The Dew Will Settle on Our Graves*

‘Tis chilly here in sunny San Diego…some random cold front making it colder than Ithaca, NY, where the boychild is, but probably just for today. I’m pretty sure that will change soon enough. Cold enough to make me a dog sandwich on the couch, a cat sandwich in bed, though. Amazing how close they’ll get when it’s really chilly.

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Yes, I actually cut stuff out with the two of them like that. It wasn’t easy. I’m used to one box on either side of me and one on my lap. Instead the boxes were precariously perched on either side of dogs who move erratically.

Earlier, I graded…because that’s all I ever do…and this one was already half in my spot. She didn’t move until bedtime.

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It was a frustrating day at school. Independent thinking is probably not best achieved on the first day back after a three-day weekend. I still remember what happened Friday, but not so my little chickadees. And even once I got them through a review, then I wanted them to come up with categories. Oh My Goodness. You’d think I had asked them to cure cancer. In my top class, chock full of honors students, I got one table with three categories: True, False, and IDK. Um. Ladies. They’re all true. LAME. It’s OK…today they will have to use what they did to make more sense of the world. I’m just damn cruel that way.

So yeah, I graded because grades are due soon and I know I will run out of time. I always do.

But I also was done with grading and dinner and all that dishery (I even cleaned a bathroom…just one and not the floor) around 9:30 PM or so and I did a few drawings in between cutting out the last of the pieces.

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I like this one better…of course…because it’s weirder.

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I did about 2 hours of trimming last night to finish up everything…with a total of 9 1/2 hours into the process. Box on top is the trash. I’m putting it in a ziplock bag with the trimmings from the LAST quilt and mailing them to someone whose address I saved (seriously, I did…). Box on the bottom will get sorted into bins tonight for ironing probably tomorrow night.

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I have book club tonight, so I will go out and socialize with my tribe. Plus I read the book. So that’s a plus.

Girlchild has some access to Messenger this week, although she is back to camping in the wilds of Madagascar. On the beach. Near a hotel. Where no one likes to go.

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It looks somewhat like my Spring Break trip to the redwoods last year…except the trees are smaller.

She’s really enjoying this. I’m really glad.

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They seem to take care of the kids…unlike my group when I went abroad in college, which flew me to London and kept me there for about 3 days, but then sent me off to the wilds of Aberystwyth with zero support…although I think they gave us Thanksgiving dinner…that’s something. I guess we were less likely to die of a nasty disease in Wales. And they apparently spoke English there, although some days that was questionable.

Anyway, today I throw cellular respiration into the mix. That should make smoothies of my students’ brains. It’s OK…they’ll survive. I might not.

*Tom Waits, All the World Is Green


Rough 12 hours in Nida artmaking world. I got home and Midnight seemed more dehydrated. I had a vet appointment for today, but I changed my mind and took her to emergency last night. Probably a good choice. Still waiting to see what the specific issue is, but it’s something in the GI tract, gallbladder, pancreas area. Later this morning I’ll have more info, hopefully before I have to start teaching, since I’m not the best emotionally with this shit sometimes.

At the vet last night…she wouldn’t stop nervous purring…she doesn’t like the vet anymore than the rest of us…

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I hate leaving them there. Then I don’t sleep.

People always comment on the cats in my quilts. I think I’ve had a cat since I was about 7 years old…I didn’t have one in my actual household for the 4 years I was at college. After college, I think it was about 3 or 4 months before I got Juniper. It didn’t take long for more cats to show up. I think 1989 was the last time I only had one in the house. We maxed out at 4, which was rough (emergency situation) and only lasted about a month. We lost a couple to coyotes in the early days of letting them out. Now they are all indoor cats.

The oldest one was 16 when he died…most of them live to about 13. They’re almost all rescues of some sort. Midnight was plucked out of a tree outside the Target in El Cajon. We heard her mewing from the indoor soccer field across the way. We put signs up and no one claimed her. She’s officially the girlchild’s cat, but you know how that goes. Midnight is currently 12 1/2 years old…I thought she was younger. She doesn’t act like an old cat. Let’s hope her body agrees.

Satchemo is the newest addition. He came with his daddy. He’s about 8, we think, and kind of a bastard sometimes, although he also just wants all the kitty loves and pets. Plus he drinks from the faucet, which is just weird. He’s still adjusting to being here after two months, but I have great hopes for kitties sleeping together for warmth. He gets along fine with dogs, which is kind of funny.

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Kitten is mine 100%. She’s 9 and a strange one. Calicoes often are. She’s still adjusting to Satchemo. She is the current inhabitant of bedroom territory. I’m hoping she ventures out again, but this is her safe spot. She and Midnight were never besties, but they tolerate each other with minor hissing.

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She’s the dumbass who swallowed thread a year or so ago.

Anyway, when I got back from the vet and ate something, I had another pile to grade…and I really needed to do that first. So I did. And then it was late and I was tired and stressed, so I went to bed instead of drawing. I’m hoping for good news today so I can draw tonight. Hoping.

Like It’s Tryna Get Away*

I really hate the days when I can’t find the energy to make art. Even if I got a ton of stuff done (I didn’t) and walked a lot of steps (I did) and even walked the dogs (I did) and made dinner from scratch (I did) and the boychild got safely to college with a minimum of delay (he did…only an hour and a half in Detroit), it still feels like I did absolutely nothing yesterday because I couldn’t even pick up my hand and draw. Hell, I didn’t even do the stitch-a-day thing. THAT was too much work. Yes. I went to bed early. That’s how you know you’re old…you can only do one night of almost no sleep before you crash. Apparently 3 hours is my crash point.

My bulletin boards aren’t done. My room is a disaster. A clusterfuck even. I can’t find anything because I had to put it all away in June. I did finally find my phone. At like 3 PM yesterday. I thought someone might have stolen it. Nope. They didn’t. It’s OK. I still have today to try and get my head straight. And it all doesn’t have to be done today. I have time to get some stuff done in the next few days…although it feels better on the first day to be on top of all of it…because it will be the LAST TIME ALL YEAR that you will feel that way. Seriously.

I am wearing my Threads of Resistance t-shirt today. It’s how I feel. Resistant. And maybe it will help.

I’ll photograph my room today. It’s scary right now.

When I got home from school, I took the dogs on a 3-mile hike. We all needed it.

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Not the greatest picture…such a delicate flower.

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I had some issues trying to get both of them to walk together after months of not doing it…especially when I was trying to keep them out of the poison oak.

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Someone left this on the bridge…

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And puppy slept close to me for a long time. Honestly, I didn’t get done with dinner and clean up until 9 or so (not so abnormal)…

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But I couldn’t even pick up a needle or a pen. Hopefully tonight will be better. I forget how exhausting the first week can be. I wish I had a project in a better stage right now, like tracing or cutting…I could probably handle that. But no, I’m in the highly creative phase of two different projects at the moment. OK. Well. Draw tonight. No excuses. My day job doesn’t get to co-opt my favorite job.

*Max Frost, Die Young

I Can’t Break Away from This Parade*

Artmaking slow. Very very slow. Mostly because last night I didn’t start until 11:45 pm. That’s a late start. But I wasn’t willing to do nothing artful yesterday. And sleeping is an issue. Ugh. Brain needs to turn off or down or go in relax mode. Don’t even ask when I’m going to bed. I’m fully aware it’s too late.

I did do another 3 or 4 hours in the garage during the day. Most of the stuff is packed up for the thrift shop, we researched CraigsList for prices on the furniture we’ve got, and I got most of the art shelves in the garage cleaned up. Boychild did the toolbench, which was a disaster. There’s art files left and then getting rid of stuff, which is always the hard part. But it’s progress…getting close to working on what’s IN the house.

We also did a picnic in the park and then Richard II, so it’s not like I was home a lot in the evening…

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Not a real dead body. I’m not really a fan of Shakespeare’s histories, but there were some funny moments. I did persuade the ex to switch seats with me because the old guy next to me was like constantly in my personal space. Less likely to do that to another man, apparently, because he behaved after that.

I’m reminded that Balboa Park is a nice place to be on a summer evening, something I rarely remember.

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Girlchild only came home for the furries.

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Found this while cleaning out the garage. Apparently art is painful. Or terrifying. One of those.

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I did not finish tracing last night…I’m in the 1100s…so about 200 pieces to go still. And this afternoon and evening are packed, unfortunately. Ugh. I didn’t even take a picture of what I was tracing…mostly buildings and windows.

I’m certainly not getting anything done sitting here. So I’m off. Short but…well…not sweet.

*The Wallflowers, One Headlight

Got So Much to Lose*

SLOG. There’s a point when there’s so much that needs doing that it all feels like a slog. I’m in SLOG mode. I should sit down and read my book or draw some more or shit, I even forgot to stitch last night. Wow. Yeah. Sigh.

When I left for work yesterday, I realized that moss was growing on my driveway.


Maybe that happens all the time where you live, but I live in a desert climate. It doesn’t even make sense. But we’ve had a lot of rain, and some parts of my driveway are not drying out…not getting enough sun. Two to three inches more of rain tomorrow aren’t going to help.

I was trying to plan part of my Spring Break trip. I needed a visual.


Very specific. What I really needed was something to look forward to. Spring Break is really late this year, and I’m already in Slog Mode. Not a good sign. Then I graded for close to two hours…


Sometimes I wonder about my job.

Dogs were being annoying…I really just needed to get work done. I didn’t get home early enough to walk them. Poor guys.


I finally got to trim the quilt, after 10:30 at night…


Simba really is no help. It’s not a small quilt, but it squared up pretty easily, hallelujah.


I had bought two binding fabrics because I just couldn’t tell in the store…


Turns out the lighter one worked. It was the one I liked better anyway, but I kept second-guessing myself, because I usually go darker with the binding. But this was it.


And now it’s all cut and ready to get sewn on. That’s tonight’s task…


That and grading another assignment. I might go to the gym too. Because I think I need it. Certainly when everything feels this much like a SLOG, it’s time to shake it up a bit. It would be good for me.

*Cage the Elephant, Trouble

I’m Gonna Free Fall out into Nothin’*

For some reason, it was a relief to let January go. I even changed the calendars (yes…more than one) last night. Both pages now have colorful pictures instead of gray January days. You’d think calendar makers would realize we need more color in January, not that it’s really an issue here in San Diego, weatherwise…just mentally. February is a nice short month with two 3-day weekends. I have some free time in February…well, whatever free time is for me, because it’s generally not sitting around and relaxing. It’s not really my thing.

That said, I’m not at school today and tomorrow, and it’s not to relax. Or quilt. But that’s the way it is sometimes.

I’d like to introduce you to one of the players in 2017…this is the asshole mockingbird who will try to keep me up every night for the next 6 months.


Yup. I saw him. Although he’s still in a neighbor’s yard at night at the moment. He’s not moved into my hearing space. So that’s good. Last year there were two…dueling mockingbirds. He shut up when I walked closer to him. Yeah asshole. I see you.

I did something on here…it’s pretty washed out…that feather leaf thing on the right…it’s got a light blue tint on the top in real life…


And then I came in the office and sent a cranky political email to the ignorant slob who is my state senator. He started it by sending me an email asking for my moral support for discriminating against immigrants. Asshole. He won’t read it. One of his little college flunkies will. I’m hoping to get an answer that makes very little sense. Then I entered another art show. I’m trying to keep entering, even though I have a ton of stuff traveling and a solo show coming up. The stuff needs to get out there.

Finally I quilted. I got the whole oven door section done…


Yes, there’s a skull of death on the door.


It’s the kitchen…where women get trapped, even these days. Like there’s something on the X chromosome that makes us better at it. Bad argument. Men have an X chromosome too.

After all that deep thought, I got into the stovetop…at least one side of it.


I’ve always had cats who were fascinated by the stove top, although mine is separate from the oven. Right now, I have one who is pretty cautious about it and one who never goes on the counters…a nice respite from some of the furry bastards who would appear out of nowhere when pots were bubbling away everywhere. None burned their fluffy little toes, but I think that was a miracle some days.

Four hours and a bit into the quilting. Not even close to halfway through the outlining. There’s a lot on this beast. Plus it’s big. It’s behaving mostly…its sheer size means there’s a lot of pulling and shoving under the needle, trying to get it to move around better. That will get worse in the torso area. Oh well. My hands start to hurt with too much of that, but if I look a week out, I don’t think there’s any long stretches of sewing time that will exacerbate that (pros and cons). Ironically, about the time I get more time (3-day weekend), I will probably be done or close to it. Hopefully. Which means I need to get the next one drawn! Or do the other bathtub next. We’ll see. I can’t get my head around that yet. I will have my sketchbook over the next two days. Maybe something will dribble out.

*Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Free Fallin’

Alright Already We’ll All Float On*

OK, I’m getting there. Somewhere. Crap though. I just realized I was supposed to email a photo somewhere and I didn’t do it. Damn. So keeping on top of all the little shit is driving me a bit bonkers. Overuse of the calendar…

So I have a bunch of stuff to do this weekend, as always, but mostly it’s art. Well. And politics. But hopefully that’s a good thing. You don’t stop doing that because of the crazy facing you, because you think it’s not doing anything. You keep doing it because the little stuff will eventually add up and make a difference.

I finished the drawing. I did use pencil to sketch in where the guy would go, just to make sure I didn’t fuck it up at that stage.


My quilts have a lot of detail in them, but not this much. Although looking at this, I think it would make a great quilt. But all those leaves and tree bits! Maybe I could simplify (but then it won’t be as cool). Aack. Anyway, the drawing probably took 5 hours or so over the two days, and that doesn’t count the drawing I did back in December that was sort of a pre-draw to this…which I didn’t like. But it got me here. There were 4 or 5 other false starts. It happens. I’m going to hopefully have some drawing time next week, just because I’ll be somewhere my sewing machine is not.

More of this year of stitches…the variegated green above Long. I’ll probably toss a bunch of french knots in there.


It’s pretty cold at night here. Simba’s nose was apparently cold. So the whole time I sewed and drew, he had it shoved under some part of my body.


I finished the drawing, scanned it, and sent it off to its person. And then started trying to sew. I almost gave up completely on the machine. I had cleaned everything out and rethreaded everything, and the tension was still way off. I don’t know how to open the top part…I’m suspecting I’m not supposed to, but there was a possibility there was thread in there. I haven’t figured that part out, although sewing made a short piece of monofilament pop out. Interesting. Then I switched needle size and it seemed to behave. And then it didn’t. I’m hoping that’s a brief fart of stupidity that won’t continue. I’m frustrated as hell over not getting it to behave.


I didn’t get very far last night. It’ll get done this weekend and hopefully sandwiched as well…even if I have to pull out the old machine to make it work. It worked so well for the last two quilts. Two? Or has it been three? It’s been three. There were some tension issues in the last one. I thought it was just me. Sigh. I don’t have time for this.

*Modest Mouse, Float On

I Follow Where My Mind Goes*

Today I wear all black. Today is gloomy and dark and excessive water drops from the sky. Tomorrow I march for everyone that won’t or can’t. I’m pleased to see so many of my friends will be there with me, whether here in San Diego or in other cities or just in their heads.


The start of a new drawing for the next quilt. I have to think about keeping it small…although my deadlines have changed all of a sudden. I was drawing because I couldn’t get any further on the current project…

I started ironing the hair and head…


Got it all done…


Then the heads above…


In a cloud…


Then I realized I’d miscalculated how much fabric I would need for the background. This fucker is huge. So I need to go shopping after school. Which sucks because I wanted to be done last night…oh well. It’s only 20 hours of ironing so far.

I stitched more on here…the pink flowers and (hard to see…bad lighting) the anchor stitches on the herringbone.


Petting dogs makes them and you happy. Notice how he sticks his bone between the couch cushions to hold it? He’s a pretty smart puppy.


Even Kitten ventured out to see what I was doing out of the studio.


I drew after that. Needed to start the next drawing, at least some version of it. And that’s how I was feeling.

Opening today at the Erie Museum of Art is Earth Stories…this is my piece Wise Choice


This piece is about the choices Planned Parenthood provides to women around the world, mostly through the science of birth control, giving women control of their futures. There was some controversy about my picking this group in the beginning, but I would not change my mind and eventually got the support I needed to do a quilt about this group. The show opens today and continues through June 11.

On a lighter note, because I’m gonna need some of that today, here’s some of the science supplies that arrived the other day. It’s a good thing our principal doesn’t read the labels of what we’ve got in the lab…we’ll be opening a new craft beer brewery to support our science classroom costs sometime soon.


Or not.

In other news, I have two pussy hats…one from a friend (which I’m going to give away today or tomorrow to someone who needs one) and one by my mom (which I’m wearing).

Yes. I considered wearing it to school. But my principal wants to avoid WWIII. So I’m ready. Peace out.

*Psychedelic Furs, Love My Way

I Go About Things the Wrong Way*

Hey. Monday. Would you knock it off? Seriously. Nobody really likes you. You could be nicer, maybe quieter (probably not your fault trash pickup is on Monday…it’s probably different days in different places, you’re right). But seriously…make sure the tea is made, that there’s a healthy warm breakfast on the table? That would help. And plenty of sleep.

Yeah. I ask. I do. Last Monday before Winter Break though…oh hallelujah. Although I should get through some of this pile of work before that happens, so I don’t have to take it all home with me, eh?

Saturday morning, I met with other San Diego educators planning ways to counteract possible government interference with our kids, our students. I hate how some conservatives make teachers out to be money-grubbing haters who don’t care about kids, because honestly, I’ve never ever met anyone like that. In 15 years of teaching. I’ve met stupid people and people who made shitty decisions and lazy people, just like in any other career, but no one goes into this for the money and most of them care about kids…after time, that may change, but usually they get out when that happens. We have an incredible attrition rate…in science, 50% quit by the 5th year. Another 50% are gone by 10 years. So we’re being proactive…figuring out what schools need and asking for it and standing behind it. In a peacefully protesting sort of manner. I can’t just sit back and watch ignorant people come in and destroy everything we’ve fought for…in students’ rights, teachers’ rights, support of schools. It’s not OK.

I spent a lot of the meeting stitching, because I don’t like to just sit and listen.


If I could get away with doing this at school meetings and professional development, I totally would. It relaxes me and helps me think. I know this…

The rest of my day involved gift wrapping and a bridal shower and a weird company party. And Sunday was work work work until I got to the end of the day. Here’s all the stitching I got done during the meeting. These things take forever…so much detail on them.


But cool when they’re done.

Anyway, I had enlarged the drawing from Friday night 200%, so Sunday night I cut and taped it together…


And then added paper top and bottom (and eventually sides), trying to figure out how big to make it.


It’s not super wide, but it’s long. I penciled in some shapes, just to make sure the perspective was good, and then I started drawing…


Does your cat lie on the stove? Mine does. Not when it’s on. Had to train her out of that.

Anyway, there’s a start. I don’t think I’ll be done drawing tonight though…think this is gonna take a while. I’m OK with that. I like to draw.


In fact, my two favorite parts of quiltmaking are the drawing and ironing the fabrics together. I just have to remember that everything I draw has to be cut out at some point, twice, in fact, maybe technically three times. So don’t make them tiny and don’t add a million pieces.

Still no progress on the tree. It’s on my list. Cat approves.


Art before tree. At least last night. My to-do list has ballooned this week. Kids are both coming home (assuming weather doesn’t stop that), both their rooms need some minor cleanup, and the house is a disaster. Plus school on top of that and meetings every night I think. Crazy chaos. It starts today with trying to teach kids who checked out sometime in November. I should give them a quiz then. And have a major assignment due. Yup. That’s how we roll.

*The Smiths, How Soon Is Now?

I Ran So Far Away*

I’m having a hard time with the artmaking process lately. Most of it is about finding the time, but also just wondering if there’s a purpose to it. Will it solve any of the shit that’s going on right now. And I know in the long run that art and music and drama (the good kind…not the kind I see at school) will be part of the solution, but certainly there needs to be some yelling and protesting and organizing that needs to happen. Just as an antidote to the stupid shit we keep seeing. It’s not enough to just shake our heads and go back in our houses, close the doors, and hunker down on the couch with the TV. You can go check this website out…yeah, it’s a little jokey at first, but there’s some real info on there. It’s a place to start…but acknowledging where many of us are right now. Marching in January is cool, yes…and don’t be one of those haters who thinks it’s childish for us to protest. It’s the American way. We can and you will just have to suck it up and let us. We don’t want anyone to be unclear on how we feel. It needs to be loud and in your face and right now. For as long as it takes. Until my future president disintegrates in a 3-AM Twitter rant about it? Nope. Even after that. But something needs to be happening now and every day without let up until 2020. Maybe after. Maybe forever.

So with all that in my head, I’m working on a piece right now that was started before all that. And it’s got some things that are sort of relevant to how I’m feeling, but it seems a little light and easy when facing the future. Which is fine. I’m not going to stop working on it. It needs to be done. But the next batch of pieces is going to be a bit different. I got some of the solo show worked out in my head last night…and there’s opportunity for me to work some of this out in fabric. And that’s a start. I’ll figure the rest of it out. The politics…the protest…how to make the best change…and that might just be in my classroom, but I think it has to be more.

Meanwhile. Art. I hung the drawing…it’s tall. More of those long skinny ones coming your way in the next few months. You can see some portion of my crazy fabric storage. I cleaned up in there for about an hour before I started last night. It needed to be done.


The triangle of ironing board, iron, and table where all the pieces go…and more fabric storage. Really, this room is all about efficient storage.


From the door…the ironing board gets in the way of computer work during this stage, but I deal. It’s not a huge room.


I laid out the first 100, which were all in the dirt and water.


And I ironed a bunch of dirt fabrics. Although I found one piece in the hallway this morning. Just the Wonder Under. I know puppy ran off with something last night, but I’m not sure how he got it (I must have dropped it), so I’ll have to figure out which fabric it is supposed to be and iron it down.


There’s a lot of brown in the bottom of the quilt.



I didn’t get very far last night, but I did get somewhere. And that’s progress…movement in the right direction. And I also know that it will make me feel better, calm down the brain that keeps waking me up in the middle of the night with worst-case scenarios…I’m still looking at the tax scenario NPR put up and going…fuck…really? My taxes go up significantly. You know why? Because I’m not married. And my kids aren’t in child care. Because they’re cheap right now? Holy shit. That makes my stomach tie in knots. I’m already stressed about paying for college.

OK. Stop thinking about shit that hasn’t happened yet. I mean, don’t stop, because you need to protest that shit in art and in writing and in groups and in politics, but don’t let it take over like that.

Yeah. So. Chiropractor today. Oh hallelujah. It hurts.

*Flock of Seagulls, I Ran