On a Tuesday Night…

August 27, 2014

In which another thousand words of a sci fi novel randomly pop out of my head into Google Docs…where they righteously belong. For no apparent reason. After hiking 6 miles. Really, I shouldn’t be capable of much after a night hike, but apparently those words needed out. I don’t actually read what I’ve written, unless I’ve forgotten something, but even then, I usually just tag it with a comment to be fixed later, because I’m over 35 pages at this point and trying to find that one paragraph where I explained whatever it is I explained (probably something to do with government takeovers) is pretty much impossible.

There is a cat ballet going on in my house at the moment, as the most likely petter of cats has left for college. Yes, boychild was home the most and would search out cats and scratch their heads and pet them and sometimes comb one or two of them. Without him here, they are constantly gathering around whatever space I inhabit and I will turn around and try to shepherd one into the space and one out (none of them like each other, some actually hate each other). Last night, while letting one out of the laundry room (home of food and litter trays), Babygirl came kamikazing out of the boychild’s room, front legs cycling like a windmill, caterwauling at Kitten like she was a foreign invader. Made me scream. Little pyscho. Aren’t you the oldest one? Kitty equivalent of 80 years old? Feisty old bitch. It’s the only excitement I get at night.

So I hiked last night after school. It was nice, but it will be my tutorial day in a few weeks, so I probably won’t be able to do it again. It was hard enough to find the energy for a Tuesday night…I suspect Thursdays will be considerably worse. When I showed up for the hike, I was told I looked like I was moving slowly (I was…it was after school…I was tired), but my body eventually figured it out and got moving. The group I hike with mostly looks normal…until cameras come out, and then the weird happens…

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See? Normal…for zombies. Well, we started out normal.

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We did Cowles Mountain to Pyles Peak from Barker Way, leaving at 6 PM and coming back in the dark.

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Yeah, it was hot yesterday, probably in the high 80s when we started, but it wasn’t too bad…do you see the little tiny thundercloud in the back of that picture?

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It got bigger.

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I kept trying to get the color that was really showing, but my camera wasn’t quite up to the task.

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The sunset reflects off the clouds to the east. This one is from the top of Pyles Peak.

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It was nice and cool by the end of the hike. And dark. Yes, dark. But in the beginning, you could see all the clouds and marine layer in the distance to the west…this is from the top of Cowles.

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This is facing north from Cowles, looking out toward Pyles Peak, which always looks a million miles away from here.

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And from Pyles, here’s Cowles Mountain. At this point, we’re halfway through and it looks like a million miles to get back. It’s not really. It’s only 1.5 miles to the peak and then another 1.5 down. At 8 PM. On a work day. Before you’ve eaten dinner. Yeah. A little crazy.

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As the sun set, we had popsicles! It felt really good to have icy sugar with the heat.

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It’s hard to capture the look of the hills. I love looking at them, but I can never get a good picture of what I love looking AT. The graying out of the different layers of hills in the distance. Totally opposite of what they taught us in painting class.

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There was wildlife. This scorpion is maybe 2-3 inches long.

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I decided this was a gopher snake because it’s skinny and has a pointy tail.

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Lovely. Spider creepout.

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When I got home, I was feeling tired (OK, physically exhausted but mentally alert), but I really want to make a point of art every night. It makes me feel better. I’m still falling into these nightly downspaces, especially on the nights when the girlchild is not here. Plus I have deadlines. I want to be making progress. I need to be able to show that something is getting done. That there’s a purpose to everything. That it’s not just Go To Work. Go Home. Watch TV. Like some people.

I had decided in order to reduce the price on the two quilts that will be in the Art Produce show, which is being installed this weekend (some pressure to get done, eh?), I wasn’t going to bind the edges. In the olden days, I used to participate in a weekly or monthly challenge (don’t actually remember) that was one word? Maybe two? And you’d make a small quilt for it. I have about 7 or 8 of them. I’ll try to find them maybe. They were fun to experiment with, but I didn’t want to spend the time binding them, so I remembered a technique that I think Ellen Anne Eddy taught us using cording to help satin stitch an edge. Now I’m sure I could do the same thing without the cording, but for some reason, the cord seemed to make it work better.

Unfortunately, I think it took 20 minutes last night to FIND the cording.

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Once I did, I finished the two edges…it was kind of amazing that I had thread to match the lighter one.

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OK, maybe not so amazing. I do have a lot of thread. Now I just have to figure out how I want to hang them. Keep it simple.

I was really tired when I finished all that, but I think it was better going to bed with something completed, something that I’d accomplished…yes, besides teaching all day and hiking 6 miles. I didn’t say any of it made any sense. I do spend a lot of hours not talking to anyone though and it wears on me. Girlchild is still coming to school each day with me, so that helps, but that ends this week. Then I go back to talking to myself. I already know how those conversations will go. Anyway. My goals for the week are to get the other three birds and the house done and get that damn drawing done. Holy moley. That needs to happen.

Apparently I will also be writing more sci fi…it’s crowding into my brain even now, waiting for the end of the day when it can all spill out. I guess that’s a good thing.

All Over My Head…

August 26, 2014

My art goals during the school year are constantly challenged by work, kids, general life stuff falling all over my head. I succumb for a while to work demands and come home and work, and then the art brain pitches a fit and lets the art take over for a while. During the first few weeks of school, general exhaustion also plays a part as the brain and body adjust to a more demanding existence. It’s usually about the time back-to-school night occurs when you realize how slammed you’ve been and you start to fight back for some modicum of balance, whatever that means. More sleep. More art.

I have so many deadlines, though, that I have the art brain front and center. So when I was finally done with errands yesterday, I realized I had two quilts going to the photographer in 24 hours that needed inking, ironing, and dehairing. So I started with the Mammogram quilt…

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A little bit of cross-hatching is a good thing. Jake was underfoot, waiting for his dad to come back (yes, the ex is back from Ithaca with a list of things the boychild wants)…

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The smaller one took about half an hour. The larger one, the one nicknamed Menopause, it took more like an hour plus…

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I took some detail shots before I took it to the photographer. I’ll have photos back on Sunday.

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There’s a bunch of detail in this quilt. It’s kind of crazy.

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I ran the total hours on both quilts…Mammogram came in at a little over 41 hours and Menopause at a whopping 144 hours. Funny, they’re not that different in size…but definitely in detail and number of pieces.

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I guess my biggest worry now is that I’ll enter it in shows and I won’t get in, like with a couple of my earlier very-complex quilts. It’s a scary thing to put so much of yourself in a piece, so much time and effort and blood, sweat, and tears, and have it be rarely seen. I joke about how I’m saving those special pieces for my retrospective, but…

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Sometimes I wonder if they are just too much for the average show I enter. So many entries this year and nothing gets accepted. It wears thin.

Then I started quilting the 14th bird, the second version of HeyBird

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It was a bitch last night and a bitch tonight. Thread breaking a million times. Frustation.

Girlchild made a million blueberry muffins last night. I wanted to take them to school, but she claimed some quality control issue…bigger than normal tunnels due to the less-acidic content of the batter (we didn’t have buttermilk, so she used half and half…yes these are fully freakin’ decadent. And tasty. You wish you lived here.). I don’t know if I believe her, but I don’t care, because I live here so I get to eat all the blueberry muffins I want (nom nom nom a la Cookie Monster).

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I finished quilting Hey tonight, although I’m exhausted again. It seems never-ending, this feeling that my eyes need to close and stay that way.

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One more bird to quilt. Then 3 bindings and 2 edges sewn.

People keep asking about my mood, if I’m OK, whether from the boychild leaving or depression in general, I’m not sure. I’m not really sure how to answer that. I seem to have shoved all emotion deep down and am just floating above on a cloud of Have-Tos and hot tea. I guess that’s good for now. I’ve had moments each day of Holy Fuck, and tears follow, usually out of control, but I seem to be holding it off for now. I don’t trust it to be permanent and I’m not even sure it’s healthy. I think it’s more of survival mode. I’m good at that survival thing. It keeps happening so I get lots of practice.

More tomorrow…although I don’t expect much happening in the way of art. There is a hike instead. That fucking balance again.

Exhausted Slam

August 24, 2014

I think I finally hit the exhaustion mark, slammed into it last night at about 10 PM. Surprised I made it that late. I was quilting the birds and realized my eyes were having a hard time staying open. Just a note to the inexperienced: if you quilt with your eyes closed, there is a much higher chance you will sew through your finger. So I stopped. I finished the eyeball bird first though…

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And then did the second diving bird…

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Smaller than the last one. It’s for the Art Produce show, so it has to be a particular size. I still did all the windy quilting though…

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And that’s what made me slam into the tired wall. I wanted to finish the other two last night too, but I fell asleep on the couch and then went to bed after that. There’s no point in trying to quilt when you’re that tired. You’re going to fuck it up. But that’s what school does…it’s amazing how exhausting it is being ON for 7 hours straight. There’s no down time really. There’s lunch and your prep, and you’re usually doing stuff during those, like peeing and eating. It’s just On On On. After the more relaxing pace of the summer, where I didn’t really get enough sleep either, the start of school is always kind of a body shocker. It takes a couple of weeks to get it under control.

Saturday I was going to get all this stuff done and my brain just rebelled. It was done. It was tired. I managed the gym and then the girlchild and I went to a local British pub for the Dr. Who season premiere with about 150 other people…there were lots of people dressed up, kids and adults. Girlchild says I shouldn’t even be allowed to go, because I’ve only seen like 5 Dr. Who episodes (true…time issue, eh? I started watching from Season 1 this week finally).

But we had a good time. It was a good show. Funny. And I drew during the commercial breaks…

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I love my Tivo. No commercials. There’s a phone booth at the bar, so even though her face is still swollen from the wisdom-teeth removal, she allowed photos…

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A friend texted me and asked how the first boychild-free weekend was going. Well I’ve had the girlchild all weekend, so it’s not like what it will be once school starts and she has a social life and isn’t around all the time. Or ever. So I cleaned his room a little (mostly laundry) and his dad has called every night to report, so it’s not the same. He texted back that he does NOT want a monogrammed laundry basket like his roomie has (damn.), although there is a list of things he does want, so we’ll deal with that. He texted back and forth with his sister last night while I was asleep on the couch, so we know he’s alive. And still up at 1 AM. So all that is normal. His cat misses him. She’s been a whiny butt for a few days now. It probably doesn’t help that Jake, the amazingly large-nosed German Shepherd, is here. He sticks that nose into cat faces, despite the claws, and they don’t like it much.

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So. Yeah. And I’m pretty busy. Not a lot of time to stop and think about much of anything, whether it’s his being gone or my pitiful social life or anything else that tends to bring me down. I’m too damn tired. I really want to take a nap right now, but I have 70 trillion things to do this afternoon, and they’re all time-sensitive and incredibly important. So really, I should get my ass off the computer and get the freak out of here. (I’m finishing my tea. That’s why I’m still here. Plus I had to get all the online grocery coupons. Yup. I do that. It’s $20-40 a visit it saves me…that pays for my Netflix, right?). Anyway. Girlchild is gone all afternoon. Social butterfly. It’s not that I would be chatting it up with the boychild if he were here on a Sunday afternoon, but at least it would be another body in the house. Watching me nap. Can’t nap. No time.

Staying Up Late in the Name of Laundry

August 23, 2014

Oh yeah. Friday night. Hell, it’s Saturday morning. I meant to write this earlier. Really. I’ve been kinda sideswiped by life. Starting school, sending a kid off to college, that whole lack of sleep thing, which reminds me, the only reason I’m up now (because I’ve already fallen asleep on the couch once) is because I’m in charge of late-night laundering again. Girlchild dumped it all in the washer and then went to bed, and I’m fairly sure she needs it early tomorrow morning for soccer. Hmn. Motherly duties.

Staying up late in the name of laundry. Wish it was something a little more meaningful, like reducing waste or reversing climate change or curing cancer. But no. It’s because of laundry…laundry that could have been done at ANY time today. Without my assistance. Yup.

Thursday was an exceptionally long day, up early to send the boychild off (he has arrived and moved in, although reports on the roommate have been limited to insider knowledge about his plethora of monogrammed towels and accessories), then worked all day and went to physical therapy and then quilt class. I had been hoping to get all 5 birds quilted last night.

Wow. That’s crazy talk. What’s funny is that I was so tired that I couldn’t quilt FAST, so I kept moving the quilt in tinier and tinier squiggles…

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I’m not sure that was a good thing. Lord, the lighting is horrible in this picture. Suffice it to say, it’s quilted.

I did miss stitching down the underside of the neck somehow…

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So I’ll have to do that tomorrow. This is one being made for the Art Produce show, so there will be no binding, just a satin stitch. Also hoping to do that tomorrow.

I didn’t fully finish quilting the second eyeball bird.

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Toldja I was quilting fucking tiny. Finish it off tomorrow. Then quilt the other three. Faster. And in a less anal manner.

Today was similarly crazy, although I got more sleep. I also started the 5 loads of laundry from the boychild’s room. Cleaned out his trash. Picked up the books in there. He won’t like that I didn’t alphabetize by author, but I need to leave something for him to do when he comes home, right? Plus I think I want to read half of them. Next week, I have to ship his piano and some other stuff. Yes. I said Ship a Piano. Don’t laugh.You want me to ship YOU a piano? I will. I have extras. I shipped paintings and etching plates home from Britain when I lived there for a year. We had to have a special crate built for some of the stuff that I sent home from there and it came via ship. Had to be picked up from the docks in Long Beach or somewhere around there after it cleared customs.

I forced my hand this morning and contacted my photographer to take pictures of the Mammogram and Menopause quilts. That meant I had to actually FINISH the second one, so I finished up the binding tonight. Tomorrow or Sunday I’m going to do some inking on it, I think. Maybe some embroidery. I get myself in such a rush that I don’t do so much of that any more. Both are being photographed early next week, so I will have to make sure they are DONE. For reals. Then finish all the birds and the floating house (I think I’m done with it…although…no…sigh…I don’t know). Then get the drawing done on gender equality, which has been kicking my butt all summer. It’s become a significantly high priority, which I actually think is a good thing. It means I can’t come home from work and procrastinate by staring at the computer. I have to work on art in order to get it done in time. Like every day. Seriously. I think that helps me keep a balance.

So yeah. I did that on purpose. Uh huh.

The art brain is excited about it anyway.

So my plan is (you know how I love to have plans that I can later dash to pieces) to get it fully drawn and numbered by Labor Day weekend, and then start tracing it in early September. I need it traced and cut out by mid-September (yikes. deep breaths. There’s only a million things happening in the next three weeks, because that’s what we’re talking about is three whole weeks…three whole weeks with an art installation that will take two days and revolving openings. Back-to-school night. Two of them. Don’t Think About It.). Then start choosing fabrics in mid-September. It’s about the size of the Celebrating Silver quilt, a little smaller, so maybe 15 hours of fabric-choosing. That’s at least a full week and a weekend. And another week plus to cut the fabrics out, so ideally, it’s fabricked by the end of September. October is for ironing and quilting. Holy crap. I’m in trouble here. I need another month. I don’t have another month. OK. Well, that decides some things, doesn’t it? I do think I have until mid-November. There’s a 3-day weekend in there. I don’t need to sleep in November, do I?

I need to get my act in gear. Good thing I have no life. Well, except for my job. And the girlchild’s soccer. And all the art stuff and hiking and book-reading I do. And the gym. Sleep? Eh. Not so much.

At least I have a purpose for the next few months. Besides surviving school. And flipping the laundry in the middle of the night.

I do miss the boychild. There is an empty space where he would normally be. But the girlchild has been a little less crazy this week (well, if you ignore the food issues because of the lost wisdom teeth and her freaking out about coaching soccer without her dad around to help). She’s been less screamy. She may just be lonely.

Anyway, I have a teacher’s aide at school this year, one of my good boy students from last year who follows instructions well. I’m going to use his talents best I can to reduce my load. I’m going to collaborate with my teacherfolk to get up and running on these Chromebooks and get off of paper. Google is trying to fix my Classroom access so I can actually use the system the way I want, but until then, there are other apps that will do. I’m doing a lot of winging-it this year. There’s a lot of change in the air at school and it seems positive. Well, some of it is just plain weird, but mostly positive.

I still have to stay up for another 45 minutes though to flip the laundry again. You know, in the past, I have gone to bed and set an alarm for an hour later to wake me up enough to go turn the dryer on. It’s a little crazy, but it works. I’m a little crazy too, so it makes sense. I started the school year with a little crazy in mind. I think my students are a tad freaked out by my crazy, but I really don’t care. I’m gonna hug their little brains with dissections and nerve-cell-exploding ideas about genetics and nutrition and what WHITE means (that’s in light and pigment and even in skin color). In fact, I might just do a whole lesson on What Is White (I do a lab called What Is Black?…I should just connect the two). Just after I do the Zombie Apocalypse unit. Seriously. I didn’t have the brain power last year. I was deep in a nasty-ass hole made by someone else. I guess I’m good at dragging myself out of holes that other people make for me. I think the next time I have to do that, I’m gonna go all wizard and demons killed with sharp silver blades on someone’s ass. Because it’s not cool to do that shit to people you’re supposed to care about…

You know, with the boychild gone, there are way too many leftovers in the fridge. Girlchild and I need to adjust the cooking volume. Mr. Bottomless has left the building. And is that skunk I smell? It surely is. Nice.

It has to be bedtime.


Oh Lonely Sriracha

August 21, 2014

I’m up at holy shit in the morning because boychild leaves for college today. I’m not taking him. It would be really hard to take the second and third days of school off without there being major issues, so his dad is taking him out there. It’ll be good for his dad to see Cornell anyway, and I would just annoy the crap out of him at the moment because I’m all girl-like and hey let’s get set up and fill out your I-9 so you can get a job and say HI to people and stuff. You know. Like a mom. Plus I probably wouldn’t stop crying, and that’s never cool when you’re a freshman in college, mom sobbing away in a ball of saltwater on your dorm room floor.

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He has missing teeth in that picture. And girlchild, what is UP with the barrettes? Sheesh. (2004…ages 7 and 8)

I’m actually too tired to be emotional right now.

So I send him off this morning. Yesterday afternoon I got home from my first (LONG) day of school…OK, it’s only long because I haven’t talked that much without stopping since, um, the LAST day of school…OK, not even that…since the last day I taught something I had to talk a lot about (sexually transmitted diseases, to be specific, probably AIDS), and the boychild has dumped all his clothes on the couch and folded about 5 shirts. So I start folding and putting in logical piles and tell him to go find everything he wants to bring and he eventually brings more stuff (dude. where’s your jacket. seriously.). I realize I can ship some of the warmer stuff if I need to, because I don’t think New York is going to go to freezing before mid-September (we Southern Californians are not great with actual seasons, so I don’t actually know if this is true, but I do have a weather app that claims there’s a 54% chance he will be hit by lightning in the next two weeks), but it would be nice not to have to ship anything.

So we count underwear and he’s a little short. You have to understand that I asked him back in early July about his underwear (oh my god, mother, do we have to talk about underwear?) and suggested a two-week minimum. Because I went to college. And laundry is not fun. And you have to fight for machines, even if you’re a night owl like me. In fact, I do not even remember doing laundry the first two years. Maybe I didn’t. I remember doing it in Britain, because there were three buildings all attached to each other and you had to go to the very bottom floor (I was on the 4th or 5th floor?) of the furthest one away and it was like going to Siberia, it was so far away and no elevators, just up and down stairs, and a total pain in the ass. I asked about socks too. So it was no shocker to me that he only had 11 pairs of underwear (why is underwear a PAIR? a PAIR of what?) and 8.5 pairs of socks. One with holes in them. Where the hell is his sock stash? We never did find it.

You might be saying to yourself, Kathy, why did you not get him to pack earlier? Do you think I didn’t try? Do you think I haven’t been telling him to pack for the last WEEK? Or MORE? Yup. This is why I meditate. And drink alcohol. At the same time. In the morning.

So after my first day of school, at 5:00 at night, we got in the car and went to Target for underwear and socks. Sigh. Yes, I know he can buy stuff there, but…I wanted to at least attempt to send him off outfitted with those, because he’s got no cold-weather clothing or shoes and he’s going to have to figure all that out on his own. And I’m his MOM, dammit.

Then I get the big suitcase packed and it’s 3,000 pounds. Not gonna fly. Literally. Send boychild over to grandparents’ house to get smaller second suitcase that will fit inside big one on the trip back (his dad is bringing those back; we’re leaving him a duffel bag…it’s all he wanted) while I start making dinner. Girlchild is still mostly out of food commission because of chipmunk cheeks from wisdom-teeth removal. I did go to the store for her already and purchase soup and bread and ice cream and something else. I did not make her risotto like she wanted. She’s the cook. Yes, I did all that after school too.

Second suitcase shows up and I reapportion the load. We’re under the max weight on both of them now. Good job. Unfortunately, he wants to add stuff this morning, so I don’t actually know if it’s under or not. You know what? It is no longer my problem. He’s on dadwatch now.

My mom is driving them to the airport, because I can’t guarantee I’ll be back in time for school, and honestly, it was easier to have him do the dorky I’m not gonna look you in the eye OR hug you thing here. Boys. Asperger boys. Sigh. So yeah. He’s gone. I’ve already booked his flights for Winter Break. I looked at flights for Thanksgiving for me…he doesn’t get the whole week off, but I do. Not sure what I’m going to do about that. It’s not cheap. Girlchild wants to go too. But I will have to pay for all those college applications and test scores at the same time. So. Yeah. I don’t know.

Meanwhile, I’ve had about 4.5 hours of sleep and I’m teaching in two hours…and possibly two more cups of tea. Eyes. Open.

I did do quilt stuff last night. I stitched down all five bird quilt tops…

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And then I started sandwiching and pin-basting.

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None of them take very long to do, luckily.

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I think I started after 10 PM. Can’t remember what I was doing before. I’m sure it was something very important. Yes, normal people go to bed at 10 PM. I know that.

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Seriously. I’m not awake. Maybe I should go back to bed for an hour and set the alarm, except my hair’s wet now from the shower and it will look goofy as hell if I do that. Goofier than normal. And it should be obvious by now that I don’t go to bed at a normal hour.

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I have quilt class tonight, assuming girlchild doesn’t need me at her soccer practice to yell at parents. She is having a hard time with a couple who don’t respect her knowledge base. Sure, it’s hard to think that a 17-year-old can coach 9-year-olds in soccer, but she’s been playing since she was 5 and helping her dad coach for like the last 5 years. I think she’s probably better than about half the parents I’ve seen out there.

Oh yeah, and I saw the final episode of X Files last night. I started rewatching the series back in January, because I liked it then and I didn’t remember most of it. I realized that I hadn’t seen the last season at all, which isn’t surprising, because it aired in 2001-2002, so I had a 4- and 5-year-old at home while working and going to school to get my teaching credential online. I finished my masters in May or June of 2002, I think. And then I got divorced that fall…well, separated anyway. It’s possible that TV was not a priority. The series wasn’t the same without Mulder, of course, although I love Doggett and Reyes NOW. The last episode tried to explain everything, which is kinda lame, but I did enjoy rewatching it. I guess I’ll have to start watching something else now…something that doesn’t have any major triggers and keeps me entertained but allows my art brain to pick fabrics or iron without too much distraction (yes, I have to distract my own brain in order to get stuff done).

Anyway, all this distracts me from the boychild’s departure, which is probably a good thing at the moment. Keep the brain over THERE. It’s also probably good that the girlchild is with me for the next 5 days, because her dad is gone, although she has three social events planned and at least two soccer practices. I might be in trouble with her because I didn’t wake her up to say goodbye to her brother, but we kinda ran out of time, because he kept handing me stuff to shove into his luggage. At the last minute. Because yeah. Probably he didn’t want to think too hard about leaving either.

Last night, he says, “Hey, if you clean my room, don’t throw anything out.” And I’m looking at his room, which is usually pretty neat. And it’s not. Sigh. OK. I’ll be cleaning his room, I guess. Only so it’s easier to clean up the cat puke. And find his secret stash of nudie magazines. OK. That’s not happening. Pre-internet, right? And it’s more likely to be sci fi/fantasy graphic novels…which I’ve already read.

The sriracha sauce will sit in the fridge unused for months now. And wait until Babygirl realizes he’s gone (I had to promise to comb her regularly last night…must find comb). OK. Have to go render young minds.

I Must Proceed…

August 20, 2014

A day. A bruise on my hand. Realizing at the gym that all the raucous music and distracting literature in the world can’t keep me from thinking. Dammit. Boychild leaves for college in 30 hours. School starts in 8 1/2 (yes, I should be asleep…I may finish this in the morning). I left school at about 1 PM today. I was done. I had stuff in my head that was unsettling me, throwing me off, and honestly, there wasn’t anything left to do. I came home and finished up what I could. I did physical therapy and the gym and meditation.

I did all the things.

And then I started in on the birds…this is number 13, Diving Bird 2.

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It’s the same fabrics, but I flipped it by accident…

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traced it upside down onto the Wonder Under. It’s a pain to iron then, because I can’t see the pattern through the paper as well. I did that once with an entire quilt. It was very frustrating. This one is not the same size, because it’s supposed to be 8×10 for the Art Produce show…so slightly different.

This one was the same, although…

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I think the background fabric is different, because I was out of the other one.

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I think. Not sure. Yeah, it’s different (you didn’t even know I clicked over to my website to look, did you?). Yes, I use my own website to figure out what I’ve done, thought, planned. So that was Bird 14, Hey Bird 2.

The last one was completely different fabrics…

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because I knew I didn’t have enough to reproduce it as it was in the original. Well, that was the second version of it anyway.

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And then I fussed about the background and decided on this one. It’s a little smaller than the other one. Maybe. Not sure. Won’t know until I finish it. Stitching and all. Hopefully tomorrow night I can stitch some down. Maybe? Who knows. Boychild is not packed for college, although he finally started thinking about it. It’s OK. I’ve already shipped two boxes with bedding, towels, and sundry other items, including a Horton Hears a Who plate. Because who doesn’t need that? Girlchild is already planning what she will bake to send him. He will gain the Freshman Fifteen because of his sister. Or he will be best friends with everyone on his floor. If he’s smart.

I wanted to finish watching the X-Files episode that was on Netflix, so I worked some more on the binding for the Menopause quilt…

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I think I need to call my photographer and just set a drop-off date, because that will force me to finish it.

I gave boychild one piece of roomie advice, which he will probably ignore: Assume positive intent. I wish people did that with me. Because I’m really not out to get anyone, and I’m voted most likely to let you show me who you are, even if I have prior experience with you as an asshole. Yes, that has been on my mind today. Sigh. I always tell my students that I don’t care if your older brother/sister was a total asshole (OK, I don’t use that word), I will not hold it against you. You are your own person and I am waiting for you to show me who that is. Especially that kid who got 12 suspensions last year. I don’t wanna know about it. Come into my classroom clean. Start over. Clean slate.

Wish I could do that with my life. Wake up one morning with everything erased. Start over. There’s so much baggage weighing me down at the moment, I don’t even know where to start getting rid of it.

Anyway. So. School starts tomorrow and I might even be ready. I can’t get onto Google Classroom because I’m not special enough (or I am entirely too special), but I know how to use Edmodo and will do that if I need to.

Mental status? Eh. There’s so much change and shit rolling around that I’m just pushing everything into the corner again. I have a big bubble around me and I try to bounce all the unhappy and nasty off of it. I saw 5 of my girls from last year today and got hugs from all of them (let’s not tell them that I couldn’t remember their names for another 5 hours because I am that lame). So I’m sorta holding everything at bay. I cry because I realize the boy will not ever really come back. He’ll be here for vacations, but then he’ll graduate and get a job and go off into the world. I’ve been a full-time mom for so long. I expected to have a transition stage, but there was something there to transition into. I’m not sure what I’m transitioning into any more. More quiet with fabric. I don’t know if that’s good or not.

I have this sketchbook that fits in my purse and I used to carry it (or others before it) in my former life, when I went out to dinner once or twice a week, and I would always draw while waiting for dinner to come, and I would date and locate the drawing, so there’s all these names of restaurants in all these old sketchbooks. Now there are only dates, because I never really go out to dinner any more. The first few a year ago were at the movies, when I was trying to feel semi-normal and I would go to the movies on Saturday nights and sit there by myself and cry in the movie theater.

Now I just don’t go. I miss them. I can’t afford them…financially or mentally. So I just don’t go.

None of this is particularly healthy. Maybe the drawing is. I need to do more of that, I think. In between all the other stuff. Sigh. Time. Such constraints. And ALL the FEELS.

I am so not ready for the next few days. Or maybe I am ready, but ready means that I will cry. I am sad now and maybe in two days I will be all saddened out and it will be OK again. I just don’t know. I made the mistake the other night of looking at all the photos I was trying to put away, to find a home for, and there was the girlchild, not even age 2, at my brother’s wedding, and the boychild, happily wearing a button-down shirt and tie, shaved little head, big smile on his face, age 3 1/2. Girlchild holding her sippy cup and her hair isn’t even girl-length yet. It took so long for her hair to grow.

And I know I didn’t do it all wrong, because boychild is off to a good school, to Cornell, where he will be exposed to lots of smart people and hard thinking and he will come back a different person, and I know he is there because I did a good job raising him, but it still feels like I did something wrong. Like I didn’t follow the rules so I’m being punished. And I know that lots of moms (and dads) feel sad when their kids go off to college, but it feels like abandonment. I want to lecture him on all the diapers I changed and how long I nursed him and how long it took him to potty train, and dammit, call your mom occasionally and send some pictures of your roomie and where you live and don’t forget that she was there for you. Eh? OK? I see him rolling his eyes from here.

Yeah. I think I’m just gonna be surviving the next few days. Weeks.

I must proceed.

Yes, that’s e. e. cummings he’s talking about. I read Barron Storey’s blog, well, look at his drawings anyway. Must Proceed…

It Just Seems That Way…

August 19, 2014

Birds are back. It was late when I started ironing. Busy day. School starts Wednesday. But the birds…the birds need to get done, whether school starts or not. I’ve started school like 13 times now. Must be my lucky year. I keep thinking I’m forgetting something major. I might be. So what? I’ll figure it out and bring it the next day. Or maybe I’ll just wing it for the first month. Science is science…make the kids figure some experimental stuff out, aim for the standards, they haven’t done science in our school a whole lot, so anything I give them will be a learning experience. I have too many ideas. Not enough time as it is.

So I focus on the birds. Because I know when they have to be done. I ironed Bird 11, another dove…

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I lay out all the pieces on quilts this small…then iron them down. The drawing is under a teflon-type sheet, so I can see it as I’m ironing. I love these things. I have about 5 of them, two that are really big and three smaller ones. One of the cats tried to eat one once. Not sure why. There are teeth marks in it. Will I throw it out? Nope. Need it some days when I’m ironing something big that needs more than one sheet. Not often, but sometimes. Yes, this is how hoarders are made.

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I don’t think it’s the same as the last one. I couldn’t figure out what fabrics I’d used. So I guessed. The tail looks right, but the body is much lighter. Then again, that fabric is mottled all over heck and gone, so maybe I just picked a lighter part of it. Who knows. Who cares. This one will be for sale at the Art Produce exhibit in September.

I did pick the same background though…

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There’s hardly any of that fabric left now.

Then I did this one again. I really like this one…

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And it exists on a quilt that will premiere at IQF Houston at the end of October. I’ll be there. Woo!

I think this one is pretty much the same…

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Because I really liked it. Someone wants this one already. Bird 12. Eyeball Bird 2.

There are three more to iron, but it’s late and I have to be up earlier tomorrow than I was this morning. I was at school most of the day, and then girlchild had her wisdom teeth pulled. She did not deal well with the pain, and the doctor called around 9 PM to check on her and said they were “tough little teeth.” I don’t know what that means, but I do know her tolerance for pain is not great. So she’s iced and medicated and sleeping. She hasn’t eaten since early this morning. I made her mashed potatoes (by request) but then she didn’t want anything but water. It’s OK. They’re in the fridge for tomorrow. She’s not a happy camper. Someone needs to work on a genetic vaccine that gets rid of those wisdom teeth before they grow…like it predicts mouth size based on genetics and says, “Um, no, they will NOT fit, so let’s not even waste the resources on them.” And then they don’t grow.

Yes, this is how I can write sci fi. My brain goes to those weird places without you.

Anyway, so much of my evening was punctuated by moaning and whining and bloody gauze (which eventually she could deal with, which is good, because she only bit me twice and that was more spit and blood than I really wanted to deal with today) and ice and meds and cooking, lots of cooking. In between that, I reduced the hoard. I’ve been trying to get my room cleared of all the stuff from the living room, and part of that is finding homes for many things that used to live in there but really don’t need to live in there. So I have this closety thing in the hallway that I’m sure is supposed to be for linens and towels, but fuck that. I store art supplies, stitching stuff, computer bits and pieces, slides (from the days when that’s what we submitted to art shows), photos, and extension cords. Lots of those, for some reason. And it’s a disaster. It was organized right around the girlchild’s 2nd birthday, and I was still married then. So that tells you something about the state of those cupboards. And yes, I got a weird bug up my butt, because I knew there were photos in there, and I had a ton of photos in my room that used to live in boxes in the living room, and they needed a new home. So they should all live together, like with like.

So I started pulling things out of the cupboards…

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And yes, I filled the hallway. It was un-traversable at some point. And then I filled one trash bag and another. Here’s an example of what I found in there. When I came back from the UK in 1988, I was hooked on EastEnders (yes, whatever, judge away), and when I was in my last year of college, the OC played EastEnders on PBS, so I could keep watching. Then we moved to San Diego and no such luck, so a friend of mine who lived in San Francisco would tape the show on videotapes with a VCR (oh my lord, the olden days) and send them to me. And I would watch them. I found 10 of them. In a box. Dated 1995 and 1996. Impressed? Yup. I tossed them. If I really want to watch EastEnders again, I will get the DVD. And I don’t, by the way. I really don’t.

I managed to throw out a lot of crap, because I did a lot of stitching in the past and apparently wanted to keep all the patterns of things I had already stitched and tiny bits of thread that I had knotted onto labeled index cards and carefully stored in bags with the already used patterns. Yup. Tossed them. I still have some stuff to rehome, whether at a thrift shop or in the garage (because I probably don’t need to keep my respirator from my screenprinting years in the house. Because I’m not screenprinting at the moment, and if I were, it would be in the garage, not in the house).

My SIL was so proud. Oh yeah, so going back to the early years of Kathy Quilting.

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Yes. Those are hand-drawn patterns on graph paper (yes, very small) with plastic templates that have been marked to fit together.Aug 18 14 056 small

It’s an abstract pattern made of three main blocks.

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I never made these blocks. Piece 26 in the middle of that log cabin-type block is 1/4″ square. I’ve never pieced that well in my life. My art brain vomited all over my shoes when I tried. Then I learned how to applique what I really liked to draw, which at this point, was all being made into screenprints, and I’ve never looked back. But I wanted you to see some of the places I went before I got to where I’m at. Because it’s amusing, that’s why. How did you become an artist? Well, I tortured myself with the rules for a while and then I gave up and made what I wanted.

Which doesn’t explain why I’m making more birds, of course, but they serve a purpose and they will be done soon. It’s really probably just procrastination from the next step…because finishing that drawing or the floating house might kill me.

Not really. It just seems that way.

Remind me tomorrow morning why I thought it was a good idea to stay up this late?


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