It Either Will, or It Won’t…

It’s been a rough week. Yesterday…had ups and downs…ups that remind you of how it can be. We did the cover page for Unit 2. We kinda know each other now, more than before. The kids drew, and I rolled my chair around to work with every table, stealing a colored pencil everywhere I went. I started up front, with the kids who don’t do anything or are off task or just plain don’t understand, but I made sure to make it to the back tables too. They’re all seated by their homework grades at the minute. It means some days I want to kill the front tables, but then I look back, and there they are, all the kids who work their butts off, working their butts off, staring up at me. Yeah. I’m good. And honestly, checking in with some of the knuckleheads was good too. I still have this one boy’s look in my head. For the warmup, I stole something from my co-teacher…”I wish my teacher knew…” and he had written about how nervous he is all the time. And he’s this big adult-looking kid who’s always either half asleep or something, and he’s got this sad look on his face, and now I worry even more, because how do I fix that? I don’t. I work with it. Aargh.

One way I know this year has been a rough start is that I never finished coloring my Unit 1 cover page. I’ve never NOT finished. Ever. So I was gonna finish Unit 2…and I did.

OK. There were a million other things I could have been doing in the classroom, but honestly, sitting with the kids and coloring with them was the best thing…both for me and for the group and for the individual kids. It was good. Plus in 8th period, this kid is showing me his drawing from across the room, and I’m trying to figure out WTF it is and I think it’s toes, and I’m trying to figure out what toes has to do with chemical reactions, and he’s a super needy kid and has this look on his face and I just lost it. Laughing so hard I’m crying. It’s OK, he didn’t mind, and I gave him a side hug and said thanks for the laugh, you might pick up some extra credit off that. My god it was awful. Still chortling on that one.

Satchemo is still with us, but he won’t eat. The hardest part of owning pets is knowing when they’re done…when there’s nothing else we can do.

Especially when there’s no warning.

I spent some time with my stitching friends last night…I took something easy and brainless to work on. It’s what I needed.

This is Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails block-of-the-month from 2015. It’s the third quilt of hers I’ve done. They are a nice filler for me. I don’t have to create anything or think about it. I just follow someone else’s instructions and do it and it’s relaxing and not stressful. I haven’t gotten much done on this all year because of all the embroidery patterns, so it’s nice to get back to it. It’s slow. But that’s OK.

I came back from stitching, entered a show, made food for the opening tonight…oh yeah, there’s an opening tonight in Liberty Station. I’ll be exhausted, but I’ll be there. And I have an opening tomorrow too. It’s going to be an interesting few days. So many things to do…so little time. Tonight is What She Said…Artists Speak Out, in Liberty Station, located behind the Solare restaurant, the Martha Pace Swift Gallery, from 5-8 PM. I have two quilts in that. And then tomorrow is the Mingei/Allied Craftsmen show Metamorphosis at City College Art Gallery. I have one big quilt in that. The Mingei is under construction at the moment, so they’re doing stuff in other places.

Then I sat and cut for an hour and a half. It doesn’t look like much…the pile on the left is done.

The stuff on the right still needs to be cut out. I honestly don’t know when I’ll be doing that. The man has a show Saturday night. I have a hundred things to grade. Well. Technically, way more than that due to the shitload of students I have. Woo! Love it. Ugh. Seriously, this weekend hurts to think about. Openings are cool, but when I’m stressed like this and just want to get work done, it’s hard to do what feels like wasting time. I’m considering taking a chair and stuff to cut out tonight. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. I’ll be sleeping in on Sunday. Trying not to think about the cat or the workload or how it will all get done. It either will or it won’t.

Making Up a Title…

Well here’s an interesting commentary on recycling and the current government…my fees went up because we can’t send stuff to China (I’m actually OK with not sending it out of the US…it’s one of the things I think should stay here so we can stop shoving it under the carpet), but my trash company won’t even take all our recycling because they’re missing the machinery to actually recycle it, so there’s that, and what are they actually doing with the extra money and recycling? There’s no information about that at all…just we have to offset these expenses that we aren’t going to explain to you. I’m still trying to figure out how the current government helps me financially (it doesn’t), but I’d really like to solve the recycling issue here in this country. That would be nice.

It was a busy weekend. That’s why I didn’t write either day. I bought background fabrics the previous weekend but didn’t get that far until Saturday…I ended up picking the second one from the top.

I just leave this stack here and pick from it for background or backing.

Friday night, I finished cutting out the Wonder Under and then sorted it…

It didn’t take long…

This was Saturday morning, trying to organize my brain.

Sunday morning looked similar, but I think there was a different cat, plus a different page in the journal. It’s cleaner at the moment. It won’t stay that way.

One of Saturday’s jobs was to sort all this and put it away.

If I don’t clean the studio in between each quilt, I can’t think straight. Sorted by color for easy storage.

I was video messaging a friend by now who moved away…here’s my set up for the newest quilt.

It’s harder to concentrate on picking fabrics when I’m talking to someone. I’m really slow.

But I got some done.

Saturday night, we went to the Adams Avenue Street Fair, hung out, watched some bands, mostly Buck-O-Nine, which was fun except for all the dumb rude people.

Yeah that.

Late night gecko encounter…

Kitten was excited.

Sunday was a million more things to do, including a pile of grading and seating charts…finally stitched a bit with dinner…

Haven’t worked on this for ages. It’s very meditative.

But I needed to do actual art…so I ironed for a while…

I haven’t gotten very far…most of the 0-100s box and some of the 100s box. Need to figure out the rest of the ocean…

Sleepy puppy waiting for me to pet him…

Or for the boychild to let him in. Boychild broke his toe, so he won’t be hiking with me this week. I’ll survive. But it sucks for him.

OK, off to work. I’ve got shit to do this morning. As always.

From Where, I Do Not Know…

Another long day. I’m hoping for a normal-shaped day today with a trip to the gym at the end of it. Luckily, I have nothing to grade yet…that’ll be this weekend. A bunch of videos to watch…that’s about it. School. It’s always a struggle in September. I’m really feeling overwhelmed. It’ll get better. It always does. But not today. Not right now anyway. I was so prepared when I left school yesterday, until I realized I’d left behind the two things I needed for the meeting I was going to next. Ah well. So be it. It’s fine. It’ll get done.

Deep breaths. Maybe a run around the block.

I got home late. Another 2-hour meeting. I was tired. I laid down. I stared at things. Someone fed me (best part of the day, maybe).

I revived. It happens. I stitched after dinner…I’m not sure why I keep stitching on this. I’m still not sure I like it. It may not matter.

I did email them yesterday and haven’t heard back. We’ll see. I’m not totally invested in this venture. This one is less cluttered.

I have one other I haven’t stitched on. Then maybe I’ll do something else after dinner. Something I actually want to work on. Sigh.

Oh yeah, so school. I can’t get anything done. I drew the cover page like two weeks ago…

No time to color it. Usually I can sit down with the kids in each class, moving around the room, and get it done. Not so in these classes. So it’s not done. At all. Sigh. I should do that. I should mail it to my daughter and have HER do it. Or my niece. Could happen.

Anyway. I started tracing early last night. I managed to find energy to stand, from where, I do not know.

I traced for about 2 1/2 hours or so. I’m a little over 5 hours in with about a 1/3 traced. So I guess I have 10 more hours to go. That’s gonna take a little longer than I thought. The plus is that I lost one event on Saturday, so I can trace for a while…maybe even while listening to the videos I have to grade? Maybe? But gym tonight and plans tomorrow night…so maybe I won’t be done until Monday. Yikes. Time is always tight. I work best with a hellacious deadline apparently.

Why Do We Care?

Imagine asking a classroom full of 7th graders this question. Then telling them they’re not allowed to say they don’t. Most of them were up to the challenge of figuring out why they SHOULD care. Some were shallow and just said because of their grade. But some dug deeper. Good conversations.

Then later, I see this…

We’re teaching the states of matter. Here’s why they care…so they can fuck with TSA. I’m betting she didn’t win this one though. The government isn’t great with science.

It was a frustrating day. Reteaching what classroom discussion looks like. Why we don’t all yell at once. Why yelling stupid shit is not productive. I’m behind in the teaching content part because there’s so much behavior teaching. We’ll get there. We just didn’t get there yesterday. By the end of the school day, I was more than a little frustrated with what was showing up in my inbox. They added two kids to one of my biggest classes, making it a potential issue when we’re doing labs. And then fucked with our schedule. We’ll make it work, but there’s no reason why we couldn’t have known about this hiccup a month ago. That’s the frustrating stuff.

So after a 2-hour staff meeting that was mostly a waste of time (I thought), I needed to be outside, moving. So we walked the dogs…

It was our first test of Calli on a full-length hike since late June, because of her hips and leg. She did awesome…

They’re staring at the boychild. I’m not interesting.

There’s still blooming flowers, despite the very little rain…just one day a week ago.

Desert flowers like their sporadic water.

I did a little on this. Tonight I will send the email…I think.

I found out I got two pieces into a show that will be in Liberty Station through January. There’s a first Friday opening every month, starting in October. That might be painful for me. Fridays are tiring. But I got into a show!

Today will be tiring…Back-to-School Night. Ugh. Not my favorite event.

I did start tracing, but only got about an hour in. Maybe I’ll be finished by Saturday? I doubt it, but it’s something to aim for.

If I get an hour in tonight, that will be a plus. OK, off to keep kids from doing stupid shit with water and balloons. I know, it sounds problematic. Welcome to my world.

Cool Things…

Cool things about the weekend: had an art opening, shipped a quilt that will get me a check in the mail, finished all my grading for last week, finished the drawing for the new quilt, and numbered it. All good. Today is Monday…the first day of three where I have 2-hour meetings/stuff after school. I will survive.

The quilt I shipped had to be washed to remove traces of cat dander. My parents have no cats, so I wash it there, and then iron it and pack it up there as well. I managed NOT to destroy their house while I was there, although I might have used their air conditioning. Briefly. (This is my mom’s studio…much bigger than mine, but similarly messy.)

Got that done Saturday, which is good. I need the money to pay off part of my portion of the boychild’s college loans.

Came back to this sweetheart asleep in the green fabrics. Again. Perhaps still.

I did go to the gym in the morning too…graded stuff…wrote Saturday’s blog there too.

Saturday night was off to the opening of The Big Story…my piece, You Pollute Me, is on the right, with work by Anna Zappoli on the left and Dan Adams between us.

This was at the end of the night, when they were closing up. It was hard to get a picture before that…although my friend Hannah Johansen was at the show (she had work in it too) and snapped this one…

of me explaining something to Julie. It’s a nice little show. Sophie’s Gallery in Kensington…come for the art, stay for dinner or a glass of wine. It has many options very close by.

This is Sunday morning. I swear she moved in between…

But that’s a look, isn’t it?

One of the things I did Sunday was prep two more small block samples…a house…

And a face…

I like variety…I finished working on this one…

Totally normal and acceptable. And started embroidering this one…

I should send them something tonight. Yup.

After that, I finished the drawing with all the things I’d thought of on Saturday while I was doing something else: monarch, bee, poppy.

She’s wide. But not high.

Then I spent an hour numbering her parts. Hopefully better than the last time I numbered something.

I mean, it would be hard to do a worse job than I did last time.

I’m sure it’s possible, but I’m hoping not.

890 pieces…if I numbered correctly. OK then…tracing tonight, one hopes. I have some other stuff I’m supposed to be doing and haven’t done yet. That’s always the case though. Right now, I need to go to school and fill 10 cups with water and 10 balloons with air. And then try to persuade kids that all solids are NOT hard. Like you do.

Take Advantage

I came to this realization last night…from early May until the end of July, I was fighting massive horrible hot flashes. I’ve had them pretty consistently since I was 35. They’re genetic. They’re not going away. But these were significantly worse: hotter, more frequent, hell on my head. During that time, my blood sugar was also crazy. It was too high for no understandable reason. I tried everything. I was just constantly frustrated by trying to control the apparently uncontrollable.

Then the hot flashes mostly stopped. I could sleep again. My head wasn’t constantly on fire. And guess what else now seems to be under control? Yup. Blood sugar. And so many articles and medical people are like, if YOU do more, you can control it. My ass I can. I can’t control the hormonal fluctuations that caused that endocrinological natural disaster. I’m becoming more and more irritated with how the medical profession doesn’t support women my age.

So the positive is control and less fire. Here’s Calli demolishing a stick after a cooling dip in the pool yesterday…a much better choice than trying to walk her when the temps are in the high 90s…

I actually took a nap last night when I got home. I stayed late at work to make sure I was mostly prepped for Monday. We have a lab. I still need to blow up 10 balloons and fill 10 cups of water, but everything else is ready. This is a habit I should cultivate.

So a short nap, then stitching after dinner…another easy sample.

My couch companion turned 4 yesterday. He still has a baby face.

I finally found the mental and physical energy to draw…a great blue heron surveying the ocean…then a mule deer further out, by a stream.

I just need to fill the legs…I’m thinking desert. Then number it and start tracing. Bones? Yeah we need some leg bones…appropriate for the desert bits. School will need some attention this weekend also. Plus some down time with art stuff. And it’ll be cooler than it has been. That’s a good thing…because next week is gonna be hard enough. I’m writing this at the gym, by the way. Another good thing. If the animals are going to wake you up early, might as well take advantage of it.

Update TOC

It’s so quiet this morning. I can hear some bug or bird outside, and the pool motor is relatively quiet today, for whatever random reason. Sometimes I enjoy the quiet. I used to always need noise. I think I’ve spent enough years listening to kid noise that quiet is sometimes a blessing of sorts. It’s still hot here. It’s not unbearable, but it’s not pleasant. Have you seen the Bahamas? I guess nobody hasn’t seen the destruction there. I have to admit to not knowing much about the Bahamas besides the trip destination part. I had no idea there were so many islands. I hope we help. Can I force my government to help countries in need? Well, no, no I can’t. It makes me sad, how stupid we are right now. Ignorant. That was part of the conversation at my stitching meeting last night: ignorant vs stupid. Willfully ignorant in some cases. Ask me how many of my students still think the Earth is flat due to some dumbass Youtuber. The world. Is disturbing. I’m sure it always has been, but it seems worse right now.

So yeah, I had my monthly stitching meeting last night…I’ve been meeting with these women (and more; over the years, we’ve shrunk) for over 20 years.

We were taking a group picture for a member who now lives many miles away and whose birthday it was yesterday. We drink caffeine and stitch or crochet or knit or sit and talk because getting anything out of the bag is too much hard work. We bring stuff to share, like patterns and magazines and books we’ve made (OK, that’s just one of us…the rest of us marvel at the bookmaking but don’t do it ourselves.). It’s a good thing, these meetings of the minds.

I worked on hand-stitching this…

I’ve got to send some info to the Mingei this weekend, I think. So I should get some stuff ready for that.

I came home and finished up the last of the copyediting, marrying the Bibliography, and making sure all the stupid formatting worked. One of the last tasks was to make the table of contents fix itself (the page numbering), and after 20 minutes or so of searching the internet, the answer appeared. Just hit the damn Update TOC button. Sure. It took a while to figure out how to get that button, but once I did, it was like magic.

She’s done. I read all those words. About 5 or 6 times each one. And now I’ll get paid and I’ll be able to get the big trees trimmed before one of them drops a big branch on my roof.

I came home and actually exercised while reading my next book. I was exhausted. I’m still exhausted. It took a lot of energy and willpower to not just go to bed. I thought about it. But once I was up, off the couch, I wanted to do something on the drawing. At our stitching meeting of the minds, while I was answering the question of what the hell is coming out the nipples of the woman I’m drawing (she’s an earth mother…that’s a stream going out to the ocean…it’ll make more sense in color), they were suggesting other things I could draw, so there’s a grey whale…

Or a penis, since that was also a suggestion, and honestly, whales are hard to depict like this. Hopefully it will read better in color. Less penisy.

I also did a sun on the opposite side from the moon…

I’ve got some desert plants that need to go in somewhere…legs? land? And a decision about how to finish it up. Getting closer. I might finish tonight. It’s possible. Then number it and start tracing. And SLEEP. Oh yeah, I have an opening tomorrow night…for The Big Story at Sophie’s Art Gallery in Kensington. It’s 5-8 PM…stop by. I’ll be there closer to 5:30…and probably gone before the end, just because I’ll need to eat. But it’s still a cool little show.