Teach Grade Art Repeat

So much prep to do right now! I was making lunches (healthy ones full of happy veggies to make me happy) last night at like 9 PM. Not ideal. But I had a union meeting that ran late and then I was grading stuff, but then remembered the lunches. I hate when it says “takes 15 minutes to cook” and then 45 minutes later, you’re still trying to get it all done. I feel like it takes an expert 15 minutes to cook, and it’s true I was trying to grade stuff at the same time, but hey, it still took that long to cook my protein, as they called it. Whatever. I had prepped it all earlier, before the man cooked dinner. Like I walked in the door from my meeting, fed the dogs, made a cup of tea, and started cutting veggies. That was the 20 minutes of prep. Which was close, I guess. Whatever. TIME. There’s never fucking enough of it.

I’m down to five assignments that need grading. I really really really want to go to my daughter’s graduation without having to grade shit on the plane. This may not be possible. I’m trying. I want to read my book and sew and draw on the plane. And watch a movie that’s not videos of kids trying to explain plastics to me (that was last year, at my son’s graduation). I’m getting there. I need to see progress. I finished two assignments yesterday. That’s good.

So in terms of art stuff last night, I started at 11 PM. Yup. Late. I really wanted to be so much farther on this quilt than I am. OK. Well. It still will get done. I can do this.

I got through the 200s. I really didn’t get a lot done last night, I’m realizing. And I stayed up too late. I don’t even know how. I must have been doing something else on the computer and I just am not remembering it. Sigh. I think half my brain is already on summer break. Sheesh. So above, those are some of the fabrics I used yesterday. I’m hoping to do more tonight, as always…but also the gym and grading. So time is always the issue.

Not for this guy though…

He just wants to know when it’s dinner time.

And this is her “Ima gonna whack you” look…

Sometimes she is just offended by my existence (I was reaching for the mouse to start whatever I was watching on Netflix, which was a lot more light-hearted than shows about dead baby seals and climate change, although before that, I was watching This Is Us while I was grading, and that wasn’t light-hearted at all, and this is all so ironic, because I’m watching Russian Doll and it’s all about her dying over and over. SUPER light-hearted. So yeah.).

Anyway, I need to go buy a few dozen donuts for my 2nd period class and try to work like I got enough sleep last night…it’s a skill. And then hopefully I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something by midnight, so I can go to sleep then instead of later, which hurts more in the morning. Teach grade art repeat.

Find Out What We’re Made of*

OK. Better. A little. I made art. It’s amazing what that daily dose does for me. Well and a counseling session. Mindset needs to flip about some stuff. Trying to do that without feeling more stress about it. That might be the hardest part.

So first of all, I delivered this commission, Owl 3.0, last night…


To its rightful owner, Julie…who has been around me and my art for a long time and is one of my two Number 1 Fans.


We stitch every month together at a Barnes & Noble…this was my name on the cup last night…


Creative spelling. Or just hieroglyphics.

I worked on one of the Sue Spargo blocks. These are very relaxing to do…and more appropriate in the space than trying to cut Wonder Under out.


Although with 105 bullion knots just in the flower, I think each block might take 8 months to do…


I really do like to hand embroider. I just don’t do much of it any more on my own pieces…no time. Maybe that’s something that should be in the solo show. Somehow. Because I still have no time.

I’m followed everywhere by this pod of mismatched dogs…


They mill about and occasionally settle…I don’t know if you can see the Golden on the floor under my feet.


She put her bone on the coffee table for safekeeping. Seriously. From the puppy. Who is on my lap.

I finally settled them all enough that I could start cutting out the Wonder Under for the piece that was supposed to be done last week. And I was getting emails about it yesterday…for photos of the piece in progress. Well. Um. Here they are.


Lots of doggy interaction going on…


But I cut them all out in less than an hour…


I even sorted them into two bins (there’s only 200 pieces). So if I have any energy or brainpower tonight, I can pick the fabrics. Certainly I should have them done over the weekend. Cutting pieces and ironing down next week…which means figuring out the construction issue…by next weekend. I’m quilting this, but not trimming and binding it. Not for this show. I might decide differently later on…but for this show, it shouldn’t be.

So that will make it easier to get it done. A little. I also need to make a slide show of my work for a presentation tomorrow night. Which is a little nerve-wracking. But I guess I know about 5 people in the group…so it won’t be totally like standing up in front of 40 people you’ve met. Just about 35 people I’ve never met. It’ll be fine.

OK. Progress. My brain is in a much better place this morning. Those alpha waves save my ass…

*Bruno Mars, Count on Me

Take a Sad Song and Make It Better*

It’s been an interesting week. Hot weather, too hot…while most of you are doing Fall weather. Local news turned national…not pretty. I don’t really want to talk about that much…it’s hard to say what should have happened, but probably someone shouldn’t have died. And all that has affected school. I’ll let all the post-shooting drama play out in the press, but I would like to say that I’m continually dismayed by the inability of many people to empathize with others. I think that might be our core human problem at the moment. I really do feel helpless in the aftermath of all the anger I see out there, the shootings, the deaths, the reactions I see. It would be easy to blame it on the presidential election, but it’s been around longer than that. I hear so many of my own friends and acquaintances who want all this crazy to stop, but it seems just saying that does not make it so. Of course. Why would it? I can go on and on here and either you’ll just ignore me because you don’t agree, or you’ll nod your head because you do. No change. What would it take for change to happen? No racism. No sexism. No hating others just because they have some difference? Because they came from somewhere else? Because they worship differently? By the way, if your worship also proposes hate of another group for their worship, then it is another hate group in my mind.

So all that has been in my head. Plus I have an image growing from the Brock Turner thing…yeah, I know it’s late, but my brain often mulls stuff over and over, and in the end, it won’t be about him…it’ll be about having a college-aged daughter out there in the world, about having been a college-aged woman traveling around, about the fear every woman carries in the back of her head when it’s dark and she’s walking alone down the street to her car. I wanted to draw last night, but the dog barking at night is getting to me. Coyotes. He’s gonna kill them all. But not let me sleep.

So I didn’t quilt. I don’t have the right color of thread. I’ll go get some today, if I can do it and avoid a protest. Serious thought there. I don’t want to be at the protest. I’ve never…ok, not never…but it’s been a long time since I thought gathering in a huge group to yell about things was my thing. I still think it should happen, because I need people to see it happening, but I don’t handle crowds well. I guess my path is through my art…although again, what to say? How to portray what’s in my head? I don’t quite know.

I did some stuff yesterday though. I helped my students finish their anti-bullying door. I had been gone for two days and was reading through what the kids had thought about how to decorate the door (we do this every year…and it’s one of the things I hate dealing with…). And Trump’s name kept popping up. Huh. Well. OK. So I asked them about it and they burst into animated speech about how what he says is bullying, statements about women and immigrants and Mexicans and Muslims and blacks…and I’m looking at a classroom full of girls and immigrants and Mexicans and Muslims (I do have black students…just not in my homeroom). So I let them do it. They had to find quotes that qualify as bullying, so we talked about what that means…and then they wrote it out and crossed it off in red. We didn’t want people to think those things were OK. So then I have to admit, I hadn’t read the instructions (it was a bad week), and it was something to do with random acts of kindness. OK. We can do this. Every kid got a post-it note and wrote INSTEAD at the top, and then they had to research random acts of kindness and write one down. So we taped those to the door to counteract the negativity.


They came up with the catch phrase. And the thing is, they’re so proud of it. They keep showing it to other people. Lots of kids are talking about it and standing around outside my door and reading it aloud to each other. I want to tell them that we won’t win the doughnut party because it’s political, but they’re so sure they’ll win. So I’ll probably go buy them doughnuts. Because really? They did all the critical thinking and were really amazing during the process and they deserve some major kudos for that. Yeah. I drew Trump for them. But that’s all. There wasn’t a single kid who wasn’t involved in this door.

I had a teacher say I should have done Clinton as well as a counterpoint. But honestly, I would have had a hard time finding a bunch of bullying statements that she had said. I guess my own politics are showing there. But whatever. I’ll stand up for my kids’ process and product.

So what else did I do last night? I did indoor skydiving for the first time. It was a teacher freebie (can’t afford that shit!). And it was awesome. They did the event to try to get us to sign up for field trips, but there’s no way our kids could afford them, even at half price. That said, Wow. Just wow. I really loved my 60 seconds. I smiled, a big goofy grin, all the way home. Even with the drool all over my face.


I was the second teacher out there. No fear. And those boys in the front watching me, I was totally yelling at them. Yeah!!!

Then I came home and spent an hour on the phone with the girlchild, helping her with an essay. I don’t write them for her. I just tell her what’s missing. She knows something is missing…that’s why she calls. The boychild used to send me sentences that were 50 words long and ask me if they made sense. He doesn’t do that any more, so that’s probably a good thing…gotten past needing mom to read your stuff.

I graded. I cooked dinner. I mulled over the political crap in my head. I worried. I petted a bitey puppy.


It’s all I could have handled honestly. Oh yeah, and this quilt sold.


I have an Etsy shop for some of my smaller quilts. I closed it down for a while and then opened it back up. This is from the Journal Quilt Project that Karey Bresenhan spearheaded back in 2005. I’m pretty sure this one is in the book and probably traveled to IQF. A million years ago. Anyway, it has a new home, once I put a label on it and pack it up. So there’s that. Etsy shop is in the sidebar.

OK. Off to school. Hopefully no major issues. They’re kicking us out early due to protest action that’s planned for the afternoon. I guess I’ll be grading all afternoon. Maybe I’ll be able to draw too.

*The Beatles, Hey Jude

I’m on Etsy…

So I finally got my act in gear and made an Etsy shop for the smaller quilts. It’s here (also in the sidebar). I had to mess with the prices slightly to fit their system. On here, the shipping costs are already in the price. On Etsy, due to their fees and separate shipping fees, I had to change it slightly. These quilts are small enough that I can’t really float the shipping in the price. I was kind of amazed by some people shipping for very cheap, but I usually have to buy a tube and ship that, which costs more, but protects the larger quilts. The smaller ones, the 8×10 quilts, they can go in a padded envelope. Anyway. It’s another experiment, right?

The next step is to photograph the other bird that didn’t sell (bad photo) and put it on there, and then decide how I want to deal with custom work. I have friends who successfully use Etsy for their work…we’ll see how that goes. I left most of the weird stuff off of there…figure that’s why you’re here, on my website.

Anyway, more work towards putting kids through college. I’ll be glad one day when I don’t have to think so hard about it.

Back to It…

The week we get off at Thanksgiving has never been a relaxing vacation for me. Whether I stay home and do the whole deal here, or go to Seattle for four days, or what we used to do, which was go to Lake Arrowhead and hang out at my parents’ cabin…it was never relaxing. It was hectic, full of crazy errands and grading before, during, and after. Sometimes I’d manage to quilt or stitch down or cut out a bunch of pieces, but mostly it was tense chaos. And I’m not even the one who usually cooks. I support the cooks by cutting stuff up or whatever. This year, I barely did anything (thanks to my cousin and all HER hard work).

Last week did not break that trend. I did not shop on Black Friday or even Small-Whatever Saturday, mostly because money’s pretty tight right now. Property taxes are due next week and I need to be able to pay them and a credit card bill. Deep breaths. Then I will think about Christmas. I did hang out for a while on Saturday because I needed to do just that. Not grade more papers like I did Friday off the plane. Sunday was the inevitable catch-up day. Five stores later, I think I had got there. Although there are at least two more errands I need to do this week…I lied, three. Maybe more. And then I came home and worked until about 10:30 PM. I did make dinner in there somewhere. My SIL’s convinced I’m eating all this hidden sugar in my diet. She’s wrong. I know where all of it is. I mostly cook from scratch. Seriously, on a good day, I eat fairly healthy. I made kofta balls from scratch, put in lettuce wraps with a cucumber/yogurt sauce and a bit of brown rice. I do OK some days. And there’s leftovers.

I’m not ready to go back to school though. Then again, we never are…teachers. I’m sure the kids aren’t ready either, but they have it pretty easy. I have all the lesson plans done. I’m hammering grammar starting this week. I’m tired of reading their work with no spaces after punctuation, no first word capitalized, the word “I” never capitalized, starting every sentence with “And,” never putting in periods. The computer age may be upon us, but my students aren’t prepared. The English teacher is coming along for the ride. If I have to read all that stuff online, then they better be improving their practice. Meanest science teacher ever! Yeah whatever.

Meanwhile though, and I feel good about this, I finished cutting out the Wonder Under (finally!) for Bathtub 5, which got totally sidelined by the holiday.

Nov 30 15 small

It only took about 4 1/2 hours to do it, but I just didn’t have the time before I left for Seattle. I was determined to finish it last night, so I stopped grading tests (because that was kind of depressing anyway), and finished this instead. Tonight I can sort them and maybe start picking fabrics. Except I’m not sure if I have a background big enough. I’m pretty sure I do, plus I’m supposed to be at the local quilt store tomorrow after school to deliver one of the sold quilts, so I can manage that then. I’m hoping (moneywise) that there is something here big enough. I will need some blues and whites though. I think. There’s some really big white pieces in this quilt, and big is always an issue for me.

But the next part is the fun part…the fabric-choosing part. I’m going to need to clean more of this space up to manage that though. Damn. Forgot about all that. Sigh. So maybe NOT picking fabrics tonight. We’ll see.

By the way, if you’re interested in one of the smaller quilts (cats, birds, hearts), I suggest you tell me soon, because I’m going to put them all up on Etsy sometime this week, and I’ll have to raise prices to do that. Under Recent Work, Catching Cancer 2, Owl 2.0, Cats 1, 2, 5-7, and Heart in Hands 1 and 2 are all available. Also, Birds 7, 11, and 13 are also available…see below.

Bird 8: Purple Bird, 18.25“ w x 14.5“ h, $205.

Jul 27 14 008 crop med

Bird 11: Dove 2, 10“ w x 8“ h, $100 (no binding, no sleeve, hangs on rings).

Sep 1 14 020 small

Bird 13: Diving Bird 2, 10“ w x 8“ h, $100 (no binding, no sleeve, hangs on rings).

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Just contact me on the website or in the comments. Shipping is included in the ones I did this year, unless it’s going international. The birds will need to have shipping added. I include hanging hardware. Think of the holidays…

Let’s Think Good Thoughts…

Hallelujah. The righteous day has arrived. The day before a week off, not really a vacation because there are 10 tons of stuff to be graded, but at least I don’t have to get up early and go to school and manage crazy. Well. Wait a minute. I’m going to my brother’s house and he has three kids and yeah. I’m still gonna have to do all that except go to school. I did ask if I could go to school with the middle schooler. And then thought better of it. I’d just be depressed after that (private school…they probably have money for stuff).

I’m still feeling like I got run over recently, but I’m hoping a few decent nights’ sleep will help. I can’t be sick right now. That’s not fair.

I gave a test yesterday. Here’s how I know I’ve mellowed out as a teacher: I sat there and watched a girl cheat off another kid. She kept eyeing his paper and hers, and I sat there and watched instead of going over there and doing something about it, and then texted my upstairs duo, because I know there are two different versions of the test and she was sitting next to someone with the other version. Yup. I do that shit. Sure enough, she has all the same answers he does, which means every single one of hers was wrong. I’m boggled. And then I was grading these stories I had them write, and I get to this one kid and I’m reading and thinking “He didn’t even write a story; this is just telling me the process of replication.” and I realize there’s no way in hell this kid wrote anything about 5′ and 3′ in replication, because I don’t even teach that. So I pick one of the more complicated sentences in there and I Google it. Pops right up. The pros and cons of technology.

I’m just amazed by how stupid the kids must think we are. Which is why they were telling the cheating story upstairs so that my next two periods coming in already knew it. What’s funny about that is I caught two more kids doing it, same deal. One, I’m thinking, hell, why would you cheat off of HIM? He doesn’t do any work…he’s gonna fail. And the other one, hey good choice kid, she’ll probably get an A, BUT SHE HAS A DIFFERENT TEST THAN YOU, YOU DINGBAT. Were you not listening? Sigh.

At least I have a sense of humor, right?

I had quilt class (which was really just me and Susan bitching about crazy kids and parents and administrators and crap about schools) and finished this one…

Nov 20 15 005 small

Heart in Hands 2, 11” w x 14 ½” h, $215

It has more pieces than the other one (fingers and all). So that’s all the small ones done. I’ve sold a few and may just put the others on Etsy to see if that moves the rest of them.

I cut some pieces out at quilt class and then came home and moved fabric around, trying to get the boychild’s room cleared and the studio back in working order still, especially since I need to be picking out fabric for the new quilt fairly soon…although probably not before I leave for my brother’s house. That was the plan anyway. Oh well. I try. I don’t always succeed.

I didn’t cut out a lot yet…not even one full sheet (a yard or so of Wonder Under)…

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I have two sheets with empty spaces where I’m still tracing smaller pieces, but I had to get a fourth one out for the aorta…

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It went across the entire torso, so I didn’t have room for it on the others. I have one arm, the head, and the torso left to trace. I wanted to be done last night, but was too tired to finish up. I have about 180 pieces left to trace. Maybe tonight? Probably not tonight. Maybe tomorrow morning. Ugh. No, I need to go to the gym tomorrow morning. We’ll see.

I wish I could spend my whole vacation on art and relaxing and drawing and hanging out, but grading will be a significant part of it. My fault as always, but it is the fact of this job that grading is never done.

OK, let’s think good thoughts about the achy headachey spacey thing I’m feeling, that it’s just exhaustion and not illness. And good thoughts about finishing the tracing soon and maybe finding time to draw in the next week, just because drawing is fun and nice and I like it.

Let’s just think good thoughts because vacation is 7 hours and 42 minutes away.

Get on with It…

You know there’s some mornings when you get up and you think it’s going to be fantastic, it’s a reasonable hour to rise on a weekend (well, your dad wouldn’t think so, but he went to bed WAY before you did, so he can just bite your booty), you have a list in your head that is miles long of all the tasks you need to get done. You’ve even prioritized them based on when things like the damn post office close, but you need this container and the post office won’t have it, and even if they did, if you had to cut it down, you’re pretty sure you’d be arrested with a box cutter in the post office, however logical it might seem for a relatively benign science teacher to have one.

So you make your first cup of tea of the day, you’ve actually showered (some mornings that just seems like an affront to sanity), and you’re raring to go and then shit just starts happening. Some of it is still amusing to you, such as the package of 300 razor blades that arrived randomly yesterday in one of three Amazon boxes, only one of which was supposed to ship here. Girlchild sent something here instead of to school, so I’ll ship that to her, which is fine, because I had some slippers to send her anyway and just hadn’t gotten around to it, and they fit in the box. The razor blade box has no shipping slip at all, but is definitely addressed to me, so boychild and I go back and forth on whether friend or family shipped them to me or if it’s some sort of bizarre threat, like I don’t like you and I want to kill you but I’m too lazy to do it myself, so if I send you all these razor blades, maybe you’ll slip into the bathtub and take care of it for me? Or something like that. A quick email to Amazon clears up that a friend DID send me a gift, something to ameliorate the sore callus pokey bit on my quilting finger, but NOT razor blades. I’m still laughing over this one, because Amazon’s email, definitely not sent by a native English speaker, at no point tells me if they will actually send me my REAL gift.

All good, but then I’m in the rabbit hole of school assignments for next week, because I needed to write/revise two versions of the test and all the answers and then decide if the resource teacher should be allowed to have the study guide answers, because if she just hands it to my kids, I will have to throw things. And I’ve been doing that a lot at school already. And making enemies is not a good thing, but I’m just not in the mood for stupidity, especially in people who work in schools. And I wasn’t going to do the school stuff until tomorrow, but one thing on the test was really bugging me, so I made the mistake of looking for that ONE thing and now the tests are done. OK. So the preparing of school stuff came in and sucked up time, and I realized I needed food, went to stand up, and broke the mug my daughter made me that said “World’s Okayest Mom”. Damn. I liked that mug a lot because I thought of her every time I saw it, and so I picked it up and went to carry it to the kitchen, stepped on one of the tiny sharp fragments, unbalanced myself, and dropped the whole damn thing again, and now I’m leaving bloody footprints all over the house.

Fuck me.

Really it’s another do-over day. Or not. Accept. I accept that the quilt that needs to go to Austria is not leaving today. It will leave Monday. I accept that the quilt that needs to go to New Hampshire is also not leaving today. I accept that shit happens. I’m revising my priority list right now. I still need boxes for those two quilts and I need to ship girlchild her things. I can do that today. I can sew labels on those two that need to ship, which I should have done last night, but couldn’t handle for some lame reason. I can prepare them to ship Monday. I can finish the school stuff so I can stop worrying about it. I can do some cleaning, because that is part of the stress I’m feeling, that the kitchen is a bigger disaster than normal (I haven’t been home much at night this week) and I don’t like it when it’s that way.

I can accept that I am a klutz. Why not? Everyone else has. I do actually accept that.

I was playing a game last night and didn’t get home until after 10. But I did manage to poke a deeper hole in my finger long enough to do this…

Nov 14 15 001 small

Cat 5, 12″ square, $175. She’s cute. He? Hard to say. This one took longer to quilt than its brightly colored counterpart, Cat 7, mostly because the thread was cranky and kept breaking. Not fair.

Two more cats and two hearts in hands left. Maybe finishing today? Who knows. I honestly don’t think my finger can handle that. It’s funny, because I know my friend Ina gave me some finger protectors years ago and I put them in the white sewing supply drawers that I kept in the living room until we moved everything last year, and now I can’t find the drawers. Did I do something with them? The things I haven’t moved back into the living room until the shelves get installed (some time in 2020 apparently) are mostly in my bedroom in boxes. But this isn’t there. I’m going nuts. I know it must be somewhere in the house. It’s not small.

Yes, it’s chaos here, but I usually know where everything is. Sigh.

OK. On with the day. There’s nothing else to be done but to get on with it. It really isn’t so bad. I think the bleeding’s stopped, the girlchild says she will make me a BETTER mug, and now I have time to make and sew on labels.