Three-Dog Late Afternoon

October 20, 2018

Weekends are for catching up on sleep. For catching up on errands, although I did a pretty good job of that on Thursday. For catching up on grades, unfortunately. And hopefully for a little free time and relaxation. I’m going to see the Visions exhibit this evening…looking forward to that.

But before that, I gotta wake up. Ugh. My head.

I walked the dogs again on Friday…by myself this time…

IMG_8282 small

I took them over three miles, trying to tire them out. It worked. Tired me out too…but then I’d already had a long walking day at work. The kids played a rock cycle game and I always have a few who need me to walk them through it. It went well otherwise though. My legs were dead by the time I got to the dog-walking part of the day, but it was good for all of us.

After dinner, I eventually persuaded my legs to stand up again. I didn’t trace for long, because I didn’t realize how late it was…but I’m in the 300s now. I wanted to be much further along, as always. So tracing is on my list for today as well. A nice big fat chunk of it please.

IMG_8288 small

I sat for a bit…Satchemo love…and Simba putting up with the cat.

IMG_8293 small

Who knows whether he likes it. He always looks nervous. That cat has sharp pointy bits.

Anyway. Art tonight, by other people, hopefully making my own as well. Same for tomorrow. I’ll never get caught up with grading anyway.

Happy birthday to my dad, who is hopefully still in Spain (if he’s not, I don’t know where he is)…he’ll be home soon, and then his dog will be at HIS house, making all the caterwauling noises that she makes. Plus walking the dogs will be easier.


Brain Fuzz

October 9, 2018

I’m not finding any words in my head this morning. Part of it is that it’s early and I’m not functional yet. Another part is that my brain is drawing things out, testing out ideas, and that uses up a big chunk of available brainspace…apparently the part that comes up with words and coherent thoughts is a part of that. So I chug another large mouthful of tea, hoping my brain reappears sometime soon. Apparently the part that spells is here, because it’s correcting all the finger mistakes I’m making due to tiredness.

I have this one assignment that I’m having a hard time grading…it’s very draining and time-consuming, but there’s this one kid who keeps bugging me about when I’m going to grade it…it’s not like it will make or break him. I have to write a bunch of corrections when I grade them, so that’s why I avoid it. I’ll do it…it’s just taking me a while to get through it. I should just set a goal of a class worth of that every night until I’m done. I SHOULD. Or maybe just grade his so he’ll stop bugging me.

Walked the dogs. We haven’t been to this part for a while. There were signs up about a mountain lion sighting.

IMG_7832 small

Great. Well. Yeah, we hiked anyway.

I cooked dinner…and then worked on the binding for about 2 1/2 hours…

IMG_7836 small

While watching Dr. Who, amongst other things. Hooray for the female doctor. I still need to sew the sleeves on and then contact the photographer. Almost done.

Simba has been really cranky lately.

IMG_7838 small

Don’t know why.

I drew after that. The plan is to enlarge it today after school.

IMG_7840 small

Because I need to see the whole available space before I can do the rest. Makes sense. Maybe I can have some of my brain back once I’ve finished drawing. I will draw tonight, but I don’t think I’ll finish…but that’s OK. If I finish drawing by the weekend and start tracing, I should be OK. This one can’t be huge…big, but not huge. It would be nice to have my brain back before the weekend though.

OK, brain fuzz. Sheesh.


Make Good Choices

October 2, 2018

I’ve spent at least an hour in my head trying to figure out when to set up my classroom for tomorrow’s test. I need some of the materials on the desks for today, I have tutoring after school, and then chiropractor right after that. I guess it’s tomorrow morning. But that was the 4 AM brain. Like shut up, 4 AM brain. I could’ve figured that out today some time. I didn’t need to waste sleep time on that. Make good choices, man. Make good choices.

Speaking of good choices, I raced home from work and grabbed the dogs and the boychild and headed out. We have the outside edge of a tropical storm, was a hurricane, hanging around, making it muggy as shit and only 3 drops of rain are allowed to fall, which is crazy stupid. But the clouds look nice.

IMG_7708 small

We took yet another weird trail. Boychild doesn’t like to do the same path every time. He blames Simba. Maybe the dogs don’t either. They want different smells. Interestingly, if we’d done our normal path, we would have passed the coyote we saw later as well.

IMG_7710 small

Instead, we kamikazed up this hill…and picked up part of a different trail…

IMG_7713 small

But there he was, at the junction of the trail we’re normally on. I say he, like I did with the lizard, but maybe they’re both female. We just don’t know.

IMG_7717 small

It’s closer than I like being to them (I’m sure they’re closer than that on a regular basis, but somehow it’s better when you can’t see them watching you)…especially with the snack we call Simba. It’s easier when I’m not alone though. He stopped and stared at us a lot. I waved and yelled hi.

IMG_7723 small

Like you do. Hey Julie…does this belong out in the wild? There was more than one of them…the stem at back probably was the tall version before the flowers died. Lily-like.

IMG_7739 small

Probably doesn’t belong, but who knows. I’ve seen stranger things out there.

I came home and was tired…we did more than we usually do, and I think I was already done in before I started. Lab days with water! Take your life into your own hands. Boychild cooked dinner…’twas good. Then I should have graded some, but I was too tired. Eventually I found the energy to come in here and start quilting…

IMG_7745 small

But it took a long time to get the tension right, for some reason. I broke the thread like 4 times, re-threaded every time, changed out the needle, swore a bit, and finally got it functional…

IMG_7746 small

After fighting with it for so long, I didn’t have much patience or energy for continuing to fight the quilt around the machine. I know I got in a little more than an hour though, so that’s progress.

My trusty quilting companions…

IMG_7747 small

There was a cat in there too. And when I went into the other room, I had 4 out of the 5 with me…2 on the couch next to me. You cannot be alone in this house, not even in the bathroom.

Today is going to be a long day, but I’m hoping to get back in here and quilt some more. It’s honestly not very big, so it shouldn’t take very long. I’m not sure if I have thread for the background though. I should check that. Not right now, though. Right now, I need to get ready for work. Demo day…no down time. Fun stuff.


Crawling the Walls*

September 25, 2018

As I’ve been watching the Kavanaugh confirmation maelstrom erupt all over the news, all I can think is why? Why would we want anyone in that position who (a) doesn’t have the back of half the population of the country (seriously not thinking of women’s rights or needs, from what I’ve seen, unless you need me to be pregnant with no rights to my uterus) or (b) where there is any hint at all of sexual impropriety (Clarence Thomas, we’re talking to you right now). I keep hearing that it’s “normal” for boys to do stupid sex things when they’re kids…or even men, as adults…and it’s not normal. It’s not OK. It’s not in their genes. It’s not caused by testosterone. As one woman said, there are plenty of people in jail who did something stupid when they were 17…they just weren’t rich enough to get out of it.

As a woman, I’ve lived through my share of sexual crap, harassment and worse, all perpetrated by men. And my goal is that my daughter never ever has to go through that. She already has…both here in the US and in Madagascar. It’s everywhere. It’s one thing to fear for yourself, walking in the dark, keys between your fingers, poised to hit 911 on your phone. It’s an entirely different thing to think about your daughter in the same situation. Give up on him. Wait until after the midterm elections. The hypocrisy in the current administration is driving me nuts. There should be no question about this. Get Kavanaugh out.

It’s actually significantly hard to watch all this. It reminds me of how little women are regarded right now in this country…and that’s sad.

So all that’s in my head.

Yesterday, we walked the dogs. At one point, the little one got it into his head that he wanted to wander off the main trail into coyote country, so the boychild let him.

IMG_7585 small

He kept claiming we were on a truck trail. Uh huh. Right. Well, here, we are back on the main road. Turns out the puppy was trying out a shortcut.

IMG_7587 small

He cut a 1/4 mile out of our regular walk. He said he was tired. Probably we all have ticks now too.

I graded for a long while. I have a lot to get done and not much time in which to do it. But a little at a time works.

I only ironed for 45 minutes last night, but it was enough to find and cut out all these little leaves…

IMG_7589 small

Plus do the other arm (minus the hand)…and then start on the belly.

IMG_7591 small

Midnight came and told me to go to bed. Wow. I miss Midnight (the cat). Still. A year later. Anyway, Midnight the TIME told me to go to bed.

I paused…I’m watching Luther…but was fascinated by this picture when I paused…

IMG_7594 small

Off to bed, and there’s Katie, being a dork. Itchy nose, I think.

IMG_7598 small

I helped her with that. Oh yeah, and I forgot I packed a quilt last night to ship to a show this morning. Really, I got a lot of stuff done…it just wasn’t all in the artistic-making realm. Art has to get shipped. Science has to get graded. Dogs have to be walked. Making art is sort of the ugly stepchild…it goes last, gets the smallest helping sometimes.

OK, brain…you are off this morning. Still tired. Going to go to UPS now and then school and then tutoring…and then to watch another artist explain herself tonight. And hopefully by the end of the week, I’ll see my country screw its head back on. That would be a change from the last year and a half or so.

*Dave Gross, Crawling the Walls


Just One More Peaceful Day*

September 20, 2018

I haven’t had time to draw in a while. I used to draw a lot more. I’d like to draw more. One I think I do draw is cover pages for science. I also draw when I have a specific piece or exhibit in mind. In science, every unit has a cover page that’s about the upcoming topic. It gives the kids a chance to sort of check out the subject matter, google a bunch of stuff about whatever we’re studying, and start to use some vocabulary words. For me, it’s a chance to draw and color for a good portion of the day. I even sit at their tables with them and color (I usually pick the most disruptive table, so there is a purpose to my madness). Yesterday was such a day…the beginning of Unit 2. I also got a bunch of grading done, so I don’t feel bad about taking a break to hang out and draw.

So the next unit is earth science…

IMG_7505 small

I illustrated some of the vocab words…and then I got to color.

IMG_7522 small

It just took 5 tries to get that picture to load. Internet, wifi, computer, whatever it really is, I’m about to scream. So many struggles. I know, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just frustrating.

When I got home from school, after hanging out at Michael’s and trying to find things that would fit in a graduated cylinder (don’t ask…it’s the life of a science teacher)…we took all three dogs out for a long tiring walk.

IMG_7532 small

At no point in time did my legs get excited about this walk. I was excited. I was breathing in the air…looking at the landscape, taking in the outdoor existence. All good. But my legs were like lumps of wood that I dragged along on the trip. Also, the puppy was like that. Uphill was torture for him. Apparently he spent 4 hours racing around in the morning and he was tired.

IMG_7534 small

So we made him more tired. All of them really, because then Calli basically collapsed at my feet for the next 4 hours. Right there. Not moving. So I cut stuff out for about 4 hours too.

IMG_7537 small

I just refused to do any schoolwork. Looking back on it, that was lame. But I did it. It’s done. It is what it is. Moving on.

At several points, I almost quit cutting because it’s not the most exciting thing in the world to do and sometimes those pieces are a pain in the butt to cut out. All the little tiny flesh pieces, for example, kind of drive me nuts. Yes, I know I drew them, but that doesn’t mean I like cutting them out. Not every part of the process is fun and games.

Anyway, I got down to this…

IMG_7538 small

And I’m looking at the clock, knowing I would have to be up a bit early this morning, and I’m thinking, ah, what the heck. Just finish tomorrow. Except I already know I have a meeting and probably really will have to grade something and I really should just do it. Well, you know me. I did just do it.

Here’s the whole quilt, ready to be ironed together. That’s about 8 hours of cutting…

IMG_7539 small

It doesn’t look like much. I don’t know if I’ll be able to start tonight…maybe a little bit? I have a meeting and I need to grade some stuff. It does feel like the grading never ends. In fact, I’m going to do some now. Before work. I think. And then hopefully I can get this ironed together by early next week. That’s the plan anyway.

*Staind, It’s Been Awhile


Mysteries of Our Disguise Revolve*

September 17, 2018

We each have our method for dealing with stress…mine was hiking for 5 1/2 miles on Saturday evening. I was going to be waiting around for the social stuff to happen anyway. I had worked all day, either on school or art. I need more exercise. I wanted to see how far I could get…I could have gone farther, but in the end, it was good that I turned around when I did…the timing was better.

I do this hike all the time with the dogs…we go about a mile and a half out and then come back.

IMG_7408 small

Scarily, that is a coyote, completely ignoring my presence, about 20 feet from the path. Where I usually walk the dogs.

IMG_7411 small

Boychild says only one adult fatality from coyotes. Thanks kid. Appreciate it.

OK, well then. I was hiking late afternoon, trying to beat the heat…it was warm.

IMG_7412 small

Here’s the weird bridge that’s not really a bridge.

IMG_7426 small

It’s California. There’s always cactus.

IMG_7432 small

It took like 20 minutes for my incredibly slow computer internet to load these photos. But here are the birds that I haven’t looked up yet (heron? egret?) that I saw at the turnaround point…the point where I realized I’d been out for an hour and needed to turn back if I was going to get any dinner.

IMG_7449 small

The birds were totally worth it.

IMG_7460 small

It was a nice hike. Yes, I always worry about hiking alone. I told two people where I was going. I told one of them to call the police if I wasn’t back by 7.

IMG_7466 small

It was an awesome hike. Didn’t affect my blood sugar at all, unfortunately. My body is confused.

Before all that, I did do some ironing. I left this chaotic pile of fabrics…

IMG_7405 small

With only these pieces left to iron on Saturday (it didn’t happen)…

IMG_7406 small

And the to-be-cut pile like this…

IMG_7407 small

Oh yeah, so I painted this birdhouse about a million years ago when one of the big fires was trashing San Diego County…it has flames and a dead tree. Boychild finally nailed it to a tree.

IMG_7476 small

Hey! Remember these? Never going to get done at this rate. I have 10 left. I got 2 done last night. Sad, really.

IMG_7478 small

And then after grading a good chunk of the day (I think I worked for about 10 hours this weekend on school stuff), I finally went in and finished ironing the fabric for this quilt.

IMG_7479 small

There’s about 8 1/2 hours of ironing in here, plus 93 colors. I like lots of fabrics, apparently.

IMG_7480 small

And here’s the pile that now needs to be cut out. I finished the new season of Call the Midwife, plus at least two YA movies that made me cry. Hell, Call the Midwife made me cry. I think I cried on the hike too. Obviously some shit in my head that needs to get out somehow.

IMG_7481 small

So then I headed out to the living room, the couch, with dogs, to cut out pieces…I didn’t get very far, but it’s a start. Happy that…

IMG_7482 small

Tried to pick something to watch that wouldn’t make me cry. I don’t really do comedy. So killing it is! Watching The Sinner…don’t tell me it will make me cry. I don’t wanna know.

More tonight. By then, I’ll know if I’m copyediting 102 hours over the next 5 weeks or not. Stress!

*Portishead, Sour Times


With All These Things That I’ve Done*

September 11, 2018

I just completely freaked out because I was checking all my art exhibit entries for the last few weeks, looking to see what notification would be next, and I noticed a double entry. That’s incredibly unprofessional. My stomach dropped. I never do that shit (OK I accidentally did it once a million years ago when the kids were small and I was newly divorced, but luckily, I only got into one of the shows I double entered…which is how the odds go anyway, usually even lower odds than that, honestly). But it’s OK. One of them is only in print, so I don’t send the piece anywhere. Deep breaths. Panic over.

I did get into the Power of Women show that will be at IQF Houston, so that’s good, since I made the piece for that show…not that I wouldn’t have been able to show it elsewhere, though. God knows I do that often enough…here’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

K Nida001 small

Lots going on in there. Wish I could go to Houston with her, but I’ll be in Boston the following weekend and Chandler, Arizona, the weekend after. Seems like enough travel. Plus Houston is pretty expensive. So she’ll travel without me, like most of them do.

Meanwhile, I’m looking at some of the people who friended me on Facebook recently. I do actually scroll through their feeds and make a decision, like if there’s nothing there, I assume they’re a bot or a Russian spy, so I don’t accept. And if their politics are out there, well and truly not gonna get along with mine, I don’t accept. I’m not always sure why they’re friending me, except maybe to get me to like their store or their quilting or whatever, but then you’re posting pictures of guns and kneejerk Trumpisms, and I’m like, I don’t want to see that on my feed, plus you’re gonna hate my vulvas, so why are you clicking friend again? Such a complicated world.

Anyway, that’s two shows that have notified in the last week, and both were acceptances. Good odds so far, but it’s guaranteed they won’t all be.

I had a long work day yesterday, and all I wanted to do when I got home was walk the furry beasts, so we grabbed them and ran. Well, only a little running, just to see how tired the little one was after 2 1/2 miles.

IMG_7312 small

It was a lovely temperature. We went down this hill we never go down, but then we had to go up it as well. Funny, the picture does not convey the real upness of this hill at all.

IMG_7315 small

Then I made dinner and did some stuff to get my printer to work again, which involved a cable, because our internet is super bad at the moment, or maybe it’s just mine on the computer, but the (previously wireless but now wired) printer was refusing to work. And I needed it to work. So it was late when I started ironing.

Cherries…I started with cherries…

IMG_7320 small

And then I did the rest of the fruit bowl, plus ironed the dirt from yesterday.

IMG_7321 small

I didn’t get far. I was tired. I didn’t sleep well the night before, plus I walked a lot. So that makes it hard to want to stand and pick out fabrics for a long time late at night. Here’s the rest of the 100s, laid out, ready for me to iron tonight.

IMG_7322 small

I get into the fleshy bits pretty early on in this quilt. She has a lot of decoration on her, so I have to decide if that will be in flesh color or different colors…probably the latter. This is not a political statement quilt…just a reaction to a poem I wrote years ago. It’s a nice break from the last quilt, which was difficult and in my head in a much different way. Last year at this time, I was doing the gun quilt. That was really difficult.

Anyway, art…make it often and in spite of all the other crap.

*The Killers, All These Things That I’ve Done