You Paid Me Well in Memories*

October 18, 2017

Everything takes too long. Everything you don’t feel like doing or don’t want to do, it takes forever. It actively gets in the way of the stuff you wanna do. It’s like a large man in a smelly suit standing in front of the dessert menu. Seriously. Move it, dude.

I worked last night…grading stuff. I have to. It needs to get done.

But I couldn’t do it forever. I still don’t have the mental space to draw. I don’t know when I will. Soon I hope. Time is dribbling away in days. Watching the countdown on my phone. Crap! Holding onto 17 daily tasks that pop up on the phone and then I still forget to do them, slot them into the calendar for the next day. Hope I remember them eventually. I start ignoring the reminders. Not good.

So I guess my yearbook alter ego for this year isn’t quite right. Oh well.

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This is blurry. It’s not your eyes. I did some stitching under (on top of?) the eyeball.

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This is the only exercise this thing is getting right now. Me too. It doesn’t help when it’s 100 degrees out.

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So I gave up and started ironing this at 10:30 last night. I couldn’t do anything else. I figure I can iron it to fabric and then it can sit around for a while again.

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Hopefully when I get done with ironing, I’ll have a drawing brain.

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I didn’t get a lot done…remembered I had to put all the other fabrics away, and then got lost in trying to make the blues work.

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It’s something though…and that’s good.

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It’s where my brain goes when school is too stressful. I’m not even sure why it’s so bad at the moment…too much stuff to do? Pressure of being observed by someone you don’t even know (that part sucks)? Who knows.

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Midnight doesn’t. But she’s inhabiting the blue drawer.

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She waited until I found all the blues I needed before she plopped her fat butt in there. Good thing.

OK…meeting before school…maybe too many meetings is the problem? Could be.

*A Fine Frenzy, Think of You


I’m a God-Dang Rolling Stone*

October 16, 2017

Monday mornings. You know already what most of the day looks like. It’s gonna be hot. There’s a cool thing you’re doing in science, but then kids have to turn a major assignment in, and that’s always a hassle. “Did you mean TODAY? I’m not ready.” So where I worked over the weekend to make sure stuff was graded and done for YOU, you chose to do nothing, the same kids I caught trying to do their homework in class on Friday. We don’t work at home? I do. Maybe that’s a mistake (I don’t think it is), but certainly it’s something you should know how to do. Being successful in college doesn’t mean getting it all done in class…the same with many jobs. You make time for fun stuff too, true. I do that. Not as well as some of my students, ironically. Ending the day with my favorite past time…a staff meeting. Oh yeah baby.

So in good news, I finished the quilt. My photographer’s not answering email (minor issue)…but it’s ready for photography. It took almost 100 hours. Seriously, like 7 minutes short of 100 hours. I spent a good chunk of time on Saturday and Sunday sewing down binding and sleeves. Big is not fast in this instance…

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Saturday night was out and about…this had no name…but I loved it.

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Plus this sign…

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And these lights…

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Home relatively early, so I did three nights of catchup on this…

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Finishing the eyeball. Still not as free and loose as I’d like, but maybe that’s just me.

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Last night, I inked the quilt…just some additional shading and detail. Sometimes I feel like they need it…sometimes they don’t.

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And then I piled it up on the ironing board, ready for ironing and dehairing for the photographer.

It’s hard when you finish one (late, like 9:30 at night) and you have the next one ready, but you’re not ready to start it…mentally. I often don’t have a lot of down time between pieces, and the next one is a drawing that’s enlarged and ready for all the rest of it. But I needed some space from this last one. I graded for a while…was really efficient for once. But I’d been on Facebook and Instagram, and the #MeToo stuff was getting to me. For one thing, I don’t like following a lot of trendy/fad stuff online. But this was legit, in that I think most men don’t have a clue that every woman or female-identifying person around them has dealt with this…and not just once…many, many times, some violently, some so vague that you didn’t know it happened until you were processing the day in your head. Some annoying, some creepy, some downright scary. It’s harder having a daughter, because you know she’ll deal with it too, and you’re fairly sure you didn’t prepare her for it, especially because she comes home and tells you about some incident where her friend behaved the way you would have, shut it down, but your own kids thought you were just paranoid, when in reality, you’d just tried to impart years of bad experiences, and obviously didn’t say it right. Or because of that mom/daughter thing, she doesn’t listen. She has to make her own experiences, and you hope that it’s more of the mild instances and not the scary ones. The irritating, annoying, is that all you think I’m here for? instances. Instead of the ones where you’ve got your keys in between your fingers and your heart is racing and you’re evaluating all the ways out and how fast you can run. Or even worse, it’s your boss and the way out means losing your job and benefits and you can’t really afford to do that.

So I drew. It’s not an awesome drawing. It’s just a drawing. I’m a visual person. So there it is.

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And I’m lucky to have one of those men in my life who’s sitting there shocked at all the women in his FB feed who are typing out that hashtag, and who comes in and hugs me, says he’s sorry, sorry for all those assholes who don’t get it, who think they’re entitled, who may not even realize what they’re doing, because they don’t think before they act, or worse, those who have thought about it and can’t see why not. Does this hashtag rebellion reduce the impact of what Harvey Weinstein did? Fuck no…because he’s in a position of power, but even those who aren’t think this behavior is OK, and we need all those men who do NOT think it’s OK to yell about it too…because we women already know it’s all too easy to tune our voices out.

On that cheery note, happy Monday. May y’all survive the start of the work week, and maybe the catcalls and abuse will abate slightly today because of everyone putting it out there.

*The Roots, The Seed (2.0)

I Was Feeling Part of the Scenery*

October 14, 2017

I totally forgot that I have two quilts at PIQF this weekend…so go check them out. They are part of the Threads of Resistance exhibit…

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Thanks to Ellen November for the photo…she confirmed that they are not hidden away as well. The Mancusos are kind of used to me I guess. I wanted to go up for this show, but this month is a crazy asshole and that’s not happening.

Speaking of crazy assholes…

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So last night, I was ready to sew the binding on, and I realized I had an issue on the back. I should have cut the backing bigger than I did…oh well. So I thought about how to deal with this…because honestly, it’s on the back, so who’s gonna care.

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The quilt police and I are not on speaking terms.

I put the miles of binding on…

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And then the sleeves…and added a little piece of the background fabric under the sleeve, into the binding seam, so it would cover the small piece that would show.

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No one is gonna know…I’ll hand stitch it down while I’m sewing the binding and sleeves down. Problem solved!

Then I went to watch that band I always watch. Crashed their event, bought a glass of wine, then mooched the second one (the table I was sitting at was totally empty). And started drawing. Damn, I miss drawing. Need to shove that into my schedule. I keep saying it and it doesn’t happen.

The wildfires in Northern California are on my mind…

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I try to stay out of the newsfeeds, but stories about animals being rescued or still being there after everything burned, or old couples holding onto each other in swimming pools all night. Aargh. The fires aren’t fully contained, evacuations are still happening, the death toll will surely rise. So freakin’ sad.

And I have 17 errands to run, 3 hours (at least) of hand sewing, and at least 5 hours of grading to do. There we are.

*Peter Gabriel, Solsbury Hill

She’s a Bad Mama Jama*

October 13, 2017

Well. Some days one’s plans do not follow one’s plan. It is what it is. I’m grateful that I’m not in the middle of hurricane wreckage or fire danger. Although I keep looking at the sky for some evidence of fire…must be training after the last two big fires down here. There are so many disasters at the moment that it’s hard to know what to support, where to send whatever it is one can send. I did just add wildfires to the next quilt list of ideas. Certainly the amount of plant growth we had in the last year because of all the rain might have been a factor in how out of control these fires were. Although if these were human-set fires, that’s a whole ‘nother level of crazy with which I can’t deal. Humans are pretty fucked-up creatures.

So with all the fuckedupedness swirling around in my brain (that IS a word), I left school yesterday to buy binding fabric for this quilt. It didn’t take long to find one that worked…and a few others, because I like fabric. You might have noticed.

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The bottom one is the binding. The top one is sloths. I have no need for sloth fabric. Except sloths. Yes. So that explains a small portion of my stash. And now that I have the orange fabrics home, I think I already have the top one. Sigh.

So I was supposed to come home, eat, and go to the gym, and that all fell to hell at some point. So I graded shit for about 3 hours…well, and dealt with union stuff. I’m pretty sure there was something else I was supposed to do, but whatever. Sometimes that’s just the way shit works out. I think I figured I’d rather grade all that stuff LAST night than tonight. Although I will probably still grade tonight. The never-ending spew of assignments that need attention. The plus is that when I personally counsel kids, they turn shit in. The minus is the spew of emails and stuff that needs 7 clicks to access instead of 1 because it was late.

Anyway, this happened around 10 PM…I hate trimming quilts. It’s a pain in the ass. Some part of me just wants to hack haphazardly at the edges and come what may. And then the ordered part of my brain that wants the focus on the image, not the edges, comes in with the rotary cutter, kneels down on the floor at 10 PM, and carefully cuts, straightens, and measures until it’s square. Not square in shape, but sides perpendicular and square edges.

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She’s about 62 x 67″ I think now, finished. The plan tonight is to get the binding on. And email the photographer? I know I want to ink this one too. We’ll see how far I get tonight…I might have another plan that keeps me from getting far on this.

So this year at school…we did a lot of planning last year. This year, we’re tweaking stuff. That means supplementing some of last year’s stuff so we can make sure kids understand the concepts. We were lucky to get a big chunk of money last year for materials and equipment…and we’re making sure we use it. So today, we’ll be doing a demo with some elements, showing the kids some of the physical and chemical changes that can happen to certain types of elements.

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And we made a video (well, my coteacher is putting all the clips together into a video) so the kids who were absent can watch what happened…so the workload is still pretty hefty at the moment. In fact, the next unit barely exists, because we didn’t need to teach it to last year’s kids…they got it in 6th grade. So we need to make that happen somehow. I can’t say it’s easier than last year…well, maybe it is, but it’s still pretty time-consuming. I can tell you that dropping acid on metal is fun and so is hitting charcoal with a hammer. I do have a strange job some days. From personal counseling of about 50 kids to hammering elements.

OK. Thinking good (although mostly useless) thoughts about Northern California…and Puerto Rico (because the president won’t)…and everyone who is losing health insurance and Las Vegas, damn the gun people, and anyone else who is staring at their news feed like I am and wondering why. At least it’s Friday. Peace out my loves. But first, this might help…

*Carl Carlton, She’s a Bad Mama Jama

I Never Felt So Much Alike*

October 12, 2017

Hello morning. You are way too dark and you came too early. Ha. Ha ha. Oh dear, my head is not pleased with the lack of sleep. It will have to deal…because…I finished quilting! It was (apparently) loud and fast, but a little over 2 hours later, I was done with the background and all the weird little spaces and the one bit of outlining I missed and the green of the chalkboard. It took a little over 13 hours to quilt the whole thing…less than I thought, but I think that’s because I really did try to reduce the detail in this one to get it done in time.

I was successful. Good to know.

Working on the eyeball still. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I finish the sclera. Maybe just sew flowers all around it.

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We’ll see. Ha. Ha ha. Eyeball. Get it? See? Yeah. Brain. Thanks. My early morning brain is a punny teenager.

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Even Midnight doesn’t think it’s funny. Sometimes she gives me these looks while I’m quilting and I think I’ve greatly offended her. This is one of those looks.

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Really it was just a lot of beige on beige.

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I think that’s the first beige quilt I’ve ever done.

I had a few of these little filler spaces to go back and quilt. The last fiddly bits are always the biggest pain in the ass.

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The back. The light color is the chalkboard, which I didn’t quilt tightly at all. It needed some quilting, but not a lot. The crazy stuff on the right is quilting around the atom model.

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I laid it out for binding measurements and to do a rough check that I hadn’t missed some totally obvious thing I was supposed to quilt.

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The sucker is big…currently about 70×65″…but it will trim down a bit.

I’m not uber-fussy about the quilting. Some people are into very tight quilting, but it’s usually part of their finished image, how they want it to look. I want the fabric to be the image…the quilting works as a drawing line with the outlining, and then to make the background recede…and to hold the damn thing together…but I’m not a fancy quilter. I don’t think my quilts need it.

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There’s the atom from the front. I was lucky and had a green thread that worked well with both greens of the chalkboard.

Today I buy binding fabric and get the binding sewn on so I can do the handwork. That’s going to take about a million years and I have so much grading to do still. Ugh. Oh well. I will be getting it done this weekend. I should email the photographer, right? And then start trying to mentally process the next big one…the due date is a while out, but it’s a big one, so I need to be realistic. Whatever that means. Because I’m a little crazy when it comes to making these sometimes. I do love making them though…even when it hurts to look at them. That’s probably a good thing.

*The Clash, London Calling

I’ll Just Be Myself*

October 11, 2017

Apparently at some point during the quilting, it gets faster and more mindless and I guess even easier because you’re not tracing around things…you’re just filling in space. I don’t really like quilting the backgrounds. It’s boring. It goes on forever. But for some reason, last night it didn’t. It was fast and easy. It was hard to make myself stop and go to bed (although I did). I kept thinking I could go until I finished (that would have been a mistake). Sometimes being an adult with a grownup job just sucks. I’m jealous of friends who can do art all the time (although they don’t…they do other stuff…like sleep and read and raise kids). Kidding. I did quilt for 3 hours last night though.

I did this first though…still working on that crazy eyeball.

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Speaking of crazy…the dinner break required much furry beast interaction…

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And this happened.

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That’s some serious ear cleaning. At least he knows his job. And she doesn’t mind. He tried the other cat too, but he wasn’t having it.

The days I do an hour of tutoring after school, I really don’t feel like coming home and working. So I don’t. Usually. I went straight to quilting after dinner. I finished the little bit of outlining I had left…

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And then started quilting the space around everything.

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I remembered to keep it big and loose instead of tight and time-consuming.

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That was a good plan, because I made it more than halfway around…

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I have about a quarter of the bottom, the left side, and a bit on the top, plus a few inner spaces between arms and armpits. Then trimming it and binding it (that will take a while). But it means I can shop for binding tomorrow. That’s good. That’s more on schedule. Deep breaths…this asshole is almost done. It’s not that I don’t like the quilt…I do (and I really wasn’t sure in the beginning)…I’m just tired of the subject. It hurts to quilt this one. I have a hard time even looking at it.

So. Yeah. There’s that. But now I have to get to school early for a parent meeting. Hopefully one that will go somewhere. Ha.

*The Puppini Sisters, Jilted

My Back Is Broad but It’s a Hurting*

October 9, 2017

A little over 6 hours of quilting this weekend…I did more than that of grading and school stuff, unfortunately. It’s not as far as I wanted to be, but it will do. It has to do. It’s what I did.

My niece posted on Instagram yesterday about making Sunday an art day but it’s never enough, and I told her she had to do it every day. She’s young. I didn’t make art every day for a very long time…life gets in the way and then kids. But now it’s a mostly daily practice (unless I fall asleep or have some nighttime activity)…and I think that’s best for me. It helps me process stuff…calms me, helps me be less of the crazy I would be otherwise. My brain goes in circles sometimes, but art helps me reign it in.

This cat is strange. He likes running water.

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This puppy is pitiful.

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And this plug. The extra light I have for my sewing machine hasn’t been working since before the last quilt. I knew I had the old one, so I went and found it, but then tried to pull the plug out. Well I know now why it wasn’t working…that sucker was melted into the surge protector.

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Nothing else was, so it seems like it was the plug’s issue, not a bolt of lightning that I didn’t notice.

I went back to quilting after grading some in the morning. I wasn’t going to, but there’s a lot of late work piling up and I wanted it out of that folder. So I did it.

Then quilted…

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And quilted…still outlining…

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I don’t have a fancy setup…just a big table where I manhandle the big massive fabrickyness of all that. This one is big and…well…big.

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Here’s where I mostly got…the whole chalkboard is done and all of the female figure…

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Except her other arm…I started working on that, and then it was after midnight and a school night.

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Need to remember that shit.

More quilting tonight…maybe I’ll be doing binding next weekend instead of before that. We’ll see. I’m 6 hours in and I suspect there’s a bunch more in my future. Same with the grading.

*Rolling Stones, Beast of Burden