Portland in Review

We’re back from Portland. I haven’t slept much. I’ve been awake since 4:42 AM. I did go to bed early, so I think it was about the same amount of sleep. It was a fun trip, too short of course, but I think I might be able to handle the rest of this week. We’ll see. Perhaps the sub notes will send me over the edge. Certainly some of the student emails I got over the weekend might. I’m getting a shirt that says “It’s not fair…” and then something pithy. That my students won’t understand. Like most of my shirts.

Anyway, we picked Portland just because. We had to use a flight before the end of the year and we didn’t have much time, so we didn’t want to spend it all flying. Portland was a good distance, had some entertainment stuff we liked, had some friends we liked, and the man had never been there. Plus we might do a camping trip up there sometime. A ways out. So this was just kind of checking it out.

My ex-San Diego friend Susan (she’s not my ex-friend…she moved to Portland recently) picked us up and pretended to be our Lyft driver. We fed her lunch, which we don’t do with our Lyft drivers…

She then dropped us off at our Airbnb…with a stop at a grocery store for some supplies. We did talk about the street art and the homeless population…comparing Portland’s treatment to San Diego’s…

No spiky rocks planted there to keep them from camping out…

It was a longish day of travel…we were up early…so the man crashed out for a couple of hours. He needed it.

I graded stuff and drew and read my book. I’m good at entertaining myself.

Our Airbnb was up a huge hill, right next to Forest Park. Pros: right next to Forest Park and great views. Cons: huge hill.

We did walk down for dinner. The cold is not something we’re really used to, but we layered up. Ate dinner. Decided not to walk back. I would have. The man called a Lyft.

We got up at a reasonable hour the next morning, ate breakfast, and walked the half block to the first trail…

This was cool.

It’s been a while since we’ve hiked together…and it was good. Lots of dogs and misty rain and runners and green, so much green.

We went out Wildwood Trail for a good 4 miles or so, and then hiked down to the road coming back. It was shorter on the way back, but a healthy start to the day. Then we did a bunch of stuff that involved two Lyft drivers, wandering through Powell’s Books mindlessly, some chicken wings and cider or beer, plus seeing an old high-school friend, his wife, and their dog (dog is sweet), plus more walking, some more cider or beer and some food, plus this…

That’s from a dollhouse in the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium…

Which reminded me a lot of an alien museum in Roswell, NM, that we enjoyed…although I wanted to file a complaint about this…because that’s not needlepoint.

So there.

Drawing in bars…my specialty…although this was a bottle shop…

This was a painting outside a food co-op…

And this was the drawing I finished on Friday…

Sort of out of order. Here’s Saturday’s drawing…

finished in the bottle shop. I persuaded the man to walk back to the house! I know. He probably had a bit too much beer in him, but we made it! I think that was 7 miles total.

Sunday, we got up, ate, packed, and our lovely not-Lyft driver took us to the airport…on the plane, we saw the first sun we’d seen since we left San Diego, plus one of the volcanic majesties around Portland. We saw two, so this might be Mt. Hood…it might not.

Someone knowledgeable will tell me. Drawing 3 happened in the Las Vegas airport, surrounded by people with hangovers…

And then we were home…the man left to go get the babies, who got spayed last week…and are quite recovered. They look sleepy there, but that was after 3 hours of rampaging around the house…

They are officially ours now…paid for and our problem.

I consoled the old lady, who missed us. Maybe.

She helped me grade more stuff. It’s always good to go on a trip right before grades are due. I really only graded in airports, except for the 2-hour nap thing. No, I’m not done. I’m close though.

This morning, babies are up and crazy again…

Stitches my ass. They are not feeling it now.

OK. Gotta go to work. Teach kids. Ignore the whiny It’s Not Fair crew. Grade some shit. Give a test! Whatever. Hopefully art this week, beyond just drawing…not that I don’t like to draw. I truly enjoyed giving myself that time this weekend. Keeping that in mind for the future. Oh yeah, Portland…we’ll be back…maybe with a tent and more hiking time to spare…

Ditching

I’m not at school. Not going today. Going on a quick weekend trip. Crazy timing for that, but it’s possible there is never a good time. Currently sitting in an airport… not sure where getting sick is more likely: school or airport waiting area. They both are cesspools of germiness.

Kittens made it successfully through their spaying; we’ll see them Sunday.

I managed to find (at a store, 10 minutes before they closed) a background for the quilt…

It’s even washed, but it needs to be pieced. It didn’t happen last night. I exercised, graded the last of the hellacious essays, and packed instead. I even posted my Patreon video. All good.

While I was grading, Kitten explored the tree…

Very closely.

Well I’m hoping this is a fun trip. I packed hiking boots. Doesn’t that guarantee fun? More later…probably while I’m sitting in an airport somewhere. Back to trying to finish grades…

A Weird Wind

A weird wind came through yesterday afternoon, and now I can see too much of my neighbor’s house (leaves fell off the two trees that normally block most of my view). I guess it’s good because I get more light in here, but I’m not a fan of seeing the neighbor’s house, so there’s that.

I haven’t been sleeping well. Can’t fall asleep, brain is in overdrive, could be school stress, could be life in general, could be hormones, could be caffeine, although I haven’t changed my intake, so why now would it keep me awake? I dare you to send me another article about more sleep and health. I’d do it if I could…I just don’t do it well. Maybe the hot flashes and weird blood sugar numbers are on their way back in with the insomnia. Who knows.

I did an artists’ talk on Saturday afternoon, after a different art group’s meeting…

One of the bathtub quilts…gotta do another one of those. I have no idea what I said. But I said it.

Saturday night was mostly grading stuff, but also visiting these two babies…

We’re fostering them as of tonight, I think. One of them is more extroverted than the other…

Hey. Play with me. Now.

Hopefully it will all go well with this old lady…

who was caught with her head in the handle of this plastic bag. We’re hoping she wants to play with kittens more than plastic bags. Let’s see how it goes.

We got another campsite booked for our Spring Break trip. I call this the Easy Bear Access campsite.

Right down that hillside. No, seriously…it’ll be a good time. No showers for 5 days, but that’s all good. Dad’s like recommending more campsites after this, and I’m like, 5 days? I’m gonna need a bed. An actual bed. Never mind the shower.

I graded a lot this weekend. We went to dinner at the parentals and I made lunches for the week (that’s one thing less to worry about) and finally, around 11 PM, I made it to the studio to iron stuff. This is where I realized that all the water, hills, and mountains behind the figures should be all the same fabrics, so I numbered stuff illogically. This pile is all the water, and includes pieces from the 100, 200, and 400 boxes.

That’s not annoying to do at all. So I’ll be continuing to do that tonight. Searching through boxes looking for 7 specific pieces. Hopefully. Got two more classes to slog through on the big grading unit.

All the 100s laid out…will move on to hills and mountains next…then the body starts in the 40s, I think.

Something like that.

I’m watching Mars…which goes back and forth between reality in 2016 and fiction in 2033. I’ve been trying to take notes for my students, blurbs they could watch…but it’s hard to do that AND iron.

I should recruit Kitten as my secretary.

My goal is to get everything ironed down by the end of the next weekend, then cut it out and start ironing. I don’t know if I can do that. I already have way too much to do next week.

I’m not really a fan of Thanksgiving week. It’s always full of work and driving. But at least there’s no kids or labs or politicians traipsing through my classroom (that’s tomorrow). And I can pee when I want. That’s a thing. Seriously. Maybe I can even sleep in a morning or two. That’s a thing too.

OK. Five more days. Head held high. Food healthy. Deep breaths. Maybe try to remember to meditate in between the panicked moments.

We’ll Survive, but There Might Be Tears…

My heart is still racing, my stomach is in knots, I’m running on an adrenaline rush…why? Because today was the day to try to reserve campsites in Yosemite for Spring Break. Oh yeah. Well. That was a clusterfuck, but we got three nights. In a row. In the same site. We’re old. We don’t wanna move. We could. Well, actually, we probably couldn’t. In 12 minutes, almost everything was gone except for a night here and a night there. TWELVE FUCKING MINUTES. OK. So it’ll be crowded and annoying because people, but YOSEMITE. So we’ll be fine. And we’ll book lonely far-out places for the rest of our trip. Or whatever. The man will tell you I was yelling, “What number! Give me a number!” as he kept asking “Why isn’t it giving a reason?” I’m like, seriously? Because it’s booked. Apparently he wanted like a message saying which nights were gone, and the computer took a while to refresh the availability and other people have bots or alien technology or better internet than I do. Whatever. WE HAVE A SITE. I’m good. Let the other people get eaten by bears because they got a better site. We’re going to hike all the time anyway.

Plus it might snow that early in the year, so there’s that. WE’LL BE FINE.

So that was my start to a Friday morning. It’s stress stress stress for the next week. We’ll survive, but there might be tears. Pilates last night helped. So did art stuff. But I spent a good long time doing work stuff yesterday. Emergency meetings. Managing groups for today. We set up for the lab but still need to do materials. And we have duty.

At least we have a campsite for April.

So when I load photos for this blog, I usually do a quick run through the photos from previous years (I really need to organize photos at some point…some months are totally organized. Apparently November is a chaotic month in every year.)…and it’s interesting that I was in exactly this same stage on a quilt on November 15 in 2016 AND 2017. I don’t know which quilts…I’d have to search more than I have time for right now to figure that out.

So I sorted…

It was late…but it was also fast…

A whopping 35 minutes. Did I clean the office? Fuck no. That will be tonight. Hopefully.

Slightly blurry due to psychotic movement.

Anyway. Crazy day. I need to go. But this first! I’m excited…my piece is here in San Diego! OK, it’s been in San Diego all this time, but now it’s officially finally part of the Tiny Pricks Project AND hanging in San Diego…

Even better, the infamous Diana Weymar staring at it and smiling…

Tres awesome.

OK. Off to the slaughterhouse. Oh wait. No. School. Yeah. School (no commentary on school shootings here. Today anyway.).

A Lot of Artsy Things…

I was gone for a few days. There was some chance I could have written a post yesterday or Saturday, but mostly I was tired, so I didn’t. I did do a lot of artsy things in the last three days though.

I finished the papercutting/embroidery class with Bhavna Mehta on Friday…and made a house. Each of us picked a body part for our house. I picked the vulva because multiple people picked uteri. This is the back of the house…I drew on the back and shaded what would get cut. To embroider, you need to make the holes where the stitches will go.

You also have to think about whether stitches will cross your cut area…that would be bad.

Also it seems to work better if you do all the embroidery before you cut. On one of my practice pieces, I tore the paper because I was trying to embroider after I had cut. I’m sure with practice, this gets easier.

I was going to make another layer of hair for this section, but we were running out of time…so I cut instead.

Then the next part is to make the house itself. I also made sperm and an egg to hang from the roof inside the house…

The building was pretty easy. And then we put them into a little body part village…

A uterus, an ear, a heart, a ribcage.

A side view of mine with the sperm and egg floating around in there.

A couple people didn’t finish…I was looking at this as a practice piece.

A couple of feet, an eyeball in the back, a better view of the heart…

I have a few ideas of what I could do in paper and embroidery, but I think they would be a lot like my teacher’s work, and not necessarily mine. I’ll think about it.

It was a fun class anyway. No matter what I do with it.

When we got home, I had planned a birthday trip for the man…up to Temecula Wine Country. We stayed in an RV…and I stitched in the morning.

I don’t know if we’ll ever stay in an RV again. But it was a quiet and relaxing morning…

Until we headed to the first winery…

I signed up for a Groupon tour that would drive us around. We were a large group of 24 people. We went to three wineries: Maurice Carrie, Longshadow Ranch, and Oak Mountain (the Cave). They were all nice enough. It was a warm day, though, and shade was often inside…

Although we did find a table in the shade here…

I drew a little. These wineries are big money for this area. And there are tons of them.

We had a good time. And a long nap afterwards. Then we headed out to Old Town Temecula for dinner.

Harvest is in August…

We’d been talking about doing this for a while, so it’s a good thing we finally did (note to self. Who plans shit? I plan shit.).

Sunday, I had an art meeting to come back for…so we came back kind of early (damn roosters). The man was done with trying to live in an RV (yeah). At the meeting, we had planned to start our version/contribution to the Tiny Pricks project…I had a few pieces, but couldn’t pick a short piece of text. Then one of the leaders asked me if I’d do this one…

Aack. Well, the big piece of text will fit on it. But I need to put it on a backing. Somehow. So you can see all the stuff. So I brought it home. The interior stretches…the edging does not. I’m trying to decide how to do this. Dark background, then bright text? Or gray background, black text? Not sure. I found it kind of overwhelming last night with not enough sleep in the last…well…ten days. Let’s be real. It was a very busy ten days. So I’ll try to make a decision on that today. Not sure how I’m going to transfer the text…

With all that in my head, I worked on this a little more.

She’s close to done. Then I need to wash this one and the last one, plus design and stitch one more.

Plus finish a quilt and copyedit an entire book. Uh huh. I worked on a public video I’m doing for my Patreon…and then started the private video for my patrons…

Kitten was glad to have me home again.

And then I started the tracing on the next quilt.

I don’t have much time for this. So I’m trying to be efficient and on task. Ha! Well. We can always try. Busy weekend. Honestly, they’re all like that this summer. It feels like there’s no down time. Oh well. I overscheduled myself.

What Kind of Heart Doesn’t Look Back*

First of all, I would like to thank that hyper little guy RB who was sitting in the front of my classroom playing Uno and coughing all over the desk (I even moved away from him) for the oogy feeling in the back of my throat right now. Ah yes, the gift that keeps on giving…a student cold. Woo hoo! Thank you thank you. C’mon immune system…I fed you avocado and bok choy…do your thing! I know I’m still tired and running low, but you can’t make me be sick on top of all of that. I need recovery time…not something else from which to recover. Sigh. Head down on desk. Go take your vitamin C. Again.

So things are happening around here. Cleaning (a little) happened. My office got straightened up so I could iron in here. The kitchen table is slowly appearing. This space…this space, I have not touched. At all.

Really, I could just blame the cat. But it wasn’t her fault. I’m not sure how to organize some of the stuff over there. That’s part of the problem. I think I need to buy two frames and maybe some matboard. And some organizers (NOOO…I hear my son yelling that there is no need to buy MORE things. I should just throw some out. I did do some of that yesterday too.). Whatever. I am a messy person, but a mostly organized messy person. My studio is a prime example. Of course, I would love to have a studio two or three times this size, but I’ve seen the genetics, and my mom’s studio looks just like mine. Except bigger. With more organizers.

I am considering boxing up the crazy quilt stuff and opening up that space…but it’s largely inaccessible space…so that doesn’t necessarily help. I’ll think about it. Certainly the blues, greens, purples, and whites have expanded beyond the bins I have. This was my straightening up before the new quilt…found a place for the completed embroideries, put all the fabric away from the last quilt, swept the floor…

Now I’m ready to iron. I didn’t actually do any of that until around 10 PM.

We spent 2 hours at the vet…ugh…Simba needs his teeth cleaned and Calli has some huge lumps that need handling.

We’ll be back on July 1 for those things. Fun stuff.

After dinner, we (I) had finally decided to get STARZ so we could watch American Gods. And I love it. Totally worth it. After eating, I finished the house on the first September Folk Tails block, which has been sitting around for months.

I think I’m taking this with me to all the design conferences I have this summer…I can’t sit and listen to people talk for hours. Then again, the one next week has 3 hours a day of Improv. Um. OK. My social niceties will be challenged. I guess it’s a good thing I’m there, for the introvert insight. Like you’re killing your introverts with all your plans! You need to give them the space to learn and create in a comfortable way too. I think people forget that when they plan shit. Unless they are one.

So after all that and whatever else I was putzing around doing (I exercised), I laid out the first 100 Wonder Under pieces…picked a background (I always have a few)…you can see it in the back there.

And starting picking fabrics. Ah bliss…

Here’s where the stress relief is…right here. This is what I’ve been waiting for…

Dirt and rocks…

Yeah. That’s good. Strangely, the quilt my Patreon community picked has those red rocks of the desert that we spent all of Spring Break driving and hiking around, but this drawing is a couple of years old. I had Earth Daughter and wanted to do some different versions of it, and this is the next one, Desert Daughter. Next up? Body parts and cactus. All good. This won’t take long. Then I should draw Ocean or Mountain Daughter? Maybe.

Today is not the day it will happen though. I’m fully booked, I think. Maybe tonight? We’ll see. I might just collapse.

Speaking of the Patreon, I just posted a video on there of me ironing a tiny face. It’s the second video of the month, so almost all my patrons will be able to see it…for only $2 a month, you can see me ironing the most tiny eyeballs ever. The next video is already edited…it’s me drawing…which is kind of cool to watch, I think. That will release the first week of July or so. Next up I need to do my June drawing for the Patreon…looking forward to that in the next week.

*Sara Bareilles, Breathe Again

There’s Always Time Until There’s Not

Apparently Pinterest thinks I like bread and cheap date ideas. I’m not sure what to think about that. I mean, I do like bread. It’s true. But I don’t think I’ve searched for cheap date ideas. We’re pretty good at coming up with those on our own. Some not so cheap. I’m sure Pinterest has some sort of formula for trying to engage with me. It mostly fails…because it just gives me “pins that are like yours”…well, there’s only so many recipes for that one thing I wanted that one actually needs. So fail.

I am still jet-lagged or tired from life in general or I went into this trip exhausted…why did I think I would get LESS exhausted? Yeah. This weekend is looking pretty sweet. The sleeping part anyway, which I still suck at…I went to bed early last night and then couldn’t fall asleep anyway, despite the exhaustion on the couch. I should have napped there…like father, like daughter? I think he sleeps in chairs more than in beds.

I had all this stuff I was going to do after school yesterday, but I got poured on leaving school (without a jacket, because it’s May in Southern California for goddsake why is it still raining?), so I went home and changed into pajamas instead. It’ll all happen today, I guess. We have another day of testing today. Yesterday was OK. Long. Tiring I guess. I’m trying to get stuff graded and put away. My co-teacher and I tackled the prep room and got it mostly handled. My room is still an issue, but there’s time for that. Of course, there’s always time until there’s not.

The rainbow later in the evening from my house.

It was bright and beautiful.

I came home and cleaned and labeled and ironed and packed up a quilt for a show opening June 8, Indoor/Outdoor at the Athenaeum Arts Center in Barrio Logan. It’s a cool space and looks to be a very interesting show.

Then I dealt with email and online stuff, graded some stuff, talked to the SIL, embroidered a little on the new one…

Which is probably the strangest of the 6…and then cut stuff out for a while.

There is progress, but I’m not done. I want to be done by Friday, so I can start ironing together.

I say I don’t know what I’m going to work on after this, and that’s true, but I have some smaller drawings that are ready to go, all enlarged and numbered and begging to be quilts. So that’s probably the best way to go. And then I’ll have some mental space to draw an abortion quilt. Because I think that’s next. I like to pick really popular topics that everyone can get behind. Rolls eyes. I pick what pisses me off the most. Or makes me cry the most. Or worry the most. Or all of the above.

So there’s that.

I have some pictures from the trip that didn’t make it into the blog before, because WordPress on the iPad is a cranky bitch, that’s why. (Much like me? I heard that. I own that.) We had breakfast at a nice little place with an outside-by-the-river seating area, and this was my tea. That cup fascinated everyone. That is not a cheap cup.

But it is fascinating.

This is the house we stayed in. I just realized they had solar. Huh. I didn’t see the front much.

I did hang out in the backyard…

In fact, I did a drawing MOSTLY out there and documented it (sort of) in a series of videos that will be the next Patreon video…here’s the drawing itself…

So I talk about my sketchbook and how I decide what to draw and all that. It’s about 4 or 5 short videos that I will edit into one. Hopefully tonight. I’m really hoping the jetlag backs off a bit by tonight.

A picture from moving the girlchild’s stuff…this is the lovely elevator that only things can go in…

And these are Canadian geese and babies from Walden Pond.

I realize if you live back east, you see these guys all the time. I don’t. They are very cool. Plus babies. And the water reflections are fascinating too. Yeah. Art brain is whining about wanting to draw. She’ll get to do that this weekend, if not sooner. My patrons will also be getting a drawing from me by the end of the month. Which is like next week.

OK, so another day of testing and at least getting to have lunch from off campus and to hang out with the teachers I never see because we don’t have the same lunch, but the first 4 hours are a pain and you’re not able to pee until an adult shows up to cover your class (somewhat awkward). I don’t know what the hand signal for that is…but seriously. I’m looking forward to summer for many reasons, but mostly for being able to pee when I want to. The wondrous world of teaching…

Tonight? Work on video, finish cutting stuff out. Or get closer to it anyway.