done them and I know they suck the pleasure out of the work. But, maybe I don’t have to fear that.

A couple of my drawing instructors would really, “admonish,” people to consistently try and work, “looser.” But I look at a bunch of my figure studies, and they’re fine. Maybe it’s because with a lot of them, I only had a 5-minute pose to work from, but a lot of it is notation of key elements.

If nothing else, I can take that away from my Figure Drawing training.

And I’m finding less hesitation about working with the human figure, now: at least, my own.

I’m thinking of taking in my Monolith graphite sticks to work tomorrow so that I can practice just drawing from life, in monochrome. Sometimes, it’s good to get back to basics.

And I still want to make a design for a linoleum block print using the flower image I mentioned a while ago. Maybe I should just use that as a jumping-off point, though, instead of trying to copy it. After all, I’m not sure there’s any more virtue in copying it than in imagining it; it might just be easier in the initial stages, when I don’t understand the forms.

That’s a good enough stopping point. It’s all I can think of, at this hour, and I have work to get to, tomorrow. I’m sure these things are very connected, but just how is something that isn’t totally clear to me, at the moment. In a few months, I bet it will be…

Balancing business and personal life

Last night, I realized something: I was using a lot of jargon. That is, the problem I was describing in my last post is directly related to my using jargon in regard to beadwork which I’ve grown up with, but which is unfamiliar to most.

The word for it didn’t come to me until early this morning when I was trying to get to sleep, though.

And…once again, I find myself considering the impact of having my online life linked with my physical one. If I did start selling again, for example, do I link my online presence here, or start a new blog (or new website)? The latter will be easy enough to set up…but there are also some drawbacks, primarily related to the possibility of using a database.

I think Etsy is a better first option.

And…the person I am now, at core, isn’t going to change. I have been talking here about things such as gender identity and presentation, and mental health. This is because this is a personal blog — not a professional one — and this stuff isn’t talked about enough in regular life. Also, if I’m going to do creative writing, that stuff’s going to come out, or I won’t be able to write. It’s just that a business presence would likely not have those things, kind of like how I try not to bother you all with my politics.

If I started selling online, it would make sense to start an actual website for a business presence (aside from the one I’ve had to start for school).

Then I could post about beadwork, there! 🙂

I have noticed that there are alternate venues to talk about this stuff, largely going off of what other bloggers have linked. There are also the more obvious routes…going by offline word-of-mouth to find both places to sell and places to talk to other beaders.

Yeah. I’ve had that information for a while, and just haven’t followed up on it. Sounds good. I would need to network.

In other affairs…I’m leaning about 70% towards not taking a third class in my last semester. This is both because I might have a 20-hour job then, and because I like having actual time for myself. If I have extra time, I can put it into a side business.

Sounds good.

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…

Trying to figure out what to do with free time.

While I wish I had something in-depth and philosophical to share tonight, I think I’ve done enough talking about that, for now. (I actually talked with people about things that matter, today. A lot of it bridged off of that last Creative Writing piece…which is helping me process a lot…at the same time. I understand now why this stuff used to make me break down, before.

Tomorrow…I believe I can choose what I want to do. A short time ago, I did go out and buy some leather to tool. It’s been a very long time since I worked with leather, but right now we have some stamps (including an alphabet) which could be cute. So far as I know, the leather just has to be dampened before I press into it. It will be something to experiment with.

I want to combine it with some micromacramé and seed beads, using an awl and cork board to pierce holes for twine. I also just now realized that I could put a button clasp on the leather portion, instead of making two separate straps for the bracelet. (I could also thread the macramé portion behind the leather…if for some reason I can’t punch the holes.)

I have two little bee buttons in pewter, one of which should work — if I can clear the shank. I also have a number of shell buttons, and those might also work, if I use a small one. (A large one will require extra length for the button to clear the buttonhole.)

I already have a thread burner to cauterize the ends of C-Lon or S-Lon cord. As for whether the thread burner still works, that’s a different question — especially as I don’t remember how to change the battery (or if the battery is even still in there). I had been wanting to use light hemp twine, though.

The big issue is thinking about the leather portion creatively, and about how to unify the design. I had been thinking of using just a strip of leather with a word (the word would guide the design), but I had to buy a small sheet of leather to get the type I wanted. That means that I don’t have to use a strip (though I’m uncertain if I need a special swivel knife to cut it — I already have a good number of X-Acto blades, which I can try first).

I still need to design what I want to tool into it, as well; and I had been thinking about using leather paints. Those are two different design elements.

Not to mention that the color of the macramé and the color of the beads need to coordinate or work into this, somehow: it would make the most sense to tailor the paint colors to the beads and twine. I can blend the colors of the paints; beads are something different!

All of that together would work around the word or design tooled into the leather. (I’m thinking about botanical themes, though I’m putting that brainstorm in a separate file.)

As well, I still have the toile (practice version) of the monpe (field pants) that I can work on, tomorrow…which might turn out to be one of the types of pants that would actually fit me (the waist, ties). Right now, I’m at the point of sewing the inside of the second leg together.

Maybe I’m not as into that as I thought? Or the gratification is too delayed. Or I haven’t looked at that beautiful ikat in too long.

I’ve realized I can cause myself serious pain, with needles (in particular, I have displayed the tendency to gradually destroy my left thumbnail by using it to stop the needle…which lets me know just how soft nails are, next to steel). I do now have a soft thimble which works well, but I may just be a little shy of even trying.

There are other things I could also do, like work on my portfolio. Up until now, I’ve just been setting up the technical foundation for this. I can work on the intellectual portion a bit, tomorrow.

Or I could draw and paint the succulents. (I also want to try and photograph that little baby succulent in the crack in the front yard…)

I’ve made the temporary decision to try putting in my values with black ink and then come back in with multiple washes. This is as versus putting in very dark values with paint alone, which I am thinking is a very different technique. One of my old classmates used to put in deep values with sumi ink, though, and then put transparent color over that (kind of like what I at least think happens when one gets a tattoo).

It’s a more mature version of playing around with black fineliners and then painting over the lines, which is what I’m considering. I also have dip pens which I do want to try out with at least the Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black Ink…

That could be interesting, if I tried to make something stylized in black ink that was an interpretation of what I saw, then I went over it in watercolor!

Fresh ideas, eh.

Too many thoughts…

I’ve been going through backposts…and pondering what I have to do.  Classes restart in a few days, and I need to (re)start assembling my portfolio for graduation. I need to clean my office and pick up a notebook for Summer (tomorrow). I’m not sure yet if I’ll need another jump drive, or if I can recycle one — or how many of them are corrupted, for that matter.

A new shift at work has cropped up, but I’m not certain I should take it on at this point. I think right now I’m staffing 15 hours; 19 is the most I can legally cover. The class I’m taking for Summer is one unit over one month…I’m honestly not sure how much work that’s going to entail. Normally, it would be three hours a week if it were a full-length class, but somehow I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.

I’ve also been looking around, and have realized that a higher-paying Aide position or a Library Assistant position is the next logical step up, for me — if I want to ease (as versus leap) into Librarianship. Looking for a new job in earnest doesn’t have to start until next year, after graduation.

I need to keep building the portfolio to graduate, foremost in my mind. (I can figure out employment after I actually have the degree.) That means cataloging some classes, likely producing some local HTML to map out what I might want to include, and starting to categorize and weigh evidence.

And my Learning Management System is being a butt. I’m glad I’m about to graduate.

As for things I want but don’t have to do…I’m thinking about picking up some flowers to draw and/or paint from life, possibly with gouache — just to see what it looks like. I also have the toile for the field pants going; easy to work on. Both of these may be a bit scary (but rewarding), though.

I’ve decided to hold steady at 14 gauge (14g) for my earrings, although I did lose — and find — one for the first time, yesterday. (I’m still under 12g.) I’m not sure if this means I should get new 14g earrings plus some clear O-rings, or what. But I’m back to captive-ball rings, for now, because they can’t fall out. I’m not entirely sure how my piercings loosened up, but I’m about to blame sleeping with my earrings in, plus maturity of the piercings.

Also…because I’m working more, that’s helping with some of the cost of this. I did almost forget to mention that I recently found three books on Japanese aesthetics, none of which I’ve delved deeply into, yet. But if I get too intimidated to paint or sew, I can read. Reading’s easy.

I also recently looked back into my PHP book. You know. The one I forgot I had.

There’s got to be some way to organize this that makes sense, but I’m not sure what it is, yet.

 

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…