Dangerous Compassions

November friendship artalong

My friend Ariel is an artist and very crafty.  She likes to do month-long stitch challenges.  We had the idea we could make our own for November!  November friendship artalong.

I wanted to try a stitch challenge for November, but I didn’t want to do a pilgrim hat or stuffing or whathaveyou.  So yeah, we made up our own.  Please consider joining us for our November friendship artalong.

Here’s the graphic I made.  You could share it, if you want to.  Please art along!

november friendship artalong

Ariel and I are going to embroider, but you could do any creative medium you want.

The friendship part is fun; feels good to invite you.  I’m telling you now in hopes you can gather materials and psych yourself out.  Whatever prep you need to do.

I like dailiness.  This blog is daily, which works well for me.  It reminds me of something that happened in fifth grade.  Let me tell you the tale.

fifth grade

I had three fifth grade teachers.  The first was young and from Canada.  She had a cute accent and taught us about curling.  Not sure why she left.  She seemed stable.  Maybe her husband had to go back to Canada or got sick or something?

Our third teacher was Hawaiian-Japanese and a hardass.  I had a whole thing with her–she taught me to hula at science camp, which I will always be grateful for.  We’re going to the hukilau indeed.

That dance got in my head, in a big way!  It was the late 1980s.  She didn’t bring a recording of the song, but she sang it for us over and over, as we practiced.

Oh yeah, and she let us taste some candy that tasted like lavender?  They must have been violet mints.  I wanted to like them, but they tasted like laundry detergent, in a bad way.


My second fifth grade teacher was an old white lady, and she seemed unstable.  I remember her panicked voice, her fakiness, and her makeup style of rich, small, scared white lady.  Pearl earrings, and so much indignant, whiny anger.  Her skinny hands with huge rings.  She was rich–she didn’t deserve this.

My dad was white, and I had relatives who were white ladies, but not like the fifth grade teacher I’m talking about.  My relatives who were older white ladies were tough and cool.  They were skilled, knit a lot, read books, cooked delicious foods, baked pies and sausage rolls, and smoked cigarettes.  They could be critical and edgy, but they weren’t scared all the time.

My teacher assigned us some book reports, ten book reports due by the end of the school year.  We kids were responsible to pace ourselves and turn them in however often we wanted to, as long as we had all ten done by the end of the school year.

bad at moderating

What do you think I did?  Yes, I’m bad at moderating–I think it’s an autistic thing.  I often do something every day or not at all.  So I went home, read a complete book, wrote a book report, and turned it in the next day.  My teacher was surprised.  I got 100% on the book report, and my teacher put it up on the bulletin board.

The next day, I did the same.  I did that every day for ten straight school days.  Yeah, it was a little obsessive.  But I found pleasure in doing that.  I loved reading and was a very fast reader.  I loved writing and was a fast writer also.  This Laura-Marie you know now was sort of the same person then.


Yes, fifth grade was an important year.  I got my period.  I had my first boyfriend.  My dad had cardiac arrest at a young age and was shocked back to life.  I decided doctors are full of shit and medicine mostly worthless–I lost all faith in medicine.  And my dad’s anxiety went through the roof, so his substance abuse increased also, which changed my life the most of all these things, probably.

His second cardiac arrest, he’d just been removed from the ambulance–he’d been ambulanced from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara, for Cottage Hospital’s superior cardiology.  He told the person pushing him, “I’m about to have another one.”  Isn’t that creepy–he knew the sensation of his heart when it was about to stop.

Years later he told me that story as we rode the same elevator together in that hospital.  I can’t remember why we were in Santa Barbara at Cottage Hospital.  Some relative must have been there, a baby being born?  Or he had a cardiology appointment.  He was almost panicking in the elevator.  Of course he had ptsd from all that, which is what the substance abuse was for.

It was my dad’s five year death anniversary just a few days ago.  I feel like a new person again.  Great time to make art, such as the November Friendship Artalong.  Let’s do it!

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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