Losing Myself in Art…

I did this DNA extraction lab with my students yesterday and it barely worked. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I assumed it was me, that I was fucking it up somehow, water too cold or hot, chemicals in wrong order, something. It wasn’t until the end of the day and an email to the people who supplied the kits that we tracked the problem down…a new supplier of wheat germ that didn’t break up easily, so the DNA wasn’t being released in those nice long snotty clumps…it was just little tiny blobs. Frustrating to say the least, but my co-teacher has the benefit of my experience now (and maybe the supplier will make some notes for future users). Someone asked why I didn’t test the lab out the day before, but we’ve done this lab for quite a few years, albeit usually with a lot of help, and it’s always worked. I had no reason to doubt it. And honestly, here’s the kicker, I didn’t fucking have time to test it the night before. My prep is usually trashed by stupid stuff, I stay late some days but often have meetings or appointments (chiropractor on Monday). I could get up earlier and go in or spend hours on the weekends, but then I get crankier and crankier, because my body really doesn’t fall asleep before 12:30 and that’s on a good night, and I would like to stay away from school on the weekends. Last night I stayed and made sure I mostly knew how to do today’s lab, because I couldn’t remember how to use the micropipettes, but I didn’t go through the whole electrophoresis process. And I don’t have a prep before I teach any more, so I won’t have a chance probably to do that today either. Maybe I can.

Meanwhile, the dryer stopped working. It had to dry all those towels from the water heater experience, and it just died? I’m not sure what the issue is. Checked the circuit breaker, found the book on it, doesn’t seem to be something I can fix. But it’s 10 1/2 years old. Average life span of a dryer is 10-13 years. Life has gotten a bit frustrating in the last week and I’m not handling it well. I think I was already at my stress limit and this stuff is just over the top. I’m also trying to clean up post water heater, go through stuff, throw some out, recycle some, clean up and organize the rest. It’s overwhelming as well. I made it through one pile of damp papers last night. Amusing what some of it was. Don’t know why I couldn’t find time before to toss it. It’s gone now. But some of it was important. Now that it’s dried out, I can find its home.

I know why I couldn’t toss stuff before. I make art. In the moments when the rest of the world is cleaning house and straightening up and organizing and tossing stuff, I sit down at my sewing machine and make. And there’s no one else here to pick up the slack, to straighten that pile up or deal with this issue or that mess, so it just becomes a task I can’t handle. I’d like to say I’m going to spend some time this weekend…or even tonight…dealing with this, and maybe I will, but grades are also due in about a week and a half. And they were totally sidelined by all this water damage etc.

Whatever. Do what you can. Keep making. Because I paid the second kid’s college payment last night, and I still need $8100. More than half of it by March 1. I know where $1500 of it is coming from…and there’s another $100 I know will come in. $6500. Yikes. Dear colleges…

So that was last night. It only made sense to sit down at the machine and lose myself in some quilting…here’s the cat that resembles a fox…

Oct 29 15 001 small

Two things: first, I didn’t quilt in the gap in the middle because I forgot. I did go back and do it later when I realized…and I realized because the second cat is the same cat, so it reminded me. Second, I was aiming for a cat we used to have, Rusty. He came to us because a friend’s daughter brought him home from the store…a woman out front had free kittens. And then their landlord said no. He was a coyote dinner at some point, because my ex was determined that cats should be able to roam free. Rusty was the first one we lost. When Kiwi went, I closed the doors and put my foot down. Rusty was probably orangier than that, but hey, it’s art.

Then I decided I wanted a really brightly colored cat, so I used the same drawing…the color under the machine is apparently really hard for the camera to handle…

Oct 29 15 002 small

And I sewed this one last night as well.

Oct 29 15 003 small

It’s cute…kind of a counterpoint to the quiet cats I finished earlier.

So there’s one cat left, the really weird one with the eyeballs. Then there’s two hearts in hands and the owl. Those are all more complicated, so they’ll take longer. The second one, Cat 7, has taken about 2 1/2 hours so far to make. Still need to trim, bind, put a sleeve on, and maybe give her some whiskers. We’ll see how long that takes. These two are almost the smallest…Cat 1 is smaller.

So even just writing about sewing the cats and the thought process makes my brain in a better place. It pulls up out of the muck and handles life. So I guess that’s why I do that art stuff more than the cleaning stuff. Like I didn’t already know that. The way my brain works, it needs the art stuff to balance everything else out.

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