The First Official Blogpost of Summer 2015

June 20, 2015

This is the first official day of summer vacation. The first day when I don’t have to go to school or think about school (although people are still texting me about school) until August 1. At least, that’s what I always try to do…get it out of my head and don’t worry about it until August. And then in August, I’m usually desperately trying to finish some major quilt and I don’t want to go back but I have to (my first professional development is on August 11). It takes a while to get all that residual stress and have-to feeling out of your system (and it is quickly replaced with other have-to’s, let me tell you), but after a week or so, I’m usually doing much better.

I’m still seeing crazy in one art group though. I hesitate to call it an art group some days, since its focus is more on quilt than art, although there have been some positive changes in the last few years…maybe. We’ll see. I am concerned though that they are choosing to censor members or seemingly move out of the leadership positions those who don’t agree with the majority. I don’t think that’s healthy behavior for any group, although I’m seeing that happening at my day job as well. The message then is that if you disagree, there will be consequences. Any minor study of history will show that doesn’t work. I’m not in leadership in this art group…I don’t have any more volunteer hours in me. They got used up in the other two groups, which are much smaller and need all members participating in some way. But it makes me mistrust the current leadership, which is not a good thing. A good Executive Board will do its job and the membership will hear from them occasionally as they make the group better, as they check in with membership, as positive changes occur. There won’t be censorship and oustings. I didn’t pay much attention to what names were on the board until all this, and now I’m watching particularly closely and comparing it to the other large fiber group I’m in, where none of this happens. So a big sigh for all that.

I finally made it out of work yesterday at 11 AM (took longer than usual). Then I came home and cleaned the kitchen, because it was disgusting, and started throwing stuff away and recycling it. The last few months of school kick my butt (and everyone else’s) and what suffers is the house. There are piles everywhere and nothing is washed or put away. So I made a healthy start on all that and then took a nap! A NAP! I know. Exciting for us old people.

Then I started quilting…

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It was 100 degrees here yesterday, so my motivation to get up and move was compromised. I also read a lot. Because I could. And then I quilted for a long time until I realized I would have to cook dinner, so I did that for a while. Talked to the boychild, because girlchild was at Grad Nite, and then forced him to apply for jobs by starting the applications myself. Last thing you want is your mom filling out your application, right? Well. Whatever. I understand his hesitance and some of it is laziness but a lot is social stuff that is an inherent part of his personality. So this shit is hard. And mom is hard too. I’ve spent the last 13 years doing behavioral training on him, and apparently I’m not done.

After all that torture, just as much for me as him…who decided personality assessments with 72 questions were the best way to hire people? I’d fail if I had to fill these out too. They’re just lame. If both statements are wrong, you have to pick the one that is LESS wrong. But they’re WRONG. Sigh. Anyway, if he didn’t set off all of their serial killer alarms, maybe he will be employed soon.

So after all that, then I finished quilting…but first I sewed the bottom to the top somehow…

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Whoops. Late-night quilting in the heat. Not a good plan.

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She’s got 12 hours of quilting in her. But she’s done. She just needs a binding…which really means I should get my ass off this chair and go buy some fabric for that, because no, I don’t have a piece big enough. I think. I might look first. But I don’t think I do.

Katie (my parents’ dog) showed up about 20 minutes ago and is now asleep on my floor…

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She’s only here for a short visit. Then in a week, she comes for a longer one…we think. All the humans but me are still lolling about in bed (well, one came out when Ms. Barkypants arrived). It is Saturday morning, yes, but apparently if you nap on Friday, you can’t sleep in on Saturday morning. I think. I know I’m still tired and probably will be for another week, but at least vacation has started, and maybe if I stay away from the art group list, my blood pressure will come down and stay down.

On to the next quilt! Deadlines abound…


June 19, 2015

I’m trying really hard to be functional today. I do  have to go to work and check out, whatever that means this year. It might take a while, unfortunately. In the past, I’ve shown up and 20 minutes later been on my way home, war-whooping it all the way out the gate (I know, really mature, right?). Sometimes I do that and then drive back later to go to lunch. Today we have to check out specifically with our boss, and I’m not sure how that will go. Short pithy conversations are not his strong point, and I’m tired, hormonal (AGAIN), and cranky, so it’s not a good time to reflect on the year. I do a much better job with that in about 2 weeks. In fact, at counseling last night, besides trying to determine if I’m a hoarder (kitchen is becoming an issue, but that was a time factor this week, plus two lame-ass teens who don’t know how to wash or empty dishwashers apparently)…I’m not a hoarder by the way, just not particularly neat, but also decided I should do nothing next week. Like really nothing. Now that’s not happening, of course. I have art to make. Lots of it. And I might clean some too, because living in this mess much longer might hurt me. But otherwise, I don’t have to do much. I didn’t sign up for professional development until August. There’s some doctor stuff in there, but whatever. I want to go on at least one, maybe two hikes. It’s all good. So not quite NOTHING, but I’m not going to work on school stuff.

But I do have to go to work today. In like 45 minutes. I’m too tired to eat breakfast. I don’t know why (because the accumulated stress and exhaustion and overwork of the last 10 months is now hitting you upside the head). Oh yeah. I know why.

I have amazingly crappy photos of the girlchild’s graduation (I was tired)…but here’s Odin…

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Yes, she’s a Norseman (was a Norseman) and Odin shows up to graduation to bless them. Kinda funny if you ask me.

Not her touching Odin’s hammer, but behind (like I said…sucky photos)…

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Hats and streamers flying…

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The lovely girlchild with her lovely lei by Madalyn (Leis by Leinani)…

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This was after 45 minutes of looking for her purse…but before we actually found it locked in a drawer by a well-meaning teacher who then disappeared.

And part of the family (dad, kid, boychild actually smiling)…

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And mom, relieved it’s over (suspect girlchild is as well)…

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I’m done trying to get kids into college! Now they’re on their own! Well, yeah. Probably not so much.

OK, so I have to go to work, drag my poor hemorrhaging body in to wait around for someone to let me leave. One year, I couldn’t find an admin to sign off, so I just left. Hmn…cuz I need to make up for the not-art I made yesterday and the day before.

Hiking It Off…

June 16, 2015

Ah. Grades are done. For the year. No more grades for at least 2 1/2 months. No more lesson planning for…um…a while (teachers work unpaid over the summer, in case you didn’t know that). I just have to survive a field trip to a bowling alley, one day of “teaching” (who thinks that’s a good plan?), and trying to entertain my kids during graduation because they’re not allowed out of my classroom for two hours.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it? But grades are done. That is a relief.

I planned a hike with my kids last night because one said he’d never been up Iron Mountain and because I want to test my foot out and make sure the pain isn’t coming back before my podiatry appointment. Plus I’m totally out of shape, so it makes sense to kick my physical ass when it’s 80 degrees out (I survived…tomorrow, I will be significantly sore, but I will survive). We did Iron Mountain, which claims to be 7 miles (I swear I thought it was only 5)…

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I was uber-smart and made dinner the night before and put it in the fridge. I always forget how long this takes, and doing it after work is exhausting sometimes. I had a good long conversation with the boychild though…

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I pissed off the girlchild (again) on the drive there, so she took off…

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Whatevs. She got back in the car with us at the end, so I guess she hasn’t disowned us yet.

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It was a little warm (OK, a lot warm) at the beginning, but a nice temperature by the end. And it was a relief to do it. I had two muscles cramping, and my knee is fussy, but the foot didn’t hurt. I’m planning more for next week too.

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This week is more of a survival thing (I keep saying that…because it is). That said, I managed to finally get off the couch after 10 PM and head into the office…

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Oh wait. That’s not an office picture. Oh well. I did quilt…

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And whoever the dingbat is who thought I could do the background quickly? She forgot that I needed to go in and around all those branches and leaves of the tree. Which took me over an hour last night. Argh. I’m at 7 hours and 40 minutes. I might get some time tonight, but Wednesday night is the girlchild’s graduation and Thursday night is something else. So I’d like to be done, but it’s highly possible I won’t be. And I might run out of thread (I should deal with that, shouldn’t I? Have a plan? I always have a plan. I put the color number in my phone. There’s the plan. I put a reminder in my calendar for after school)

How is it possible that the neighborhood mockingbird never sleeps? I hear it again now and I heard it when I went to bed. I hate that thing.

Anyway, I suspect there’s another couple of hours of quilting in this (at least)…so I underestimated the time. Oh well. It’s not like I can finish it sooner just because I want to. And I will get it done.

The Last Week

June 15, 2015

The end of the school year brings lots of extra tasks, like making awards certificates and finishing grades and cleaning out the classroom. The last week is usually kind of a survival situation, much like riding a luge on a track you’ve been on a long time ago. You sort of remember how you did it last year, but you’re not sure it was successful, and maybe they’ve changed the turns a bit, or your team is slightly different, so the luge itself might be off balance. Sometimes the last week sort of sneaks up on you…I don’t really know what happened to last week. It blew by me. So many tasks juggling at one time.

Friday and Saturday left me no time (or energy) for artmaking, and I only JUST made it up off the couch last night, much later than I thought. I knew this week was equally busy, and I really wanted to be done with this quilt this week, if that’s possible (and reality says that it may not be). So I quilted…

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The thing is, most of this quilt is the image, so once the outlining is done, there’s very little else to do. I knew I wanted to put some white thread in the bathtub area, but more to anchor it and give it some texture. I don’t quilt the heck out of my pieces. The background might take a small amount of time, but it’s really a small amount of space, compared to some of my quilts.

So I looked at the clock and thought about whether I was tired enough to sleep yet, because that’s always the issue. I don’t go to bed until I am.

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And at some point, I was…but by then, I was almost done with the outlining (yes, I outlined all the different blues in the water). So I finished.

Now all I have left to do is the background and the bathtub.

Meanwhile, I have 100 certificates to print out at school, in color; a crazy meeting at school; a hike planned with my kids (I made tonight’s dinner last night, just to make sure I could pull this off); grades that are pretty much done, until the 15 kids who were not in my class Friday hand me their last week’s work; a class to clean; and who knows what else will show up in my inbox before it’s time to quilt again tonight. I hope I’m super-efficient and get it done, but then there’s the issue of binding fabric, and who knows when I will be able to get that, since it’s doubtful I’ll have any here that’s big enough. Worst-case, I’ll start tracing the next quilt, the one I don’t even know if I’ll be allowed to show because of the nudity (I just didn’t ask). It needs to be made no matter what. I’m not asking because they might say no, but the rules as they stand don’t say that.

Yes, I do think these things through. Anyway. I’m in overdrive. I’m really tired too, despite trying to go to sleep earlier last night than normal. See, it will all get done no matter what. There is no other option. And whatever doesn’t get done probably doesn’t matter as much as people would like to think. Because it’s the last week of school…and not the last week for everything else. And in about 9 weeks, there will be a first week of school and this starts all over again.

Less Yelling

June 13, 2015

Already there are angry voices, upraised tempers, red flags flying. I’ve had a single sip of caffeinated savings (saving my brain from?) and I’m trying to deal with it’s my fault and why don’t I and anger anger anger. Why the anger? I don’t know. Because I had an eye doctor appointment instead of time to shop for heels and a dress. Sunday it will be anger because I have to finish grades (my job) and can’t go shopping. I’ve said this to myself so many times in the last 5 years…am I just doing it all wrong? Like there’s an easier path and I didn’t take it because I just didn’t know what were the right actions and the right words? Like I got the wrong life manual when they were handing that shit out, and I took the Tread on the Hot Coals manual for ninja warriors (do they do that?) instead of the suburban mom manual? OK, I’m not a suburban mom, it’s true, but I have a lot of the right ingredients for that. Soccer mom. Conventional job (that kicks my ass at the moment). I have a house and a Subaru and a dog and some cats (OK, I have half a dog…it goes back and forth between two houses). But somewhere in all of that, I couldn’t follow instructions. I couldn’t just do that, and some people do, but I couldn’t.

Is it the artist that screws everything up? Is it the divorce that makes it harder to manage the kids and the financial crap (well, yeah, duh)? Is it my fabric hoarder tendencies? My workaholic bent? What the fuck?

I slept in. There are four days left of school. I’m still tired. I stayed up late grading things (ALL the things actually) and packing up two quilts going up to an LA show opening in two weeks. Girlchild came in and vented. I let her. I listened. That’s all anyone needs when venting is happening…listening. Acknowledging that they’ve been heard. Then it’s out and dispersing and the mind is clear. I get that. So I vent here, quite a lot. You might have noticed.

I love my daughter, but she is hell on wheels sometimes. I’m sure my mom would say I deserved that, as I wasn’t easy either, but as an adult, I realized some of the things about my relationship with my mom that I wanted to try to avoid with the girlchild, so there were things I said I would not do, and for the most part, I have succeeded in that…and yet, I still have this opinionated spitfire (shocking, I know) who wants to kick authority in the nuts. And I GET that. I still have that in me. But I’m not the enemy.

So I’m sitting here crying because I am completely overwhelmed and scared about the future, especially financially, and I’m getting yelled at for not being psychic about food needs in the house and why no one will put dishes in the dishwasher but me. I’m about to go nuclear, I guess.

Deep breaths. Grades are close to done. I have to input everything, so I canceled my book club on Sunday (not done reading it anyway…hard read). I will go to the eye doctor (probably should have scheduled it later in the month), deliver the quilts, go out to lunch with the kids’ uncle from the UK, and then deal with some scary stuff that will hopefully stop being as scary. Then plan for the last four days of school, which are survival incarnate. And hopefully get some peace of mind in all of it.

The quilt sat last night, ignored, wrapped up and over the machine so no cat could besmirch it with their hairy bottom.

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I would have liked to have quilted, but the other things were louder and more…not important…but desperate in terms of timing.

Two quilts ready for delivery.

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I think I can hang in there this week. I don’t really have a choice, so the thinking part is moot. And that moody beast…hell, she’s going to college in just 10 weeks. I’m sure her stress levels are through the roof, so we will have to come to some uneasy truce about how to survive the summer in the same house. And then there will be less yelling here.

Launching Cat Turds…

June 9, 2015

Well, the good news is I finished stitching down the bathtub quilt last night, after school and the gym and cooking dinner and washing all the itinerant dishes (you know, the ones that don’t go in the dishwasher, so they just pile up in the sink and on the counter until the world is full of dirty dishes, and even then, teenagers won’t wash them). I started grading all the makeup work, but got kicked off my computer at some point (something about printers but then my color printer sucks because it is literally a million years old and I would replace it but I can’t afford to do that) and then there was a gluestick shortage, so I sincerely and strongly refrained from telling someone in the house (I cannot tell you whom) that leaving your major end-of-year project to the night before and expecting your mom to have all the supplies available at 9:30 PM (when in fact if you had texted her earlier in the day, she did in fact have access to TEN THOUSAND gluesticks, ok, maybe that is an exaggeration, but SERIOUSLY, I am a teacher)…well, that’s really incredibly stupid.

I did not say any of that, although according to my students, I do not need to say a damn word…they know exactly what I’m thinking just by looking at my face.

Oh well.

There are 8 days of school left. There are two days of (teaching) pregnancy left, three days of STDs and HIV, or maybe four…or maybe I just show some stupid movie in there (must go stupid movie shopping, oh WAIT, I have Netflix. I keep forgetting about that.). There’s a field trip in there and a graduation and some other shit that I can’t remember. At some point, none of it will matter any more.

So I finished stitching it down (as I was SAYING…hello brain, it would be nice if you would wake the fuck up)…

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It didn’t take long. I didn’t have a lot left. I didn’t start until almost 11 PM though. So I think it took about 4 1/2 hours total.

Then I found a piece of batting (need to buy batting before the next big quilt…might have enough for the next skinny quilt) and cut a backing, and thought about ironing all that and maybe even pinbasting it…

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And then I looked at the clock and it was 11:47 and I decided that was crazy. So maybe tonight? Or not. It’s hot, I have 5 science teacher interviews after school, and then back to the whole clean-up-the-kitchen thing even though I didn’t mess it up. Yesterday involved some crazy-ass screaming about cashews and the recycling never got taken out (see above crazy note about last-minute projects). This summer might be a tense one.

Kitten continues to come out and be sociable, which is nice.

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She’s not sure she approves of the sex scenes in Sense8, but whatever. She doesn’t need to screen my Netflix.

Midnight was also in here for the sewing activities…

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They are tolerating each other, much as I am tolerating the teens. Actually, one is OK…he just needs to get a job. He’ll be working for Grandpa today, but I really need him to get a real job. The other one is still in school for another week, so I won’t kill her until after that…and then when she refuses to do stuff around the house AND demand money for gas etc, then you will hear the yelling from here in East County.

But meanwhile, I’ll be getting another calm and soothing bathtub quilt done. OK, they’re not very calm and soothing, I admit. But maybe that’s where the imagery is aiming…if I sit in a nice warm bathtub for long enough, maybe I will feel less like launching cat turds into the girlchild’s bedroom, just to see if she notices with the disaster mess that’s in there.

OK, in retaliation mode. Gotta get off that. Gotta go continue to terrify students with my stories of pregnancy and labor. Not hard for me…

Waiting for the Dial Tone

June 8, 2015

I spent some time this weekend doing brain-deadening work…trying to clean up and organize photos on the computer, mostly of quilts. I had to go back AGAIN and try to figure out how many bathtub drawings there are and how the fuck I’ve numbered them. I still think I have it wrong. I think there are 5. I know I started by making number 2. Because it made sense at the time. Don’t question it. Anyway, I had avoided photos and videos from 2013 for the longest time because that’s when my world exploded for the second time, and I wasn’t taking digital photos when it happened the first time, so it’s not the same organizational issue, and I couldn’t handle the photos. So I was trying to clean up and thinking, hey, it’s been almost two years and aren’t you over all that? Dumbass. One video was all it took.

So that dragged me into a hole, and granted, I’ve got a uterus that’s holding me down there as well with all it’s dysfunction, plus it’s almost the end of school and I’m just a tad stressed out, but HEY. Yeah. Guess I will have to deal with those 2013 photos in maybe 2016. Or 2032, when I will have forgotten my name. Better that way.

Prom took over our world on Saturday…how these girls know about Charlie’s Angels, I don’t know…

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They went as a huge group, so we were at the photo session with a million parents.

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It’s funny. I don’t remember prom itself, just the stuff before and after. Which I guess is the good stuff anyway. By the end of all that prom assistance (trust me, all I did was drive around and pay for stuff), I managed one small cat drawing and that was it.

Sunday wasn’t much better for some reason. I had to get two labels on quilts that have to be delivered next weekend…

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Only one of the two will be in the show. The other one is a standby in case the first one sells, so they can just put it up on the wall to replace the first one. Strange…never been in a show where that was what happened.

I didn’t start stitching down again until almost 11 PM I think.

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I got a good chunk done because I once again decided sleep was not as important as others have made it out to be. That might have something to do with my mood, sure, but the mood goes all to hell and back if I don’t do some artwork each day, so I figure I’m better off losing the last hour of sleep, which is never a great hour anyway, because of bird noises and kid noises and kittens who hurdle my head. None of those are good things. Being a light sleeper sucks. Even in my own environment, in my own bed, I sleep badly, but I sleep better if I really push it until I’m exhausted. Otherwise, give it up…I’ll lie there wide awake for an hour or two before I fall asleep.

I’m once again on hold with financial aid, since it seems impossible to clear everything this year. I think they just hung up on me, because the awful music stopped, but who can tell? I guess I wait for the dial tone. Sort of a theme for my life right now, until school gets out. This week is for rushing to get grades in the system and finished, so I don’t have to do them all over the weekend. Hopefully I will be efficient. Same with the quilt. I need to finish the stitch down tonight and then maybe pinbaste…not sure I can do that tonight too. We’ll see. I need some gym time as well. The recording just told me there were 10 calls ahead of me and I’ve been on hold for 13 minutes. I have to leave for work in 20 minutes. What do you think? Gonna have to call again during prep? Probably. Sigh.


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