Hope Is a Wonderful Thing

Ah September. You have held off on horrible days of heat…just a few here and there. I actually needed a blanket last night. Have I mentioned that the hot flashes have wandered off? Knock on wood. Don’t let them come back (I know they will). But as always, school is kicking my butt and making me feel like I have to pack in NON-school stuff to keep me sane. Oh yeah, that’s why I make as much art as I do…otherwise, I’d go bonkers in this job. Yesterday was a slog…getting most of the kids to understand what I was talking about (this pilot curriculum sucks balls, to quote my co-teacher)…but also realizing that about 30% of them were totally and completely tuned out. Sigh. SIGH. Direct instruction. And the teacher who sent a kid down in the middle of that and wanted me to find papers? WTF? Like call first. Seriously. No. NO. I have a student who yells no all the time and I can totally bond with her over that. It might get her to stop too, because I think having something in common with me is her biggest fear. I don’t blame her.

Today they write me 7 whole sentences showing me they understand the standard. On the one hand, I’m kind of looking forward to finally seeing how they write. On the other hand. FUCK. It’s gonna hurt my brain. And depress me.

It’s OK. Sunny smile! I can’t grade them until after next Thursday. That’s the due date. I have a week!

But seriously, I’m so behind and confuzzled and overwhelmed and please don’t ask me to do anything else, but I have two meetings at the same time this morning and I don’t know how that is gonna work. At all. And a 2-hour meeting after school about this pilot curriculum. Really, I’d rather be throwing the Navy UFnotO videos up and having the kids write about that. Totally. Fuck the curriculum. Let’s talk about aliens!

I did go to book club, which was totally fun and interesting. We all loved the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, 4 novellas, and she’s coming out with a full novel in May next year (yay!). It was a good mental release to go hang out with a bunch of smart women and talk about the world and how to escape and books and movies. I really appreciate that group, even though the trek out to Point Loma is so freakin’ far.

I managed to cut stuff out for about 30 minutes before I went to bed.

I have about a yard and a half yet. I’m hoping I have the energy to finish tonight. Hope is a wonderful thing. It’s not hard. I was just really really tired.

Calli was making a really funny face, but stopped as soon as I took her picture.

Of course.

OK, off to the two overlapping meetings. We’ll see how that goes. Yesterday someone sent me a donut and I ate it. It was not a good day for food, that’s for sure, but my blood sugar has stayed OK. Mostly because no more hot flashes, eh? I wish my medical coverage thought sending a diabetic to an endocrinologist who actually knew what they were talking about was a good thing. Or even had a diabetes education program that was useful. They won’t answer email. I have to go SEE them. What kind of old-school world are they living in? Not mine. I need to be able to Skype them in the car on the way to the chiropractor. Anyway. Art tonight! I must!

I Woke Up with Rubrics in My Head

My brain. Alarm goes off, not mine. But I know I have to be up in half an hour, have to be up early for a meeting, so instead of slipping gently down the sleep cave and letting my body have that half hour, it goes into overdrive. Loudly. HERE’S ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TODAY. NOW. Shut up brain. It’s OK. I need sleep more than I need reminders. NO YOU DON’T WAKE UP NOW WAKE UP. Fuck. So I was awake. I have three mornings in a row where I have to be up early. I don’t like early. It hurts. I seriously woke up with rubrics in my head. That’s just wrong. I even went to bed early, because I couldn’t get focused anyway last night, and I knew I had to be up early. I’m trying to take care of myself. My brain won’t let me.

We had our first local SAQA meeting yesterday…we are a small but creative group. I’m hoping it keeps going. We’ll see how it goes. You don’t have to be a SAQA member to come. You don’t even have to be an art quilter. I’m OK with fiber of any sort. It was a little painful to come home, have a snack, make more tea, and leave again, but it turned out OK in the end. Today I’ll do the same with book club, except have to drive all the way across town. It’s OK. I missed last month because of school exhaustion and I really liked the books this month, plus this is a different-brained group, which is nice.

The library where we met has this crazy mural…I didn’t get the artist’s name, but apparently she’s painted murals in all the East County libraries.

It’s very brightly colored.

I saw another picture of my quilt hanging in France.

This one is coming home next month, I think.

I did cut a bunch of stuff out at the meeting…made it through almost two yards of Wonder Under (although one only had big pieces on it).

I have two more yards to go. Tonight? After book club? I suspect it’ll be an hour of cutting if I’m lucky. Then I have another science meeting tomorrow after school, plus two meetings on top of each other before school, so that will be painful. I think I might be in the fabric choosing phase by Friday? Hopefully? Who knows.

So I have this wallet. It’s nice, has an applique of an owl on it. It’s very well made. I bought it really soon after my divorce, because I needed a new wallet, and I was out running errands, actually in a department store (this so rarely happens, I can’t even tell you), and I saw this wallet and fell in love with it, but it had no price on it. Post-divorce, for a good long time, I really had almost no money at all, but I figured, how expensive could it be? It’s just a wallet. So I go up to the checkout and hand it over. Really, I should have asked for the price, but I think then I wouldn’t have bought it. So she told me the total and my heart sort of stopped a bit, but then I handed over a credit card. It was $40. That was immense at that point in my life. I didn’t have a spare $40 for something I technically could live without. Surely there were much cheaper wallets out there. I bought it and felt crappy for doing it, because money was so tight. But honestly, I’ve enjoyed it all these years and it only started to really fall apart this year. So 16 years? Not bad for $40. But now I need a new one and I want another nice, artsy wallet that holds all my shit, but don’t know where to find one…that will last 16 years again. So that’s a thing.

Meanwhile, I’ve got some school stuff to do this morning. Last night, after the meeting, I had to make a worksheet and organize school stuff, so that didn’t help my brain, I’m sure. Better tonight? Maybe. I can try.

It’ll Be Pretty Chill…

Everyone slept better last night. Everyone peed when they were supposed to. Everyone laid down and stayed asleep, or at least were quiet about their issues and didn’t wake up mom. Well, there was definitely a cat playing with a catnip toy that I heard at one point (bat bat bat tiny bell ringing). Mom ears hear everything eventually.

We started school yesterday with no internet, no phones, random bells, which was fine, because we didn’t need the internet yesterday and keeping the front office from calling me is a plus. Like every period. Stahp. Please. So they couldn’t call us. Amusing. It was all fixed by 3rd period, though, so then it was like normal, which really just means there are a bunch of kids with tech issues that they didn’t solve and they think excuses them from work. And the front office keeps calling. I need to start making those tech phone calls. In my spare time. I don’t seem to have any of that. I did finish grading all those videos last night, which is a plus.

I made it home after a meeting and recording a couple of videos for class, and we walked the dogs. I look forward to these trips out into the semi wild. Plus exercise feels good. I’m sorry for you if that’s not the case. Even when it hurts, it feels good.

We watched a turkey vulture swooping around, looking for something dead.

It was really close at one point and quite large and beautiful. I’ve always been fascinated with birds. They end up in a lot of quilts. A turkey vulture is actually in the newest quilt.

There’s a coyote in this picture. See if you can find it.

It was closer when I first saw it. Interestingly, last year, on the same day, we also saw a coyote…but I think it was the other place we hike. I don’t think these guys noticed…

Although sometimes the little one refuses to go any further. I think that’s laziness more than coyote super-sense though.

The big girl is much recovered after a summer of iffy hips. She’s still iffy, but she’s moving pretty well for an 80-year-old.

So I have a piece in this exhibit…it’s a traveling exhibit, so it will be all over the place.

It’s cool that my piece is second from the left. Here’s the actual link so you can read about the quilts and exhibit. My quilt is about Bill Nye, because I teach middle school science and he’s done some good work about climate change.

I finished grading videos at 10:20 PM. Then I cut stuff out. I cut out one yard on Sunday night and two yards last night…

That’s four yards to go. Not bad. I have a SAQA stitch-in meeting tonight at the El Cajon Library from 6-8 PM (you don’t have to be a SAQA member to be there). I’m taking some of this with me. Maybe I can get done by Thursday. I did buy background fabric on Saturday…well, I bought 4 different options, because I couldn’t decide.

Gotta go to work now. Was gonna post Full Moon art pictures, but I don’t have time! I never have time. Oh yeah! I am teaching that workshop in November for sure. I’ll have to post that info too. It’ll be pretty chill. Shockingly. I spend all day teaching 12-year-olds how to sit up, get their heads off the desks, actually DO something, and even THINK, ah the torture. Handing out some fabric and explaining how to iron and stitch it should be easy. Ha. Well. Maybe.

Portrait of a Cat…in My Way…

‘Tis painfully morning. The old lady dog woke me up just as I was falling asleep, adamant that she needed to pee THIS time (unlike at midnight, when she refused to do anything but smell whatever that thing is over there in the dirt that has fascinated both dogs). I take her out. She’s scared. She goes to the top of the slope and sits down. Nope. Not doing it. Does she need water? I try that. It’s like having a baby. WTF does she want? I don’t know. She goes back to bed, so do I, inserting myself between cat and human. Dude, it’s 100 degrees in here, you furry beast…why are you curled up next to me, flicking your tail at me. Deep breaths. Meditating myself into…almost sleep, as the dog comes back, go lie down, no, insistent this time. Fucking a. I’m up. I’m walking her out. This time she means it and goes over to pee, after trying to sniff Very Exciting Patch in the Dirt yet again. I think all that happened before 2 AM. I’m not sure. I just know I feel groggy this morning. That should go well.

It is supposed to be cooler again today…so yesterday’s 100 degrees in the grocery store parking lot? Hopefully not happening again. Well. Until it happens again. Two of the three things I was supposed to grade this weekend are done. The third is half done, completed at the gym in the morning. I was hoping to do a bunch during meal prep, but it turns out that meal prep was pretty labor intensive, so no go. I think I watched three videos after getting 30 or so done at the gym. Oh well. 34 to go. It could be worse. I could have one from every kid. At some point, they’re going to realize that their grade is based on what they turn in, and they’ll start turning work in. Or not. There seems to be a disconnect there. Maybe that should be a warmup question…where does your grade come from? The sky. God. You give me a grade based on how much you like me. Giant Ass Sigh.

Frustration aside. I made it through the Wonder Under this weekend. I wanted to be done tracing Saturday night, but at midnight, I still had 50 pieces to go and I knew I wanted to be up early to go to the gym, so that didn’t happen.

I spent a lot of Saturday, like 3 hours, tracing…some even during daylight.

Saturday night we went to a bunch of art stuff down in Barrio Logan, but afterwards, I traced some more…Kitten was being decidedly unhelpful.

The plus of the glass top is that I can gently shove her to one side…she slides easily. Sometimes she gets pissed off and whacks me, but mostly I think the glass is cool (the lightbulbs are LED, so no heat, thank god…because it was warm) and she enjoys being in my way and flicking her tail into what I’m drawing.

Sunday was busy, lots to do, dinner at the parentals…but I finally got around to tracing again around 8 or 9 PM. Cat came back…

The 50 pieces took under half an hour to trace. So maybe I could have done them the night before, but I was tired. Total tracing time was 13 hours and 18 minutes. It was not a quick one.

There were maybe 15 pieces that weren’t numbered, but everything else went smoothly for once. That’s a plus.

Don’t worry, I had dogs as well…open sliding glass door with air coming in…Calli is lying right in front of the fan. It was warm.

I always lay the Wonder Under out to see how much there is…7 yards…

There’s a lot of bigger pieces…so they take up more space.

I started cutting stuff out for a little over an hour…that’s about one yard done.

Only 6 to go. Kitten is guarding them.

I have a bunch of pictures from the full moon exhibit at La Bodega, but no time to post them today. I did buy this print of a piece that was in the women’s exhibit there back in March? I think?

I really liked the piece when I saw it then. Of course, there’s no name on the print except for Joni…hang on…Joni Nunez. I can’t get the damn tilde to work on WordPress. Stupid. No idea where they’ve hidden the special characters dingaling in the newer version. Google is not helping. ANYWAY. I need to go to school. So full moon art pictures later. All week probably at the rate I’m going.

Darlin’, Now There’s Mutiny…*

So it’s Saturday finally. Some weeks, man…some weeks. I have too much to do, of course, but a lot of the to-do list, I did the first step and I’m waiting on someone else. I love waiting. No really. Ha! I’m listening to a podcast about small-group instruction (aka stations or centers). We use these all the time in science, just because it’s the only way to run labs sometimes without spending a million dollars on materials, but we’ve realized with the sizes of our classes that 6 stations isn’t going to do it this year…we’ll need at least 7. Eight would be better. That means coming up with new shit. I love huge classes. Sigh. Also, they are mostly incapable of actually completing work on their own in groups right now, which is going to make the next unit interesting. We are totally not ready for me to be able to focus on one group while the rest work independently. Not unless I’m allowed to use duct tape. Honestly, that’s only about 5-6 kids per nonfunctional class. I’m getting there. Working on them…constantly.

First I need to pack up and deliver two quilts for a show that will be at Liberty Station through January. The openings are every first Friday, so the first one will be October 4…I think it’s 5-8 PM. Then I need to enter another show. Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, I need to go to the gym. I also need to grade two assignments and prep a couple things for next week. I’d really like to get all the tracing done too, but that’s a harder task. I did trace last night…but before that, we went to our local artwalk…these cat heads were cool…

Garden Dream by Carlos Castrejon.

A prize winner! Nora Clemens, Fish on My Mind.

I also liked these pieces by Laura Lehman…

Interesting how the arms are all pushing out…

Definitely cool work…

I also liked the work by Kenda Francis, although there were a lot of people in that space, so I couldn’t get in there to photograph easily…

I also liked these lifesize sculptures by Sara Duvall

Hard to get photos through the glass…and this one included my legs…

Which actually looks cool the way it worked out. Totally unplanned.

I was pretty tired after all that, but I knew I wanted to work. First, saving yet another baby lizard from the house. We are Lizard Central.

He was so little.

Tracing can be difficult with cat butts involved.

Did I tell you it got warm again? Back into the 90s. I think it’s supposed to be 99 degrees today. Ugh.

I eventually traced around her until she left.

Asking for attention…

Really, she just needed to pee. She doesn’t really ask. She just stares at you.

This is my usual view…television on and sorta watching but mostly listening. Cat in the way.

Giant-ass light table in my living room. I traced for a couple of hours and made it to the late 500s. Progress! I’m in the body at this point, so all the background and foreground are traced. I really do just have the lower torso and legs left. I finished the ribs and redwoods.

Right there is where I stopped. It wasn’t midnight yet, but I was tired. And I knew I had shit to do today. So I think I have about 300 pieces left or so. I have found about 10 pieces that weren’t numbered, and a few where I split pieces because it didn’t make sense to stretch a piece out underneath everything as I had originally numbered them. So a bunch of a’s, b’s, and c’s. Nothing like last time though…no missed numbers and no double numbers.

I saw this when I got up…that’s my piece, Beyond the Concrete, currently in France with the traveling Quilt National 2017 exhibit. I love seeing them all staring at it.

She’ll be coming home after this, I think…although she’s so old, I’m not sure I can put her into any other shows. This QN group didn’t travel as much as the previous one, unfortunately. Oh well.

Oh yeah…this…

I’m the chick in charge of this. Scary! Wait, no, it’ll be fine. It’s really just a hang out. Come by if you are around.

OK, shower, pack quilts, deliver. Then moving on through the tasks. I have no idea what I’m doing tonight, but it’s probably more art. And air conditioning hopefully.

*The Family, Mutiny

Good Times…

Hmmmm. Friday the 13th. Full moon tomorrow. All teachers know what I mean. Today could be interesting. It’s been a long week. The weekend won’t be long enough to recover fully. Then again, it only is when it’s got three days, because we usually work for one of the two days. I’ve got 68 videos to watch…all less than 90 seconds (that feels longer than you would think). I’ve got some art to drop off. I’ve got some art to look at. Monday, I’ll have a new non-leaking kitchen faucet. These are all good things. Well, except for the videos. That’s somewhat painful, to be honest. I know, I bring it on myself.

We are 3 1/2 weeks into school. It feels like longer. I still don’t know everybody’s name. I have these three girls who all look similar (they don’t really) and I’m still trying to tell them apart in my head. They are very different. I’m not sure why my brain can’t get a hold on this name stuff. Today, I walk around doing name stuff. In my head. It’ll be good. Watching the videos will help too.

I got home after the first school day this week where I didn’t have a 2-hour meeting, talked to the plumber, and then went to the gym. Finished my book. Remember reading The Lottery in middle school or high school? That awful story? My book club read another book (We Have Always Lived in the Castle) by Shirley Jackson, the author. Guess what? She’s always disturbing. I guess I have to read The Haunting of Hill House next.

Anyway, I came back after working out, ate some dinner, and then started tracing again. I’m about 7 hours in…

It’s boring as hell for you to look at, I know. But it’s so incredibly mellow and meditative for me. I like this stage for that peace. Then again, a lot of the quiltmaking is like that. The ironing, the cutting, the tracing. The quilting even, although it’s louder. The repetitive motion of the shoulders and arms…it’s really nice. Anyway. I’m in the high 300s…so not even halfway. I don’t think I’ll get much done tonight…I’m exhausted and we’re going out to an art thing tonight. My goal is tomorrow, around art delivery and hopefully another trip to the gym. We’ll see.

These guys…

They were waiting on the boychild to take them to the other house. The little one went batshit when the plumber showed up.

OK, plan for the day: survive it. Stay calm and focused. Get the shit done that needs doing. Enjoy some art. Then trace a little and collapse into bed. Literally collapse I think. Good times.

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.