Choose Not a Life of Imitation*

June 22, 2017

I’m glad to say the heat has shifted today…it’s much cooler. That’s a good thing, because the boychild and I are hiking tomorrow…first hike of summer 2017. We’re basically repeating a hike from last year, because I’m not willing to do 10-13 miles. I’m looking forward to it, but hoping I don’t have a repeat of the dizziness from the last two days. If it happens again today, I know it’s the new medication and I’m calling the doc. I was so disoriented yesterday afternoon that I tried to nap (and mostly failed). But eventually I felt better.

I think the catalog for the upcoming show is done…at least as far as I’m concerned. I need to get my butt in gear on these community quilts…I’ll be doing some of that this afternoon. The copyediting is going pretty well, except the topic is…well…it’s stressful. I can’t read it without thinking about how brains work and how mine fucks up and how we try to deal with our students and this is why they can’t deal. Hopefully the later chapters will have magical solutions for dealing with our kids. Yeah right. Nothing is magical when you’re dealing with the brain and trauma.

Speaking of copyediting, I need to get some done this morning, so this will be a short post. I’m jumping around on all my art stuff anyway…can’t really stay focused on one project at the moment. I have the Wonder Under ready to cut on the first climate project, then I’m still drawing the long skinny climate piece, and then last night, I ventured out into another drawing (remembering I still have another drawing that’s smaller that is barely started). Focus? Yeah right.

Before that, I did work on the hand again, continuing the buttonhole stitches around it.

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A closeup so you can see what I’m talking about.

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And then I started this drawing.

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It’s wonky. It’s scary. It’s what I needed it to be. Now it just needs to be bigger and done.

So that was my brain last night. Who knows where tonight’s brain will go.

*Red Hot Chili Peppers, Can’t Stop


Not as Daft as They Seem*

June 21, 2017

I have this goal every summer, maybe every school break, to get everything in the house cleaned up, voted out, put away, dealt with in some way. There’s too much stuff and a lot of it should just be gone, but it honestly overwhelms me on a regular basis. I started to clear off the eating table (it’s not in a kitchen or in a dining room, so I don’t know what the fuck to call it) and to put away some of the stuff that was on there, I had to clean off the bench, which meant a pair of scissors and trimming fabric. Don’t even ask. It’s a snowball effect. I’m trying to do 20 minutes or so a day, and then once I get some of this editing/art exhibit stuff under control, I’ll spend more time on some significant issues…like the garage or my bedroom. With the boychild’s help. But now, just looking at a pile of books, it’s not like I have anywhere to put most of them, with every bookshelf in the house filled, so I either have to go through and get rid of stuff, or I have to build a library into a second story, and that’s gonna take time AND money, both of which I have very little.

Yesterday I worked and I put off other work and it was hot and I couldn’t think straight. I did get new glasses though, which is good, because these are not always great. Mostly that’s because I’m tired though. I’m still tired. I didn’t sleep well last night…the cough is getting better, but I felt wired, like it was time to get up (it was…if I were going to school)…and I couldn’t go back to sleep. That will get better. I know it takes almost two weeks some years to settle into summer. It takes two weeks on the other end to get used to waking up for school, adjusting back to my work sleep schedule.

I found this in the front yard…a beautiful hawk feather. Symbolism? I will be observing more, become more aware, and then act decisively.

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It’s beautiful, whatever it means. I stuck it to the front of the house…protection against something.

I was giving this blue buttonhole stitch fingernails, or fingerrays. Or something.

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I finished the hippo and started work on the water.

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I had enlarged this again, but only 150% (I math) this time. It’s about 21″ wide, which works.

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Kitten is back in her hidey hole of paper…

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She sleeps hard. This photo reminds me that all my leftover mechanical pencils are in that leather thing behind her. I’d forgotten that.

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I added about 30″ to the bottom of this and drew out her legs in pencil, just to get the proportions where I wanted them (I won’t say “get them right” because I think she’s already out of proportion…but I’m OK with it). Then I was trying to figure out what to do about the crotch area, since this one has to be no nudity for the venue…and yes, the rocks are reminiscent of that, but they’re not that, so there. I still need to fill in that area with more stuff…

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Then decide where the third ground area is going and fill in all the rest. And remember this needs to be done by September. And it’s not the only one. Scary deadlines? Somewhat.

I also need to do a coloring book for the July opening. Yikes. I really need to get kicked off jury duty next week.

But today? Another drive to the north to finish the catalog for the first exhibit, then the chiropractor, then copyediting and maybe the gym, if I can pull that off. And quilting the community stuff, and also drawing please. I’m trying to carve vacation time out of the list of things that need doing. Plus that 20 minutes of trying to put shit away or toss it out or rehome it. And I need to meditate more. Ironic that it stresses me out to find time for meditation. And showering. And eating.

Oh yeah, tomorrow is the talk at Sparks Gallery. Again, I’m going to explain my connections to modern weaving. I think you’ll be surprised by what I’m going to say! I might be surprised too…

*Arctic Monkeys, Fluorescent Adolescent


Nobody Knows Me at All*

June 20, 2017

OK, I finally woke up without my eyelids twitching…that’s a good sign. Still coughing some. Still feel like warmed-over crap. Still tired as hell. That will work its way out, although not any time soon, I think. The heat is not helping. I don’t do well with heat.

Yesterday, everything took way longer than it should have. I set up the copyediting job…although I have yet to start. Today! Today I start! I don’t know why my brain refuses to get there…the heat and tiredness I suspect. But I need to start in case I end up on a jury next week.

So this is not my studio or my computer. I drove up to Miramar to another artist’s studio because she had the program I needed to edit the catalog for the next show.

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Lots of fussy little changes…and there were too many unanswered questions. I had to leave it. I’ll go back tomorrow to finish up. Pain in the butt…but it needs to get done.

Then I came home and pinbasted the first of these…which went OK. It was a pain getting pins in the interfacing. I thought about spray basting it, but would need to get that shit online and I can’t wait for that.

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I started the quilting, just in the ditch. Manhandling these is a pain as well…although it worked out OK in the end. I just got hot and tired and quit. I’m not doing a lot of quilting on these…just enough to hold them together. Remind me to do an easy fusible binding. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to sew the two halves together…this stuff doesn’t squish or roll easily. I have an idea of how to do it. We’ll see. Hurts my hands to do this though…can’t grab on and the pastel is coming off still. Maybe I should spray again now before I start quilting again.

I sat around for a while before I worked on this…some lazy daisies and cross stitches on the right in a greenish yellow. I feel like I should put another thing in, like the tree or the hand or the eyeball. Not sure why I feel like that. I think I need a focus.

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Not for the piece’s sake, but for mine.

So I went and got these copied, but I wasn’t thinking clearly. I need a finished size of no more than 24″. The sketchbook is 14×17″…so 200% is too big. I didn’t get far in the cut and paste before I realized it was too big.

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That was a fuuuuck moment. So that’s on my redo list for today…along with all the things I didn’t do yesterday. Plus remembering to eat lunch. Because that was an issue yesterday. Honestly it’s an issue today because I’m going to get my eyes checked (good thing the twitching is gone) for new glasses. And I’m supposed to leave in 23 minutes and I haven’t eaten anything. Nothing sounds good. Nothing sounds even edible. The heat really fucks with my ability to do anything.

I sound cranky. I feel cranky. It’s summer. I wanna be making art, my own stuff, whatever I want. And I can’t. YET. Growth mindset (that’s a teacher joke). I’ll get there.

Kitten enjoys all the things in my studio that she can lie on.

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I only got one thing done on my to-do list yesterday. Fucked up day. OK. Today I will do better. Besides the glasses, I have three things I can absolutely do, and maybe a fourth. Plus the next community quilt laid out and pinbasted. I feel like I need more room to quilt…but that’s not really an option in here. It’s just crowded. Ugh.

(OK, here’s an example of how crazy I was feeling yesterday. I was on my way home from the studio and the copy place, spent ages in traffic yesterday, and I was following this woman who had obviously been to Costco and bought toilet paper, which is one of the things on my list. I hate Costco. I really do. But we’re running out. And that’s easy. So I’m sitting there behind her at a stop light and wondering if her doors are locked, can I just get out of the car and run up there and steal the toilet paper and drive off with it. Luckily it was too hot for me to get out of the car for any reason.)

It’s OK. I will get through all this stupid angst and onto the stuff I love. I will get enough sleep. I will get rid of this cough. I will check stuff off the to-do list. The heat will ease. Hopefully.

*The Weepies, Nobody Knows Me at All


Came Back Only Yesterday*

June 19, 2017

Well hello this morning. It is my first official day of summer vacation, with no work alarm clock this morning (although between the trash trucks, the boychild, and the puppy, plus the incessant cough I seem to have developed, there was no hope of sleep). I am still short sleep. Still stressed. Still got too much going on, but at least school is out of the picture for a while. That should help.

Saturday I went to an opening, mostly so I could see my own work hanging in the gallery (I missed the opening for my stuff). I wouldn’t expect my work to do well on a brick wall with a vintage couch, but it does…

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There’s my official shot…

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And here’s my new friend. No. I can’t explain it, except to say that after the opening, we wandered a bit around downtown San Diego, because we don’t come down here often. We thought there was another opening (OK, I thought), and I totally confused a security door guy by asking about robots, but to his credit, he rolled with it. All that has nothing to do with the raccoon.

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We’ve been here before. There was some really drunk kid who sat at our table for a while. It was strange. He was almost unconscious, but they kept serving him. That I don’t understand.

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Then back to listen to music. I love watching the creative process, the creative brain moving shit around to make it sound or look better. I love it in my own brain too…

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Sunday was busy. Here’s Simba at my parents’ house. He dug a hole and then sat in it.

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And then the boychild painstakingly pulled all the plumbago out of his tail.

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If you don’t know about plumbago and fluffy dogs, consider yourself lucky.

I should have taken a photo of my dad, because it was Fathers’ Day. I was not that smart. Dad didn’t dig a hole and sit in it either.

So here’s what I’m working on…there are two or three community quilts for the next art show I’m helping to curate, and we have all these 18×24″ blocks that are on interfacing. Some have drawings, some paintings, a few in fabric. These were mostly pastels, which was messy…they were sprayed, but they still leave marks. I’m sewing strips together (the other curator has sewn most of it so far) and then adding fabric where I need to in order to make them the same length. There are two this size so far for one of the community quilts. I don’t think I can go wider and get them under the machine for quilting.

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So today sometime I’m going to sandwich this one with batting and backing, and then hopefully I’ll quilt it. Or I’ll finish the piecing on the other one maybe. Can’t decide. It’s not easy to maneuver though…too stiff.

I have two nights done on this…I did a chain stitch on the bottom and then last night, I added fly stitches to it and continued the thread around until it was finished.

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And then, I thought, it’s vacation. I don’t have to go to bed. Because that’s mature and all. So I found the sketchbook and kept working on this.

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I want to add more to the bottom part, but I think it’s ready to enlarge. I want to get this ready for as soon as I finish with the community quilts. So I think I’m heading to the copy place today.

Meanwhile, Kitten has tried to sleep on the drawings and has now given up and is sleeping UNDER them.

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That is the better choice. Copyediting. I have to do that today too. Busy. No change there.

*Yazoo, Only You


I Can’t Control My Brain*

June 17, 2017

Lost voice has upgraded into sore throat and lost gravelly voice. Well luckily I have no need to talk for the next 55 days.

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OK. Maybe the girlchild will want me to talk when she comes home. Hard to say. Sure that’s on there because I’m looking forward to seeing her…but also because all of my quilts that are currently NOT in exhibits are lying on her bed. And she’ll probably want them to move by then. So that’s a deadline.

I got to school yesterday just after 9 AM. These are in our school garden, managed by one of the teachers…the garden looks great.

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This is my co-teacher’s room…her homeroom was useful and helped her organize all the new materials we got this year by unit. (My homeroom was singularly not useful, but that’s OK…they’re not my homeroom any more.) Our plan was to catalog all of the new materials and old and organize them in cupboards or the prep room by unit, thus saving us headaches and heartaches next year. She’s sitting at Unit 1…my computer is at Unit 2.

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That took a long time. And then there was cleaning up our rooms and trying to decide what to do with a huge pile of old and mostly useless chemicals dumped on us by 8th grade.

The custodial staff stacked my desks and tables in this pleasingly symmetrical formation. Women did this…not men. Just so you know.

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My room as I checked out. Pitiful really. I don’t usually take everything off the walls, but we have been teaching all new standards, so I needed to redo from scratch, now that I know what we teach. Plus we’re going to do it by unit…so if you go back and look at the picture of my colleague’s room, she has fabric rectangles up for each unit.

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I do not have that yet. Hello, Ikea. Later, people. Boychild did help with the take down and clearing out of some stuff I’ve had in here for 8+ years, so that was nice. He might even be around to help me set up…he’s tall and works hard and fast. Useful. If you need someone who’s tall and works hard and fast, let me know…he needs a summer job still.

We were there for over 6 hours, sweaty, tired, exhausted. There were about 10 times when I just wanted to quit, and we didn’t even do the last thing we needed to do. But we had to be out of there at a certain time. I got home and showered and the boychild and I went and got Indian food for dinner. And then I tried to function. I filled in the space around Prosper with a woven stitch and some other stitches, the space between the “e” and the “r”.

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Then because I was trying to finish watching something in here on the computer, I worked on this guy…Palestrina knots all the way around. It seems like a pain in the butt until you get into it, and then it’s easy. I don’t know why Palestrina knots terrify me so much. I’ve done a million of them now.

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And then I finished tracing this one…5 1/2 hours total. There’s some huge and long pieces on the two pieces of Wonder Under on the left.

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Honestly don’t know when I really have time to cut them out. I should be doing so many other things. No really. Not kidding.

Puppy and boychild joined me for a bit…

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He likes to be ON people. Except it’s hot here. Ugh.

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Soon after this, the big dog started vomiting. Which continued for a while. I’ve cleaned up a lot of vomit this morning. I could do without that.

So summer. Hallelujah. Need to make like 3 quilts. Seriously. And copyedit lots. And clean, toss, and organize lots. It’s frightening actually how much needs to be done. Right now, I’m still just taking it a day (hour?) at a time, trying to get some rest and find my brain. We’ll see how that goes.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun


I Feel Summer Creepin’ in*

June 16, 2017

I do have to be at school today…my room is a disaster and my co-teacher’s room is even worse, because we piled up all the new equipment and materials in there by unit, so we could try to organize it today. And plan a bit. We’ll see how that goes. My left eye is still twitching like a bitch (not enough sleep yet) and I have no voice again. But that school year is done. Out. On the ground. It wasn’t an easy one. With no state curriculum, we planned from scratch…and now we have to go back and fix it all.

I got home yesterday and the bank had shut down all my accounts again. It took a short while this time to get it all worked out, but I think the problem was Western Union, which we used to get money to the girlchild, because she needed cash for a car and her bank has no branch locally. But the bank has been remarkably unforthcoming and unhelpful. I finally got access to all the old statements (not sure what the issue was really) by filling out a Gallup poll about my experience that the bank sent me. Hello businesses…just saying sorry goes a long way, but it doesn’t fix stupid practices.

Usually after school is out, it takes me at least a week to be really efficient. We only get 8 weeks, which I realize sounds amazing to y’all, but I just got an email about the professional development I have to do…so if I do that before the year starts, that’s 7 weeks. Plus I’m working for the next two weeks, so that’s 5 weeks. I use this time to catch up on all the stuff I can’t do during the school year, because school sucks up holidays and weekends like a dehydrated puppy. Technically, including weekends, I have 55 days before I have to be back. It does not sound like enough. I know people with other jobs are completely jealous, but just come do my job for a couple of weeks and tell me how you feel about it then. Because it is different. I know that because I did your type of job for the first 13 years…and then I freelanced for a while…and now I’m a teacher AND a freelancer. Ugh.

There are days I wake up or go to bed wishing I could just be an artist full time. I know I can’t…I can’t afford it, obviously. But it would be sooo nice to be able to make art every day without all the other stuff. So the three breaks I get each year? I really try to carve out huge swathes of art time in them so I don’t go crazy. I figure if I’m going to work a job that beats you up so badly, I should be able to have the rest of the time for me.

Yeah. Mostly the first week I’m braindead though.

So I got home and the Threads of Resistance catalog was here with my two quilts and statements…really nicely done.

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These two quilts were made right after one another…I think that’s how the tree ended up in both.

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For those keeping track, I think there are 8 or 9 penises (penii?) between the two quilts. I will not be at the opening for this, because it’s the same day as my Visions opening…

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But maybe I’ll get to see it somewhere. Who knows?

So my mom has been amazing and has booked an Airbnb space for the boychild’s college graduation, which yes, is almost a year away.

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Ithaca is tiny…there’s not a lot of options. It will be my parents, the girlchild, me, and my ex, so it had to be big enough to sleep all of us. Now he has to graduate. (He will.)

It was my quilt class night, so I took all the blocks for the Don’t Shut Up community quilt I’m working on…so I could use Susan’s skills and ingenuity to deal with some of these crazy blocks. The wonders of dealing with quilt blocks from non-quilters…

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We tore some apart, sewed some together, and tried to trim others. Fun stuff. You’ll be seeing more of this over the next two weeks. I have a seam ripper injury from last night though…

I finally pulled this out…did two lengths of thread for the last two nights…on the left side again. A yellowish thread with French knots and lazy daisies in the cretan stitch, and then a pinky-purple thread that turned into green…I did lazy daisies and then some French knots around the other yellow stitches.

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Then I sat there on the couch for a long time, trying to be motivated to do anything. I finally got up and traced.

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I’m almost done. Another hour? At most. Lots of big sweeping sky pieces that use up large pieces of Wonder Under. Seriously, I think there are only 40 pieces left to trace. I’m glad I had this prepped and ready to go, because even though I should really be working on other stuff, I can’t get my head around any of it right now. I will HAVE to pretty damn soon, but I’m OK with yesterday and today being lost days for art and copyediting. Saturday though? Saturday I gotta get my act together and be a freelancer.

Midnight expresses her feelings about that. And being hot.

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Sweet fat kitty. OK. Going to school…but no kids makes that easier. I’m wearing my Ms. Marvel t-shirt on the off chance superpowers might help me today.

*Tom Petty, Mary Jane’s Last Dance


Take Only What You Need from It*

June 14, 2017

It’s funny…I spent a few hours last night trying to destress with drawing, because when I mentally went through everything I needed to do, I couldn’t DO any of them. I was too stressed. Mentally. So I drew. And then as I went to bed, the to-do list slammed back in and made me feel bad for not doing any of it (I actually DID do two of the things on there…but they were pretty low-key). Thanks brain. Appreciate it. In survival mode. Please respect.

Grades are done. Awards are done. Too much drama. Seriously done with it. Today is the field trip. Long day today…union meeting afterwards. Ugh. My classroom is a disaster. The prep room is even worse. Not our fault.

Anyway. It will all be done soon and then I can move on to the to-do list. The copyediting job. The quilts for the show. My own show. It will all work out. Somehow. Got a hike on the calendar already. It’s gonna be OK.

Stars on the top.

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I was trying to get my head around all the upcoming shows again…because another one got added and I’m not sure I can process the theme. But whatever. I’ll figure it out. Kitten was very helpful.

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Really, she was…chirpy cat noises and head butts. It’s a good thing. I have pets for a reason. Well. And they keep needing to be rescued. So I do that.

So I started that one drawing yesterday. It might have made sense to continue on that one. It certainly needs to get done. But then I’m looking at that art list, trying to decide how to handle the shows, whether I have stuff that I can use already or not. And I’m watching some total teen drama show, because I can’t handle much else. And this new drawing pops into my head (actually more than what’s below pops into my head…it’s not done). Just like that. Grab sketchbook, start with the landmass.

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It’s for a show that doesn’t allow nudity, so I’m working with that. Another troubled earth mother I guess. There’s more to come. She might have a whole body…or she might not. I haven’t decided. I have some room at the bottom of the paper. Then I’ll enlarge to as big as I can (it’s a small space)…and then keep drawing down.

Ironically, we’re not teaching climate change next year…but conservation will still pop up. And it’s hard to get this shit out of my head, even if I’m not teaching it.

I feel much better having that all out of my head, and having one of those shows on the list now decided. Yes, I still have to finish the drawing…but this was an awesome, significant start. That was good. Really good. My to-do list brain can shut up.

*MGMT, Kids