Monday, May 12, 2014

Migrating

Site announcement:  I'm moving to Tumblr.  I know, I am either an angry feminist or a teenager but hear me out. 

Lately I've noticed that the numbers are up as far as traffic and readers--not even counting the misgoogled porn--but there's no interaction.  They say that blogging is dead but really it isn't, I think it's just that Blogger is dead.  RIP ye olde Blogspot. 

Yes, Tumblr is the home of angst and it smacks of Myspace, but I think the networking works a little better over there, as well as the creator controls.  There's a freaking "just post a pretty picture" button.  There have been times that I would like to just post a video or a pretty picture but I felt weird about it here. 

Granted, the meat of what I do is writing, and I had to set it up for "writing long things."  I will always write long things.  But I want to show off some other things too, especially since I occasionally get caught up in real life stuff and don't have time to write more than a few words to update you.  A short entry looks sad on Blogger.  It looks normal on Tumblr. 

I've been feeling weird about this place for a while. 

And this isn't my first move.  I'd done the same thing when I realized that MSN Spaces was no longer the big dawg platform for blogs--if it ever was.  But, with MSN Spaces there was a lot more interaction.  Also, you know too that I ended my original blog and picked up with this one, We're All Friends Here.  Nothing is changing storywise or anything between here and the move to Tumblr.  I'm simply changing venues, the movie goes on, and nobody in the audience has any idea. 

This is likely the last post here, unless I need to catch some stragglers.  You should be updating your readers (and your morning Bing search Jerry--bookmark it for god sakes) to my new URL: 

http://jpstuart.tumblr.com/

It is very plain and boring, I have not figured out all the things yet, and I will probably break it a few times before I get it right, but that's where you'll see all that shit go down. 

Some fun new features of this new platform:
  • Ask Me Anything:  of course I may not answer.  
  • Scroll for fucking EVER:  it'll just keep loading and loading posts
  • Sign up to "Follow": and be a 12 year old girl too.  
  • It's not Google!:  It's Yahoo, which isn't better but I think everyone's pretty upset and annoyed by the whole GooglePlus experience, etc
  • Comments:  Ran by Disqus!  Whatever that is.  Pretty sure you have to sign up for it to use it but I have no idea, so please help me out, neighborinos.  
  • Easier to share:  I mean, I'm pretty sure anyway.  
Let's just all agree that if something breaks over there we'll all come running back here for shelter.  And thank you for your patience, continued readership, and friendship.  Because after all, we're all friends here...except of course for those of us who are not.  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Brain Vegetables

I kissed the lips of a dying woman last night.  I am not a "let me kiss you" sort of person.  She wanted me to and so I did.  And now I have all of her photos in my hands, and her name on my to-do list.

Everything about this life is short.  

I am...not doing summer school this year.

As I've said a few times, I overbooked my schedule.  I have so many activities going on with my community, projects for my kids, let alone school and work for myself, that I was too busy to take care of other obligations in my life let alone get any rest and relaxation, so I became very burnt out.

I didn't come to the "burnt out" conclusion until I did some quiet self examination, taking vitamins, and paying close attention to the cycles of my physical health.  It also involved a visualization of a night time snow scene in a pine forest where the snow was cool but not wet, and where I discovered an igloo with posters of women in my life who have influenced me in some way, including my sex teacher Dr. Pfil, and the dying woman. 

It didn't help that I struggled financially in April, partly due to Willie's health emergencies and partly due to my ex shorting me on child support.  I made up for as much as I could by designing some new poppet collaborations, such as Snake Church (who will return shortly) and Karma.  But to have been in a place where I was back to working my ass off to keep a continually depleting bank account above zero as much as possible, it was difficult to not be frustrated.

My therapist says that he has students who are terrified of moving out and living in a dorm.  The idea of paying bills and having to take care of themselves frightens them to no end.  If faced with the circumstances that I've had in my life, they'd freak out and hide under the covers.

One thing I have not done is hide under the covers.  I've always found a way to get out of bed, I've always found a way to get by.  I've had help at times (shout out to my helpers) but I've also had the type of brain that requires that I come up with a plan to fix this and soon.

"I've been through a lot more, but I can do a lot more."

"THAT WAS PERFECT, SAY THAT AGAIN!" my therapist shouted.

"I....don't remember what I said."

"I've been through..."

"I've been through a lot more..."

"But..."

"But I can do that a lot more."

It was one of those "breakthroughs" they talk about with the therapy.  One of those "please tattoo this to the inside of your eyelids" moments.

Yes I've been broke but I kept painting and even convinced Morticia to commission a large piece, which I received a little kick back from.

School...that burn out is tricky.  I love school.  I feel safe at school.  I need school because it holds me accountable and it gives my brain something to do.  Not quite with avoidance in burying myself so I can't think of anything else, but more like brain candy.  Except math.  That is brain vegetables--nasty ones.  Brussels sprouts and freaky eggplant looking things.

I sat in the igloo of my mind and thought--you know, I'm not enjoying this tribal religions class very much because it's a Power Point class.  We're talking about zombies and peyote and I'm not thrilled with it.  Because it's all on Power Point.  And the discussions are bland.  It's just not my learning style.  And that's okay.

But I do need to finish up this class regardless, and write a kick ass term paper on totemism, which of course ties in with Poppets.  Sucky class but I can do this.

Math--I dipped a little, but I'm pretty sure I will pass with a C.  I held a B up until recently, but I think I can do this.  I'm going to try to do this.  I'm not fighting my way out of a failing grade, I'm just keeping afloat.  I can do this.  I can do this.

And sex is sex so bro I got this.  Aw yeah.

I am academically burnt out.  I have a learning disability and I am overbooked.

So I bought myself a new pack of highlighters from the 99 cent store, because I love school supplies more than anything, and I will highlight the shit out of my math notes, now that I know how to take effective ones:  divide the page in two, with English on the right and Math on the left, and translate the math into steps in english.  And highlight things.  And draw arrows.  Do it do it do it.  I think I can.

And then I will take the summer off.

My summer plans include: work my ass off at Poppet Planet.  And maybe go camping.  Supposedly the kids are going with their Otherparent for a month.  I need a break from academics more than I need a break from the kids. 

But at least I've really started to put a goal into action as to what happens in 20 years when I finally graduate with my two year degree(s.)  I have guaranteed admission to one of the top 10 schools in the country.  I did not know it was one of the top 10 schools in the country when I signed up to transfer.  But I've decided to go into marketing.  Communications is a strong point for me and while attending one hell of a business school I might as well aim for something that will give me, you know, a marketable skill. 

So it's been exciting to really set my goal, even if it's light years away.  Not really, only like three.  It helps me to know long term where I'm going, where as when I signed up for schooling in the first place I was just looking for the first available thing to do since I would be re-entering the workforce.  I've ended up making a very serious commitment and investment in my education, which helps to keep me feeling happy and useful even when I'm having a bad week. 

I am not sure when I'll be back to post--that is if I will be back to post much before the end of the semester on the 22nd.  Because of the writing.  And the funeral stuff and the working.  I don't think I mentioned that the dying person hasn't yet died.  I've done this before

I will be back. 

me, right now, in fake pearls

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ringmaster

The weather has been hot, but not as hot as it's been in the desert.  Driving to the desert is nutty on some days since the van does not currently have AC.  But it was a glorious Palm Springs Easter anyway.

I've been working for Lisa for six months now.  I know how to sand and dry brush a poppet.  I know how tiny umbrellas are made.  I now write ad copy and spin brushes on my tongue for a finer tip and field customer service like it's my job or something.  And every few weeks she takes me out for some Goodwill shopping--because $3 is all it takes to treat yourself sometimes.

When I report to the studio there are orders I need to pack.  After this last sale, there were about 60 of them, and we're still chipping away at that nonsense.  Or I will grab my apron and start putting the base coats on Daisy Kate or Poppet On Tour.  In the kitchen Willie cooks us comfort foods like Mac n Cheese or Home Fries.  And now Lisa has purchased empty Otter Pop style wrappers that she's freezing different refreshing liquids in, some with coffee, some with fruit, some with booze.


I sit down at whatever workstation she isn't at and squirt out a glop of harbor blue paint and take my pick of the available brushes.

There are hundreds probably.  Mostly in the same spazzed out state of overuse, none are really any better than another.  We get new ones all the time but they all end up looking fried because of the major increase in the volume of poppets that the shop is selling.

It's actually quite fantastic.

I know that waiting for me is my next big task:  opening up my franchise.  It's what I was brought out to the studio to do in the first place, but I had to help increase revenue first so that a second shop could open.  This is why I was given the title "liaison" instead of just "studio assistant."  My job, aside from painting all these little goobers and running the grunt work end of all things art, is to manage a shop on the side that is full of collaboration pieces and merchandise.

I have been slow to start on this project because I have been overly busy and I am managing a sort of "depression light" thing right now.  By depression light I mean that I can get out of bed, I am not as tired as I used to be, and I don't ball all of the problems into one large thing.  This is thanks to therapy and medicine.  I do, however, lack motivation at times and honestly if I don't feel like doing something I won't do it.  I will not drag myself to get something done.  I will either do it or I won't.  When I first started the medicine though, I could just do things.  I didn't have to drag, I would just show up and do it.

Now, literally, if I do not see the money in my account, or the grade on my paper, or the food on my plate, fuck it.

Fuck it all, in fact.

Fuck you.  Fuck him.  Fuck that guy.  And fuck everything.  Fuck your Honda and fuck that corn bread.  Fuck the space needle and fuck Charlie Daniels.  Fuck Felisha and fuck bicycles and fuck that old table outside of the antique shop.  Fuck this computer.  Fuck the roundabouts.  Fuck email.  Fuck time.  Fuck energy.

And it's not as if I intended it to be this way.

I've been handed an opportunity to run a franchise--a real business with a real built in collector base full of real authors and independently wealthy art collectors.  I love this.  This is great.

What else though is I've liked not being the boss for a while.  I like that my job is dictated by what the boss lady needs, and that if I paint a face wrong, you know what?  This isn't my art, I can't get upset that I didn't do it right.  Whereas if someone told me a picture I took wasn't composed well enough I'd be like "fuck."  I like being first mate.  I like being Girl Friday.

Taking on the responsibility of a second shop is serious business.

It isn't my work that's going into it.  It's other artists that have been rounded up to use Lisa's art to create new art, or to translate it through a new medium.  I mean, I will put my little things in, like nesting dolls similar to the ones I painted for her for Christmas.  I will be assembling various merchandise for sale, but none of this is "me."

Still, I have cold feet.  I have cold feet and loose shoes.  Still, it's show time and the curtain is opening this week.  I will be the ringmaster.  Lisa will collect royalties.  Something about cleaning her oven while she sleeps.

I've come up with little business ventures on the side before.  In 2006 I had my own Etsy shop, and of course I did the photography thing for seven years.  I even started a snack delivery service.  All of those were done out of desperation and survival.  Those elements are missing here--thankfully--but I'm having a hard time moving past the idea that I can just, you know, do things without it being an emergency.  I am trained to feel like the other shoe is waiting to drop.

And it really isn't.

I've had some rest.  Six months of medication that mostly works to take the edge off, lots of learning and flexibility.  Someone else's art that I am promoting and organizing.  I'm not really in charge.

Big deep sigh.  Big deep sigh and calm harbor blue ocean.

I'll just keep floating along in my fake pearls and smile for the camera when it points my way.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Keeping To The Shoreline

Employing the tools that I got from my Human Sexuality class on fighting, I took control of a situation yesterday with my ex that would have been a big dramatic explosion a year ago, or maybe even six months ago. 

The situation is that we have the last bit of court paperwork to file, and I haven't had the time to do so because of work and school.  He offered to come down to do it for me, and I happily took him up on this offer.  And so there was to be an exchange that was not child related.

I do not want to see David's face.

I don't want him to breathe my air.

These are of course sarcastic manifestations of "I really don't like you and I know that when we interact it goes south very quickly."  Sarcasm is part of my very slow to burn style of fighting.  Even though we were not fighting at this point, like the sailor said quote:  stormy weather.  Even if I am only using this sarcasm for to quell my internal churning of abhorrence and formulate a plan of action to resolve the issue.  

Identify the issue:  I have to give paperwork to my ex, which means I am vulnerable to being goaded into a fight I do not want to employ the labor to have.  (This assumption is based off of previous encounters we've had.)

--Note that I am using I statements.  I don't have any responsibility for his half of things, nor is it my job to plan how he needs to behave.   I am only responsible for me. 

I have decided that I do not want to give him access to my person.  We will communicate minimally via text messaging or email.  

I have a few choices for how to make this happen.   

  • I can have someone else make the exchange for me, but that is taking someone's time and there's already enough collected time in the world wasted on this individual.  
  •  I could overnight mail it to his mom's house, but then I'd be wasting money.  
  • Leaving it somewhere that he can retrieve it from, but there is risk involved in making sure that it gets to the right hands. 
The last solution seemed to have the easiest execution, because one place I know of that would be safe to leave something is my front doorstep.  If you saw the amount of garden gnomes, poppets, and tiny Easter Island head statues I have on my front porch, you'd understand that I have faith that if something is placed there, my neighbors and their guests generally tend to have the amount of boundary respect it takes to not touch my stuff. 

I've determined a place for this to happen.  As for time, I decided not to have it happen while I wasn't home.  No, I do not want to interact with the fella, but I also didn't want something to happen while I am away.  For example, him attempt to break in or if he gets into a fist fight with my neighbor or something random that probably won't happen but since I really don't know who I'm dealing with anymore, could possibly happen. 

I also didn't want it to happen abruptly after getting home or during a time when I would likely be eating or cooking, so I chose 7.  7 is a good number.  And, to boot, the good thing is that he asked me what time would work best for me.  I've been psychologically conditioning him to behave a certain way when dealing with me, and it has worked. 

I love school. 

Now, the outcome I wanted was to leave the papers tucked into my screen door, he shows up and gets them, and he leaves.  It pretty much went off without a hitch, except that I forgot to sign something.  He texted me, and then knocked on my door, and then attempted to call me. 

None of these things were unreasonable, they were just annoying.  I chose to respond via text message, because I wouldn't have to see his face or hear his voice.  And because I didn't want to see his face or hear his voice, I told him to leave the paper that needed to be signed, go back to his car, and I will tell him when he can come back. 

"Why don't you just come out here with a pen?" he asked. 

Welp, I don't want to.  He's come to my turf, he's going to have to do things the way I am comfortable doing them.  I insist that we do it my way. 

The word he always resorts to when he realizes that I am not budging is "Fine!"  Not "okay," or "all right," but FINE.  Well, he said Fine and went to his car, texted me from his car to say he was at his car, I got my taser and opened my door to get the paper, sign it, and put it back.  The taser was just in case he was standing there and I needed to give him a warning zap to respect my boundaries.  Okay, no it was really just in case in the unlikely event that he was getting me to open the door so he could get physical. 

Done. 

Except he had follow up questions.  I didn't know the answer to them and said so. 

And that was that. 

And you may be thinking to yourself "why does everything have to go your way?"  The answer to that was stated toward the beginning of this story:  I am only responsible for me.  I remember what happens when we interact in person.  I have the intelligence to make this easy on both of us.  Also, I am naturally in charge of everything.  Leadership skills for the win. 

I mean--why assume that he is going to take charge?  Why assume it will go well this time?  Why bother planning?  Why hope that he can change? 

He can't change, that's why the marriage ended, and it's not up to me to put that burden on him anyway.  Only you can prevent forest fires is the most absurd You Statement of the century.  It should be that only I can prevent forest fires, because only I can be responsible for my actions. 

Of course, the fact that there was slightly more interaction than I had planned on had me venting out my annoyance to friends.  One of my friends, Kevin, the widower of my friend Angie said that this story reminded him of a time that we drove down to San Diego to visit them.

When was it? Hmm... back when Ang and I were hanging in San Diego. You and David came down and spent a day (with yummy sausages). You and Ang chatted away and I ended up taking a boat ride with D. 

Yeah, said boat ride was fun in the sun, but I really got the impression that there wasn't much going on upstairs, or maybe he just wasn't boat-savvy. That led to me having a little "heart to heart Dad to Son" kind of talk with him on just what exactly his plans were, where he saw himself right now, step up or step off, etc... Didn't get any return on that, so I shrugged and let him do his thing. 

His thing consisted of keeping to the shoreline 'cuz he could see the bottom of the lake and any fish he was trying to catch and I guess it seemed to him easier to fish like that. I pointed out that we were in a boat designed to go into the lake where larger fish were and yes it requires more investment of time and patience but better returns in the long run. That analogy just glanced off his noggin like a skipping stone. After about 5 minutes of "in the lake", he headed back to shoreline fishing:  His Thing.

The first thing that came to mind after reading this was "this is the perfect metaphor to describe why my first husband did not work for me--how I like a certain amount of investment and risk and living up to potential, and how he displayed none of that."  

The second thing that came to mind after reading this was "He has a phobia of water."  

When I told Kevin about his water phobia, Kevin said "well he could have just mentioned that instead of going through all that worry, but he didn't." 

Speak up for yourself because You are responsible for You.  
The world that you need is wrapped in gold silver sleeves left beneath Christmas trees in the snow.