Scissors Cutting Wonder Under…

I feel like I should follow up the last post with It’s Monday! Like you don’t know what day it is. It IS Monday. Pros: It’s a new week, I finished grading all the science units AND projects over the weekend, and it’s supposed to rain here today…good for plants. Cons: Monday. Tired. Worked all weekend so I don’t feel ready or rested. Pros: All the stuff for school this week is copied and organized. Cons: We planned a week where we are ON for four out of the five days. Granted, we are ON with Oreos on 1 1/2 of those days. Y’all, I don’t like block schedule. Those periods are so LONG and kids check out unless it’s AMAZEBALLS the entire time. Which sometimes it is…like Thursday and Friday. That is exhausting though for the teacher. This week, I will be demonstrating tectonic plates with Oreo cookies…and magma with corn syrup. It’s cool, but it’s a lot of being ON all the time.

Other exciting things for this week: I need to find a Halloween costume in my stash that will not be too hot to wear in the mid- to high 80s. It should be Disney-themed, but I might just fuck that off, because I don’t have the will or the brain power. I’m supposed to dress like my opposite gender on one day, but I think I already do that every day. Maybe I don’t have to wear a bra that day? That would be AWESOME. Not an issue in middle school at all. I can totally get away with that.

Oh man. My brain is on a roll.

So on Friday, I finished tracing all the pieces…

That’s 6 yards, some with a ton of tiny pieces; some with some whopping big pieces. It took a little over 17 hours to trace them all…not bad for 1500 or so pieces. It’ll probably be at least 7 or so hours to cut them out. I didn’t start until last night…

The day job ran the weekend. That’s about 40 minutes of cutting stuff out. Expect to see shots of that pile growing each night until it’s done.

I really did grade most of the weekend. I had about 50 videos to watch with a smattering of slide presentations to check if there was no video. But they’re done. This is a good thing.

I took a break in between Periods 3 and 4 to go for a 3.6-mile hike…

I just needed a break…and some exercise. It sucks to spend a weekend this way, but if it means I can come home all this week and NOT watch videos, I’m OK with it. The end of the trimester is coming up, and I will be out of town the weekend right before grades are due, so I’m trying to get all the last-minute shit out of the way…because my art class will be slamming me with two projects right before the end of the trimester. So there’s that. I know…it’s my fault…but there’s nothing I can do about that. I’ll figure it out. This school year is not low maintenance.

Cat forts…

They like them.

This lizard has moved into the camp chair I left outside.

It’s there every time I get home. The chair is mostly broken, which is why it’s out there…I guess it’s now a lizard home.

OK. Well I’ve got about a million things on the to-do list this week, but I’m hoping that art will happen in the form of scissors cutting Wonder Under every night. Maybe I’ll be done by the weekend? That would be nice…to be ironing onto fabric next weekend? It could happen. I’d need to clean up in here, of course. No Halloween parties for me…just fabric? Maybe. Oh yeah, it’s school photos today. I’m not in the mood. Think I have some animal snouts somewhere I could use for that…should find those. This week also includes reviewing my insurance because it’s open enrollment, plus a flu shot, book club, some exercise, some planning (hopefully a lot of planning), and a Zoom stitching meeting. Plus a chiropractic adjustment while in costume. Things to think about when choosing one’s costume. Hmmm.

Happy Monday thoughts, y’all.

It’s Friday!

Man, this has been a rough week. I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. You roll over and groan and think, oh shit, I have to get up and teach and things…then I realized we’ve been doing labs all week, labs with MATH IN THEM (the horrors) and MATH IS HARD. So today we have to finish everything up and I’m going to do the math bits for them because otherwise none of the answers work. Sigh. Seriously, if another kid tells me a block that fits in my hand is 83 centimeters long, I might scream. It’s fine. Everything is fine. Yesterday there were tubs of water on every table for science, then I had to deal with a group who thought it was OK to draw on the blocks we use for measuring…

OK, I’m a middle school teacher, so I see a penis in every drawing they do…maybe it’s a butterfly or a person…I just don’t know. I do know I reamed them. Especially when one outed the other and then that one outed the first one. The third kid…I’m like, get outta here…you’re innocent. Sigh. Then the art class came in and we did glue in there, so it’s like all the bad materials in one day…water plus triple-beam balances plus glue.

Today there is nothing on their tables…well, until art, and I can deal with that short term. There’s also a chance I’ll have to sub during my prep period, so the fact that I have 7 thousand copies to run for next week…well that’s irrelevant. I can do those at midnight, without moving, because the alarm will go off.

My job is frustrating me a bit. Some people are like, well why don’t you quit? Sigh. To do what? That pays me enough? It’s not that I don’t love my job…there are parts of it that are really great and amazing, but these COVID years and trying to retrain kids “if I didn’t tell you to do that during a lab, then don’t do it!”…amazingly dense behaviors…ironic since we’re trying to explain density. Maybe we should just hand them a marshmallow and a chunk of metal and finish it up with that.

I will be in a better mood this weekend. Hopefully. After a hike and some book reading. Plus maybe finishing the tracing part of this quilt! I had a Zoom meeting with quilt friends last night and traced during that…

So between that and the hour and 20 minutes I did on Wednesday night, I have almost 16 hours in and about 115 pieces to go.

I should be done tonight and on to the second exciting stage (in photos) of cutting all those fuckers out. Yeah!

We bought Simba a new bed and it might be too small and a cat might have already claimed it.

Sigh.

OK. I will survive. Gotta get out of here and pick up my co-teacher and head for school. It’s Friday!

Big Swathes of Wonder Under

I brought work home last night. And then refused to do it. All in my head, of course. I need to get some work done, but by the time I dropped my stuff on the floor at home, I knew I needed a walk to clear my head more than I needed to get work done. So that’s what I did. It got dark earlier than I wanted, so I had to cut it short…only 2 1/2 miles instead of 3 1/2, but it was definitely worth it. Since going back in person, it’s been really hard to get exercise in during the week. I’m managing one Pilates class mid-week and that’s about it. Working on that…but it’s work that gets in the way, unfortunately. Too much of it. At least Monday’s vote on revising the master schedule was a big hell no, status quo. That change would have added hours of work in the short term.

I have a ton of projects and units to grade. I’ll get to them. Just didn’t do it last night.

Meanwhile, I’m still tracing things. Mostly I’ve been tracing pieces of sky and land for the last two days. They’re big, complicated pieces, so they take longer to trace. I can’t do 100 of them in an hour. I did get over the 1000-piece hump last night, finished the sky, so all I have left to do is about 500 pieces in the bubble. This is not fast, though. Maybe by the weekend I’ll be done? We’ll see.

The big landscape pieces use up big swathes of Wonder Under…

Some of these yards have 300 pieces on them; some only have 10 really big pieces. I’m up to 6 yards, though…with at least one more to go, I suspect. We’ll see. I have a lot of space on a few of those yards that could be filled in with smaller pieces.

It’s my dad’s 81st birthday today. Last year, he almost died, so 81 feels particularly good to me.

I bought two SAQA blocks this year from the auction…because I sold two quilts and really liked both of these.

Laurel Izard on the left and Paula Dean on the right. I need to get them up on the wall this weekend.

I packed up a quilt for a show last night too. I think there are two others I need to ship this weekend. I have to deliver this other one after work tomorrow. That will be a long day. Hell, they’re all long at the moment. We did labs yesterday and the inability to listen and be safe was an issue. It’s gonna be a rough lab year. So we talked about that. I have one kid who can’t participate tomorrow…so far. Hopefully no more.

Views from the walk…

It got dark quickly…

Squiggly moon as I came down my hill to the house.

Walking was good. Tracing was good. Ugh to the rest. I need to water the plants tonight. I have Pilates, oh good. My hips and back need it. I’ll try grading stuff again tonight. Hoping I don’t lose my prep period to having to sub someone else’s class. That stuff sucks. I need to call my dad. I need more food for dinner, because the boychild came home earlier than we thought. So all that. Plus labs all day, crazy switchout between block 1 science to art to block 2 science…all different equipment and supplies. Ugh. OK. But I can do it. And then it will be done.

Growl Mode…

I’m in growl mode. Didn’t get enough sleep. Didn’t get enough done. Trying to be all zen about today, but it doesn’t feel zen. Want to go back to bed. Want another few days off work. Not an option. Yeah, it’s Monday…maybe this is all about Monday. Some really cool stuff is going on…I got a new sewing machine. My parents surprised me on Friday…told me mom had picked up my machine at the store where I had dropped it for repair (she goes there a lot), so I went to get it from her. And they had traded the old one in and gotten a deal on a new one. I’ve never had a new machine. I owe them some money, which is fine, because they don’t want it right this second, but here she is…

It’s a Viking…I’ve always sewn on Vikings. Looking forward to getting to know her better…many thanks to my parents. May she sew like the wind for a good long time.

I’ve been tracing every night…

It doesn’t look a whole lot different each night, but I made it to the 900s last night, so more than halfway done.

With about 9 1/2 hours in…

I’ve been tracing a lot of small things. The background will be a lot of big things, if I ever get there. Maybe by the weekend? We’ll see. Some nights, I get an hour in…some an hour and a half. Not much more than that. Always have school stuff and grading to do. I spent a lot of time on that yesterday…a good 5 hours or so. Did I finish? Do I ever finish?

This is cool…one in cocoon and one just starting…

That was Friday or Saturday…I should go check again. But I have to work first…today is a challenge. Have to get kids to finish all the things and turn them all in…and then grade them. Never-ending stuff that. Plus a staff meeting where we get to decide whether to upend the schedule completely or grow some classes on the large side. The opportunity to separate some troublesome kids who shouldn’t be together? But we could do that one kid at a time if we needed to. It’s an UGH meeting. OK, they are all UGH meetings.

Drew this before dinner on Saturday. There was no Sharpie in my purse…not sure why. So I was stuck with a ballpoint. Hate that.

Takes too long.

OK. Cranky mood notwithstanding, I still have to teach. Lack of sleep not helpful. I went to bed early. My brain was just not in the best place. Let’s all hope it gets to a better place (or exhaustion) by tonight. Until then, I know I will get to trace later tonight. And I did get a lot done yesterday, even if it felt like a work day (because it was). Crossing lots of things off the to-do list is a plus.

Fast and Furious

Well I have about 8 minutes here to write. Fast and furious. It’s been long days at work, interspersed with some tracing and a little stitching with friends. On Wednesday, the union meeting went for almost 3 hours…I managed to get these graded before and during, as I was listening.

This is the only way I can grade art. Lay it out in the spectrum. So different than grading science.

I get an hour or a little more of this done every night…

I’m in the 400s…only 1100 to go or so.

I just have the head to do on the second figure. IDK how many more to go. There’s a lot of people in this quilt.

I managed stitching last night with friends…well I stitched and they crocheted.

It’s nice to hang out with humans who aren’t pre-teens. And cats…

Luna on her pillar. Yes, I had to cover the top because she kept scratching it. She doesn’t scratch the bottom of it. Ah well.

Unit 2 at school is ending Monday.

So there’s lots of panic on the kids’ part to get work done.

Or not. Some kids don’t get the urgency. It’s been a rough week. I’m looking forward to a couple of days off. Parent meeting this morning with someone who will probably be a major issue. Love those. Enable your kids’ behavior. Please. And then trying to get kids through the assignment. I’m tired.

Ah well. It is Friday. Fridays are often tired. Saturdays will be art and more art with some grading probably. Maybe not. That’s something to look forward to. And more tracing. Meditative. It’s good to do that right before bedtime.

It’s Like Meditation

Well. Morning arrives bah boom. 12 texts later and I’m sort of awake, although tea takes a while to percolate up to the brain. I don’t know if you know, but I’ve been going to sleep earlier than I used to for about 8 months now. I’m less tired, but yes, I get less done too. I suspect it’s better for my health in some ways, but sometimes I wish I could do art for longer at night and sleep less. Some nights, I barely feel like I sleep, even though I’m in the bed place. That’s probably a different issue.

Last night was Back-to-School Night…I saw a whopping 5 sets of parents…it’s COVID, no kids allowed (which means the translators are all gone!). Plus families can’t always leave kids at home, and some can’t get off work. We don’t usually have a lot, but this was really low. Understandable. It does explain my exhaustion last night and today though. Today is a union meeting, back on Zoom for those, not sure for how long. Some parts of school are easier this year…teaching in person is easier than on Zoom, for sure, although some of the behavior stuff would be nonexistent on Zoom, because those kids just wouldn’t show up. Some parts are just a pain, though. I can’t keep up with the workload, at the moment. I get close and then realize I’m only caught up in one subject, and the other one is yelling at me. I’m not sure when that will change…maybe it won’t this year. Ugh.

So coming home and spending at least an hour making art is one of the things that keeps me sane. Right now, I’m in the tracing stage…I’ll probably be here for about 20 hours or so, so that’s a while on the one-hour-a-day thing I’m doing at the moment. I try to trace at least 100 pieces before I go to bed. Sometimes I do more.

I hate wasting Wonder Under. I try to fill in all the blank spots. Then I remember it’s pretty cheap stuff and it’s not really a waste, because my time is worth something.

And sometimes I worry about how it’s not very environmentally friendly. Sigh. Then I tell myself that making art helps. Me, definitely. Hopefully somewhere else too. Who knows?

Anyway, I’m tracing and it’s like meditation and that’s good. I have a union meeting after school today, so it’s another long one. This week is just bad…but maybe I’ll have time for a walk after the meeting. We’ll see. And maybe I’ll get a lot of shit done at school too and it will feel less overwhelming. I have a list written down. That’s a good place to start.

Grading with Pancakes…

Progress on the quilt, a good long hike in the out of doors…even some grading got done. I learned that when I have to grade something hard, I should do something else at the same time…like making pancakes for the next three weeks of breakfasts. Pour batter, grade a thing, flip pancakes, grade a thing, remove from pan, grade a thing. Takes care of that need to get up and scream.

So the drawing is done as of Saturday night…on Friday, I added more paper to the top and decided against another figure…

I just needed enough for some weather. I had help.

Not really. I worked on the people in the bubble…

I really don’t understand the need to tell people what to do with their uteri. It makes no sense to me unless you are willing to adopt the child and feed and clothe it and send it to school. Otherwise, why the fuck do you care? When you are the same people who are OK with immigrant children in cages. When you are the same people ranting about having to wear a mask. It makes no fucking sense. And to ignore the male part of the equation is just stupid. Women don’t get pregnant by themselves, and men can get more than one woman pregnant at a time. There’s your problem…right there. Penises and sperm. Start with those if you wanna get all high and mighty.

Still not helping, Luna.

Saturday we hiked 7 1/2 miles in the Lagunas, which was really nice.

The weather was pretty chilly when we started…

Beautiful blue skies once the clouds went away.

We started at Penny Pines, hiked to the Big Laguna Trail, then cut across…

through Horse Heaven Campground, across the road, then picked up the PCT on the other side.

I’ve done the section north of Penny Pines toward Garnet Peak, but not this piece…great views of the desert on one side, the mountains on the other.

It was definitely warmer on the desert side.

Saw a family hiking this trail…guess they don’t read.

Weird.

Took me forever to see this stick insect. The man saw it right away.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the wild. It was a good hike and we were back at a reasonable time for me to get some work done, which I also needed to do.

Hey, there’s a Swallowtail cocoon on my lemon tree…

And one of the caterpillars is still feeding…

So many of them disappear; I’m assuming eaten by birds.

I started this drawing on Thursday, the night I forgot to prep dinner, and then finished it Saturday night.

Kinda like it. Not sure what it’s about. But it feels huggy.

Then filled in the background on the big drawing…finished!

Although I ended up adding some lines last night just to break up some pieces more logically. Then I numbered it last night…

Which took an hour and a half…

It’s got 1513 pieces, but I know I have some a’s and b’s in there because I missed things the first time through and wanted the numbers to attempt to make sense.

My dad gave me an article about the guy who helped make the Texas Abortion bill and how he thought about getting around all the challenges. What an ass (the guy, not my dad). Seriously, couldn’t he do something with his skills that might help humanity? Save the planet? Cure disease? Not create a larger unsupported, sometimes unwanted, sometimes unneeded population? That men aren’t responsible for? Yeah. Not a fan.

Well the next step is to trace. First, though, off to work on very little sleep. I’d like to thank my brain for the first hour or so of not sleeping, and a small dog for the last hour or so. He will adapt to our new morning schedule, I think, but it will take a while. Until then, I will either need more caffeine or many naps (not likely).

I leave you with this drawing of magma that looked an awful lot like COVID…

Yeah, makes sense to me.

Sometimes Art Just Needs to Be Made…

One of the reasons I have a hard time sleeping is that Art Brain doesn’t get a lot of time during the school day to process ideas. She tends to start at about 10 PM and since I’m going to bed earlier this year, it doesn’t leave much time for the work of it. I fell asleep last night to her taping more paper to the top and right side of this drawing so she could add storm clouds and another figure. She and I will talk later…I know she’s frustrated at only drawing for an hour a night, but last night, I was exhausted when I got home (at almost 6 PM) and had forgotten I was in charge of dinner (never defrosted, let alone marinated meat), so after food was handled (we went out) and my non-Art Brain had a chance to decompress, there was only an hour and a bit before bedtime. And I was exhausted. So I went for the sleep.

I woke up this morning with the drawing stuff still in my head, but now it has to wait until tonight to get drawn and/or decided. Tape more on top? Definitely. Not sure about the other bit. I’ll think about it.

I have been drawing for about an hour a night, though. Some weeks, I get to make art for 10+ hours, some even 18 (OK, that’s when I completely blow off work on the weekend, which I pay for later)…this week is a solid 6 so far. Not great. Could be better.

I roughed in some stuff on the right side when I started this, then started adding protest signs.

And a white woman with cash…because they can always get an abortion, right? If they’re rich enough? That’s one of the many things wrong with this system of Christian ideals. They are only for everyone ELSE. If my precious gets pregnant and that will affect her future, we’ll find a way. I hate that shit.

And then last night, I kept working on that right side. I think there’s going to have to be hand embroidery on this thing for some of the smaller writing.

I’m ignoring all the deadlines popping up. I might even be ignoring size restrictions for some big shows. Not sure. Nah, it’s still smallish. Ha! Not if I add more at the top and sides. Ah well. Sometimes art just needs to be made. Sometimes they never get into a show. It sucks. But it needs to be made.

I still need to add the entire landscape behind the women. The bubble gets none of that. They live in their bubble world. We get nature. Fuck ’em.

Sometimes I write notes on the drawings as I’m going along…apparently a cat objected to my focus on human rights…

Nova. Seriously. So I’m back to covering up all the edges so she doesn’t get excited again. Midnight used to eat my drawings. Annoying.

This is what I started at dinner.

Trying to keep the weekly drawing practice going, in between trying to manage art and art supplies and science and science supplies and grading and contracts and getting tested. I’m hopefully going hiking tomorrow. And then I’ll grade and hopefully get the drawing ready for the next stage by the end of the weekend. It’s got 6 hours into it so far. For those who want to know how long things really take, I’m betting there’s at least another 2-4 hours to go before she’s done.

So I’m going to drive off into the rain (rain? We have rain?) and get through the day, persuade a bunch of 11-year-olds to actually FINISH their art and not just take the fastest route to done, try to keep track of 100+ 12-year-olds who want to partner with ALL their friends, and somehow manage to get some grading done in between all that (ha! whatever). Nature and art this weekend, though. Yes, grading…but the others too.

Staring at the Paper…

So. If you have a meeting after work about a kid, but you also have your exercise class, which is part of what keeps you sane and healthy, do you (I’m not skipping the class, y’all) dress for the class so you can stay longer at the meeting? Or leave earlier to go get dressed. I’m leaning toward the latter. The former is more efficient and makes more sense, but probably the latter is more professional. Or just send notes to the meeting and know your co-teachers will say the same stuff you do, because it’s not like the kid is different in his other classes. He’s pretty consistent. These are the things that keep me up at night…that and my natural distrust of the white male politician. And a sense of overwhelming dread that accompanies my workload.

It’s a good thing I’m drawing an hour every night…that’s my goal anyway. Draw for an hour, meditate, attempt sleep. Repeat. Some of the “drawing” is just staring at the paper, which is also allowed.

Not sure if it’s the future mom or the fetus who isn’t ready in this figure. Maybe both. That night, there was thunder and lightning galore, and Calli lost her mind over and over again. So I didn’t sleep much either.

The left side is coming along…

I will give them a natural landscape to be in, a green space. The bubble on the right is harder to draw.

I think I have most of the figures on the left done. I’m trying to refrain from more details. There’s enough. I got myself all tied in knots over shadows last night…drawn shadows. They just got to be too much. So I got rid of a bunch of them.

I also entered another show, which took over an hour, although that “family friendly” tag is in there, so who knows what will get in, if anything. I did get into two things yesterday, which is nice. Swallow Me Whole will be in Fiber Art Now as part of Excellence in Quilts

And Wise Choice will be going to San Diego Mesa College for their Sowing Seeds exhibit.

It was part of the Earth Stories exhibit and hasn’t been seen locally, I think. It traveled a lot and then got rolled up. It’s all about birth control and giving women the right to plan families and childbirth…ironically very similar to what I’m working on in the current drawing. Things don’t change. I wish they would, but they don’t seem to.

The symptoms from the booster seem gone now…a little fatigue and feeling like I was coming down with the flu, plus a sore arm. I think I’m good now. And more protected, which is a plus.

OK, with that, I have two meetings today during and after school, an exercise class, and then hopefully some delightful drawing going on. One can hope. The drawing itself will be delightful…the things I am drawing are not so much. I probably have to grade some things too. At least it’s nice and cool for a few days…no more lightning, but drizzly clouds. I’ll take that.

Missed This, Remembered That…

Saturday was already sorta packed…I wanted to go to a show that was closing that day, plus I had a meeting, an actual in-person meeting. I totally spaced on the fact that it was October and there was a women’s march. Damnit. I meant to look it up, but apparently I’m off the information list or something, and I missed it. Sigh. I did come home after everything I DID do and start drawing an angry quilt in response to the crazy Texas abortion ban. It’s been in my head, drawing and redrawing itself for days, so I finally started to vomit it on paper. With a pen. Much cleaner that way.

I tried drawing part of this in my sketchbook earlier in the day, but eh. Not so much. And my evening was kind of irritating. I almost just shut down and did nothing. My brain was in a bad place. But then I got up and cut the paper and started sketching in pencil, getting the broad idea of where things were going, and kept going from there. This was about an hour in…

And then last night, I started in on the details…which is the one problem with drawing full size…I put too many details in and they’re small…

I’m trying to remember that. But maybe I don’t care as much as I should. I just want a project that takes up all of my mind after work and keeps me going for a while, and work is taking up too much time and brainpower. I need something to counteract that. Big complicated quilt to the rescue!

The closing show I went to was Paula Kovarik’s exhibit at Visions Art Museum…

It was a fascinating show. I have seen some of this develop online, but it’s so much better in person. I’m glad I made it to the show. I did say to the volunteers working there about 5 times that they need to make hours that working people can get to, more than just 10-2 on Saturday. That’s a really rough time for me. If I want to hike, I won’t make it. If I have anything else I need to do, it’s during those same hours. It’s hard, because I know they’re making financial decisions as well, but it’s been near impossible to get there until this weekend. It was totally worth getting up earlier and getting out of the house before I usually do. Saturday is my relaxation morning, the only one I get, so I give it up to very little.

Her work is fascinating…I probably said that already.

The stitched line…

The 3D shapes…

Cutting things up and making them into new things…

The hint of traditional quilting but really not…

Fascinating. Like I said.

I just walked around and enjoyed it…

More than once…

Yeah, that phrase pisses me off.

Crazy amount of details…

If you ever have a chance to see her work, you should. I did listen to her talk back in early August, when the show opened, right before school started (hence my inability to get to the actual show). And I bought her book. Fun stuff. I’m always inspired by how other artists do the work.

I stitched a little on this at the meeting I was at, until I volunteered to remove paper from pieced blocks…

And I drew this at dinner…

The weekend also included a negative COVID test after two positive cases in my classrooms, and a COVID booster. So far, my arm hurts, but nothing else symptom-wise that I’m noticing. Good news.

Nova support on the drawing front…

Although some of her support is not really supportive…

I need those.

And to finish with this…

I wish I lived in a ‘socialist’ country that cared about the health of its people. Sigh. My biggest retirement expense will be medications.

OK, long busy day, already feel tired. Could be vaccine; could just be life. Hopefully energy will rebound at the end for more drawing. I’d like to get done with that stage and onto the tracing.
We’ll see how that goes.