The Never-Ending Crazy Not-Balance

Normally we’d be going on Spring Break about now. But no. It’s OK. I can handle it. Just three more weeks. It better be just three more weeks. I can almost do that. I just don’t know if my kids can…my students, that is. I’m hoping they can. Me? I look at Spring Break and I see an awesome trip I’ll be on, but I need to finish a quilt before I go and get it photographed, which isn’t an easy task, plus I’ll need to grade as much of the stuff that gets turned in on that last week before we leave on our trip. Ha! Which is somewhat more challenging. And there’s another quilt that needs to be done relatively soon after that, with being gone on a trip, plus going to Boston for the girlchild’s graduation, plus all the other school stuff…it stresses me out to think about all of that, but then there’s travel and life oh yeah and a concert in LA. There are some amazingly good things coming up in the next few months. I just need to survive some of the amazingly stressful things too. As always.

Yesterday, I spent almost 2 hours in traffic to deliver two quilts to a show. It really wasn’t that far…it was the time of day plus rain plus accidents. Then I went to the gym, because my meeting got rescheduled and I hadn’t gone to the gym this week due to crazy night stuff, so that was a good thing because…well…exercise and then also I finished my book! The one that was due back to the library like last week, so that was lame. I can’t keep up. It was Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver, and it was interesting…I’ve always loved Kingsolver’s books, but I’d read a review that complained about the politics, and now that I’ve read it, I’m like, um, so you are a regular reader of Kingsolver and you’ve never had an issue with her politics before? Huh. Well. (I didn’t have a problem with it). I liked the two stories in different times of this piece of land and what was around it, some of which ends up being true. The story itself wandered a bit, but I still enjoyed it. It’s definitely political on a minor level, but also deals with climate change, which I consider scientific, not political (mostly because I think the politicians should get out of that argument, due to their incredible ignorance on the subject).

Dinner was super late and I was tired. I brought work home again and did none of it. Seems to be a common problem these days. I will put my health (aka exercise) in front of my job, for sure. And often I put art there too, since it loses out during the day. I did get around to artmaking eventually…

I ironed the heart and all the arteries…plus a tree and a tattoo of sorts. Again, I’m not getting a LOT done each night…but I’m getting some of it done. I’m a little worried about time…there’s three weeks left. That’s it. I’m not as far on this one as I would have liked to be…I have a show to go to tonight, a meeting tomorrow…and a ton of grading that swallows up my time. Plus that meeting will inevitably mean more work. Ha! Sigh. The never-ending crazy not-balance.

I’m still in the 300s…out of 800, although I’ve done a bunch of ironing of the pieces in between, because all the flesh is done. I should remember that and not panic so much. Tonight, I don’t think I will have the time or energy to do any of this. Tomorrow? I will try to make time. I want the ironing done this weekend…I don’t know if that’s possible. Probably not. Who knows.

I came home yesterday after the rain storm to a frantic Golden Retriever who now associates rainfall with thunder, and she hates thunder. I didn’t notice right away, but she had panicked and tore through the bedroom and closet in her distress…

Poor puppy. She tries to hide and pulls everything out in the process. Boychild wasn’t home because he took this one to the vet for her continuing eye issues…

She’s been watching Love, Death & Robots. But she doesn’t have glaucoma. Good to know.

OK, so I need to go to work and manage the kids’ turning work in (hopefully turning it in) and finish grading the last of the giant science unit and finish an independent study contract for a kid who never does work in class so that seems like a total waste of time and go to at least one meeting and do duty and who knows what else will come down upon my head but at the end of the day, I will be standing at a music show for about 3 hours (that ought to be interesting) and then probably collapsing into bed. Bed, sweet bed. You know it’s bad when I just want to go back to bed an hour after I got up.

Art and Sleep

Sitting here this morning, listening to Amanda Palmer’s morning voice ramble. A great way to start the day…

Lately, when I’ve been opening the WordPress app, on the first try, it always says my website refuses to open. REFUSES. Hmm. Like I asked it and it’s like, no, not right now. I don’t wanna. And then I refresh, and it’s like, OK, sorry, I thought you were someone else, here you go. Yes, I attribute even the internet with feelings and thoughts. The entity itself refusing to interact with me. Talk about bringing your job everywhere with you.

It’s OK…my job is my job. It is what it is. It’s not easy most days, but sometimes, there’s just two kids who normally fight you tooth and nail, and for some unknown reason (it was a full moon last night), they sit down and do the work. You have no freakin’ idea why, because it’s the same two that wouldn’t let you fall asleep last night, because you were so worried about how to engage them in a project that was harder than they might be capable of, and then they just do it. I can’t even roll my eyes that far back in my head.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide if I can even finish what I’m working on in time, and the answer is…maybe. But I have to be careful about what else I add into the mix, because everything is taking too long. So that means working every night on it. It won’t get done if I don’t. Last night was tiring…I came home from a lot of walking and questions and helping, and I packed two quilts that need to be delivered today after school…the girlchild’s bed is useful for such endeavors.

Calli was having some post-thunderstorm issues, following me around and panting and staring into corners.

Then I had to drive across town to pick up the ceramics that we painted on Saturday…

Wait. Guess which one is mine…

My friend had never painted ceramics before…so you can’t judge her turtle. You can’t put naked people on a turtle. He looks good. He’ll look even better with a plant in him. I can never have enough mugs. I think. The boychild thinks I have enough.

Then off to book club, where we discussed Borderline by Mishell Baker.

We’ve been reading a lot of books off the Sirens conference list. We all grew up reading so many male authors…and we are a women’s reading group, so it only makes sense that we gravitate toward female or other-gendered authors. Baker has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and she writes a character in a fantasy novel who has the same disorder. There were things I liked about this book: the interactions between people in the house specifically. I’m not a huge fan of urban fantasy though, and this one was set in Hollywood, so that’s not my fun place either. The rest of book club mostly liked it though, so maybe you should listen to them! I’d give it a solid 3 or 4 out of 5. It was well written…so that’s a plus. I think I fall more solidly in the sci fi realm for books though.

After that, it was late and I was tired. I sat here for a bit…

With these guys. That was nice. But eventually the art brain kicked me off the couch, into the studio. I didn’t iron for long…too tired. But I got the things in the sky ironed…so a spaceship, a rocket (missing one piece on that), some clouds, raindrops, and the stars…they’re all done. It doesn’t sound like much. It isn’t much. It’s something though. I’m hoping to have more energy tonight. Ha! Thursday night. What a joke.

But there’s the pile…

Didn’t even organize those fabrics afterwards. Sleep was nice. More tonight. Art and sleep.

Please Ignore My Vacant Stares*

The most awesome news ever is that I finished grading the science units. They were weighing on me. I still have 6 assignments to get through, but they don’t require as much brain power. On these, I had to look up stuff constantly to see if kids were just making it up, like does nickel rust? Not really, guys. It’s so much easier to write random stuff than to look it up and research it. Right? The other awesome news is how quickly I got through the medical exam yesterday…the hardest part was finding a vein big enough for their silly needle, and they had a solution for that. I forgot to do a couple of errands this weekend, and I have a bunch more I came up with for the week, but it was a pretty successful 3-day weekend. I’ve said before that all teachers would benefit from that extra day, but since we’re going to go back to school with the sweet hellions who ALSO got an extra day and that means they will act like unneutered werewolves for the next three days, maybe four (shit, V-day is in there, sugar high and lovey-dovey drama, love middle school, really, I do), we really do pay the price for the time off.

I didn’t get as much art done as I would’ve liked, but there’s progress. I’m good with that. I need to see progress.

Calli’s just glad there was someone home with her.

And she had her toy. She’s lying on the floor next to me right now. I’m noticing how much she follows me around and lies down wherever I am. That’s nice.

The little gray cat did a little of that yesterday too. I think this was when I decided I wanted to finish my book, because it was due yesterday and I could have put the iPad in airplane mode, or I could’ve finished my book.

I finished the book. I’m liking this series…the Indranan Wars series by K.B. Wagers. Book club is reading book 1 for this month, but I just finished book 2, and book 3 is in the queue.

I was in charge of dinner last night, and our produce box got these awesome purple Brussels sprouts.

They don’t taste any different, but they’re nice to look at.

Eventually I made it into the office to quilt. I managed to finish the torso of Figure 3…

As well as her other hand, and then I also did the arm of Figure 4 and all the stuff around it (mostly weather-related)…

I wanted to finish the face of Figure 3, but that would have been past midnight, and I was already short sleep from yesterday, so I decided to go to bed…before midnight! I know, crazy. But probably the best choice for the week. I was tired. I’ll finish the head of Figure 3 tonight and maybe be able to move onto Figure 4. It would be nice to be done outlining by Friday night, then finish the quilting this weekend (the background is gonna take a while…look at all those bits and pieces), buy a binding, and get it on. Then start the drawing for the next one, before I start panicking. I don’t think the next one can be very big anyway. A max of 30″ wide? That’s nothing. I can’t remember if there’s a height restriction. Anyway. I’m getting there. I really love this piece…I just don’t love how long it’s taking me to get it done.

Kitten is having a similar reaction.

OK, off to school and tutoring and the chiropractor and Costco. Long day. I’ve got a weird rash that I’m hoping is some random thing instead of a reaction to the contrast from yesterday. I love how my body breaks out in the most random rashes. In the future, my body will be able to diagnose that right away because of some chip in my brain, and the response will be better than hydrocortisone and Benadryl (can’t take THAT while teaching).

*Violent Femmes, Promise

Planet Earth

I dunno what I did, but now I can’t even get on the internet on the computer, so I’m writing this on the iPad…it’s fine, although my pointer finger gets tired. I have a tiny keyboard for it somewhere, but that requires even more thought than trying to find the network security key, which is NOT the same as a password, despite the similar feel to the words.

It’s going to be short today anyway. I have an early meeting plus a packet to make for a kid who’ll be gone for over a week (sigh…so frustrating…parents just want a packet, but that means I have to find or make stuff to replace hands-on curriculum…at least this parent gave us a heads up. The other kid asked for work yesterday for the next week. No chance.).

Last night, I blew off everything and went to see Rachel Ignotofsky talk about her new book, Planet Earth.

She previously published Women in Science and Women in Sports, plus her Etsy site has all the prints and T-shirts I want. I am refraining from buying everything.

She’s fun and creative and perky and loves talking to kids, and her next book is Women in Art! I’m excited…plus the new book is all about ecosystems and biodiversity and saving the world, which I can totally get behind. And she merges art and science in an engaging and beautiful and fascinating way.

I think I just went all fangirl. I had her sign both my books. And then I came home and found out I got into Quilt + Resist at Woman Made Gallery…a gallery I’ve been trying to get into since I was an adult artmaker. Rooted in America is heading out again, this time to Chicago. Good news, that.

And I also got into the Surface Design Association Exhibition in Print, so it’s been a good week for notifications. I don’t know which one will be in the magazine. But I’m looking forward to finding that out.

Well hopefully when I get home, the computer will connect to things. Tonight I work on grades and art. Last night was cool and inspiring…now back to work.

Beat Me Up with Your Letters*

Late post today…wish it was from sleeping in and relaxing, but I’ve been up for hours. Took one car into the shop…I’m tired of the driver window not working. Then drove to pick up another quilt…well, quilts, because some little ones were in their shop for the last year, and they just gave back the three that hadn’t sold…so those are back on Etsy. I’m never sure Etsy is working very hard for me, but since I sell about one small quilt a year on there and the expenses are much less than that, it can’t hurt. I don’t work very hard at my Etsy account though. None of the larger quilts are on there. They’re too expensive for that market, I think…and I suspect even some of the smaller ones might be too. Probably most of my stuff is too weird for Etsy too.

Anyway, I also bought the binding fabrics for the two quilts that are now ready, because Yes! I finished quilting the long skinny one yesterday. I finally managed to sit still for like 3 1/2 hours (it’s been hard folks) to finish. Here’s the heart and boobs…

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The whole thing stretched out over my chair…

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Did the face…the pin is another place I forgot to stitch down. Done now.

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And then I went right into quilting the background…there wasn’t much of it.

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So there’s two ready to be trimmed and bound. Maybe later today? I have a lot going on today.

Then I realized I had quilt class today and nothing really to work on. I have a bag I could finish, but I’m missing some materials and haven’t had (made) the time to get those. So that’s out. I could take the binding with me, but I’d have to take all my stuff with me to do that, and it’s too much to deal with. So I remembered those two little quilts…last week at class I trimmed the Wonder Under. So I spent about an hour and a half last night ironing it to fabrics…I think this more complicated one has about 23 fabrics in it (but 90 pieces).

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I am keeping track of time on these, so they’ll be for sale after they’ve been in the exhibit they’re getting made for…so December maybe? I can’t remember when the exhibit closes. It’s a California Fibers’ exhibit at Soka University in Orange County. I have four larger pieces in the exhibit, and then these two small ones will be part of a wall display our whole group is making. It should be cool.

I just used the same flesh fabrics from the quilt I just finished. It was easier. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on these.

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The second piece only has 30 pieces, so it will be quicker to get done.

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I may have underestimated my time with thinking I could finish them in a couple of hours. It’s going to be a bit longer than that. But now I can take them to class with me and get them cut out. That’s a step in the right direction.

So I didn’t get time to draw last night, because I was doing those. Plus I had book club last night. It was an interesting conversation about The Power by Naomi Alderman, especially in light of watching the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale and dealing with politics over the last few months. We spent a lot of time talking about social implications and nature v. nurture…always interesting. My book club is sci fi and fantasy based, so we do spend a lot of time on the science of things, which I really enjoy. I used to review the books I was reading on here pretty regularly. Honestly, I’ve spent most of the last 5 months reading the Expanse series…I have one novella left, and then I’m totally caught up until the new one comes out in December. I’ve really enjoyed the stories but also the portrayal of women in this series, which seems to be a bigger issue for me now that I’m old and mostly invisible. I read one of Philip K. Dick’s books, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and spent the first three chapters just chafing at his women. Sigh. It makes it harder to read…and watch, honestly, when they turn them into movies. Maybe I’ll try to write more about what I’m reading here. Again.

Anyway, so getting some more stuff done today, although probably more hobby stuff than art stuff. That’s OK. There’s progress…that’s all I need.

*Squeeze, Is That Love?

Maniacal Pencils

First of all, does anyone actually win the book giveaways on Goodreads? I feel like I’ve filled 100 of those things out and I never win. So the competition is stiff for the weird-ass shit I like to read? Seems unlikely. The book I’m reading now, that I just started reading, expires in 1 day and 15 hours. Now I know it doesn’t actually expire until midnight on that day, despite its dire warnings, so I have until midnight on Friday to read it, or to get halfway through and then renew it (except for every copy the library has, there are 4 people waiting for it, so I won’t be able to get it again for a long time). My internet friends have clued me in to turning airplane mode on that device so I can continue to finish the book. I need to remember to do that. Because I don’t think I can finish the book, teach for two days, go to two social events, grade a million things, and sleep at least 5 hours a night, AND get the book done. And so far, it’s an interesting book, so I want to read it. Although I think it’s my book club book from May. Whoops! I know I’ve already read June’s book (it was eh). I read July’s book last year. I’m looking forward to reading all summer, right? It’s about the only thing I’m allowed to take to jury duty if I get called in.

The WordPress app is being cranky this morning. It’s continually refusing to save. It’s not me…everything else here is working. Sigh. On the iPad now. Tiny little buttons…fingerpeck typing. It’s letting me force save it, but won’t do it automatically. Technology is so cool and so annoying.

Six days of school left. I’m sick, but not horribly. I’m tired because I stay up too late. I’m not done with anything. I almost finished grading websites last night…have two to deal with this morning. Imma gonna buy me some maniacal pencils.

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We’re going to make some changes to the project for next year…for a better outcome from the kids and less torture on us, hopefully. But I’m down to only two assignments for grading that aren’t just recording whether they did it or not…so that feels very doable. I started cleaning my room yesterday too. Because we will have teachers in our rooms the first day back (hate that…they aren’t always respectful of our space), I have to hide a bunch of stuff. That part sucks.

So I graded until 10 PM, texting back and forth with three other teachers during that time (weird times, people…weird times). And then I ironed all the flesh pieces down. This is fabric number 3 in the run from light to dark.

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This is fabric number 1…this is ALL I have of it. So there’s not much left, eh? It’s a hand-dye from somewhere…when I see flesh tones, I buy them.

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Here’s everything I’ve used so far…the flesh run on this one is very not pink. Sorta beige.

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Here’s everything I’ve ironed so far…

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It’s not a huge pile. There’s a lot of little flesh bits in there on the bottom though. They were on the top until I upended the box into a bigger one. So I could start cutting them out at tonight’s meeting, but with the deadline extended, I’m not feeling that scary rush to get it done, so I think I’ll take some of my embroidery stuff. I haven’t done that for a while, except for those Palestrina knot stems…I did more of those last night…almost finished one of the short sides. So 7 more nights should do it on those. They’re pretty relaxing. I’m not measuring them or marking them. I’m all into it being a bit wonky. Wonky is good.

So if you compare this table to Tuesday night’s table, it looks very similar…because basically I took over an hour to iron all those other flesh pieces down and then I ironed like three other things off this pile of stuff and quit.

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It was well after midnight. Too well, probably. More tonight…won’t be done tonight…probably won’t be done until Saturday or Sunday. It depends on grading. I have too much to do before Monday.

We’re still at three dogs. I try to get them to stay in one place for photographic purposes and they pretty much see the camera and rush me. I might have food, you know. I might pet them. I might walk them (I thought about it for one crazy minute last night…I got home right at 6 PM and still had to make dinner though).

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Poor things…end of the school year is hard on them too.

Thanks to whichever hardy reader told the boychild to confirm life. Here is Lake Erie. He’s alive.

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I thought it was the Atlantic Ocean, but apparently not. I guess that puts him a few hundred miles closer. Hope he’s enjoying it. I’m kinda jealous actually. I wanna get in my car and just drive for like a week, hanging out, seeing stuff. Then I remember how exhausting that can be. I want one of those pop-up camper tents so I don’t have to set up a tent and all that…plus food delivery. Not junk food…good homemade stuff. So that’s not happening.

Hello right eye twitch. Sigh. Stress off please. (Soon. Very soon. Not soon enough.)

If You Only Knew*

I’m apparently reading a book no one else wants to read. Usually, I get a book digitally from the library, and it always checks out all my holds at once…they’re never spread out over time, like when I requested them, but I’ll get four all at once and then I have 21 days to read four books and I kinda do a library panic, because I can’t just HOLD ON to that book. When the time is up, they’re just gonna stop my loan and that’s it…if I’m on page 161 of 400, it doesn’t even matter, because the Time Is UP. (Yes, I have a lot of fines at the library for overdue books, the real kind, not the digital kind…why do you ask?) So I have this book and it’s warned me that it’s due in three days and I’ve been reading it, but when I started, there were only like seven days left on the loan, and it’s not a particularly short book, and I do go to work and cook dinner and walk dogs and occasionally try to have a life, so I can’t just READ READ READ even though there are times when that’s all I’d LIKE to do. So there was no way I was gonna finish in three days. Just no way. So I have a choice…I can buy it, which I only do very occasionally, because money and data and why own it when I’ll only read it once (I have a very good memory…generally I don’t like rereading books because I remember too much and it’s like someone gave away the story to you already, spoiler alert, except my brain is that someone). Or I can re-request it. Usually every book I’m reading has at least 3 and sometimes 300 holds on it, so I won’t get it back right away, which is really annoying, so then I’ll stay up to 2 AM reading it instead of not finishing.

I can’t stay up late enough to finish this one…it would be an all-nighter and odds are I’d fall asleep in the middle of it due to tiredness caused by not sleeping caused by stupid hormones and age and IDK what else (I had this vivid and terrifying dream…moment…of a coyote while I had the puppy out and the leash was stretched out and nothing actually happened because I woke up instantly and painfully with my heart trying to beat out of my chest, it was so realistic). So I re-requested it. And the library sent me this message, chill out my dear mamanao (that’s Malagasy for Yo’ Mama) cuz no one wants this book but you, so as soon as it seems like it’s gonna come back to us here at the library-yo, we’re gonna check it right back out to your sweet self. Don’t you even worry your old wrinkly head about that sweetie because it’s yours…for as long as you want it…(because no one else wants to read this).

Huh. OK. I’m not really offended. It’s the fourth book in a series of nine and I’m not even sure number nine is out yet, but apparently most people make it through the first three books and then quit. Losers. I’m going for the gold. (It’s the series that the TV show The Expanse is based on, and I happen to really like it.)

In other book news, I read the wrong book for book club this month, so I’m not going. It’s OK. I read June’s book. Whoops. I think I forgot to request May’s book? Or I requested it but it never came, because everyone else had requested it too? I just don’t know. There’s no book posted for July yet, so I can’t pre-read…but that’s OK, because July is vacation. Except this year, it’s a fake vacation because of jury duty looming over my head all month. Aargh. I can still go to book club though.

OK, so I drove to San Ysidro yesterday after school and it was pretty easy traffic-wise, hallelujah, because it’s a long way, just to pick up my quilt, but I think a lot of people went to that site for a bunch of other meetings and stuff, so that’s cool. It’s a nice space, even if it’s far away. Then I came home and walked the little dog, because he’s been way too hyper lately, and the big dog still needs to rest her foot. And then cooked dinner. Late. So it’s kind of amazing I got anything else done at all honestly. And I wish I had gotten just a LITTLE bit more done. I get to the end of the evening and think that a lot. Damn yourself for taking that 20-minute break in the middle of the evening there. Damn you for needing to take pee breaks or heat up your tea. If you’d just worked harder, you’d be done and on to the next task. Yeah. Workaholic much?

This is why there are only like 20 pieces left to cut and I had a hard time stopping, but it was after midnight and I kept thinking I could finish, but then it was approaching midnight thirty and ladies and gentlemen, I really need to be able to function like an awake person at school, so this is just not acceptable. But Art Brain is whining because SERIOUSLY LOOK HOW FEW PIECES ARE LEFT.

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Ugh. I did not finish. I will finish tonight and then I will sort them and then hopefully I will have enough energy to start ironing tonight…or maybe I will trace the other one for a while. They both require standing, though, which is sometimes hard after a long day at work. But progress! Shut up, Art Brain. You’ll be fine. Teacher Brain needs sleep to function. She pays the bills…well, most of them.

Puppy is an asshole by the way. I know y’all think he’s cute and all, but he poops in the most random places on walks, and at least 17 times, which is just annoying, and he won’t sit and wait patiently while I pick it up. He tries to race around on his leash and pull on the hand that’s picking up his crap even when I tell him to sit and then he freaks out if you tie the bag to his leash and then he wouldn’t go to bed last night until I told him he was being an asshole.

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Little dogs. Assholes. Yeah, he’s adorable, but…

*Shinedown, If You Only Knew