Conversations Are So Difficult Right Now

Sigh. I tried to have a conversation yesterday with someone from “the other side” (I don’t believe there are only two sides to anything…especially in this case, because she seemed to believe she was a feminist, as do I, but there were some other things going on…) about feminism. She claimed there were “Real Feminists” (her term) and they didn’t resort to pussy hats and calling themselves nasty women (um. We didn’t start that. We just took it away from the Orange Trumpet). I asked for her definition of real and fake feminism, because honestly, if you believe in equal rights for women (and for that matter, all versions of gender, as we only barely understand them), then I think you’re a feminist. You can be a quiet feminist. You can be a loud proud and in my face feminist. You can be somewhere in between. You can be a male feminist. You can be all kinds of feminist. I didn’t even know about the WAVES of feminism until a few years ago…apparently if you’re part of the 2nd wave, they hadn’t yet figured out that there was more than one wave. Not that it matters to me which wave you are in…as long as you are in the same body of water with us…so honestly, your politics, your voting history, your life existence doesn’t really matter to me, as long as your core belief is in equality.

I think I was a feminist the first time I realized that male artists were “more important” than female artists (they aren’t…you know that’s why I put it in quotes). So that was when I was about 11. Maybe younger. That said, I have a pussy hat. I don’t have a problem with being lumped in with the nasty women. I make art that seems to be in your face, although, honestly, I don’t make it with that purpose in mind. I get accused of it a lot…of trying to shock people with my art. I honestly don’t care if you’re shocked (I do want you to examine WHY you are shocked). I don’t make art so I can stand on a hillside in front of a million people and yell through a mic a bunch of really inappropriate things that upset people. (like I’ve never ever done that. unlike some people.) I make art because that stuff is in my head and it upsets me and angers me and I need to get it out.

I’ve always shown my art because I think it helps our world for (a) those who believe like me to see that there are others out there with similar feelings and build some consensus around that, but also (b) those who don’t believe like me to see other viewpoints and hopefully work around their prejudices or misconceptions or even brainwashing that there are other ways to view issues and the world. If you’re an artist, I don’t care if you show all your work, show some of your work, or show none of your work. That’s your deal.

I’ve used naked people in my art since I was in college (so that’s over 30 years, folks…not new to this rodeo), because I’m more interested in the core of people, the insides, the body shape itself than I am in clothes and the assumptions we make with what we put on people. I’m not trying to shock you. I don’t think nudity is shocking. I don’t think blood or childbirth or breastfeeding or penises or vulvas or uteri are shocking. If you do, that’s about YOU. Walk away if you don’t like it. I will do the same for you. But maybe stop a moment and try to figure out why you’re having that reaction. Don’t stop when you get to the part where it’s a naked person and that’s WRONG. Why is it wrong? Because it makes people do things (I personally think that’s an excuse, but whatever)? Isn’t that about those people? Nudity in itself is not wrong.

If you’re bringing sin into the argument (especially if you’re putting sin on a brand new baby), then you have to admit that religion is informing your reaction. Then maybe walk away? Or…talk to me: “My religion is telling me that this is shocking because of the nudity.” Then see? We can still have a conversation. I say, “Oh, well I don’t believe that, so you can see I didn’t mean for this to be shocking.” And you can say, “Well, I don’t like it. It shocks me.” And I can say, “OK, then. Well move on. Maybe we can have a conversation about something else…like why a pussy hat makes someone a fake feminist? Or where to buy the best fabric locally?” But there’s no need to be defensive about your answer. Just give me an answer. Not angry, not yelling, just an answer. And if I don’t agree? Agree that we disagree and we both (at least right now, right here, in America) have the right to our differing beliefs and feelings…

I do have a hard time with people who voted for Trump and claim they are feminists, but I’ve heard from a few that they voted for him because in general he supported their beliefs…but there was no one who supported all their beliefs. So they let their feminism trail behind on that vote. I can understand that. I’ve had to make similar decisions while voting…to pick my battles…which sucks, but is political reality. I just happen to have like zero things I agree with Trump on, except maybe Space Force. Space Force (pew pew) is an awesome idea. (OK, you know I’m joking, right? Except I really do like exploring space.)

So I will try to keep having conversations, but when someone else uses the term “Madonna lovers” to describe fake feminists, I have to laugh, because the first thought I had was of the singer, because honestly, I’m not a fan of religion FOR ME. It’s not the first thing that comes to mind. It works for some people…some very good and respectful and loving people. I know some of them. But some people use it as an excuse to do some really evil and prejudiced things in the name of their religion or their god(s), and I don’t appreciate that. Don’t start wars because you think God told you to. God told you to get along. If you’re gonna quote him, then follow him.

I tried. I stopped engaging in the conversation, because she thinks I’ve made her a target, and I didn’t mean to do that. I wanted to know what the fuck she was talking about with “Real Feminists.” Because she seemed to think there was a set of rules for that, and I don’t agree. I’ll keep trying. I’m not giving up on communication. I’m not even sure what a fake feminist is. I know there are women who claim they are not feminists, but they appreciate not being raped or beaten with no repercussions, they love driving their cars and going shopping without a man’s permission, they like to vote, they can make choices about their bodies, they can choose to be the most feminine, lacy, home-cooked meal, princess of the kitchen that they want to be (hell, anyone can CHOOSE that, even men)…so I’m not sure why they think they aren’t feminists. Maybe there should be a reality show where those women go back to before we had the vote, before we had rights, or to countries where they DON’T have what we have here in the United States. Maybe then they’d get it.

Double sigh. Moving back to art…which has nudity and uteri and maybe a penis (not in the current one, sorry y’all). Not because I’m trying to shock you. Go back and read it again. Engage in a conversation with me. Don’t just sit there and fume over something that’s only happening in your head.

It’s still hot here in San Diego. That said, it cooled down over 10 degrees and there was a hint of thunderstorm activity (it rained for 14 seconds), so that helped. Kitten has been living in the sink (it’s the coolest place in the house)…

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There’s yesterday’s baby thunderstorm…more noise than product (ha ha ha…wait a minute, I’m still talking about the Prez).

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I did finish the stitch down…with two fans on me. One was on my face and one on my body. Too damn hot. Lights off (hard to see). My lights in here give off heat, unfortunately. I should fix that.

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In the middle of sewing, I had an art group meeting down at Bread and Salt…I love the murals that keep popping up…and this one, melting, was appropriate.

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Then back to stitching…I didn’t have much left.

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Somewhere in the middle of all that stitching, I saw this. This morning, I redid my fridge whiteboard calendar for the next 5 weeks…and the first day of school is in that last week. NOOOOOOOOO. Yeah. OK.

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I don’t have any money to spend right now, but eventually I’ll have to do all that too.

Here’s the back of the stitched-down front…

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I always check the back to see if I missed stitching anything down. Sometimes I catch it here, before I change the needle out, but usually not.

It was hot enough for a bunny to sprawl on the driveway…we debated putting water out for them. Then we get mosquitoes though. Ugh. Solutions? I hate maintaining fountains (I suck at maintaining fountains. And the water heats up so fast. You see me dumping ice cubes out there all day, yeah? Maybe.

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So before he moved the glass, it was better…there was a horse on the left and a brontosaurus on the right. You can still sorta see them. (yes, I see things in beer foam. I see things everywhere.)

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We came back from (air-conditioned) dinner and I did four more of the orange balls. It was way to hot to have the wool on me, so I quit after four. I think there are 9 or so left.

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And at the meeting, I did more of those coral-colored flowers. They are tiny and cool, but a pain in the ass.

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I also noticed that in the quilt that Sue Spargo did, she stitched French knots all over the wild dog. I like that. But I don’t know if I have enough of that thread to do that, so I’m going to wait until the end? And then probably forget about it. Not sure how to make sure I remember? Maybe write it on the instructions for the last month? That would be smart.

I wanted to draw last night, but I drank too much water and my belly got unhappy and then I got tired and I just couldn’t deal with anything else. I’m hoping to do better today. I know I don’t have jury duty tomorrow, but I have to call in again tomorrow night. One day at a time…one more medical appointment conquered tomorrow, and then hopefully I’ll get Tuesday off as well, because I’m supposed to pick up a quilt and go to the chiropractor (I really need that one)…but we’ll see. Meanwhile, I just need to make art like I’m never going to get any more free time, don’t I? And keep conversing. I’m not writing off the human population…I often want to, and I’m sure they feel the same way about me, but I’d really just rather live in a peaceful, respectful, caring world that doesn’t kill people for their beliefs. Crunchy hippie. I know.

Land of the Some-of-You-Can-Be-Free

Well, America, I’m not very impressed with some of you today. White America especially, some of you are really pissing me off. The thing is, I suspect those who piss me off are probably not reading this blog…because I think that type of person wouldn’t put up with my art either, or my rants. They’re long gone, hiding away in some back-alley private Facebook page, calling me a skanky ho. Well, as long as they spell it right, I’m not bothered by what they call me. I am bothered by their ignorance, their lack of logic (and trust me, I’m not the most logical at times), and their general dumbassery. Their desire to get back whatever they think they’ve lost, to hurt others in the process. As if they have the right to do so. Their hatred. Their need to tear down and break things.

But I’m not sure how to talk to those people. I don’t know how to change the mind of a 20-year-old white male who can’t see his own privilege. I can’t even figure out how to talk to the white folks on my campus who were offended by my students’ anti-bullying and anti-Trump door sign last year. How can you work in my school and espouse the beliefs that you do? I’m like the governor of Virginia…just leave. We don’t want you.

But that doesn’t solve the problem of racism and gender/racial gaps and inequity and what our police would have done if faced with a similar situation except with a less white-washed crowd. It doesn’t solve the problem of how to solve this damn problem! I can’t talk to these people and make any sense of what they say. They feel disenfranchised? Because they’re not better than someone? I’m not sure I care. Except I care that they’re making it worse for the rest of us…no, not just us whitefolks, but everyone else who fills my country. Who make it strong and beautiful and artistic and challenging and entertaining and tasty and sometimes ugly and smelly and warty. I want it to feel safe, not threatened by nuclear war because of stupidity, not mired in fascist Alt-Right idiocy because…shit I don’t even KNOW why. I really don’t.

All I can do is go to school and meet my new mostly refugee and immigrant students, my mostly NOT American-born white students, and teach them how to stand strong and have faith in humanity (some of it anyway) and hopefully some science too. And that not all the white American-born people hate them. Because I don’t. I try not to hate anyone, although a certain orange-faced dickhead certainly gets no kind feelings from me. Or his minions. The ones backpedaling right now as people find them on Twitter or Facebook and out them for their beliefs. Cowards. But even them…I don’t want them hurt. I want them to grow up and change and be more human to ALL humans. I don’t want to kill them or run them over or hang them. OK. Some days I want to put them all on a very hot and dry island somewhere very far away. It’s true. But normally, I don’t want anyone hurt.

It hurts to be an American right now. It shouldn’t. Land of the free, home of the brave. We stole this country, this land, from the First Americans…the least we can do is keep all those who live here safe and give them as much support as we can. Try to make up for previous dumbassery. Try to make it right, best we can. Try to make it better in the future. Starting now.

I finished a quilt yesterday. Post-election, I have focused on women’s rights for a while and now on climate change, although that’s about to change again. There are so many issues that need support. It’s overwhelming sometimes to keep it all in my head. All the quilt needed yesterday was eyeballs…I’d decided not to cut out tiny fucking pieces this time…instead, I would make tiny French knots…this is why I have a thread stash. This is a Finca thread, but a 12…I was looking for a Valdani or Perle 12, but couldn’t find one in the right color, but this is finer than a normal 12.

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This bird originally had two eyeballs, but I decided one was better.

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The sheep and the cows all got to see…

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Tiny little beasts…

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And the fish as well, although I like the whites behind the black on the blue fishies. I also added some ink…

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I took her to the photographer today. Done early!

Then I started sewing the birds together in columns and rows…

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A few beaks got squished in seams…same with some feet. Something to remember as I make more of these. Or not. Here it is all sewn together, after a year of not sewing them together.

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And then the border fabric went on.

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I did cut the fabric for the stems and the 96 colored balls…they are much smaller than I thought they’d be. And I don’t know when I’ll get to them. Sometime, I hope. I have other things to do…processing the American hate of the last few days, moving on to the next art quilt, starting school, sending the boychild back to college. Trying to make sense of the crazy.

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Yeah, Kitten, I know. It doesn’t make sense to me either. I thought we were trying to move past all that into a better existence. I guess you can’t just ignore those people who are so angry at the existence of other. I don’t know how to fix them, though, Kitten. I really don’t.

Love Was Changing the Minds of Pretenders*

Hello International Day of the Woman. Hello American Day without a Woman. I salute you both with a uterus and a few women at work in stereotypical ways…

Art Quilts and Fiber Arts

This is from my newest piece, I Can’t Be Your Superwoman, which can be seen in full at the Visions Art Museum in July. I am going to work today. Yes I know some school districts have shut down for today, but I also know my population. It’s not good for my kids. I won’t shop for anything. I might need to buy food at book club tonight, where we will be discussing The Handmaid’s Tale, which I finished (for the 17th time) last night at around midnight. I’d forgotten the ending. I’m wearing red…ironically, it is my union meeting today as well, a day where we also wear red. Not my favorite color to wear, honestly…but there’s a message there…especially after seeing how the GOP’s healthcare plan bashes women for their reproductive systems. Bashes poor women and their families across the board. How is this better for all? Their ignorance is noted. Their misogyny is noted. Abortions will be expensive and difficult to get…ironically, only the rich will be able to get them. Birth control is again on the chopping block, and maternity care…really GOP? You care about the unborn child but not the mother carrying it? It’s like going back to the Dark Ages. The elderly with no additional income? No break? Pay more. I am lucky to have a good job with good insurance. I know people who aren’t so lucky. I’m betting Viagra is still covered, and so are procedures for erectile dysfunction. Don’t mess with a man’s right to be a man; penalize a woman for being born with this inconvenient set of parts that just happens to be the source of new men (and women, hallelujah).

Feminism

Rants aside…hug a woman today. Or a womanchild. Try to walk in their shoes. If you are a woman, hug harder. We need all the support we can get.

More leaves. At some point, I will have the guts to venture out of the leaves. At some point, the tree will tell me to leave. Ha. Leave. Funny.

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I was a pet couch last night for a while, until I shoved them off and to the side so I could work.

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So here’s how it works when I don’t go to bed early enough…first of all, I started cutting out pieces after doing some other stuff. It was going OK, but looking at the pile, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to finish last night. OK, no problem. I don’t think I said I had to be done on Tuesday. Just keep cutting. I’m watching Victoria at the moment, which I have some issues with (ironically feminist issues), but it’s still nice to watch. I’m tired. I look at the clock. Huh. Well it’s only about 11:20 PM…I’ll finish this episode and keep cutting and then go to bed. End of episode comes. I look at the pile of what’s left and it’s SMALL now. How did that happen? I was not paying attention. Well dayum. I’m not quitting now. It’s not going to take long. Start the next episode, keep cutting until I’m done.

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So that’s how I stay up too late, although I did OK last night. After midnight? Yeah, but not too bad. Then I went to bed and read the last 10-15 pages of The Handmaid’s Tale, because I knew I wouldn’t have time today before book club. That probably didn’t help. But that’s how my brain rolls. And now tonight I can sort pieces and maybe start ironing the damn thing together. Certainly tomorrow I will be ironing…ironing a woman down…ironing down a protest quilt. Seems like a good thing.

*Earth, Wind, and Fire, September

“We Lived, as Usual, by Ignoring.”*

So I was trying to pick a place for dinner this week, a celebration dinner, and I was cruising through Yelp…one of the restaurants that I was considering (and now am not) was Bo Beau, one of the Cohn Restaurants here in San Diego. They have great food and interesting restaurant environments, but on their menu is a statement, a political one for sure, that I just don’t agree with…so I won’t be eating there. Ever. It’s that statement that they will be including a 2% surcharge to cover increased minimum wage and health costs for their employees. You know, most grownups who run a business realize that this is a good thing for the people they employ, that even if you don’t personally want to pay for better wages, for wages that actually might support someone, you should keep your mouth shut to your customers. Because you just lost one…well, and since I influence a few others, a few others will also not go to your restaurants now. Any of them. Good job. I teach the children of some of those minimum-wage workers, Cohn Group, and your lack of respect for their needs and for the vote of the majority is telling. Telling me to go somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong…wrap that surcharge into increased prices without making it sound like you object to paying your lowest-paid employees more? I have absolutely no problem with that. I want them to be paid more. But stop whining about it. I’ll go somewhere more mature about people’s rights to a fair wage.

I’m in political brain mode at the moment, drawings slamming into my head. Wish I had time for that. Part of it is the next birthday, age 50. I’m OK with achieving cronedom in general (wish my uterus would get the hint), although in the specific, there are things I would change in my own life. But that’s a work in progress, always. But the daily wham of stupidity and disregard I see in my elected officials? Sheesh. Meanwhile, my book club is reading The Handmaid’s Tale, which I read when it came out or soon after…1985…the year I graduated high school.

Here’s my cover…it fell off this time I started rereading it…

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Now I just marched in January for women’s rights…because I’m tired of being told I’m not worth as much, I’m not as smart, I can’t make decisions, I’m too emotional or illogical, or whatever other bullshit you’ve come up with about my DNA that makes you think you can decide for me…

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The variety of covers for the book over the years is intriguing…how they decide to depict what the story is about. I’d forgotten about the personal part of Offred’s story. I remembered the main part. It’s been a while since I read it last…

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Pears. Pears?

I also marched for women who couldn’t march. I marched for more equality for ALL women. I realize being white makes a lot of things easier for me than if I were any of my students, women of color, women with disabilities, women of a variety of religions, immigrant and refugee women. It doesn’t make sense to just fix it for the rich white chicks. It’s been unfair for so long…even more so for others. I’m tired of it.

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Don’t tell me to smile, to laugh, to ignore. Don’t shut me up. Don’t tell me to be nice. Don’t apologize for me.

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Some women having more rights than others for any reason doesn’t make sense. A bunch of rich white men making that decision doesn’t make sense. Why would we want to go backwards?

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This cover completely creeps me out. It’s from the first edition hardback released in Canada in 1985, artist Gail Geltner…a collage artist and feminist.

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I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane last night and there was a creepy moment in the movie when the male character couldn’t come up with the word “woman” with regard to the main female character. Although she was obviously an adult, he used “girl” and “princess”. As creepy as the movie was across the board, that moment sticks in my head. Like YIKES.

No video for you though…sorry.

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Yeah, I enjoyed my foray into the Prisma app.

This is a nice cover…except why flowers? Because she’s fertile?

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And they’re calling the 1980s vintage again.

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This cover…there’s pills and syringes and umbrellas and gloves and nooses? With your umbrella? The bleeding heart flowers…those are from the book.

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I actually think this is the best cover of all of them.

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If you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s relatively short. And Atwood is an amazingly eloquent and psychic writer.

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Here’s the whole picture of the wall (a WALL?!) that’s on my cover. A wall? Controlling women? Controlling immigration? Getting rid of the constitution? Protests? Oh sigh. It’s going to be a long presidency. At least I know there really was a conspiracy against those with uteri…I didn’t imagine it. It just wasn’t in my face all the time. Now it is. Thanks.

With that, I’m going to wear what I want to the grocery store and read the signs and buy what I want, even lotion if I like it, and I’m going to come back and make some political art with a uterus in it (oh wait, dammit, there’s no uterus in this one…just a vulva big enough to hide the world in). And you can’t stop me. Yet.

“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Your Ignorance Is Showing

It’s after midnight. I’m not gonna finish writing this tonight. But it’s in my head, and I straight-up know I won’t go to sleep until it’s out. Simply put, I’m in a mood…I’m pissed off at all the political crap that’s bombarding us on a regular basis. The stupid decisions that aren’t seeing the big picture, the world view. I’m irritated by having to deal with a president who is only barely more mature than the majority of my students. I want to bitch slap all the…well, shit, most of them are Republicans, so I’ll start there…who want to get rid of human rights and instead promote racist and sexist propaganda. Who think it’s OK to put people in charge who don’t understand science, whether it’s climate change or homosexuality, mostly I think because reality scares them. Who want to destroy the environment so they can make money. Dammit I remember Los Angeles in the 70s and not being able to take a deep breath. Who think China made up climate change. Who think the Department of Education is only for rich white people. We don’t need to educate poor people, right? What the hell? I keep thinking, “Your ignorance is showing.” Did I tell you my meditation app has an SOS setting? For when you need 2 minutes of meditative thought because a bunch of men are refusing to listen to an intelligent, educated, ELECTED woman read a letter about human rights…that men were allowed to read later. I’m boggled by that…absolutely boggled. I listened to a mom tonight almost in tears about her worries that her daughter’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan, for those with learning disabilities) would be scrapped by the incoming Education Secretary. Well yeah, because that shit is going by the wayside…along with a million educators’ jobs. And 8000+ EPA jobs. (Who are we making great again? The great unemployed masses?) And the dumbass ignorant rants from my state senator about immigration issues. And others who think a wall will stop the drug trade (wow. really?), let alone that Mexico will pay for it. Or those who think vouchers will be good…why? Because they’re rich white people. And that’s who vouchers benefit. If you don’t have money, your school choices are what you can walk to…they can’t just up and move to La Jolla. DeVos’ assertions about school ratings are so damn IGNORANT that you just want to invite her, as another teacher said, to come stay in my house, in my reality, come to my school and sit through a week, AT LEAST, of my classes. I’m not a shitty teacher because I teach in a Title 1 school…I’m in a Title 1 school because they need me there. Try, just try, to understand the social background of my students and realize that some of them are just glad to come somewhere that feels safe and has food on a regular basis.

And this doesn’t even touch what happens when the stupid decisions and dumbassery start a war. Because that’s looming.

I know for most, I am preaching to the choir. And many of you are feeling as torn apart and stressed by this as I am, and it’s not because I’m a fucking snowflake…it’s because idiots are damaging the world I live in…for me and for those I care for. So I will keep yelling until the pendulum swings back (fast please), because this is not acceptable. And the country I live in allows for protest…it was built on it. So if my rant offends you, so be it. This snowflake (I am so NOT a snowflake) doesn’t really care if you’re offended. I want to know WHY you’re offended, simply so I can probably say, again, “Your ignorance is showing.”

Meanwhile, protest art exhibits and concerts are proliferating, which I think is great. I love listening to the whiners, the ones who think we shouldn’t make MEAN art or PROTEST art because they had to suffer through the last president so why don’t we just shut up. Yeah. They can bite me. “Your ignorance is showing.” I’m making art. I really need this quilt done so I can make 17 more. Like now.

OK. Now I’m going to bed. I’ll write the rest tomorrow…

So I didn’t finish last night, but writing that helped me sleep. I had book club last night, and near the end, when we were done with the book and a few of us were just chatting, which turned into that up above, there was this guy at the bar, maybe 30 years old, and all of a sudden he yells out something like Fuck De Vos! or something, and then apologizes, and then lays out a very well-designed plan for taking care of all this chaos…something about using the government to become a trained assassin and learning how to change his identity with their help and then going out there and “taking care of” anyone who was an issue…sigh. I think there’s a movie about that. At the time, we’re all joking about that as a solution, but we’ve all thought about it, because there doesn’t seem to be a calm rational way to change what’s happening. But sitting around and waiting for the ninja warrior to take out key players in the chaos is probably not a good or healthy plan.

So I’m choosing the art resistance mode…here’s a call for entries for one of the resistance shows popping up…

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I already have work for this one. So if you follow me for my cool quilts, hopefully you realize that most of them have a message, and it’s about women’s rights usually, although sometimes it’s just about being female…which apparently now is a lesser thing again, making me clearly remember being told multiple times that I was imagining a conspiracy against women a few years back. Imagine, My Ass. Your ignorance is showing…and in that case, it was a liberal…but still a rich white male. And if they say it doesn’t exist, honey, well then you KNOW it doesn’t exist, right? My ass. Did I say My Ass?

I came home, and you know, I worked an almost-11-hour day yesterday for school alone, plus an earthquake/fire drill and then a fire NOT drill…so I stitched. Not very much…the lighter-colored fly and lazy daisy stitches on the right. Not sure why. It just happened.

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I’m actually not sure there will be enough space on this for 12 months of stitching. I think I decided 12″ square was enough…We’ll see. That’s 39 days of stitching there…326 to go?

And then it was 11 PM, so I came in and quilted for an hour. I got the skull done…

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And the ribcage on the outside of the arm, plus part of the arm.

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I was hoping to finish that whole section, but it was late. So I wrote the screed above and went to bed, although it was probably 1 AM by then. And I’m up early again today for yet another official meeting, possibly one where I’m told to make nice with another employee…but I don’t know that anyone can make me do that at the moment. If you’re in the school system and not serving my students? Because? Then I’m not really interested in making nice.

I’m looking forward to coming home tonight and finishing the outlining at least. There’s not much left. I really need this to be done…not because I have a deadline (I do), but because there’s so much else that needs making and saying and yelling and drawing, and I’m going to keep saying it until it doesn’t need to be said any more. I don’t actually believe that will be in my lifetime, dammit, but I’m still not going to give up.

Don’t Let the Days Go By*

So I seriously overestimated how long it might take to trim the Wonder Under, which is cool, because now I get to start ironing to fabric today. And I didn’t even think I’d get that far yesterday. Around 8 PM, when I was still grading chemical reactions quizzes, I was sure I’d be cutting Wonder Under into today. OK, well, I guess technically I DID cut into today, but I did it in the middle of the night. Until 1:30 AM. Yeah. And then dogs were up early today, so I’m on less sleep than I’d like, but honestly, it’s more sleep than I get on an average school night.

For some reason, I thought grading the quizzes yesterday was a good idea. I think I just wanted to get them out of the way. Now I only have two assignments left…one quick and easy one (that’s today’s) and one bitch of a fucker. Yup. That one is waiting in the wings. I walk by it and shake my head. I’ll do it…but I won’t like it.

Someone asked me yesterday why all their teacher friends were posting at the beginning of break that they were done with their grading…and I’m still grading. For one thing, my co-teacher and I have basically given up almost all of our prep periods to planning this year, since everything is new and we have zero curriculum from the state or district. So that’s time-consuming as all hell. We also don’t use a lot of multiple-choice stuff, because honestly (at least for me), I don’t think it really shows an ability to think critically. We would have done it with the last quiz, with a short answer or two, but the school takes the kids’ Chromebooks before break, so we had to do it on paper. Dammit. Yeah. Timing. Sometimes it sucks. There’s also a bunch of online questions we do as short-term assessments…honestly, if we don’t give them something to focus on as a goal (answer this question), they often won’t finish anything we give them…it’s frustrating. And those take time to grade. It’s not that they’re lazy…they often don’t have parents who value school or education, or they have parents who are illiterate or close enough to it. If you don’t see education as a way out of wherever you are, then you certainly aren’t going to teach your kids to value it either. You’re going to buy them that new technology for Christmas even though they’re failing every class. When they tell you math is hard, you’re going to agree with them, instead of encouraging them to keep trying.

But I keep teaching, even as we face an incoming administration who thinks the 10% of kids in private schools whose parents can afford to send them there have more rights than the 90% of those who we have to take, who we can’t kick out when they don’t achieve or when they behave badly. I don’t know how many kids I’ve taken into my classroom and managed over the years who were kicked out of charters because they didn’t fit what the charter wanted…good grades, hard worker, well-behaved. Yeah. I get the ones who need more help than that. And I teach them. Every day. Please make my job harder with your ignorance. I saw a Facebook acquaintance post about how deVos must be a good choice if all the teachers’ unions were up in arms over her…it was difficult not to respond to his ignorance…living in his rich white community…with no insight to what teaching is actually like, to how difficult some days are to just keep them all from catching on fire…let alone to get them to actually learn something, even if it’s just how to think. His kids have motivation to learn…from him. He is completely clueless as to what it looks like to teach in a low-income public school with limited funding. Why we let politicians be in charge of schools, I just don’t know.

So with that in mind, I’m just gonna finish grading…because for whatever multitude of reasons that I’m not done, it’s gotta get done. Next year will be easier because of all the work we’ve done this year. And that’s something to look forward to in 2017.

That said, I still have quilts to make before that happens. It took a total of about 8 1/2 hours to trim all the Wonder Under…otherwise known as about 12 episodes of Supernatural (OK, I watched some other stuff in there…).

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You get to see my socks and pajamas in that photo…1400 cut pieces in the bin on the right…trash on the left. This morning, I’ll sort them (that will probably take over an hour, maybe close to two)…I’m waiting for the girlchild to leave, so I can watch something besides cooking shows while I’m doing it. Then I’ll grade the short and easy assignment, and then do college financial aid crap. I bought two background fabrics yesterday (couldn’t decide), so I’m ready to start picking fabrics…except the studio is a disaster area at the moment, so I’ll need to do some straightening up. I haven’t even put away the fabrics from the last quilt I finished. OK, so that was only two weeks ago, but still.

We went out to dinner last night…good stuff. Italian. Crazy girlchild face.

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Dogs when cold will cuddle. Briefly.

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But first I need to eat. Did I draw yesterday? Nope. No time. Grading took forever. I’m good at doing the have-to stuff first before the art stuff…unfortunately sometimes. I do need to try to draw too today. OK. The to-do list is made…let’s see where that goes.

*Bush, Glycerine

Saying It’s Not a Catastrophe*

I think my brain just stopped. I woke up to news (again) of internment camps and registries, woke up too early because I have to be at school to help with a rewards breakfast, probably for a couple of Muslim kids, as well as other types of kids…honestly, if we’re going to do internment camps and registries, let’s start with those who kill the most in our country: white males with guns. OK. Once we have that camp going (which probably includes a goodly number of my neighbors and even probably my dad, although not my brother, hallelujah), THEN we can talk about the next largest group who kills people here in the United States. And just a clue…it’s still not Muslims. How does any of this make sense? Is there a white male politician internment camp being planned? I say we pick a state who wants them and put a wall around it. I’m pretty sure I could write an fairly entertaining dystopian (except NOT so unreal and in the future at the moment) novel about this.

I know I’m not the only one waking up every morning at the moment dreading what’s being reported next. I guess there is solace in that. I’m gonna go hug some kids today…ALL of them. I talked to one kid yesterday who hates (with a passion) the US military. You know why? They bombed his town. He lay in (under?) his bed at night listening to glass break and bombs fall, he heard how our soldiers talked to his people, and he hates them. I don’t blame him. We had a good discussion. He doesn’t hate America. He doesn’t hate all Americans. He just hates the military. He’s incredibly intelligent…and I talked to him about finding a place for that anger…about processing it. Meanwhile, very few kids want to say the pledge of allegiance still, and there are days when I feel the same way about it. You want white supremacists and women-haters and Jew-haters and Muslim-haters and let’s just break it down here…HATERS in charge. I don’t get it. I won’t pledge to that.

I made art. Slowly. Tiredly. I went to the gym and the chiropractor before that…so it was already late. I keep forgetting how much I like the gym. I should remember that more often.

You may not know that I have to escort (with flashlight) two dogs outside multiple times a night. They’re both scared of the dark, and one doesn’t like water either (sometimes that shit falls from the sky). I’m not sure I understand why she likes to stand in the ferns, but she does. She’s not peeing. She’s not doing anything but standing in them.

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Weird dog.

Here’s all the fabrics I used last night…lots of browns. I just realized I cut out all the dirt except for the dark part around the hole, and I put all those fabrics away. Dammit. I was tired last night.

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And I didn’t even use that pink one on the right. It was too much trouble to put it back though. I need to install a light under the desk so I can see the fabrics under there better. Home Depot trip in my future.

Here’s everything I’ve ironed down. I haven’t gotten very far…I’m in the 100s. But it’s taking me forever. Deciding which browns and grays…I stared at the grays for about 20 minutes last night trying to find a lighter brownish gray to go with the other two I’d already picked…this for a mole who is about 2 inches across. Sometimes my brain doesn’t work well. It probably didn’t matter THAT much, but eventually I found a third fabric that worked.

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Today is a long day…and I’m not sure I’m ready for any of it. Too tired really to handle it well, I think…and yet I will have to. True for all of us, I guess. Although if you’re one of those who is currently fist-bumping the air over the internment camps, I’d tell you to piss off, but maybe, really, maybe what you should do is come visit my classes for a day. And meet some of them. And tell me why those kids (or their parents) deserve to be harassed. Or you can just quietly decide to stop reading my blog. I really don’t care which you choose.

*Aimee Mann, Humpty Dumpty

This Is Not My Beautiful World…

I am so disheartened by the country I live in at the moment. Although having lived elsewhere, I know that it probably doesn’t matter where you live…there will be things that humans do that I will just be entirely incapable of understanding. I hear anger toward other…but as a teacher, I have often had students who are other (insert group name here), and I know from experience and years of teaching biology that we are all the same, just a tiny tweak of DNA. It just makes me want to weep to think of one of my kids, my students (because they ARE our kids for some short period of time, and we always continue to think of them and wonder if they are OK), being hurt or killed because of this crazy stupidity we call Protection, Right to Bear Arms, Vengeance. Whatever. It’s anger. It’s fear. And it’s not necessary. We are no longer in a predator/prey relationship, trying to survive against nature. Now we apparently have to survive against ourselves, because other humans are out to kill us, harm us. Stop trying to find a scapegoat. If you have anger toward another group or people or gender or whatever, then it is you.

And I know that most who read my blog are not. And I don’t know how to get this idea across to the angermongers. I can’t even imagine if one of them is President. How that will roll. Art is supposed to help with this, but I know none of them will all of a sudden look at a piece of art and arrive at a revelation.

This world we live in. I just don’t get it. Why people think it’s OK to act that way. I just don’t get it.

I have to work this morning. I’m trying to find the right mindset. I object to having to push all this…sadness…away into a corner of my brain so I can continue to copyedit. But I have to…to survive. At least to pay the bills. And continue to ponder how to get across to the increasingly crazy killers that they need to stop. That it would be a better world if they did. David Byrne’s song…Once in a Lifetime (OK, it’s Talking Heads…not just David)…this is not my beautiful house…this is not the world I want to live in. Not my beautiful world. I hate not being able to visualize a solution…besides get rid of the damn guns. I wish we could just do that. A start. See where that takes us. Because this is just crazy.

Back to my regular blogpost…but know all that is still in my head…running circles around any attempts I make to live a normal life.

I had my monthly stitching meeting last night, and Julie brought a thread (OK, she brought bags of thread) that she thought might work for the flower stitching…

Because here’s what 13 of them look like on the left (OK, I didn’t really count, damn you)…half of them are that magenta color, and half are purple. Half have the silk velvet center and half have a cotton center that is a similar color. And I think there are two different colors in the body of the flower. But I had no more of the pink thread. As it was, I had to pick a near color for the flower and the center…so in the whole quilt? I don’t think anyone will notice…

And if they do, it was on purpose…to let the evil spirits out…right? Fact is I finished stitching everything and there was an empty space that bugged me. So I filled it.

Now I can back it and quilt it and bind it (well, except I have no working sewing machine, unless I go pull the old one out). And no time to quilt it. Minor issue. It’s still done. Ish.

Then I was working on the other birds, the last three, at the meeting…

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I had already finished all the background stitches in the beige/gray color, so I added feet and stitched around the eyeballs. I just found all the eye buttons when I was cleaning off the couch the other day. Who knows how long they’ve been there. Years. So all the decorative bird embroidery is left.

Meanwhile, I am still…STILL…cutting stuff out. I’m almost done, if by almost, I mean less than 10 hours. Because I did 3 hours last night, and there’s still a chunk left to do (14 hours in so far). Here’s the trash pile…a huge amount of fleshy bits.

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See…this is what’s left. Of course, you can’t see how big any of the pieces are that need cutting when they’re upside down…I do know that top two are all crane feathers, so not huge, but not tiny.

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This is everything that’s cut out…the box fills…slowly.

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Side by side…the to-be-cut on the left, the already-cut-out on the right…you can see progress.

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So yeah. I have to work. And run some errands. Stuff that guarantees my paycheck. And let the part of my brain that is always trying to solve problems wander around up there and attempt to find peace. For all of us. Wish I could see that.

Feminism? Or Not.

I started this post two years ago and was collecting links, but really, I should just let it go out into the world…as I tell you about the new show I’m in, Feminism Now. It’s not the 1st, 2nd, or the 3rd wave…it’s just what we are now, and if you’re a woman and you think you should get equal pay and not get harassed when you’re on the internet or out in the real world, for any reason…your clothes, your looks, whatever…then as Maisie Williams offered up, it’s not that you’re a feminist…”I also feel like we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist. People get a label when they’re bad.” And I don’t care if you’re male or female or identify somewhere else, if you don’t agree that it should be as equal as we can get it? Then you are sexist. You are making it worse for everyone with your attitudes. Knock it off.

Here’s the announcement for the show…the opening is May 14, 6-10 PM, at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. It’s during the Barrio Art Crawl, so there are about three galleries just within walking distance of Gallery D and others close by.

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I have two pieces in the show about being a single mom and what that looks like…one from 2011 and one from 2016…the updated version.

This is an interesting article about sexual harassment and geek culture by Dr. Nerdlove.

Here is an interesting article about the role women’s magazines played in the beginnings of feminism. Because I used to read mom’s magazines, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, etc. when I was growing up. And they do make you question how you’re doing it…I’m Womaning Wrong is the basic message I got out of it.

Here is an article about feminism and comics, another issue…”For me, a feminist comic is one in which female characters aren’t just a plot device providing male characters with an opportunity to react. They aren’t a thing to be rescued, fucked, killed and discarded. Feminist comics show women as people, not tits and ass whose stories are only interesting if they’re sexy.” –Casey Gilly, providing a list of 15 feminist comics. And yes, there are way more than what’s here, and I love that we are now seeing choices out there for girls and women to read…because we ARE reading comics and watching sci fi and playing games, and y’all need to get with the program and respect us.

Here is a page Lucy Knisley did about nerd girls.

Here is a BuzzFeed article by Kristen Radtke called Let’s Draw Naked about why we should have more depictions of women drawn by female comics doing things normal women do…so boys realize how normal those things are and stop calling us names for being normal. And now let’s add in ideas of sexuality and trans and gender-queer and accept those in comics and stories and gaming and movies.  And even in toys for kids. The whole Star Wars Where’s Rey? issue. Seriously people. Do you HATE us?

Here is an article about a Gender in Comics panel at San Diego Comicon 2014…and I love the comment that Laura Hudson (writer, “Wired”; former EiC, ComicsAlliance) makes,  “If you’ve grown up in a situation where everything is about you and is catered to you, I think there is a degree to which equality can be perceived as oppression,” said Hudson. “If you’re used to having everything be about you, to some degree, and then suddenly it’s not, I guess in a way you perceive that as oppression.” And in recent discussions about all the superhero movies and how they portray females…sure, some of them are STRONG, but then they’re dead. Or being saved by Thor. Or whatever. Hudson continues, “If you work in the bell factory long enough you stop hearing the bells. I think super hero comics has stopped hearing the bells for a long time, but now you have other people coming in from the outside and [the gender issues in super hero comics are] very apparent. Having the Internet, having these other perspectives that are suddenly in front of us and are not subject to gatekeepers and are far more able to be heard exposes a lot of [these issues].”

Here is a blogpost about how to figure out if you’re a feminist. If you’re still reading, you probably are. If you clicked off and are now swearing about hairy women who just need a good fucking, well, you’re gone, so I’m not talking to you anyway. That’s the problem with talking about feminism…the ones who really need to hear it aren’t listening. Well, except for the boys who THINK they’re all pro-women and talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Their actions show them to be what they really are. They WANT to be feminists, but they don’t have enough empathy with women to actually BE one. By the way, this blogpost is funny. It’s not a test or anything.

Here’s an article about why feminism needs men. It’s fucking annoying, honestly, that we can’t just say, HEY, you fuckwads are doing it wrong without men having to support it for it to be real. There’s one of the major things wrong with society Right Fucking There. That said, if you’re a man and calling yourself a feminist and ACTING like it too (because you can’t just say it, you have to show it), then thanks. At least you’re not one of the bad guys.

Oh shit. Don’t accuse me of hating men. I don’t. I hate power trips and sexism and violence against anyone and I really hate that like over 60 million girls don’t have access to a decent education Just Because They’re Girls. That is truly fucked up. But I don’t hate men. Because feminism doesn’t mean hating men. It means hating privilege and inequality and violence and stereotypes and all that. Are you really gonna say you’re pro all that stuff?

Here’s an article about Anita Sarkeesian and the whole sexism in video games issue. If you’re a man who thinks there’s no problem here, wow. You need to be a woman for a month. Maybe then you’ll get it. In fact, that’s one of the things that drives me nuts. Men who don’t think there’s a problem. Way to downplay my existence, asshole. Why not speak up for women’s rights and deflect some of the rape and killing anger that has been directed at women who dare to criticize the gaming industry. Because I look at all those games and I know I don’t belong, simply because of how my people look when I log in. Even the book from Cory Doctorow, In Real Life, the young girl gamer picks an avatar who is much much skinnier than she is…and why? Because we know you don’t want to look at us any other way but cute and pretty and laughing at your jokes.

It’s not like there haven’t been new links about sexism in the last two years. I think I just got really overwhelmed by the negative vibes towards feminism…especially with politicians and tampons and Trump and pregnancy and my growing invisibility because I’m not a hot 25-year-old (wait. I never was a hot 25-year-old). Coming up next…my women’s art group is doing a show on Sexism in the Art World, and yeah, we’re going after Comicon as well. Because if we keep yelling, maybe y’all will stop. Or start making it all equal. Like it should be. So posting this now…with added content.

Vacation Rant…

Late today. Ya know why? Cuz it’s vacation. That’s why. Hallelujah, because even though I still will have to work almost every day over break, at least I can do it in my pajamas on my couch (OK, well, not every day, because I’m going to my brother’s house and I don’t know where I will be grading there. I just know I will be grading.). I think every goddamned idiot and politician (oh wait, those might be an intersecting group) who thinks teachers are overpaid, money-grubbing child-haters should come teach in my class the week before a holiday. By themselves. On the same bathroom schedule we get. And then go home and grade all the shit we grade. Yeah. That. Fuckers. I think half my team (or more) hit borderline exhaustion by the end of day Wednesday. And we got up and taught for two more days.

I worked corporate. This does not fucking compare. At all. My job is physically, mentally, emotionally, and intellectually exhausting. I haven’t been a teacher all my life. I have many years of experience outside of education. I’ve worked in the corporate world as support staff AND as a professional, and I’ve also been self-employed. This job kicks your butt.

So I deserve this week AWAY from the classroom. Don’t kid yourself that I won’t still be working. I will. Some manage to not work all break, and I know that’s what I need, but I can’t afford it right now. I’m aiming for that for Winter Break. But that means busting my butt a little right now.

Moving on. I got up this morning when I wanted to. Well, after Kitten woke me up to inform me of the imminent rabbit invasion. I calmed her down, explaining that a single rabbit was not going to take down our kingdom. And then went back to sleep, trying to make up a few of the missing 2 hours a night from the last three months of teaching (that’s 140 hours short right now…gonna take me a while to catch up).

I finished tracing Wonder Under on Bathtub 5 this morning…

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As you can see, it’s all piled up, ready to be cut out, except for the cat butt on the sheets. If you have cats, you know they must inhabit all of your projects. I eventually got her off of them, but she swiped her claws at me, so I gave up on trying to cover the light table again. Eventually she’ll go take a nap and I can clean up after her.

Both cats desperately need more attention apparently than I am giving them…

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Both of them stalking me. It’s too bad they don’t really like each other. They used to be OK, but not after Babygirl. Oh well.

As you can see, it is a beautiful day in sunny Southern California. It’s supposed to hit 90 degrees. So I’m heading for Seattle and snow, and kind of panicking about clothes and shoes, but whatever. I’ll take a big sweatshirt and complain a lot to my sister-in-law, and she’ll give me shit for having thin blood. Damn straight. I live in So Cal for a reason.

So artwise, this week might be a bit of a wash. I need to go to school tomorrow to finish grading all the cell models that were turned in. I’m hoping to finish cutting out all the Wonder Under by tomorrow night. Then last night, while trying to fall asleep, I half-dreamed moving all the drawers around in my office so that the colors I use more would be more accessible. Luckily, I recently replaced all of them, so it would be pretty easy to just pull drawers and move them. But I’m not progressing quickly on the rest of the clean up. Because I’m never bloody home! Or I’m grading. Or I’m exhausted. So I didn’t leave much time around the house this week to get shit done. Oh well. I’m looking forward to hanging with my lovely family! OK, my crazy family. So I’ll probably get some drawing in up there. Although, my big sketchbook doesn’t fit in my luggage. I’m thinking of a trip to Michael’s to get a medium-sized one. I have a lot that are 9×12″ and the one I draw most of my quilts in is 14×17″. So something a little bigger. I think. And smaller than the big one. If I can find a coupon. Found one. Love the internet. Really, I do. I also ordered a small keyboard for my iPad so I can type up some stuff on the plane. Can’t use the work computer for that. I may have a bit too much tech. It’s possible. But it makes some things so much easier and faster. Unfortunately, there is no tech at the moment that can help me get the studio straightened up. It’s just gotta be me.

I have to say one thing about the refugee situation. I honestly think many Americans have lost their humanity, that they are so backwater in their NIMBY attitude, in their fear of everything government, the military, and politics have brought down on us, that they cannot even see the fear and hardship in the eyes of the adults that are coming over from Syria or wherever, but if they can look in the eyes of these refugee children and still be assholes, then I don’t want to live in the same country as they do. My America is not those people. I hate what we project to the rest of the world sometimes, and this is one of those times. These are the kids I teach. You hear their stories, you see how small some of them are from not enough good food, and you know the shit they survived, and for anyone to think these people are terrorists…hell, I live in East County San Diego…we have some big fat white terrorists brewing right here, some true crazies. We grow our own. And they call themselves Christian. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush say they think we should only take the Christian refugees. What the fuck? I don’t care what your religion is…don’t use it as an excuse to turn away people who are starving, terrified, and scared to death. We take them in, we take care of them, we teach them, we help them. That’s what America is supposed to be about…hell, that’s what being human is supposed to be about. If you don’t believe that, then there is something seriously wrong with you. I’d like to think the students I have hear me talking about acceptance, about not hurting each other, about the biology of ALL humans, and they will grow up with that in their heads and hearts, not the hate rhetoric that I hear every day on the news. My Muslim students don’t hate like some of the Christians I’ve heard from do. They just want to be safe and warm and be able to learn without bombs falling on their schools.

That’s my rant. I’ve spent too many days listening to this shit and shaking my head at the crazy. You don’t like it? Don’t read my blog. Easy.

OK. Now I can be on vacation.