Elephants and Memes

It’s hard to find the time and energy to make art every day. I know I feel better when I do, but sometimes, things conspire against me. I did not make art yesterday, first time in a long time. I did go to book club and enjoyed the discussion. I loved the book…The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander…

Elephants…radiation…how can you go wrong? My book club is sci fi and fantasy, though, so at first, I was like…wait…did I get the wrong book? It’s not really either…just alternative history, which I guess is sort of fantasy? But not really. Anyway, it’s short, so I might just read it again, and then I’ll probably read Radium Girls just for the fun of it. After I read the YA version of The Martian and the actual book (not the graphic novel) of City of Ember, so we can teach them next year. My co-teacher and I just wrote a proposal to get our team paid for planning cross-curricular units based on the two books. Looking forward to it! Hope it works out.

Anyway, before I ever left for book club, I was sitting on the couch grading…

Grades are due Monday. I’m close to caught up…except for the makeup work. I figure that’s Friday and Saturday. It’ll get done, but I’m not sure how much ELSE will get done. I have a team breakfast this morning and I’m supposed to bring cookies tomorrow morning for the office staff. Today is a clusterfuck of time…pick up quilt from photographer, stitching meeting, make cookies while grading? Or something. I’m already tired. I forgot to sign certificates. I need to remember where I hid the medals. It will all be fine. Eventually it’s all done and you walk out of your classroom into the summer. Kitten was helping me deal with email here…

I think I was putting my Patreon link on my Linked In. Long story, because I don’t really use Linked In. But people do. This weekend, I need to work on the next video for my Patreon. I have a couple of videos of my working on the last drawing, but I want to record the simplified one as well. And I have video of tracing Wonder Under. And the amazing video of me mopping. Very exciting stuff. It is actually. Exciting to me anyway…possibly less so to Kitten…

The assignment I was grading included the kids trying to make a meme about school…

I actually was amused by a few of them. Mostly they just copied from the internet, but a few kids actually used a meme generator or made a meme of their own.

I’m somewhat amused and/or irritated by the kids still trying to turn in late work. All of it was due last Friday. I’m just watching it trickle in and thinking, WTF were you thinking? It’s true I think that a lot with this age group, but especially at the end of the year. You can see why I make so much art…it’s literally a balm to the crazy. A salve for the insanity. A peaceful space in the overwhelming chaos that is my day job. Exactly.

I made my own meme last night after the man came back from his night with the guys and guiltily admitted…

Like holy crap, Batman. What were you thinking? Sigh. He knew he was in trouble already when he said it. I don’t even have time to watch movies right now.

It’s fine. I’m not dying over it. (cough Avengers Endgame cough) I’m really looking forward to having the time to think a little more clearly, plan better, get my hair cut, pee without having to time it, read a freakin’ book! without worrying about whether I can “waste” that time, Sleep IN (hell, sleep at all, because that’s been an issue all week…sleeping like shit right now, hence exhaustion). I was so tired last night that I called Tinder Timber…which I actually think is a much better name for it.

OK. Gotta go feed kids. And then manage the questions about deep throating. And do other things. I will be stitching later though. That’s a plus.

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.)