Ride Me a Southbound*

Rough day yesterday…sometimes school is hard, y’all. And I’m still not feeling well…can’t separate out whether it’s a cold I’m fighting or the new medication, but none of it feels fun. So that (of course) affects my ability to deal with stressors, like kids who pretend to be windmills. Whatever. Today I will handle it better. I might have to sit next to the windmill for a while, but I can do that. Even when I’m dizzy and headachy. Seriously, that shit can take a walk. I’m trying to stick with the new meds for a week before emailing my doctor, hoping the worst of the side effects go away. We’ll see.

So when I finally made it home, I seriously wasn’t a fan of doing any work for school, but realistically, grades are due in less than a week. My goal is one assignment a day. If I can get some done at school…great! Yesterday was not the day for that. Even the non-windmill kids weren’t in the mood to do anything independently (aargh), so I did a lot of management. Like why are you just sitting there? I’m thinking. No you’re not. Thinking is more active than what you’re doing and you shouldn’t be drooling. Also talking to your friends about what you saw before school? Not thinking. So there’s all that.

I went to the gym instead for a while. I wanted to read my book, plus I’m one of those freaks who actually likes exercise (wish I had time to do more of it), so I went for it. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Should do it again soon. Came back, co-cooked dinner (um, so even when you’re co-cooking, apparently you’re still in charge. Hmn. There’s that. I’m going to go on strike some day.), ate the foods, and then finished watching the first episode of Umbrella Academy (cool show!) and grading that one assignment per day. Success! I did good. Then I input those grades and all of a sudden it was 11 PM. See, that’s the shit that happens. But art! Art is important and WILL be done every day. It was way too late to clean the entryway floor though so I could trim the giant ass quilt. I’ll do that tonight, when I don’t have to deal with dinner. So then what can I do in just an hour?

Easy peasy. Finish the drawing. This is for a show that’s about indoors and outdoors, comparing those of us who live in mostly sunny and warm Southern California to a artistic group in Sweden, where it’s fucking cold and snowy. So their take on being outdoors is significantly different from ours, we think. Or not? We’ll see. I personally love being outside and wish I could do it more. Being in a classroom all day sometimes drives me bonkers. Anyway, all I had left was the sky, so I stared at it for a while. I didn’t have to do anything, but in keeping with the outdoors theme, I added space. I should work on my space though because this is the same space I keep adding. I should research more planets and weird space things (NASA here I come! Insta follow follows…)…

But this will be good. I like it. This is about 3 1/2 hours of drawing…not counting the original three drawings or so that I rejected.

Then it was only 11:30. Go to bed early? Fuck no. Number the damn thing (and this is how I never go to bed at a reasonable time).

So yeah, those ladybugs will need embroidery. Maybe even their little antenna things should be embroidered, but I numbered them for fun.

Lotso bugs on her face. Kinda like the hike the other day. Very buggy. So there’s 803 pieces I think in this thing. That’s not too bad. I don’t have much time to finish it, so yeah…should get on that. Deadlines! I’ve been ignoring them. Doesn’t help to not feel well and be stressed about health issues. I’m working on that…from multiple places.

OK, work calls. Windmill boy and all. Art tonight. I can do this!

*The Marshall Tucker Band, Can’t You See

Bring Your Etch-a-Sketch to Work*

I’m gonna start writing this at 12:02 AM on Tuesday. Why? Because this song…

I listened to Amanda Palmer tonight on Live From Here, the new version of Prairie Home Companion…here’s the link. Love this song. Makes me laugh. And cry. I’m so excited that I will be seeing Amanda sing in LA in May. I finally persuaded a male attachment to come with me.

So that was last night. I stayed up too late, but I finished quilting. That’s a big yahoo on that.

First we walked the dogs though…it’s been a while since we’ve been to this spot..

It was wet and muddy and stream-filled. Well. Not filled, but we went across at least two of them, one of them three times. Apparently the rain finally caught up with the creek and filled it to the edges…

Sometimes over the edges…the flowers are all starting to bloom…

Thinking about a trip to the desert for the bloom this year…

It was a really beautiful evening for a hike. It’s finally daylight a bit later, so we could go further…here’s one stream, which is actually where the trail normally is…

Calli has no problems or qualms about wading through streams. Simba is not as good. Definitely more water than usual…

Which is good.

Especially for the plants…we stopped here…I was kinda done with wandering through mud at that point.

Plus it was heading toward dusk…

So we headed back to see what the bridge looked like…

They’d fixed the smaller bridge…the rain had pushed it off its bank and into a smaller creek.

I don’t think the big bridge is going anywhere, but that’s a lot of water for here.

The dogs are good sports…

Tons of flowers everywhere.

I love ending a work day like this. Wish I could do it more often. Yes, I graded too…got one assignment done. And then my principal emailed about this professional development thing we have to do, and they totally screwed up next week. Sigh. I set test and due dates. Wonderful. I’ll figure that out later today. Last night I couldn’t handle it. I can’t be mad at him…his wife just had their second kid. I can be annoyed though that we have to do the PD at all.

While I was waiting for boychild to make dinner, I drew a bit…still working on possible embroidery designs.

Might be too much.

Post-dinner TV time with the man, Simba curled up behind him.

The two of them had a coyote scare last night, very close to the prime peeing spot. Scary. Dumbass puppy thought he would go kill the coyote. He does not realize he would be a tasty treat.

I finally went in to quilt at about 10:30 PM…with the goal of finishing.

Which after about an hour and 15 minutes, I did.

With 19 hours and 21 minutes total into the quilting. Crazy shit. Hopefully tonight I will clean the floor, trim the quilt, and put a binding on it. At least, that’s the plan. I’m also going to the gym, so we’ll see how that goes. Right now, I’m tired, but I also want this thing done. It’s taking too long. My brain is done with it.

So. Off to school. Difficult teaching day ahead I think…concept-wise at least. I thought yesterday would be low-maintenance and it totally wasn’t. So there’s that. I also need to prep for a messy lab. Good stuff.

*Amanda Palmer, Ukulele Anthem

These Are the People That’ll Break You*

Friday dawns clear and cold, a nice change from yesterday’s crazy weather…hail and rain and yuck. Hopefully the world will let us dry out (and warm up? apparently not) for a few days. Meanwhile, I have a whole host of emails from kids who just realized they haven’t been turning their work in. I have to laugh at the kid who sent me some comment about how he turned everything in before midnight…but the deadline is TODAY at midnight. OK, well at least he did it. And the exaggerator…”I emailed you ALMOST TWO WEEKS ago.” Um. You emailed me on the 13th. You know I can check that shit, right? Plus there’s the part where I told you all the makeup work would get graded this weekend…which might be a promise I can’t keep. There’s 94 emails so far, so you click on the assignment in the email, then it takes you to Google Classroom, then you have to click on the actual assignment, grade it, close it, wait for GC to acknowledge the new score, write it in the notebook, then close GC, and delete the email. For each one. I hate late work. I really do. But I can’t bring myself to disallow it. They’re 12. They need supports. Anyway. Gradebook closes for late/missing work today. Then I can take a week to grade them all if I need to.

It means we’re almost 2/3rds of the way through the school year though…it’s been a weird year with curriculum piloting and tons of meetings for that. There’s a huge long stretch to a very late Spring Break this year…53 days from now, to be exact. So plenty of work left.

Last night, I had my quilt class…I took my tried and true embroidery project, that is currently only being worked on for about 4 hours a month.

I finished the flowers and started working on the ox.

Two hours of work…not much, eh? This is why these take so long. Oh wait, I did the grass by the tree too. Four whole fly stitches. It’s relaxing though.

Then I came home and did some drawings. I’m trying to draw things that can be embroidered by hand. So I have to simplify stuff pretty significantly for that to be possible…the drawing on the right is the original, which will probably be a quilt some day (or some version of it will be)…the left is my simpler version.

It might still be too much…

But I like it. It’s hard to know what it will look like though without stitching it up.

Then I just drew for a while…messing around…simpler but maybe too simple.

Then this, which is OK…I might try this one again…a little smaller and different hair…

Plus make the eyes the same damn size.

I think this one might work too…

The harder part is color. I can only use 5. I either work all in black and white or I use 89 colors. So there’s that. Anyway, still working on this…it’s really hard for me to not go overboard on details.

Speaking of overboard…I don’t have to simplify this one…

It’s done except I need to decide if anything else is going in the sky. I couldn’t deal with that decision last night though, so I stopped.

I did her hair on both sides last night…and added the obligatory cat and teacup.

Plus some interesting (and relieving) news set those flying hearts back in motion.

The bottom was mostly done, but I added a plug and some lung details…

There apparently weren’t enough pieces. Can you imagine trying to embroider that? Yeah right. Someone would do it. (not me) Anyway. It’s close to done. I can’t promise anything for tonight, though…the guy’s band is playing. Plus it’s a Friday night, so I’ll be tired. I’m hoping to finish the drawing though. Maybe do some smaller ones. We’ll see.

*The Alarm, Marching On

We’re in for Nasty Weather*

I’m debating taking light bulbs to school. For one thing, I think I bought a bunch last year and they are in the prep room somewhere…I just can’t remember where. Second, right now, the skies are clear and blue…which is what I need for today’s lab. But I know a storm is coming in and that clear blue isn’t going to last. But will it last until 3:15 or so? Because that’s all I need. These are the weatherperson skills I need…predicting when the clouds will roll in. My weather app shows partly cloudy until 7 pm. The other app I look at is showing clouds at 11 AM and possible rain starting at 1 pm. Huh. Well. Better go find the lightbulbs.

OK. I’m back. Lightbulbs in a bag, just in case. My job is weird. Today I will get in about 15,000 steps before I ever leave school…just because of a lab. Plus I’m watching for rain. Because photosynthesis and rain aren’t really friends. Especially with 7th graders.

Anyway, so yesterday…I made it to the gym, even finished my book. I’m making it through the assignments that need to be done in the next week or so, slowly though. I finally got to draw at 11:25 PM. Maybe I should’ve gone to sleep, but since it took me a good long time to fall asleep, I think I made a good choice. I was tired…but the brain won’t shut up. I couldn’t get comfortable…too hot, too cold, too flat, head up too high, cat down by feet in just the wrong spot. Someone snoring…well, eventually that stopped, so that helped. I love all the beasts in my bed…they just don’t help me fall asleep.

Anyway, progress on anything is slow…no quilting last night, just the drawing. It was easier to focus on…

I was looking at one of the other drawing fails last night for hair ideas, but I didn’t focus on the hair in the long run. I’m not sure what I want to do with the hair yet. One drawing has what looks like lightning; the other has kelp. So I focused on finishing the dirt, because I was going off the original on that…mostly.

So that part is done anyway…oh yeah, and I added a tree to her arm…

And she’s fully rooted now.

First appearance of a pillbug in a Nida quilt. Exciting stuff. Anyway, I realized that I didn’t have to finish quilting the big quilt before I start working on this quilt. There’s no imminent deadline for finishing the other one. It’s just that I usually do. Otherwise things go unfinished, and apparently, as I age, that irritates my Art Brain more and more. Finish ALL THE THINGS. Which is not a bad philosophy, if it makes sense. I have two art quilts that are decidedly not finished and may never be. So there’s that. One only needs the binding done…the other needs paint. And lots of it. Even that might not save it.

So I could finish this tonight…but here’s today’s schedule: parent meeting at 8, prep the lab (mostly done) before school starts at 9. Teach all day at a crazy running pace, hoping for sun and no rain, then a 2-hour meeting at the district office about curriculum, and book club an hour later. That one might very well fall by the wayside…which is too bad. I like book club, I like talking about the books we’re reading, and I’m on the third book in that series because it’s good. And I need the socialization outside of my job. But exhaustion will probably win out. We’ll see. Then after all that? Am I making art? I hope so. But I’m already running on less than 6 hours of sleep. Ugh. I think that’s the top thing my doc wishes I would do: sleep more. Why? I’m really bad at it. I lie around wide awake a lot as it is. Then she’d like me to exercise more. So would I, but life gets in the way. OK, though, it’s time to get out of here for Task 1. Then art at the end. Goals.

Oh yeah, I got into a local show…#rrrr Reduced, Restricted, Reserved but Resilient, showing at The Front in San Ysidro. It’s the 12th Annual Dia de la Mujer Art Exhibition. It’s a really nice space. The opening is March 7…more to follow.

*Talking Heads, Burning Down the House

And All the Papers Lied Tonight*

Hmm. Cold weather (for us…remember my blood is thinner than you icy folk). Rain clouds still looming. So my weekend so far has been very focused with bursts of art. Mostly because I stayed up until 2:30 AM last night…well, wasn’t it technically this morning? Because Art Brain was drawing and I didn’t know how to get her to stop. I didn’t have work as an excuse to go to bed. Probably why I feel a bit groggy this morning. Because someone still got up at 6 to go to work and I definitely heard that. Ugh. That’s tomorrow morning. I will go to bed earlier tonight! Art Brain? You listening? I’m not kidding. We need to go to bed early tonight. Seriously.

Yeah. So. Saturday I quilted some…like 2 hours’ worth…nah, only an hour…

But I started on all the fussy little bits in between heads. What a pain in the butt.

Then we went to an art/music thing called A Ship in the Woods…it was a bit of a drive, weather cold, plus a shuttle service to get us in…it’s a house up in the Escondido area with a huge yard and a lot of art stuff filtered around. A band was playing inside. There was art inside as well. Mostly I just wanted to see what it was like, but I had also seen a piece by one of the artists, Kyle Ranson, so I was interested in that…this was on the outside of the house, made up of smaller pieces of wood.

Fascinating…

Another one inside…

And outside…those are ceiling fan blades…

Makes you want to redo your house so your neighbors run screaming in the other direction, don’t it?

It’s a nice space. I’d go back when it’s warmer. And there was more performance or outdoor stuff going on. Like summer maybe. We’ll see.

Yesterday dawned with pretty blue skies and big fluffy white clouds, with a cat sitting in a box. Yeah. There’s art stuff in there. She doesn’t give a fuck. She’s sitting in it anyway.

Chaos reigns. The skies eventually grayed up and dropped down upon us.

So I went back to quilting…the VAST EXPANSE of crap around the edges.

I did at least 2 hours yesterday. Or only 2 hours…depending on how you look at it. I’ve made it around the whole sun and down one side. There’s a significant amount of quilting left. At least another couple of hours, I think. I’ll be working on that today, and also going to buy binding fabric.

I graded in the afternoon and evening…late into the night, trying to get caught up…while watching a documentary about feminism.

From that, I started drawing. Because I wasn’t ready for bed…I was watching the last 15 minutes of the doc, because I’d finished grading. On Friday, I had copied the first drawing that I’ve been trying to redo for days, enlarging it 200 and 250%, to give me a choice.

I wasn’t sure which would work best.

I thought I would just tape it together and then go to bed.

By the way, 250% was the better choice. So I knew I wanted the core of this drawing, but it needed some major changes. I was going to leave it until today, but Art Brain took over. Yes, it was already past midnight at this point.

I said, I’ll just trace some bits and THEN go to bed…

I don’t know why I listen to Art Brain when she’s like that. I traced some more, but then opened up the other sketchbook so I could see the other fails…and pull from them as well.

One of the things I wanted was the shoulders above the ground…

Art Brain on a roll…

It’s not done…but I did finally take a break on it.

The ground is next…and the hair…and whatever is above her head. I don’t know what that is yet. Maybe that’s tonight…but not that late. Not if I have to teach tomorrow.

Today is more grading…a dog hike…some fabric purchasing. Laundry. I need clean clothes for sure. And I don’t know what else…I should shower first…

*The Psychedelic Furs, The Ghost in You

I Know a Place That’s Safe and Warm from the Crowd*

Why did I not get much done last night? Well, we got to sweep water out of the garage and then move some stuff around because of that. I sat down to read for about 30 minutes, a new book, and that time expanded. Because books are more interesting than grading assignments. Then Valentine’s Day, we go to the total dive we had picked out to avoid the nice-restaurant crowds, and their cook hadn’t shown up. Hmmm. So we drove to dive-ish bar number 2 and ate.

After all that, all I had the mental space for was trying to draw the start of the next quilt. AGAIN. I’m trying to enlarge (and slightly change) a drawing I already did and kept thinking it would be easy, but my brain and fingers aren’t cooperating. Every single face has been off.

Here’s the original (too small and not quite right) drawing…

I want to fix what’s on the face a bit, and then have her shoulders above the dirt, and do something totally different with her hair and the sky. So really, it would be easier to redraw it larger and then fix it there. But I haven’t been able to get the face right…

Attempt number 2 has some things going for it, but I don’t like the shape of the nose at all…or the hair.

Although it doesn’t look as bad in the light of the morning. Sigh. Nope. That nose.

Attempt number 3…didn’t make it past this stage.

Nose is wrong. Eyes too small. Mouth wrong.

I’m not usually this fussy. I usually just go with whatever I draw, figure it’s fate or something.

Attempt number 4…

Fucking A. So I like how the face is going, the stuff ON the face, but totally hate how long and narrow it is. Eyes are too small, needs a forehead.

So I’m debating going to the copy place and just enlarging the first one, but then putting it underneath a larger piece and tracing what I like. Because I really like the eyes and nose and mouth in the first one. And I’m trying to repeat that and maybe that’s not worth this much time. So I think I’m going to toss the smaller sketchbook in my bag and hit the copy store after school.

Other things: I’m sad about Opportunity, the Mars Rover…I’m sad about the wall and people’s obsession with that instead of solving the other problems with immigration. I had to take Benadryl last night to deal with the stupid post-CT rash from the contrast dye…it’s not going away without help. So this morning, I’m totally groggy (on one of those damn things). And it’s a lab day, so that ought to be interesting. I’m glad that the rash is somewhat better. I’m sad that Monday is the last day off of school for the next 8 weeks. I’m going to totally enjoy the fuck out of Monday then. I’m glad the heavy rain from yesterday stopped before the garage totally filled. I’m superglad that years ago, we put everything up on shelves and off the floor. I’m also glad that the branch that fell off the tree in the backyard onto the very spot where Calli likes to pee did not hit her or the house or the deck. Yes, trimming that tree is on my list…when I get the other crap paid off that needs to be paid off. I’m incredibly glad today is Friday. And I can see blue sky this morning. I’m also glad that I found some of my more expensive diabetes supplies on Amazon. Fuck the pharmacy man. They gougin’.

All right. Off to school. Gonna steal some of the boychild’s Spring Roll Bowl from my Monday night dinner (’twas good) for lunch. It’s spicy, so hot flashes will come…but they’ve been coming anyway. Oh yeah, and yesterday I got a llama. Or an alpaca. I love it. I bought the flowers…our special-ed kids are doing these pop-up shops for coffee every week, and added flower delivery yesterday…

Very nice job on the teacher’s part…oh yeah, I got a chocolate from one of my special ed kids. He can be very nice. I guess they all can be. Laughing about that. Good thing to remember today I guess.

*The Lemonheads, Into Your Arms

More and More Complicated

I am functional at the moment. My eyes are open. I’m showered and fully clothed. I even have apples and oatmeal in front of me, ready to eat. The cats are fed. My lunch is packed and in the fridge. My brain, however, is hovering on naptime. Serious naptime. You know that feeling when you’ve been on a plane for like 10 hours and you feel totally squished and too upright and twitchy and all you want to do is LIE DOWN. With a pillow. On your side. That’s kinda how I feel right now. Which is really unfortunate, because I have to go to work and then a union meeting afterwards, so that’s like hours of Not Lying Down and No Pillow. Ugh. No fun.

Last night, I graded a bunch of things, and I ended up with half a TV show I wanted to finish watching before going off to quilt, so I tried to redraw this again.

Nope. Sometimes I start over and over again until I get it right. It’s still the nose…and the mouth. The eyes are better. One time I started about 5 times until I got the first eye right. I really needed a better pen too. This one was old and dragged on the paper. It needs to flow, run wild, move like water across the page. Double nope. It didn’t. So I’ll try again.

Finally off to the quilting…

The Figure 3 head has a bunch of pollution-type stuff going on.

Previously, Kitten had whacked me…hard…three holes in my hand. Not sure why.

So she sat over there and refused to look at me. Calico cats are definitely clear about “You’re doing it wrong.” Although I was trying to get the computer mouse and not doing anything to her at all. So there’s that.

Cat done. Head done…

That’s a big head. I did start this Big Head series way way back. I had a few quilts that were just head and shoulders, but huge. I had less detail in my quilts back then. I seem to be getting more and more complicated. In so many ways!

So my new thing is to stop quilting and then my brain is wired so I have been organizing the photos on my computers, moving them into appropriate folders. I have stuff going back to 2014 that is not organized. There was some shit going on then that made it hard to look at certain months of photos, but I figure I’m well past that dumbassery now. But then I can’t stop organizing. There needs to be a logical stopping point and it’s usually doing an entire month, but that’s a lot. So I went to bed too late (AND I didn’t even finish the month). Plus sometimes it’s hard to figure out which quilt I’m working on if it’s just Wonder Under or pieces of fabric. So then my brain is engaged again and that’s not a good thing. Sigh.

Right now I really want to go back to bed. And then draw. Neither is happening. Oh well. They will eventually.