She Be Done

April 25, 2015

I finished it.

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Last night. Actually early this morning. After midnight. Almost 90 hours since the end of January. But it’s done almost a month earlier than I was hoping. I need to finish the other little one so I can call the photographer. Because y’all probably want to see nice pictures of it, instead of all I can get, which is this…

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Because it’s kinda big and I don’t have anywhere I can lay it out right now, without cleaning a floor, and I really don’t feel like cleaning fucking anything at the moment.

How do I feel about this quilt? It’s nice. It’s pretty. Sigh. And people like it. Maybe that’s all I have to know. I hope it gets into the show for which I made it, because that would be really annoying if it didn’t. I only have one quilt I can enter in that one, because of the silly restrictions. The reality is I might need to make more of these pretty quilts, although probably much smaller if I want them to sell, because this thing ain’t cheap…you can’t put 90 hours into something and sell it for a couple hundred dollars. I mean, you CAN, but it’s fucking stupid.

But I’m telling you, the next three quilts all have fucking uteri in them, so I will feel much better about them. You have to understand that I am currently being ruled by my uterus. It hurts, it bleeds, it is a crazy mess, and all the hormones it and my ovaries are producing so haphazardly are running my emotions all over the map, fucking with my sleep, my brain, everything. Really, I should do…oh shit, I just had some amazing ideas for uterus quilts. Huh.

Crap. I have so much stuff to do right now, and about 25 ideas for drawings just popped into my head. Which makes me want to cry, because my job…the one that pays the bills…it’s really sucking up some major time at the moment and I’m trying not to think about what that might look like next year. Because I’m trying not to assume the worst. I’m trying to just step back and say, yeah whatever. Just tell me what you want me to teach. I’ll come to school every day and maybe I’ll just suck at it. Because I don’t want to spend another 10 hours a week working at a job that really just would take everything if it could. I want those extra hours for art. I might need those extra hours for another job. And it needs to be a job that I don’t take home with me, because I can’t take on anything else at the moment. The emotional crap with having both kids gone and being alone here in this house is bad enough without letting me make art in that time. I need that time in my head for peace. I really do. As I get older, it seems to get worse. I think I spent so many years pushing all that away and doing mom stuff and job stuff and managing everything that after the Big Depression of 2013 (that is still going on some level), I really can’t go back to that. I can’t be that person any more. And honestly? I have a 19-year-old and an almost 18-year-old. I shouldn’t have to be mom at that level any more. And I have enough years into teaching that I shouldn’t have to be working like a first-year teacher. Ha! As we add technology, which I am doing like a crazy person, and change standards. OK. So there is still a major learning curve. But I don’t get excited when you ask me what else do I want to be teaching…I DON’T want to be teaching anything else.

Fuck. I’m a mess. Maybe I should just blow everything off and draw.

Sigh. No, one of those things is financial aid for the boychild. Need that. Another is food and meds for the animals. I need to take care of them. They take care of me. And food for the week. Can’t really blow that off.

Fucking responsible adult brain. I wonder about Picasso. Did he blow off everything else? Probably.

Last night…

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I’m watching DS9 on the righthand computer, the cat is sitting on my lap demanding pets, the school laptop is behind her, where I’m grading assignments on Google Classroom, and three teenaged girls are eating all the pizza in the world in the living room. I don’t even use that TV any more…let alone the VCR. If I ever remodel this room…probably there will be another computer monitor up there. I did get one assignment completely graded though. I’m getting better at doing these. It’s hard in the classroom though, because often the free time I have is when kids are responding to something on my computer, so I can’t grade at the same time…and the app for tablets fucking sucks at the moment. The tablet the school gave me won’t even respond at all, and the iPad, if you click on a student, nothing happens. Same with the phone (not shocking, probably the same app). So I just stand there, trying to figure out what to do with my “free” time. I mean, really, it’s about 10 minutes per period, but yes, I’m that fucking efficient. I can grade 6 or 7 warmups in that time period. I can get through 5 assignments on Classroom. Every 5 counts. So I’ve been bringing my school computer home every weekend instead and trying to make sure I get through an assignment a weekend. SUCKS.

I saw this fabric online somewhere and it poked at me for about three days before I decided I couldn’t live without it.

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Plus I want to draw some more stuff like that, right? Tula Pink. Interesting. So then I tried to find it and found it on sale, and that’s when this happened…

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I can’t really explain it. But there’s Adventure Time and Walking Dead and wooden rulers? I don’t know. Don’t ask. It’ll end up somewhere. I cannot explain my fabric stash. They were all on sale.

By the way, Earth Stories (or most of it) just opened on Thursday at the Kennedy Museum of Art, University of Ohio, Athens. It will be there through early September. So if you want to see my piece and you’re at Quilt National (where my work will NOT be…can I get a high 5?), then head over there in a free moment.

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Because not only do you get a uterus, but it has a fetal skelly in it. That sucker was a bitch to make.

OK. I’m getting some shit crossed off my to-do list right now.


This Is the Brain…

April 24, 2015

I don’t have any real progress from yesterday. That’s how some days roll. I helped a friend instead of making art. Sometimes I parent instead of making art. Sometimes I lie down on the couch and read instead of making art. I didn’t grade anything either. I don’t consider it a lost day, though. You have to find balance when you’re an artist…and when you’re a teacher…and that balance includes people and what they need and what you want to make sure they have, and sometimes you get home and it’s 11:30 PM, and all you can do is sit and sew bindings. Which I guess is technically part of the artmaking process.

So that is what I did. Not for a long time…just about 45 minutes to let my head find its place and calm itself towards sleep. Hand-sewing as meditation…definitely.

And I’m in the home stretch…I finished all the way around and I just have to do the two sleeves, so about 110 inches left.

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So maybe another hour at the most…hopefully tonight, since I’m supposed to take it to my meeting on Sunday and talk about it, and Saturday is starting to look a little crowded. I’m at a little over 6 hours into the binding at this point.

Doesn’t everyone keep their sewing supplies in a grated-cheese container?

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Growing up, it was always margarine containers of all different sizes, and I still have those for safety pins, but I like the see-throughness of this one for some reason. I seem to be running low on pins. They’re probably all pinned to something or in a box or container somewhere. I know when I die they will find pins and scissors everywhere. And needles. I have lots of needles. I’ve had those tiny scissors forever though…since I started doing hand-applique, which was around 19…um…I think 1992 or so? Not sure. They’re a little wobbly. The screw comes loose, but they cut fine.

So not much to talk about artwise. I’m waiting for my tea to cook so I can go buy the food reward for the last month’s winners. My lunch is made. I’m tired. I woke up at 4 to what sounded like someone knocking on the exterior wall of the house. Scared the crap out of me and the cat. That’s why you have cats…so you know it wasn’t a dream when you wake up and think you heard something. Dogs are good too, because if it’s real and not in your head, they will growl or bark. Hence you know you aren’t going crazy. Dogs are better for things around the house though because they sound scary and loud to whatever’s trying to break in, whereas cats just make that little meow sound, which is not very frightening at all.

Yeah. This is the brain I’m taking to work with me. Remind me to sleep this weekend, willya?


Misnumbering…

April 23, 2015

I had a plan for last night. I was going to finish up that small recycled quilt, finish the quilting anyway, and maybe pick a binding for it. I realized (shhh, don’t tell the show organizer) that I put all of Mariah’s fabrics away in my stash, and so the binding might have to be whatever I can find…which is amusing, because she actually had bindings already cut out. Duh.

So I was finishing up grades, because I needed to determine whether two kids could play basketball tomorrow, and I had the music on, because that damn Smiths song (when a doubledecker bus crashes into us) would not get the fuck out of my head, and I was trying to chase it out, and so I was playing some music to do that, when the girlchild texted me from her bedroom (this is a common occurrence) that she was trying to go to sleep and could I please “turn the beats down.” Huh. She clarified that it was easier to fall asleep to my sewing machine, because it was more rhythmic or something. White noise. But she’s having a hard time with school and I basically say the wrong thing all the time (like “I love you.” and “I know you can do it.” and “How can I help you?”. Those are all the wrong things. Honestly I don’t know what the right things are. The Parenting Manual doesn’t cover this situation.), and I felt like as her mom, I probably shouldn’t be negatively affecting her sleep. And I can sew tonight or Friday or Saturday or just about any day. So I didn’t.

I have other stuff to do. So I started numbering. And this is so very exciting to watch. Really. And photograph. And I make mistakes all the time. I posted a picture to Instagram and there’s a double number right there. Space cadet.

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I try to be logical about how I number stuff. All the body parts together. Start at the bottom. On the two bathtub drawings I did, I numbered all the stuff outside the bathtub counterclockwise (I don’t know why…it made sense last night). Then I numbered the bathtub clockwise (OK, I’m fucking nuts…it makes no sense) and anything hanging on the bathtub. Then I did the water. All of it. Then things floating in the water. Then flesh. I don’t know if I will be swearing at myself when I go to iron it all out or not.

But I did Bathtub 4 first…

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Because it was on top. It’s not really upside down. It has about 650 pieces. Not so bad. Although some of them are annoying. I realized how convoluted the bathtub water pieces are gonna be. And the bathtub pieces…I’m gonna need some big pieces of fabric. I might need to go shopping. So sad. Probably because I imagine a white bathtub and blue water. At least I do right now.

I misnumber stuff all the time. Sometimes I double number like 50 pieces or I leave out 50 numbers. It’s because I’m keeping the numbers in my head and my head fucks stuff up. I realized last night that I would be thinking “648” and my hand would either write it backwards (846) or start in the wrong place (486). So that’s not crazy or fucked up or anything. OK, it could be argued that I was tired and it was late at night, but…sometimes I wonder about menopause brain. Because it’s a fuzzy emotional mess sometimes. And how does that help with survival of the species? Makes it easier for predators to find me, because now I am no longer useful to the species’ survival…so I might as well feed someone else. Cheery thought.

I looked at the clock before I started numbering Bathtub 2

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…which really does have an upside-down head in it. I always look at the clock, but it doesn’t necessarily stop me from continuing. It took me just under an hour to number 4…and it was a little after 11 PM. So it seemed reasonable to keep going. I was tired, but not so tired that I would fall immediately to sleep, and thems my rulez. No going to bed until you know you can fall asleep, so there will be less tossing and turning and crying into the pillow (ah, moodiness, you slay me).

It took less time to number this one, because it only has 595 pieces. I think I am going to do it first too. Although its bathtub pieces are even bigger. Pristine white bathtubs (things that do not exist in my house…our one bathtub is that putrid 70s salmon color and clearly not pristine) and water…water is one of those interesting things to color. In real life, it is rarely so blue as we picture it, except apparently in the Caribbean, where I’ve never been (and probably never will be either). Yet I continue to sparkle it blue. Pretty blue. I realize I need to let these two color themselves in my brain for a while. That is how I color them. I don’t do it on paper…it’s all in my head. It’s OK. I need to trace and cut out Wonder Under before I’ll be ready to iron to fabric. That’s a significant number of hours that my brain can spend coloring to its heart’s delight.

I gave up after that and went to bed. I could’ve sewed more binding down. I could’ve drawn the rest of that big drawing or the other long skinny one that’s sorta in my head and needs to be done too. Eh. But it was already after midnight, and although I could picture myself continuing to work, I could also picture how I would have felt this morning (which was hard enough, thank you very much). So I did the mature and responsible thing. Shocking. I do try to balance the crazy with the mature…not necessarily successfully. So there’s some chance of my surviving today. Probably a good thing.


Taped

April 22, 2015

Last night was a piece of cake. I managed to enter an art show, make a decent dinner (only a little charcoal was involved…I am not good at paying attention to multiple dishes unfortunately), watched a new interesting show (new to me, True Detective…don’t tell me how it ends please), and then decided with the available brain power, I could probably handle cutting and taping pieces of paper together. It really says something when that’s all you can do at 9:30 at night. OK, I realize most of you are lolling on the couch by then or curled up in bed, but I suck at that.

First of all, I looked at Bathtub 1 and realized that the other end of the bathtub was bothering me, not because it didn’t have a head, but because I couldn’t see the rest of the bathtub. So I added another strip down there…

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And I’m going to have to decide how to handle that, because I really don’t want a head down there, but I’m not sure I can draw the bottom of the bathtub without something of a head popping up. Or maybe I’ll just finish the watery bits that are there? I don’t know. I just know it was bugging me last night.

Then I started taping Bathtub 2 together. I think this is the one I’m going to do first.

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It’s been talking to me for the longest time. Since right after I drew it. And I need a new piece done at the beginning of the summer, so maybe this one is it. Certainly, I need to make a decision soon. Like this week. Because I have the quilting on the other recycled piece and some binding left to sew on the Earth Mother, and then I Have Nothing to Work on. And that is just not allowed. Nor is it healthy. So. Decisions to be made.

Here’s the whole thing…

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It’s not huge. I only enlarged it 250% and it fit entirely on one sheet of paper in my sketchbook (how strange). So. Maybe I number it tonight and see where it’s at.

Then I went to tape Bathtub 4 together (3 is not going to be a quilt)…

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OK. Oops. This happens all the time. I copy in pieces and I miss the stuff in the middle because of the size of the sketchbook and trying to fit it on the copier, but usually I miss stuff in the middle. On Bathtub 1, I had to draw in a small section about 5″ square. It wasn’t hard. Now I need to draw this in. Huh. So I taped a piece of paper in there. I’ll look at it tonight. Maybe.

I have a parent meeting this morning, so I’m rushing. Plus I had to make a lunch this morning. I usually try to do that the night before, but I was too busy cutting things and taping them together. Oh yeah, and I finally did my dishes. Priorities. After all that, I did spend an hour stitching bindings. I need to be done by Sunday for a meeting and then I need to contact the photographer, but I need to finish the other one first. It’s cheaper to have him set up for more than one at a time. And they’re both done early (not needed until June 1 and June 15, I think).

Brain is fuzz. School is stress. Thinking about all that? Eh. Making art instead.

 


Tip the Balance

April 21, 2015

Usually I write my blogposts in the morning. I used to write them at night. I’d meditate first and then I’d write. Often it would be 1 or 2 AM when I posted, because I wasn’t sleeping hardly at all for about a year. Now it’s easier to go to bed earlier and write in the morning. I suspect the writing is different because of that, but maybe not. Plus I get a few more hours of sleep…not a lot.

I’m writing tonight, knowing I probably won’t post it tonight. I’m kinda hoping that what I do tonight will modify my mood so that tomorrow morning sounds better, feels better, and according to all the happiness mythology, IS better.

It was a difficult day. Kids were not in the mood to do work, and I was asking them to do work. Not particularly hard work, and the ones who know how to do work and like to do it, or at least know that they have to do it, they were doing it. The others were not. My patience was incredibly thin to start the day (lack of sleep? stress? I don’t know. No art for days?), and by the end of the day, our minimum day, I was at nothing percent. Nada. Nichts. Ain’t nobody home. We had a meeting after school that was incredibly depressing…worrying even. And I know I’m not supposed to worry about future events, because there is no point. I’m not supposed to assume next year is going to suck dingdongs because maybe it won’t. I’m supposed to take one day at a time and not think about the future.

I have to tell you, it is a hard habit to break. But I’ve been telling myself that since the meeting, don’t worry, don’t think about the future (except I’m being asked to think about it, so that makes it significantly difficult), the meeting where I almost broke out in tears, and when I have to meet one-on-one later because I expressed my concerns, I will most definitely cry. Because it’s hard to explain to most people what it’s like to feel money stress hanging over you for years. To feel parenting stress solely on your shoulders. Those that have experienced it, they know. But when you then add the stress of trying to balance the parts of your life, and someone wants to add more stuff that you REALLY don’t want to do to a job that already sucks up so much energy and so many hours, and you have fought to keep your hold on the other part of your life, the art part, even just the part where you have time to do the dishes (I haven’t yet since last week), it’s like a tug-of-war game, but it’s not a game…it’s your fucking sanity, it’s your life. And I’m holding the rope and the knot is slipping over the center line, and everything on the other side of the rope (job, money, time, demands of children, demands of boss) is getting heavier and heavier, pulling harder and harder, yanking at me, pulling my shoulders out of their sockets, and I’d really just like to throw my hands up and let go of the fucking rope, let go and walk the fuck away, turn my back on ALL of it.

Yeah. So I’m meditating tonight. And I was drawing earlier. And I’m trying to at least get a tiny grip on some sort of strength to get me through most of tomorrow, because that’s all I need. And then tomorrow night, I can negotiate for Wednesday. And so on.

Tonight though. Geez. Universe. You suck. Walk the fuck away from me. I am not talking to you.

It’s the morning now. So much for my hope for today. I was apparently a horrible person this morning because I suggested watching Friends would not help learn Physics. Huh. What do I know? I love my kids, but going away to college is something they really need to do, not only for their growth and maturity, but for my sanity.

I drew this last night…

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I don’t know what it is about sitting in a bathtub. It reduces stress, makes you feel calmer, but you’re naked, so there’s this vulnerability while you’re in there. You can’t get out quickly, but that’s supposed to be OK. I used to take baths all the time at the old house, prekids, predivorce, prewhatever. The bathtub in this house kinda sucks, plus it’s in the kids’ bathroom. I think if I got into a bathtub right now, I might never get out.

I liked the hand and wineglass in this bathtub drawing…

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But wanted to try to make a better drawing…this was more of a quick sketch one night. So that’s where the second drawing came from (it’s actually the fifth). I don’t know if the other one is done. I have to think about it.

I did all that because my head was a mess. I meditated in the middle of it. I didn’t do anything else last night, because by the time I got home from school and did the grocery shopping that I didn’t have time to do Sunday (forgot the toothpaste, dammit), it was late. And then I was trying to pay the deposit for college and that was apparently too much stress for the girlchild, who admittedly is about to lose all her friends (try to tell her they don’t all go away, but she says I know nothing, because you know, I don’t.), because she went off. And I eventually got it paid, but decided that making dinner was not my problem. I was no longer hungry. I could eat a bowl of fucking Cheerios and I’d be OK. I had used up all my parenting dollars for the night. To her credit, she cooked dinner and fed both of us.

I went to bed and hoped that it would be better today. No comment on that. I can’t judge the whole day on the first 40 minutes. I can’t let the first 40 minutes color the entire day.

Here’s the two birds I almost finished over the weekend…

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I still need to add some of the lighter green to the tailfeathers on the upper bird. I should have done that in the car on the way home on Sunday, but I don’t think I had the energy. I actually don’t remember the car ride back on Sunday. I know I was in the car, because I’m home now.

Seriously though. One of the things I hate about these moods is that I don’t feel like they are entirely situational…I think a big chunk is hormonal, and that is out of my control. My science brain wants to know what percentage is my hormones and what percentage is whatever other shit causes random sadness and depression. I need a mood pie chart. (I just spent ten minutes looking at semi-disturbing pie charts that either blamed moodiness on spilled gin or the genetics of your parents, both probably factors at some point or another.)

Fuck this. I drew. Tonight I don’t know what I will do, but it won’t be school-related. Sorry Mr. Bossman…you didn’t make me want to spend more time doing it. You just strengthened my resolve to keep the balance, perhaps tip it even further towards taking care of me. (In reality, I will find that difficult to do.)


I Can’t Always Be an Amazing Superwoman

April 20, 2015

It was a soccer weekend, but possibly the last one ever.

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I graded on the field, in the car, and in a Starbucks. I read my book on the field. I stitched on the field and in a car. I almost finished two birds (photos later) that really only needed a shit-ton of embroidery. Which I did while watching soccer, even though the wind both days in the afternoon was so strong, I had to hold on to the block when I wasn’t actually sewing on it, so it wouldn’t blow away, and the thread would conveniently trail out horizontally in the air from the spool so I could cut it easily.

There were three games, all over an hour away. Sunday, we spent over 13 hours gone.

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We ate in a casino, drank in a Starbucks, and ate in a Wings n Things. THINGS. Yup. Had me some things.

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Girlchild has not looked into playing soccer at college. Honestly, she might need some adjustment time. She has a good scholarship, but it’s dependent on good grades.

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She’s smart, but ADD. And a procrastinator. And being 3000 miles away from home and on your own can mess with your ability to do everything.

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Thanks coach for letting us know which way the ball is going (he’s calling it for his team). Girlchild just headed it. Hence her weird positioning.

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She did make a goal, the winning goal in the third game. I don’t think it was here…there were more defenders trying to stop her…

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And she got whacked in the face…bloody nostril, but no black eye this morning.

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They lost the first two games, so it was nice to end the season (and most of their careers) on a win. Some will go on to play in college. Some are done forever.

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I hope she keeps playing, at least for fun. But if she does, I’ll be a million miles away, so I won’t be able to take a million pictures.

This is one of the songs I heard in the car on the way to and from and to and from Temecula this weekend…I like this song. The ex forwarded past it because he doesn’t.

Yeah. Whatever.

I came home and cleaned and got school stuff set up and kid stuff handled and kind of half collapsed, looking at the various artmaking activities I had around, realizing I had only 3 1/2 hours of sleep the night before, and went to bed. So be it. I can’t always be an amazing Superwoman.

Tonight though? Yeah. Back on track. I feel like I haven’t gotten anything artistic done in days. Gotta change that.


Where Am I?

April 19, 2015

Well. I am in a Starbucks in Temecula waiting for the third game in National Cup, which doesn’t even matter, because they lost the last two, so we’re out, meaning freedom for next weekend, but I’m still trapped out here in tract-home central, super dry air, smells weird (that was Pechanga, the casino)…so I persuaded my ex to drop me, my computer, my book, my sketchbook, my gradebook, and my sewing all in a Starbucks parking lot, and I’ve been charging my electricity and brain (had a whopping 3 1/2 hours of sleep last night…my own fault, of course, trying to have a life AND be a mom and all that sheeit). Caffeine. Thank you. More. Please.

Art? Yeah. Maybe. I don’t know. I have two small sketchbooks with me (apparently one is not enough). I have pens. I could draw.

I have been stitching on the field and in the car…

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More birds, embroidery now. These are July’s blocks (from 2013…do not judge me). They are sitting on my work computer, which I brought with me, so I could finish grading replication stories before I died. I did mostly finish, except for randomly damaged files and kids who thought they submitted the files but didn’t actually ATTACH them. Sigh. But that’s done. Although there is another assignment on there that I have to grade that will be much easier…but I haven’t started it. UGH. I have about 30 more minutes before my ex will APPARENTLY pick me up. I think I am his amulet against the girlchild on the trip back, so he probably will pick me up…plus I have custody tonight, so it’s in his best interest to NOT leave me in Temecula, because it will take me a long time to walk the 64.2 miles or so home. Wow, you so can’t be vague about mileage any more. Too many apps in our world for that.

The music in here is kinda driving me nuts. That and the sound of that machine that makes coffee things. I don’t buy anything but tea, so I don’t know what any of that fancy machinery does, nor do I care. It’s a multibillion dollar industry that I don’t fucking care about except that it is currently giving me wifi and electricity for the cost of a cup of tea. I even gots free milk! And a relatively clean bathroom. Probably cleaner than mine is at the moment, scarily enough.

So yeah, lots of grading in the last few days…

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Laptop in front of computer playing Netflix (Friday night)…because you can never have too many electronic inputs at once. I had my phone out there too. But just to keep track of texts. And Clash of Clans. Because that’s important. (No, it’s not. I do know that.)

Last night, I went to the opening of the new exhibit 3° of Abstraction at Visions Art Museum, featuring Shelley Brenner Baird, Karen Rips, and Pat Kroth, all with very different takes on fiber abstraction. I had a great time talking to Shelley and Karen, who have been in other exhibits with me. Their work is so different from each other’s AND from mine, but I love looking at the texture in Rips’ work and the simplicity, but the incredible depth of color in the discharged areas. And Brenner Baird’s work is so free-looking, with dye drips and serendipitous color all over the place, but with a real sense of peace at times.

The back gallery has Dual Perspectives, featuring Lura Schwarz Smith and Kerby C. Smith, a husband and wife artistic team who work very differently, some abstracted and some not. Lura’s work includes drawings, photographs, and abstracted areas. Kerby’s are printed from iPhone 5S photographs onto canvas and then stitched in smaller squares and tied together. Kerby doesn’t seem to have his own website, but the couple has a site about digital printing, which they both use in their process. A small area of the gallery has work by Rosemary Hoffenberg, titled Active Configurations, definitely in the abstract category.

The three exhibitions have a wide variety of abstract treatments, which although I am completely incapable of MAKING that type of work, I do appreciate looking at it when it’s made well.

So my ride should be here soon, and hopefully I will get some chance to do something artistic tonight, despite the fact that I’m not ready for school (minor issue) and we won’t get home until dinner time, and no one has done laundry or gone grocery shopping for the week (somewhat less minor issue). Whatever. At least I won’t be in Temecula any more. No offense to those who live here. You probably have more comfortable chairs than this Starbucks does. And people aren’t always staring over your shoulder, yes YOU, stop fucking reading what I’m writing, you FREAK.

OK. I’m done now.


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