It's the Time and Effort That Count…

I’m not marching for women today. I didn’t even realize. Or I did and my brain was overwhelmed. It feels wrong not to be marching, because I still really care about this shit and realize that if we relax about the crap that’s going on, more of the bad crap will happen. And I don’t want that. Remembering a previous relationship where I got mansplained that it was all in my head (so easy for rich white boys to say). So I’m going to draw something…I’ve been doing lots of Earth Mothers during the years and started an Earth Daughter series (that only has two quilts in it, but there’s time for more). I had a plan to draw a few more of these for some upcoming shows that are paranoid about nudity…since the Daughters are usually just chest and up, it’s easier to hide the things that freak people out. Yes, that is a cactus…it just happens to be where nipples are. Can you see my snarky smile? So I had a list of Daughters I was planning to draw and just hadn’t gotten to yet. This morning in the shower, I came up with some more political ones…and even now, the Feminist Daughter will have two versions…with and without nudity. Is this violating how I normally make art? Well…yes and no. I’m aware of what I’m doing and of the power of getting my political/environmental work out there in a variety of venues without the nudity getting it thrown out. I might still get thrown out for politics, but then, realistically, I can’t put that stuff anywhere with stupid restrictions anyway.

Anyway, I’ll be drawing today. Drawing for women…harder to draw for everyone. I guess I pick my battles. Can I draw for everyone? Not really. I try to be more open to other issues or genders or modes of sexuality, but it’s not always obvious in what I draw.

I’m tired. I’m just gonna leave that there.

Kitten cleaning…curled up next to me while I was grading last night. Always grading…

They are related, that’s for sure. And sweet as hell.

I traced for about 2 hours…

I wasn’t very efficient. I was tired and spacey and lost two pieces for a while (didn’t really lose them…just couldn’t find them for a while…that’s a numbering issue).

I’ve mostly filled one yard and started a second one. I’m in the 200s. Hopefully I wrote that down somewhere.

Part of my tired is the puppy…barking at all the coyotes last night until probably 3 AM…and then a minor blood sugar issue around then. I was reading a chapter and eating popcorn at 3, and then finally got to sleep.

Man, I wish I were a cat…

They sleep so well. I suck so bad at sleep.

This is the tap root of the tree the boychild pulled out of a deep hole in the backyard. He’s been digging at it for at least a month, probably longer.

The tree is a volunteer/weed of sorts. Really invasive. We’ll use the hole for something that will block our view of the neighbor’s house. We have plans for planting we can finally start to implement…the trees are trimmed, solar is done and collecting precious sunlight, got the front yard marked for gas/electric and phone lines (which were in a confusing place). We have one lime tree from a friend who moved, and then are planning on a lemon and an avocado, some fencing, and some more plantings that will beautify, block overnight lighting from the neighbors, and keep UPS and Amazon from dumping packages at the wrong door. Big plans!

Still lots of cat interactions happening, all good. Makes us all happy.

OK, I have a ton of grading this weekend, doctor stuff, drawing, tracing, depressing TV (Chernobyl…good but hard to watch), hopefully some outdoors time, some art, who knows what else. Take care of the body, the mind, and Art Brain, but keep the day job from being overwhelming by tackling it and making boundaries around it. Almost a resolution there, but it’s where I’m always at, so not really.

I have two pieces in a show opening today in Ojai, California…the opening starts in 17 minutes. Whoops. No, I’m not there. It was too far. I couldn’t deal with it this weekend.

But it will be there until the end of February…debating my drive home from a trip in February that COULD go here…but it probably wouldn’t be open that day, so that would be silly. Never mind. Anyway, check it out. Beatrice Wood is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11-5 PM. Now I’m going to grab my sketchbook and go hang out at a winery or two with the man. Necessary stuff for relationships…time. Wine and art are good too, but it’s the time and effort that count.

Rampaging Cat Butts…

I’ve definitely used a significant amount of energy points this week. Labs with slogging bins of sand and water in and out of the classroom two days running, all day. Exercise twice this week on top of that. All the regular walking that comes with being at school. Today the kids research…I’m looking forward to some just-standing time. Maybe. I mean probably I’ll be in a chair at some table where kids can’t deal, but…it’ll be a chair and not running circles around the classroom.

I now have 17 bins of wet sand that need to dry, and it’s raining today. Cold and wet is not conducive to the sand-drying process…I do the weirdest shit for my job. I guess they’ll sit on the counter for a while. Evaporation is slow in a classroom. Hairdryer duty for a kid who needs a job? Anyway.

After the afternoon meeting I had signed up for, I was able to get out in time to kamikaze to the lab to get all my blood sucked out of me (it felt that way) to try to figure out what happened with my blood sugar the other night. I haven’t had any issues since then, except with my paranoia that it might happen again. Home to a few moments with the dogs until they left, and then the house was quiet and I was staring at my computer and stuff to grade. Like always. A short burst of productive time, interspersed with kitten shenanigans…blurry cats are the best cats…

Oh yes, that is a flying leap. We keep boxes for cat play.

They do like to play.

I was getting ready for pilates and got this weird thing going on with the three cats and the dog bed.

When the dogs are gone, there is a lot more interaction and play among the three of them.

But when I got back from class, things had settled down. Yes, that is my work bag.

Yes all the makeup work I need to grade is in there. Sit on, young ladies! Sit on! Can’t work. Kittens in the way.

And then they played some more…old lady got involved.

See Nova hiding by the table?

All that distraction makes it hard to concentrate. Actually, I’m pretty good at ignoring other things and still working. Years of practice. But they are fun to watch.

I started tracing the new quilt around 10 PM…

Maybe later. Yeah. Close to 11. I had finished grading one period of the hellacious assignment…only two to go. Ugh. And then piles of makeup work. It’ll get done. That’s what 3-day weekends are for, right? Double-ugh. They are also for artmaking…

I traced for about an hour. I can’t say how far I got, because I did through piece 84, and then I did all the car headlights, which were not in numerical order, but it made more sense to trace them all together so they could be cut out and ironed together, seeing as how they’re small, and there’s no point in making them all different colors of yellow or white. I’ll do the same with the exhaust pipes and clouds, but then the cars will be all different. That said, each car body is three pieces, and two will be the same color, so they can be traced and ironed together. That saves me time in the long run. I only cut them separately once, when they are on fabric. On Wonder Under, they stay together.

That probably only makes sense to me. And only barely, because I don’t even have one cup of tea in me. OK, buy donuts for the class that won last month, clean classroom, set up for the next assignment, hang out a little after school, come home and try to grade stuff (or nap, whichever seems more efficient). I need to iron and clean up the newest quilt for the photographer tomorrow. I’ve got work to do over the weekend and my doc is making me come in on Monday, where we will discuss her comment about my needing to eat balanced meals. (um. No duh. Stop assuming I’m not.) And maybe I’ll get some sleep. Hard to say with the rampaging kitten butts around here. Definitely going to be tracing more Wonder Under…maybe even finishing it up this weekend. It’s nice not to have someone else’s deadline running me at the moment. Although there is one I need to consider. Sigh. But not now! Now I need to go to work at the day job.

Drawing Done…

I was supposed to come home last night from book club and grade stuff. I graded during the 2-hour union meeting before that, which included a lot of words about the new contract. And by the time I got home from book club, it was after 9 PM and I wasn’t in the mood. So I didn’t grade. Sigh. I’m going to lose a whole day this weekend to grading…I know that.

What I did instead was finish the drawing (finally!) and number it. I need to be working on something artistic right now. The drawing is the hardest part, and I was so close to done. There’s a space where I look at it and think, there’s nothing else that needs to be on there. All the spaces are appropriately filled. It took 6 1/2 hours to do that…it’s about 36×48″.

Although I did consider a cat…

She is doing her cat duty by lying on what I’m working on. Seriously. That’s where I needed to be drawing. But this quilt is more about climate change and war than cats, so I left the cat out.

I added a few things up here, finished the top arm, put a sky behind part of it…

Added some burning trees…not here…but I really like these tumbling birds I drew somewhere and moved onto here.

I can’t always explain why I draw particular things. There they are…

The birds again…not the trees. It was hard to get any photos last night with the lighting right above. Oh yeah, and then I numbered it…

Only 804 pieces. Not bad. OK. It took almost an hour just to number it. I tried to do it logically. When I put the quilt together, we’ll see how logical that was. Tonight I can start tracing. If I am awake. You never know. It’s another busy day.

Ah kittens.

They’re sweet little beasts. Running late. As always…me, not the cats. They’re never late.

Sand and Water and 12-Year-Olds…

So no problems last night with blood sugar. This is good. Except I hate unexplained crap. Like Bigfoot. I want an explanation. My doc had the typical response she always had…Change the Meds! I’m like, no, chillax, it’s not the meds. It’s something else. I don’t know what ELSE is, but it is.

Anyway. Meanwhile, I’m carrying around glucose tabs and testing sort of obsessively, which is expensive, y’all.

Yesterday was the first day back with kids in the classroom. They were sort of gobsmacked by having to come back, but we did a New Year’s clear out your crap thing and then remember the vocab from three weeks ago? No? Then go look at it again.

Today and tomorrow are some high-intensity (read: large mess capability) labs, so we’ll be running around trying to keep that going. I had tutoring after school yesterday and sat with some kids and talked about the difference between erosion and weathering. Straight up, I had to go look it up to make sure I knew the difference, so I guess it’s a good thing that we are reviewing. Laughing. I don’t always know things. It’s OK. Somehow, the kids all thought that the sun was hot enough to melt rocks on the surface…which it is, but only if the sun is a LOT closer, in which case, we’re all crispy bacon. So yeah. Meanwhile, my doctor’s office is calling this morning and wants me to take today off school to come in. Oh yeah. Not happening.

So I got home and went to pilates (good choice, very relaxing) and came home and ate dinner and then graded all the late work that got piled on top of me yesterday (just get it OVER with) and then realized book club is today, tonight, and I had (I thought) one chapter left to read. It wasn’t one. It was two and a very long epilogue. But I read them. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep during some of it and I’m still not really sure what happened with the two gods at the end, but whatever. I finished.

While grading…Luna likes to watch computer and phone screens…from right up in my face.

Like could you be any closer. It’s sweet, yes. Very sweet. Not very conducive to grading.

And then while I was reading…the man took this picture…

I got Nova first, climbing up on my arm and perching there. As they get bigger, this will be more challenging. Who needs the gym when you are holding a cat on your arm? And then Luna, who can not be left out of things, wandered over and tried to figure out how to be in Nova’s space.

We are still putting them in the crate at night and when we’re gone during the day. It’s a safe space and they are inquisitive enough (read: have knocked enough shit over) that we don’t want to leave them home alone unsupervised yet, until they’re too big to cause damage? I don’t know. Until we feel OK with it. So they’re currently rampaging around the house while I write this…I need to leave in 10 minutes, so I need to find and corral them. Usually that involves throwing a toy mouse with rattles in it. They don’t quite come when they’re called (they are cats), but this is a close second.

Art yesterday didn’t happen. I was exhausted from not sleeping the night before and a long day at school. Today will be long too. And I’m already tired. I asked for a phone appointment from the doc…we’ll see if she can do that. Hopefully. She’s probably going to want labs, fasting. That’ll be fun.

Did I tell you we trimmed trees? Well I hired someone to trim three of the big beasts, and now there is so much more sun coming in on the back of the house. Pros and cons of that, but the solar panels are happy and so are the cats. Hopefully they’ll leaf out a bit by summer so we don’t die, but for now, it feels nice.

Off to work. Weathering and erosion labs. Lots of sand and water and 12-year-olds. Always good choices.

Need More Things…

OK, so I had a rough diabetic night with blood sugar randomly crashing and refusing to come back up. I’m running on about 4 hours of sleep, I need to call the doc, I already talked to the nurse who confirmed I did everything right (although I’m sure the man wishes I didn’t wake him up, but I needed someone ready to call 911 if I couldn’t). FUN. I love unexplained health issues the day before I get kids in the classroom. Well. Hours before I get kids in the classroom. I have a parent meeting this morning, but I’m prepared for the rest of it. Just not sure how to fit the doc in there as well. Honestly I think I need something more than “here, we’re gonna take all your blood and pee”, but whatever. I have food and glucose tabs and a meter at school and IDK what else to do. Scary though.

As with most people, I hate when things are out of control.

Yesterday, though, I got everything ready and it was all good. I came home and the trees were trimmed and there’s light places where there hasn’t been light and my solar is collecting all that lovely light and I can watch it on an app do all that, so nice.

I did my first Patreon video for January, all about the drawing I’m working on.

I’m pretty fast at the editing now. That’s a skill.

Boychild found me for this…

That’s a raccoon. Can you tell? He went up one of the trees eventually. That right there is about where the neighbor wants to put a fence. He wants to fence the whole property. I think they told him 12K. Well yeah, dude. So I don’t know how that’s gonna go, but maybe I’m not going to have to stare at a fence. And raccoons can go where they want.

It’s possible in my old age that we will have to move further out.

Then there was a lot of kitten interactions. See the blurry one? Yeah, lots of that.

And that…

And some play…

Plus dual tail bopping…

All good. Did I finish anything last night? Nope. Well, not true…one class of an assignment. Finished that.

And then I drew…

Almost there. She has a head now…

Needs more things. We all do. OK, blood sugar behave. Doc find a reason. Kids do their things. I’m exhausted. Good times!

See Where That Goes…

Hey y’all. Two days of silence. Well, only here. The rest of my existence has been loud. I just didn’t have time to write in the last two days. But today, I am back to school, and this is part of my morning wakeup routine. I’m really not awake until after 9 AM, which is difficult, because I usually have students at 9. And they require interaction…energy I usually don’t have at 9 AM. Hence writing, which gets the word part of my brain in gear, plus also makes me reflect on the day and what I might need or want to get done.

Needs and wants are often very different, of course. I want to go back to sleep, because oh hells that was a shitty night’s sleep and I’m mostly braindead…but no, I get to sit through a few hours (or more) of meetings and professional development, which is pretty much the bane of my existence. I mean, I guess another colonoscopy would be worse, but I don’t need another one of those for like 10 years, so that’s a plus. These damn things come every week (although not the all-day version, which has its own special level of suckage). It is what it is. My day job pays the bills and is generally not boring and I even enjoy the teaching/kid parts (well, mostly), although not when I realize two of my top students were copying off each other. I’m disappointed in that.

I’m also sort of reeling still about finding out Saturday that my cousin Jennifer died. She was a sweet and quietly sarcastic woman and although she had been sick for a while, we all had hope that things would turn around. I did see her in October, but had plans to do that again…too late. So I’m sort of walking around in a daze with that one…trying to put something that makes sense in that hole in my head where she resided.

Saturday I was in Palm Springs for a class taught by Svetlana Shigroff…who I follow on Instagram. I’m not sure how I found her…Instagram has its algorithms…”you like this so your friends like that”. I had seen her work and then a video of her making the work, and I was fascinated by the process and the product. I feel like I should follow those urges to learn new things, so when I saw she had a class coming up (I actually missed the first one in November, couldn’t go then), I signed up. Yes, it’s a 2-hour drive. Each way. It was Winter Break. I felt like I could handle that.

And I could…the class was tufting, which is kind of like rug hooking…here’s the setup…

You can see the weird tool we used on the frame.

You work from the back…

It took me a while to get the loops regular and consistent…

This is still from the back. You can use a variety of fabrics, but I stuck to jersey because for me, it was more about the image than the texture.

There were about 13 people in class. I’m pretty sure I knew one of them from somewhere (odds of that)?

Still from the back. Definitely some new muscles using this beast.

I got as much done as I could…

Here’s the whole class with their pieces…

I’m famous! Nah. But if you want to follow the artist on Instagram, you can…

You can see I didn’t sit for this…

And she had a better picture of the group than I did.

I made it home by 5:30 and settled down for some cheery Chernobyl and brainless stitching.

The next day, I had an opening up at the beach…so you need to see the water…yeah?

I have two pieces in this show with Allied Craftsmen at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad, California. This is my work, Desert Daughter, in front of Arline Fisch’s cool metalwork.

And my snarky self with Some Like It Hot…which meant I got to explain menopause to two college students.

Home to kitten activity…and getting ready for school.

Sometimes they stop moving. On me.

Finally started drawing again…this thing will be done soon, with or without Luna’s help…

It’s coming. All good. Meanwhile, school is back in the schedule. I can be irritated by the lack of work I got done over break, but there’s no need or purpose for that. I am trying to process Jennifer’s absence. I have a lot of grading that’s still not done. I can’t fix all that. I can just start now and see where it all goes.

Somewhere to Land

I’m late writing today. I had a thing this morning, and then the boychild and I took the dogs on the last long hike of Winter Break…although next weekend is a 3-day weekend, so we’ll probably do another one. Hopefully by then, the daylight will last long enough that we can hike after school some afternoons, but we’ll see…it needs to be light late enough that we can avoid coyotes…as much as you CAN avoid coyotes while in wild spaces.

This is Crestridge, and it was cool enough to do this midday. We’ll come back on that trail way over there. We usually go UP that and come back this way or another, but this time we did it backwards.

A portrait of two dogs who refuse to look at ME, and look at the boychild instead.

Not very photogenic.

Lots of fungus…

Anyway. That was today. Last night, I hung out with one of my stitching groups…Julie is crocheting next year’s Christmas ornaments, which is very organized of her…

Many of her annual ornaments hang on my tree. When I remember to decorate it, which is often on Christmas Eve.

And Kathy is working on another Sue Spargo, Homegrown…which I own and will enjoy stitching if I ever finish the 2015 block-of-the-month, Folk Tails.

I finished the three September blocks with that flamingo, and she is working on Block 8 of a million. Or so. Yes. 2015. You read that right. I haven’t gotten much done on it this year…too many other embroidery projects on my plate.

Honestly, the process is more fun than the finish on these.

There was lots of kitten playtime last night…here they’re watching Simba, who’s watching things far away that he needs to bark at. The kittens don’t know why.

Honestly, none of us know why he barks so much or what he’s barking at. After the dogs left, we had all three cats playing with one purple ribbon…

Fun for everyone…especially if Nova grabs one end and tries to run with it.

I did finally cut a piece of paper to start drawing the next quilt. I guess I gave up on a drawing a day, because now I’m drawing the quilt instead. Nova came up to see and decided the remote was a dangerous beast that needed attacking.

She seriously pounced on it. Kitten is still the biggest…but there was some racing around the house by all three…

Back to drawing…I started with the drawing from a few nights ago. I’m not sure where else it will lead, but it’s a start.

It’s nice to have somewhere for Art Brain to land.

Tomorrow, I’m driving a million miles to take a class, and then driving back again. All good. Oh yeah, I got into another show…Artist as Quiltmaker XIX. Heart-Shaped Box will be at FAVA in Oberlin, Ohio, from May 16-July 26. Cool news…