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…


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…


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.

Friday Nights

April 18, 2015

Some days are just exhausting. Friday nights I often sit down on the couch and never get back up. I was determined to be efficient last night, though. I’m behind in grading, and that’s because technology is not being friendly, but also because I have this assignment I gave and it HURTS to grade it. I graded stories about DNA replication last night for close to 4 hours. Yes, I make my students write stories. Replication is hard. It’s confusing. It doesn’t matter how many times I explain it, they have a hard time with it. So I make them think really hard about it. And then I torture myself, because I have to read all their stories. But when you get a good one (I’ve had three so far…THREE…out of 120?), then you take a deep breath and say “YES. There it is. Understanding.” At some point, I got tired of writing, “Not showing understanding of the process,” because that was a requirement (not just defining words and copying from the book), so I just started writing NSUP. Saved me a lot of writing. I still have one class to go. I couldn’t do any more last night. It was going to kill me.

You have no idea how difficult it can be to grade something you know is hard for students to do…and you know you’ve really done everything you can to get them to understand it, but some of them just aren’t engaged in school and they’re not going to pay enough attention to get it…like when I teach Punnett squares, which are coming up…they either get it (because they were paying attention) or they don’t (because they weren’t). And it’s incredibly frustrating as their teacher. I’m sure some of the crazies out there would say it’s because I’m not a good enough teacher (and we all think that at some point, trust me) or because I don’t make it interesting enough (come to my class…you’ll see), but it’s really because that kid doesn’t have something they need, like a parent at home who tells them school is important, or the meds or support that would help them concentrate, or something else I don’t even know about. By the time we get this far into the school year, I know who they are, the ones who won’t get it. I hope they’ll try, and I don’t give up on most of them, but if you’ve been busting your butt all year with a kid, trying to encourage them, meeting with family, and you still get NOTHING? Hey. That kid over THERE responds when I give him support. I don’t have time for the both of you. Let me know if you’re on board and I’ll be right back there with you, but I can’t spend any more of my limited time with you until you at least follow the simple instructions. I have one kid that loses everything in his backpack and it will take him all period to find a single piece of paper. I can walk over and find it in less than 15 seconds, but it will take him 51 minutes. I could find his stuff for him EVERY SINGLE DAY, but that means the other kid that needs my help will never get it.

It’s an incredibly frustrating job sometimes. So at 9 PM, after three classes of essays, I quit. I decided to try taping another drawing together…and I made the decision to number the bathtub drawings in order of drawing, even if they don’t all become quilts. It’s OK, because it’s really just for accounting purposes (accounting for time). They will probably get renamed at some point.

So I took the headless one and taped it together.

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There was one part missing in the middle (I was not copying intelligently…all the tax-preparing people were hovering over me and making me nervous. YES! I am enlarging pictures of naked women. Walk away!). So I just drew it in…one of the knees. I debated adding some at the bottom and giving her a head, but I kinda like it headless there too. Two headless women. Huh. Please don’t psychoanalyze me.

I taped more on to the top. Will have to figure out what goes there later.

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This is officially Bathtub 1, never finished…notionally because I ran out of paper. It used to really frustrate my 5th-grade teacher, who was an artist, that I couldn’t stay on the paper…that whatever I drew obviously continued out further. She’d try to get me to draw/paint smaller so it would fit, but you could walk into her classroom and figure out which was my work on the wall just by how full the page was. I needed a piece of paper that would enlarge as I drew, so it would fit my ideas. Even now, I just accept that failing of mine. It’s part of how I draw.

I was too tired to tape the other two together, but not quite ready to sleep…so I headed to the office to sew more binding. Because it’s never-ending.

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I teared up at Worf’s wedding (sigh. I am a geek. Possibly an uber-geek. I wanna get married to a Klingon. OK, no I don’t. And he’s too damn cranky.). I didn’t sew for long. Just an episode’s-worth of Deep Space 9, enough to allow the brain to slow down and mellow out for sleep. Besides, I had this on my shoulders…

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She really wanted to sit on my lap, ON the quilt (um no), but settled for being a cat scarf. A cat scarf that occasionally meows. And sometimes catches you with a claw. And is vibrating (not a bad thing).

So I didn’t get much art done, but I got most of the stories graded, so that was a win. Friday nights are never great for me…too tired, too spent, too exhausted, too overwhelmed. I did OK for all that.

This weekend is a whole shit ton of soccer. Plus a Visions opening that I’m hoping I can get to. And very little sleep. And a lot of time spent in a coffee shop in Temecula probably, torturing myself with the rest of the replication stories. Not a lot of artmaking. Can’t be helped.

Found this last night…first of all, do not watch this video if you don’t like natural death…like death in nature. Like you don’t watch Nature because it upsets you. And don’t watch it if you’re Sion…it will give you nightmares. In fact, I couldn’t watch the whole thing in one go. Too many creepy crawlies. Unlike that stupid-ass bird, I wouldn’t go anywhere NEAR that fucker. So I’d be fine.

Holey crap. Yikes. Crawling under the covers now.

Trigger Warning

April 16, 2015

I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s book of short stories, Trigger Warning, and I’m one of those freaks who actually reads introductions and other frontmatter (whoa, there’s a word from my previous life as a book editor), plus I really like Gaiman’s work, all of it, and then I come to his explanation of the title and the stories he’s written, and he describes “life, which is huge and complicated and will not warn you before it hurts you.” This quote has been sitting in a draft post for a few days, like whenever I started reading this, and this morning, this morning it is true again, because it is always true. And it’s stupid stuff that will hurt you sometimes, stuff you didn’t even see coming at you and that wouldn’t normally bug you, but you woke up in the middle of the night (well, the middle of the early morning, because you don’t go to bed until the middle of the night) and it’s your body that woke you up, because it’s conspiring against you to hemorrhage only in the dark hours when you should be sleeping, and then without warning (see, Gaiman knew about that too), so I guess I should be pleased that at least my body wakes up for such events, so I can do something about it, although the endorphin rush was not necessary, and then in the morning, bleary-eyed, trying to read email and there’s random email, probably a brain fart of some corporate system (go ahead, I know you want to rail against corporate crap, but you use it all the time, even when you do rail against it) and the stuff that comes through derails me so thoroughly that I can’t seem to focus at all this morning.

Which is unfortunate, because I leave in 27 minutes to deal with 140 7th graders.

Whatever. Managing my brain has become a fulltime job. I get a few days off a week, more than I usually did, but apparently this is permanent damage. I really hoped it wasn’t. Maybe I need another two years to get better? Maybe better is never. This is the new better.

Yesterday, by the way, was the worst possible day to go copy drawings. I didn’t even think about it, because I did my taxes in January. So yes, after waiting in line, I commandeered a copier to DRAWING ENLARGEMENT instead of copying all my tax paperwork. (I don’t copy tax paperwork…I do it all online. I don’t mail those assholes shit.) I heard the snotty comments (in Spanish) in line behind me, and all I can say is, don’t leave it to the last minute, sistah. And get off my case. I’m working. And stop assuming us pasty white chicks don’t understand your language. Your grammar sucks.

At home, first of all, I graded papers. Then I hauled my tired self off the couch (first week back to work is always painful) and cooked dinner (reheat from last week’s frozen lasagna, thank god) for me and the girlchild, who forced me to watch multiple episodes of Friends (I may shoot myself soon). At some point, I was finally able to stand up and start cutting and taping. I started with the enlargement of that crazy person I’ve been working on. I only enlarged to 200%, because I realized the finished piece can’t be more than 60″ either direction, and I still need to add another figure…

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Then I tried to figure out how much to add on the bottom (MATH! I needed to finish her legs) and the side. When students ask me “how will we use this when we grow up?” I have answers. Here’s my pile of leftover pieces from cutting it out…

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They’d make interesting quilts in themselves. Abstract cuts like that arm? I can see that as a quilt. No one else can, but I can.

Kitten. You are not helping. I gave her the evil eye…

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And she eventually left to stare out the window instead.

So there’s the original drawing from the sketchbook with the stuff added on top, bottom, and left side.

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Yikes! That’s a lot of space. I don’t need to fill it all. Really. I don’t. OK. It’s hard to NOT want to fill it all, but I will control my vision. It’s going to be a pain to draw it at this size though. I may need to do a pre-drawing, like I did with the first version of this one. We’ll see.

I also copied three of the bathtub drawings.

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And then had this long stupid mental conversation with myself about how I should number them, because I’m sure they will have different names, but they will be called Bathtub 1, Bathtub 2 etc. until I figure out those names, so should that be in the order I drew them? Because I think there are five of them and this is like 1, 3, and 5? Or should it be in the order I make them, which is hard, because I don’t know which one to make first, but I know it won’t be the first one. But I feel like it should still be number 1 because it was? Aargh. Who gives a fuck! Well. Obviously I do. It’s OK. I don’t have to number them until…fuck…until I start taping them together. Like tonight. OK. Decision-making part of brain is offline. Maybe it will recover by tonight. And this decision is so fucking crucial to my life, right? Sigh.

(That outcome is unlikely. The brain recovery one.)

At that point, I was too tired to keep standing and taping and cutting stuff, so I came into the studio/office and starting hand-sewing binding…

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Because it’s 18 thousand miles of sewing and it has to get done at some point. And I was too tired to do anything else. And I took myself to bed earlier than usual (a good thing, considering the middle of the night wakeup call).

I know part of the brain stuff is just pure exhaustion…so I’m trying to be good to myself and push all the bad stuff into the corner behind that pillar over there (ah, meditation training…thank you). First I had to go Google the spelling of pillar because it totally looks wrong. Sigh. Cannot trust the brain. Really can’t.

Oh, and in case you didn’t see this on Facebook, the show I’m in was written up in our local online paper (usually a conservative paper that I never read) and I got into the article…you can read it here…written by a man and not blaming all of our power on the being of woman. Thanks. Appreciated.


Make Art. Make a Lot of It.

April 15, 2015

The first week back after a break from school challenges your voice…lost mine yesterday during 7th period to a coughing fit (the kids are so funny about that…they get worried). It’s back now…sort of…but you go from barely talking to anyone for 16 days to nonstop talking and generally fairly loud for huge portions of time…of course your voice has issues. Tiredness is the next thing that hits you. Even if you try to get the right amount of sleep, if you don’t fall asleep right away or something wakes you up in the middle of the night, then you’re short for the next day and it snowballs by the end of the week. By Friday of the first week back, I’m usually close to collapse when I get home. Plop down in a chair or on the couch and I’m not moving for an hour, except to heat up my tea. That’s what I was like yesterday…taught all day, then did tutorial, then raced the cat to the vet. Got home around 5:30. Collapsed. Eventually I came back to life, but it took a while. And this morning? This morning I feel like a lump of tired. And I slept last night! Seriously, I did. So that’s good, but I think I need a whole ‘nother 8 hours. I won’t catch up again until the end of June.

I worked on this again last night…

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This is the larger version…I did the electrical lines correctly this time because I did the basic outline in pencil first, so the lines would overlap correctly. So I’m happy about that. And there’s a uterus now, because I moved the hand lower.

I usually draw everything in pen without a pencil sketch at all. Sometimes I outline something in pencil because I want to make sure a hand ends up in the right place, or it’s something I’ve never drawn before, like those elephants…I think I used pencil on their general outlines and then went in with pen and did the final drawing. I use whiteout on my drawings when needed, because the drawing is not the final product, so it doesn’t matter if there are corrections on it.

So I think I’m going to go copy this (enlarge it) after school today, because I looked up the guidelines for this show, and the quilt needs to be smaller than I thought. So I don’t think I can draw the second figure on another sheet and try to combine them…it will be too big. I think I will have to enlarge this one and draw the other one directly on the enlargement. Which means I will draw tiny details that will not be enlarged (must remember NOT to do that). Plus I’m going to enlarge two of the bathtub drawings and do eeny meeny miny mo to decide which one gets to come into existence first. I might copy the third one (which is actually the first one) as well and give the poor woman a head. Just for fun.

I don’t want any down time between projects…I was talking to a couple of people who said their muse was absent, that they didn’t have things to work on, no inspiration, too tired, too stressed, and my brain is like WHAATTT??? What IS that? I have too much. Too many deadlines. Too many ideas. Too much stuff just dancing around in there that wants to be made.

I’m not complaining. It’s a good problem to have. But it reminds me of my professor in the UK in college who told me that my method of creating work was faulty, that I would Run Out of Ideas if I kept working like that. Oh yeah? Suck my…cause I haven’t (sounds like a personal problem dude). What’s funny is that he was maybe in his late 20s at the time, and I thought he was an old fuddy duddy. Interesting, because the guy in charge of the whole art program there was much older, and I didn’t have any issues with him.

So ideas? Not a problem. Time? Always a problem.

Before I drew, I did a little quilting…

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It’s hard to quilt when you’re tired. It’s physical…although this one is so small, it’s not really a problem. I’m just doing outlining right now. I have ideas bouncing around my head about how to do the background, and they have not solidified into a plan, so there’s really no point in getting done with the quilting right now. I also have 18 miles of binding to sew down and a bunch of grading to do. I bribed myself last night…you will grade for one episode of this show, and then you can stop and do something artistic. It works. I get a little grading done, but I also get to do what I want. And that is the perennial discussion for teachers…how do I do less work (because you can work nonstop in this job and still never be done) and have a life balance that makes me feel OK about my job and occasionally recharged and even happy? I’m not sure teachers ever really figure it out. We have to keep reminding ourselves how to do it. Walk away sometimes. Say no sometimes, maybe even a lot. Pet a cat or a dog. Hug someone, not a student. I mean, you can hug students too (in an appropriate manner), but there should be other people in your life, people who aren’t teachers even. People who have nothing to do with schools…

In my case, make art. And make a lot of it. All the time.

Napping 101

April 14, 2015

Going back to school…I forgot my computer at home and had to drive back to get it before school started. Luckily, I don’t live too far away and for once, the signals cooperated. I managed to run a lab in class yesterday (well, mostly managed) and survived an hour and a half of a staff meeting, where apparently I used ALL the swear words at the new California state testing website, which kept telling me my password was wrong, even though I’d just changed it. This does not bode well for testing in May, but I can only hope it will get more stable by then (I can hope…), because I can’t swear like that in front of the kids. We’ve been asked to possibly take on an elective class for next year. Um. Yeah. I don’t need another prep. I can teach “How to Grade Papers for Your Teacher” or “Napping 101,” but I’m not a fan at the moment of adding prep time for a class I would have to make up from scratch. Yes, I do have both kids gone next year, but I might have to take on another job after school…it’s a fine line. If I make more money, the colleges will make me pay more, but I don’t actually have enough right now to pay for both of them. Minor issue.

When I got home, I was strangely motivated to go to the gym. Getting back into the routine of going to the gym has been hard since I was sick in February. But it’s my goal for coming back to school…yes, it makes sense to have a back-to-school goal of exercise. It helps me relax and sleep (although that didn’t happen last night…I was completely wired) and it’s good for me anyway. So it’s on the calendar for this week. Plus I get to read there, and I haven’t been reading much lately. Reading is a good place for my brain to hang out regularly.

The girlchild is nice on Mondays (she doesn’t have soccer), so she had started dinner by the time I got home. We even made leftovers to get us through the week…which is almost smart, right? We ate and then I pushed myself off the couch and cleaned the kitchen. At 9 PM. Yeah. That was tough, but it needed to be done. I also prepped part of tonight’s dinner, because I have tutorial after school (which might make me want to crawl in a hole all by itself) and then the cat has to go to the vet, so I thought it was easier to prep while washing dishes than to deal with it after school today. Really, sometimes I can think ALL the thinks and be really organized. It’s OK…it will all be gone by next week: the organization, the goal-reaching. Hopefully not.

I made it in the studio/office by 9:30 PM. Not early. But not uber-late for me. I could sew bindings. I could draw. I could stitch down the second recycled quilt…which is what I chose to do. I knew it wouldn’t take long, because it’s not very big…

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It took less than an hour, and then I sandwiched it and pinbasted it…

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Another half an hour. It’s ready for quilting now. That was easy. I might start quilting tonight…maybe. I was pretty tired at about 11 PM last night, but then I kept working, and that might have been my downfall…because when I finally went to bed after midnight, I couldn’t fall asleep. And then I woke up at 5-something and couldn’t go back to sleep. Ugh. This morning feels a bit fuzzy and wonky. Plus I spent a good hour last night reading up on all my uterine options. There’s nothing major wrong…just annoyances that won’t go away, and all the treatment options are worse than the original annoyances I think. Or they won’t work. And when you talk to a nurse, they think they know this or that, but they don’t know for sure, so then I get a referral to the doctor (finally), and I hope they will listen to my needs, because the nurse and NP keep saying “do this” and I keep saying “look at my file. I can’t do that.” Frustrating that we can’t manage the symptoms of perimenopause without removing the offending organ or giving you meds that could cause more complications. Anyway. I won’t be able to get a doctor’s appointment probably until summer anyway, and maybe it will all be moot by then. A girl can dream.

And you wonder why I keep drawing pictures with my uterus in my hands.

Anyway. This guy joined me for a while last night while I was trying to get my brain to wind down by sewing woolen eyeballs on woolen frogs and birds and sheep that I’m not allowed to show you (ugh…Sue Spargo, you annoy me. Actually, all the Spargo copycats who copy her stuff from photos? YOU annoy me. Go design your own stuff, you lazy bums.).

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I need to go to work. I really need a nap, which is not a good way to start the day…but it’s the start I’m feeling. And I need the next big project to get itself drawn or copied or planned. Not gonna happen today.

It’s Over

April 13, 2015

Spring Break, that is. Every year, the end comes with a depressing wail of remembrance of the last X weeks of school, with a realization that you got almost nothing done that was on your list, and that sleep will elude you for months now. Seriously, even though I went in to my classroom yesterday to make sure everything was OK (it wasn’t…and not by my own fault), and I know I have everything copied and planned pretty much for the next four weeks, I still woke up early, completely wired, stressed out, sure I’d forgotten something.

And the fact is, I probably have. So what. I got this.

I’m ahead of the game on the two quilts I wanted to work on over break. I have three assignments I still need to grade. So I’ll do that this week. Somehow. I’m doing OK. The world isn’t going to end because I’m back in school. Hopefully.

So I went shopping Saturday morning for binding fabric for the Ventura quilt. I laid it out on the floor of the quilt shop, which I could do with gay abandon, because there’s no politics, nudity, or violence in this quilt, per Ventura’s guidelines. Y’all realize this is for a juried show that I might not even get juried into, whatever, I did it anyway and someone will show it. Because it’s pretty and has no nudity or violence or politics. Unlike most of my stuff.

When a quilter has to buy “just one piece of fabric,” y’all know how that goes. In fact the binding was the most mellow of all the fabrics I bought…

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On the left, you can see the back of the quilt that needs the binding. At the top, you can see the one I need to stitch down sometime this week.

I spent a couple of hours cutting and sewing on the binding by machine and then pinning it all down…

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It’s about 29 feet of binding and sleeves that I now need to sew down by hand. It’s OK. I’ve got plenty to watch on Tivo. And it’s kind of relaxing to do that anyway. Except for all the pins sticking you. Here’s where 17 people pop in and tell me I should sew my bindings completely by machine (I don’t like how it looks…I’ve done it) or fuse them (same deal) or leave them off altogether (eh). I still follow the rules for some parts of the quilting process (that should stymie my counselor some…she’s convinced my sole purpose in life is to break the rules, and yet, I break so few of them). Anyway. She’ll be done this month easily. The quilt…not my counselor. She’s got tons of work left to do.

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That’s a lot of pins. And sleeves. I put sleeves on the top and bottom on big quilts…the weight of a slat or dowel in the bottom sleeve helps it hang better. I’ve finally got myself trained to do that automatically. It took a year, I think, to get to that point.

Good Kathy.

Then I looked at the clock and ran through the things that were next on my list. I need a couple of drawings to get done, both for possible juried shows. I have a lot of binding to do (obviously) and that other quilt needs to be stitched down, which I didn’t feel like doing last night. So I cut out a piece of paper for one of the drawings (it has to be a specific size). And then I left it in the other room, because trying to draw straight lines to make a box in which to draw sounded like hard work (it was after 10 PM at that point…give me a break). So I had a small drawing that needed to be made into a larger, more complicated drawing, one of two for a show I’d like to be in (jury!), so I sat down with the smaller drawing out and ready, and started making it bigger…

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Obviously, I still have some work to do (and actually, I ran off the bottom of the page, which will be an issue at some point). There will be two figures in this piece, so I have to draw the other one as well, and then copy them and try to fit them together correctly. Sounds like a project for this week (wait a minute…I will probably be brain dead most of this week…maybe not the best choice). I also have two other drawings that I might enlarge and start numbering/tracing. I have deadlines all over the summer…usually they don’t come until late August/early September. Not so this year. It’s not like I was going anywhere anyway. Hiking maybe. Camping maybe. An opening in LA. That’s about it.

One of the (many) things I didn’t get done over break was dying fabric (and socks)…

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It’s all sitting here waiting for me. Plus a box from Dharma is in the living room. I could pull this off on a Saturday morning sometime, but National Cup soccer starts this weekend, so it could be a while. Oh well. I got to hang out with my Belgian sister, I did two hikes, I finished (pretty much) one quilt and got significantly into the next one. College decisions happened (mostly…because nothing is ever set in stone here), I made it through the boychild’s taxes and his FAFSA (one more financial aid application to go). I listened to music and watched movies and read books and got a tiny bit of the yardwork and cleaning done that was supposed to happen. Same with the grading…a small portion was completed. I wouldn’t be Kathy if I were caught up on grading after a vacation.

The rest will come. I’ll figure it out. Back to reality. (More caffeine please. Brain still not online.)

Having More Faith in My Brain…

April 11, 2015

I’m waiting to get enough tea into me to be able to get out of here and buy binding fabric. I trimmed the big quilt yesterday afternoon…laid it out on the floor (which was already dirty again)…

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I really tried not to quilt too much extra this time…got it centered well and paid attention to whether the fabric was all the way under the top. It’s a waste of thread and time otherwise, and I hate wasting either.

Trimming this was really REALLY easy.

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This never happens, but I got the measurements right, got it totally square the FIRST TIME. No adjustments, no straightening of a side. Just cut it. Measure it. Revel in it.

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It’s about 55×64″. Not small. Now I need binding. I thought that last night as I looked at the time (crap) and then starting googling the two local shops where I could have gone. One closed in 4 minutes, the other in 34. Nope. Can’t do it. So I folded it up and decided to do it this morning. I mean, I’m sitting around waiting for the girlchild and her dad to get back from Boston anyway. I SHOULD go to school and set up for Monday’s lab (ugh. don’t make me.). I stopped by school yesterday to show my Belgian sister where I work and ran into another teacher, who is now ready for Monday. The thing is, I’m not MENTALLY ready to get ready for Monday, if that makes sense. Then I would have to admit Spring Break is almost over. I mean, technically it IS over, because I never count the weekends. So yeah. How many more weeks until summer? Ten weeks. Ugh. Major ugh.

Sometimes this job really sucks it out of you. I know what my to-do list looks like for next week, and I want to crawl back into bed.

But NO! I went over to my parents for dinner again and came back tired again. But I’m trained now, after over 20 months of teaching myself to make art almost every single day, I can’t possibly lie around and do nothing.

By the way, I read this…


And loved it. Read it in less than 36 hours. Interesting science. Good story. So that was part of Thursday and Friday. It’s been a while since I’ve read something that engaged my brain so well.

So I have this second recycled quilt I need to do…it’s been sitting around in pieces in a box for a few weeks…

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So I started ironing it around 9:45 PM last night…like you do. Yes, when you are considering sleep, I am considering more work.

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It’s only 160 pieces, so it won’t take long, right? And I don’t have to finish it tonight. Or do I?

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I got this far and thought, I’m tired. I could stop. Nah. Can’t. Stop.

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These fabrics are all from Mariah’s outcasts.

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So I had to consider what I had, because mostly it was long strips of fabric. And it wasn’t always easy to find enough of what I wanted. But it turned out OK. I think I pieced one arm. Not that you could tell.

Then I pulled out the background.

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All pieced from her leftovers. This is at least three different quilts I think. Maybe. And everyone is telling me it’s not going to work, that the background is too strong. But so I talked to Mariah about this. Part of where my brain is going is that Mariah herself currently has a life like that background, with a 2-year-old, an 11-week-old, recently left work, trying to make all of her life parts work, financially, socially, not going nuts being stuck at home with small children who can drive you freakin’ bonkers (I remember that feeling, distinctly). So it almost feels like your life is going to swallow you up, that all you are is mom and cleaner and food source and there is no time to be you (I’m fairly sure she’s not quilting at the moment!) or to even just have a quiet moment without someone fussing or screaming or throwing things.

And you manage it. It might feel like it’s going to take you over, but you manage it. Sometimes by the skin of your teeth. Sometimes with tears pouring out of your eyes. But you manage it.

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And honestly, she’s not really fading into the background. I moved her around a bit to get the hands on darker sections instead of really light sections. But I think with the quilting that it will be exactly what I wanted it to be. Is it different? Well yeah. It has to be. It’s Mariah’s bits and pieces subjected to Kathy’s mind…Kathy who went through all that 17-plus years ago.

Anyway. Stitch down next, then sandwich and quilt. Then we’ll see where we are, because I will do something overall on the background anyway, quilting of some sort. But I think it’s exactly what I imagined. Despite the moments when I thought “what the fuck are you thinking here? This will never work.” Kinda like my life over the last 17 years. Probably what Mariah thinks in the middle of the day sometimes.

I guess I should have more faith in my own brain.


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