Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Beans, bags, babies

I did a real Sunday where I stayed offline, napped, had some outside time, had an indoor picnic, and tried to relax. But Monday came and I was still in a very bad mood rather than feeling refreshed. I did get edits back from one of my essay subjects and he approved of the general tone of my draft even if there were plenty of factual corrections (which I knew I needed help on. I wasn't able to keep that many generations back to the Civil War straight—too many nameless ancestors! Glad to have the family tree sorted out now). That was a huge relief. I also soaked the tiny bit of butter beans I had left and kept swapping out the soaking water, feeding it to the outside plants. Of course, because we all know how I'm to die, I put them on the stove to cook and promptly forgot about them for a few hours. Fortunately, it was the lowest flame possible and I remembered before they burned.
I threw this one together from leftover upholstery cover material because I wanted to send pictures to my mom about how to do the bottom corners of a bag. I had insisted when I saw her in March that we take her old sewing machine to get fixed, but then the lockdown began and she couldn't get it for six weeks. It came back with a big scratch but otherwise seems to be running well. On that visit, I had also left her lots of fabric scraps and mailed her even more later. I thought it would be a nice break or new hobby but apparently sending her pictures of my bags made her jealous and frustrated so she stopped to eat snacks instead. I am 100% her daughter because I also eat when I get upset.
Lavender seedlings!! I hate the idea that I'll have to choose the strongest later but for now, I am delighted. My one audible yelp from last week was when I saw the first one poking up from the south-facing bathroom window. There is barely any room in there for the upside down boxes stacked to reach the windowsill sunlight but I'm happy to cede that space for a while.
I've switched to all brush and gouache lately for my rhododendron drawings and that has been a lot of fun. Some days I don't make it but mostly every day for at least a minute or three, I get to not be in the crappiest mood ever. It's a low-grade crappiness but cumulative, so I was relieved for a slight break today in it because I found out I got another small relief grant. They are extremely aptly named.
I probably shared this last year but wanted to share again. A year ago (in April 2019), I worked with four 4th grade classes in Oberlin for Allen Memorial Art Museum programming. It was fantastic, well-supported, well-received work. I miss teaching, being close to human beans, sharing paper joy. I hope it won't be years before I can return to this work and know that my crappy moods stem from an inability to fully grieve and grasp these losses. It's nothing like the families who could not be with their dying loved ones, and different from the anxiety I feel as each day I hear from more friends about their recovery from illness, or sickness and deaths of their loved ones. But it's all related. Trying to to stay nourished, make space for it all even if my containers are insufficient, and encourage new life.

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