Be Proud to Be Outta Your Mind and Outta Control*

February 24, 2018

Well so I thought I’d be too tired and sick last night after work and gaming to do anything artistic. Apparently my art brain totally did not agree. So after I did 24 points of damage on some Bloodthirster thing by blowing out its spleen (I was aiming slightly lower), I came home and sat around for a bit, drank some tea, took some meds before that, and tried to get my head around stupid gun people shit…seriously, I can’t even look at Facebook at the moment with all the stupid gun people shit…then my cohabitant went to bed and I came in here to basically just straighten up the studio and get all the relevant pieces in here so I could iron today. So I’d at least be ready.

I laid out the drawing and moved the ironing board and sorted the first 100 pieces…and then started to iron. And that went on for a while, until I realized it was after 1 AM and I should probably try that sleeping thing (which I really do suck at, so honestly, I might have been better staying up longer, except I am sick and I don’t want to make that worse).

Wait, so let’s go back. I embroider at gaming because I’m tired and it keeps me awake. Sad but true…Friday night socializing is not my strong point. I’m almost done with the road part and then I can start embellishing the rest of the June blocks. These are June, right? Why would you know? Yes, I’m behind. Plus this is from 2013. So I’m really really far behind.

IMG_1554 small

Don’t judge.

So yeah, while I was trying to wake up after gaming, I set up the week’s pages for next week…this is the basic format I use. Top section for general to-do list. Middle section for art-related, although more the doing of art, rather than the business of art. Business of art ends up in the top section. Bottom section is for exercise logging and doesn’t get used nearly enough unfortunately.

IMG_1555 small

The other stuff is a little random…to-do lists that I don’t want in the dailies, notes to myself, mostly about art stuff…I found someone else’s version of this and tweaked it slightly for what I needed. Then here’s last week’s after I got through (it was a busy week).

IMG_1556 small

Sometimes I draw stuff on there too, when I feel like it. Some weeks are busier than others. It’s keeping me accountable for what needs to be done…better than online calendars, although I’m using those too…plus a white board calendar on the fridge. I’m pretty damn visual. It helps to check in with myself regularly. It’s even better when I get to use a lot of colors to do it.

Usually I set up the week on Sunday, but I’ll be in LA tomorrow, heading briefly to QuiltCon and then on to an opening downtown-ish. Then home. Long day really. So I have to get all my Sunday stuff done today…groceries, work email, stuff for class on Monday. So I did it last night. That’s probably what jumpstarted art brain.

But I also want to iron today…because I started last night and here’s an hour’s worth…

IMG_1557 small

I didn’t finish all the earth bits, but I got a bunch done…planning on doing more today.

Girlchild finally found her phone charger and started communicating again. Apparently they had some sort of caravan transport on three boats to that thing out there? I think? Or maybe that’s coming back? Anyway, she balances way better than I do.

IMG_1560 small

Not that it’s hard to do that. My balance sucks.

I sent her a puppy picture…because he’s tired of me right now. I’m no fun. I won’t play with or pet him nonstop…

IMG_1562 small

And I’m the only one here today. Oh well. I have my work cut out for me (ha. Cut out.). I’m going to iron for a while and then do schoolwork. Woo hoo. The ironing…I just wanna do that until I’m done. I love this part of the quilt…getting to see it all come together. Yeah. Gonna do more of that.

*Eminem, The Real Slim Shady

Advertisements

A Spider Web Is Tangled Up with Me*

February 23, 2018

Yeah that’s a virus inhabiting my head. Dammit. I need a voice on a lab day. I need my head straight. Fuzzy and compromised. Scratchy. Sigh. OK. It’s Friday. I’m a little on the irritated side. Hopefully the lab will go well anyway. I don’t remember how we did this last year. We need warm water but not hot water and I remember 2nd period didn’t work hardly at all…and then we figured out some trick for the later periods. My co-teacher will remember. I hope. Did we use warm water? I just don’t know. Do we have enough yeast? I freakin’ hope so.

This is relevant because our classrooms don’t have hot water. We can get slightly warmed water from one faucet after letting it run for about 3 minutes, and it only lasts for a short time. It’s lame. Seriously, a science lab where we have to wash dishes regularly, and we’re not allowed to have hot water.

BUT YOU WANT ME TO HAVE A GUN.

Don’t get me started. Again. We’re also supposed to lock up any materials that do not say non-toxic on them…so Windex. And baby wipes. And that stupid antibacterial soap. Which the district gave us during the swine flu epidemic. All those things have to stay locked up. So 12-year-olds won’t eat them.

OK. So I graded last night (again) after restarting all the internet-y things because the internet was moving like molasses…cold molasses. And then I made a relatively healthy dinner. And then I found a bunch of my bins…and sorted fabrics.

IMG_1547 small

This is not a long horrible process…it took just under an hour…

IMG_1548 small

There’s a lot of big pieces in the first 400…and then a lot of tiny body parts in the next 300.

IMG_1549 small

But I am ready to iron together tomorrow…and if I really am driving to LA on Sunday (go away virus), then I need to be uber-efficient tomorrow. Ugh. OK. I can do it.

I’m actually really looking forward to ironing. I like that part. I just need to get all the work shit and health shit to behave.

I was tired of standing after sorting those though, so I sat on the couch with Simba and worked on a binding that’s been lying around for a long time. It was what I could handle. This is the same puppy who is currently harassing me because he wants to pee out front (which requires me and a leash) rather than out back (which requires neither). It’s because it rained yesterday and last night, so everything is wet, and apparently his Pom sensibilities are offended by wet dirt. He’d like to pee and poop in the middle of the driveway instead. Yeah. Seriously, that’s what he did last night…little asshole.

IMG_1550 small

Sometimes all the demanding animals kinda drive me nuts. Calli wouldn’t pee last night because it was cold and wet, so then she woke me up early because she really needed to go. I love my animals, except when they’re idiots like this. I guess it’s good that we live somewhere that is usually pretty dry, so the rain doesn’t cause them even more issues.

Sigh. I want another 3-day weekend. And a clear head. And no sore throat. And world peace. I want that too.

*Coldplay, Trouble


I’m Trying Hard to Take It Back*

February 22, 2018

Yesterday was a no art day. I went to book club. I was tired. I think I might be getting sick, which would probably mess up the weekend’s plans. I’m holding out hope at this point. We’ll see. I did grade a little bit yesterday, but mostly I read a bunch of stuff online about our stupid president and his belief that arming teachers is the best way to solve the school shooting issue.

IMG_9448 small

If someone told me I had to carry a gun to do my job, I’d quit. If someone told me that someone else on campus was carrying a gun, a teacher or a coach, to apparently protect us, I’d quit. I wouldn’t trust the idiot who thought that was a good idea. The idiots who believe more guns solve the gun control issue can come teach. They can come work the monstrous hours we work, deal with the crazy behaviors and rules and testing we deal with, they can do the parent meetings and the staff meetings and the professional development and the reading of this book in your free time so we can not discuss it later and the grading and accountability and all that shit. They can look at their paycheck and see how they feel about being highly educated and highly disrespected by their own society. They can stress over the weekend and late into the night about lesson plans, kids with suicidal tendencies, and principals with crazy agendas. They can do all that.

IMG_7179 small

Oh wait. They can’t. Or they won’t. There are so many things wrong with this solution, I can’t stop banging my head on my desk over it. It’s bad enough that I have to consider my life over those of my students (because we would protect them). I did not choose that as part of my job. I did not join the military, the police force, or even the fire department. I do not fight in wars, I do not train in artillery, I do not shoot at targets. I chose to teach kids to think and grow. I chose to do something positive in society. I did not choose to carry a gun. I will not choose to carry a gun.

Sigh. So today is my last day with my current counselor…I started seeing her in 2013 because something really shitty and awful and devastating happened and it was beyond me. She has calmly and rationally pulled me down off whatever sky-high branch I flew to and helped me remold the pieces of my brain that broke back then so that they are mostly functioning. They’re not perfect…they never will be…they won’t even be that cool Japanese Kintsugi, where they mend broken pots with gold. They are stitched together with my drawings and my quilts and held with a few hands in place. The joining places do feel fragile at times, even now, but I think I’m OK. She tried to graduate me out of counseling a year ago, and I wasn’t ready. It feels like if I stop going that some massive horrible thing will happen again and I will fall to pieces again. I’m really paranoid about that. And when I tell her that, she nods her head and walks me through my achievements of the last 4 1/2 years and I say OK, I get it, I hear you, I’m not ready.

Aug 7 13 006 small

Someday this will be a quilt. I’m not ready for that yet.

But I guess I’m ready to stop going to counseling. Because I know if more shit hits the fan (and it inevitably will…it’s just a matter of how and when, because that’s what it was last time…a how and when and out of the blue with no warning is not apparently a good thing for me), I will maybe freak out and maybe not and if I do, I know where to go. I know how to get there. I did it last time. I realized my head was broken and I went to get it fixed. I didn’t think it was fixable at the time, but it turns out I mend. I’m not the same person any more. But I am still me. I’m better at some things now and worse at others. I can’t see colors in the dark very well any more. I’ve got some major baggage that I don’t seem to be able to shed. I guess it’s enough to know it’s there and to manage it when it tumbles down on top of me.

So tonight? Tonight I will say goodbye to my counselor and hope I never need to see her again (strange relationship that)…and I will come home and hopefully sort some fabrics and start ironing them together, and this thing that’s pretending to be the beginnings of a cold will give up and move on, and the president and all his gun-toting cronies will disappear in some sort of a meteor crater that also sucks up all the automatic weapons and other stupid shit but doesn’t hurt any innocent people or children. Wait. That one is probably pretty unrealistic.

*Fun. We Are Young


The Dew Will Settle on Our Graves*

February 21, 2018

‘Tis chilly here in sunny San Diego…some random cold front making it colder than Ithaca, NY, where the boychild is, but probably just for today. I’m pretty sure that will change soon enough. Cold enough to make me a dog sandwich on the couch, a cat sandwich in bed, though. Amazing how close they’ll get when it’s really chilly.

IMG_1527 small

Yes, I actually cut stuff out with the two of them like that. It wasn’t easy. I’m used to one box on either side of me and one on my lap. Instead the boxes were precariously perched on either side of dogs who move erratically.

Earlier, I graded…because that’s all I ever do…and this one was already half in my spot. She didn’t move until bedtime.

IMG_1526 small

It was a frustrating day at school. Independent thinking is probably not best achieved on the first day back after a three-day weekend. I still remember what happened Friday, but not so my little chickadees. And even once I got them through a review, then I wanted them to come up with categories. Oh My Goodness. You’d think I had asked them to cure cancer. In my top class, chock full of honors students, I got one table with three categories: True, False, and IDK. Um. Ladies. They’re all true. LAME. It’s OK…today they will have to use what they did to make more sense of the world. I’m just damn cruel that way.

So yeah, I graded because grades are due soon and I know I will run out of time. I always do.

But I also was done with grading and dinner and all that dishery (I even cleaned a bathroom…just one and not the floor) around 9:30 PM or so and I did a few drawings in between cutting out the last of the pieces.

IMG_1530 small

I like this one better…of course…because it’s weirder.

IMG_1532 small

I did about 2 hours of trimming last night to finish up everything…with a total of 9 1/2 hours into the process. Box on top is the trash. I’m putting it in a ziplock bag with the trimmings from the LAST quilt and mailing them to someone whose address I saved (seriously, I did…). Box on the bottom will get sorted into bins tonight for ironing probably tomorrow night.

IMG_1534 small

I have book club tonight, so I will go out and socialize with my tribe. Plus I read the book. So that’s a plus.

Girlchild has some access to Messenger this week, although she is back to camping in the wilds of Madagascar. On the beach. Near a hotel. Where no one likes to go.

IMG_1522 small

It looks somewhat like my Spring Break trip to the redwoods last year…except the trees are smaller.

She’s really enjoying this. I’m really glad.

IMG_1525 small

They seem to take care of the kids…unlike my group when I went abroad in college, which flew me to London and kept me there for about 3 days, but then sent me off to the wilds of Aberystwyth with zero support…although I think they gave us Thanksgiving dinner…that’s something. I guess we were less likely to die of a nasty disease in Wales. And they apparently spoke English there, although some days that was questionable.

Anyway, today I throw cellular respiration into the mix. That should make smoothies of my students’ brains. It’s OK…they’ll survive. I might not.

*Tom Waits, All the World Is Green


It Shines Like Destruction*

February 20, 2018

It’s interesting how I can get most of my to-do tasks done, except the cleaning ones. Those just suck and I suck at doing them. I just can’t get motivated to clean the kitchen floor. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t throw parties…I’d have to clean floors for that. I did clean the kitchen counters last night…and the stove, so I guess it’s not hopeless. I just reach an ending point on cleaning, and it’s never when everything is clean. I’d rather draw or something…anything else.

The project videos are done. It’s a miracle. I have plenty of other crap to grade, of course, but those are out of my hair. Next week, I get all of Unit 4, which will have to be graded in 6 days. And people wonder why I’m not going to a bunch of social stuff on the weekends. I did about 12 hours of grading this weekend, maybe more. Ugh.

No more 3-day weekends, which help with balance. Five weeks until Spring Break though. I can do that.

Sometimes school seems really heavy and hard. It’s usually right about now.

So add on hikes and art and whatever else makes the head rise above the slog…because I still have to go back every day and teach difficult subjects to kids who don’t necessarily want to learn. Labs help to keep them engaged, but it’s nothing if they don’t get understanding out of the labs…so we’ll see how that goes.

But yes, we walked the puppy yesterday…he needs exercise, and so do we…

IMG_1513 small

It was a gorgeous but chilly day. Good day for a hike.

Then I came back and finished up as much of my to-do list as I could…and in between cutting out pieces of the new quilt, I did some smaller drawings that could be quilts…

IMG_1514 small

I don’t really like all of them. And I have absolutely no time to make them, even more importantly.

IMG_1515 small

I realized last night that I have five openings in the next month…two in Los Angeles. It’s gonna get a little crazy around here.

IMG_1516 small

And grades are due for Trimester 2. I like this one…

IMG_1517 small

I needed those breaks, because I trimmed pieces for about 4 1/2 hours yesterday. My hands get tight…

IMG_1519 smal

But I don’t think you can tell from here (trash top, to-be-cut in the middle, cut in the bottom)…I’m almost done. Like maybe an hour or two from finishing…with about 7 hours in. So that’s cool. It means I should be ironing together this week. My favorite part…where the image finally starts to appear (besides in my head). I hit the halfway mark on most quilts (on time) some time around finishing the trimming and starting the ironing. Although I need to be faster on this half, for sure. Keeping that in mind.

Meanwhile, back to school today, hammering the photosynthesis chemical reaction (which hopefully they’re getting by now), so I can throw cellular respiration at them next. Then tonight, I can cut out the rest of the pieces hopefully…

*Eurythmics, Love Is a Stranger


Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night*

February 19, 2018

I’m sitting in here, in my studio/office, listening to the rhythmic sounds of the septic pumper truck outside my window…once every 4 years, whether you need it or not? I don’t like waiting until there is a problem. Last time, we had to replace the whole septic field, so that was fun. Anyway, it means I’m trapped here for a bit (ironic that, because honestly, on the average weekend, I don’t leave the house much anyway, except for crazy errands etc. and the occasional meal). I have a bunch of schoolwork to do still, even after 4 hours yesterday of grading another period of project videos, plus 62 emails of makeup work. Done! All of it! Well, I still have more to do. It’s never-ending.

While I was working yesterday, Satchemo came in and investigated one of the cat hiding places in my office…this one will disappear in my remodeling plan, unfortunately for the cats.

IMG_1491 small

Then I headed out for the deck, because yesterday still bordered on warm enough (today is not…unless you live back east and you’re used to much colder than this.). Simba agreed and laid out on the deck with me…

IMG_1493 small

I tried another version of the drawing…

IMG_1494 small

And got somewhere this time…a much better start. Still needs more, and yes, I had to break out the liquid paper, because the lines weren’t going where I wanted them to go. It happens.

IMG_1496 small

Although now I’m annoyed that both figures are turned the same way. There’s a third figure that I think will fix that, and then I’ll draw off the bottom as well. I think it’ll be fine. If not, I’ll flip the skelly.

Back to the studio, where Kitten has picked her new sitting spot…

IMG_1500 small

Yes, Kitten, that IS why I put the fabric in those boxes.

Somewhere in there is when I graded for 4 hours. It was quiet and frustrating and I had to get up and stomp around the house a few times and hallelujah I’m almost done with that.

I had enlarged the drawing I did last week…200%. I didn’t want something too big. There’s a deadline I honestly don’t know if I can make. But here it’s taped together…

IMG_1504 small

And then I numbered it…hey…not too bad.

IMG_1505 small

There’s some tiny stuff, but not too much of it.

IMG_1506 small

And then I cut stuff out on the scoliosis for a few more hours. It’s slow…but it’s going…

IMG_1508 small

Time for art, time for work. Today is similarly planned…one last class of project videos, plus finishing up another assignment and inputting some of those grades, so kids can be happy or despondent. Seriously they should already know which based on what they did or didn’t turn in, but apparently that level of self-review is not fully developed yet. I think they hope for magic sometimes. I mean, sure, I blew off the video and half the pages are blank, but maybe she won’t notice?

I noticed. Anyway. It is what it is. Trimester 2 is notoriously bad for our kids. The number of holidays? Spring messing with their hormones? It’s hard to say.

With that, I am hoping the pump-truck guys are near to done so I can get my own shit done (ha ha…see how I did that? Shit? Yeah. OK.). Art, work, food, sleep. I want a dog walk today too. I bet the dog would go along with that.

*Sarah McLachlan, Blackbird (yeah, the Beatles song)


I Am Superman and I Can Do Anything*

February 18, 2018

Well I finally managed drawing on the deck on a sunny day. As opposed to drawing on the deck on a rainy day? That would actually be harder to do with the weather we have. I’m going to try again today, because it was nice. Duh. Of course it was nice.

If you are back East or anywhere else it’s snowing, I’m sorry. You’re thinking, seriously Nida? Why CAN’T you get your butt outside on a gorgeous day and soak in some of this obviously Southern California (those aren’t my palm trees) wondrousness?

IMG_1471 small

And the answer is, I don’t know. I have my weekly journal there, my sketchbook, a pile of art proposals that are coming up, the inevitable cup of tea? Perfect. Enough sun to warm my feet…bare feet. Yup. In February.

So I did this and rejected it…although there are things that might pop up elsewhere.

IMG_1474 small

Sometimes I just have to move the pen around on paper until better ideas pop in.

So I started another one, which might stick. It has some issues.

IMG_1476 small

That lower hand, for instance. I know where I’m going with this though, so it wouldn’t hurt to either start again or enlarge this and cut that crappy hand out and do another one. I think this might work.

IMG_1477 small

In the middle of all this drawing, I sold a quilt…a small one, but that’s money. That’s the grocery money this week and next. That’s a cushion I didn’t have when I wrote my post yesterday morning. That’s a deep breath.

I appreciate that. So that quilt will be winging its way (ha! It’s a bird) to Colorado on Tuesday. If the post office stays open late enough and I can book out of tutoring on time.

Then I came inside and graded more projects and videos. This was my second smallest class. I was going to do both the small classes at once, but after I got through this period and an entire video of one of the kids in the class yelling out “My ass itches” while the kid doing the video tried to keep it together (oh man, that other kid is in BIG TROUBLE on Tuesday…), I couldn’t bring myself to do another 16 of them.

Plus Kitten was being a pain in the butt. That tail was flicking at me the whole time.

IMG_1478 small

Two periods left to do. I’m doing the big one today. I might need mental assistance afterwards, but it will be done.

Then I started cutting tiny bone pieces out…

IMG_1480 small

After dinner out and a visit to a local brewery, we came back and I tried to video chat with the girlchild. Apparently they could hear everything I said, but she sounded like she was in a metal drum and syncopated. SIGH. It’s OK. I saw she was alive…good thing, because she leaves tomorrow for 5 days. It’s OK. I’m doing fine. Sometimes I get sad and miss my kids, and that’s OK. It would be weird if I didn’t.

So then after that, I cut more pieces out. The top one is the trash, the middle one is actual quilt pieces, and the bottom is what still needs cutting…which is a lot.

IMG_1484 small

But a lot of that is big pieces…all the details were on top, mostly, the last stuff I ironed down.

Girlchild did finally gt a picture of herself in the beach paradise of Antalaha, where she’s based for a lot of her stay…

IMG_1489 small

Look! She’s alive! And also barefoot in the sun (huh…well…genetics). We should maybe feel sorry for the boychild for being in New York right now in the snow and cold (or not…he chose that).

Today? I’m going to sit outside again. Really. I am. And I’m going to torture myself with more project videos. And I’m going to cut more things out. Really, just like yesterday, minus dinner out. And it’s Sunday. Which means I need to send the parent email for school. But otherwise, I have tomorrow off as well? So I can kinda be relaxed and sort of pretend my job doesn’t inhabit my entire life today, yeah? Maybe? Gonna try.

*R.E.M., Superman