Motivational Shit…

It’s always cool when the whole quilt comes together. It’s definitely worth the tired feeling. I never see it all colored in until this point, and that’s crazy, sure, but also kinda cool. I did have a meeting after school yesterday…science curriculum…in which we decided to just go rogue. Like after a year plus of trying to pick the best curriculum for our kids, we can’t find anything (honestly, I don’t think we’ve looked at everything, but we can’t get people to agree on anything right now, and we’re down to almost no people, so whatever), the district wants us to design our own, but I don’t trust the people who actually want to do it to do it right or well enough for my kids (but oh yes, I guess I will be reviewing it, so that crazy sweetheart who says she’s got a Master’s degree in writing CERs? Well yeah, honey, I’m the one who will using your stuff. I don’t trust her at all. Nope. I don’t.). So there’s that.

I came home and input one assignment into our grade program and then graded exactly three essays before I was done. I’m going to spend a few weeks tracking my school work hours. The group I’m in also wants me to track my energy, the stuff that sucks it away (um, staff meetings, parent meetings, duty outside, grading essays) and gives me more (the gym, hiking, art). I know today that we need to set up for Monday’s lab, so we don’t have to worry about it later. I think there’s other shit we need to do too, but my brain isn’t working right now. I’m still fighting this cold. It’s not helping.

Anyway, after inputting that assignment, I headed into the office, because my quilt friend who moved to Portland wanted to video chat and I wanted to finish ironing.

That’s actually her taking a picture of me in my studio. At some point, the girlchild was FaceTiming (so she could see the dogs) as well, which is a little crazy. While talking, I ironed all the things from yesterday onto the body, as well as a few other cacti I had to put together…

This thing is not small…that’s for sure…

Then I ironed a few monarchs from this summer. The recording I’m listening to this morning is talking about work having a greater meaning, which can help you keep working even when you’re tired. Huh. Yeah. That. I am heavily motivated by my art.

That feeling I get when a piece gets all ironed together or quilted and photographed, that’s an amazing feeling. So much of the process is really boring to watch (and sometimes to do; cutting stuff out, I’m talking to you) and people don’t respond much, and I feel like I’m showing yet another pile of Wonder Under scraps or many traced pieces…but then I get it to this stage and it’s so much more exciting and motivating to come in here and MAKE.

The monarchs get a home and then a snake wanders over…

At this point, I was ready to put the whole thing together, so I took a break, got some tea, and then got ready for the big part.

Oh yeah. That’s good. I ironed it a little tight on the left, but it’ll be fine.

It’s better than OK. It’s awesome. OK, so tonight, I start the stitch down. Someone asked how I’m going to quilt it…um, fast? Yeah. Fast. Can I do the stitch down on Friday and Saturday and then sandwich it? That’s the plan. I have batting (have to order it online ahead of time now), but it needs washing. I’m sure I have enough fabric around here for a pieced backing. I also need to grade stuff, go to the gym, and head over to the Visions Museum opening at some point…but this is a good place to be.

Apparently everyone agrees with me…and some sort of truce has been made by these two.

She just wants pets. And a toy.

She’s a nervous old lady sometimes.

And someone left him on a chair. He doesn’t really know how to get OFF the chair, so he sits there and stares at me until I help him.

That pitiful look. Today is Friday. I can do a Friday…and maybe I can sleep in a bit tomorrow morning (first time in a while) and then get a lot of motivational shit done.

One Thing at a Time…

Writing is hard, y’all. OK. Not for me. The words spill out of me like drool, honestly. But that’s practice. I wrote my first blog post in 2004. Even writing essays in high school and college, I just sat down and let it pour out. I’d do one readthrough and that was it. Done. And that was back in the day of typewriters and that weird white tape you’d type over to cover up whatever you’d mistyped. I can’t remember why I used that over liquid paper. Because you didn’t have to wait for it to dry? It wasn’t as lumpy? There’s a fine line between coverage and lumpy. MY ANALYSIS OF LIQUID PAPER. Exciting stuff. But often frustrating. But writing? Writing this every day lets my brain just spill all this crap out, plus I make plans for the day and the rest of the week and projects, holding myself accountable for shit. It’s probably how I can get so much done, even when it feels like I’m getting NOTHING done. Do I want to be sitting here the next morning thinking WTF I did nothing? Well that happens sometimes and it’s OK when it does. But making art makes me feel better as a person about the other stuff, so I want to be damn sure I’m doing it. Lots of it. Tell my students it gets easier when they practice? Uh. They don’t want to practice. They get frustrated. Sometimes I wonder why I work so hard at their writing in science, and then I remember how you keep the really high level science jobs. You write. You communicate in words. You document your shit. Sigh. They have to write so much on the state tests and some of their writing is so difficult to read. So no, I didn’t grade any of the other written assignments last night. That stuff just hurts.

Meanwhile, I’m up early for another parent meeting. Maybe this one will actually show up. I’m not sure if I should email the one who didn’t show up yesterday and make some comment about how I have to get up early and get to school early and set up my classroom early to prepare for their being here, and even go pee early so I know I get to pee before school starts, but their lame-ass behavior, like if it’s an emergency and you couldn’t make it, then call or email, but don’t just blow me off. Annoying. So many of those this year. And then they never reschedule. The kids react to it too…they’re all worried about the meeting and then when the parent doesn’t show, then what does that tell them? Sigh. Ugh. Parenting is hard too, but you still gotta do it.

Lecture aside. For now. I won’t have a voice for it in class. I gave a quiz yesterday. I graded it last night. All of them. 160 or so. Good stuff. Still behind on grading other stuff, but I’ll get there. While I was grading, Kitten kept sitting on all the papers…so I turned on Cat TV for her.

Not that it stopped her from sitting on all the papers…she did watch the birds though.

I graded until about 9:30 and then started ironing…I hit the tiny pieces stage…

Her thighs have a lot of nature on them…these California poppies and the bees we’re trying to keep alive out here.

Plus a Joshua tree, a turkey vulture, and some cactus.

I wanted to get further last night, but these are tiny fussy things. I got about half of the 600s ironed…maybe a little more than that. I have another couple cactus to iron and then the monarchs…speaking of fussy. A rattlesnake, a bunch of toes, legs…and then that’s it. I have a science meeting after school today, though. I wanted to be ironing to the background tonight and I’m having to revise my plan. I suspect I’ll be lucky to get to that. So I’ll hope I get it all ironed together tonight…I’m still on track, still OK. Mostly. Still tired. Still got too much work to do. Still wondering what I’m working on next. Still don’t know what to get my dad for his birthday. All the things in my head. Plus I want to read my book. And be healthy enough to go to the gym. Ugh. One thing at a time…well…unless I can do two.

Plans. They Work.

Ugh. I’m tired this morning. Neck hurts. Muscle? Or headache that comes with this cold? Or the trying to second-guess everything that will happen today in class. Lockdown drill with some challenging folks. I’m going to pre-meditate. Like meditate beforehand. Except I also have a parent meeting. Aack. Too much. I have book club tonight and I don’t think I’m going to go. I’m not in the mood to drive all the way across town and be outside. I like the people. I’m already tired. I’ve got chills this morning. NOt good. I’d rather stay home and rest a bit, iron some more. I already have a school meeting for two hours tomorrow after school. And another parent meeting. I just need some rest. And some Motrin for the neck/head thing. Then I’m going to meet with this parent and explain that it’s the kid who has to figure his shit out, and then I’m going to give a quiz, which is gonna freak everyone out, and then maybe after all that, I can come home and take a nap or read my book on the couch for a little bit before grading some and then ironing some.

Last night was the SAQA Local Connection meeting…with this crazy mural again.

I stitched for a while. I forgot to take a picture. We only had 4 show up. Not sure what this means for the future. We’re taking a break until January because of the holidays. I’m still working on a monthly stitching group, I guess. Maybe I’ll just hang out at a Starbucks and see who wants to hang out with me.

Kitten does…as long as it’s at home and no other beasts are around.

I get it, Kitten, I do. I graded a little when I got home. Not a lot…just a little.

Then I ironed…got the rest of the torso done…

This giant thing keeps trying to slip off the ironing board. Fabric is surprisingly heavy.

I got down to the uterus and then it was going to get very complicated, plus it was almost midnight. So that’s bedtime. I almost finished the 500s…so that’s just 300 or so pieces to go…mostly tiny little detail pieces though. So time-consuming. But maybe I’ll finish tonight? Probably not. Probably tomorrow. Iron it to the background. Stitch down. I got this. Just emailed the photographer. He’ll give me a hard deadline. Then I’ll see if I can pull it off. Plans. They work, people, they work.

I Stormed…

I am Edward Koch from South Carolina usa . I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to I and my wife’s anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on some of your works which i found quite impressive and intriguing.

So I get these types of emails all the time, total scams. I usually don’t waste time on answering, but I did appreciate that he STORMED on some of my works. I also STORM on them. No really. I kinda do. Anyway. I’m guessing no money will be made from Mr. Koch from South Carolina.

3 AM barking from the pup. Ugh. Still fighting this cold. Double ugh.

So I have another writing assignment I’m grading. The last one took over 9 hours to get through, and only about 110 kids actually turned it in. I’m trying to do this one in batches, but not batch sizes that kill me. I was trying to finish one class last night, but I’d done a couple of fairly frustrating ones, and then I got to this one…

This is where my brain said, no, stop, you can’t, you don’t even know what to write in response because none of it matches up to anything you gave them. Well, we did do a lab called Growing Air and the smiling thing is a balloon I drew a smiley face on so they could see if it grew or not and we did talk about solids and liquids, but that was the other assignment. So I took a deep breath, remembered that this child has a significant understanding problem (maybe we should do something about that, but I don’t know where to start? Well, I do…), wrote her a solid response and invited her to tutoring. And then I quit for the night. Because I couldn’t. Not any more.

So I ironed. I STORMED the ironing.

Honestly, I spent the first 20 minutes trying to figure out how to iron stuff on this huge piece without the rest of it falling off the ironing board. Problematic.

I made it to the body! Always iron the eyes together separately and then place them on the face, so as to not have crooked eyes.

I ironed the head separately from the landscape…it was just easier…

And then fit it and the background into the existing stuff…

You can see where the arm belongs between the foreground pieces…I got one arm done and a goodly chunk of the other arm, plus part of the torso.

I wanted to finish lungs and heart, but knew it was already midnight and I’m fighting illness, plus I had to be up a little early for a parent meeting…only 3 of them this week. Ugh. Tonight is the SAQA meeting…I can’t take this with me, but I’ll find something to work on. Then I’ll come home and iron some more. I might finish grading that one class of assignments. Maybe at tutoring? I don’t know. It’s hard to concentrate there and I am trying to help kids do stuff too, so it’s not really a great place to work. All the newer teachers will be at some meeting, so I’m not even sure who will be there with me. Awkward. Oh well. Taking my sick self to work. Happy about the progress on here…hope it continues. I think I hit halfway last night? There’s a lot of details in the body…so that will slow me down a bit, but my current goal is to be ironed together by Friday and then stitch down Saturday, sandwich and quilt starting Sunday. I’m tight on time really. Always.

Handed to a Resident…

So last night, I’m sitting there watching part of a movie and part of something I’m grading (very exciting, both of them) and my phone tells me a package has been delivered. In some ways I love this, and in some, ugh. Too much. But the link says the package “was handed to a resident.” Really. Hmm. I look around the room. Not me. Not the guy on the couch next to me. Not the boychild in his room. Not a single dog has barked (this in itself is strange). I check the front door…nothing. OK, we have this weird other door that people sometimes try to use as a front door, mostly because I need to build a fence…there used to be trees blocking access and they had to be taken out for the septic system redo. Anyway, out my bedroom door, there’s the package. Delivered to a bunny maybe? Because no one else was out there. Interesting. Good thing the sprinklers had finished. I guess the plus is that we actually found it. I do appreciate the drivers who photograph the package where they left it…sometimes it helps me find it. Otherwise, I might be wandering around in the dark, wondering where they thought was an appropriate place rather than just walking up the steps to the actual front door.

The weekend in review. Sigh. Yeah. Well. I walked the dogs on Friday…I’ll be glad when the boychild’s toe is healed enough for him to come along. There were no coyotes…

but there were two people with loose dogs. I hate those people. I don’t care if your dog is friendly. Mine aren’t. Put your damn uber-friendly (one of them was a pitbull dammit) on a leash. For the coyotes’ sake and mine.

I did seem to tire them out, which was the plan. Me too…

I graded a bunch and went to bed early. The week kicked my butt. Then got up early and drove up to LA to see a sick relative…

Going up wasn’t bad. Coming back was sort of hellacious. I made it back eventually. Smelled the fire up there. Ah, memories of growing up in LA.

Saturday night was some art, some food, and then collapse. Super tired. And then up most of the night with what turns out to be a cold. Hoping I didn’t get my relative sick too…I thought I was just tired Friday and Saturday. Apparently I was coming down with the Ick that everyone else has. I got up early on Sunday and graded. I wasn’t sleeping anyway.

Kitten hung out with me on the couch. No dogs. She likes it.

Sunday, I napped, I worked, I grocery shopped, I laundered, I prepped lunches and breakfasts and then cooked dinner. Did I say I napped? Yeah. I did. And then I ironed for 2 1/2 hours.

Added a bird to the seashore…ironed the Torrey Pines’ cliffs…

Another bird…

A deer…

Well, it will be a deer, once its face gets where it should be. So this is where I’m at…well, a little past this. My ocean is definitely wider than the ironing board…kind of a pain, actually.

I did manage to iron the hills/mountains to the right and then a sun and cloud.

Deer in place…

So I got most of the way through the surrounding landscape…just a hill in Anza Borrego to go. Then the flesh. All the 200s are ironed down…almost. I’m running out of time. As always. I will figure it out. I always do.

Today I feel like crap. Mostly crap. I have meds. I have tea. I will want a nap during one of the two staff meetings. Maybe I will just do that.

Can’t Dig Out

Well, brain, thank you. I appreciate your dreaming about grading. Because it’s not enough that I have to DO the grading when I’m awake and WORRY about it when I’m doing other things that don’t seem as important…you need to make me stress over it in my dreams. Nightmares? Perhaps. I’m currently listening to a podcast about daily, weekly, and monthly lists to get shit done too…something I actually do. It doesn’t tell me how to get done the stuff I don’t have time for and don’t want to do. It’s OK. Well, actually, she says that if it stays on the list long enough, you probably don’t need to do it. That’s an interesting thought. I can roll with that. It probably explains a lot of things around here.

I’m really tired this week. I’ve even been going to bed about 30 minutes earlier every night. Getting up early yesterday was annoying because then the parent didn’t show up. So now we’re rescheduled for next week. Great. Fun. Thanks.

I’m a little worried about today and Monday’s assignment. Our kids are not the best at getting stuff done. I’m thinking of a card on Monday that they have to complete as a table…with maybe three questions on it. I didn’t even finish the video yesterday. Sigh. Haven’t finished grading the units…almost! Haven’t graded last week’s homework and today they’re turning in more. I’m gonna panic soon. (see why the brain is dreaming like that?)

OK, it’ll be fine. The podcast just used the phrase “can’t dig out” to describe October. Oh yeah, baby. That’s it. Totally.

I made it to the second opening of the Metamorphosis show last night, but only part of me because I was so tired. There were fewer people there, so I got to see the work better. It was nice. My friend took this picture…

Where I look as tired as I feel. Seriously.

At some point, I’ll post the whole show. I’m not sure when.

I came home, ate late, finished some art stuff, answered an email, and then took the extra 57 minutes to finish cutting pieces out.

It took a total of 14 hours and 41 minutes to cut all the pieces out…and another 47 minutes to sort them all into 100s…

Yes, I did that after 11 PM at night. Hence the tea. But it’s done, so when I’m finished working tonight, I can iron. Well, the room is a mess, but I think it won’t take long to get it all cleaned up. I’m looking forward to this stage. Plus I need to make a video for this weekend. Maybe I should have done some stuff at all the openings I’ve been at…oh well. Brain is not good right now. Hence the need for to-do lists that keep track of my brain.

Tomorrow I drive to LA…kamikaze trip to see my cousin. Then back for grading and ironing. Maybe a date night in the middle of all that.

Kitten was out and friendly last night…no dogs. It’s nice to see her out. OK, school. Apparently I need to grade. My brain says so.

The Trees Will Bend*

I got up this morning and both Kitten and I were looking around for Satch. Hard for the non-awake brain to remember shit…like where I put my phone and the fact that a cat died. Sigh. Kitten…it’s hard to explain it to her. She’s been coming out more, but she’s still super cautious, looking for him around the corners.

I’m up early for a parent meeting…plus I need to get my class in order for today. We’ll have two teachers out on our team, plus my science co-worker is out, so there’s some chaos on campus. Yesterday had a bit of that as well, the day after the mood-checking lesson, some people (mostly 12-year-olds) had forgotten how to behave. This is a hard year for behavior, certainly. It’s just nonstop. And parents don’t seem to be helping.

Tonight is the full opening for Metamorphosis, the Mingei/Allied Craftsmen exhibit at City College downtown. I’ll be going down with one of the other artists, hopefully to see a bit more of the exhibit. Maybe I’ll get a picture of me with my art! Hopefully to see all the students in there too. It does make for a long day, though. Yesterday was a union meeting, plus the gym. I really enjoyed having time for exercise and reading my book, plus I posted a few things students had done on my teacher Insta account in between weight machines. I’ve been lax with that. And I haven’t been able to figure out how to link it to the correct Twitter account. There should be an easier way. There doesn’t seem to be, though. Technology…making an intrusive mess since 1990. Or so.

I was hoping to get the cutting done last night, but I had guessed that pile had more pieces in it than it looked like it had, and I was right…

He did sit by me for a little while. He’s fussy about couch sitting. But you can see why it took longer…them’s some fussy little pieces.

This is after two hours. The pile on the right is all that’s left…

But it’s probably another hour. Maybe less. So tonight. And then I’ll sort them. Does that mean I could be ironing Friday night? It does. That’s nice. Because I’m running out of time. Sound familiar? Yeah. I know. Every time. Iron it together, stitch it down, quilt it, bind it. Deep breaths. This is how I roll.

Another view of Swallow Me Whole in Beyond the Surface

I love that piece.

Boychild has been chopping away at the backyard bushes, trying to make sense of them, plus retain the not-view of our neighbors as much as possible. Need to work on that part, I think.

He’s still walking around with a boot on his foot…hopefully the toe is healing. There’s a hike at the end of the month. Plus I miss our weekly dog walks. I’m freaked out about trying to take the dogs out alone with the coyotes who have been around.

Anyway, need to leave. Go to work. Keep my cool. Get them through it. Hopefully.

*R.E.M., So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)