Try as Hard as You Can*

I do most of my artwork at night. Occasionally I can work on a weekend afternoon, and during my breaks from school, it’s more common to find me working during the day, ironing or cutting or tracing. But in reality, I’m a night owl. Mornings are not productive for me. It takes me about 2 hours of being awake before I’m ready to talk to people (I talk to animals at all hours). Being a teacher means I usually have to talk before I’m really ready, but that also means I really understand those kids who are at half mast in 1st period. I also flail in the afternoon…basically from 2-6 PM, I’m mostly useless. Except I can still teach. Because you have to, I guess. I can iron then. Sew sometimes. Mostly I start artmaking after dinner and then go until I should really be asleep…until all of you are asleep. The thing is, I suck at falling and staying asleep too. Although I think the latter is sometimes only noise-related. I’m a light sleeper. And my brain doesn’t like to turn off for sleep. Melatonin doesn’t work. It’s art brain. It’s not happy that it gets tuned out during the whole workday. It wants more of my time.

I try to give it big giant chunks. Like last night, I had a plan, but it got side-tracked. And then it was 10 PM. So I did almost two hours, but then I have to head to bed or significantly suffer the next day. Art brain whines. Ugh. I tell it I will give it more tonight. It’s sulking. I give it more tea. It wants to go back to bed. I’m with it. I also want to go back to bed. But that’s not an option, because work. The other work. The pay-the-bills work…that I totally blew off last night. I need to do a vocab page plus grade shit, and eh. Last night? No way. But I am so tired this morning…and I know I slept better than the night before, when Simba barked with his brothers, the coyotes, for a good 45 minutes. Asshole. Seriously. That’s one of his nicknames…Mr. Barkypants and Asshole. Too bad for us that he is also sweet and adorable on occasion. Last night he tried to eat soap. Apparently it did not taste good.

So starting at 10…I gave the second male figure a head, hands, and the other arm (but not a penis). Those hands were easy.


Then I started ironing the arms of the last figure, number 4, who is behind all the others…mostly hidden.


It was easier to do that with the rest of the ironed bits out of the way. I have two of these big teflon sheets for ironing. They’re not cheap, and I have to keep them away from the cats who like to chew plastic, but I have definitely used them enough to make it worth it. Some tools are just non-negotiable.


The hands were a pain because the fingers overlap. It will be easier to see that when it’s stitched. But you can see where the other part I just ironed will fit right on top of that. And then the lower torsos will go underneath, with the land on either side and the water below. So I currently have 5 large pieces of the image ironed together. Really, all I have left to do is the top right part of the arm, then the head of the 4th figure, and the clouds above her head (which have about 200 small pieces of stuff in them). And then iron it all to a background.

I’m not finishing tonight. There’s at least 300 pieces…that’s at least three hours. And I need to go to the gym tonight. But I can get a lot of it done tonight and then hopefully finish tomorrow? Maybe? I got nothing else going on (please don’t look at the pile of stuff to be graded…which will be significantly worse next week when Unit 1 gets turned in). Aack. Yeah. Be efficient at work today.

The dogs were rampantly annoying last night. I love them, but sometimes they are very needy beasts. Calli was adamant that this bone was hers…and hers alone.


I played fetch for a while with Simba, but then Calli wanted to play. That worked for a while, until Simba wouldn’t bring back the other ball…he would just race after Calli. And then Midnight wanted attention (she doesn’t fetch). So I’m sitting on the floor with three out of the four house animals.


I know I’m the only person here, guys…but maybe you could get attention one at a time.

Anyway, you’ve heard my plan for getting this thing ironed down. Seriously, though, people always ask how I get so much done. Well, first of all, besides the furry beasts, I live alone most of the time. And I don’t socialize much. Hermit! But even when the kids were home all the time, I always set goals…quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, daily goals. Part of my sitting here and typing every morning is a way to tell myself what I want to…what I EXPECT to get done today. And then I don’t mope around when I don’t get it all done…I just set a new goal. Adjust it. I have high expectations…and failure is normal. It’s a minor blip. OK, so I didn’t iron for three hours last night…but I did two. That’s more than most people.

With that, I need to get off to the other job. And finish this cup of tea, because I still don’t feel awake. Remotely.

*Depeche Mode, Shake the Disease

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