Redraw…

April 27, 2015

Sunday Night: Drawings are in my head, crying to be let out, much like the Golden Retriever who then stands at the doorway, staring at me as if I have asked her to sacrifice her dinner. “I don’t really want to go out, mom. I just want attention.” I carry my sketchbooks around, two of them, for two days straight, thinking that will help me, but I can’t draw around people. The drawings are shy; they don’t want attention like that. Just mine, like needy two-year-olds, clinging to mom. Fuckers.

I had an art meeting yesterday afternoon, so I didn’t have a chance to work on art stuff all day Saturday or Sunday until about 9:30 PM. And then this happened.

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And I’m negotiating with a cat. Look, Midnight, it’s bad enough that I have to have Friends on while I’m trying to do this, when I really need something dark and evil like Orphan Black or Helix, but when you repeatedly claw at the paper when I’m trying to get it out from under you? More attention-seekers.

I finally got everything out from under the cat and pulled this drawing from a few months back…

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Which was a redraw of this drawing…

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and which I liked, but…ran out of paper. Whoops. And wasn’t sure about the tree. Or the drumstick. (The top drawing, which is the second one. The first one? Has some things going for it…but…I don’t know.) So I have a deadline coming up with this idea of oasis, and I’m sure some people go straight to palm trees or a pool of water, a place where we go to escape. So I’m working with that, but the place is mental. Because when I get my brain all tied up in knots, that is what I need…a method to get away from that crazy.

I’m working with a prescribed size though. And it doesn’t work with how the drawing was in my brain on this, the third iteration…but I thought I could start by drawing the top and then I could figure it out from there…

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And oh my god, that was a clusterfuck. OK, not completely. But I needed more liquid paper than I really like to use, because I’m drawing this one to size, not enlarging it, so when I’m tracing from the back, I will still be able to see the lines I covered up, and it gets really confusing. Plus I was just fucking it up all over the place, so I walked the fuck away from it. Because the lines weren’t going where I wanted them to. The pen was fighting me.

Because if I can’t draw. Bloody hell. I thought about doing some quilting or just going to bed, but I really wanted to make this work. I didn’t want to let the drawing win. So I cut another piece of paper, measured the appropriate size, and laid it on top…

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Because some parts were OK. The eyes were fucked up. The right hand was a bloody mess. I don’t even know what was going on with the neckline, but the man’s head was good. And things were in generally the right place. Do over.

You can see on the right what I thought was OK enough to copy. Then the sketchbook is what I’m drawing from…well, sort of. And then under the sketchbook was the rejected drawing.

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At that point, it was 11:30 PM. I could stop. Maybe I should stop.

Fuck that. I kept going…got the face done…

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And the hand that bugged me before, and the outline of the torso. Much better. Deep sigh. So I guess this is really version number 4. Fighting this one out, seriously. It’s just messing with me. I think some of that is that I’m used to drawing smaller, in a sketchbook I can hold on my lap, sitting on the couch, and this is standing at the light table and it’s big and I’m trying to reach across AND make sure the pieces aren’t too small. So I needed to persuade my hand it could do all of that.

And now, when I’d really rather stay home and draw this, I need to go to work. Sigh. Deep sigh. Art brain goes off to sulk in the corner.

Finished these yesterday at the art meeting…

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They were almost done at soccer last weekend. But that’s July. Now on to August. Don’t ask what year.

Note to self: We have enough conditioner until the end of time. Don’t buy more.

Mood is better. Body is in revolution. Uterus is conducting volcanic studies. Tired. Iron depletion? Ugh.


This Is the Brain…

April 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Misnumbering…

April 23, 2015

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

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

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

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

But I did Bathtub 4 first…

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

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

I looked at the clock before I started numbering Bathtub 2

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

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

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


Taped

April 22, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the whole thing…

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

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

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

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

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

 


Where Am I?

April 19, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK. I’m done now.


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.


Whatever Friday

April 17, 2015

Hello Friday…I’m glad you’re here. Well. Sort of. Thursday was a tad busy and kicked my ass just a teensy weensy tiny bit, so I’m glad it’s over, although I distinctly remember 3 AM (I guess that was technically Friday though, so I can’t blame Thursday). I spent all day discussing sperm and egg (of plants mostly) and genetic diseases (explaining to a 12-year-old boy that he CAN get breast cancer…I am a font of information for these little internet-based brains). My voice is shot…for two weeks, I don’t talk to anyone hardly at all, certainly not at volume, and then I spend four days doing almost nothing but talking. I should fix that for next week (already done). Today is an assembly, which shortens all the classes, which means we won’t get done with what I planned. Oh well. It will all work out. Somehow. Whatever.

I still haven’t caught up on grading. I haven’t been trying really hard though. I did try the Google Classroom app on my iPad for one assignment, and it’s just not working. I don’t know why. The app on the phone doesn’t work either, so my theory that my iPad is old and doesn’t respond well is thrown out. This is a fucking bug. There might be some workaround, based on what I see online, but it’s probably just easier to sit at a computer and do it. My desire to sit on a comfortable couch with my kid (who is cranky as hell most times, so who knows why I would choose this option) and grade stuff conveniently and easily on my iPad is apparently not to be realized for this assignment…or any other assignment I set up on Classroom. Hello, Google. Get a fucking clue. Seriously, do they not have teachers advising them? They must be that smart. Everything with Classroom seems to take so long for them to figure out…like give us the ability to schedule assignments so they don’t show up until some time we have set in the future. If I want the kids to NOT see an assignment until I actually assign it, I have to type it up minutes before they show up in my classroom. That’s just idiotic. Calendar, people…let me calendar stuff. Don’t they know teachers do all their work at midnight the night before? (The assembly today is actually saving my butt on this, because I DIDN’T do it last night, but we won’t get to that part of the assignment until Monday. So I’m cool.)

I did no art yesterday. I did nap (I was really tired). I went to the gym. I ate. I hung out. I’m OK with that. I dragged my sketchbook out with me, because the other figure on that large drawing is poking at my brain, but it apparently wasn’t poking loud or hard enough, because I didn’t draw. But I recharged a bit, and that’s good, because Friday assembly days are not always easy. And it’s a soccer tournament weekend. Plus there’s an opening I want to go to. Plus one of the games is a long way away at some ungodly hour on Sunday morning. So that sucks. And it does not bode well for lots of artmaking (or sleep) this weekend. In fact, I’ll get some done tonight, and I could take the binding with me in the car and sew on it while my ex drives (he doesn’t like my driving). I might even get it mostly done. I have two exes now who don’t like pins though…and when you stitch, then there are pins. And sometimes you drop them. And needles too. And really, you shouldn’t freak out about that. It’s just a really tiny sharp thing that will hurt when you step on it. Or sit on it. Big deal.

Big smile there. Whatever. This is totally a whatever Friday, isn’t it? Don’t expect much from me this weekend.


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