Crawling the Walls*

September 25, 2018

As I’ve been watching the Kavanaugh confirmation maelstrom erupt all over the news, all I can think is why? Why would we want anyone in that position who (a) doesn’t have the back of half the population of the country (seriously not thinking of women’s rights or needs, from what I’ve seen, unless you need me to be pregnant with no rights to my uterus) or (b) where there is any hint at all of sexual impropriety (Clarence Thomas, we’re talking to you right now). I keep hearing that it’s “normal” for boys to do stupid sex things when they’re kids…or even men, as adults…and it’s not normal. It’s not OK. It’s not in their genes. It’s not caused by testosterone. As one woman said, there are plenty of people in jail who did something stupid when they were 17…they just weren’t rich enough to get out of it.

As a woman, I’ve lived through my share of sexual crap, harassment and worse, all perpetrated by men. And my goal is that my daughter never ever has to go through that. She already has…both here in the US and in Madagascar. It’s everywhere. It’s one thing to fear for yourself, walking in the dark, keys between your fingers, poised to hit 911 on your phone. It’s an entirely different thing to think about your daughter in the same situation. Give up on him. Wait until after the midterm elections. The hypocrisy in the current administration is driving me nuts. There should be no question about this. Get Kavanaugh out.

It’s actually significantly hard to watch all this. It reminds me of how little women are regarded right now in this country…and that’s sad.

So all that’s in my head.

Yesterday, we walked the dogs. At one point, the little one got it into his head that he wanted to wander off the main trail into coyote country, so the boychild let him.

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He kept claiming we were on a truck trail. Uh huh. Right. Well, here, we are back on the main road. Turns out the puppy was trying out a shortcut.

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He cut a 1/4 mile out of our regular walk. He said he was tired. Probably we all have ticks now too.

I graded for a long while. I have a lot to get done and not much time in which to do it. But a little at a time works.

I only ironed for 45 minutes last night, but it was enough to find and cut out all these little leaves…

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Plus do the other arm (minus the hand)…and then start on the belly.

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Midnight came and told me to go to bed. Wow. I miss Midnight (the cat). Still. A year later. Anyway, Midnight the TIME told me to go to bed.

I paused…I’m watching Luther…but was fascinated by this picture when I paused…

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Off to bed, and there’s Katie, being a dork. Itchy nose, I think.

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I helped her with that. Oh yeah, and I forgot I packed a quilt last night to ship to a show this morning. Really, I got a lot of stuff done…it just wasn’t all in the artistic-making realm. Art has to get shipped. Science has to get graded. Dogs have to be walked. Making art is sort of the ugly stepchild…it goes last, gets the smallest helping sometimes.

OK, brain…you are off this morning. Still tired. Going to go to UPS now and then school and then tutoring…and then to watch another artist explain herself tonight. And hopefully by the end of the week, I’ll see my country screw its head back on. That would be a change from the last year and a half or so.

*Dave Gross, Crawling the Walls

Needing the Art…

September 24, 2018

Well I worked a lot this weekend. I got a lot done. It never feels like enough, because there is always more, but it was a good two days. Until your SIL asks what you did all weekend, and all you can say is “graded shit.” Well. It needed to be done. The next few weeks are busy…more for my date-night companion than for me, but mine will translate into more grades (progress reports are due next week) and hopefully artmaking. I carved out time yesterday for a significant chunk of that. At some point, I’ve done enough grading and I need to do something else.

One thing we did (well, the boychild did) was replace the wireless card in my computer, trying to solve the internet problem in here.

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Spiders had been in there. Weird. The plus is that when I have internet, it is now much faster. The minus is that I am still losing the internet…but only on the computer. The laptop and other devices work fine in here. Sigh. So that’s still a problem that needs solving.

I did do some work in the morning, schoolwork, but after 8 or so hours on Saturday of that, I wasn’t giving up the rest of the day. I started ironing around 4:30 PM…

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This one shouldn’t take long…

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I took a break to make this week’s lunches and start dinner prep. It was group cook night…make your own damn pizza. Although I did the dough prep.

So during dinner’s TV watching hour, I did more of these. I didn’t get much done last week on this.

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I think I still have 7 of them left. SLOOOWWW. I remember predicting the end of July. Maybe the end of September? That’s a little less than a week away. I only work on it when we’re both home and eat together, so last week, I think that was one night? Maybe 2?

Anyway, after that, it was back to the ironing. These are all the 100s, in stacks by 10s.

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I started by ironing the fruit and the fruit bowl separate and then putting them where they belong…

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Then working on the legs…back hip and roots first, then back foot…

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Simba was with me for a while…

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Here’s the whole front leg done…

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And then the heart and starting on the front arm.

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The bird and nest are done, but I quit before ironing all the leaves on. It was just about midnight at that point.

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And I would have had to lay out all the 300s and cut out a lot of the leaves (they’re small) before being able to iron them down. I do try to head to bed around midnight. So I ironed for 3 1/2 hours and I’m more than halfway done. I won’t get that much time tonight, but I will get some. We’ll see how well I do, but I would hope to be stitching down by Wednesday or so. I don’t have any night meetings this week until Friday, so that’s a plus. I do need to grade a lot still though…hopefully mostly at school. We’ll see.

I did not get the copyediting job, so that’s actually kind of a plus. He wasn’t the most accurate guy when it came to communication. Turns out he wasn’t just ignoring me for days…he was getting other quotes, which I don’t mind…but TELL me you received my bid and then TELL me why you aren’t answering. Geez. Professionalism. Meanwhile, I have students begging me to grade their late work (I do that once a week and I did it Sunday morning) and demanding that I change their grade because I didn’t tell them about the back page (I did) and kids losing their science folders in their backpacks (yikes!). Sigh. This job carries a significant amount of frustration, true. That’s why I love (and need) the art so much. Hell, I’d need the art no matter what I did for a living.

Sometimes a Head is Just a HEAD…

September 22, 2018

I’m up early (for a Saturday) because dogs. Dogs make noise. Dogs whine. Dogs scratch. Dogs want to go out and since dogs can sleep all day because dogs don’t have to work on the weekends, or for that matter, EVER, they don’t care that it’s the morning mommy gets to sleep in. I did get to sleep in for about an hour and a half, so I guess SHUSH brain that is really tired and foggy and wanted another hour at least. Maybe tomorrow (because tomorrow is NO DOG MORNING…the only one I get during the week oh hallelujah if a cat wakes me up tomorrow, there will be hell to pay.).

Really, I should be less vehement about sleep. Someday I will be old and retired and I will sleep a lot and not be able to do as much as I do now, so I think I will be a shitty sleeper now.

Dog neediness. They are everywhere.

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So we had gaming last night and we thought we were actually going to finish but there were lots and lots of bloodthirsters that we had to kill (is that one word, bloodthirster? I just don’t know), but NO. We could not finish, it was 10 PM and tiredness abounded so no. Yes, I stitched. I stitched a lot, actually.

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I finished the rhinos (they just needed that symbol thing), although I just realized (a) I need to do stitching on that plaid rectangle) and (b) that tree part needs stitching…I wonder where the fucking instructions are for THAT? Sigh.

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And I finished the bird, but the road has to continue through here and the road instructions are on the June instructions, which I put back in the notebook. So I need to pull those back out. The road is complicated.

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So then all that’s left for July is the butterfly. Not bad. Someone on the current block of the month (which I haven’t started…this is 2015’s BOM, by the way) said it took 40 hours a month to do one month’s worth of stitching. That could be true. I’ve been working on Folk Tails for a long time…not since 2015…it looks like I might have started in August 2016 or so. So that’s two years so far.

Anyway. I have to work my butt off on grading today, so I’m hoping to iron a quilt together, but I don’t know if I’ll get there today. It’s all ready to go, but some days I just have to be a teacher full time. Oh, plus go to the vet with a dog and a cat. But I’ll try. I want to. That’s a start.

And to all the people who thought I was referring to blow jobs with my drawing yesterday, you know, sometimes a head is actually Just a Head. Seriously. Men.

Still no network card here, so I’m not even trying to play music. Will have to write my own post title. Dammit.


September 21, 2018

I keep drawing heads swallowing smaller heads. It’s actually even a notation in my weekly journal, constantly on the to-do list…”draw more heads smaller” is what it says. And yet I keep drawing them the same, not fitting more than one or two on the page (probably a function of page size…I should totally go full size). I’m not sure what it means. People always want me to explain my work, and when they realize that I was really tired last night and I made the mistake of having a glass of wine with dinner instead of waiting until really late, and so I almost fell asleep on the couch at 9:30 PM, like a normal person, but then I realized what was going on and got up and got my act together and did something artistic, and somehow that turned into being awake enough to draw another head-swallowing moment, well they give me that look that makes me wonder how crazy I really am. I’m sure it’s some psychological thing where I feel like my job and life are swallowing what I really want to be doing or something like that. Not so difficult to figure out.

I’m not really crazy. Just a bit. Just praying here to the internet/computer gods that I can keep the connection long enough to post this. New computer card arrives today. Let’s hope it solves the problem. Here’s the drawing, not done.

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I don’t know where it’s going. I just wanted to draw. So I did. That’s a little less than an hour’s worth of pen on paper. It felt nice. I should do more of it.

It’s really only because I couldn’t get the internet to function at all, so I couldn’t grade anything. Frustrating. I need to grade stuff.

I did have quilt class last night. I finished outlining the blue flowers, sewed the rhino horns with split stitch…harder than you might think over wool…and then palestrina knots for the bird’s legs.

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It never looks like much for 2 hours of work. There will be more of it at gaming tonight. I’m on the July blocks now. I think.

In between the class and the drawing, I did sort the fabrics for the next quilt, so I can start ironing this weekend. Here’s in process…

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And done. Very exciting stuff.

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This is not a hugely complicated quilt, so it didn’t take long. If I weren’t so tired (why am I so tired???), I would’ve started ironing it together, but that would’ve meant standing up. I didn’t do a lot of standing or walking yesterday…I was in a training, which meant my classroom went to hell in a handbasket. I love trainings. Actually, we planned for most of it, so that was good, because we needed to do that. We need to do more, of course, always more, but we’re closer than we were.

So this weekend is full of grading and hopefully ironing. And sleeping in tomorrow. I really like to sleep in. I’m such a shitty sleeper, it’s kind of ironic that I get up in the morning and I’m already thinking about when I might be able to put the pillow over my head and ignore the alarm clock.

I’m not even trying to play music right now. It would break the computer. It means I have to come up with a title with no support system. Hmmm.

Just One More Peaceful Day*

September 20, 2018

I haven’t had time to draw in a while. I used to draw a lot more. I’d like to draw more. One I think I do draw is cover pages for science. I also draw when I have a specific piece or exhibit in mind. In science, every unit has a cover page that’s about the upcoming topic. It gives the kids a chance to sort of check out the subject matter, google a bunch of stuff about whatever we’re studying, and start to use some vocabulary words. For me, it’s a chance to draw and color for a good portion of the day. I even sit at their tables with them and color (I usually pick the most disruptive table, so there is a purpose to my madness). Yesterday was such a day…the beginning of Unit 2. I also got a bunch of grading done, so I don’t feel bad about taking a break to hang out and draw.

So the next unit is earth science…

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I illustrated some of the vocab words…and then I got to color.

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It just took 5 tries to get that picture to load. Internet, wifi, computer, whatever it really is, I’m about to scream. So many struggles. I know, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just frustrating.

When I got home from school, after hanging out at Michael’s and trying to find things that would fit in a graduated cylinder (don’t ask…it’s the life of a science teacher)…we took all three dogs out for a long tiring walk.

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At no point in time did my legs get excited about this walk. I was excited. I was breathing in the air…looking at the landscape, taking in the outdoor existence. All good. But my legs were like lumps of wood that I dragged along on the trip. Also, the puppy was like that. Uphill was torture for him. Apparently he spent 4 hours racing around in the morning and he was tired.

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So we made him more tired. All of them really, because then Calli basically collapsed at my feet for the next 4 hours. Right there. Not moving. So I cut stuff out for about 4 hours too.

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I just refused to do any schoolwork. Looking back on it, that was lame. But I did it. It’s done. It is what it is. Moving on.

At several points, I almost quit cutting because it’s not the most exciting thing in the world to do and sometimes those pieces are a pain in the butt to cut out. All the little tiny flesh pieces, for example, kind of drive me nuts. Yes, I know I drew them, but that doesn’t mean I like cutting them out. Not every part of the process is fun and games.

Anyway, I got down to this…

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And I’m looking at the clock, knowing I would have to be up a bit early this morning, and I’m thinking, ah, what the heck. Just finish tomorrow. Except I already know I have a meeting and probably really will have to grade something and I really should just do it. Well, you know me. I did just do it.

Here’s the whole quilt, ready to be ironed together. That’s about 8 hours of cutting…

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It doesn’t look like much. I don’t know if I’ll be able to start tonight…maybe a little bit? I have a meeting and I need to grade some stuff. It does feel like the grading never ends. In fact, I’m going to do some now. Before work. I think. And then hopefully I can get this ironed together by early next week. That’s the plan anyway.

*Staind, It’s Been Awhile

Confusing What Is Real*

September 19, 2018

I’m sitting here staring at the white screen of the computer. I do that a lot. I sit down and realize I have no idea why I’m there…or it’s morning and my brain is still nonfunctional and I know I write the blog because it clears my brain and keeps me motivated and moving forward on art, but I don’t know where to start. I need the sentence starters I give my students. And it’s only Wednesday, but I’m looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday. That’s a little pitiful.

So the quilt I’m working on (very slowly) now does not have to be done until late October, early November, but there was something else I wanted to make with the same deadline. I don’t think I’m going to make that one. I think I’ll skip it. I have another one with a deadline a month later that I think is the better choice. I like both ideas, both themes, I even already did a pre-drawing for the earlier one, but I just don’t think I can pull it off. Grading is sucking up a lot of my time, as is trying to be healthy and all that good exercise stuff. I actually like to exercise, but work gets in the way…all the works…school, art, and copyediting. Balance. I never get there.

I did make it to the gym last night, though, and I finished my book (finally…it’s due at the library on Saturday, so that’s a good thing), but then also graded assignments while on the elliptical. Kinda crazy, but it was an easy assignment to grade anyway.

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I’m not quite done…but I got a good chunk of it done while ellipticizing. Or however you verb that. I do actually really like going to the gym. I just have to find the time to do it. This is one of the ways I can pull it off. Two things at once.

Meanwhile, I do have a lot of art wandering the world at the moment. Pam Rubert posted this picture of my quilt Untied with a design/illustration class touring the eXtreme Fiber Art exhibit. Very cool!

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And I’m still waiting on all those shows I entered back in August and early September. Three have notified…two acceptances and one rejection. Not bad odds so far, but the harder ones are coming up…five more to go. I don’t expect acceptances on any of the five, but it would be nice. If not, then I enter more shows.

Meanwhile, here’s the piece that’s in progress. I’m slowly cutting things out. I’d like to say I’ll be done by the weekend…but that’s only an hour I got in last night…

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I’m maybe halfway done? It’s hard to tell. That was after tutoring, going to the gym, cooking dinner, and cooking lunches for the next three days. Not the best food plan for this week. But it’s done. I didn’t start cutting until 11 PM or so. Really late. And I’m feeling it this morning. All of it. Ugh. Moving. Sucks.

Katie is the only dog here this morning. The other two went to my ex’s with the boychild. She wouldn’t go out to pee last night…she’s scared of the dark, especially when she’s by herself. I went out with her, with the flashlight, and told her to pee, and she’d run to the nearest dirt and then run back to the back door. Once she pretend-squatted for like 4 seconds…and then came in and peed on her bed.

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Sigh. So at midnight, I ran laundry. You dork. She gets lots of pets but is especially neurotic.

Today I shop for small plastic animals that fit in a graduated cylinder, I teach a cover page (yay drawing!) about the Earth, I hopefully walk the dogs, I don’t have to cook dinner (double yay!), and I get to cut stuff out. I might have to grade stuff as well. Who are we kidding? I have to grade stuff. But balance. I think it might be impossible to achieve balance with this job. The school one. Maybe the other two as well.

*Linkin Park, Crawling

It Ain’t Going Nowhere*

September 18, 2018

My internet here in this office, with this computer, is getting worse and worse. I had 85 videos to watch yesterday, short ones, but 85 nonetheless. So I’m sitting here with video after video freezing, frustrated as hell, but then the internet or my computer figures its shit out and its go go go. So I got them done and all…there’s a wireless card on its way here that may help…or I may give up and wire this room…because the wireless sucks. Hopefully it’s fixable. All that was after picking up my sewing machine, where the guy who fixes it actually noticed one of the inconsistent issues I was having and fixed it (he thinks), plus playing dodgeball at school as a team-building exercise. I don’t like dodgeball. I didn’t like it when I was a kid; I like it even less now. I don’t have the reflexes or good eyesight to catch, I don’t have the upper body strength to throw, and I’m not that kind of competitive, the kind where you have to bean someone to win. We came in 2nd place, which was kind of a surprise. And here’s the thing. There were a few staff members out there who are new, who I don’t know at all. So if I’d been paired with them at a staff meeting, I would have been open-minded about meeting them and getting to know them. But the one who hit me hard? Well, now I just think he’s an asshole. So I’m not sure the team-building worked.

Whatever. I’m too cynical some days. Moving on.

After grading all those videos, I made a good dinner, one I will make again, although once again, the recipes are totally clueless about how long stuff takes to cook…30 minutes, my ass. But relatively easy, once the time adjusts (to an hour, fuckwads, an hour). After that, I revised the copyediting bid…apparently he totally miscalculated the word count…so instead of a nice sum of money, it’s an OK sum of money. Less time? Less money. Pros and cons. I’m a little relieved on the time commitment, but then it almost doesn’t feel worth it. So conflicted!

Then I cut stuff out for a while…

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Which apparently I was also doing LAST year on September 17 at night. Weird how that works. Pile of trash on the left, cut-out pieces in the middle, lots still to be cut out on the right. That’s like 2 hours of cutting. It looks like nothing. More of that tonight. Although grading too? Ugh.

Kind of pitiful.

Plus I have these guys following me everywhere.

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At one point this morning, after one person left for work and the other person wasn’t out of their room yet, I had all five animals in here…

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Two cats are not in this picture…one is on the chair behind me, and one is hiding behind the monitor. There’s no being alone in this house.

Which is probably OK.

*Alison Moyet, Invisible