I Can’t Be Your Superwoman

July 17, 2017

I am not in San Diego right now. I’m at Lake Arrowhead. The girlchild is only here for 2 weeks total, so when she wanted to do a quick trip to the mountains, which is a tradition for her dad and the two kids and grandpa, I tagged along for part of it. Hence the crazy posting (or not) the last few days.

I had to finish all my Nida Powers jobs before I left, which included an amazing opening (thanks to all those who came by) and an artist talk. You can see my portion of the talk here:

The show is open until October 8, so check it out. I know I will go over there again, just to see it without all the people.

This is I Can’t Be Your Superwoman, which I finished in January and was made specifically for this show. She’s bigger than I am.

She was based on that 80s mentality of the SuperMom: the job, the family, cooks up the bacon in the pan, wears the suit to work, etc. I’ve spent a lot of years railing against and yet trying to be (or maybe having to be) that SuperMom, and the reality is that we can’t just crack open the button-down shirt and burst out all superpowery like that. I also drew this post-election, so there’s a bit of woman angst in there about trying to shove us back in the kitchen, take our rights away, all that crap.

The short version of the official statement for this quilt is:

Being a woman now…I swear, I thought it was supposed to be getting better, but no, we are still trying to break out of the story, out of the kitchen, to be everything we should be without having to be the superwoman of the 80s. We want to write our own stories, not have them written for us.

I’ll post more of the quilts in here over the next few weeks, but this one is currently one of my favorites.

These drawings are out of order, but I did do two of them the night of my opening. After dinner, I headed over to watch that band I’m always stalking, and I started this drawing. It’s not done.

Before the show, I was a little stressed out and nervous, so I drew this near the museum. While having a quick drink in a space with a lot of people I didn’t know. It was good. Focus for the introverted brain.

So when we were trying to come up with a name, at some point the peeps at Visions suggested The Kathy Nida Story or something like that. I wasn’t real comfortable with a title that had my name in it, but I was thinking about those superpowers again and decided I could deal with Nida Powers. Of course, Nida Powers include the ability to spill a glass of water in someone’s lap from across the table, so they’re not all powers for GOOD. After I turned 50 in March, though, this whole concept of the powers that I DO have and can use to get myself off the couch and to the light table or to draw in bars or whatever weird-ass thing I do…I kind of feel that Nida cape on my shoulders.

I should hold onto that feeling for a while, because my dad says turning 70 makes it harder. But for now, I’ve got some stuff in my life to work on (the garage as metaphor for everything else?) and I’m perfectly capable of either handling it or asking for help in handling it or just damn well saying no, I’m not going to handle that. Whatever it takes.

Back to reality here…I did some combo cross stitches and lazy daisies in green on the right, and then lazy daisies in two colors on the buttonhole stitches down in the bottom right. So that was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The cabin has included a game of Clue while I cut out Wonder Under…

I suck at Clue by the way. Can’t keep track of all the permutations in my head.

I finished the Long Skinny cutting out in about 7 1/2 hours. I did spend some time cleaning the studio out on Saturday and Sunday, so all the fabric from the last few quilts is put away. I also started cleaning the desk area just for fun. But as soon as I get home, I can sort the Wonder Under and start ironing this one down to fabric. That’ll probably take about 15 hours, so hopefully I’ll be able to get that done by Friday and start trimming pieces. My goal is to be done with the whole quilt by the time I have to go back to school, but I’m not sure I can pull that off.

Last night: I’m sharing a bed with the girlchild AND a large Pomeranian. Luckily the Golden Retriever preferred the floor.

No. I did not get much sleep. Oh well.

Then today we were taken out on a speedboat by a good family friend and got to try paddle boards…easier for some than others…

I did manage to stand up and paddle for about 5 minutes before I fell in. Yup. Balance. Always an issue.

After lunch, we spent time at the other dock, trying to keep Calli from diving in.

Simba is not a fan of water. Calli is a water dog.

I’m pretty sure I’m fried a significant shade of red right now, despite multiple applications of sunscreen. Girlchild looks much better…

But it’s been mostly quiet and semi-relaxing up here. I’m not staying long. Art is screaming at me to get done, as is the house reorganization, so I can’t be particularly relaxed here. But I’m trying. Twenty-five days until I have to go back to school. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s not. This summer is flying by crazy fast and I’m not getting enough done. As always. Nothing new there.


Wave Your Hands in the Air Like You Just Don’t Care*

July 12, 2017

(I use that phrase in my classroom all the time…most of my kids know the reference.) Today’s photos look the same as yesterday’s. But today the girlchild is home for a few weeks, so that’s cool. Although getting her here was a little chaotic. Her car died in a Boston tunnel (and then reanimated) and the ex’s car blew a tire on the way to pick her up. I was impressed by the speed and competence of her dad and brother in re-tiring the car in the dark by the side of the freeway. I provided flashlight support. I’m good at that. OK. I could change a tire if I had to…seriously.

But the artmaking is the same as yesterday and the day before and the whenever I started this. Someone called this process labor-intensive, and that’s true. If I had nothing else going on, I could do it faster, but that’s never the case. One of the reasons I keep a blog is to remind myself of how and what I was thinking in past years. Nope. Summer’s are always like this, where I’m trying to get major house projects done while I have time and help, because I can’t handle it during the school year, and then I feel like I’m not getting enough art done and I never really do the relaxation thing well or right. Whatever right means.

Accept what I can do. Yesterday sucked for that. Except the girlchild’s room got clean. I ended up making 4 rolls of quilts from what was once 3 rolls. Scarily, about 20 quilts are out traveling right now and will need homes at some point in those rolls. I tried to make the rolls small enough for me to manhandle them where they belong too. And put all the old quilts together in the same roll and on the top shelf, because odds are, they aren’t coming out for shows as often.

I had all of them on the girlchild’s bed most of the last 5 months, because I couldn’t deal with the rolls any more. Anyway. They’re all managed now. For now.

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This one. She eats books. Gotta be careful.

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A photo from the Don’t Shut Up exhibit with one of my pieces, We Won’t Go Back.

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That’s my look of utter relief that I had finished the community quilts on time. I got a lot of interest in this piece…which is cool. One guy even recognized it as the same artist as the stuff in the Allied Craftsman show, which came down this week. I had three shows close within a week, so 7 quilts home (or at someone else’s home, because they were nice enough to pick up mine as well as theirs).

So after getting the girlchild to her dad’s house and leaving her there, I did more chain stitch on this…

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And then went back to fighting cats for space on the glass…

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With 1300+ pieces, this is just not a fast process. I figure it’s about an hour per 100 pieces to trace. Cutting stuff out is faster usually. But ironing takes longer…so I figure with 1300 pieces, that’s about 15-16 hours of ironing to fabric. Then cutting again.

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But when someone asked about prices on the piece at Don’t Shut Up, she was so good…admitted it was probably out of her price range because of the detail. Which was true. It’s not the size of the piece that makes it more or less expensive…it’s more about the number of pieces. So small with a lot of pieces is still not cheap. I won’t work for $1 an hour. I do actually keep track of my time on these, so I know exactly how much they’re worth.

So I only got a couple hours in last night (still stayed up too late)…

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I’m still in the main torso area, but both arms are done.

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I quit just before all those buildings with windows. I’ve done just over 1000 pieces, with about 300 to go. That’s it! And I’m just under 10 hours…so a good guess. But I do need to work on the garage and go to the chiropractor today, and it’s our annual trip to Shakespeare. You don’t get choices when the girlchild is only home for two weeks. So Richard II it is. I think.

The panel discussion for Don’t Shut Up is tomorrow evening, from 6-8. You can stop by the gallery and see the show before at 5 pm. I should be there for the discussion…can’t make it earlier. And then next week is the artist walk and talk. I will be there. And this Saturday is my own show opening and Sunday is the artist talk. No stress! I’m trying to come up with a 5-minute discussion of all my work in that show. Yeah! Yikes. Like trying to explain my whole life in 5 minutes. Born, schooled, art the whole time, married, babies, divorced, art art art, teaching, art. Did I say art? Yeah. Lots of soccer. Not enough air conditioning or vacationing. Hiking. Mosquito bites. I guess summer is affecting my summary.

Hopefully tomorrow will have me cutting out Wonder Under instead of tracing it.

*Cameo, Word Up


Please Tell Me Why*

July 11, 2017

Hey. You. Are you the one who gave my neighbor’s kid that whistle? The one they blow all the time? Come Here. Closer. No. RIGHT HERE.

It’s weird how I don’t notice the whistle most of the time, but when I do, I can’t make it stop reverberating in my head.

Girlchild comes home tonight. The flight is already delayed. Her room is kind of a mess. My fault. All my quilts. So that’s my job today. And the 27 things I just put on my Momentum to-do list. I haven’t been checking many off, because a lot of them are something like “Trace WU for Long Skinny”…well I’ve been WORKING on that, but only hit the halfway mark last night. I am only tracing after we’ve put in 4 or 5 hours on the garage and whatever else needs doing…so mostly at like 9 PM and later. And then I stay up way too late because art brain is like a little kid on summer vacation who begs to stay up late, and then at 6:30 AM when the dog wants to pee, my real brain swears profusely at art brain.

But art brain deserves some time. She’s waited for it. So yeah. I’m a little ugh sleepy this morning. And full of that high-pitched kid whistle. With a to-do list that is 10 miles long. It’s all good. She’s trying to be patient. To know that hanging out with the kids and banging out some major work on the house while I have help (oh my lord, having help is a joy) is a priority for the next few weeks. Boychild goes back in about a month. Girlchild is only here for 2 weeks. Sigh. Time. Is a bitch. I go back to school about the same time boychild leaves. Fucking sucks.

I can do this. I’ve traced for over 3 hours the last two nights. I hit the halfway point…and more.

This…more chain stitch and filling in spots. On the right. I’m also using up all these weird tiny pieces of Wildflowers thread from the crazy quilt package shares I used to do a million years ago. I get like a yard of thread…and I use it. Oh. I just looked…I didn’t do chain stitch…I did the spiky buttonhole around the one wave. Duh. I was tired. I still am tired.

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Then back to the tracing. I’m not sure why the cats are obsessed with the light table. It’s glass, so that’s probably cooler. Plus maybe they just like being lit from below.

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There were a lot of small pieces in this tracing session. Sometimes the boy comes in with the dogs. When he goes to bed, he brings them all to me. Yes, a 21-year-old goes to bed before me.

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If I sit on the couch, Simba wants to sit with me, but he’s not happy when I’m tracing. Then I got the second cat. Because it’s not annoying enough trying to maneuver around one cat.

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Yeah. And the white one kept trying to knock the wine glass off. This is restrictive guys. Y’all need to stop.

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I’m in the high 700s…with 1300 total…so about 500 to go. Ugh. That’s a lot. What you can’t tell in that photo is that the fan is in the bottom center and it’s pointed right at me. I wonder if they can feel it and that’s why they’re there. It’s possible.

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I’m in the middle of tracing that handful of flowers. Who the fuck thought that was a good idea. Trying to figure out the overlaps and what is numbered what…what a pain. Upside down. Ugh.

What was my original goal on this piece? I think I can finish tracing in the next couple of days. I hope. Then start cutting Wonder Under…this weekend is kinda booked. And I’m going to Lake Arrowhead next week. So that’s complicated. I can finish cutting these out, but I can’t start ironing until I get home. Iron to fabric all next week. Then trim the following week and start ironing down. Yikes. This isn’t going to be done before I go back to school (it might be done. It could be. If you weren’t cleaning stuff out. Which you need to do.). It’s so early this year. I need to check my calendar stuff again. Overwhelmed.

But today, today is easy. Clean girlchild’s room and the kitchen table. Check off some of the stuff on the to-do list. Maybe do a little on the garage without the boychild’s help. I have an idea. I don’t know if it’s doable. Huh. Art brain is on it. Will let you know. Certainly the messing around with art stuff that I wanted to do this summer is apparently off the table at the moment. Oh well. Shit’s gotta get done.

*Lit, My Own Worst Enemy


I’ve Never Hurt This*

July 10, 2017

OK. This is kicking my butt, this whole life thing. I know I’m supposed to be on vacation, and I guess it’s a good thing I am, because I wouldn’t have time to sleep or pee otherwise.

The opening on Saturday night went well. There was food and a dance thing and a spoken-word thing and it was all very cool but I hit exhaustion level but the show looks good. Still working on posting about that for the group. I’m posting on Facebook and the blog for the group, so it’s been busy. We still have a panel discussion this week and an artist talk next week.

Then things are ramping up for the solo show, opening this Saturday, and the girlchild shows up tomorrow night (which means I have less than 24 hours to get her room clean). Meanwhile, in crazy town, boychild and I are in like Hour 9 of cleaning out the garage after years of NOT cleaning it out. It’s getting there. I think. Many more hours left, though…might kill the both of us.

I did a few nights on here, mostly chain stitch on the right still…with some filler stitches around the flowers…

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I’ve been tracing the next climate quilt. When one cat is on the light table, the other lurks nearby…

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All the other lights are off because it’s too damn hot. I’ve got LEDs in the light table at least. As soon as Midnight left, Kitten came back with a vengeance…

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I push and shove until she finds the appropriate butt-cleaning spot.

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Garrrrr. I have about 4 1/2 hours into the tracing, less than halfway.

I found this while cleaning out the garage. It’s old…you can see I’ve been stacking women for years…

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Although they all have clothes on. This is from the printmaking years I think.

Anyway, I’m chugging along…not a lot of rest and relaxation, that’s for sure. Maybe I’ll get there. After I clean the girlchild’s room, finish the garage, whatever. Get some focus? Well that’s the problem…way too many foci. Back to tracing stuff…

*Ratatat, Loud Pipes


When I’m Down You Breathe Life over Me*

July 8, 2017

I didn’t manage to get a post up yesterday. Way too busy this week. Not sleeping well either. Between the heat and the Too-Many-Things mental space, sleep is just not happening. Hopefully that’s going to get better. When I realized yesterday that everything had been finished and delivered and hung, I actually cried. Like holy crap, you did it. It’s all out there in the world and now you can just hang back a bit and watch. I’ve been looking for that space for 6 months or more. Not that it’s sunk in yet. I’m still eye-twitchy and teeth-grindy. Really need that to stop. More exercise? More sleep? It’s gotta cool down for that. And the exercise, I’m running on exhausted at the moment.

Wish I were Kitten. She is my sleep role model.

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So Thursday, I loaded the car with quilts for my Visions show, Nida Powers, which opens next Saturday, July 15…

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I have the whole back gallery, the VALYA gallery. Which is cool. I’ve eyed that space for a good long time. And I really like the other two exhibits that will be in the space too…

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I stopped by on Friday and saw it all hung. It’s overwhelming for me to see so much of my work in one space. The bathtubs…it’s just cool.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, boychild and I are working on the garage from hell…

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I don’t think we’ve done more than a few quick run-throughs in the past, trying to get rid of stuff, since before the divorce. Fifteen years. There’s baby stuff in there. It’s kind of boggling and definitely overwhelming. I hit about two hours in and lose it. We have a huge pile of recycling, another huge pile of trash, then a smaller thrift shop pile, a school pile, a fabric pile (needs to be gone through), and a Craigs List pile (ugh). We’ve spent probably 4-5 hours so far and only really conquered the center section. We are also going through the shelves and trying to rehome stuff logically as we go. It’s crazy. But needs to be done.

So after a couple hours on that, I loaded up the car with the community quilts and headed to City College for the next installation…Don’t Shut Up opens tonight, 5-8 pm.

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It took a while to hang the quilts…I’ll post the whole show some time in the next few days. There is a panel discussion next week and then an artist walk and talk on July 20.

I didn’t get home until almost 10 PM. Exhausted. Again. That was Thursday. Then yesterday, I got up early (couldn’t sleep) and made sure my small cat and bird quilts had labels and dowels, and then delivered them to Visions for their store.

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If you want a small and appropriate (no penises or uteri) Nida quilt, they’ll be there. Support me and the museum that was willing to give me a solo show. It’s nice to have their support…

As a gift for my work on Don’t Shut Up, I was the happy recipient of a Linda Litteral original…I love her work.

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Her work will be in the Don’t Shut Up exhibit as well.

More garage cleanout yesterday afternoon revealed this Nida original (from some kit teaching you how to draw)…

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Elementary or middle school?

I had my stitching meeting last night, where I didn’t work on this…although I did when I got home. Two nights’ worth…apparently I was too tired Thursday to touch it. Just more chain stitch and filling in around the orange flowers with fly and straight stitches.

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I worked on this at the stitching meeting, finishing Palestrina knots around the hippo and starting the backstitching.

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Slow but calming work. Doesn’t require much brain power. Which is a good thing at the moment.

When I got home, I started tracing what I’m currently calling Long Skinny, for lack of a better name. Kitten is intently watching an ant who is crawling across the table.

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And doing more important sleep work.

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Perhaps she is stealing sleep from me…is that a thing?

I traced about 130 pieces…it was late.

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Only 12 more hours to go.

So more garage this afternoon, an opening tonight, plus birthday celebration (not mine), family gathering tomorrow, car needs work, another gallery pickup Monday, and girlchild is home Tuesday night. So yes. I will be desperately trying to clean up her room at some point (maybe when the temperature gets below 100 degrees). And tracing stuff. Or cutting it out. And hopefully drawing. And sleeping, for gods’ sake. Really.

*Zero 7, Destiny


Just Be Glad to Be Here*

July 5, 2017

Fireworks always make it better. Even if you’re sitting next to someone who thinks blasting Nirvana during fireworks makes sense (and I love me some Nirvana)…the fireworks themselves are worth it…now if we could just make them quiet so the dogs and babies and veterans were all OK with them…because the lights. I wonder what it is about lights. I have a thing for lights. Christmas lights and white lights all over trees and fireworks…

I finished the community quilts. And all the hangers for them as well. I need to figure out these little things that fell off, how to reattach them. But I don’t have all of them. Oh well. Some things maybe don’t belong on quilts. There’s a hole in one finger (yes, even with a thimbly thing) and two fingers are very sore, and another one was a little beat up by a piece of wood. Ouch. Hanging it all tomorrow. Hallelujah. Now no one can ask me to do anything for a good long time. Ha. Like that’s gonna happen. I might scream NO inappropriately if they do.

Today I need to iron and dehair and label all the quilts for the solo show…also getting delivered tomorrow.

But I did finally get some art time in last night…not much, and not on task, but whatever. Sometimes the brain just does.

The door replacement seems to be coming on…which is good, because Kitten is obsessed with the plywood that’s covering the doorway. She was attacking it this morning.

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I did an orange firework burst in the lower right. I should do some more.

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Then I taped what was copied for the two next drawings…I think both were enlarged at 250%.

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Then I made this one as big as it’s supposed to be…much bigger than I started with.

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I’m actually putting it away for a while, because it’s third on the list, I think. I am going to start tracing the skinny climate one and cutting out the other climate one that’s already traced. But probably not until later tonight. I need to take everyone to the vet for flea stuff today and then the boychild and I are hiking tonight…one I’ve done before multiple times again. I’m testing myself, but easily and slowly.

This is not last night’s lizard…check out its tail. Kitten doesn’t care though.

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I think I’m almost officially on vacation. I don’t know why I need all the have-tos done before I can feel that way, but…certainly the ability to hike during the week and to get up late should be a hint. Not having to lesson plan on a Sunday. Not having to pack lunches. Not having to worry about school (although it’s hard to turn that shit off…). I’m currently considering teaching mindfulness practice in my homeroom class. I think they need it. I think I need it. So I’m trying to find the best options for that without spending $200 on books.

Art. Need to make art. More. Like all day long.

*FC Kahuna, Hayling


It’s Everything Beautiful*

July 3, 2017

It’s funny that I can’t even sleep right during vacation. Up way too late. Morning is painful. Trash trucks make way too much noise. And the new neighbors have 4 kids under the age of maybe 6. THAT noise. Haven’t had to deal with the screamy crying shit for a while. But I’m up! And I have a plan…on a post-it note. That note gets plastered to the dashboard today until I finish all the errands. I need to know if the car is longer than 90″ (I’m pretty sure it is). I need to take deodorant with me because today is the annual boob-squeezing. Whoo! Love that crap. Not.

I have an opening coming up this Saturday for the Don’t Shut Up exhibit at City College. The opening is from 5-7 PM. I have one smaller piece in the show and another piece in the 6 community quilts I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. Which aren’t done yet (shhh…don’t say anything)…

But here is a typical day in the Nida household…because you wish you lived here. There’s a whole line of people who wish they lived here (this is so NOT true).

First we started with a paprika taste test. Plain old boring in the top left, smoked on the right (bleck), and sweet from Hungary (no really, the parents brought it back) on the bottom.

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They all taste better cooked.

Then FaceTime with the girlchild, who is coming home in 8 days…she’s folding laundry and I’m doing the grocery list.

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Exciting stuff. She just saw my brother and the rest of his family; they’re on vacation back east.

Her calling reminded me of this…her bed covered in my quilts, because the three rolls I had were getting too heavy and unwieldy to maneuver into the closet. So I gave up and put them all on her bed.

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Not a good long-term solution, for sure. So I pulled the ones that will be in my solo show, opening July 15 at Visions Art Museum…you can come see them in person.

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These are the smaller ones; this is a roll I can actually lift.

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The yellow post-its are for pieces that are traveling. I can’t roll it up until the pieces that were in the Poway show get back, hopefully before she gets home.

At that point, I gave up and we went out to eat with the parentals. (I did grocery shopping in there somewhere, plus I made and ate an omelet.)

Then I came back and sewed bindings on one of the community quilts, and then I made sure I had bindings and sleeves sewn for the last two of those, which hopefully I will finish today.

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There’s four of them piled up on a chair, where no one can sit on them or throw up on them (ahhh…cats…you are so annoying).

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It was 11 by then. I did two nights’ worth on here, both in the bottom right…in green, more lazy daisies to fill in that bush, and then blue chain stitches around the wave shape.

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When the boychild goes to bed, he dumps all the available animals on me. Puppy was happy to curl up with me. What does it mean that my 21-year-old son goes to bed before I do? Yeah. I’m broken.

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Calli prefers to flail on her own. She’s destroying that cone. The last wound on her foot has a scab that keeps falling off, so she can’t have it off yet. Soon.

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And then I grabbed the drawing that I started back in mid-June and did some more…I would have worked on the gun one, but it needs to be enlarged and added to, and the copy place closed early. It’s OK, because this one is ready for enlarging too now, so I’m gonna do both today after the boob-squeezing. This one is gonna have to percolate a little…which is fine, because I got shit to do before I’m allowed to really start this one anyway.

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Getting close to the vacation part…well, except for all the quilts that have to be finished and/or ironed and dehaired (lots of installation going on this week)…and then cleaning is paramount on my mind. Aack. Plus a hike this week…yes, another one. Not done hiking yet. There’s some chaos coming on this month…girlchild home for two weeks and all the events that go along with that, two big shows opening with artist talks and panel discussions and people visiting.

Plus I really need to be making my art. The stuff that keeps my brain in the right place. I need to get my house, yard, and garage into a better place. I need to organize all the shit. I need to decide (very quickly) if I’m actually going to make a coloring book of my work in time for the opening (or at all). Because I’d need to do that this week. Sigh. OK. Decisions! Action! And relaxation where I can fit it in, right? Yeah.

*The Revivalists, Wish I Knew You