So There

April 22, 2017

I have 12 minutes before I need to get ready to leave to march for science. Funny, it wouldn’t have been my first choice 30 years ago, when I was in college. I was very much an English literature and art major before I was a science person. Some of that was teachers who told me girls don’t do this, so when I asked questions, mostly trying to figure physics out (it’s still not my strong point), they wouldn’t answer. Somehow I should have gotten all the information I needed from their dry, boring lectures or from the textbook I barely cracked.

When I got my tattoo earlier this week, the fact that I was a teacher came up and the desk guy, who looked barely out of high school, was entranced with physics, with the labs, though…not with the post-lab work…like many of my students, he likes to do and explore more than he likes to analyze afterwards in some sort of productive manner. I love science for its creativity, its persistence, its ability to fuck with us…but I also love it for how it solves problems…and not just in one way, but in millions of ways. I didn’t know back in high school that this subject was one of the best for people who are both right and left brain, who like to see order in the chaos, but are admitting the chaos is always there…who like to find answers even while making more questions.

So I march for science. I march for the Lorax. I march with Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I march with all the women who have chosen science as a career despite all the men who stood in the way. I march for my students, who love the labs, but not the work that goes with them. I march for a subject I didn’t particularly like in school, but grew to love over the years, a subject that now distinctly colors the art I make. I march even though it’s going to be hot and there will be no bathrooms. I march even though I didn’t make a sign (I have a lab coat with my name on it and an eyeball hat and a Lorax t-shirt). I march with my co-teacher, even though she’s currently marching in Texas. I march for the people who don’t believe in climate change, because they can’t see the science through the politicians.

So there.

In other news, I’m putting a binding and a sleeve on this one and trying to hang it from a wall instead of putting it on a bed…ironically, since it’s a quilt about being a quilt.

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I didn’t get much done on this one due to yesterday’s errandness…

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Puppies are bitey and old lady dogs aren’t.

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I worked on this while gaming…

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And I did three days’ worth of stuff on this, mostly down in the bottom right…Some bloue star stitches with french knots and cross stitches, then some stitches to decorate the herringbone, both straight stitches in peach and fly and lazy daisy stitches in green.

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Just trying to fill in space as I reach the 1/3-way mark. Whatever for? I do not know. But I can’t stop now.


I May Find Myself Delayed*

April 21, 2017

The last two days have flown by. I spent a few hours out and about today, running last-minute errands, fighting the crazies who shop in the afternoon. I’m still massively behind…behind a line I drew, of course…one that I will have to continuously redraw for the next few days/weeks/months. Some things will slip…they just have to. I went to my quilt “class” (meeting? socializing event?) last night and we were both grading, too stressed about work to be able to create. It made it possible for me to come home and create, though…and what I had to do wasn’t portable, so that really was the best option.

Today I am not doing so well with the options. Oh well. Shit happens. Art takes time. Life takes time. There’s never enough time.

Close to 10 PM, I started ironing…still on the sides…

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It’s a dog!

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And I got the bathtub sides done and started the water…

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Didn’t stop until I’d finished the water…I’m somewhere in the mid 400’s at the moment.

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All that’s left is the body…and the other stuff floating in the bath. It’s about 250 pieces. Certainly doable if I weren’t leaving in 30 minutes or so. Shit! Where did the day go? I don’t even know.

Still don’t know if the girlchild is coming home for the summer. Sad to say…although it means I won’t have to find a new home for all my quilts. Yesterday, a huge chunk of the day was about finding all the quilts that got into shows so far (I’m up to 6 that I know for sure, all shipping out or being delivered in the next month), and then putting labels on all of those that didn’t have them. I was supposed to pack up two boxes to ship today, but only one got done, because I needed a slat (part of today’s torturous errand trip…which included Home Depot and Costco, because I am a glutton for punishment).

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Hopefully she’ll give me a few days’ notice to move these. I do want them to come home. Sigh. Oh well.

OK, well…I don’t think I have time to iron anything else down right now…hopefully I will still have some energy later tonight to do something. Tomorrow, I march for science. Sunday is a fiber arts meeting. I already did the grocery shopping for next week (wow, right?)…and most of the school stuff I needed to do. Just waiting on a few things…even emailed the photographer, to try to force my hand on getting done. I did just decide to put a binding and a sleeve on MomSleep (the one that was on a bed) and try hanging it on a wall…I think it will work. So I need to do that. As well. Sigh. Nutsy cuckoo, I am.

*Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kiss Them for Me


Read the Lines in My Hand*

April 20, 2017

AAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK.

OK. Yeah. Better. Nope. Not really. Realizing how many things are on the to-do list while simultaneously realizing how little time there is to do them. My right eye is twitching again. It’s not supposed to do that on break. And it doesn’t seem to matter that I got a ton done yesterday…today it has multiplied into a monstrously larger amount, I don’t even know how. Part of it is trying to manage four different shows (maybe more?)…finishing work, putting labels on, suspect I need to go shopping for slats or dowels, plus shipping them off…gotta get all that done today and tomorrow. Plus the parentals are gone, so I have their dog on top of mine. And I’m supposed to be deciding what quilts will be in my solo show in July, because I need to know by next Friday. Aack. Double Aack. I have some that are definites (including the one I haven’t finished, oh shit), but I’m blanking on some of the others. Not sure. Need it to fit with the title. Maybe. Maybe it all fits. Who knows? I can’t wrap my brain around it right this minute. Realizing that this weekend is busy as hell, all of a sudden. OK, the realization was all of a sudden…it’s been booked for months.

All I can do is start banging through the list, as always. This is how school stuff doesn’t get done, though…because I’m trying to finish the personal stuff…and that doesn’t even include my original Spring Break goals of finishing all the weeding (ah ha ha ha) and figuring out where all the quilts should be stored and getting my bedroom chaos under control. That shit’s just not happening at all.

So. I got up yesterday and graded one of the longer assignments. Then I started cutting, and I did that for about 4 1/2 hours…

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And then I was done. So 9 hours plus total, I think. And my hand isn’t even that stiff. Good deal.

I had two dogs on the couch with me for most of it…not sure why. I know I’ve been the most boring owner ever this week. Sorry guys.

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Then the third dog showed up and the shenanigans began…

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I ignored them and went on to sorting the pieces out…

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And then came in here and started ironing…

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I am doing all the stuff around the bathtub first…it seems easier that way…

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Well, this tree wasn’t really easy…but it was logical…sort of.

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And I got the cat done after midnight…and that’s where I stopped.

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200 pieces ironed down…only 500 to go. That was my goal for today…I think. I’m not sure I can pull it off though. I have 5 quilts to pull from the pile, check all of them for labels, put labels on those that don’t have them, ship 3 to one location, put 2 in a pile for another location, and then there’s another that’s still in a box that needs to be shipped back. Each batch, I need to look up what else needs to be sent…artist statement? Slats? Return shipping? Who knows. Pain in the ass. Except the work is gonna be out there, so that’s a plus.

Two of the pieces are in this show…which will be up until July 10, I think. The piece on the right is mine, and there will be another smaller piece of mine in the show. I won’t make it to the opening though…it’s free, but you need to register. I think that gets you a free wine ticket though, so you should go.

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And then I’m in this one…but I’m not sure whether it’s just the one piece on the announcement or not. I should be at this opening…

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Anyway, wasting less time here and trying to get everything done without panicking. This is the part where my counselor tells me I must like being overwhelmed because I keep getting into that space. WTF. I don’t know how NOT to get there. Sigh.

*Elliott Smith, Miss Misery


I Don’t Want to Fake It*

April 19, 2017

Well finally there is progress on the quilt…for some reason, finishing one task and moving on to the next one feels like movement. I’m still worried about finishing in time…with good reason, really. But I did finish ironing yesterday…122 fabrics used in a little over 12 hours. That’s a long time to pick 700 fabrics, actually. Not sure what’s up with that. Trying to get my mind back into doing it after traveling for a week, I guess.

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Lots of blue…it is in a bathtub though.

Kitten was not helping by sitting on all the ironed pieces. She loves those boxes, and I forgot to block her access…

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Then I started cutting out. Well, first I graded an assignment, which is my current rule. Grade first. Only 6 left. Ugh. SIX. Yeah. Well.

I cut for 4 1/2 hours yesterday. I cut through Walking Dead, the Bronte sisters show on PBS, and an episode of The Americans.

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I did not finish. The bottom box still has the whole bathtub and the water in it to do…plus more. But I got a good chunk done. The plan is to finish cutting today, then sort, then start ironing down.

I threaded through the running stitches last night.

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There was some furry love going on. These two like each other.

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This one just gets jealous.

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Oh yeah. And I got a tattoo. I’ve wanted one since I was approaching my 30th birthday. I might have been pregnant then. My now-ex told me he would divorce me if I got one. Then I aimed for 35, but ended up with a divorce instead…plus no money. It’s hard to spend disposable cash on something like this when you don’t have a lot…so I just put it off…for years. Last year, I had decided I would do it…but just got side-tracked. And then my kids gave me the money for my 50th birthday…so I had to do it. I didn’t have the money excuse. So I finally found the time and went in and talked to the artists…came up with a plan (all this actually happened pretty fast, but I did have a stash of photos I liked on my phone)…and he did it yesterday.

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I’m really happy with it. Big smile on my face for a long time yesterday.

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I know some people will wonder why I didn’t draw something of my own, but first of all, I don’t draw for tats…I draw for what will eventually be quilts. And the detail and size of most of my drawings would be prohibitive…like first, where am I gonna PUT that? And how am I gonna pay for it? I’m OK with this stylized yin-yang eyeball. I don’t need it to be my art.

Anyway, it took me a while to get that off my bucket list (and now I have about 17 other ideas I want…but it’s OK. I gots no money for that.). Now I can do something else I’ve been talking about for years (well I’ve been told I can’t shave my head, but you know how that goes…just give it time)…

*Cake, Love You Madly


I Tripped and Fell, and Did I Fall*

April 18, 2017

I think I write in the morning most days because it helps me wake up. Drink the tea, spill the beans, get the leftover words out of my head, make plans for the day, make sure art fits in there. Get my head around the day. Of course, it’s also still Spring Break for me…and I’m trying to catch up on almost 4 months of not enough sleep. Ugh. I honestly, right now, on Tuesday, don’t feel like I’m up to surviving the last two months of school. There’s only 38 days. And I’m gone for 2 of them. But it feels overwhelming still. Maybe that’s because we don’t have the first three weeks completely planned. Just maybe. But also because I go back and progress reports are due. I graded two easy assignments yesterday and input a bunch of stuff from the week before break. I have 7 assignments left. That’s an assignment a day (I’m ignoring the one that’s sitting in my classroom…hoping to have time to grade it when I get back).

(Just took a 10-minute break to throw a ball for Simba…he had the rips.)

This year has been stressful. But I’m close to finishing up some of the most stressful parts. So that’s good. I’m looking forward to a summer break, even if I probably have to find work for most of it. I shut down most of the copyediting stuff a month ago when I was getting lots of requests but literally had no free time in which to complete anything. I’ll be opening those up again soon…because I need work for the summer. I still don’t know if either of the kids is coming home; the flights will start being an issue pretty soon. I hope they have somewhere to sleep if I can’t get them home right away…or that they find jobs or internships where they are. I want them to come home, but understand if they don’t. The money that has to be paid out over the summer scares me a bit…even with my tax return, the summer is going to be tight. Need work. Yeah.

So yesterday I finished a bunch of stuff…I also did two days’ worth of stitching on this…the herringbone in the bottom left and then a running stitch from the left side and over the tree…I’m going to thread another color through that tonight.

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So that’s 106 days of stitching…almost a third of a way through the year. Still feels like I will probably fill this up before the end of the year.

I started watching an episode of The Americans while I was stitching and wanted to finish the episode, so I worked on the Folk Tails block…with puppy on my leg (his favorite spot) and Midnight cleaning herself down the couch.

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I forgot to take a picture of what I got done…but it wasn’t much.

I ironed in the afternoon, did the bathtub water. Then cooked dinner and did the stitching above before heading in for the flesh fabrics. I picked a run of 7 flesh colors and some other fillers. This quilt is about aging and menopause mostly…like a lot of the bathtub quilts seem to be…this is the third bathtub quilt I’ve actually made…I think there are 5 or 6 drawings.

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A shot to show you how I use fabrics that change in color sometimes…so yes, I was looking at the drawing and deciding where on the stripes each piece needed to go.

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Not exactly random I guess. I was tired when I finished ironing all the flesh colors, but it was still relatively early, so I kept going…did all the heart/blood stuff and then the fire stuff as well. So all that’s left right now is hair and lungs, mostly.

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Honestly it wouldn’t have taken much time to do it last night, but I was exhausted. I’m not sure why. Just accumulated tiredness still. Like jet lag, but school lag.

Here’s the pile of fabrics I was using by the end of the night. I find these piles happen even when I try to be all organized and keep runs of color together.

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While I’m picking, I can’t be bothered to be organized. I do that when I’m done, pile them all up in the boxes by color, although I was being lazy here…it was almost 1 AM, in my defense.

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And then I moved the ironed pieces into a larger container so they’d have room to breathe. I plan to be cutting these out by tonight…

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I’m going to have to grade something first. I’m more than a little panicked about trying to get this quilt done on time…but all I can do is keep doing until it’s done. Which makes me a bit hermitlike this week. Oh well. I’d probably do that anyway.

*R.E.M., Strange Currencies


Spray-Paint the Vegetables*

April 17, 2017

I’ve spent the last two days trying to get through all the have-to’s…well, beyond the art and the grading. I’ve sent all the things I promised to send while I was gone. I’ve filed my taxes. Finally. I even got groceries…so now I can eat. Although the thought of having to cook all my meals again was depressing. Ah well. It can’t all be perfect. Who knows how long I can survive on goldfish crackers and Brussels sprouts. I should probably plant the whole front yard with sprouts…I wonder what weather they prefer. Probably not mine.

I still have 9 assignments left to grade…the same number I’ve had for the last week. That’s next on the list…start banging through some of that. And get pieces ironed down to fabric. I started that last night…worked on it for about three hours even.

I laid out all the 200s…ironed them all down…below is everything it took to make a cell phone with charger and cord. Yeah. Kinda boggling.

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I used a lot of grays and whites…did the bathtub, a Golden Retriever, the phone etc, some pill bottles, a bra and underwear, and a faucet…a washcloth…a soap dish. I think that’s it…

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I stopped right before starting the water because it was around 12:30 AM and I was tired. I’m at about piece 375, so a little more than halfway. Ugh. So I want to be done today, but I don’t know if that’s a thing that can actually happen. I had a lot of other stuff in the last few days to do as well…but I’m running out of time…always running out of time.

While I was gone, Kitten found the blocks I’d been embroidering and apparently deposited hair on them every single day.

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Saturday night sunset…

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Yes, after going through Napa and the Santa Inez Valley, we wine-tasted in San Diego. Don’t judge.

I did some green on here Saturday night…I’m now a day behind again. The green was under Live, a buttonhole stitch, and then continued into the flowers to the left of the L, putting lazy daisy leaves in to fill the space.

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I also finished Block 4 (on the left). The instructions for Block 5 (on the right) don’t come up until April or May…and I’m only on February. I don’t know why I did them out of order like that. Because I thought it would be easier to have the blocks sewn together and all the wool stitched down before embellishing, and then I changed my mind. So January’s three blocks are done.

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The bird, warthogs, and green tree are January…then the sheep is like Block 14 or 15, but it’s one of February’s blocks.

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Then these are the other two February blocks, which had to be sewn together. I started the embroidery last night at my parents’ house…

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Easter was two different houses…and this weird party game. You write a phrase and pass the pile to the next person. They try to draw it, then put your phrase on the bottom. Then the next person looks at the picture and tries to write the phrase describing it. Then again and again. I’m amused that my “Pass the whole pile” turned into “Dodgeball with Special Ed students”…cruel surely.

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And the other one I did, “May the force be with you” devolved into a stoner dude with an obese pony. Huh. None of us should get a job in the movies I think.

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I gave my mom this for her birthday or something one year…so she stitched it and gave it back.

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Unknown year reference…I’m sure something interesting happened then. Anyway. That kinda summarizes my weekend.

Today? I gotta decide what next. I’m thinking it’s coordinate all the clocks in the house. Some are correct, but the one to the left of me is an hour fast and the one on the microwave is an hour slow. And that shit just takes up too much of my brain. Then maybe lunch (yes, late) and debating grades vs dog walk vs tattoo. Yeah well. Can’t say I’m thinking straight yet.

*Beck, Loser


Looking Up…

April 15, 2017

So we made it back, alive and still a bit muddy (one load of laundry is done; the tent and rain cover are out on the deck, waiting for me to have the energy and help to clean it out), still a bit exhausted. Driving through Los Angeles can do that to you. Ahhh, traffic, I miss you not.

It’s the first time I’ve taken a week’s vacation without the fam in about a million years. Being a mom and a financially strangled one at best doesn’t allow for such things, so it was much appreciated. And there will be more, once we do the math and see how bad the money actually was, and then try to focus on future travel plans. There was lots of WOW said; even if you’ve seen them before, the redwoods elicit WOW.

So then I have about 50 pictures of the trees, looking up…

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Because that’s what you do…

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(That was the one non-rainy day on our trip…the day we chose to hike around…)

I’ll have to write a post later this week about the trip, I think. Too many pictures for a Saturday-morning brain.

I did draw each night…well, minus one…

Certainly what I was experiencing ended up in the drawings. The first night, we had set up the campsite and cooked under a lean-to tarp, and sat there listening to the rain for hours. We’d made it to the visitor center and read about local animals and plants, and seen a beetle and lots of ferns and trees.

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That beetle on her cheek was on my sketchbook for a while…I saw his big brother in the bathroom for the next three days. Just hanging out…on the toilet paper rolls…waiting…for something.

We hiked the whole next day, with on and off rain…but a lot of sun. We cooked tacos that night, and tried to get the fire started. I think it lasted a whopping 20 minutes before the rain kicked up again. We had moved the tent by then.

I don’t think this one is done, but I was tired.

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At least one hand is facing the wrong way…or both are left hands…or something.

The last night, we had very little rain (after rain on and off all day, mostly on), but lots of high winds, which is a little nerve-wracking in a forest that really only loses trees to wind and the occasional flood.

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I skipped the next night…but the last night, food was on my mind apparently. And misplaced arms. They’re just wrong, all wrong.

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As part of the last day’s drive, we stopped at the California Fibers’ exhibit at The Blackboard Gallery in Camarillo, California, where two of my pieces are currently hanging through early May. This is Give Me Time

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As always, I love having my photo taken and can’t figure out what to do with my hands.

And here I am with Holding It All In, which is a big quilt…

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I’ll be writing a California Fibers’ post about the show, with details, later this week. I’ll link it here. It’s a nice show…in an interesting space.

I did keep up with these once a day stitches, albeit barely. I did some green lazy daisy leaves on the right with that curly line I added earlier in the week, with the pinky lazy daisy flowers (that’s three days right there)…then a feather fern stitch thing next to the tree trunk (hard to see here) and some star-shaped flowers in red/burgundy with straight stitch green leaves to the right of the feather, under the bird…finishing the thread off with some French knots (or colonial knots, who knows) down the side there.

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I didn’t actually do much stitching (or reading) on the trip. I finally pulled this out the last day for in-the-car stitching (mostly I can’t stitch with curvy roads…or while I’m driving)…finished the tree trunk, which I’d started at the campsite until I couldn’t see in the dark any more, then finished the flower center and started the bird. I think the bird is all that’s left, and then I’ll be done with this one. Maybe tonight. Not sure what my plans look like yet.

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I know they include cleaning and drying these, the second load of laundry, finishing my taxes…

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Working on the current quilt, which has to be done in a week, a ton of grading, some emails/contracts/headshots (ugh) to be sent out, and I don’t even know what else. Trying to get my head around all of it…which I will…eventually…maybe not today. Still looking up…even though the trees are gone…but here, at home, the furry beasts are all around. Both cats slept with me last night (strange), although I did not appreciate Midnight’s hairball extraction in the middle of the night (guess the duvet cover needed washing) or Calli’s early morning plea to pee. And the house reeks of skunk…fun stuff. No one cleaned while I was gone (another wonder of living alone). But I’m glad to be here, in my own bed, surrounded by annoying beasts, where I can make a proper cup of tea whenever I want dammit. (still wanna travel more though)