More Adventure, Less Grading

November 17, 2018

A friend texted me last night and reminded me that I hadn’t updated some of the pages on my website for a LONG while…for the Recent Work? Since March? So I fixed that. Hey! I made art this year! I had forgotten. I guess this school year is really kicking my butt. Not sure why. And then I updated the Current Shows page as well, although it doesn’t look like Quilt National did a lot of traveling this time around. I’m actually expecting some of my stuff to be heading home soon. And then a couple head out to a new home, which is always nice.

So we’re leaving this morning for Chandler, Arizona, where the Things That Matter exhibit will open in its entirety. I don’t usually drive 5+ hours for an opening, but I really want to see it, plus it’s doable, and I have 9 days off of school (although not 9 days off of working for school, nope, not that, I made a list of what needs to be graded and planned and fainted dead to the floor…in my head, anyway). That’s also 9 days to finish a quilt that is not even halfway done, I think. Hysterical laughter ensues. At the least, there’s a good 30 hours left in it…but I think it’s more. So yes, I am taking the tail end of it with me to cut out in the car. If I drive half the time, that gives me 5 hours of cutting time, at least. That should do it. I hope. Come home Sunday and sort the pieces, then start ironing its ass together.

But here’s Not Less Than, which will be in Arizona for a while.

K Nida 0009 small

More specifically, it will be at the Chandler Center for the Arts, Visions Gallery, Chandler, AZ, from November 8-Jan 6, 2019. Then it will travel to the St. George Art Museum, St. George, UT, March 23 – July 6, 2019. I might be in Utah while it’s there too…I just realized. Huh.

I did cut things out for a while last night. This was fun…

IMG_8894 small

It WAS actually. I’ve done just over 11 hours of cutting. This is not a quick quilt. But I only have the stuff in the bottom left box to do. It’s not a huge amount…it’s not a small amount either, but I think I can get it done. I need to get it done.

IMG_8897 small

So it’s going in the car.

Then when I was in Boston, I did a little embroidery, all on the plane though. So I guess NOT in Boston, but on the way there and back. Oh wait, I also did some at a soccer game. It’s easy to do while watching videos…keeps my hands busy. But I had finished all of this block except the owl and the hut, because the owl apparently needed eyes and I had forgotten to put them on, so last night, I made eyes and put them on. Now I can embroider them and the beak.

IMG_8893 small

Now he looks weird because of the no-beak. I didn’t have the hut instructions, because they were from a different month, but it turns out, I had those instructions shoved in my bag because it’s the road instructions as well, and they get used every month from here on out. So silly me.

My dog view. Not my beer.

IMG_8895 small

This one is adorable when he’s not barking at random shit.

IMG_8896 small

Anyway. I have a drawing in my head that wants out, so I have a sketchbook, although it’s the small one and I suspect the drawing is large, but I can do a smaller version of it. I have my book, because one should always have a book (or 7) while traveling. I have my bullet journal/calendar thing, because my head is swirling through to-do lists and I can’t handle not writing shit down, I have my embroidery, my quilt being cut out (traveling to yet another state), and hopefully clothes and meds and maybe some food or soap. Leaving in 23 minutes. I should eat. Ready for adventure! There should be more of that in life. Less grading.

Figure Out the Insanity

November 16, 2018

Normally, I’m totally aware that a break from school is coming up. I’m all talking about it the week before, making lists of what I’m gonna do, planning for it, getting ready. Yeah. Well. It starts today at 3:45 PM and I’m just now realizing it. I’m so buried in school stuff, I’m having a hard time getting my head up to see the calendar. Plus, doesn’t it feel like Thanksgiving is early this year? It does. I’m not ready. I’m really not. I actually want to stay at work for another week, so I can be more ready to take time off. Sounds crazy, but all the planning and grading that I could get done in another week? I’d be more prepared to take time off. As it is, I’m going to be working my butt off next week on art and school…which is fine, because I got to go to Boston and I’m going to Arizona tomorrow…that’s more traveling than I usually do.

Boston, by the way…

snow small

Well, that was Waltham anyway. Guess I left just in time, if being cold was an issue. Sorry, Northeast…it’s still pretty warm here. Not at night, but even at night…it’s still warmer. My heat has been kicking on in the morning, so the house is under 65 degrees. I know, stop laughing, but when I left the gym yesterday, it was a smack-in-the-face cold that I wasn’t expecting. It was probably 10 degrees warmer at my house. Weird.

So yes! I made it to the gym. Gotta keep that habit going. But then dinner was haphazard and late (need to plan better) and then I was trying to create lessons for after break, and I was missing one file, maybe two that I needed. So frustrating sometimes to try to do this. I’m not piloting the curriculum, but I’m trying to stay on the same page, so once we get OUT of the pilots, we’ll be in the same place. It makes me want to bang my head on a table sometimes.

It was almost 10 PM when I realized…it’s almost 10 PM and I was going to cut out all this stuff. Sure you were. I got about an hour in and realized my head was nodding and my eyes were closing. This is not working. I am nowhere near done. Well, I’m closer than I was an hour ago, I guess. Think positively!

IMG_8891 small

That pile on the right still needs cutting out. I’m going to work on it tonight and then maybe take it to Arizona with me. This quilt is so frustratingly LONG at the moment. I know it’s me, though, so that’s even more frustrating. Sigh. It will be awesome when it’s done. If it’s done. I honestly have NO IDEA what I’m working on next. Laughs hysterically. OK. I know there are some shows I was interested in, and I have a deadline in like April? For something I haven’t even thought about. So there’s things I can think about, but not for about 2 weeks. I have less than 2 weeks to finish this. Fuck. OK. It’ll be fine. It’ll get done, one way or another.

For now though? I need to go to my day job and persuade kids to finish all their work before they take a week off, because they don’t want to work next week any more than I do (I will be working next week…catching up with grades and planning). I am looking forward to long hours of artmaking though. Ironing and stitching down and quilting. At some point, I will have the guts to look at hours from a previous quilt and try to figure out the insanity of next week. But not now. Now I’m going to school.

Shut Up and Let Me Art

November 15, 2018

Adjusting still. My body has no idea what time zone it’s in, so it’s just randomly hungry and tired. I wasn’t in one zone long enough to adjust totally. The plus is that I’m wide awake when the alarm goes off in the morning, because it’s always later in my brain than it really is. I’m sure that will readjust soon, probably painfully. The hardest part about coming back to school after being gone is trying to remember all the stuff you’re supposed to do. I have piles and piles of stuff to figure out. I did some of it yesterday during the union meeting after school and then after dinner. Today I’ll figure out the 3 or 4 kids whose projects need assistance, call the two parents who want meetings (before break? Not happening), and I’ll try NOT to think about all the grading this unit entails. Piloting new curriculum mostly sucks right now, especially with looking forward to another 3-4 weeks of it. I’m hoping the next one is better, but my kids won’t have access to the online component, so maybe I should just drop it and do some version of what we did last year. Aargh. I don’t even know if it will fit. Anyway.

So I did cut out a bunch of pieces for the new quilt while I was in Boston. I didn’t take everything with me, though, because I knew I wouldn’t finish, and the larger pieces are harder to transport in ziplock bags. But I thought I had a significant chunk done…and maybe I do…it just doesn’t look that way. I spent an hour and a half cutting stuff out last night, and this is where I’m at, with over 8 hours into the cutting…

IMG_8885 small

Nice cat. Top right is the bag of trash. Bottom left is everything that’s cut out. Bottom right is the gigantic pile of what still needs cutting. It looks huge. Tonight I will come home, hopefully go to the gym, do some grading, and then cut like a madwoman. I want to be done with cutting and sorting before I leave for Arizona on Saturday morning. I also want a chunk of grading done and out of the way. That’s a bigger joke, honestly. I can’t get anything done in class, because the unit we’re teaching is just plain old direct instruction, where I talk ALL the time and I hate it.

Calli does too. I got home yesterday and planted myself on the boychild’s bed, and he sent me some dogs (and one of the cats just showed up, like he does).

IMG_8878 small

Simba needs lots of attention too.

IMG_8880 small

Although apparently he got to run around a lot yesterday. He likes that.

IMG_8882 small

OK, so hopefully today will be a little less direct instruction (ha!)…sigh. I’m having a hard time. Soon I will be ironing this quilt together and it will feel better. I’m going to be working on it all day every day next week. Looking forward to it. Just everyone shut up and let me art.


November 14, 2018

I’m back. Ready for school? Well, no. But I’m going anyway. My blood sugar is trying to figure out what time zone I’m in. It’s massively confused. I fed it, hoping that would help. Really I should be wide awake right now, being three hours ahead, but I’m still recovering from traveling, I think. Why sitting on a plane is exhausting? No one knows. Actually, there are probably multiple scientific studies about it. None I have time to read right now!

I miss the girlchild already. I guess it’s easier when I don’t see her all the time to forget that I miss her. But I do. She’ll be home for a little while over Winter Break…but that’s always a crazy time of year. Then I’ll see her at graduation. Then who knows when…

So there’s that. My cat was very happy to see me…slept with me all night. Haven’t seen the dogs yet…that’ll be later today. I suspect the man who lives here also missed me…

So three days of school before a short break. I can handle that, right? I hope so.

So Monday, girlchild had classes almost all day, so I headed into Boston to go to the Gardner Museum…it had a small weaving exhibit, which included this piece by El Anatsui, and some other cool work as well.

IMG_8831 small

I didn’t really know what to expect from the palace side of the museum. I only knew it because of the art that had been stolen. It was interesting…

IMG_8836 small

I walked along the water for a bit afterwards. Honestly, it was a bit chilly out.

IMG_8846 small

So I drove to Cambridge to this fabric/yarn/maker place. It was cool…

IMG_8848 small

I didn’t buy much…just a few fabrics that caught my eye and a small embroidery pattern.

IMG_8858 small

Life in a college apartment is always loud, it seems. Mine was not so…although the year I spent in Britain was a bit. I shared a floor with all guys, though, and they don’t impulse-cook like women do. I cut out quilt pieces while they made pumpkin vegan (were they?) chocolate chip cookies.

IMG_8856 small

Tuesday, girlchild sacrificed two classes to take me to the New England Quilt Museum, where I got to see Salley Mavor’s work for the first time in person…plus Susan Carlson, who came to my guild, and a SAQA show. So that was cool.

We were both tired and it was pouring rain. So we went back to the apartment and I cut out pieces while she watched a French movie for class.

IMG_8861 small

I would sit at the window and watch squirrels all day if I lived there.

IMG_8865 small

Getting on the plane was a piece of cake…no line anywhere. And the plane was almost empty. I had a whole row and more. And when the in-flight entertainment wouldn’t work, they comped me internet, so I watched Stardust on Netflix while stitching. This was after reading most of a book.

IMG_8869 small

I was missing the eyes on the owl (whoops) and the hut instructions were in Block 3, which I didn’t have (I hate it when she does that), so then I worked on the giraffe…

IMG_8870 small

So I need to find this guy some eyes so I can finish him, and then find the Block 3 instructions so I can finish the hut.

IMG_8871 small

Preferably before Saturday, when we drive to Arizona for an opening. I should be able to handle that.

So. School. Cutting more pieces out…hopefully getting them done and sorted before we leave Saturday, so I can iron a whole quilt together next week, AND quilt it and bind it (sounds impossible from here). But first kids. Yeah.

All Good Things Are Wild and Free*

November 12, 2018

Including Walden Pond on Veterans Day. Yes, I am still here in sunny Massachusetts. It’s OK…it won’t be sunny for long. And sunny means cold. Although pouring down rain is probably also cold in my perspective, being from sunny Southern California.

We went to Walden Pond yesterday, which was cool…although it’s a pretty big body of water for a pond in my mind. Like Thoreau, dude, this is a small lake…so now I’m wondering where the line is between a pond and a lake, and then I’m realizing I just taught landforms at school and I really should know the difference.

Meditative girlchild (or something else…possibly just tired)…

This was near the foundation of the tiny little house he lived in for 2 years. No way dude. Could not have done that.

Apparently all the fall color fell down about 4 days ago, but there was still some here.

Fall is remarkably pretty. Leaves and all.

There’s a replica of the tiny house. Seriously claustrophobic. Sure, you have nature outside and all, but in the middle of winter, I want a couch to loll about on and room for a big dog or two.

I guess they put the replica up by the visitor center so everyone can see it…rather than having to walk almost halfway around the pond. It probably doesn’t take long to walk around the pond. It’s only 1.7 miles. We might have gone that far. Hard to say. We went out and back.

After that, we watched the Brandeis men play soccer…’twas cold. I stitched. Just like in the old days. Sitting on bleachers, wrapped up in fleece, warm boots on, freezing my hands off. I gave up on stitching in the last 10 minutes…because my fingers were no longer working.

It was 33 degrees or so. And then I watched indoor soccer and stitched, although this is definitely a picture of the girlchild half dead on the floor while other people play soccer.

It was much warmer in there. And I can’t really explain this.

Otherwise, I’ve been grading some stuff on and off, reading a lot, hanging out, and trying not to think too hard about school…which is somewhat easy, because when I come back, I only have 3 days of teaching before break. Awesome stuff.


Worth It…

November 10, 2018

I’m pretty sure these pictures are all gonna be backwards, but I can’t deal with that right now. I’ll see what I can do. Going from phone to computer and back is problematic. I’m posting from Boston. It’s 11 PM and one college kid is in bed while the other 4 are presumably at the same party, or maybe another one is on her way to a party? I don’t know. I opted out. My introvert self needed some quiet time and some mental space to catch up with some grading and then this and maybe some drawing, if I feel up to it. Or maybe I’ll just READ. I finished a whole book yesterday. It was exciting.

So first of all, this is Quilt+Resist at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, which opened last night. You can see my anti-gun quilt Rooted in America in the far back.


Looks like an interesting show.

So yesterday, I flew across the country to visit the girlchild in her senior year at college in Boston. I haven’t been here since she moved in Freshman weekend, so it seemed time. Plus it was my Christmas gift from last year. I read a lot on the plane, but also watched a video or two and stitched for a while. It was a trouble-free flight, which was nice. She picked me up from the airport and I’m sleeping in her bed, which is comfortable, although she is still messy. I can’t really judge. I am too…messy, that is. This is the view from the bed…with the quilt my mom made her (and a few more, because shee-it, it’s cold here, and that radiator doesn’t come on).

Then this morning, I had persuaded her that it was OK to go to a job networking conference on conservation employment, which was at Harvard. I sat in Tatte, a cafe that is anathema to diabetics (holy crap, I forgot to post the food picture…damn…), but makes a decent cup of tea…or in my case, 4 cups of tea. Yeah. Well. I needed it, because 3-hour time difference not in my favor. I graded National Park assignments for a good three hours. Ugh. But it’s progress. And it was an interesting place in which to do it.

Floor. Feet.

Then I wandered all over Harvard looking for a bathroom, because 4 cups of tea and line at Tatte was horrific if you don’t have a penis (I don’t), and Harvard doesn’t seem to want the masses to pee. I don’t blame them, but eventually found the science center and a bathroom. Partay! Seriously. These things are important. Harvard, as always, is beautiful and old school America, plus it’s Fall and it stopped raining (did I mention last night’s rain? More than Southern California has had since last Winter, basically, in one night)…so it was really cold and beautiful, once the sun came out.


Then I tracked down girlchild’s friend in the Student Center (I just happened to be there eating my second bagel of the MONTH in the last two days, because Boston easy food is bagels and cream cheese…everything else was sugar)…and we went to the Museum of Fine Art, oh so fine, yes. I absolutely sucked at signs and figuring out who made what art, but this was cool…

And the one on the left is styrofoam cups.

Plus is that a Bernoulli? I know it’s a Van Gogh on the right…

And an exhibit in the contemporary section had this beautiful old weaving…


Here’s the contemporary part, although the video kept moving across these giant batting knots and it was making me ill. This piece is by Cecilia Vicuña; I know that. These knots hang from the ceiling. They are not small.

Girlchild twirling like a Fall leaf.

We were at a fundraiser after that, and then hanging out. I graded for a while. Two full assignments down so far. I know we have stuff planned for tomorrow, so I’m not planning on getting much done…although I need to send the parent email. Maybe I’ll do that tonight. I did get some pieces cut out for the new quilt last night…while we were watching (deep breaths) a Christmas movie. In November. And not even after Thanksgiving. OK. I can hang. There was wine. I’m going to attempt to stay up for another 30 minutes, maybe reading my book, maybe drawing, and then to sleep. Sleep is a good thing. My brain is confused by the times I eat and sleep right now, but I can handle that. It’s nice to be with her. Totally worth the chaos I will return to at school. I say that now! No, really. Worth it.

Getting on a Plane…

November 9, 2018

So I’m sitting squished in the airport, waiting to board to Boston. Seriously what is it with white males and their elbows. Stay on your side of the chair, man. They say 7 minutes, but I’m in the last group, so I’ll be sitting here a while. I’m OK with that, having finished the draft of the parent email I have to send on Sunday and managed some other shit that needed to be done for school.

I did finally finish the ironing of fabrics last night for the newest piece. Despite only 991 pieces (stop laughing), it took 16 1/2 hours to pick fabrics. I blame tiredness and the need to actually match real live colors of things, instead of the crazy shit I normally do.

The crazy box full of fabrics and everything piled up behind it. It didn’t take long to finish up.


153 fabrics total…quite a lot of natural colors going on in here.


I did actually start cutting stuff out. I’m feeling some time pressure on this deadline.

And I’m taking some of them with me. I left behind the really big pieces, but figured I might get some of these done while watching the girlchild do homework. I’m OK with that.


Group B is in line now…but I’m D…so it will be a while. Looking forward to posting from Boston…