Deep Breaths…Again…

October 29, 2014

I stitched a baby tonight (yes, I started writing this last night). I stitched mammary glands. Not very realistically, but whatever. It’s like Picasso meets Richard Scarry. I stitched a tattoo and some arms. I did a female face.

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I didn’t start until really late, because I went to the gym and then spent more than an hour trying to plan to be gone for two days, just for school. I had to write 4 pages of instructions and load three files on my website, and I still don’t know if it will all work. The timing sucks for being gone. Then again, it always sucks. I wonder what it’s like to be a nonteacher and go on vacation or take a long weekend. Being a teacher, it just seems like punishment sometimes. And I still don’t have next week figured out. I also spent some time searching out photos of the quilt that will be in Celebrating Silver, the SAQA exhibit opening at Houston like right now. I set up 3 posts…now just pictures, words to be added later, probably starting tomorrow, because I haven’t been able to show the whole thing until the opening. I’ll be in Houston Thursday afternoon with mom, hopefully in time for the SAQA meetup. I’ll be at the artist’s tour on Friday. We leave early Saturday morning. Yes, we kamikaze Houston. Three million quilts, four million vendors, and we basically do it in a day. It’s a little insane.

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The back.

Tonight, I shoved my head deep into the next book and exercise and art, because the school day was so incredibly frustrating, I wanted to scream. My team agreed…kids aren’t listening. Tomorrow is the test and the entire unit is due (yes, I will be grading for days), but apparently none of that is important. I’m seriously going to run out of the classroom throwing papers wildly about. Either I will be relieved after they take the test…maybe my lecture today kicked their asses? Or I will wonder why I do this job.

Deep breaths. Walk away. Enjoy two days off. Of course, I have to survive tomorrow first.

Ironically, I keep saying Deep Breaths to myself, and we are finishing up the respiratory unit.

I found my sketchbook. I sorted through my stitching for stuff to do on the plane. I’m going to wear lots of black. I will need to bring 5 pieces of electronic equipment and all the chargers. I plan to start NaNoWriMo on the plane Saturday morning.

Girlchild rocked her second take on the SAT…I’m so proud of how she’s handling this college stuff. Except for when she freaks out on me. Seriously. She’s just motoring on, finishing essays, making decisions, asking for advice, doing what has to be done. Thank god. Now I feel like I can send her off. I counseled (seriously, that’s what it was) another parent of a friend of hers the other day, 20 minutes in the gym, interrupting my workout, because he’s so freaked out about sending his oldest (a girl) off far away…and I kept telling him, “But that’s what you have to do. That’s what they need. She will be fine.” Over and over again. Because most of them will. A few will flip out or do something really incredibly stupid that negatively affects the rest of their life, but most of them get through and even excel. It’s alternately exciting and terrifying and even depressing, as you realize they don’t ever really come back…that the babies you had and sent off will come back as competent (mostly) adults who will have their own lives. Although then they will text you for two hours about what to wear in snow. Apparently it’s my fault his daughter wants to do a year abroad; she heard me talking about it and now that’s on her list. He was bitter about that, but I think it’s really important to send our American brats off to the rest of the world to get a clue.

OK. So I think I’m ready to face today (Wednesday now, for real, in the morning, parent meeting in 45 minutes)…despite what my students might throw at me. I’m ready to go to Houston, but I have to tell you, I’m not ready to talk about that quilt. I guess I need to get there by Friday…the talking part, not the Houston part. I’m being squawked at by a small black and white psychotic cat. I’m not really awake (oh god, wait until tomorrow). I need a serious infusion of caffeine. And deep breaths for getting through the test. Deep breaths for just getting through.


Life. A Moodfucker. News at 11.

October 23, 2014

Hey, did you see me fall into that hole Tuesday night? Or maybe it was during the day…yeah, it definitely was. I don’t know why. OK, I didn’t know why. I was actually all excited by the lesson I was teaching, because I basically had one kid at each table open up a new Google doc and then share it with their table, and then I handed them a rubric, yelled GO!, and ran away. Everything they asked me I turned back on them. Check your research. Ask someone at your table. Wow, that must really suck. Yeah, you have to work with people all the time when you grow up. I need you to work with your coworkers. There was some screaming, some lambasting, some frustration, but hell…yesterday? Yesterday I saw the product, and they were WORKING. Like TOGETHER. Because they HAD TO. It was a revelation.

Now we’ll see today what it actually looks like, and I totally lied about whether I could see what kid made what correction. I think I could, but I’d have to go back through all the revisions, and I don’t have time for that. Maybe I’ll have them write a reflection about the process and their partners, and then I can see who did nothing. It’s just like the corporate world! Or teacher world! Where you have one staff member who whines a lot and gets everyone in trouble. And another one who never does anything. And the bossy one. And the one who gets it done. And the one who goes home and does all of it and then comes back to school and their teammates are pissed off at them because now they have nothing to do (OK, that never happens in the real world…nobody gets pissed off in my world when that happens. We thank them and promise to do it for them next time, and then hopefully we follow through.).

Anyway, you’d think with a lesson like that, I would have come home with stars in my eyes and a smile on my face, but no. Hormones or thyroid or just bad depressoid brain, it’s been haunting me since the hike on Saturday, or maybe earlier, probably earlier, and I just keep trying to push it away and get shit done. Interesting that getting shit done isn’t helping. Well, it never really does. There’s just more shit to be done. So I fell in that hole, the one that holds on to me and makes me cry all the fucking time and lurks around corners and attacks when you’re not even expecting it.

So Tuesday night sucked. It sucked so bad I didn’t even try to make art. I graded papers, I got tired of that, I went to bed with my book. Which is a murder mystery. About the South. And racism and bad hinky shit that the KKK and worse did. So it’s real cheery. Yesterday, I was obviously still wearing all that on my face; I could tell. But the kids were still doing their cooperation thing, so that got me mostly through the day, but sometime in the morning, I realized part of the bad. And this really sucks, because October is my favorite month of the year. The weather is that in-between stage in Southern California…still super hot some days, beautiful blue skies, then chilly enough for a sweater the next day. There’s the promise of holidays and vacations looming, there’s Halloween, there’s soccer coming to an end. It’s just a nice month. Except 12 years ago yesterday, my life blew up into a million fragments in October, and then I thought I had it all put together again and got my month back, and then I didn’t. And it was somehow harder the second time around, the second time it all exploded. I still haven’t put that back together again. Because I had gotten to a point where I could get past October 22 without much of a thought, because my current life was enough, it was good, I was OK with it, but now it’s not, so the ouch is back, the pain is back, and it SUCKS. And I carried that all day yesterday, once I realized what the heavy was, and it’s still here today, because it still is. Here. I have this elephantine memory that never forgets the bad shit.

It didn’t help that I didn’t see the girlchild at all on Tuesday. I saw her a little more yesterday, but mostly she just screamed at me. I know she’s stressed with school and college apps…her first interview is today and there is proof that she is my kid…the interview isn’t until 4, but it’s a long way north, so she’s leaving right after school (like 3 hours early) to make sure she’s there in plenty of time. She has homework, and all she would do after school is go to Starbucks and do her homework anyway, so it’s just a farther-away Starbucks (or equivalent), but I’m like…oh yeah. I would totally do that too. I would be totally early, just in case.

And then last night, Dr Who was making me cry. Or life makes me cry and I just blame it on the closest TV show.

I tried to do a better job yesterday of taking care of myself, although I don’t know that going to bed early and reading a book is NOT taking care of myself…I just know it didn’t make me feel better. So last night, I meditated (because I had just been screamed at for explaining reality)…and cried through the whole thing. So much for achieving equanimity, or whatever the fuck I was supposed to be doing in my head during that 20 minutes. And then I stitched…

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for a while…I’m a little over 4 hours in. Those are knees above…and a bottle below…

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And at some point, I thought, “You could finish this step tonight. Totally. It wouldn’t take much longer.” True that. It wouldn’t have taken more than another hour. But it was already 11:48 PM, and I really need to work on sleeping enough each night, and that’s not how you do that. So I didn’t. I left it for tonight.

Because I know that some of my mood is affected by how much sleep I get, although if I get too much, I really don’t sleep, and then I’m more depressed the next day, so there’s some balance, some fine line…and some of it must be related to blood sugar; I’ve been having lots of lows lately. Like almost crashes but not quite. So many things that can fuck with my mood.

Life. A Moodfucker. News at 11. Or in my case, 2 AM.


Fight Uterus. Teach Illness. Stitch Legs.

October 21, 2014

Aargh. I’m working my butt off at the moment, between my job and my art. It’s good, because I’m getting stuff done, but it’s bad, because it feels like that’s all I do. Yesterday, I worked at school from 8-4:15, then came home and worked another 2 1/2 hours on grading. Then I stitched stuff down for another hour. That’s not really balance, is it. Girlchild is on a rant of huge proportions about college apps. I irritate her just by existing at the moment. Hell, sometimes I irritate myself just by existing. The house is still a freakin’ disaster because of days like yesterday, where the only house-related thing I achieved was to divest the girlchild’s bathroom of all empty shampoo containers and to pack up the door handle that we decided I didn’t need, so I can take it back to Home Debit. I know I have the receipt. Now I just need to find it.

And everything hurts. Girl parts are vengeful in some way. They behave for days at a time, and then they screech at you like the world is ending and they’re on fire. Imagine trying to stand all day in front of a herd of middle-school kids while your uterus contracts, doing its JOB (structure and function, the basis of what I teach), and the kids are whining because they have been sitting too long (10 minutes) in front of a computer that isn’t GIVING them answers like their teacher used to do (really, it was easier for them, wasn’t it? OK, I was never the answer-giving teacher though), and I’m getting irritated because someone has forgotten their password for the 17th time and they didn’t write it down and I have to try to reset it, which is a pain in the ass, while trying to make sure Jimmy and Johnny don’t play Angry Birds all period (I have an app that watches all their screens, but I have to watch the app…although honestly, if you just PRETEND to walk around with a tablet that has the app on it, it doesn’t really matter; they assume you’re watching them. Very amusing) all the while yelling “Key Words, People! Key Words! because they don’t know how to figure anything out)…and meanwhile, my uterus is trying to win some muscle contest, almost killing me in the process. Yes, you’re an efficient little beast, my dear organ of reproduction, but it seems like you hold it against me when I don’t use you for your intended purpose. Let me make it clear. More babies? Not happening. So get over yourself and behave like the adult you are. You don’t really want to go through that whole babymaking thing again. You just think you do. Get over it.

All that. And art too. I made this pact that I was going to draw once a week, every week, and then I forgot to put it on the calendar, so I missed it last week, so I put it on again for Sunday night, and it still didn’t happen, so now it’s calendared for every Friday night, and its name is Draw Dammit. Hopefully I’ll continue that. If the calendar yells at me. I need an owl…the Hogwart’s owls that dropped those screaming letters…hey, I just Googled “harry potter screaming letter owl” and got what I needed…they’re called Howlers and when you open the envelope, it howls at you until it’s done, and then it erupts into flames. That’s what I need. One of those every Friday night. I love Google by the way.

Meanwhile? Stitching down…

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I’m 3 hours in (see the cat behind the machine? Annoying.). All that’s left is the man’s legs and head, half a bird, and all the stuff in the tree: probably two more hours, honestly, so I really should be able to finish pinbasting by Saturday night. I should check the stash of batting…I think I have a piece big enough. God knows I have enough bits and pieces.

So Sunday night (no, I didn’t post Sunday night or Monday…too tired still), I had this cat in the drawers…

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She chose green. I didn’t want to clean up all the fabrics until I finished ironing everything down, which I have now down, but now I just don’t feel like cleaning, which is unfortunate, because this room is a disaster at the moment.

Then I had this cat on the ironing board…

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Which IS clean at the moment (a brief lapse on my part). They don’t like each other (actually girlchild is just to the right of this picture, because she was ALSO in here, but she’s not a bitchy cat)…and at some point, they realized they were in the room together (hey, can you see the big pile of batting on the shelf up near the top? That’s all SMALL pieces, because I MAKE SMALL pieces? No, because I’m a hoarder. Not a bad hoarder…just a minor one. I do go through the pile and toss pieces that would only work if I made quilted postcards, which I don’t.

Yes, my brain is rambling all over the fucking place, because my UTERUS is contracting like a bitch and I can’t think straight. But I am going to go to school and teach middle schoolers about respiratory illnesses today, and if some kid whines about ANYTHING, a demon will rise from my mouth and devour them, and then all the other kids will be silent workers for the rest of the period. Right?

So here are the two cats (and all the mess)…hissing at each other.

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Because I need more drama? To their credit, mostly they avoid each other. Midnight (the lower cat) is a sweetie. Babygirl has channeled Satan.

I have lots of pictures of Babygirl, because she inhabits my office/studio, which is where I am most nights at some point or another, usually after 10 PM. So when normal people are going to bed, I’m moving to the work area to keep going. Sometimes she appears quite sweet and adorable…

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which I think is how she reels in prey…like my teenaged son.

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If you don’t feed her fast enough, she whacks you with her paw, claws extended.

And the cats are the reason I always pile my quilt top up on the machine…

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So they can’t lie on it. Because they will. It’s not a very exciting thing to write about at the moment, stitching down. Pretty much, I turn Star Trek on really loud and adjust the zigzag and drop the feed dogs, and go around every single piece. My brain spends most of its time trying to figure out what Picard said and where to stitch next without having to restitch over what I’ve already stitched. Add in the psychotic machinations of my uterus, and it’s just fun fun fun all around. And the mood that comes along with the uterine games? Yeah. It’s not good. Whatever.

Seriously. This stage will be done soon and I’ll be on to the quilting. I have to get caught up with work too, though, because Houston is next week and that’s going to mess with my workload a bit. And grades are due a week after I get back. And I have a show to take down and a bunch of other stuff to deal with. Buried is an understatement. One day at a time. Today? Fight uterus. Teach illness. Stitch legs.


How Art Doesn’t Happen

October 14, 2014

First, make sure the artist is getting sick. And she’s been fighting it for a week, so a week of sore throats and feeling sorta off, and then she thinks she’s better, and all of a sudden, in like 10 minutes, once the kids get out of the classroom, BOOM. That’s it. The virus kicks her ass and takes her down. Really. It was that fast.

So then, our faithful artist comes home (after a long meeting) and sprawls on the couch with tea and a bunch of seating charts, because she needs to adjust seating, and it takes an hour, because she’s trying to think it through, and fuzzy head. Thinking bad. Meds. Must take meds. Drink more tea. Because her evening is not over. Oh no, it has just begun. A fundraiser for soccer at some dive grill in Lakeside.

OK. I can do this. I need to eat and this way I don’t have to cook. Girlchild comes home from soccer and they go…and it’s loud screaming chaos, a million people and some crazy ass woman screaming throughout the room, yelling out raffle prizes (we don’t want any thanks). Order food. Think I’m OK. Eat. Help girlchild with the Democratic Party platform (she is the Democratic candidate for her history class this year…her brother was the Dem campaign manager last year, which pretty much sums up their personalities right there…BUT, he did help her via text with her platform). Head for home, feeling tired, but not uberly (not a word) sick.

Come home, help more with platform, can’t remember what GITMO stands for (whatever…I know lots of things about the world, but I also know how to Google when I can’t remember shit), but I feel somewhat perturbed that I know more about ebola than I do about Hong Kong…although if you know me, that makes sense.

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Your photo today courtesy of girlchild’s Homecoming crew…at least they have fun…and there was no art, so no pictures of art. Because I didn’t do any.

Sitting on the couch, sprawled really, trying to find the motivation to get UP and iron. Really. You can do it. Standing up. Fuck no. Too tired. Too sick. Slam. OK. Think it through. I did think. I thought I could push myself through, but I remembered that it was only Monday, and that I have a whole week of school to get through, and what I really need is to get better, especially since my school day today will start at 8 and go to 6 PM. So yeah. I went to bed. At like 10:30. Seriously. That’s how you know I’m sick. And I slept for about an hour. Before the food poisoning from the dive grill fundraiser decided I should be up again. So I guess at least I’m glad my body is efficient. I was only vomiting for about 45 minutes and then I was done. And I went back to sleep (good thing I went to bed early, eh?).

Giant sigh.

I’m OK this morning. Well, the cold is still here. I still have no voice. My nose alternately runs and stops air from entering my body. But otherwise I’m fine. Cranky, but fine. Just yelled at a cat for sitting on the back of the chair. Yelled at the dog for eating underwear (that’s legit, folks…she eats a ton of that…not mine, but the girlchild’s, because she leaves it everywhere). I’ll probably yell at some kids today because they’re gonna be sitting there, staring at the words, wondering how to READ without actually READING. Because that’s an issue. It tries my patience. And yet I still assign the occasional reading assignment (OK, more than occasional). Like I’m trying to torture them. The LAST reading thing I gave them was about zombies and was a comic book, so you’d think they would have appreciated that. Naw, the same kids who won’t be reading today weren’t reading then. Parents…please please please, make ‘em read. It’s OK. Today is also phone call day. Have the kids call and ask parents to remind them to sign their failed assignments, so I know the parents know…although it seems like some of them must not care. Your child brings home a progress report with 5 Fs on it? And you don’t do anything? Don’t contact teachers? Don’t wait on me…I got 140 of them…feel free to contact me, because I have a list, and I can only get through one or two parent meetings a week, and I already have three for this week.

Yes, we have a list of kids we need to assist, of parents we need to contact, and yesterday, we full on admitted that we can’t do all of them right now…so we prioritized. Which ones could we help the most, which ones needed the most assistance, which ones were MORE LIKELY to actually benefit from our assistance. So your kid with his 5 Fs? He didn’t get very high on the list, because he doesn’t seem to give a shit, but mostly because of you…because we haven’t heard a word from you, we haven’t seen you at back-to-school night, last year’s teachers didn’t beg us to push for testing or meetings, no one cared about your kid…and we CARE, but we only have so many hours in the day. We’re buried this year, trying to implement blended learning and one-on-one computers on a daily basis…and we need you to get on the phone or email and stand up for your kid. Do some of the work. We can’t do all of it. You brought this child into the world…why don’t you care enough to follow up when he’s failing? Yes, I know there are many answers to that, and many of them are endemic to my school population, but we also have great parents who are on top of things and paying attention and doing their job.

Yeah. That’s what I’m taking to school with me today. And hopefully, by 6, when I get out of the school board meeting where I have to show up dressed in red so the school board realizes we’re pissed off that they won’t cover our health insurance increases and they won’t give us a reasonable wage out of the huge chunk of money they got from the state, hopefully when I’m done with all that, I’ll be well enough to make some art.

But first I need to cough up a lung.


Maintain, Dammit. Maintain.

September 28, 2014

Deep breaths. Keep thinking of the positives. I finished ironing last night (it was 2 in the morning). It took 14 hours and 14 minutes to pick all those fabrics, about 3 hours more than I had predicted. At one point, all I had left were these…

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and I considered stopping, because it was freakin’ late and I was tired and I’ve been fighting a hormone/weather headache on and off for 4 days and it was back (it’s back now too…making me think stress is the third arm of it, the part whacking at my brain right now). But I thought…fuck. I’m ALMOST FUCKING DONE. Just do it. If that doesn’t tell you more about who and how I am, I don’t know what will.

Cutting out tree parts is a pain in the ass, because they take a huge piece of fabric and don’t fit together well. It’s time-consuming…

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and hard to find big enough pieces of fabric in my stash. But I did it. Ninety-four fabrics later…

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There they all are. Heavy on the grays, strangely. So I sort of met my deadline on that and now need to cut them all out by Tuesday. Ha! I might need to revise that.

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I’ve started, sure, but I am so freakin’ buried in schoolwork right now. Trying to tread water, keep head up and breathing. Deep breaths. Meditating every day at the moment, which yes, I should be doing anyway, but the fabric choosing was taking care of that mindset until Friday. Friday things started to implode in my head. I’m overwhelmed. I need to step back and make my lists and deal with one day at a time. I can’t lump it all together and try to deal with it all at once. I can’t even go Big Picture at the moment.

I’m 37 hours into this quilt. Cutting out should take a while. Apparently on a similarly sized quilt, it took 13 hours to iron and 15 to trim the fabrics. If that’s realistic and I have 13 hours to go, I’m not going to get anywhere near finished until next weekend. Then I’ll start ironing. Maybe that’s my goal: to be ready to iron sometime next weekend. (Kathryn: no hiking, reduce social events as much as possible? Fuck.) I’m really busting my butt on this and at work and it’s starting to show. I’m really incredibly tense (chiropractor this week!) and I have no mental release really. I’m so deep into the have-to list that I cannot get focus. This week is ugly too. They all are. Who am I kidding?

Anyway. College stuff is paid. Boychild still doesn’t have a job. Girlchild is currently waiting for me to come help her paint her parking spot (she’s a senior), but I have to go grocery shopping first. I remembered to buy dog food yesterday, but forgot the cat food. Midnight broke into the food cupboard in protest and ripped open the other cat food bag, the one she doesn’t like. I regularly have to duct tape holes in cat food bags because of her. I still have one class of tests to grade and I have 5 kids who don’t really read or write English who honestly need a curriculum at about a kindergarten level, but with 7th grade content. I haven’t fully planned this week’s lesson yet, and I’m about to blow off any connection to technology, just to save my sanity.

But I finished the God-Damned Fucking Ironing.

I am the crazy-haired woman all in black who is standing in the middle of the produce section at the grocery store in meditation pose, eyes closed, deep breathing. You should just walk around me. Maybe give me a hug while you do it.


Finally Ironing Myself to Fabric…

September 21, 2014

I met my goal. I ironed for three hours. I was really tired and had to rest twice. It makes it sound like I’m running a marathon (kinda am). Brain power needed to color pictures in head and find appropriate fabric colors is apparently quite a large amount. So after soccer and the gym, not much brain power left. Plus haven’t slept much lately. Keep fucking stuff up because of that lack-of-sleep thing. I slept finally Friday and Saturday nights (well, minus middle-of-the-night freakouts), but I feel more tired right now than on school mornings, when I only have 5 hours.

Probably I should avoid ironing myself into the quilt. Hard to do when I’m tired already.

Both kids are texting me this morning. So it’s quiet, but people are talking. Weird, huh? I haven’t had enough caffeine to deal with either. Too much information crossing.

So I started by cleaning up this space yesterday…

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Because that’s where I lay out the Wonder Under pieces while I’m trying to figure out what to iron them to…I was trying to get that done before the soccer game, but it never goes the way you want, does it?

I managed to get a pile of fabrics on the ironing board…

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(moved from one place to another…very efficient) and then later got them into piles by color and realized I have way too much fabric at the moment. I know that doesn’t make sense. I do keep buying fabric, but I don’t buy a lot at a time, and mostly it gets used up in backgrounds and backings and bindings and sleeves, but apparently I’m still adding more than I’m subtracting…something to do with how little of a particular fabric I use at a time? Or they are breeding.

So I didn’t start actually ironing until 9 PM.

Not particularly efficient sometimes. Really. I had all day. I’m not sure what happened.

Well, this happened…

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They won 3-1…and they made all 4 goals (whoops). Between drive time and having to be there 45 minutes early, I usually lose 3 1/2 hours per game. iPhone Sep 21 14 066 small

Girlchild headed the ball into the goal, her first header goal.

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She did the happy dance. The ball on the right comes over and she’s the one in red in front of the goal. Right in front of the goalie and her white-shirted teammates, who probably blocked her getting to the girlchild. Yes, I forgot my camera at home, so these are all phone pictures.

Then we came home and there was some of this…

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Because Katy needed it apparently (apparently her name is not spelled the way I thought, and she used to be KatyGirl, and that was way too much)…

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Or girlchild needed it. Hard to say.

Once she was gone and it was quiet again, I set up the room the way I like it…so I can see the drawing while I’m picking stuff out…Sep 21 14 007 small

and because apparently I have to have something underfoot and Calli was at the other house, Katy stepped up and laid her chubby little body out for me to step over. She is pretty mellow, though, and will not freak out when I step over her. She will follow me out of the room 700 times though if I leave to get my tea or pee.Sep 21 14 008 small

It’s not ironing unless I’m stepping over a dog. And piles of crap. You’d think I could solve the piles-of-crap issue.

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Guess I will figure that out the hard way. Yes, I’m still watching Star Trek. It really is awful dialogue at the moment, The Next Generation. I keep almost bailing on it, but I love Picard too much to leave him.

It’s amazing. I have so many flesh-colored fabrics and I keep coming back to the same ones, time after time. I try to branch out, but trying to get tones that go in a nice range is difficult. This one’s too brown, this one’s too pink, too peach.

This is what I’ve used so far…grays, reds (there was a heart), lots of pinky colors…

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I only got about 185 pieces ironed last night…actually, no, it was more than that because I was pulling from other bins for the scales…

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I stopped because it was after midnight, I was tired, and the next two things were very complicated birds. And I don’t know what color I want them to be. I could go for realism or crazy. Tempted by crazy. But still trying to color it in my head. Probably going to wait a bit before I start. Maybe. Blue and orange? Purple? It’s gotta pop on the background…

Anyway. It’s progress. Three more hours of ironing is my goal today, but I need to grade things too and grocery shop and plan for the week, so that could be problematic. In fact, I just went off and emailed the parents at school, because the kids have an assignment due tomorrow at 9 AM, and I suspect by my Edmodo stats (which I can unfortunately check on my phone, my iPad, and my computer) that many have forgotten. Of course, the app keeps crashing, so who the hell knows? Ah yes. 57 out of 140 submitted. Sigh. That is unfortunate. Easy to grade if they don’t turn it in, though. Man, that’s cynical.

The transition to technology is not without its issues. OK. Moving on with my day. Might be awake enough to deal. Hard to say.


Holding It in My Head…

September 19, 2014

So I’m done with that heinous task, the cutting out of 1070 pieces of Wonder Under. Total, it took 7 hours and 23 minutes. I’m noticing my estimates are fairly accurate in terms of hours, but not so accurate in terms of days. I think that’s because I overestimate my ability to blow off everything else. I forget about sleeping and eating and peeing. That shit takes time. It took me 5 nights. I did 3 hours yesterday. The shortest day, I did 40 minutes. Last night, I had quilt class, so I cut out for an hour and a half, and then I came home and decided I wasn’t going to bed until I was done. I even thought, only briefly though, that I should sort them all last night too, but I decided that was crazy talk. Because it was. It was after midnight when I finished.

It will take me another hour to sort them, so I’ll try to do that this afternoon/evening, depending on what other tasks arise. I really need to grade assignments. I was going to type ‘papers,’ but a goodly portion of what my students turn in at the moment is on the web, not in my hand. I finally got Google Classroom! Yay! I don’t know if it will solve all my problems, but it might solve a couple. Now I just need to find time to set it up and populate classes, which is complicated by the fact that more than half my students don’t have names in my Gmail. Which is maybe Hapara’s fault? Or Google’s? Or probably it’s just a planetary shift issue and will adjust when the magnetic poles flip and I become Queen of the Hinterland.

I am NOT sarcastic.

So finding time to grade stuff has always been a problem for me. I’m debating letting my teacher’s aide grade warmups. The girlchild does, when she has time (she has no time at the moment, and did not clean up the living room yesterday when I asked her to because Math. That was the answer. I don’t understand how Math can stop you cleaning. Art? I can understand that, but not Math). I can’t have him grade anything that requires me to check for understanding, though, and warmups are sometimes like that. Girlchild knows to hand me papers that trouble her. I don’t know. I can’t decide. Sigh! Poor guy; he has been very patient with me. I think I scare the crap out of him sometime…I wonder why certain kids want to be my aide. It can’t be fun.

Anyway, here’s the finished pile of very exciting, artistic, tiny little pieces of Wonder Under.

Sep 19 14 001 small

You wish you had some of this. Admit it.

This means fabric tonight! Which yes, means I did manage to go to Rosie’s yesterday afternoon and pick out background fabric…

Sep 19 14 002 small

This bright blue/purple called out to me. Some others called out to me as well, so I stood there and stared at the fabric that called and half closed my eyes and visualized the drawing imposed on the fabric, and then started coloring it in in my head. If it’s blue, am I using a lot of water in the quilt? If so, what will that look like? What things in the drawing are touching the background? What have to lace their way across it, like the trees I do? How will the contrast work? Trees can be problematic…browns tend to be medium range for trees (at least when I do them), so if the background is too close to a medium range, the tree won’t be as obvious. Same with dirt. Sometimes that’s a good thing…sometimes it’s not. What about the leaves? What about the main figures in the quilt? Will they show up well or fade into the background? What do I want them to do?

To the casual quilt-shop observer, I’m meditating in front of a row of bolted fabric. Well, you’re kinda right. It is a form of meditation. Using my brain to process the image. Who needs a fucking computer?

Yes, I also bought some other fabrics, some light/whites for eyeballs and fingernails (seriously) and two Halloweeny fabrics with anatomical hearts and skeletons and the like. I thought Rosie’s looked pretty empty of fabrics…maybe because Market is coming up? I don’t know. Lots of empty shelves. It disturbed me. I’ve been going to Rosie’s since I started quilting in 1987. That’s a long time…and yes, it’s my favorite San Diego store. There’s a quilt store closer to home (it’s actually moving further north, but will still be about the same distance) that I rarely frequent. It’s not got a lot of fabrics. It caters to class-takers, those that like to buy rulers. I only have two rulers. Actually, I think I have a couple more than that, but only because people give them to me. I’m still using the same two rulers I’ve had for probably 25 years. I don’t cut a lot of straight lines. I don’t take any classes really either. At the opening last week, someone offered me a brochure for a local art facility that does classes, and I’m thinking, um, yeah, I’m kinda past that stage. I might take a mural-painting class or a graffiti class at this stage in my life, but I don’t need to do a whole lot else. I’ve already done it.

So I’m trying to be excited about the next stage…it’s usually the hardest AND the most relaxing stage of the quilt…picking fabrics. It’s definitely the most creative, after doing the original drawing. I’ve been trying colors out in the drawing in my head. This one is pretty easy. Some are much harder. I can see this one pretty clearly though. So hopefully that will make it easier. Realistically, there’s social stuff I could be doing in the next week (I actually went searching for some), but I can’t. I need to get this done. I don’t have money to go do a lot of stuff either, so it’s better if I don’t. If I can get 3 hours done tomorrow and another 3 on Sunday (my goal), then 5 during the week…if I get too tired for the ironing portion, I can work on cutting things out instead. I’m still aiming for Sept 30 to be done with fabric and ready to iron. Gasp.

It’s nice to have a plan. Unfortunately, as we know, it will get blown up at some point, but at least I try. I’m being very hermit-like and antisocial trying to get this thing done. That part is depressing, but it’s necessary at the moment. When it cools off and soccer mellows out, maybe I can start hiking again. I would go next week, but am buried in meetings and a back-to-school night. Can’t really hike by myself at 9 PM.

I think it’s Friday. I’m onto the next part of the quilt. I made progress. Holding that in my head for now.


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