Printmaking project, and a rant

Today’s art project was carving a small linocut (relief printing) block…

Since I’m newer at this I did a simple design, using a pic I’d taken years ago of Tonka’s paw print in the snow. Pics left to right… First step was to trace the outline and from that make a transfer sheet with soft pencil to get the design onto the lino block. Second step was carving — I can tell there’s going to be a learning curve to figure out the best grip on the cutting gouges to have good control but avoid cramps in my hands. At least I didn’t stab myself which would be injurious, they are very sharp.

The third step is proofing to see how the block prints. I only had time for a couple quick proofs, so I didn’t roll out very much ink. That and burnishing by hand made for rather light prints, and one of them shifted while burnishing so has a sort of ghost image. But the proofs let me see where to make little changes when I have time to resume this project.

In other news… Have sewed some more face masks and am thinking of ordering more fabric, there are some real cute dog designs. I’m (mostly) keeping up with the healthier eating habits, and managing to go for a bike ride or a walk 2 or 3 times a week. (Or I was for awhile, had two bad weeks, see update below). I am making my way through a list of Earth Day projects, a compost pile, rain barrel, and pollinator friendly flower patch.

May 30 update… Two weeks later, in other not-so-happy news, my ongoing attempts to get unemployment benefits are still unsuccessful and consequently I’m burning through my savings (laid off / on standby since March 28). Week after week have been struggling with Washington state’s online system. It’s sometimes hard for me to understand, and always difficult to use. IMO just as there is ESL assistance, or help for the hearing impaired, another group of marginalized people who need help is those of us having increased difficulty with e-stuff. Especially the computerized bureaucratic legalese bullshit kind. The kind I suspect is meant to deny benefits to some as we finally give up from the discouragement and fatigue of fighting a losing battle. The 1st disqualification they handed down was due to a *whopping* $241.38 a month pension I receive. Another few weeks later 2nd disqualification was that I (naively?!? stupidly?!?) reported self-employment income when I was paid for a dog portrait I completed. And now, the latest 3rd disqualification is somehow, somewhere in the system, in futilely submitting yet another weekly claim, I apparently goofed and gave a wrong answer so “clicked away” my ability to qualify. Whether the goof was due to my age (just can’t grasp some of this newfangled tech anymore), and / or not understanding what a prompt meant, and / or not having a desktop computer (until the library re-opens) to better see what I’m doing, seems moot at this point. 3rd disqualification is, to quote: “You told us your separation from employment was not due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. You are not eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance under the CARES Act.”

Well, what the fucking fuck?!? I know from my manager that y’all verified my prior hours and wages, and my now laid off / standby status due to the business cutting back *due to the pandemic*. Let me repeat: DUE TO THE PANDEMIC. Why the fuck do y’all think I am dealing with the confusing bureaucratic legalese of your online system if not because I think I should qualify for pandemic assistance? Y’all have caused me two demoralizing weeks of worse than usual pandemic anxiety topped by profound depression from this latest disqualification. Plus probably making my diabetes A1C climb even higher than it already has from stress since the start of the pandemic. But now I’m deliberately trying to shake off the depression, and reaching a *pissed off* stage. Since I have yet to receive the first appeal appointment paperwork, that you claimed you were sending me weeks ago, I hold little hope of receiving any appeal paperwork for the second or third disqualifications either. I hold little hope that the appeal letter I’m going to write you will accomplish anything other than allowing me to vent. But when my library does re-open, I will be availing myself of their services to print and send copies of my appeal letter with this excerpt from my blog, to AARP Magazine, AARP Bulletin, AARP Legal Advocacy, the American Diabetes Association, and every local organization I can find which might provide legal assistance to people who are marginalized due to being a senior, a low-income person, an Asian Pacific Islander, mental-health challenged, and with underlying health conditions. Those at least are conditions for which I do qualify.

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