Proof of Recovery…

February 18, 2015

So there’s really only one way to prove I’m feeling better, that I’ve finally gotten over the nasty hump of this illness:

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Yup. Making art again. So even though I was still running a nasty fever Sunday night, even though I thought I was better Saturday, even though I spent most of yesterday wondering if I’d be well enough to go back to school today with only half a lung functioning (I’ve coughed up the other half…into the sink…I saw it), I am finally on the mend. I’m still coughing. I’m still not well. I’m still not completely physically back (there’s no way I’m hiking in the next week…I’m aiming for the gym on Saturday morning, and taking it easy), but I can stand to trace Wonder Under. So that’s where I’m at…and some angelic soul found me Season 5 of Walking Dead, the bits that aren’t on right now, so I’m watching that while tracing. I got in a good two hours tonight…not how I really wanted to spend the hours, but it will do.

I should have been grading papers. But I went to work today AND I graded for like 6 hours yesterday AND I spent an hour and a half tonight moving files around and sending them to my students, so I don’t feel bad. I worked more hours in the last two days than I got paid for, as usual. The universe owed me a couple of hours of artmaking. And now I feel better about progress on these quilts.

Kitten even came out and held down the paper for me…

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cuz that’s really helpful, Kitten. Really helpful. I had all three cats in the room at one point. Not bad.

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They weren’t easy pieces to trace…two hours to do just over 100 pieces…most of them flames and waves, very convoluted and complicated pieces. I do like me some flames and waves, that’s for sure.

Girlchild was allowed back on the field on Friday (long story…she’s a bit of a thug, apparently)…I think I was mostly conscious during that game…

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Tomorrow night is Senior Night, so her dad and I have to stand out on the field and listen to them read the statement I wrote (after the ex sent me a starter paragraph to destroy) about the girlchild…and she said I should make her cry. Unfortunately, it means I probably will too…dammit. It’s strange knowing it’s the LAST season…a relief in some ways, especially with high school soccer, which has just been an incredible trial to all of us. The coaching…the girls…it will be a relief, truly, to leave that behind. But realizing that next year at this time, she won’t even be around…that’s a little harder to stomach, and that’s what will make me cry out there, plus the part about how she refused to put her hair in a ponytail for the longest time, just cuz she was a stubborn little girl. Don’t know where she got that from.

So I guess with one day of actually feeling good, I’m a little crazy running a lab tomorrow (it’s an easy one) AND going to soccer afterwards…but it’s not like I have a choice. This is life and it keeps coming, and you can spend days and days in bed (I did), and life will still be there…and so will the art. My FFAC quilt made it to Florida and I received one from Jette Clover, which I am infinitely pleased with, and need to get a frame, so I can get it on the wall, along with a bunch of other art that just needs to get hung. I do feel bad that I kinda lost two three-day weekends to being ill, but so be it. Moving on. I received applause today from my classes for announcing that I refused to grade anything over my birthday weekend, so all their makeup work was due next Friday…I don’t know if they were applauding me for putting my foot down or for reaching another birthday…it’s hard to say. And most days, I can’t remember how old I am anyway…which is truly sad.

So back to our regularly scheduled art events…looking forward to making more. Which reminds me, sounds like I will have a show at Grossmont College with one other artist, a sculptor, in 2016…my first…um…it’s not a solo; is it a duet? Hard to say…so you locals will have to come to the opening and support me, because this is going to be kind of scary for me…I have no shortage of pieces to fill the space, of course. Someone asked me how many quilts I had made, and I said “over 50″…but you know what? It’s 94. And there are a couple that are made but not “finished” for a variety of reasons…and yes, that includes all the birds and some other smaller things, but that’s a lot of art quilts. Those are the art quilts…not the baby quilts or the ones that hang on my kids’ walls or the landscape quilts that I made for a variety of bridal showers and donation events and my sister-in-law that I never really cataloged. They’re not all awesome…but there’s a lot of them. So here’s to making 94 more…

Have Faith

February 16, 2015

I don’t think I’ve been this artistically fallow for years. I’m ill…this is day 6 of fever and malaise, and the cough kept me up all night the last two nights. I thought I was getting better, but maybe not. Possible relapse? I finally took cough meds last night, which helped for a few hours. I’ve decided the reason they make cough meds taste so awful is so you can’t possibly ever drink them for fun (and yet people do).

No art is happening, except in the swirly black space I see when my feverish eyes close. Well, there are the tie designs on Agent Carter (lightbulb paisleys being the most current still stuck in my head). A week behind on artmaking and paper grading…not good. But you can’t plan for this shit. It’s not the universe out to get you…it’s just a silly viral cell out of control.

At least I have today off…if just to recover more before heading back into the pit of vipers. I could make plans for art this week. For the gym. For getting shit done. But I think I’m just going to do what I can (I did the dishes), get a ton of rest, and see what else there’s energy for…maybe not much.

Have faith. Art will happen.

Viral Whomp

February 13, 2015

Apparently that cute little cold wasn’t done with me. Nah, it turned around and whomped me. Probably I should have stayed home from school the last two days, especially when standing became an issue, but a statewide shortage of subs, plus my brain’s inability to plan for such contingencies meant I stayed. I sat a lot. I coughed a bit. I glared at students who had similar coughs, since they obviously gifted me with this viral beast. Then both days, I came home as soon after work as I could and went to bed, arising only briefly the first night to eat a bowl of goldfish crackers and some chicken. Protein. Yesterday I managed a bit more, feeling a tad better, but also running a fever. Aha! Nights of hot flashes and chills, and I finally get a fever. One. Briefly. OK, I’ve probably had more than one, but at some point, a hot flash, a chill, and a fever all produce similar symptoms, and if you’re sick enough, you just don’t care.

You can imagine that not much art is made under these conditions, and you would be right. In fact, there was none. Not a tiny little bit. Honestly, I’m barely more than alive. I know I’ve been feeding cats and buying more medicine, but not a whole lot more than that. Oh yeah, and apparently teaching. At some point soon, though, I’m going to have to evaluate the time left before these artistic due dates and what needs to get done by when…I think I’m OK with the smaller pieces, but the big one makes me a bit nervous because I haven’t even started it yet…the tracing is all set up, but if you can’t stand up for long periods of time, it puts a damper on tracing tiny pieces onto Wonder Under.

I do have this lovely 3-day weekend coming up though. I do want to go on a hike, probably not until Monday (and only if my respiratory system agrees, and probably I have to start eating more food so I have the energy to move faster than a sloth). I have a ton of grading (what’s new?!) to do, mostly because I haven’t been awake for much of the last few days. I have been grading at school while I wait for kids to do their presentations, but I can’t get much done in that short piece of time. I also want to get some art done, so I’ll have to find the time and energy for that at some point…maybe Sunday. Saturday will be spent running all the errands that were on my calendar for this week that I didn’t get done because…um…sick. Yeah.

But first of all, I have to go to work and a soccer game (presuming I don’t feel like collapsing at the end of the day like I have the last two days; also presuming my car doesn’t decide to die, since the ever-present Check Engine light is on again, with no backup if it fails this time). Then I’ll let girlchild cook me dinner and go to bed early again, unless I have some rush of energy heretofore unanticipated. Then hopefully I will wake up Saturday morning with most of my facilities and a tiny bit of energy to get it all done. That’s my hope anyway.

Iron out the Puckers

February 11, 2015

Whatever that fluke of physical nature that slammed me the last few days has finally settled into a normal, voice-killing cold, always good in my profession. I don’t feel uber-bad, though, despite runny nose and phlegmy cough, so I did manage some art last night. I was feeling like it had been days (it pretty much had), and that never feels good, sick or not.

I started by stitching down the two cancer hands…

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Which took no time at all. And then I sandwiched and pinbasted them, so they are ready for quilting. That also shouldn’t take long. Maybe tonight? Maybe not. Multiple meetings today. There may be nothing left of me by nightfall.

Then because the machine was already set up for stitchdown, I went ahead and decided to do the upholstery piece. It’s scary, because you know it WANTS to fray. You can see it in the edges…they’re ready to pop free and wander off somewhere.

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So I set my zigzag stitch longer and closer together (if that makes sense) to try to tame the savage beast.

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And it freakin’ worked. Mostly. And my machine went through the multiple, heavy, sometimes still sticky layers with no issue at all. The thread only broke once.

You can see it’s almost a satin stitch on the back…

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And it’s puckering like crazy…my camera is giving me trouble…the display is apparently gone. I’m sure I did something to make that happen, but I don’t know what. I am apparently very hard on cameras.

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So stitched down doesn’t look a whole lot different than ironed down. That’s good. There’s some puckering, but I was able to iron most of it out…violently and with steam, lots of it. I think the rest will come out in the quilting (knock on wood). I didn’t have the energy (it was after midnight and I am actually sick) to sandwich and pinbaste it last night, but maybe tonight. She’s kinda scary looking. It’s the neck I think.

I did finish sorting all the batiks for the other recycled piece, but they are in piles on the floor…not very conducive to picking and choosing. So I will have to sit down for a while and sort through each color pile for each piece of that color and fold them all up together, because that’s how I like to keep fabrics. Anal, I know. What can I say? Some parts of my life are utter chaos, as was apparent yesterday afternoon and evening, so I control the few things I can, and fabric appears to be one of those things.

My FFAC quilt is ready to mail…I made a label for it last night and packed it up. I didn’t have a car yesterday, though, so I couldn’t mail it, and today I am booked through 5:30…I can’t remember when the post office closes, but I think it’s 5. Because working people? I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder.

Today I start a brand-new, never-been-used assignment with my kids…seriously hoping it’s not a clusterfuck. It could be! That’s the wonder of new technology though…you have to experiment to find out what can go horribly wrong. And then you move on. Meditative breathing might come in handy there…

Meditative Breathing, My Ass…

February 10, 2015

OK, so I know I’m sick with something. I have a cough. I have phlegm. It’s green. When I took Sudafed, I felt better, less shaky, less dizzy, less spacy. There are some other symptoms that are cold-like or flu-like. Then I’m having chills or hot flashes almost constantly, but no fever. I even got up last night and checked my temperature AND blood sugar to make sure it wasn’t that, because I couldn’t sleep. I felt not only like I was on fire, but like I needed to get up Up UP. Like something was really wrong. I hate that. I needed to be out of bed. So I did what (some of) my ancestors would do. I got up and made a cup of tea (the rest of my ancestors would have had a beer, before they were diagnosed with diabetes). Yes, I realize caffeine and a hot drink when you’re hotflashing do not make any sense, but since the slow, controlled meditative breathing I’m supposed to do wasn’t working for shit, I went for comfort tactics, and I stayed up for an hour plus reading blogs and slowly drinking tea until I yawned again. Then I headed back to bed, where the hot flashes and the distinct feeling that something was wrong continued. More meditative breathing. A cat attacking my head (I guess I was breathing wrong). Finally fell asleep after 4 AM. Not good.

I hate not being able to trust my own body. There are too many meds messing around in there. Too many things that could go wrong. I know if I go to Urgent Care about the nonstop hot flashes and chills, they will just blame menopause or whatever virus I have, and maybe that’s what it is…maybe it’s all about hormones gone awry and there is nothing else that is making me feel so wacky crazy. Ask me again about intelligent design? I guess if God were a middle-aged man and he was trying to get rid of his aging, menopausal wife so he could date a younger woman, this is how he’d go about it. Make her look crazy so it would be OK to dump her for the cute young thang. Get his teeth done. Color his hair. If that’s the god you believe in, I wish you luck.

Dear doctors: it’s not a hot FLASH if it never stops. Please look up the definition of flash and get back to me.

Anyway, despite all that crazy (and it does feel like crazy, even in the broad defining daylight of morning, a morning where you have to go to school and be fully functional), I did stitch a little last night…

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All I did was stitch them down. I wanted to get so much done on my day off yesterday, but I felt like crap most of the day. I did manage to go to the chiropractor, so either the headaches were the neck being out of whack or they were early stages of this weird malady I have, because they are gone.

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Although I did have a heating pad on my neck while I did these. I also graded papers, but I didn’t get very far. I didn’t eat very much either. Probably not a good thing.

I had this photo on my camera of the entire fence in front of SCRAP…

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Little samples spelling out the name.

And this picture of the girlchild…

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I think she actually headed it, although it’s hard to tell from this photo. Soccer right now. Sigh. It’s a clusterfuck.

Anyway. The car is going in today (all the dash lights flashing along with the Check Engine light), so I have no ride home (yet…have three contenders for the job). I feel like crap. I’m still hotflashing. I’m full of green phlegm. I feel completely off. And it’s an assembly day, so school on speed. Fun stuff. Meditative breathing…my ass. Oh, I’ll DO it, but you know it won’t stop the crazy or the hot. Meds. Removable layers of clothing. I got this. I’m not happy about it, but I got it.


February 8, 2015

I went north to San Francisco this weekend to visit a high-school friend…who doesn’t actually live in the city of course. We ate Ethiopian food…

Tanya joined us, thus connecting two parts of my world in one small restaurant.

From there, a tiny bit of wine tasting…

Then on to SCRAP in San Francisco

Where we ferreted through artistic junk for stuff we might like…

And tried to decide what would fit in my already full luggage (it was raining, so I had to bring a jacket).

There was a lot of fabric, and we only had about 30 minutes…

Here’s what I should do with all my yarn…


The surrounding area is not particularly pretty…

Liked this flower, but couldn’t figure out what it was (Julie!)…in Vickie’s friend’s garden…

Wine, juice, and ginger ale tasting after Gilbert and Sullivan…

And now breakfast is being created by many hands…I might survive it! No seriously, it’s been a fun-filled weekend and I have enjoyed all the interactions.

Hello Friday…

February 6, 2015

Hello Friday. I’m glad you’re here, although you will be long and full of tests and whiny kids who didn’t study because they think grades are magical things that happen to them and there will be soccer and a plane flight and lots of girly squealing on the other end…wait…no…this is me and Vickie…we don’t girly squeal…we guffaw and snort and make rude comments. So there’ll be lots of that. And maybe I’ll be allowed to sleep…who knows? But there will be lots of food and a musical and hanging out with Tanya and Ethiopian food and maybe some SCIENCE and some art supplies and who knows what else.

But it’s Friday at least, and although I will get absolutely no art made today, Saturday, or probably even Sunday, that’s OK, because I will be feeding the artist’s mind with all the experiences and laughter and goofiness and serious discussion that it needs to be what it is. To do what it does.

Plus I have Monday off, so I can catch up!

Who am I kidding? I will never catch up. Seriously, I have three assignments that need grading from last week, can’t hand any of them off to my TA because they’re too complicated, and I’m about to get four more today. Really I should take all my grading with me (not happening). Or I should stop assigning things.

I am looking forward to coming back and getting my focus on…it’s been off this week for a variety of reasons. I need to stitch down, sandwich, and quilt the two cancer hands. I need to stitch down (although it will probably fray like a bitch) the first of the recycled pieces and pick fabrics for the next one, because they are currently in piles in my living room. I need to start tracing Wonder Under for the Earth Mother from Ventura (seriously, I think that’s her name). That’s next week. Ha! Because I won’t have 7 assignments to grade, 2 soccer games, a union meeting, and god knows what else that hasn’t even hit me upside the head yet?

Yeah. Whatever. I can do it.

And I’m taking my sketchbook on the plane. I’m hoping to sit beside some conservative businessman and draw scary boobs with eyeballs in them. Wait a minute. I really do like that idea. I have not done that. How have I not done that?

Hey Vickie, can I sit at the breakfast table with your kids and draw? She’s gonna say yes.

Meanwhile, my FFAC donation quilt will be winging its way to a newish art quilter in Florida, while mine comes from Belgium…

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I’ll post pictures when it gets here. Could be a while. I can handle waiting. Then maybe I will hang art in the living room, ignoring the girlchild’s edict of no nudity. My house. My rules. Ha. Like that works.

In other cool news, Earth Stories is now traveling through the middle of 2017…

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It will be in Athens, Ohio, May 23-September 7, 2015; San Jose, California, November 6, 2015-February 28, 2016; Huntington, West Virginia, June 25-October 2, 2016; and Erie, New York, January 20– June 11, 2017. Plenty of opportunities to see it…I’m aiming for the San Jose one of course.

I fly places once or twice a year…my quilts? They get to go all over. Lucky beasts.


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