I Can’t Operate on This Failure*

October 4, 2017

I’m ready to be Australia. Well. Except for some of the crazy bugs and spiders. Y’all can keep those. But let’s hand in all the guns. I think the biggest obstacles are the politicians who are more worried about their jobs than their constituents. No automatic or semi-automatic weapons…can you really argue that we need those? You do realize people in Australia can still own a gun, right? There are just strict rules for how and what. I have no problems with strict rules. Can you argue that your right to protect yourself is more important than my approximately 3,300 students’ (over 15 years) right to live? Or the 58 people who died in Vegas? Or the 49 who died in Orlando? Or any young black man wearing a hoodie?

The plus is that I finished stitching down the anti-gun quilt. Let’s be clear…my quilt is Anti-GUN. Because we don’t need them. Not in the numbers we have them. Not for what they’re being used for. Not. I just (in less than 5 minutes) contacted my three federal representatives. Told them to stand up and create legislation and keep fighting for it until it passes. Start there. You can do that.

This is who stares at me on the way home…after I pick her up…

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She wants to know why I’m not petting her. And then why I’m not throwing the ball faster.

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Still working on the eyeball in the top right. It doesn’t look like much right now.

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Then I stitched. Well, I made dinner first. And finished my book…The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I liked it. And then I read some Goodreads reviews and felt bad for liking it. And then decided those people had no lives and I was allowed to like it. So there.

Stitching things down…

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Sometimes I really hate America for its aggressive patriotism. I’ve been told so many times to LEAVE because I don’t agree with the majority…and I explain that is why we are here…because our ancestors didn’t agree with the majority and needed to flee…so we took over someone else’s country in a particularly nasty and violent way (somehow it was our inalienable right? I don’t think so…). So I mostly write off anyone who tells me I’m not patriotic when I object…it’s the core part of our country. I’m allowed.

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Ah…this thought bubble. Why do people shoot other people up? Anger? Hate? Fear? Core emotions…that mature brains can learn to manage.

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In a society that appreciates that. Yesterday, in the assignment we’re doing in class, I had told each class “no weapons” for their element superhero. One class started to argue…and I turned and said, “Really? After Las Vegas, you’re going to argue that you need weapons? Solve the problem without them. That’s what I want to see.”

Seriously. America. Solve the problem without guns. Do it. You know you can. We have some of the best brains in the world. Use Them. If you’re a politician scared for your job, then GOOD. Do it anyway. It’s worth it.

I did finish the stitch down, just short of 6 hours.

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The face of gun violence here in America…tonight I’ll sandwich it and pinbaste it…maybe even start quilting. We’ll see. Meanwhile, I started reading a book about violence in Africa. Maybe I should look for something lighter after that.

*Tears for Fears, Pale Shelter

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Laughed as My Body She Lifted*

September 21, 2017

So the dog is feeling better…she finally ate something this morning. That’s a relief. Although she’s back on meds. I’m currently negotiating with the two cats in my office. One doesn’t understand personal space apparently. They’re semi-squealing at each other. Really? Knock it off.

Yesterday was too long and stressful, although I was efficient until about 10 PM. Then it all fell to hell. Not surprisingly. I guess I’m not Superwoman. Oh wait. I already knew that.

I’m back up early today for another meeting. I’m not sure why some people assume everyone functions in the morning. I do on here, but this is light and pictures and words typed on a keyboard. I don’t have to really talk to anyone except in my head. I did a lot of that yesterday, talked to people while I was driving around to all the things, chiropractor, vet, and an art meeting. Ugh. I’m not happy about a couple of things at school and it’s dragging me down. I know my counselor would say to knock it off and I’m trying, but I’m just not happy about it at the moment.

Ahh…sigh. Just ignore for now. Get shit done. Hope the rest disappears or changes.

I finally sat down around 10:30 or so to cut stuff out…

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Yeah. You’d think I would have finished. And I thought about it. But I was really tired and knew I had to be up early today. So I tried to be a responsible adult. I have 12 1/2 hours into the cutting. I suspect there’s less than an hour left in there. It’s busy today and tonight, and grades are due soon, but my plan is to finish cutting those and then sort them so I can iron tomorrow night.

Now that’s exciting, isn’t it? I think so. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting to hear if I have to make another piece sometime before January 1 (it’s not on my calendar! And I don’t know how I’ll pull it off if I have to…). And I’m waiting to hear about a show. And I really just want to run away to somewhere kinda cold and rainy or warm and tropical and just make a bunch of art while someone else teaches science and grades a million things and cleans up dog vomit and tries to manage a bunch of people. Is that an option? Nope. Probably not.

*Natalie Merchant, Wonder


There’s Not a Line Here That Goes with Anything*

June 15, 2017

Today I am dressed like a ninja. Don’t get freaked out. I’m just wearing all black, which I actually do fairly often. BUT…today is the last day of school, I have the same kids for 3 1/2 hours, and I woke up this morning with my voice completely gone.

Oh yeah. Laugh your ass off. I did. Silently. More like my chest moved in a laughlike manner.

So yesterday we took the 7th grade bowling (this is so NOT like taking the skinheads bowling, if you’re old and hip enough to remember that song)…

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There you are…

We have this newish washing machine, and every time I accidentally brush up against it, it turns on and sings a little tune, at which point I tell it to fuck off. I’ve done it twice already this morning.

So after the field trip, we have this lame thing where we end up with kids sitting in our classrooms for almost 2 hours until they can go home. I’ve always thought this was idiotic, much like moving the field trip from the last day of school so kids can experience graduation, one of the most boring events of anyone’s life, is idiotic. But we do it. The first hour was horrendous. So the second hour, I laid down some rules, and it was fine. The field trip was fine…well, as always, exhausting…but definitely better than last year or the year before. All those are good things.

I’m apprehensive about this morning though. Seriously so.

I had a union meeting after…so an exhausting day followed by a meeting. The last one of the year is sometimes in a bar with free food and one adult beverage. Yup. We earned it.

These were clouds painted on the ceiling. I quite like them. Might incorporate them into something.

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Came home and went to book club, because I really liked the book and wanted to see what others thought…the book we were assigned was The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, but it was good enough (once I got through the letters part, which I didn’t like) that I read the sequel, Stiletto, which I actually think is way better.

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I immediately went looking for Book 3, but there’s no mention of it yet. The Rook was his first book…so maybe this is it. I hope not. He certainly set it up for a continuing series. Amazing world-building in these two books. Plus the dichotomy between supernatural powers (however weird-ass they might be) and bio-engineered powers. Although I’m still trying to figure out the reality of the main character in the first book…is she a new person or was her brain just wiped? I need that explained.

I came home and tried to get my head around the upcoming art entries…having gotten another email about another show coming up for one of the groups I’m in. For some, I can use existing stuff, assuming it comes home in time…but I need to potentially make 5 quilts before the end of the year. Ha! OK. I’m getting my head around that.

Then I traced stuff for a while.

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I didn’t have the brainpower to draw by then. Boychild and I talked about music too. And graduation…how to get everyone there. I think we might be camping out for a few days. Yeah, and there was a FaceTime event between me, my SIL, the girlchild, and the boychild…involving three phones and an iPad. Very impressive tech skills.

OK. So today has a social event after school plus quilt class…and I have to go in tomorrow to clean up all the chemicals that 8th grade dumped on us. But otherwise, I’ve almost survived my 14th full school year. Awesome sauce.

*Camper Van Beethoven, Take the Skinheads Bowling


Let Me Take You There*

February 26, 2017

Well I’m head down (and ass down on the chair) on grading stuff. I even resized the photos for today’s post (yeah, it’s Sunday, but I had an early up and get going, so I’m trying to take advantage of the day and get my work done), and then I forgot to write. I’m taking a break from grading right now, because it’s hurting my head, realizing that I have to rework how we teach one thing that we do all year, because so few of our kids can do it, and we’re more than halfway through the school year.

Anyway. My goal is to do grading now so I can do art later. I started a drawing last night and I’m going to have to restart…but maybe that’s later today. It’s mostly in my head at the moment.

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The world is still pissing me off. Not surprisingly. I solve that by signing petitions and sending emails to my stupid state senator and postcards to the people who need them, and then supporting kickstarters and artists who are making resistance art and donating part of their proceeds (or all, if they’re into that…I think artists need to make a living too) to good causes. Plus making art myself. And continuing to yell out that this shit is not right. Freedom of the press, dammit. Even if you don’t like what it’s saying. I love my country right now for all the parts who are protesting, devious as some of them are (the CPAC Trump/Russian flags…what genius). This is what my country does when there’s a dictator in charge…what you read about in the dystopian novels. This is what we are. We are unfortunately also the stupid stuff. It’s the yin/yang. Can’t have the good protest without the stupid.

I did Friday and Saturday’s stitching yesterday…The tree trunk/branches are done, I think. I might add some more twiggy stuff tonight.

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And before that…I’m stuck with both dogs this weekend, due to my ex being in Boston with our daughter. They needed some exercise yesterday, so I went to Sweetwater to see how bad the crowds were.

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The bridge was all about photo shoots, as far as I could tell…one down at the far end, and then two more when we came back. Weird.

There had definitely been rain out here in the past…I don’t usually walk here, because there’s too many people and bikes, but also fewer coyotes in sight during the day because of that…

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It’s pretty damn green this year…

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Went to the bridge so we could see the stream below…

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Simba likes to stand in big grass.

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We saw another trail camera…but this one had a card explaining it.

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So I emailed her…because she had a bobcat picture and I wanted to know where the fuck THAT was. But also she asked about trail data from hiking apps. And I have that.

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Although yesterday we only did 2 miles. I’ll go back, maybe even tomorrow, and do a longer walk. Until I can go back to the other one with fewer people. I’m not a people person, I guess. I like to be out in nature without humanity mostly.

Anyway, so many art-related things crowding my head today, and work has to happen. I want to finish tracing the other piece today and start cutting it out, but also do that other drawing. Plus I think I’m getting sick…knock on wood. I’ve been healthy for a good long time, but so many students ill is a hard one for even a strong immune system. Gonna go take some more vitamins. Ugh. I don’t have time for sick.

*Led Zeppelin, Kashmir


I Follow Where My Mind Goes*

October 13, 2016

Brain muddle. Good description of where your brain goes sometimes, right? I’m sitting here trying to write artist statements for two pieces that aren’t even done. There are days when I can’t explain what I HAVE done…today is apparently not the day to try to explain what’s still unfinished and largely exists in my head.

I didn’t get home until late last night…I’m a union rep, so those meetings just seem to go on forever. And then the parental mail and check up on their stuff. In good news, though, educating children went a little better yesterday after the previous day. I had to be mean to some kids, but that happens sometimes. I think I need a baby gate for one of them. Or an exercise ball (she wouldn’t sit on it).

So I didn’t get started on anything artistic until late. I thought about drawing on the nightstand, but I really need a new thick Sharpie for that. So that’s on the to-buy list for today, along with more milk. Too bad I can’t get those in the same place. I need a general store. Grocery stores don’t cut it. Maybe Target. I was just there Monday night, desperately buying a pair of headphones that didn’t turn out to be so desperate (still a good thing, though, because both of mine stopped working on the same day). I need to finish proofing the coloring book too. That came out of nowhere…this is why my phone calendar is so full of stuff.

So no drawing…I still needed to finish cutting out the pieces for the quilt portion of this thing…so I did that. And then I sorted them. There’s only 200 of them. Well, there’s more than that because I misnumbered, but close enough.

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Ideally, after that, I would have gone to my studio and started ironing, but it was after 11 and I was tired. Ugh. This is such a tiring year. So I didn’t. I’m starting to panic about the timing on this project. And trying to write a statement! I need to go back and read the organizer’s info and make sure I’m talking to that. I know I did mentally in the beginning, but I don’t have a clue what I was thinking way back when. In May or June.

Calli distinctly does not give a shit.

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Sometimes I wish I could be her.

OK, but I do better if I think this shit out. I need to iron down this quilt top, which will probably take 2-3 hours…mostly because I have to figure out attaching the sheet with the body on top of it. Then I need to do stitch down, which should take less than an hour. Then sandwich and pinbaste it, which ought to be interesting, because of the sheet again. I think this is why I keep delaying work on this…it’s an engineering problem. My SIL asked me last night why I don’t do 3D work, like make a person and stuff them, and all I could think was “because Susan Else rocks it and I can’t think like that.” The construction throws me. But I like it when this art group I’m in makes me think outside my box.

So I’m up to maybe 4 hours. Then it needs quilting. This is where I can cut time if I need to…but let’s say at least 2 hours. I’m not binding it for this show. I just want raw edges. In fact, raw should be in the statement. So I only need 6 more hours. I have Saturday, most of the day…I have Sunday, a little. So maybe that’s my goal…is to finish the quilt part of this thing by Sunday night. Then I can draw a little at a time all week on the nightstand, varnish it on the 24th (shhh…I’m taking the day off), and it should be dry by the opening.

No Problem. I Got This.

Really. I just needed some mental space to place all that work time. Now I can concentrate on sticking to that schedule…

*The Psychedelic Furs, Love My Way


Pinned Down…

July 28, 2016

Well. It wasn’t the most effective day in the world, but I eventually ripped some usefulness out of it. Proof that I can flail for hours and still look like I got shit done. So yeah. Lack of sleep kicked my ass. I tried napping, but barking dogs and daylight were not my friends. I couldn’t concentrate for many hours, probably due to heat. But when I look at my post-it note for yesterday, I crossed off three and a half things (out of seven), so I did OK. I think. I feel like I’ve been fighting this all summer. All I do is work and sweat and clean and make art and sometimes eat or do random stuff like Shakespeare or art exhibits (OK, those aren’t really random). I’d really like to go on a travel vacation, one that is somewhere cool I’ve never been. I see lots of friends doing these things and I think, well, I could plan a year out and save up for it…in fact there are three possibilities in the next 12 months…but then I get fucked over by a cat swallowing thread and needing surgery. Sometimes I feel pinned down by my own life. An insect struggling with pins in her wings.

The kids are leaving this morning for Arrowhead with their dad and grandpa, an annual tradition that leaves me alone for four days (well, I get the little dog and two cats, so not totally alone). I have a shitload of stuff to do, so keeping busy is not a problem. It’s just that my brain was already in a cranky place…so I’ll have to work that out (drawing?). I even have a fridge full of food, so I could notionally get away with not cooking mostly. Except eating the same stuff over and over gets boring.

If you see me in a wine bar with a sketchbook, feel free to come over. Just don’t ask to see what I’m drawing.

So sandwiching a quilt this big (63″w x 73″h) is a pain. I found four yards of a backing fabric (that’s probably another nod to Sandi Fastnow there…) and pieced it together…then earlier today, I bought batting (and thread…JoAnns still has it, but in smaller spools) and washed it. So I cleaned out the entryway (again) and the floor and kept the dogs off of it while making and eating dinner and then laid it all out and spent an hour lying on the floor pinning. Yeah. I know. Pain in the ass.

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I still like her. She hopefully has exhibits in her blood…at least one. I hope.

Simba was pretty good about leaving it alone (notice the ONE paw). He’s confused by my projects, but he behaves pretty well.

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Check out all those pins. I finished after 11 PM. I had the fan on me in there as well…way too hot for this. No wonder I had all those weird dreams last night…

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There were some fussy bits that wanted to puff up and be cranky…as always. But I think I tamed them.

I had another one to sandwich, but there was no way I was lying on the ground for another hour or so. I’m hoping to do that one today, before the floor gets really dirty again…but honestly? I don’t know where the backing fabric for that one is. It’s one of the Sue Spargo quilts, so it came with a background, and I think I have to piece it as well, but I don’t know what I did with it. Sigh. I am losing my brain.

See how hot it was? Kitten gave up lying on my keyboard and mouse and annoying the fuck out of me while I’m trying to copyedit, and went to lie in the sink.

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Way cooler in here mom. You should try it.

OK. Copyediting, then something, then stuff, and things, and then sandwich another, and then start quilting and/or drawing and stuff. Be effective. Efficient. You only have two weeks and a bit before you go back to school. Don’t THINK about that, because you’ll panic, but remember you need to be working better than yesterday. Keep an eye on the post-it.


The Rest Will Have to Wait…

May 28, 2015

Done. Finis. She’s all cut out.

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Please don’t ask me how late I went to bed. I needed to feel like I had achieved something last night. Yes, there are some tiny pieces in the bottom right corner that I won’t cut out until I’m ironing, because I know I will lose them. I’ve learned things as I’ve aged, as I’ve progressed through the artmaking process. Seven hours and 44 minutes of cutting stuff out. And I graded stuff last night too. And cooked dinner. And did a bunch of other administrative stuff for school and other groups I’m in. After monitoring 140 kids dissecting frogs.

No wonder I have a headache this morning (or is that the late night? Hard to say.).

I get to iron things together next. That’s the part I really like. That’s the part where it’s hard to get me to stop. Plus I have another one I need to have done by mid-July and I haven’t started it. This is getting a little crazy. Or maybe crazy is my normal. Really, I’d probably be happier just making art all day, but I’m not sure I’d make any MORE art than I do now. Maybe I’d get more sleep and the dishes would be done. Or not.

There are 15 days of school left. I can do that. Panicking about getting grades done still. As well I should be. Tried to push boychild into jobhunting yesterday. Not sure how seriously he took it. Going to start sending him job-finding YouTube videos. In fact, maybe all of you should do that. It might help. SIGH. And he ate all the girlchild’s lunch food. Of course, I put a post-it note on MY lunch food explaining where the ingredients were if he wanted to make his own. Does that make me smarter than she is? No. Just more experienced. I had a dad and a brother who went after my food even if I labeled it. Then a roommate’s boyfriend as well. So I have been traumatized. Seriously…my SIL says my brother and I are way too protective of our food. We both point to Dad. Food stealer extraordinaire.

OK. Well. I have a ton of stuff to do for work this morning, including a parent meeting. I wish I could just hang out here and wax poetic about my desire to iron things, but it seems the need to pay the bills is strong today. No, I don’t have my car back! Oh well. Took meds for the headache, prepped the best I could for some portion of the day. The rest will have to wait. As always.