Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Sexual Assault Is Wrong

Swimming Upstream

I got the messenger bag sort of done. I measured, then made the strap a bit too short. I allowed 1.5 inches to sew into a seam so I’ve got room to fix this. It’s usable with the strap as is, but not what I really want. I wanted to sew the straps into the seam that connects the bag to the lining, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. There’s a recessed zipper, and …. oh, shit. I just figured out how to sew the strap into the seam. Guess I need to make a few more of these bags.

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Front with zippered pocket on the flap.

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Back with zippered pocket.

As I guide, I followed this tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8YHMqJi3a8 This woman has a number of videos on sewing, and I find them wonderfully helpful. I’ve been sewing for 53 years, but I didn’t know how to install a zipper properly until I watched her videos.

I wanted a bag that would accommodate my full-size iPad Pro and have room for my wallet, phone, keys, and other things I need to have. I put zippered pockets in the back of the bag, the flap, in both sides inside and put a welt pocket in the inside.

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The welt pocket continues down behind the zippered pocket.

What I couldn’t figure out is how to attach a water bottle holder. I’ll have to do some thinking about that one.

I started my writing class and neurobiology class last week. After one of the students in my writing class said she was going to law school in the fall, the teacher said she’d be doing a lot of fiction writing. Even if she writes contracts, she would be doing fiction writing. So when it came my turn to introduce myself, I told him I’m an attorney, I find his comments about legal writing offensive, and how would he like it if I told stupid English teacher jokes. I’ll get what I can from this class. Only one fiction writing workshop is offered each semester and the teachers take turns teaching it. I do like the idea of having a number of teachers so I can see an assortment of approaches.

My neurobiology teacher is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Although I find myself at a disadvantage because I haven’t taken a biology class since 1981, I’m still having my brain zip around ideas while the teacher is talking. I’m going to love this class. I’m wondering if this is going to rekindle my love of biology. One of my undergrad degrees is in biology and I considered going to grad school to become a biologist. One day, after seeing an image from an electron microscope and learning about thylocoids, I decided a thylocoid was way too big and clunky to understand. Then I realized I was calling something that could only be seen with an electron microscope big and clunky. One day, I walked out of my organic chemistry class trying hard to understand the bond between two atoms and decided that was too big and clunky to understand. When I realized what I had just termed big and clunky, I decided being a biologist would end with me in a locked ward. So I stuck with journalism until I went to law school.

On Thursday, Jim and I went up to Albuquerque to the neurology clinic at the University of New Mexico med school. I had been going to the clinic at the med school in El Paso. At the clinic in El Paso, I kept wondering if I were the only one in the room who had taken cell biology. Then I discovered I really was the only one in the room who took cell biology. At the clinic in Albuquerque, I got to talk to a neurologist who is a microbiologist. Yes! My work in college was mostly with plants, but my real passion is microbiology.

Today was the Women’s March in Las Cruces. I didn’t go. The women who organize it are too cheap to pay for security. They would have to agree to pay the overtime rate for off-duty police officers. I suspect only 3 or 4 officers would be needed. Instead, they have two women who are “trained in verbal de-escalation.” Right. Try talking sense to a skinhead or a bullet. Yes, 911 can be called and the police would arrive within five minutes. Sounds like a short time, right? Imagine a skinhead with an AR-15 or a baseball bat. Now give the skinhead five minutes to do damage. How many people can be hurt or killed in five minutes?

There’s another reason I didn’t go. I’m still raw inside. I’m still pissed we have a sociopath sex offender for president. I’m still pissed that we have to fight against sexual harassment. I’m still pissed that standing up against sexual assault in my writing class last semester resulted in me being told to shut up by both my teacher and the head of the English department. I’m still pissed that my teacher retaliated by giving me a lower than deserved grade. I didn’t think I could get through the rally and march without crying. And it would be too emotionally difficult to explain why I was crying.

I’m still going to speak out and I don’t give a crap what the cost will be. I’m still going to stand up for what I believe to be right. I’m still going to stand up for a woman’s right to go through life free from sexual assault and sexual harassment.

I’m just not about to risk death or injury to do it.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Thinking about a Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetie – or yourself? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art here.

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Posted in Beads, Fiber, Pain, Photography

Making Some Changes and a Messenger Bag

We took a little vacation this past week. The original plan was to go up to Albuquerque, spend a day at Bosque del Apache wildlife preserve, a day in Albuquerque and a day in Santa Fe.

We drove up on Monday, and stopped at Bosque del Apache so I could do some bird and critter photography. Mostly bird. I learned a few things. It’s tough to get a decent bird in flight photo. A telephoto lens doesn’t do what I thought. I still had little birds in a big pond. I had to crop like crazy to get a half-decent shot. My telephoto doesn’t have image stabilization which makes it just about impossible to use without a tripod. And it’s just about impossible to use a tripod to photograph birds. Even on the ground, birds move fast.

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Sandhill cranes.

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I couldn’t resist an artsy shot. The water was dead still and the sun was in the perfect position to catch this reflection.

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No idea what kind of ducks these are.

I did see a bald eagle – the first I’ve ever seen in the wild. I took a shot that I knew would be crappy. I wasn’t about to leave with out a shot – even if I would be the only one who knew it was of an eagle.

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Note the details on the eagle’s feathers. That’s okay – I can’t see it either.

Canada geese look different in the southwest. I’m used to the northeast version with much darker coloring.

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My only decent cranes in flight shot – and it’s not that great.

I’m now researching zoom telephoto lenses. I want something with decent glass and image stabilization. At the moment, I’m looking at Tamron lenses. I’ve heard good things about those lenses.

We skipped Santa Fe. Driving in the old part of the city is a challenge. The streets are narrow and lots of one-way streets. Parking is expensive. The newer part of Santa Fe looks pretty much like Albuquerque.

I did get to go to a gem store and replenish my semi-precious gem supply. I saw a magnificent string of yellow opals full of fire and sparkle. Unfortunately, the string cost $1800 which is well outside my budget.

I had forgotten to pack the gabapentin, which sometimes helps with the neuropathy pain. All I had with me was the TENS unit and CBD oil – something that also sometimes helps. By Wednesday morning, I was in enough pain that we decided to head for home. A winter storm was blowing in and I can’t see spending money to sit in a hotel room and watch it snow. Few people in New Mexico know how to drive in snow. Being on the road with inexperienced winter drivers is to be avoided whenever possible. We got home ahead of the storm.

My A1C test shows I’m in the pre-diabetes range. I need to make some serious changes in my eating and exercising habits. I bought a glucose monitor kit and I’m now keeping a log of glucose results and food. I want to see which foods will cause glucose spikes and which won’t.

I made vegetarian chicken soup today. As I cut up the carrots, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I cut up the celery, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I added peas, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I added the corn, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I added the can of chopped tomatoes, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. At that point, there was no room left in the 4-quart slow cooker for the chicken, which went back into the freezer. Jim and I will be eating this soup all week.

I’m working on a messenger bag. I thought I had designed it to hold my iPad Pro. I’ve got the 12.9″ version. Now that I’m putting the bag together, I think I might have made a miscalculation and it will be a touch too small. Nothing to do but keep on going and finish it. I’m putting a zippered pocket on the flap, a zippered pocket on the back, an welt pocket on the inside, and two zippered pockets on the inside.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

If you’re looking for a gift, or want to give yourself something nice, please stop by my web store, Deb Thuman Art here. Thanks.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Pain, PTSD

Crud

I have the crud.

The Friday before Christmas, we tried to get together with a friend to celebrate her birthday. Jim had the crud, so he stayed home. The Friday before New Years, we tried to get together to celebrate Jim’s birthday and my friend got the crud and couldn’t make it. This week, we tried to get together for lunch, but I have the crud. We’ll try again next Friday.

Crud sucks. The federal regulations for pseudo-ephedrine are absurd, ineffective, and a flaming nuisance. Claritin-D used to come in 750 mg strength. It was great. Now with the current regulations, I can only get Claritin-D in 270 mg dose. These are 24 hour pills and there are 15 in the box. They cost $20 if I buy the Walgreens version (which I did). I have to take at least two of them to get any relief. I can only buy 3.6 grams per day and only 9 grams in a 30-day period. Jim bought a box shortly before Christmas. I bought a box today. If I need any more, I may have to have the cat go buy them. And what does all this do to stop the production and use of methamphetamine? Not a darned thing. Why? As a client explained, it’s too difficult to extract the pseudo-ephedrine from Claritin-D. As for the number of meth addicts? I don’t see any progress there. I’m basing that on drug cases I’ve handled.

I’ve been dealing with slamming into both depressed and manic states. After the last trip to the neurology clinic at the medical school in El Paso, I had blood drawn. Lots and lots of blood. The good news: the ANA test is negative and I don’t have an auto-immune disease. The expected news: My A1C is in the pre-diabetes range. The glucose monitor will arrive this week. I’ll be monitoring my glucose, keeping a food diary, and hoping to have a better A1C result in a few months. The unexpected news: I got a call asking if I wanted financial aid to pay for a blood text that got sent out of network. How much is the blood test? $4,000. Nope – no financial aid and don’t run the test. Next, I got a letter telling me the out-of-network lab can’t use the blood that was sent because it was drawn at a hospital rather than in my doctor’s office.

I recovered from that, and called my HMO to see if the prior authorization request that was submitted early December for my appointment at the neurology clinic at the medical school in Albuquerque had been authorized. No, because the paperwork from my doctor’s office was wrong. I called the doctor’s office and asked for a call back or I would camp out in the office until I got a satisfactory answer. Turned out I had to camp out in the office. The doctor’s office sent in corrected paperwork late December. My appointment is for January 18. I get to call later this week to see what progress has been made. If I have to cancel this appointment, I won’t get another appointment for about 4 months – if I’m lucky.

I’ve decided I don’t want to go back to the medical school in El Paso. I had been wondering most visits if I were the only one in the room who had ever taken cell biology. I had a nerve conduction series that left me furious. First, I had to deal with a resident who is clearly hearing impaired and clearly too arrogant to do anything about it. He’s going to kill someone eventually. The neurologist supervising the test, after I asked in frustration how she would feel if someone told her she would be in pain for the rest of her life, said, “You’re not managing your pain well enough.” THIS ISN’T MY FAULT YOU TWIT. I didn’t say that. I asked her who was doing research on peripheral neuropathy. “No one here.” When I got home, I did a google search and found 496 clinical tests. There’s a pretty nice one in France, but I doubt the cheapskates at the HMO will authorize trips to France. There is a clinical test in Salt Lake City and in Albuquerque. That they might be willing to authorize.

The next appointment, I was in severe pain. When the pain hit a 5, I took a double dose of gabapentin and sat hooked up to a TENS unit for an hour or so. That’s when the pain hit a 7. I took another double dose of gabapentin. That meant I had taken a full day’s dosage in a span of 2 hours.The pain dropped back to a 5. I was walking into walls, stoned out of my mind, in pain, and pissed off. The neurologist said he could raise the dose. “No you can’t, because I won’t take it.” The gabapentin works sometimes, but not always. There’s no pattern that I’ve been able to spot.

After being told the nerve conduction series showed damage to the axion, I started asking microbiology type questions. Turns out, I really was the only one in the room who had taken cell biology. It was clear that the neurologist had no idea what I was asking about. I told him that I thought I figured out the problem. He’s used to dealing with big things and I’m used to microbiology. He told me neurology wasn’t rocket science. I strongly suspect the $4,000 blood test was retaliation. The test if for a genetic abnormality. No one asked me if anyone else in the family has neuropathy. And if this were genetic, it would have shown up 40 years earlier.

All of this excitement caused an outbreak of hives. It took me a couple days to figure out the redness and swelling was hives. Usually, stress hives start on the insides of my arms. This time, it was on the outsides of both arms. One antihistamine cleared up the hives.

I’ve been working, now and again, on designing the perfect purse. I know what I want…zippered pockets on the outside, the top with a recessed zipper, and a flap with a zippered pocket. I also need a pocket on the end that will hold a water bottle. I need a purse large enough to hold my 12.9” iPad Pro. I was trying to work out a pattern yesterday when Tinker decided to help by insisting on sitting on the drawing paper. He wants to be by his humans and he likes the sunbeams in the sewing room.

One odd thing has been happening. I’ve been having flashbacks of crap that happened to me when I was growing up. My psychologist, when I asked him if flashbacks ever end said it was finite. Got news for you. PTSD is for life. It’s been more than 45 years since I lived in an insane asylum run by a violent drunk and a violent narcissist. I’m still having flashbacks. Years ago, I stumbled upon a way to deal with the flashbacks – look at the memory, acknowledge that what happened was horrible. Since then, the flashbacks haven’t been debilitating. They seem to have less power. They also seem to show no signs of ever stopping.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. See what some other artists have been doing.

Please stop by my web store, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Photography

And Sometimes, It All Goes Right Even If It Starts Out Wrong

I prefer to shoot when no one is around. I don’t want people asking me questions or getting in my way. I want to be able to get down on the ground to get a good shot if necessary. I don’ want to be tripping over people and I don’t want them tripping over me.

I wanted to get some shots of the the Christmas lights in Las Cruces, so I went downtown, and discovered half the town was there. There were vendors set up on the plaza although the only ones selling anything were the food vendors. I had to dodge children and adults. I was sure my shots weren’t much good. One, that I was going to delete, kept talking to me until I agreed to really look at it.

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Not wanting to go home without taking photographs I could play with, I started shooting with no firm idea of how I wanted to play with the shots.

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The original shot.

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Playing with an overlay.

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Playing with a lens flare.

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Overlay on a close up of what made up the lighted ornament in the first photo.

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Turning the above photo into a kaleidoscope.

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Some of the lighted decorations. The bear’s “skin” was the plastic stuff used to wrap items for shipping.

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Wood fired pizza made to order.

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City streets.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  Stop by and see what other artists have been doing this week.

I have new items in my store, Deb Thuman Art, here.

Posted in Clay, Judiasm

The Subversive Menorah and Other Stories

 

I used to work for the New Mexico Public Defender Department, a state agency. Per the US Supreme Court, state agencies cannot have a religious display. So the office got decorated for Christmas every year. According to the US Supreme Court, employees are allowed a “small, personal display” in their work area. This does not mean the reception area can be decorated as if it were Rockefeller Center. Which is how the reception area was decorated each year. One year, I objected and got snarled at, growled at and yelled at by nearly every other employee. I was amazed at the number of attorneys who were clueless about the separation of church and state. I asked about having a menorah in my office during Hanukkah. Note that the menorah is a “small, personal display” that would be confined to my work area. Nope. Can’t have a menorah.

So I made the Subversive Menorah. We couldn’t have lighted candles per the fire codes, so Jim made me wooden candles to put in the holders. I designed the menorah to fit on the windowsill of my office window. I played around with the design of the candle holders and my teacher helped me to get the menorah dried and fired so it would lay flat. This meant gluing on the candleholders. I didn’t bother asking about having a menorah again, I just brought it into my office and put it on the windowsill.

Menorah

Hanukkah is a celebration of a small band of Jews defeating the Syrian army. The Jews had been ruled by the king of Syria and were told to pray to the Syrian gods. So a tiny band of Jewish soldiers led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated the Syrian army. The king of Syria decided to let the Jews go back to Palestine. The Jews cleaned out the temple which had been desecrated by the Syrians and found only a small amount of oil. All Jewish temples have an eternal light, usually an electric light now. Then, the lamp was fueled by olive oil. Although the oil was only enough for one day, the oil lasted for the eight days it took the Jews to get more oil.

I think about that during Hanukkah. I think about how for nearly 6000 years, assorted groups of people have tried to remove us from the earth. Every last one of them has failed. God promised us we would never be wiped out. We are still here.

Jim decided to sort out the Tupperware in the pantry. We have a lot of Tupperware. Mostly because we had a friend who sold Tupperware. Anyway, Tupperware has a lifetime guarantee. So Jim rounded up all the dead lids to take to the Tupperware dealer yesterday. She will send them back to the company and we will get new lids.

Jim sorting Tupperware

And the result:

Pantry

We set up at the Farmers & Craft Market yesterday for the last time. We won’t be setting up again until April. January through March are difficult months here. Everyone is broke, no one has a tax refund yet, and it’s cold and windy. Once the weather warms up, we’ll set up at the market again. I ran the numbers for this year, and I made more than I thought.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing. If you’re looking for unique jewelry, fiber art or photographs, please stop by my store, DebThumanArt.com here.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Clay, Judiasm, Photography

A Different Kind of Stress

Christmas looks a bit different when you’re Jewish. I don’t face Holiday Hell each December. Used to be, I’d drop into a deep depression starting the third week in November and lasting until New Year’s Day. Jim and I used to escape by planning to be a few states away from the family over Christmas. I knew there was a problem when I found myself eating a leftover sandwich in a hotel room, watching Christmas Story, and thinking it was a pretty good Christmas day.

That was before. Now, no family misery – fighting, screaming, crying and that was just what happened before desert. It got worse as the day ground on. There were Christmas cookies before, but I have no idea where they came from. They were home baked, but I’ve no idea when or how. I’ve never understood Christmas cookies. I asked a woman who thought cleaning the bathroom was exciting about Christmas cookies. She told me she started baking in October and froze cookies. Why would anyone do that?

Now, after finding out my family were Polish Jews cleverly disguised as German Lutherans and reverting to Judaism, (the rabbi called it conversion), I have no Holiday Hell in December. I do have a different type of stress. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I had one of my best days at the local Farmers & Craft Market. I had made little ceramic trays and the customers nearly cleaned me out. So I worked like crazy to have a new batch of little ceramic trays for this past Saturday. I had my best sales day ever and the customers nearly cleaned me out. I don’t have time to make another batch of little trays.

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Big little trays.

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Little little trays.

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Medium little trays.

Needing to fill the table, and reading about rice pillows on the Mildly Offensive Fiber Artists Facebook page, I decided to make rice pillows. I have some black rice that I discovered I didn’t care for so I’ll use that for rice pillows. Jim said the rice pillows would make nice gifts – and he wants to send the gifts out early this week. I dug through my stash and found fabric that I could cut out 12.5” squares. I folded the squares in half, sewed around two raw edges using a 3/8” seam allowance, folded right side out, folded over the top, not yet sewn edge so I’d have a nice edge. I drew a line down the middle of the pillow so I’d have two channels running the length of the pillow. I used an empty spool from a cone of thread for a funnel and filled the first pillow 2/3 full in each channel. Then, I sewed the neatly folded under edge closed. And I was out of black rice. I’ve got about 15 more squares to sew into rice pillows and another two already sewn and need to be filled. I’ll have to stop at Sam’s Club tomorrow to buy some cheap rice. I’ll sew bags in the morning, go to the gym, pick up the mail at the post office, then stop at Sam’s Club. I’ll come home, fill the rice pillows, and try to remember to make something for dinner. These rice pillows had better sell well when we set up on this coming Saturday.

I’m having bipolar misery. I let myself get working way too fast today. When that happens, I wind up and can’t wind down. Worse, I try to do more than one thing at a time and don’t do anything very well. Yes, I know, you don’t multi task well, either. Take your experience, multiply it by a factor of at least 10, and you have how I feel when I’m wound up and well medicated. Multiply your experience by a factor of 25, and you will have how I felt wound up and unmedicated. Mental illness isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a gift? Check out my website, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in bipolar disorder, tattoos

Endings & Beginnings

My last modeling assignment was on Thursday. I’ve been modeling for the same art class all semester and watched the students develop their styles. I got to sit in on the critiques and I learned how to improve my art by listening to what was said. I got to design temporary tattoos to wear while posing. This was a whole lot harder than I anticipated. I got my designs worked out, then realized that the students were working with charcoal and I needed to be careful about value. Then I remembered that the parts of my designs – some were eyes – that I wanted to be white, weren’t going to be white. The printer would “read” white space as vacant space. White fill in a temporary tattoo has to be done by a commercial temporary tattoo vendor. Then I realized the design was going on skin and I needed to consider how the colors would look against skin. It was an interesting experiment. Maybe someday I’ll have a a company print up my temporary tattoo designs.

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This is the photo copy I did to make sure the colors were what I wanted. The dark lines are the edges of the pieces I cut out. I had drawn designs on several pieces of paper. When I found the designs I liked, I cut them out and taped them onto a piece of white paper.

I’m now setting up at the Farmers & Craft Market every Saturday. I did well this week although not as well as the week before. I’ve decided I really like taking credit and debit cards. Why? Because I don’t have to make change. People get their money from an ATM, and the ATM only hands out $20 bills. So every person who wants to buy something from me hands me a $20 bill. I anticipate setting up next Saturday and the Saturday after that. The following Saturday is two days before Christmas. By then, people have done all the Christmas shopping they are going to do so I’m skipping that week. Then, I’ll take time off until April or May. Few vendors set up during January through March. The fewer vendors, the fewer people come to the market to shop. It’s not going to be worth it to me to sit in the cold for 7 hours just so I don’t sell anything. The market lasts 5 hours and the other two hours are set up and tear down time.

I had a bit of a manic episode. Nothing serious, just me deciding I HAD to get my bellybutton pierced. I had it originally pierced 15 years ago. After 10 years of no problems, I started developing infections. My doctor convinced me to give up my bellybutton ring. By now, the hole had started to close over and I needed it re-pierced. It’s hard to explain, mostly because it’s hard to understand myself, why I have these episodes where I have an impossible to resist compulsion to do something. The last episode I had like this was more than a year ago and I woke up with a compulsion to crochet a bed spread. I’ve got probably half the squares I need made. The change in meds has made the compulsions less compulsive.

I’m considering making a video for youtube to promote my web store. I’ll take any advice anyone has to offer.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

I’ve got new work in my store – take a look and see if there’s something you like for yourself or for a gift.  www.DebThumanArt.com

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Posted in Photography, Pottery

Does This Come In Blue?

We went up to Santa Fe so I could do some street shooting. I try to take shots that don’t look as if I were on a tour and had 10 minutes to shoot the entire city. I also like to play around.

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Santa Fe as seen through the park benches.

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The Plaza in Santa Fe.

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This one is a Tourist Shot. Native American artists come to Santa Fe for the opportunity to sell their art at the Palace of the Governors. A bell is rung each morning, and lots are drawn to determine who can sell their art that day. All art must be made by the artist. I was astounded at the quality of the work. The jewelry I saw was so beautiful I wanted to give up beads because my work is so inferior to what I saw.

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This was a throw away shot. I decided to make a half-hearted attempt at photographing a pigeon. Considering how fast the pigeon was moving, I’m surprised at how well the shot came out. Moral: Always take the shot.

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Fall has lingered this year and there were still roses and hibiscus blooming.

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Fun with architecture.

I wanted something cute to wear to the Farmers & Craft Market. Something that shows me as an artist. I found this fabric in Albuquerque and wanted to take advantage of the print. So…I made a scrub top. I still have no idea where my ribbing is. Last time I used this pattern, I used a piece of spandex in place of the ribbing. It worked, but was a bugger and a half to sew on. Spandex doesn’t stretch as much as ribbing. This time, I added 3” to the sleeves and put in a button hole and a button. I didn’t measure, and I left the cuffs too lose. I’ll need to move the buttons a bit.

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I had my best day ever at the Farmers & Craft Market on Saturday morning. The good news: I sold a lot of pots. The bad news: I now need to make a lot of pots to replace the ones I sold. But I have class and I’m modeling on Tuesday and Thursday. There’s no way I can get my pieces made, bisque fired, glazed and glaze fired in time for them to be cool enough to unload well before dawn on Saturday. I’ll have to take what I’ve got on Saturday and take the new pieces I’ll be making the following Saturday. Such problems!

I got to hear the famous question on Saturday. A lady picked up a small bowl glazed in blue, green and pink celedons. “Do you have this in blue?” No. She wants it in blue and with a lid. Yes, I can do that, but if I need to make a lid, I have to price the pot higher. I’m not going to worry about it.

I sold a pair of earrings from my store, DebThumanArt.com. The nice part is someone I don’t know bought the earrings. I appreciate the support of my friends and I’m glad I’m being found by people I don’t know.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Please check her blog and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a gift? You can find my store here.

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Posted in Baking, bipolar disorder, Clay, Photography, Pottery

Pretzels & Pinch Pots

Rolling out dough for a big, soft pretzel is a cross between rolling out a coil and pulling a handle. I’ve got a sourdough recipe for English muffins. I can’t fit more than 8 English muffins on a pan, so I’m making 8 English muffins and 8 big, soft pretzels. I had ordered some pretzel salt from King Arthur Flour Bakers Store and I’ve been wanting to give it a test bake. Rather than cook the English muffins on a griddle, I’m baking them in the oven. I have English muffin rings (King Arthur Flour Bakers Store). I put parchment paper on one cookie sheet, grease the rings, put a glob of dough in each ring, cover with parchment paper, and put another cookie sheet on top of the raw English muffins. As the muffins rise and later bake, the muffins are confined to their rings and end up the size and shape of commercial English muffins.  I put parchment paper on top of that cookie sheet, and made dough ropes to form into pretzels. There are pretzel makers who can flip the dough into a pretzel. I’m not one of them. English muffins and pretzels are rising at the moment.

I’ve been working on little pinch pots to be used as glaze experiments. I put the bottom glaze on the inside and part of the outside of the pinch pot. Then I put the top glaze only inside the pinch pot. No runaway glaze disasters if the two glazes are only on the inside. I was aiming at a Wednesday glaze firing, but that’s not going to happen. I have no energy today and I’ve got a half dozen mugs, a plate, a rattle, and two large planters to glaze before I can fire.

I’ve had an energy problem the last few days. In some ways, it feels like before I was diagnosed with hypothyroid. In other ways, it’s just weird. Normal manic events have a culinary nature. I have an incredible urge to cook and I’m buying things for making whole grain baked goods. Normal manic events come with too much energy. I have to be careful not to get too wound up or I won’t be able to wind down. This time, I hardly have enough energy to walk across the room. I think this is a mixed episode. Whoopee.

In an effort to become healthier, I’ve been pushing exercise on myself. Last night, I was about to get on the elliptical machine when I looked out the sliding glass door.

Sunset 1 11-4-17

So I took time to do some photography. I’ve been trying to get the sky and the ground to look in a digital image how it looks to my eyes. I’m still working on that.

Mountains 1 11-4-17

Yes, I did get on the elliptical machine after taking 54 photos.

Thursday, I stopped into JoAnn’s. I have my writing class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I have no intention of paying for a parking pass for one class. I park in the strip mall parking lot nearby. JoAnn’s is in that strip mall. I was armed with sales fliers and coupons. My original intent was to fondle the JoAnn’s version of a fabric called Minky. I need a longer kimono (the one I have is knee length). I thought Minky would be a good choice. I never found the Minky. What I found was this.

Flamingo fabric 2 11-3-17

The bolt on the shelf didn’t have the 5 yards I needed. Fortunately, there were two full bolts up on a high shelf. I told the clerk to give me 6 yards. Then there was one yard left on the bolt and I got it for half price. The fabric, a cotton knit, was on sale and I had a 25% off coupon. It will be a kimono and a jacket when it grows up.

Then I found a fake fur that I think will be a nice purse. I bought a yard and it, too was on sale.

That’s about all I have energy for right now. Can’t wait for this episode to be over. I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a gift? My online store, Deb Thuman Art, is here.

Posted in Clay, Fiber, Pottery, Sexual Assault Is Wrong

Never Again

Never Again!

Never again will I be silent.

Never again will I be shamed into silence.

Never again will I be pressured into silence.

Recently, one of my classmates in my writing class wrote a story that ended with a sexual assault – a high school guy grabbed a high school girl’s breast without her permission. I pointed out – with great passion – that this behavior is a felony, that conviction results in the person having to register as a sex offender, and in NY, a state with a convoluted justifiable use of deadly force law, the girl would have been justified in shooting the jerk. I then spread out the quilt with the more or less life size, 3-D vulva and, inter alia, the words: If you touch this without my permission, I will break your fucking arm. I pointed to the line that says: For the woman who said no and got fired. I told the writer that this was me.

Since then, I’ve had pressure, twice, to cease and desist from making comments like that. Nope. Not gonna be quiet. Someone has to stand up and say the emperor is naked.

What disturbed me about the story is that the sexual assault was presented as guy behavior. No. Burping, farting and scratching your testicles is guy behavior. Annoying, smelly, but basically harmless. Grabbing a woman’s breast without her permission is not guy behavior. It’s a felony. Had the breast grabbing in the story been presented as horrible, never to be tolerated, unjustified behavior, I wouldn’t have been upset. Had the breast grabbing been done with the girl’s consent, I wouldn’t have been upset. That it was presented as acceptable behavior is not acceptable. Ever.

I was more disturbed to discover that I was the only one who was upset by the nonchalant attitude towards sexual assault. None of the other women in the class seemed to be bothered by this attitude. Or was I the only one who felt she could speak? We’ve been shamed into being silent. We’ve been told it’s out fault when some jerk grabs us. We’ve been told we were coming on to some jerk who couldn’t tolerate being told no. When, in Junior High, I refused to laugh, and spoke up against the behavior, when one of the guys pulled up a girl’s skirt. I was told, “You’re not the coolest.” I didn’t back down.

What the hell are we teaching our daughters? What the hell are we teaching our sons?

Never again!

I finally got pieces from the last firing photographed. And here they are.

Firing 10-20-17 16Firing 10-20-17 17Firing 10-20-17 11

The above are experimental bowls. I used some clay I want to use up because I’m not all that fond of it. I rolled out slabs, rolled on texture, and used wreath forms for a slump mold. They are three different sizes, and the glaze combinations are experiments. The top tow bowls were too large for the light cube. I should have done some different staging. I did’t.

Firing 10-20-17 13Firing 10-20-17 12

I’ve no idea what fell on the plate while it was being fired. A chunk of kiln wash maybe?

Firing 10-20-14 14Firing 10-20-17 3Firing 10-20-17 4

Another glaze experiment. Mayco flux over Potter’s Choice Shino. The flux is pretty good at surprising me. I had no idea I’d get grays and white from this combination.

Firing 10-20-17 6

The huge pinhole is gone and replaced by 4 little pinholes. It’s now my new lidded container. I’ll figure out what to put in it eventually.

Firing 10-20-17 1

I did a bit of experimental sewing to take with me to the Farmers & Craft Market this morning.

Personal Bag 10-27-18

This is a Personal Bag. I designed it to hold: a personal toy, the charging cord for the toy, lubricant – two bottles if you like coordinated lubricant, and condoms.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing – and be sure to read Nina Marie’s post. It’s something I needed to read this week.

Looking for a gift? Check out my store, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Clay, Cognitive problems, Fiber, Jewelry

Why is life so complicated?

I’m still having withdrawal from the antidepressant. While I know this is part of withdrawal, it doesn’t feel like any previous withdrawal I’ve endured. Physically, I’m pretty much okay. I get tired a lot, but I don’t feel as if I were jumping out of my skin any more. I am finding my brain is working better. But my brain feels….squishy??? Things aren’t quite right. I have moments of utter stupidity. I was bouncing off the ceiling the last court appearance. Ceiling bouncing doesn’t usually happen in court. I couldn’t concentrate in my writing class on Tuesday.

About a week ago, I had to read a story for my writing class. The story was about a sexual assault, but the story was written as if the breast grabbing was just boys’ behavior. I had a visceral reaction and said so in class. Subtly is not part of my skill set. I told the writer than what he described was a sex crime, a felony and requires registering as a sex offender. I then plopped my sexual assault quilt down in front of him, pointed to where it said “For the woman who said no and got fired,” and told him that was me. Oddly no one else in the class was disturbed by the story. That is disturbing. I haven’t decided how I feel about my teacher refusing to look at the quilt. It’s the quilt with the more or less life size and more or less anatomically correct 3-d vulva in the middle and the words: If you touch this without my permission, I will break your fucking arm. Sometimes, I wonder about this class.

Next, I had a court appearance where I was in the same courtroom with the jerk who has been stalking me. That had more of an impact on me than I expected. I had a deputy walk my client and I out to my car after the hearing. The jerk was waiting for us in the parking lot and didn’t leave until he was sure the deputy wasn’t going back into the courthouse. That’s both scary and infuriating. The next batch of stories contained a story written from the point of view of a pedophile. This was accompanied by #Me Too and an episode of Law & Order SVU about rape, hazing and bullying. Plus I watched an old episode of Roseanne and was deeply offended. The episode was about Dan’s mother having to go into a mental hospital and about mental illness. The writers made mental illness sound so horrible. I wouldn’t recommend being bipolar, but it’s hardly the end of the world. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s a disease to be treated just like any physical disease.   And I wonder why I’m exhausted.

I had to take one day this week when I worked on art just for me. Not art for sale. Not my novel. Not writing for a class. Not healing writing. Just art for me. I had reached an interim weight loss goal while I was on the Broken Tooth Diet, and my reward was to buy me Swarovski crystal.

Reward set 10-20-17Reward set 2 10-20-17Reward set 3 10-20-17

I’ve worn the earrings from each set, but I haven’t had a chance to wear the necklaces.

I fired the kiln. Twice because I misread the cones and didn’t get the kiln hot enough the first time.  I’ve been working on some chili ornaments. IMG_4134IMG_4130IMG_4126

I used a copper wash on these to make the texture stand out. The chili on the left is Amaco Jade Celadon over copper wash. The other two are clear glossy over copper wash. I’ve go to make more pieces with copper wash in the texture. I like the effect.

IMG_4123

I can’t remember where I read this, most likely on Facebook, but a fellow clay artist wrote about putting a piece of plastic wrap over a slab of clay before using a cookie cutter to cut out ornaments. I like how the edges are rounded over. I had a piece of eyelet fabric and I rolled it on a slab of clay to make texture.

Scrub Top 10-18-17Detail Scrub Top 10-18-17

While I was making art for me, I decided to use fabric I bought a couple months back. Yes, those are alligators and ducks in the fancy stitching. I couldn’t find my ribbing for the cuffs, so I grabbed some spandex that coordinated and used that. What a PITA to sew onto the bottom of the sleeve! But I got the scrub top finished. I wanted something funky and arty to wear when I set up at the local Farmers & Craft Market.

Ring 10-20-17

I bought some memory wire for making rings. And I bought the BIG bag of it. It’s hard to get the ends bent around. I ended up making a ring that is too wide for me to wear. My hands look funny when I try to wear large rings. I’ll take it with me to the Farmers Market and see if it gathers any attention.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by her blog and see what other artists have been making.

Looking for a gift? Stop by my web store, Deb Thuman Art, here.

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Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Clay, Cognitive problems, Photography

Pain Sucks

I saw the neurologist on Thursday and demanded to know what caused the neuropathy, the extent of the damage and how this can be reversed. I’m having a nerve conduction series next month. I was in pain from 3:00 AM on Saturday until Tuesday afternoon. Then I had a reprieve until about 2:00 AM today. The pain was bad enough that if I could have been sure I wouldn’t have gotten caught, I’d have bought something on the street. You might think that after 23 years as a criminal defense attorney I’d know where to buy street drugs. Nope. I haven’t a clue. Probably just as well….I couldn’t stand to hear the cop laugh when I got arrested. Plus a felony conviction gets me disbarred from all my law licenses. 

The problem with neuropathy is that there’s nothing causing the pain. The pain doesn’t even exist. What feels like horrible pain is damaged nerves sending a scrambled signal to the brain.

It takes an hour and a half for the gabapentin to take effect, so I went outside and did some night photography. We’re at about 4000′ elevation here and when we have a full moon like last night, it’s BRIGHT. Everything had sharp shadows. So I played around with ISO and exposure length.

Adjustment 2 10-7-17Stars 1 10-7-17Stars 3 10-7-17

I got maybe four hours sleep last night; I’m exhausted, and I can’t fall sleep.

Every time I think I’m done with withdrawal, I find out I’m wrong. I stopped taking Wellbutrin completely last week Friday. I was bouncing off the ceiling during my class on Thursday. It was embarrassing. I thought I was okay, provided I didn’t have to be around people, until yesterday. I experienced severe anxiety. I tried art. I spent a couple hours in the mud making another large planter. I listened to my relaxation music. That helped, but not enough. I finally broke down and took a klonopin. For some reason, I feel like a failure when I need to take meds. Silly, I know. I still feel like a failure. I’m making progress, the feelings of failure used to be a whole lot worse.

Meanwhile, I’m having difficulty spelling. I know how the words are spelled, I type 72 words per minute, but I can’t get the words typed correctly. I’ve no idea how to solve this problem. I think I’m just going to wait until the withdrawal is finished and my brain learns how to work without Wellbutrin.

I’ve been experimenting with earrings.

Yellow:green leaf earrings 10-7-17Rootbeer earrings 10-7-17Purple & crystal earringsMulti purple earrings 10-7-17Irridescent purple earrings 10-7-17Greens earrings 10-7-17Clear & crystal earrings 10-7-17Black earrings 10-7-17

This is the necklace I made to go with my amethyst earrings.

Amethyst necklace 10-7-17

These are necklaces I’ll be selling. I was going to set up at the Farmers Market this morning, but that’s not something I can do on four hours sleep. Next week, God willing! 

Green leaf necklace 10-7-17Green fan necklace 10-7-17Green circlie necklace 10-7-17

Monday, I get the prep work done for the crown to fix the tooth that broke in half lengthwise. I’ll be glad to be able to eat food that isn’t either liquid or really soft. I’m so looking forward to eating crunchy food again.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a gift for someone special or for yourself (you’re pretty special, too)? My web store is here.

Posted in Beads, Pain

Ouch!

Art heals. It’s 5:03 AM and I’ve been up since 2:49 AM. I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet and right now, the pain is horrible. I’ve taken gabapentin. I’m using a TENS unit and still the pain in my left foot is unbearable. And so I write this in the hope that writing will make the pain go away. The sky is covered with clouds so I can’t do any night shooting. It’s too dark to work with clay. I don’t have any bead ideas. Writing is all I have left to try.

After being on ½ of my regular dose of Wellbutrin for two weeks, I decided not to take any Wellbutrin and see how that made me feel. I was a bit growly, by no signs of withdrawal. I don’t have to be around people until Tuesday so there’s 4 days to see if I can function without Wellbutrin. I came off of it because I was getting hallucinations. Since retiring, there has been little stress. I’m off blood pressure meds. The back pain is only when I don’t do my back exercises for a week. Perhaps I only need a mood stabilizer now. I hope.

I’m taking a writing class and we all read each other’s stories. The story I read yesterday disturbed me. It’s written by a male student but the story is told by a female character. There’s a sexual assault. The story doesn’t treat the sexual assault – in this case unwanted touching – as an outrageous act but rather as a act that is almost expected. The female character doesn’t call the police although she does slap the male character. My first response was to tell the writer to stand up and I’ll grab his crotch so he can understand what unwanted touching is like. At the moment, I’m considering saying that while it’s possible I completely misunderstood the story (yeah, right), that kind of story in this kind of political climate is not acceptable. I’ll also explain that the unwanted touching described in the story is a felony in New Mexico and upon conviction, the male character would have to register as a sex offender. While I am vehemently opposed to censorship and banning books, one can’t write this shit right now. Or maybe ever. If nothing else, the sex offender in chief has caused women’s fury at unwanted touching to be taken to the street and demonstrated against. Why else would a reasonably intelligent woman wear an ugly pink had and call it a pussy hat? It’s not okay to touch me without my permission. I was a cooperating attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union for five years. I’ve read a number of books for no reason other than someone wanted the books banned. I’ll defend this student’s right to write a story like this, but I won’t sit quietly and give the illusion that I’m not deeply offended.

It’s 15 hours later and I’m still in pain. I worked with clay this morning experimenting with a mug design. Then, because I didn’t feel like making another mug but I also didn’t feel like cleaning up, I started making hollow beads from clay. It’s an interesting experiment.

I’ve been working on jewelry. Here are some of the latest earrings. I’m thinking of taking them to the Farmers Market for a couple weeks and if they don’t sell there, put them in my online store.

Yellow Button Earrings 9-25-17White Leaf earrings 9-25-17Teal & White earrings 9-25-17Small Green Filigree earrings 9-25-17Silver heart earrings 9-25-17Green filigree earrings 9-25-17Center Stage earrings 9-25-17Bronze chain earrings 9-25-17Heart & Leaf earrings 9-25-17Gold button earrings 9-25-17

These are some experiments. I haven’t decided if I like them enough to make a second one.

Experiments 9-25-17

I see the neurologist on Thursday, and I almost pity the guy. I’m going to tell him – again – that I want this cured, reversed and gone. When he tells me – again – that can’t happen, I’m going to tell him that just because he doesn’t know how to cure neuropathy doesn’t mean it can’t be cured. There wasn’t supposed to be a vaccine against polio, but Jonas Salk refused to listen to that nonsense.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

If you’re looking for a gift for yourself or another, please stop by my store here.

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Jewelry, Photography

Mental Illness Is Not For The Feint of Heart

I was going to correct the spelling error in the headline, but I kind of like it. It matches how I feel. I am going through withdrawal. Wellbutrin stopped working and started causing me to have hallucinations. Because the hallucinations were not interesting and were annoying, I decided to go off Wellbutrin. I went down to ½ my usual dose. This worked great for a few days. On Monday, I felt as if I were trying to climb out of my skin. I downloaded anti-anxiety music which did help. By Tuesday, the climb out of my skin feeling was gone.

I had a couple good days, then on Friday, I was walking into walls. I thought it was positional vertigo, so I did my ear exercises. Eventually, I looked up the symptoms of withdrawal from Wellbutrin. Nausea – which had developed by then, and dizziness. Saturday, I was better.

Today, I did fine until I fell onto the counter that holds the bathroom sink. Landed on the corner of the counter. I’d have been fine if the room hadn’t moved. Now, the nausea is back.

This is what life on psych meds is like. First, I feel bad enough that I know I have to go back down the rabbit hole and have tea with the Mad Hatter. Then I have to go through med adjustment which lasts 2-3 months. During this time, I walk into walls and I get to feel my brain change a little each day. Then, for a period of time, the med works properly and life is great. Then the med stops working and starts causing enough problems that the problems are worse than withdrawal. Withdrawal lasts 4-12 weeks. I’m in Week 2. I get to repeat this process for the rest of my life. It’s not easy being mentally ill. I’ve had clients bitch they don’t want to go off methadone or stop using heroin because they’d go through withdrawal. If withdrawal from psych meds were like withdrawal from heroin – puke and poop for three days – I’d be thrilled.

Meanwhile, I popped a crown off on Tuesday while simultaneously breaking another tooth in half lengthwise. My dentist was on vacation last week, and the earliest appointment I could get was for this coming Thursday. I’m on a liquid diet and wishing I could eat something that required chewing. So far, I’ve lost 3 pounds – all of which will return when I can once again eat solid food. With a liquid diet, liquid in means liquid out. The last time I had to pee so often, I was on lithium. Lithium is processed through the kidneys and I had to drink lots and lots and lots of water each day.

I’ve been working on earrings, but I haven’t gotten them photographed. I finally managed to do a decent job with a brick stitch and made dangly earrings with long fringe. At the moment, I’m learning Russian Leaf earrings. I ordered beads from Lima Beads and my order arrived on Friday. I put together some earrings – which also aren’t photographed. I bought a number of pendants and now have to make necklaces. I can’t find my crimp bead covers. I’ll have to order some of those.

I have been doing some photography. Considering the dizziness, I’m amazed that I can hold the camera still.Moon smile 9-17-17

I’ve been wanting to take a smily moon photo for a while now. I finally got the chance a few mornings ago. I had the camera on the tripod when I took this shot.

Stars 2 9-24-17

The neuropathy acted up last night and it takes an hour and a half for the gabapentin to kick in. Nothing to do but grab the camera, pop it on the tripod, aim at the sky and play around.

Sunset 2 9-23-17

Sunset a couple nights ago facing east. The western view wasn’t that exciting.

Sunset 1 9-24-17

Tonight’s sunset facing west. I am really liking that graduated neutral density filter. The filter darkens the sky so I don’t have blown out sky when I’m taking landscape shots.

Nasturtium 2 9-24-17Nasturtium 1 9-24-17Nasturtium 3 9-24-17

When I was taking shots of the nasturtiums, I was intrigued by the bright white lines in the leaves. So I took a leaf shot. I’m not sure if that was an art moment or a withdrawal moment. I’ll be fine in a couple months.

Zinnia 1 9-24-17Zinnia 2 9-24-17

I like taking the shots other people ignore. So here are a couple darned near dead zinnia shots.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Looking for a gift? Check out my web store here at DebThumanArt.com.

Posted in Emotions, Photography, Pottery, PTSD

Pottery & Pondering

On Sunday, I re-fired the pieces that didn’t fire well the first time and fired freshly glazed pieces. I’m almost satisfied with the plates.

Plate 8 9-9-17Plate 7 9-9-17Plate 6 9-9-17Plate 5 9-9-17Plate 4 9-9-17Plate 3 9-9-17Plate 2 9-9-17Plate 1 9-9-17

I like what happened with the glaze experiments on the rattling rocks.

Rattling Rocks 2 9-9-17Rattling Rocks 1 9-9-17

I gotta stop making boob soap dishes.

Soap dishes 2 9-9-17

Jim did a bit of glaze experimenting and I’ve no idea what he did.

Soap dishes 1 9-9-17Soap Dish 3 9-9-17

I decided to sew up a pair of shorts I had cut out a few weeks ago. When I went to attach the waist band, I realized I had neglected to cut a piece out. So I cut another piece. Still not enough waistband. I’ll give it another try later.

I’ve been working on an exercise that is supposed to allow for emotional and physical healing. I write about the crap that happened when I was a kid and the crap that happened when I was working for the Public Defender Department. This is triggering flashbacks and leaving me wanting to curl up into a ball and never again emerge. The theory behind this exercise is that I’ve buried the feelings, the feelings need to emerge, and then I can move on. I’m reading Childhood Disrupted –  I got the title wrong last week – and that’s from where the exercise comes. Sometimes, when I look back on all the years I’ve struggled with this crap, all the wasted time in my life infuriates me. What could I have become if I had decent parents?

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.

You can find my web page, Deb Thuman Art, here.