Words Like Violence; Break the Silence*

February 25, 2017

First, here’s a photo that’s kind of what my brain looks like at the moment…


That’s an impressive piece of sidewalk. So the concrete is my brain, and the dark gray cracks and dirt are school and all the crap I have to get done and deal with. Like closing the gradebook yesterday and having about 40 assignments show up after that. Because I can’t tell time? The real questions are (1) how big of a bitch am I? and (2) can I even get all the grading done that was turned in on time anyway? We’ll see. The green though! The green is artmaking. So that’s a good thing.

So I figured out the piece of wool in the bathroom. It wasn’t me. It was Kitten. Or Midnight. Or both of them. Because another piece was left somewhere yesterday. So I think Midnight pulled them out of the bag (one at a time, because I was organizing the other night, so I know the other piece wasn’t out of the bag), because she’s the one who goes in bags and likes plastic…and then Kitten walked the one piece to the bathroom, because that’s her shtick…carrying crap and depositing it in strange places. The bathroom is her place to sleep. The other piece was just left outside the plastic bag. Kitten hadn’t seen it yet. Here’s the blocks I haven’t sewn down yet…


Weird cats. Guess they’re bored when I’m gone. Wish they’d do something like put all my clothes away. Or clean something. Maybe I should leave dusting equipment out or a toilet brush.

I had gaming last night, but I’ve been grinding my teeth all week, plus the right eyelid has started twitching…and I haven’t gotten good sleep all week, so I knew I’d probably fall asleep during the game if I didn’t work at it. So I stitched the whole time. It helped me concentrate. I should just do that. It works for staff meetings too. So there’s the warthog block…


Awww, they’re cute. And here it is with block 1, which still needs a stitch thing in the background, but I need a white pencil, and I can’t find one to save my life. In my house, that is. Kitten? Midnight!


It’s on my list for today.

When I got back from gaming, I made the intelligent decision NOT to sit down on the couch. I went straight to tracing…


Even though it was like 10:30…but I got into the 400s, which means I only have about an hour and a half left…just the necks and heads…hard to believe there are about 130 pieces in there. Oh wait, the last-minute cat and teacup are also part of that.


Yes. I stayed up well past midnight. Why does this shit surprise you? This is how I live. All those stupid ass articles about how not getting enough sleep harms your health obviously don’t understand everything that I need to get done. OR the plus of making art in my life. I WOULD have slept longer today, but some small puppy thing was offended by coyotes and neighbors and I think just daylight and life in general. Dog walks today and tomorrow…seriously. I feel bad for him when I’m this busy, but I can’t fix that shit. I’m doing my best. He needs more entertainers. I need some kid to come by and leave me alone but play with him for about an hour a day.

OK, I have seven thousand things to do this weekend. Seriously. One of them might be to find all the feminist slogan t-shirts I can afford and buy them. OK, that’s not productive. But certainly here’s what’s on the plate for today: pet store for dog food (apparently they like that shit), JoAnns hell for that white pencil (or 10 of them so I can’t lose all of them like I’ve lost the three or so that must be in this house), grading as much as I can, finish tracing the current tiny quilt, probably eat dinner and hang out and watch movies or something (I can grade and/or stitch and/or cut up Wonder Under at the same time). Tomorrow, repeat, but add more school shit and grocery shopping. Pick up my big quilt, which I can’t show you until July. Hmmm. I’ll show you details.

Probably go buy more Motrin. Headaches. Look at art deadlines and make some sort of flow chart, because I’m losing track of all of it. Start taxes. UGH. OK, also need to consider septic pump, new tires, and oil change. If we’re gonna go into the big yuck of life and home and car ownership, let’s just fucking go there. Yeah.

Now I need to add sitting on deck in lovely sun and drawing (I really don’t think I have time for that, but it sounds extraordinarily nice…more likely tomorrow, but it’s supposed to fucking rain again tomorrow). Walk dogs! Walking dogs in sun will work. And I forgot finish filling second greenery trashcan, plus cleaning up the rest of the leaves around the pool. Ha! OK. First morning cup of tea is partially ingested. I can semi-function now. It’s possible that I live by myself for a reason LOL.

*Depeche Mode, Enjoy the Silence

Same As It Ever Was*

February 24, 2017

I honestly don’t envy the poor child who is stuck dealing with my sewing crap when I die. I just found a piece of wool that I’m pretty sure is part of the block-of-the-month quilt I’m currently working on when I have time (yes, rarely, mostly in waiting rooms). It was in my bathroom. On the counter. I have no freakin’ clue how it got there. None.

Now this is the same week when I forgot to eat breakfast twice. My brain and I are obviously NOT on the same page. I don’t even remember all the stuff I’ve forgotten to do.

Someone is gonna have to go through all these started projects and deal with them…figure out what to do with them. I like the process just up until I have to see all the blocks together…and then I’m done. Or I get like 10 out of 12 blocks done…and I quit. This is probably why I don’t make quilts with blocks in them. I would never finish. I’m not sure how I have the motivation to finish the art quilts and not the others. Deadlines? Shows? The other ones are more like just for the handwork and not so much for the display?

Meanwhile, I have to figure out where this wool belongs. I’m not even trying to figure out how it ended up in the bathroom. I’m sure there’s a good reason.

What did I do yesterday? School. Yeah. Continuing on the path of frustration, today we start a huge project. It’ll be OK. They’ll do fine.

I went to visit my mom in the hospital…2nd knee replacement. They run in my family, replaced knees. I’ve been told I will probably need one at some point. Good to know. Mom’s recovering fine. She’s tough. She’s fast-moving…needs good knees for that.

So I didn’t get home until late, then ate, then graded stuff for a while. I finally made it to the couch, where these guys have some sort of weird relationship…


Simba was lying next to me and Midnight jumped up on my lap, then started cleaning him. Somehow that turned into his boisterous cleaning of her ears, with her purring the entire time. It’s a little creepy. He looks guilty, doesn’t he?

I put one more strand into the tree…one more after this and I’ll move onto the rest of it.


Then it was midnight. So no, I didn’t get up and trace stuff. I was exhausted. I think I’ve been woken up every night this week by barking or my brain or my intestines. I’m done with all of it. I just want to sleep. It’s unlikely to happen, but it is what I want.

My math was wrong…calculating weeks until Spring Break. I had an extra week in there. I don’t know how, because I lost next week completely in my brain at one point. I skipped from the 24th to the 6th in my head (weekends don’t count anyway, but there’s a whole ‘nother week in there, so that’s wishful thinking). So as of today, there’s 6 weeks until break. That almost sounds bearable. Plus I have a real live vacation planned. Now the only problem with the recalculation is that it adjusts how much time I have to finish the art on my plate, which makes me feel worse about not tracing last night. Sheesh. Oh well. It’ll get done.

That might need to be my mantra for 2017…it’ll get done.

*Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

I Got Your Number on the Wall*

February 23, 2017

I’m unclear on how to start this morning. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, limited caffeine intake at this point. It’s a beautiful blue-skied day, my pool has almost recovered from all the rain so far (my pool guy says my pool is the biggest challenge he’s ever had…I think that’s a good thing? He hasn’t quit yet…three of them have in the past.), I have lunch already made, the big quilt is at the photographer, the science project for my students is done and just needs to be scheduled (3 choices, 5 periods, so that’s 15 different posts). I almost feel like stuff is under control, except I’m grinding my teeth, grades are due in like a week and a half and I’m nowhere near done, and my bathroom is a mess. Better not to think about that stuff…just tackle it a bit at a time. I tackle the teeth grinding with exercise. I do love to go to the gym and to go out hiking, but it’s hard to find the time. I guess I just have to. That’s true of so much…just have to. Like your taxes. Just gotta do them (unless you’re the President, apparently).

I’m not the President. I think that’s part of the problem.

It was chilly last night. How do I know this? Well there’s an app for that. Plus the heat came on automatically awfully early. And I went outside in it. But even more importantly, I collected evidence from the multiple furry beasts around me…you can’t see the cat to my right in this photo, but she’s there. And Calli is upside down on the couch, head on my lap. Simba came up eventually, but Calli makes him nervous…


Later, with cat on lap and Calli right next to her.


Poor Calli…stuck with me all weekend. She loves my ex, who takes her every weekend, but he is off to Boston to visit the girlchild. So she’s sulking early…


Actually, it’s because I made her sit in the front seat so she wouldn’t sit on my quilt in the back seat, ready for the photographer.

I really need to get some grading done today. It’s stressing me out. I have been trying to get it done in class, since my prep is eaten up by planning, but the kids don’t seem to understand that there are things they have to do each day, so I do a lot of babysitting…literally standing over a kid and saying, “Um. What are you DOING?” It doesn’t seem to help. We’ve planned this project out so there will be research time and project-making time, with regular checks to keep kids on task, but I’m sure by the end of it, all my patience reserves (do I have any of those left?) will be used up on the kids who just goof off. I’m boggled by that. My pool guy asked me what I had done in a previous life to be a 7th grade teacher…like it was a bad karma thing, punishment for a former life. Huh. I guess that’s one way to look at it. The next one should be awesome then. Full-time artist with a big studio, plenty of money, someone to clean the bathroom and help with the groceries. Man. That would be a blessing.

Still making a tree…one or two more strands in the trunk I think…that’s three there.


And then…then I was exhausted and the thought of standing to trace Wonder Under felt like too much, but I did it anyway. Because I needed to. This quilt is important.


I guess they all are, more or less. This is more. It’s hard to look out at exhibits I’m supposed to be working for, the ones where I can’t make it political, where I can’t just do what I want. It’s possible that I won’t be entering those shows, because I can’t draw for that right now. Because every time I look at my phone, there’s some other crazy shit happening that doesn’t make sense, things being taken away that shouldn’t even be a thing that can be removed. Oh yeah, and I’d rather have the NEA than a wall. Do I get a vote on that? Fuck no. Articles about tourism drops, about house sales possibly falling, about people being deported for stupid shit, about anti-vaxxers. If you don’t believe in vaccines, then (1) don’t vaccinate your kid, (2) don’t try to force your lack-of-evidence-based-decision on others, and (3) accept the consequences if your child develops polio. Seriously? You can make that decision, but don’t make it for the rest of us (Mr. Not-My-President). I’m confused about people’s inability to look at evidence and see answers. Blind eyes.

Ah, the frustration. So part of my Spring Break vacation is going to be drawing. A lot of drawing. Because I won’t be able to quilt on the trip…no electricity for a goodly portion of it. Plus really? I’m not hauling light tables or fabric or sewing machines. I will have hand work; I always do. But drawing. Because everything is making my head hurt.

In good news, we found 7 new Earth-sized planets…who’s ready? I feel like we could just start over there and leave the crap here.

*Tommy Tutone, 867-5309

The World’s in Trouble, There’s No Communication*

February 22, 2017

The big quilt is clean and ready for the photographer this afternoon. 168 hours. OK. So the next one will take less time, for sure (it would be hard not to, honestly). I’m crunched for time, so that’s a good thing. It also means I can’t really stop and take a breath…yet…too many deadlines still. I’m juggling as fast as I can.

So I started tracing Wonder Under for the new one last night…but before I could do that, I had to add a cat. You know, like you do.


And then a teacup. Again. Necessary.


Which added 28 pieces. Oh well. So be it. As you can see, when I’m under a time constraint, I still do what the drawing needs.


THEN I started tracing. These pieces are tiny compared to the last piece. I really tried to keep detail to a minimum…


Whatever THAT means.


Anyway, I got about an hour and a half in, maybe 137 pieces? So I’m hoping to be done tracing by the weekend. Of course, there are no more luxurious (ha!) 3-day weekends, so I’ll have to function in sped-up time, like always. Where Sunday afternoons are just for getting my teaching act together and cooking for the week. I get so tired of being the only one in charge of cooking and shopping. Seriously. Could one of you stop by Petco this week and pick up some dog food…I think I’m gonna run out. And the car needs gas. Crap. It needs gas this morning. So I can deliver the quilt this afternoon.

Still working on the tree…one strand of thread. Yes, I know there’s still places to fill in. Be patient.


There’s the quilt ready to sit in my dog-hair-filled car all day.


I’m being harassed by a puppy who wants the ball thrown, but won’t bring it to me.

By the way, I bought this pattern for a uterus doll through Knot Hate Project on Ravelry. Because who can resist a uterus doll with a monster eyeball? I kinda suck at crochet, but this is worth fussing through. Plus the money goes to a good cause, Planned Parenthood. So go get one. And then help me crochet the damn thing.

OK, with that, I have to go to school and make sense of the water and carbon cycles. And photosynthesis. Not for me. For 12 year olds. I got it already.

*Joan Jett, Bad Reputation

The Pressure of Days*

February 21, 2017

Extra days off, teacher or no, are always appreciated. I’m so busy that I spent most of it working, but I even got some yardwork and a dog walk in yesterday…always a plus. And it’s the last extra day for 8 weeks, so I needed to appreciate the nice weather as well. It’s been so dark and rainy lately that a pretty sunny day was a pleasant thing.

I tried another hiking spot, one that is more populated, hoping to avoid the coyotes. It’s shorter though, so that’s an issue. The eucalyptus were all leaning…


I wouldn’t want to be there in a wind storm. And the little stream had obviously been a significant river at some point in the last month or so…mudflow apparent.


We saw about 5 dogs and 15 people, but no coyotes. I’m sure they’re there, but they weren’t out and about.

Puppy was tired enough after to let me sew the sleeves on the quilt. Done! Well. No.


It took a while. Apparently I sort of tired him out.


Dinner made…but also school lunches, with vodka. Ironic that.


Comfort food. Plus easy.

Then I inked. For about an hour. I haven’t run the hours on this quilt yet.


I’m sure it’s a lot. Wait. I did the math. 163 1/2 hours. Yup. That’s a big one. Started the cut/paste on December 11…so it wasn’t quick either. I blame the inauguration. And school. And my brain.

Then I finished this drawing. It didn’t need much.


And numbered it. 504 pieces.


Not bad. It’s about 24″ square at the moment I think. I should check that. Yeah, she’s got the world in her vagina. Like you do.


And she’s stomping on some peeps.


I stole a bit of that from a previous quilt.


It’s OK. I’m stealing from myself.

So I finally started the tree I keep talking about on this. I did one length of thread in stitching. Because that’s what I’ve been doing all along. It needs roots though.


Puppy continued to snore.


He can be really sweet. Right now, he’s demanding ball throwing…which I am doing from my chair here, bouncing the ball off the closet doors into the hallway. That is kinda how we roll.

So that’s it…time to start the next quilt. It’s small, luckily, although it still has a lot of pieces. It will be (should be) done before Spring Break, and then hopefully I’ll be able to finish another one by my other self-imposed deadline. You know? There’s a couple of ways I can go on that. On the one hand, I didn’t get done what I thought I would get done by now, but then the one I finished is about twice the size of what I thought I was going to do. Plans get revised. Quite often, it seems.

*Elliott Smith, Between the Bars

I Think I Thought I Saw You Try*

February 20, 2017

Well I have a vacation planned for Spring Break…first time in a long time. I travel a bit, mostly family-related, but haven’t had a real vacation in so long I can’t even remember what it feels like. It’s been a pain to book stuff, but I think it will be OK in the long run.
At least I hope so. It’s 8 weeks away, though, so there’s some significant survival and work that has to be done before then.

In good news, my piece Work in Progress got into Fantastic Fibers, so it will be at the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, Kentucky, from April 22 through June 17. Paducah, home of AQS, right? This amuses me. Yo! AQS! There’s a penis in this one! I’m laughing so hard right now. KARMA BITCHES.


Seriously, that is amusing. I’ll need to figure out how to send an invitation to them…

I’m still doing this stitch a day thang. It seems crazy sometimes in light of how little time I have, but it takes like 5 minutes a day and I find it focuses me. So for Saturday, I did the purple/pink stitches around the left side, lazy daisies in red/pink, I did straight stitches fanning around them, and then some french knots to use up the rest of the thread. Then for Sunday, I did the green feather stitch coming down from the “r” in Prosper.


I am getting a clear idea that there are only so many stitches in the world and I have some I prefer over others. It’s hard to come up with new things. They lend themselves to flowers and plants.

I had dinner with the parentals. Despite his annoying status, Simba is well-loved by the elders…


It is easier when he sleeps…he’s been barking at night almost every night…mostly in response to wild animals I think. It’s exhausting me.


I’m hoping to walk him as soon as I finish this. Maybe after I sweep around the pool…hard to do that after dark.

So I finally got done with grading two major projects last night (input the grades today) and sat down at around 10:30 PM to work on the binding. I was determined to finish, so I stayed up way too late.


Puppy helped immensely. I still need to stitch the two sleeves down and then ink and dehair it, but the photographer doesn’t want it until Wednesday, so that works. And then I’ll start on the next one.

Simba is very happy to hear that (not).


Let’s not consider the six assignments I still have left to grade. Six? Seven. Not sure any more. The gradebook opens next week for Trimester 2, so I need to get my act together. Always. What’s new?

Well, there’s this friend of mine, Linda Moran, who has written a novel about detention centers in a religious state, with Arizona seceding from the union. She started before all this political yahoo began, and she has a Kickstarter to get it published. You should go check it out…and if that’s something you want to support, even $5 is a step in the right direction. I personally went for the pledge that would get me a copy.

It won’t take just the visual artists and musicians…we need the writers and poets along with us. She has a great little video that you can watch about the project.

*R.E.M., Losing My Religion

A Safe Place for All the Pieces That Scattered*

February 19, 2017

Skipped writing on Saturday again. I got up and worked and worked and worked until it was time to leave. Starting to be a pattern. Friday night, I graded for 4 hours, so I didn’t have much to show anyway. That’s why I got up on Saturday and got the binding on the damn quilt. No excuses. And emailed the photographer and told him I’d be done tomorrow. (I’m not done…but I will be.)

This is what grading on a rainy Friday night looks like (OK, it was pouring and the biggest storm in 20 years was pounding San Diego, and I had flashlights on the coffee table in front of me because power had been going out around town, and the dog kept barking at the wind noises, but you get the main idea.)…


I made it through a pretty big chunk of the science units…still one period to do, hopefully tonight. There’s about 4 other assignments though, so I shouldn’t start celebrating yet. Just the two biggest are almost done. A relief in that…been grinding my teeth over these (and other things). Need to remedy that.

I did the lighter pink in the bottom right corner, some fly stitching that turned into french knots and stars in the cretan stitch until I used up all the thread.


Then I put the binding on…it’s about 384″ of binding and sleeves that will need to be hand sewn down now…


There were moments of sun, enjoyed by kittens everywhere, but especially this one…


AQS has not figured out that I don’t want their mail. I still have friends (and people I barely know) send me photos of their mail back to AQS, telling them no, because of their censorship of me. That’s cute. I like that. I didn’t want to waste a stamp on it (I did look to see if it was postage paid)…


Then I headed out to the living room to do some of the hand stitching on the binding. Kitten helped by holding down the science units I’d already graded.


Honestly, I was really tired and it was late afternoon, not my strong point. I took a short nap. The dogs were up really early.


But I did more of it later that night while watching some movie…


I realized it was sunny and raining, turned around on the couch, and saw this…which my phone camera could not capture in all its beauty…


And then my ex sent a picture of Simba…for all you who think he’s oh so cute, this is what he does at my ex’s house…


Oh yeah. That’s cute. Kinda glad he doesn’t do that here.

Anyway, I have another 3-day weekend, the Other President’s Day…so I have tomorrow off. Lots of grading and hand-stitching in my plans. Plus the quilt needs ink and ironing and de-hairing for when the photographer can take it…and then I need to finish the drawing that I’ve been staring at for days. I keep adding small stuff, but I don’t have a final plan for the whole thing. Getting there though…not as far as I wanted to be this week, but hell, this whole year has been like that. I’m just trying to get through it all without too much insanity. Kinda my mantra this year.

*Indigo Girls, Love Will Come to You