Three faces of worry

My anxiety makes worry a regular guest in my skull, yet on the eve of my surgery I was calm. In the weeks leading up to it I hadn’t worried either. I thought I’d be bored in the days after the surgery. In America I’d have been sent home the same day but in Japan, where I live, I’d be kept in hospital for five days. 

Dressed my hospital gown, waiting to be escorted to the operating theater where I’d soon be put under general anesthesia to undergo laparoscopic surgery, I fell asleep where I sat.

When asked, on the walk to surgery , if I was concerned I just shrugged. It’s something that needed to be done. I knew the risks.  Mine were low due to many factors. Everything about the surgery got put into a file in my brain labeled “big thing, needs to happen, worrying won’t help” and I didn’t. I’d finished everything I could control.

I called worry a guest in my skull but that’s not accurate. He’s not a guest. He has his own key. He lets himself in without invitation. He’s there most of the time. I’ve learned his patterns and mannerisms and in doing so I’ve grown accustomed to his presence. I give him his space and try, with all I’ve gleaned, to not let him disturb my life unduly.

Everything I know about him informed how I prepared for the steps leading up to my surgery.

When I started worrying about what was going on with my body I told a friend who I knew would tell me “uhhhhh. Go see your fucking doctor.” and question me until I did. Knowing my brain starts dropping facts when I’m stressed I wrote everything in my bullet journal. I asked for a recommended specialist once my clinic doctor couldn’t do anything more. I  didn’t leave that clinic until staff helped me arrange the hospital consultation. 

It soon became clear that my worry wasn’t disproportionate or uncalled for. This was an Important Thing with Real Consequences. What I was about to go through was going to involve my health, my emotions, a hospital stay, cutting into my body, and red tape from work and the insurance system I’m part of.  

I’m sure my anxiety pack knows this feeling. When we lift our noses and can smell large problems with actual risks and our body just smooths itself. All the usual ripples that fan out across our mind at smaller triggers calm. We stand up straighter. This, our bodies say, is what we’ve been training for. This is real.

I created plans of attack for every stress  I might face: red tape in a second language has always been difficult for me. I have no idea how many times I broke down in tears in a bank, a city hall, or a post office my first decade in Japan. I’m not great at bureaucracy in my first language and adding a second language give me ample chances to feel like I’m failing what should be an easy task. In my moments of calm I know that bureaucracy served the system, not the individuals who must endure it…but when I panic I lose sight of that. What I was facing was important and I didn’t want to waste my precious energy feeling fucked around.

I asked for help with everything I thought might be outside of my abilities. I asked doctors to slow down or provide me with Japanese notes and illustrations when needed even when they looked frustrated at the extra work. I eliminated distractions and avoided multitasking when stressed.  When faced with a huge folder of hospital papers to translate I set a schedule to tackle them bit by bit to avoid overload. 

When  I was all checked in at the hospital, I let go.

My mind was quiet as I was walked to the operating room. 

I lay on the narrow bed and the head surgeon made English small talk with me, the first time anyone in the hospital had used English with me. I laughed at the familiar questions. I’m American. Wisconsin. Cheese and beer. Yes, I like natto….yes I’ll breathe deep…

I was out.Worry and I woke together. He was screaming and stomping.

There was no ignoring him. I looked for reasons in an attempt to deal with whatever was triggering him.

There are generally patterns to his distress.

I say generally because I’m now on medication for generalized anxiety. I (mostly) only feel him when there’s a perceivable reason to. Off medication I have days and weeks where my whole body is flooded with adrenaline and stress for no actual reason. I chase every possible solution to might reduce my stress no to avail. I upturn everything.

Nowadays there’s usually a cause for stress. My stress might be disproportionate to the cause but there’s usually a reason for the reaction. I wanted, needed, to know what was setting my anxiety off.

My body crackled with adrenaline. Every nerve and emotion I had was on fire.

When general anesthesia wears off enough that a patient can breathe unaided, the staff removes the intubation tube from their throat. I’d been warned that it would be painful, that my throat would hurt for a while, and that I might have waves of nausea.

To my knowledge I hadn’t been told about the mucus, maybe I had been.

Your body produces more mucus to combat the irritation of having a tube down your throat. When the tube is out you’ll need to cough out all that extra phlegm with your sore throat. Coughing will remind you that many of the muscles you use to cough have been literally cut into.

The pain in my abdominal region was unbearable but understandable. I had a frame work for it. The mucus terrified me.

As I desperately tried to find a reason for my terror I latched onto a few explanations in quick succession. They were understandable. They were also wrong.

I have asthma. It’s not major but it was enough of a concern that I’d been put through some lung capacity tests in preparation for my surgery.

My asthma manifests as phlemy coughing fits wherein I can’t catch my breath.

My brain put all this together and I reasoned that I was having an asthma attack. I croaked this at my nurse.

 She placed the breathing mask over my mouth and nose again and tried to calm me. She explained that what I was experiencing was normal. I needed to cough out more phlegm and as the anesthesia wore off I’d be able to breath deeper.

Asthma attacks are scary. True. I wasn’t having an asthma attack. I believed my nurse. Ok.

Worry was still a siren. I was still ablaze. I latched onto a second explanation.

There are a few nebulizers and inhalers that trigger my anxiety as a side effect. Once I nearly melted down while teaching kids how to make paper airplanes and another time I hyperventilated until I blacked out three times in a row. After the cause was located my medication was changed. I’ve been on them a few times since when alternatives were not available but even knowing the issue doesn’t fully mitigate it.

An ex-boyfriend of mine once had to talk me out of ripping out an IV and checking myself out of a hospital when an anti-nausea medication we’d been warned “in rare cases can cause anxiety” did just that. I recall how sure I was that the best thing for me was to pull the needle out of my vein and collect my clothing.

Now I was freaking out with a breathing apparatus over my mouth and nose. 

I tried to explain my new fear to the nurse, that I was being given a nebulizer or aerosolized medication that was causing me to freak out. This time my words were hampered by the fact my brain wouldn’t give me the Japanese word for nebulizer or the Japanese brand name of the ingredients that trigger me. 

More miscommunication and more panic on my part. 

At last the nurse understood my confusion and explained that the mask was giving me oxygen. Only oxygen. It wasn’t a nebulizer. There were no other ingredients. Nothing I was breathing could possibly be creating my panic.

Then it clicked.

I was panicking because I was scared and confused. Period. 

I was safe. Disoriented, in severe pain, barely able to talk or cough , but I was safe.

There wasn’t a damned thing I needed to fix. I was ok. I needed to breathe.

I was still electric with anxiety. To settle myself I reviewed the facts.

I am not having an asthma attack. Fact

Breathe in.

My breathing apparatus is providing me with oxygen, nothing more. Fact

Hold that breath.

Pain and confusion is reasonable after a surgery and coming out of anesthesia. Fact

Breathe out.

Feeling pain after my body has been cut into, filled with gas, and items have been removed is normal. Fact.

Breathe in.

Heavy duty pain medication has been shoved up my ass and will soon help. Surprising delivery but a fact.

Hold that breath.

There is nothing else I can do. I just have to ride this out. Fact.

Breathe out.

Sleep. Quiet. Silence.

12 hours had passed, maybe 20. 

In that time, at regular intervals, a nurse came to check my IV , blood pressure, blood oxygen, and my temperature. She’d pull up my shirt to check my wounds and then rip away the tear-apart diaper that covered my catheter to check that. I’d be swaddled again, perhaps given medication and I’d sleep more. I’d been given the option of taking my pain medication  in my arm.

Dignity had left my body, thankfully taking embarrassment with it.  I was in a stage of numb acceptance. 

Eventually my catheter was removed. I was back in my big girl panties and shorts. A nurse was present for my first walk to and from the bathroom (don’t lock the door!) before I was given permission to take myself to the toilet unsupervised.

The checklist for my nurses decreased. They now checked only my IV, blood pressure, blood oxygen, temperature and bandages.

Then my bandages were ready to be changed.

For the laparoscopic surgery my navel was opened and they made three incisions, like a connect-the-dots smile, near the crest of my pelvis. My bellybutton was covered with a convex bandage with clear tape after the surgery. Occasionally the nurses would draw markings on it with a permanent marker. From the tits down I was a cyclops with a wonky smile.

I lay in bed as the nurse removed my navel bandage to apply a clean one. I strained to get my first look at it and was shocked. 

It was then anxiety reappeared.

I couldn’t see it clearly but what I glimpsed terrified me.

I could make out two or three pinkish protrusions, each the size of a kidney bean and seemingly the texture of goose flesh, where I expected my navel to be. It was as if my navel had prolapsed and spilled forth from my body only to be hastily tucked back in, I thought. I am a horror show, I thought.

Then the miasma of numb acceptance rolled back over me. I relaxed my neck as the nurse taped down a new bandage. I slept.

Occasionally I would wake up and attempt to walk the one hallway the Covid precautions allowed me to roam. I texted friends, checked my social media and watched movies.I napped a lot.

At some point I remembered and started googling things like “navel after laparoscopic surgery” and “outie bellybutton laparoscopic” and found nothing that fit what I saw.  I checked Google images, never a wise option when learning about surgery or ailments, still nothing.

I thought about what my friends had told me about their own surgeries. I’d been given some mysterious advice, like being told a pillow would be my best friend, that I hadn’t yet come to understand*..but there’d  been nothing about my navel.

I had no answers but was still within numb acceptance. I’d worn myself and my worry out.

Eventually I asked a nurse what my bellybutton would look like. She said only a doctor could give me that information. 

I explained that I perform and teach dance, belly dance, and that my midriff is in plain sight when I do that. She again told me to save those questions for my doctor.

I wasn’t specific about my worry when I asked. I didn’t want to put it into words. I especially didn’t want to put it into my second language. I knew what a mess I’d sound like.

“I saw my navel. It is like pink bean shapes now. Beans outside my stomach. Is this normal? I worry.”

My sense of embarrassment and the desire for dignity was returning.

Another night passed.

At this point I was walking unassisted and sitting up. Desperate to put a dent in my shoulder pain (a common side effect of the surgery) I’d found some yoga-after laparoscopic surgery routines on YouTube and had been doing them on my bed.

Best of all I’d purchased some unapproved vending machine coffee to take the edge of my headache and pain. My attention span was returning and with it my sense of self.

I was sure I had lumps of flesh where my navel had been but I didn’t worry about it. I’m not sure why.either I was too tired to worry or I realized that worrying wouldn’t change anything. 

I was allowed to shower for 30 minutes. Again I was forbidden to lock the room, in case  I needed help. This was my first time getting to see my naked body in a mirror.

The incisions were only covered with clear tape. My navel still had gauze and tape with strange markings. My abdomen was surprisingly free of bruises. My skin is a pale white, a hue usually reserved for boring appliances and Steve Martin, so bruises show easily.

The pain had withdrawn to a point where I could touch my abdomen, which I did cautiously. Above the skin around the incision on my left side I felt a thick lump that my center and right incision lacked. That’s where the most work had been done. Then I gingerly touched the gauze.

I could feel the bandage against my fingers. The muscles around my bandage could feel the movement. Yet I couldn’t feel the pressure of my fingers from the other side of the bandage. I couldn’t feel my touch. What I was pressing didn’t have nerve endings. It wasn’t part of my body. There was something between my bandage and the nerve endings of my navel.

Whatever I had seen, it was not me.

I finished toweling myself off, getting dressed, and I returned to my room.

I touched my bandage again. No change. Not my own flesh.

I thought. 

A hypothesis glimmered.

I googled again: laparoscopic surgery navel packed gauze.

I felt myself relax as whatever muscle I’d unknowingly hidden my anxiety in unclenched.

That was it. My navel had been stitched up and then it had been packed with tightly wrapped gauze. My bandage had been secured over that gauze. The odd markings on the final bandage recorded any fresh staining.

The gauze, of course, had absorbed blood from the wound until it was redish-pink. When they’d changed my bandage they kept the gauze in place. I’d seen the oddly textured nubbins of bloody gauze protruding from my body and had assumed I was only seeing my own body.

When a nurse came next I asked, “Is there gauze in my navel?”

Yes, there was gauze in my navel.


I did not explain why I was happy about this fact. Neither of us would have been better off after my Japanese explanation:

“I thought my navel became three pink beans, like skin! Hahaha. Not skin, my mistake. There is gauze in my navel! We laugh, don’t we?"

I lay back down. Soon, I would be home again. I’d return to my own bed and shower. I’d have other causes for anxiety. Until then I was in the hospital. My only immediate responsibility was to rest and to heal. I closed my eyes and slept.


The Tunnel, When Kansas Isn’t Enough, and The Aquarium

This is quite different from my doll talk.

This is the sort of writing I haven’t done in a while. I don’t really have a different place to put these three pieces. They are still a bit rough. I present them here together because right now they feel like different angles on where I am right now.

Now, I’ll get out of my way.

The Tunnel

It is now evening.

I am standing in the kitchen in my bra and skirt when something in the conversation we’re having pulls me backward. An echo in my mind has been released. I recognize it. The what the when and the why it’s here. I’m about to dismiss it when the commotion starts.


I feel the claws catch at me. I turn my gaze inward. It is all there: the ears, the waistcoat, the anxiety and the inability to slow down.

“Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear….” the creature cries as it skitters about.

I shift my stance as if to sidestep what is happening. I want to stay talking. I want to examine these feelings rising in me. I like the path I’m on. This is NOT the time.

“My fur and whiskers! “ it shrieks as it throws its weight against the inside of my skull. “My teeth and bones!” it wails.

My chin lifts slightly as I feel it pulling my wiring from within. There is a moment of stillness. Then the thing starts to furiously dig. I feel the hole open simultaneously within me and beneath my feet.

My mouth floods with saliva.

I close my eyes and swallow.

I am small now. I am within. I stand next to the burrow and watch as small clumps are tossed out. The beast pokes his head out for a second and frantically gestures for me to follow. I step forward and he plunges back in.

I stand on the edge looking down into the darkness, watching his tail get swallowed by the shadows as he runs.

“no.” I whisper.

I step back. Once more I swallow. I telescope up and into my full body. I open my eyes.

My companion sees none of this. It’s a blink. It’s a pause that can be explained away by thinking. I sometimes think before I speak.

I am back. All the emotions are back. I continue to listen and respond.

It is now morning.

I am naked.

Both of my hands are held within his. Sweat shapes itself, where his legs press against the backs of mine, until rivulets cascade down the curve behind my knees.

There is the faintest thumping in my mind, deep from within. I carefully slide my top knee forward until my foot escapes the edge of the covers. We both shift slightly and then relax once more. The cooler air allows me to fall back asleep. It is a quality of sleep I rarely taste.

It is now night and far away.

I awake alone.

The tunnel in my mind is narrower. I can feel a shift and fall as the creature within breathes. As I try to re-enter sleep it awakens. I lay quietly with my eyes closed. I try not to move.

It is scratching now. I stand up and step towards my computer to write.

I pause.

I turn on a few lights and wander my apartment instead. I put things away until I am tired once more. The movement at the back of my throat calms. I return to bed and close my eyes.

It is now.

I am sitting in an oversized shirt and boxers on my balcony. A cool breeze crosses my throat. I look across the table at the sitting rodent. The waistcoat it wears is threadbare and the watch fob dangles sadly.

I take a long draw from my cigarette. This is how I know I’m in a dream. I do not smoke.

It speaks in a low voice.

“You didn’t follow me.”


It looks back at me, waiting. I sigh and continue.

“I know where that tunnel goes. I know who is down there and what happened. I even know why, in the kitchen, I remembered it.”

We sit longer, staring at each other. I lose again.

“You can’t make me!” I yell like a petulant child.

The creature’s eyes don’t blink. More silence. I am determined not to speak. I lean in until we are nose to nose. All I see is the red of its eyes.

The red darkens and separates. I can make out shadows and lights flittering beneath the surface. I see a familiar face. There’s a cinema beyond those eyes. I see myself on the screen.

I pull back abruptly.

I bring the cigarette up to my lips and then stop. I lower it back down to a heavy ashtray, the likes of which I haven’t seen since I was a child, and methodically grind it out as I gather my words.

I lean back in my chair.

“I know where that tunnel goes. I know when. I know how far back. 

Now, if I follow you and go down that tunnel it’s going to be a tight fit…the first time. The next time maybe I’ll have to crawl. Subsequent visits I’ll crouch, my feet and back pushing against the walls and packing them down tighter until I can walk upright.

Maybe it’ll open so wide that sometimes, unwillingly, I just slide in again.

And for what?

To go to events that have already shaped me? That I’ve had years to ruminate on?

I have learned what I will learn.


The critter tilts its head and smiles. I think it’s a smile. 

The deep voice comes again, seductive this time, “How do you know that you’ve learned all you can learn? There’s so much I can show you. “

A ragged paw stretches towards me.

I keep pushing back into the chair, feeling it hold me up, as I speak. I drop my voice low and smooth it until it matches the creature’s “ You’ve got me there. I can’t know for sure..” and then I smile.

I break eye contact as I stand up. I turn and open the door to my bedroom. I leave the creature behind me to the darkness.

I wake now to the future.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”


When Kansas Isn’t Enough

I’m sure it happens to everyone. It’s that return after a vacation. You’re home and where you’ve been begins to roll away. It starts imperceptibly and then picks up a speed you never anticipated. It is only a speck now.

Maybe a tan whispers where you went. It will fade. Perhaps there’s a few trinkets you’ve bought that, when they catch your eye, cause you to smile. Yet it’s hard to retain the sense of where you were when you’re surrounded by the walls you call yours and must wake up to the job that expects you.

Each morning you awake to your dreams skittering away. If you’re lucky, or unlucky, they leave behind moments and images for you to muse on. Often there is no evidence.

The memories of where you traveled start to share the impermanence of your nightly dream lands. Echos torn at the edges. Even that which was so vivid it seemed to shape who you’d be… recedes.

This is what happens when I leave my homeland and return to the country I’ve lived in for two decades. Where I was tries to fold in on itself and neatly close, leaving only the smallest perceptible seam. After a while I have to search carefully to feel where it is.

It is August, 2022.

Come with me. I’ve returned. Sit behind my eyes. Watch what now unfolds.

I open my eyes to the same familiar ceiling. There is a tightness in my chest I haven’t felt for weeks. I sit bolt upright and reached out madly as what happened, where I was, starts drawing shut. The aperture shrinks. The colors seem to make themselves smaller.

I look around. My same walls hold me. The objects of my life here surround me. I know my days will open and close predictably.

Something has changed.

Where I am is not enough. I want to fight. I want to grab on an excitement, a possibility. I want to wrestle like the small beast I know I can be. I want to fling this fragile body wildly until I can be held and comfortable.

I sweat and fumble for my phone, hitting the passcode when it doesn’t recognize my face without my glasses , and open the photos.

It comes back in brilliantly saturated shards. Full color.


“… and you were there. But you couldn’t have been, could you?”

Like the movie adaptation. You were there with that familiar face and yet transformed. I saw you differently. You saw me, The adventure was new.


I grew up with the books so let me explain what happens after the movie credits role. Dorothy doesn’t stay put. Kansas isn’t the end. it’s where she grew up but it turned sepia and dusty.

Dorothy returns to Oz over and over again. She eventually makes sure that she can bring her Uncle Henry and Auntie Em with her to Oz. It is then that she is home.


You don’t find yourself in Oz when you are content in your life. That’s not how it’s works. That’s never where the story starts.

You are full of fear for your little dog. Your house is ripped from the ground with you in it. You cry and fall to the floor. You land in Oz.

The earth cracks open and you plummet until Oz catches you.

You fall overboard from a roiling sea and Oz fills your lungs.

You nearly die crossing the dessert but you are now in Oz.

You grow lost, your clothing in tatters, surrounded by unmarked paths until you are in Oz.

This is how so many of the characters come to Oz.

Even the film knew this. The crew must go deep into the essence of Oz, the Emerald heart of the land, because they are each missing something essential: Courage. Brains. Heart. Home.


It is August, 2022.

Stay with me. I’ve returned. Sit within my heart. Hear what now moves through me.

It is a knowing. It’s the hint of where to land. It’s a center. It is the oxygen promised if I can break the surface. It is water. It is a path.

Like Dorothy, I have returned but I am not yet home.

“You people with hearts,’ he said once, ‘have something to guide you, and need never do wrong; but I have no heart, and so I must be very careful.”

-The Tin Man

The Aquarium

I stood there, in Sumida Aquarium, watching the jellyfish expanding and contracting. Such delicate seeming forms propelling themselves through the blue-blackness.

I had my headphones in. The children who were running about, because school was not yet in session, fell away under the soundscape. Just me and the pulsating creatures. Expanding. Contracting.

I wandered.

I watched absurdly buoyant penguins push against the water to dive deep, only to relax and pop back up to the surface. I stuck my head through little portals designed so I could see underwater scenes from new angles. Fish swam by, not comprehending me. I stayed isolated in my music. I was alone with my creatures.

I took videos and sent them off across the ocean.

Sitting on a small ottoman in a mirrored hall, watching jellyfish, when my phone vibrated with a text.

“we should get together” I replied “ to catch up.”

“I would love to!”

I sighed.

I couldn’t write that we had to have a serious talk and then keep him in limbo. I can’t stand when people do that to me. I can’t stay in that space of not knowing what will be revealed. It makes me itch. my body shifts uncomfortably as my mind endlessly flows through tunnels of horrors.

I couldn’t say nothing and agree to meet up and then kick him with the news. I couldn’t see his face if I pulled back the moment before he hugged me.

“I’m planning on leaving Japan.”

I typed it.
Sent it.
Confirmed I was serious.

I’ve grown as much I can here, I typed. For years I’ve been comfortable at times but not happy. Not in the ways I could be.

We met at our usual cafe outside of Ginza. It’s close to his work and across from a restaurant I used to dance in.

I’ve cried in that cafe before.

It’s not our only cafe but it’s the most constant. For 18 years we’ve used it to catch up, to sign papers, to go elsewhere from and to have the kind of “serious talks” I hated being kept in suspense about.

We found a table outside and I let it out.

I can never fully be me.

Not here.
In this country.
Not being who I am.
Where I’m at.
Not now.

And this time it wasn’t me who teared up.

We talked about us. How all this would mean yet another shift in our friendship, which had once been a relationship.

We talked about my remaining time, how days somewhere transform when you know they are finite.

We started to talk about my future and everything I don’t know about it but am excited to learn.

organizing, Uncategorized

Journal 2022

Empty Page, so we meet again.

I promised some folks I’d share how I was setting up craft/life related pages in my bullet journal, so here we are.

There are many places to get info on what BuJo/Bullet Journals are or fins super cute monthly/weekly planner layouts. This is not that.

I will say that this style of journal has helped me a great deal. And even when I’ve created pages and trackers that I have swiftly ignored it has taught me what DOES NOT work for me.

I’ll also stress that the arty-ness of my journal depends on my time and whimsey. I started planning and laying out these pages toward the end of the year when I had a lot of downtime at work. When I’m busy my journal becomes very minimalist.

We start out with my simple future log. This is where I write any info for upcoming events. I lay out each month in my journal right before it starts. This is that page I flip to to see if I have upcoming events or tasks to include on my monthly page. The journal I’m using (Rhodia Goalbook) has a space for future logs (in two styles) but no dotted paper on these pages. My mind finds mini calendar layouts helpful so I added them.

My contents page. I found that just listing contents in the order that they appear in my journal didn’t work for me, so I’ve tried making broader category sections. As you can see the ink I used to stamp made a mess. oh well.

Tracking my monthly expenses. This is a return to the first expense log I made two years ago. Last year’s log was more arty, less rigid, tracked more variables and I did not tend to it as well as I did this format.

Not shown are the next two pages, they are omitted for privacy reasons. The first one being my Medication page, listing all medications by English and Japanese name and what they are for (also in English and Japanese). Health issue stresses or even the stress of a new doctor tends to dent my Japanese skills so it’s great having this all in one place. The second page is outlining the yearly info about filing taxes in both America and Japan, the process and what I need.

Doll Ideas and Doll Work in Progress.

The Idea page will be repeated for knitting, sewing, dance and no doubt other themes. It’s a place to catch flitting thoughts about what I >Might< make. Towards the end of 2020 I asked friends on FB what dolls they might like to see in the future. This popped up in my memories towards the end of 2021 and I noted that I’d made a few of the suggestions. I copied those suggestions here and asked if anyone had other suggestions for my idea/inspiration file.

Oh, the WIP (work in progress) or UFO (Unfinished Object Page) how you haunt me. This will ALSO reoccur in knitting/sewing/dance… This is where I had to take stock on what I have started and not yet finished. It’s also a page I’ve added to each time I clean/organize my workspace and long forgotten WIP float into my vision.

I also have a page tracking which dolls I have for sale on Japan Mercari, when I listed them, and prices.

It is humbling to write down what dolls you have in stock to work on. Oh my. And as I sat down to start typing this I reminded myself to cross off two dolls, who I have since transformed…and add two dolls. That I’ve survived Craftsmas with only adding two used dolls to this stock is testiment of how this list keeps me from making too many impulse buys. I have enough dolls. In the past I’ve taken photos for stock dolls but I find this is more flexible for keeping track of things. This also forced me to know the names for many Monster High characters, but now that I do the names bring the specifics of each doll to mind quickly.

Same thing for knitting…I assure you these pages are no longer blank. I don’t have a stash yarn/stock page yet but it makes sense to make one soon.

This has already saved me so much time! It’s a page to keep track of what knitting needles I already have. Previous to this I would simply dig through a large box and search my apartment for wanderers. No more “Oh, I love this pattern, do I have the right needles to knit my gauge? I assume I do….” I know!

Yarn Yarn Info was where I planned to put info on yarn I’m currently using (a sample, label, notes) but I think I’ll also use it to put common knitting terms in English and Japanese…like yarn weights…because finding yarn substitutes in a second language in a country with different yarn makers is FUN. I started that list in last year’s journal as my winter knitting habit kicked in.

You know the drill by now. Just know that the WIP has grown…because I cleaned and semi-organized the sewing room yesterday and was diligent in writing what I found.

Part of what the WIP pages allow me to do is to set goals each month about what I want to focus on finishing. In my January monthly layout I have an area for “focus” to put 2-3 unfinished projects into. Then I can expand in the following weeks the steps needed to finish them.

A chart for my never ending crazy quilt. This project is at least 10 years in the making. This layout is fanciful but a reminder that I am more than halfway done.

The Holey Shit I Finished It!

A place to celebrate how many of my projects I do finish! I don’t do this enough. You probably don’t either.

Keeping track of all the bag patterns I already have. I’m never going to keep track of my fabric stash, that’s impossible, but I’m finding ways to keep track of my patterns. I make use photographs to show what clothing patterns I own/ have used.

To keep track of what I am teaching, when, and to how many students. I do keep a monthly list as of who attends each lesson. I’m only tracking four months at a time and them I’ll re-evaluate if this format is helpful. The 45 minute classes don’t do choroes but I have intro-level combos and moves that change each month and I have those spelled out on subsequent pages.

Since I set up this journal I’ve also added Dance Costume Alterations pages for better keeping track of time, expenses (taped reciepts) and steps when I take on alteration jobs. This month I have a pile of 5 costumes and this helps me stay on track and prioritize what I do each night.

And that’s the start of this year’s Journal!

craft, Doll, pullip, Uncategorized

My hands and Edna

It’s much easier for me to be inspired to write about what I’m currently working on than to write about what I have finished.

“I never look back, it distracts from the NOW”– Edna Mode.

But there is so much I have made while not writing that I’d like to figure out a way to harness the excitement of the now to that which has passed.

So, let’s try this. We’ll got on the journey of my day or my current endeavors and then endcap it all with at least one finished project. Perhaps the two things will relate…perhaps they won’t.


It’s summer vacation but I had some school-related work today.

This week I go to Jr High schools in the mornings to assist students with English speech contest practice. Today turned out to be a light work-load. We worked with one student in the morning until 9:20 and then had to wait for a second student at 11AM. Between these time slots the English teacher I worked with and I made sample recordings of me reading various speeches for students to use for practicing.

Recording didn’t take long. The English teacher I was working with and I sat and talked until 11AM.

We ended up talking a bit about ADHD. I disclosed I had it and she, having read up on it a lot, had asked questions to try to understand why some of her students with ADHD DO the things they do…one example was a student who tries to cut their nails with craft scissors while class is in session. Which made PERFECT sense to my mind.

Like people on the autism spectrum, folks with ADHD often stim. Stimming is any repetitive actions that help a person self-stimulate their senses: auditory, visual, tactile, and even olfactory. Stimming behaviors relieve boredom/anxiety or distract from pain / discomfort while also burning off excess energy.

The urge to stim is NOT going to go away with a teacher or parent telling a child to stop the behavior. The underlying anxiety, boredom pain or discomfort that is triggering the need to stim hasn’t gone away. Stopping the coping mechanism may actually elevate the anxiety. Even if it doesn’t, the absence of the stimming will make the underlying discomfort hit even harder.

I’ve always fidgeted with my hands. It wasn’t strange for me, from elementary school through high school, to have art projects WITH me at my desk. Finger knitting. Origami. Drawing. Filing hard wax rings for lost wax casting. Building wax figures. Using needle nose pliers to manipulate wire into 3-d objects.


Because of the specific public schools I went to this the reaction to this varied. I was occasionally seen as a problem in elementary school (depending on the teacher), it helped mark me as a bad student all through middle school, and was tolerated in high school because I could quickly demonstrate my understanding of the class topic when challenged…and my high school cared about art. It wasn’t an issue in college because I went to an art school where I was either making things or taking liberal arts classes I had a genuine interest in.

My schools were NOT Japanese schools

I know how strict Japanese schools are about students not having objects unrelated to class out on desks or in hands. I’ve seen how quickly stimming that bothers others (humming, tapping the desk, clicking pens) gets shut down (although that’s the same in America). Often students only have the option of stimming with hands, bodies (quietly) or staring at a particular object or thing in motion.

So what’s with the cutting nails in class?

Take my hands. I didn’t need to be told to frequently massage my surgery scar to help break up the scar tissue and aid in mobility. That scar is on my hand and I can feel it

To stim I tend mindlessly rub the pad of my thumbs over the fingertips and nails of the same hand. If my hands and fingernails are smooth, no hangnails or scabs or jagged nails or chipping nail polish, it’s possible to focus on something else while my fingers and hands do what they need to do. When that smooth surface is compromised OH BOY.

The interruption of my hand movements by an unfamiliar or unpleasant sensation can quickly change my stimming to an intense fixation. That jagged nail is now the center of my world.

ADHD people are not deficient in attention. We’ve got SO MUCH energy to pour at things. We have a deficit in the ability to regulate where and how our attention is focused.

A jagged nail interrupts the motion that was alleviating my anxiety/boredom ( and allowing me to focus on the task I needed to tend to). As that stim is removed, and the underlying mental noise pours in, that jagged nail presents as the thing to intensely fixate on. If I didn’t have ADHD I could simply note that I’ll have to clip my nails later….but I have ADHD. I can’t quickly and quietly regulate my focus back onto the task at hand.

Now that I’m on Strattera (a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that helps me with my dopamine levels) I can better recognize that I an fixating on something and work at how to redirect that focus.

Even on Straterra I sometimes will not be able to refocus without first removing/dealing with the new fixation issue. I might automatically surreptitiously try and rip that jagged edge with a fingernail. During a dull meeting I WILL have to fight the urge to dip my hand into my desk and grab some scissors even though I know how socially unacceptable it is and how ineffective a tool craft scissors are for the task.

I’m an adult on medication. The average neurotypical child is going to have a worse time fighting impulses. The average child with ADHD? Even one on medication (which is hard being dosages and medication have to be adjusted as they grow) that is helping with the larger issues will have a very VERY difficult time refocusing until the fixation is eliminated.

And that’s why the craft scissors are out, in class, going for that nail. That child knows that until the issue is dealt with they will be emotionally and physically unable to do anything else. They might also know they’ll be in trouble but that won’t stop them, it’ll simply make them try and hide it…and they’ll feel like a failure if they are caught and chastized. Knowing the consequences isn’t enough to stop all impulses.

That’s why.

That’s my dance everyday. The tango of temptations with an ever changing irregular rhythm of regulation thrumming under it all.

Finished Project:

Little Pullip to Edna Mode.

If you can’t link Edna Mode to the speaking habits, intense focus, delight in a new challenge and ever gesticulating personality of someone with Impulsive/Hyperactive type of ADHD…that is on YOU.

The basics

  • removed wig and makeup
  • replaced stock Little Pullip body with a more posable 11cm Obitsu body.
  • scultpted onto face with apoxie scupt.
  • repainted face
  • Doll wig from Parabox.
  • Shrinky-dink glasses
  • sewed outfit with black cloth, black ribbon, and pink ribbon.
  • bought tiny tights and shoes from Azone.
  • enjoyed.

Simple, elegant, yet BOLD

Doll, pullip, Uncategorized

This doll has EVERYTHING

After a long delay I finished taking a used TaeYang and remaking it into Bill Hader’s SNL character Stefon.

Why? Because it brings me joy.

Here’s the before and after on the face.

I wrote about and photographed the process in more details here, February of 2020.

What you’re seeing above is:

  • removal of paint and wig
  • carving into and sanding the face to change the features/shapes
  • opening up the head and inserting new eye chips.
  • painting the face (actually drawing chalk pastels and watercolor pencils…I still differentiate dry and wet media work from when I was a drawing, not painting, major)
  • creating a custom wig cap and then making a wig out of brushed acrylic yarn
  • Sculpting some rings with apoxie sculpt.

Over winter break I was trying to rest my left hand, hoping that buddy-taping and resting my injured finger could heal every thing and I wouldn’t need surgery. Spoiler: it didn’t.

My plan was no knitting, limited sewing, no small dolls (that I’d have to hold in my left hand, only large enough dolls I could rest on a surface while working on….and I made Stefon his iconic shirt because most of that was painting with my dominant hand.

I already had stretch white fabric from making Powerpuff Girl tights. I found the right shade of green fabric in the form of a kid’s tank top at a used clothing shop for 100¥.

After sewing the shirt I used a combination of acrylic paints and ink to make a simplified version of the Ed Hardy shirt Stefon wears. I used a photo of the original shirt for reference. The SLN version has removed the Ed Hardy logo, so I didn’t include it either.

I dressed him in a pair of fake snakeskin pants I already had from another used doll. I may make costume acurate black cargo pants in the future. As the character is behind a desk you only get to see his legs in the wedding finale. I figure the difference between the sort of black pants Stefon WOULD wear and the actual pants he DID wear are inconsequential because most of us are filling in that information in our minds.

The final touch being getting him a pair of boots. I am not ready to start making tiny shoes and boots. I just am not.

And now I have the doll who has everything.


My Hand

Some of my absence has been due to my left hand.

In November of 2020, while practicing at home, I smacked the tip of my middle finger into a bookshelf while in mid-spin.

Spins are fast.

I hand intense hand pain when jostled, joint swelling, and difficultly bending my middle finger. My first ortheopedic doctor took x-rays and ruled out any fractures. I attempted to go about life as normal, no taping or splinting and I performed veil work at a charity show a week later.

For the following three months my hand continued to swell and continued to be in general pain. I sometimes experienced intense pain. I saw my doctor every few weeks.

My first doctor thought my taping and splinting might be overkill but I started doing it, because it prevented the most painful of movements from happening. It paid off down the line. I now know I probably should have just insisted it be viewed as a sports injury. The impact and damage is similar to what can happen to a rugby player catching a ball wonky. High speed impact at the wrong angle.

In January of 2021 it wasn’t getting any better so I was referred to a hand specialist and was in his office 30 minutes after leaving my first doctor’s clinic. Ultrasounds were taken. They showed so much swelling that any other issue couldn’t be determined. I was taught a more sleek version of buddy-taping my fingers. This doctor understood my injury to be similar to a sports injury.

My new doctor’s clinic ONLY does hands/wrists. He was a delightful man who often clapped and cheered at my healing process and hand knowledge. Really.

After a month of taping and bi-weekly check-ins the swelling went down enough for the injury to be seen. The impact had torn loose an extensor tendon connecting my middle finger to the back of my hand. I was in surgery less than 1 week later in mid February.

Surgery went as well as could be expected. My doctor was able to reconnect the tendon to my bones with small screws that live in me now. I did NOT require an artificial ligament for re-connection as feared might be a possibility.

After that was three months of bandages, braces, and physical therapy while seeing my doctor and PT every two weeks. In late May I was cleared to do ALL the motions and activities I do with my hands and body.

At all stages of P.T. I asked detailed questions about what I could and couldn’t do…because I teach 6 dance classes a week AND it’s very difficult for folks to understand just HOW MUCH TIME each day I make/craft objects with my hands.

It’s good to be back.


Sherifa Zuhur / Samrah AzZuhur Arabi is a Racial Fraud

Sherifa Zuhur/ Samrah AzZuhur Arabi falsely claims to being Arab-American or of Arab descent ( usually Lebanese) due to her father’s lineage. She also consistently claims to be “brown and white” or “br white” Sometimes she simply disputes coming from a Jewish family.

Sherifa Zuhur is an academic. She studies and dances under the name Samrah AzZuhur Arabi. None of this is a secret. I expose nothing by linking the two names. She often posts about both names/aspects of her life on her various social media.

Her life in dance and academia is legitimately rich in lived experience and research. That is not in doubt.

She believes I have been involved in blackmailing and blacklisting dancers. She has targeted and harassed many BIPOC who she believes are unfairly persecuting her.

I understand the hypocrisy in laying out all this in the name of wanting her to stop harassing others. But this is a world where we’re finally learning to give additional weight to marginalized/source voices when matters of concern to them are being discussed. She uses her claimed racial identity at times in the MENHAT dance community in ways to pull rank in and silence disagreement.. She has extensive travels, experience in ME countries, study, and academic credits. She shouldn’t need to lie about her race. She shouldn’t hide behind a lie while harassing BIPOC dancers in America .

What the following will show:
Robert Cecil Blum and Margot Helmuth married September 9th, 1951 in Marin, California. They had two children, Paul and Sherifa. Sherifa was born in Aug 31, 1953. Paul Helmuth Blum was born Apr 30th 1955. Robert and Margot divorced in July of 1965. Neither parent was of Arab descent. Sherifa is NOT of Arab descent.

Her claim that Demon U.S. Bellydancers are sluring her by saying her father was Jewish.
Claiming to be Lebanese

One of many claims of being bi-racial

When I first wrote this there HAD been a video interview with Samrah AzZuhur Arabi by Cairo Shimmy Quake that included the claims that her father and grandfather introduced her to Middle Eastern culture and music due to their background and discussed her mother more in depth. It also covered her mother remarrying and moving to Rhode Island….Sherifa also used the G slur to refer to the musicians her grandfather would hire. In June the video had been removed from the site

Sherifa Zuhur’s Mother: Margot Helmuth Blum Schevill.

First let’s establish who Sherifa Zuhur/Samrah Azzuhur Arabi’s mother is. In interviews in the dance community Sherifa has mentioned that her mother was an opera singer when Sherifa was born and that this led to many family travels. She’s shared pictures of her mother and a link to a youtube video of her mother wishing the Merola Opera many more years on their 60th anniversary.

From her twitter, @SherifaZuhur Mar 17, 2020 The image is a sepia photo of a woman with an opera costume and makeup on. nThe text reeds "I'm trying to enjoy quarantine by writing a bio of my mom- who had 2 long, interesting careers-operasinger and anthropologist. Here as Dora bella in Cosi Fan Tutti
April 6, 2019 @SherifaZuhur twitter post discussing what's in her room. Text; My room is full of my mother's art and objects from Guatemala, with my photos of Cairo covering all the other wall space, my rug from Saudi Arabia-maximalist"

Sherifa Zuhur’s mother is Margot Helmuth Blum Schevill. She was born Margot Carolyn Helmuth on Aug 15, 1931 in San Joaquin, California. She is still alive as of when I’m posting this. She’s an opera singer turned academic anthropologist specializing in South/central American textiles

Margot’s Parents/ Sherifa Zuhur’s Maternal Grandparents:

From Margot’s entry on everybodywiki . The first husband has also been confirmed on Ancestry

“She was born in Stockton, California, on August 15, 1931, the second child of Ruth Carolyn Zuckerman Helmuth and Gay Frederick Helmuth.

Her mother moved to San Francisco, and remarried twice, to Samuel Glichberg, and to Emile Hartmann. She had an elder brother, James (Jimmy) and younger half-brother, George.”

The August 11th, 1951 wedding announcement for Margot Helmuth and Robert Cecil Blum and marriage records for the September marriage.

Please note that in the wedding announcement Robert C Blum is noted to be “the son of the Jean Blums of Hillsborough”

Margot Helmuth Blum Scheville’s own words about her life in the 1950’s

Here’s a link to an article about Sherifa’s mom, Margot including with first hand accounts her life.

From Dorothy Bryant’s article Books; Threads of the Life of a Singer, Anthropologist, Author:

In 1951 she began singing on high holy days at Temple Emanuel. Soon she was hired to sing at services on all Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. At about the same time she married and became Margot Blum. The next five or six years became the classic juggling act of the woman artist—she had two children, and sang with ensembles of all kinds, including the Civic Light Opera’s 1957 production of South Pacific. 

It was Mary Martin who stopped her after a rehearsal and said, “Why are you wasting your time here?!” She gave Margot the courage to audition for the Merola Program, which grooms promising young soloists for the San Francisco Opera. She was one of the chosen few accepted into the intensive program, which includes free coaching in languages and stage deportment. “You know, like, how to fall and die gracefully.” 

Margot had almost arrived. Almost. 

“There was one problem I already knew about: my voice wasn’t big enough for the San Francisco Opera House. My best chance in opera was to build a career in Europe, where there were many companies and many fine smaller houses.” 

Margot shakes her head. “Impossible.” 

In those days, barely a decade past the Holocaust, the idea of an American Jewish couple raising their children in Europe was unacceptable.  

“It was time to give up my ‘golden ambition’ to do opera.” 

But not to give up singing. Margot hired an agent who kept her busy during the early 1960s, singing at concerts and on radio, performing with numerous ensembles, large and small. 

(end quote)

Please note that Margot Helmuth Blum Schevill stresses the fact that her family with Robert was an American Jewish family and that is why she did not build her career in a post Holocaust Europe.

Sherifa D Zuhur was born on August 31, 1953

Born Aug 31, 1953, Sherifa Zuhur’s birth name was Danna Carolyn Blum, her mother’s maiden name was listed as Helmuth. She seems to have still had that name when she married her first husband in 1973. Samrah/Sherifa would have had her first married surname, Jenkins, when starting in the Bay Area dance scene.

It is legal to change one’s name. I don’t need to know if she’s always been Sherifa or if she became Sherifa later on. The obituaries of her father Robert C Blum and of her stepfather James Scheville respect the name Sherifa Zuhur.

Just in case you wondered if Robert Blum and Margot were still together in 1953

In 1953, the year of Sherifa’s birth, Margot H and Robert C are listed as residing together in the city registry of San Francisco county register published by R L Polk

And Sherifa’s brother Paul H Blum was born April 30th 1955

Sherifa’s Father and Margot’s first husband: Robert C Blum

Instagram post from azzurhurabi. B&w picture of a small girl and a man. Text: My lovely dad died on Easter and ALS took this wonderful person from us.

Robert C Blum was 73 when he died of ALS April 15 2001. This date was also Easter of that year.

Robert C. Blum, an expert in philanthropy who with his wife developed fund-raising strategies that are now used by universities and nonprofit organizations throughout the world, died April 15 in Kentfield from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 73

From Robert C Blum’s obituary

The following are screenshots of his whole obituary by Mark Martin. it can also be found here.

Also from his obituary:

“Mr. Blum is survived by his wife of 34 years, Joan Blum of Kentfield; two sisters, Shirley Levine of Beverly Hills and Barbara Semelman of Atherton; two sons, Chris Blum of San Rafael and Paul Blum of Lincoln, Neb.; three daughters, Louisa Lucie-Smith of London, Sherifa Zuhur of Beersheva, Israel, and Marty Blum of Greenbrae; and 10 grandchildren.”

There are Sherifa Zuhur and her brother Paul Blum.

From the obituary, “for more than 50 years, Mr. Blum also was a member of the Austral-Asian Fundraising Association, Lake Merced Golf and Country Club and Lake Tahoe Yacht Club, and was a Knight of the Order of Saint Stanislas in Poland.”

The lake Merced Golf and Country Club was historically a Jewish golf club.

The obituary also notes that “He was president of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives in the early 1980s.”

I found a photo of him from a 50 year history that group, identifying him as the president in 1980-1981, the group was called the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2010 . That photo can be easily compared to a public facebook post in which Sherifa identifies her father.

Robert C Blum’s Parents/ Sherifa’s grandparents.

In interviews Sherifa Zuhur claims her Middle Eastern lineage is through her father, so her father’s parents are important.

Robert C Blum was born in San Francisco. His obituary notes “A native of San Francisco, Mr. Blum graduated from Lowell High School and Stanford University.”

Robert Cecil Blum born 17 Nov 1927, mother’s maiden name Edises

1940 Census Data

He was 12 when the San Francisco 1940 census was taken. You’ll see his two sisters, Shirley and Barbara, listed in the census. They are also mentioned in his obit with their married surnames Shirley Levine and Barbara Semelman .

Robert was listed as white but that doesn’t mean not Arab …there’s no category for MENA in the census so we need to know more about his parents. Luckily they are in the same census.

Robert C Blum’s mother, Mildred Blum, was listed as having been born in Russia.

His father, Jean Blum, was listed as having been born in Romania.

And the wedding coverage of Jean Blum to Mildred Edises at the Temple Beth Isreal from the Oct 7th 1912 San Francisco Call newspaper.

Robert’s parents, Mr and Mrs Jean Blum were locally active in the community and politics.

I asked you to note that Robert Blum was said to be of the “Jean Blums of Hillsborough”. I found a 1952 article about Mr and Mrs Jean Blum throwing a party at her Seabury road estate (that’s in Hillborough) for the first American Ambassador for Israel, James G McDonald. Mrs. Jean Blum was also a member of Hadassah the Women’s Zionist Organization of America a religious organization for promoting and upkeeping Jewish social and religious values in the US and to strengthening ties between U.S. and Israeli Jewish communities. In fact she was the president of the Central Pacific Coast Region for Hadassah.

This is NOT a Lebanese/Arab family.

Sherifa’s step father/ Margot’s second husband:James Erwin Schevill

Who Sherifa Zuhur’s step-father is shouldn’t matter.

Sherifa’s own mother identifies herself and her first husband as a Jewish couple AND her father’s parents are from Romania and Russia so they are not Syrian/Middle Eastern AND there are records of the Margot and Robert having a daughter on the day Sherifa was born

Yet Sherifa Zuhur/Samrah AzZuhur Arabi consistently claims that all confusion about her racial identity (Br/white/biracial/notwhite/not Jewish) is because people confuse her father with her step-father. So let’s differentiate who her step-father James Erwin Schevill was.

The marriage between Robert C Blum and Margot Helmuth Blum ended in 1965. Margot married her second (and last) husband James Schevill in 1966 or 1967 in Framingham, Massachusetts to become Margot Helmuth Blum Schevill. Robert C Blum went on to marry his second (and last) wife Joan.

From the Dorothy Bryant article about Margot Helmuth Blum Schevill regarding her life in the 60’s:

Around that time her marriage was unraveling, as was Jim’s. They fell in love and  were married in 1966. By 1968 they were settled in Providence, Rhode Island, where, for the next twenty years, Jim Schevill was to teach and write poetry and plays at Brown University. 

At that point Margot’s story could have become that of the faculty wife with a few music pupils, an occasional singing gig, and—like the vast majority of our best practitioners of all the arts—occasional twinges of regret for the fame and fortune bestowed on the lucky few. Instead, she made a surprisingly smooth turn in a new direction. 

(I’m aware that the marriage archives I found said 1967 and the Bryant Article says 1966

Twitter @SherifaZuhur Mar 19, 2020. Sepia photo of a man, woman, and guitar.
Text: My father wouldn't move to Stuttgart, and she remairred- to a poet. in her 40s she went back to college and graduated in Brown's first class that included women. She was singing Spanish and Portuguese music to guitar & vihuele, then got into "new music" (20th c experimental)

From the Everybodywiki

“In 1967, she returned to Europe and then moved to Providence, Rhode Island after marrying poet/playwright James Schevill who became a faculty member at Brown University. While there she sang with the New Music Ensemble funded by the governor of R.I., taught music in the public schools and returned to college to graduate in the first class that included women at Brown earning a BA in Music and Spanish. She then obtained a Masters in Anthropology and began a second career as a museum anthropologist specialist in textiles.”

Sherifa Zuhur’s step-father is James Erwin Schevill. Sherifa Zuhur and her brother Paul are listed in James Schevill’s obituary as his step-children. The photo above is Margot with a musician, not her second husband the poet.

From James Shevill’s Obituary:

Professor Schevill is survived by his second wife, Margot , of the family home in Berkeley; two daughters, Deborah Schevill of New York City, and Susie Schevill of Berkeley; a stepson, Paul Blum of Lincoln, Neb.; a stepdaughter, Sherifa Zuhur of Carlyle, Pa.; three grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

And that is the family Sherifa Zuhur/Samrah Azzuhur Arabi was born into as far as I can find.

I don’t care who she eventually married or divorced or what countries her marriages may have allowed her to gain citizenship in. That has no effect on her ethnicity/racial identity. I’m only concerned with who her parents and grandparents were.

Sherifa has written a lengthy post refuting this on facebook. Here is the link. You are a freethinker. You can judge for yourself. You’ve got this here and that there.

I generally trust that people are honest about their ethnic identity and I don’t question if someone who is white passing, or any other hue, says an identity I didn’t expect. When I make a mistake, like assuming someone is white and they’re just ligfht skinned, I try to apologize quickly when I learn of my mistake. These are best practices.

I’ve also known a scammer who did misrepresent her identity to be more interesting. I’ve known people who’ve claimed false relatives/false kinship. I’ve followed the scandals in acedemics and organizing groups of white people who have posed as Black, Afro-Latinx and Latinx. That it happens at all is enraging. It’s not something that can be allowed to go unexamined.

craft, mental health, sewing, Uncategorized

Find the thread.

Fast forward eight months. That’s how long it’s been.

I’m now on ADHD medications.
The middle finger of my left hand has been bandaged in one form or another for two and half months as I recover from tearing part of a tendon. Typing isn’t a breeze.

If I try to catch you up any more I’ll get bogged down. I figure that the way to pick up the thread is to use my photos in my iphone. I’ll just search by month and figure out what needs to be shown that way.

2020 April and May were peak “at home” quarantine times for me with school closed and my daily life indoors

True, there’s a current state of emergency in effect for Tokyo and we’re having a huge spike and vaccines haven’t even started being distributed but now I’m expected to take the train into Tokyo mon-fri to teach two school’s worth of children each week ….let’s not unpack that yet.

I sewed those months. Oh boy did I sew. See the pattern below? McCall’s M6696. After some early tests to get the pattern fitting right I CRANKED out the dresses.

My stash didn’t have many fabrics in the quantity I needed (about 4 meters) so the fabrics were ones I found on Mercari and the fabric shop located near the dentist I saw 12 times between May-August. I figured if I had to go to the damned dentist that much I might as well make use of those trips to gather essentials like food and fabric.

You see that? The oranges? That’s the inside of the dress. all french seamed and everything. That’s due to this invaluable sew along youtube series about the pattern by Kittenish Behavior.

Ebony had also given me a few patterns earlier in the year including Simplicity 4077, so after bust adjustments I made three shirts for work.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. How about the McCall’s pattern variation with the slim skirt? I made it…in a fabric featuring apples and hedgehogs. See the fabric on the floor? You’ll see it again.

In July or August (Summer break after school started again) I found an awesome traditional styled Japanese fabric with hidden kitties. I also had some Japanese fabric I found too overwhelming once I sewed it so I over-dyed it a purple hue. Same pattern but now with band collars.

I also made myself this Vintage Simplicity from one of Ebony”s patterns. Unlike the button and go style of the McCall dress it isn’t suitable for work so I haven’t had the chance to wear it anywhere. I’ve worn the McCalls dresses SO MUCH for work it is insane. It has pockets, ya know.

It should be noted that the vast swinging between “I can sew everything I HAVE FOCUS” and “I cant focus on anything I’m going to do nothing” in March/April/May is what got me to get on ADHD medication.

And that is the start to returning to bloging…wonky finger be damned,