Of That You Can Be Sure…

So I’m running with exhaustion right now…mental and physical. But it’s weird, because last night, I easily could have gone to sleep at 11 PM. I was completely done. But I didn’t want to go another night without making any art. So I said, I’ll just trace for 30 minutes…and within about 5 minutes of starting, I began to wake up. The tiredness just sloughed off and I’m thinking I can go for another hour (not a good plan). I ended up tracing for 45 minutes and then made myself go to bed before midnight, because I know today will be tiring and my blood sugar will be off (we have a production in the afternoon, so my lunch is way too early). But I could have gone for another hour…easily.

I did about 90 pieces…I’m at about 316. No. I AM at 316. So another 200 and a bit to go. I could do that tonight, if I didn’t have grading to do. That’s all I’m doing this weekend I think. I have a social thing and I think a family thing, but then grading. Until I die. Or my computer dies. Something. It’ll be fine. I figure I’ll be ready to iron stuff down in perfect timing with the end of the school year, which is nice, because that’s what I’ll need. I also need to make a summer to-do list, because there’s some major stuff that needs fixing. Sigh. I love tasks like that when I don’t have a paycheck coming in.

I’m glad I got up and traced. It makes me feel better. I’m still tired and cranky and feel like I’ve failed at dealing with that one kid who’s driven me nuts all year, but I have to be OK with that. There’s always one. I didn’t kill him. That’s a plus.

In really good news (I don’t know why, because I’m about to design 6 more and then stitch them), I finished the last of the models for the embroidery patterns! A miracle…

Look at all that dog/cat fur! It needs washing, dehairing, and a proper photo. But otherwise, it’s good. I need to put an embroidery page on my website too. SUMMER. So many things for the summer. I’m afraid of the to-do list. I do already have an idea for the first of the next 6 patterns. If you want to purchase any of the patterns (and I think kits should be available soon), they are at the Global Artisans shop. If you do stitch one of them up, I’d love to see it. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to HIDE a penis in one of the next 6. I don’t usually hide them. They’re usually right out there, easy to find. Kind of like in real life.

Deep breaths. I can see the end of the school year right over there. As I’m finishing up teaching STDs today and turning to HIV…we’re almost done! We finished two proposals for working on school stuff over the summer, though, plus I’ll be at three different conferences about how to change up schools. The work never stops…and I should get paid for most of that for once. But there will be plenty of artmaking…of that you can be sure.

Shine Until Tomorrow*

One of my long-time stitchy friends is moving to Portland this month. It’s OK. That’s where her grandkid is and she’s retiring from teaching (well, at least technically…who knows what the future brings), so it all makes sense. I’ve been quilting with her on and off since I was 23. She is in fact the woman you can blame for my knowing how to quilt at all, although my mom is who you blame for knowing how to sew and having some sort of fabric addiction. That started when I was much younger.

In losing her to Portland, I also lose one of my monthly social meetings…so I’ve been working on options. It looks like SAQA in San Diego may start to rev up a bit, and I even found a meeting space here in El Cajon that we could use if people are interested in meeting. I might even go check out La Mesa, because people get freaked out by my town. It’s safe, people. It’s safe. So I’m kind of looking forward to that, although I don’t know how long it will take to get everything moving. And I hope no one annoying comes to the local meetings. Maybe I’m the annoying one, who knows. Change is never easy, but I guess all the crazy that’s happened to me over the years has helped me deal with some of it. Although I’m gonna miss my friend like crazy, I’m still going to try to find a quilt community that I sort of fit into somewhere besides online.

Last night was the last official meeting of the group, but she’ll be back for a bit in July to pack more boxes and move more stuff. I don’t envy her that. At the meeting, I worked on the last of the printed embroidery patterns that I need to do for now…

It’s almost done…just a little bit at the bottom. Then I need to design 6 more.

I didn’t grade yesterday, but I was at tutoring. That was tiring. After I had dinner last night (super late), I started tracing…

I only got an hour in…I’m tired…

But I’m almost halfway at this point. That’s the wonder of doing a quilt that doesn’t have a lot of pieces.

So sometime this week it should get traced. Although I really need to grade stuff too. Crazy meeting schedule this week. It’s messing with my ability to get that done. Tonight is book club and it’s a million miles away…but I’m going. So there. I read the book. I need a break. Ugh. Long drive. I’m getting old?

OK, I need to get to work and get going on the day. More STDs today…always fun. The school year is winding down. I’m winding up to get some art done. That part is exciting…as always.

*The Beatles, Let It Be

Restless As the Wildest Way*

I think at this point that my brain is so addled that I need to be exhausted to sleep. Or I’m so into making the new quilt that I can’t sleep because I’d rather be doing that? Certainly it’s more relaxing than grading. I finished three assignments yesterday…one had been in process for a few days…it was just taking me a while. I so want to be done.

It was really warm here yesterday, with some clocking in at 99 degrees and some at 104. Either way, too warm. I left school and didn’t think we’d be walking dogs, but it was cooler at the house…which is only 2 1/2 miles from school. There was a breeze and clouds were kicking in, so we dragged them out (with water).

It wasn’t too bad out there…although this plant seems like it’s reacting to the heat…

Look at those weird seed pods…and it’s a spiky son of a bitch.

There was some other little yellow-flowered thing that was stinging through our pants. Not this one…a weedier-looking plant with vicious spikes.

Nature is beautiful but painful. Good lesson.

We’re seeing ticks all over the place. Well…on the dogs and on the man.

The boychild and I have avoided them somehow.

After grading, I set up for the next quilt. Oh yeah! Desert Daughter won the vote on my Patreon…that’s this one…

She’s got 542 pieces…she’s not tiny, but she’s not huge. I actually drew this two years ago, not after the last trip, although there’s definitely some reminders of that trip here. I’m not making her for anything in particular…I just wanted to do a small filler piece before I do a big piece for the summer. It seemed like a fair reward to let my Patreon folks pick it for me.

So I started tracing last night just before 10 PM…

I recorded a bit of it for a future Patreon video. Satchemo did not help…

He was distinctly in the way. Here at least he stopped trying to lie ON the Wonder Under…

I’ve been entering a bunch of shows lately…hoping to get in to some of them. There are never any guarantees, that’s for sure. This one will fit somewhere. It actually has no nudity in it…

Wait, neither does the last one. A trend? Ah fuck no. It just worked out that way.

I’ve started mentally making my summer to-do list. So far, it is all about cleaning spaces that are out of control, planting things, and making art. Seems like a worthy plan. It’s funny, because I’ve signed up for this school committee that will keep me in conferences all summer. Sigh. It’s OK. It’s two days here and there…it won’t kill me. It’s better than jury duty for the whole month of July…so far, they’ve left me alone on that one. Give them time, though. I’m sure they’ll find me again.

OK, early meeting. Finally made it almost through birth control options in class…moving on to STDs…fun stuff. Eight more days…hopefully I’ll find sleep more easily as the week goes on…

*Crooked Still, Undone in Sorrow

Ducking and Weaving…

I’ve reached that time of the school year when I can’t sleep at night. Especially Sunday nights. Or it’s the damn hot flashes, because they’re back with a vengeance. Could just be that it’s been warm lately. Hard to say. Seems to be stress on some level though. I do all the things you’re supposed to do to alleviate that, but it’s not even enough right now. The quilt got done in time; that was good. I’m not done with grading, but I got a chunk of stuff done this weekend…not a big chunk, but a chunk. I do have a ton of meetings this week, so that will make getting more done a challenge, but it’s a challenge I’ll have to meet. No choice for that.

Even the puppy is cranky right now.

We’ll get over it. In about 9 school days.

So the opening of Indoor/Outdoor was Saturday night. Here’s my favorite wall…with Asa Kvissberg’s Girl in a Suit I, II, and III, my Bigger in the Outside, Helen Redman’s Monster Mama, Moya Devine’s Summer and Rootbeer and Snake Charmer, and Cindy Zimmerman’s Oklahoma Girl in California World…all the colors and shapes seemed to rock together.

I’ll post the rest of the show later this week. It runs through July 2 at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan. My shirt matched my quilt…not on purpose.

This is Phil, waxing poetic about a stick.

Selfie with my art and a stick. At least we amuse each other.

That cleaning thing. This table. It’s driving me nuts. But I don’t have time to deal with it. This is me trying to calendar the week.

I think I got it sort of under control. Ha! Never say that. The universe hears you and comes after you.

This succulent has never bloomed. This year, it did. And wildly.

There will be more!

Too many dogs. We had a morning respite and then they were all back and in my personal space.

I like dogs. It’s OK. Except when it’s hot. It’s not super hot here, but I seem to be running up the temperatures with my own body. Ugh.

I drew this thing that stuck in my head the other day.

I’m going to draw a simpler version of it for an embroidery pattern, I think. MUCH simpler.

Sleepy cat.

I didn’t sleep well. Ugh. It’ll be fine. I’m just going to be tired until late June. Then maybe I won’t be. We’ll see.

Someone I know visited my show in Pittsburgh and took this picture to show me the subway station…so all these people walk past them every day.

I hope some of them stop and look.

I got the first email from a student this morning begging for extra credit. Ye who did not do your missing work? Oh hellz no.

OK week. You can’t get me. I’m ducking and weaving.

Letting Them Choose…

I’m getting antsy for the end of the school year. I need it. There’s only 9 days left with kids and I have a thousand things to do, but I can feel it now, tickling at my brain. And you know what’s it’s saying? CLEAN. You need to CLEAN. Seriously, brain, WTF. I don’t have much time for cleaning and getting rid of stuff during the school year, it’s true. Other things get priority. So the kitchen table is a freakish disaster. So is the desk near my light table. The office is OK at the moment. I did a purge over Spring Break, but it always needs work. I bought an organizer last summer to help with that. Ha. Laughing. Because it’s still empty and there are piles around it. Uh huh. Oh yeah. One more time. Cleaning is not my favorite. But too many piles bug me. So I’ll have to.

I have to reign my brain in, remind it that there is a ton of grading left and I need to get a bunch of other stuff done and I still need to fix the sink. Sigh. OK. I HEAR YOU. I also want to get a chaise lounge on the deck and lie out there with the birds and the sun and the dogs and just draw, dammit. A lounge chair and a little table. I have both somewhere. I need a pad for the chair. And ROOM for the chair. I can do this. And plants everywhere. I dream of lounging!

First…grades. Grade, woman. You need to grade.

Good news…I spent 4 hours last night trying NOT to fall asleep (I was so tired) and hand-sewing the binding on. Normally it wouldn’t have taken that long, but I was really tired.

I hate all my hand-sewing needles. I broke my needle threader, so I need a new one. These holes are too freakin’ small. The larger-holed needles are too thick and don’t slide through easily. Ugh.

But I finished. It goes to the photographer today. A week early! I rock.

I bought all these when I bought the binding.

I can’t just buy one. It’s impossible. I never do. I try to think about what I need, what I lacked in the last one, when I buy stuff. For the sleeves, I used up that really dark blue on the bottom…it was from the background of some other quilt. I didn’t have enough of the backing or the background on this quilt for the sleeves. I do try to use stuff up. It’s always my goal.

Tonight is the opening of Indoor/Outdoor at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan…my piece Bigger in the Outside will be there…

I’m looking forward to the show. First I have to find food to take with me though. The Barrio Art Crawl is happening this weekend too, and there’s a trolley you can ride around the area to get to each of the shows. I’ll probably have to hang out with the exhibit, but it sounds like a good opportunity to see what Barrio Logan brings to the art world. I’ve certainly spent a lot more time down there since the artists left downtown and Hillcrest areas due to landlords upping the rent. Seems like they’re doing that in Barrio Logan now too, with a couple of art spaces closing due to increasing rents. We bring in the peeps and then y’all decide it’s a good place to be and up the rent and kick out all the art spaces. Seems stupid. Annoying. Capitalism needs the arts…some day maybe it will figure that out.

But for now, we’re still able to exhibit down there, so come down! There will be another opening of the Swedish contingent of this show at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park on the 23rd from 2-4 PM. And there’s a printmaking workshop, Patchwork Made of Graphic Art, to be led by one of the Swedish artists, Cecilia Uhlin, Thursday, June 20, from 1-5 PM. I’m still teaching that day.

I’ve been refraining from signing up for art workshops. My brain wants feeding, apparently. But does it need it? At $1000 for the workshop, plane ticket, place to stay, food? Nah. Probably not. But I signed up for one local workshop in July. One is good. I want to branch out this summer, try some new ways of making. Just because. I think it’s good to stretch. I also want to make a big quilt about abortion. But before I do that, I’m making a smaller piece. My Patreon community will be picking which one of five I’ll be doing. I’ll know by Sunday night. Here’s some detail shots of what they’re deciding…

Basically I can’t decide which one to do next. My brain is fuzz.

If you want to help decide, be a patron. Only $1 a month would let you see this post and video. The link is here.

I could do any of them.

That one is backwards. I don’t even know how.

Yes, I have this many things lying around, waiting to be made. So it’s kind of cool to not know what’s coming next.

I entered another show last night…and there’s some others coming up. I probably should look at that to see if I’m interested. Although I think I want a break from prescribed themes. I want to just make my stuff. So I’m going to do that.

Anyway, I’ve got errands and I need food and I need to get this quilt ready to go. Here’s Calli getting brushed last night.

She’s not sure she likes it. They all have knots and extra fur and ticks and just crap in their furbodies. So we’ve been dealing with it. Makes me want to shave my head. The ticks especially. OK. Need to get going. Enjoy your weekend! I’m going to enjoy at least part of mine.

The Life I Left Behind Me Is a Cold Room*

Yesterday was a really long day, but it’s interesting…I felt much more relaxed about it than usual, because we had a nice leisurely lunch…one of the pluses of the testing days is that we can go get lunch and then eat it together and hang out, instead of rushing to pee and eat and get ready for the next class in about 25 minutes. So going from an 8 AM meeting to the end of a 6 PM meeting was doable. Although that later meeting had some weird shenanigans. You know there are some people where I spend way too much time trying to figure out their motives and probably I should just hope they get fired, because that would make more sense. But besides that, it was a fairly productive day. I mean, I could have graded more things during testing, but I was focused on clean up, so I sorted a pile of the paper cash we use for kid awards. I did some other things too, but mostly clean up instead of grading. I will always be behind on grading, until I’m not, because the school year is over. So that’s a thing.

When I was leaving the district office after the last meeting, I wanted to walk. I have my parents’ dog here right now, and she is a needy beast. The boychild had already left with the other two dogs, so it was just going to be me and Katie, which is fine. I leashed her up, and we went out, and there were two incidents with dogs off leash. I don’t care how awesome your dog is…unless you have control over it, please don’t let it off leash. Mine is leashed for a reason…she’s an asshole on walks. Better than she used to be, but she’s aggressive. So she’s leashed. Sigh.

Because we both needed a walk. There were tiny baby bunnies frozen everywhere.

Blurry because it was a ways away, but frozen!

It was late…I didn’t leave until 6:20 or so. But the sun goes down later than it used to. This is a walk I do from the house, so it’s really just wild areas in between housing. It seems safer when it’s closer to dusk…less likely to run into a coyote.

Right after this picture was when I realized a pit bull was stalking us. I yelled. He/she left. Good one.

So I made it home and the pug who attacked earlier was inside this time (sigh). I made dinner and the girlchild called and then I was reading email and saw this picture…

This was pulled from video…that’s a bobcat. On the street behind us. Where I was just walking Katie. Nice. Well, we don’t hear about bobcat attacks much around here. Mountain lion and coyote, sure…and I’ve seen two bobcats since I’ve lived here, but not near the house. Well. Nature finds a way to survive. Always.

Anyway. Then I trimmed the quilt…

I hate quilting more than I need to…this was a fussy size. I hate it when things have to be an exact size. I’m always sure I’m going to fuck it up.

So I measured about a million times. I sewed on the binding and sleeves…just need to sew it all down by hand. Tonight probably. And finish the Patreon video, so I’ll know what to work on next. Because I’m going right into the next one. This stuff is stress release at the moment as well as artmaking. First, though, there’s dropping off the car for some brake work and teaching unplanned pregnancies and not having a relaxing long lunch and probably grading some stuff. I’m looking forward to the weekend…I will get a lot done and sleep in and have an opening with one of my pieces. All good.

This song has been stuck in my head since last night…I’m not sure why, but just gonna let it roll.

*Sarah McLachlan, Sweet Surrender

Come and Open Up Your Folding Chair Next to Me*

I am so close to done. With a quilt. Not school. That’s why I stayed up late (again). I finished the quilting last night. I can’t show it to you yet. But it looks cool. Tonight I’ll trim it and put the binding on. I’m emailing the photographer…right…now. OK. That’s done. Now I have to finish it. I love forced motivation. OK, I really do want it done, because I want to work on something I can SHOW you.

Plus, I’m looking forward to having my Patreon pick the next one. I edited the video together last night and just need to add some titles or something. Every time I do this, I learn something new about video editing. This time, it was how to rotate the video. I still need to figure out how to fill the screen with it, but that’s tonight maybe. Well, let’s be honest…I have math testing again today, and this time, I get back the hellion who’s been gone the last three days of testing, and then I have science curriculum training for 2 1/2 hours after school. Which currently sounds semi-torturous, but maybe I’ll feel better about it at the time. Unlikely.

Last night, I had a union meeting. I was filling out a lease application to co-sign for the girlchild at the same time, and wondering yet again at when I might be able to stop paying for my kids. I think the answer is a long time from now. As I’m staring at the hole in my kitchen counter and trying to figure out how to fix it long term. No stress. So the house needs work. I literally cannot deal with that right now. Remove old grout, caulk between the sink and the counter, find tiles that will fit, trim them to really fit, adhere, and grout. Not happening until June 21st. Well. I can do some of that before then, but it needs to dry out, and that’s not happening either.

I’m going to try to finish the Patreon thing tonight…but it will probably be tomorrow night, posting Saturday morning. So that’s a little behind my self-imposed schedule, but the reality right now is that school is kicking my butt.

And then there’s these guys…

That’s Katie…my parent’s dog. They’re in Seattle at my nephew’s middle school graduation. Calli is never really sure about Katie. In this photo, Katie is yowling. Really that’s the only way to explain it. She sings. In dog. She’s very excited when new people come home. Or go to the mailbox and come back. Or get up in the morning.

She’s a good guard dog, although very nervous.

Will you come back? Will you? We always do, Katie. We always do.

I am totally holding dog treats in my hand here.

Because otherwise, they’re throwing their doggie bodies all over the place. This makes them pay attention.

OK, there’s 11 days of school left. I will be done with grading at some point (I did a bunch of that yesterday too). I will have my sanity back at some point (it usually takes a week or two after school gets out). Today will not be that day. At all. But I have an early meeting today, so let’s start with that and get on with the rest of it.

*Regina Spektor, Folding Chair