To Be a Rock and Not to Roll*

March 17, 2017

Did I mention the mockingbird is back? Oh yeah. I read somewhere that lots of people get used to its song and it helps them fall asleep. Really? OK. So my brain doesn’t work like that. I keep hearing all the different songs it sings and it wakes me up over and over again. So it is sleep-with-your-pillow-on-your-head season. I was hoping he’d stay further away…I could hear him (or probably his cousin) a few houses away, but it wasn’t loud enough to keep me awake. Now he’s back either on my property or nearby. I’m rolling my eyes at him. How long do mockingbirds live?

So yesterday was exhausting, more than usual. I don’t know that we stood or walked more than we usually do, but I do know that being out in the hot sun for most of the day didn’t help. The plus is that most of the kids were interested in what was going on…

I didn’t have a lot of patience for the whiners…the ones who couldn’t handle the heat. I did warn them, and some brought water. But sitting out there in a sweatshirt didn’t make a lot of sense. Next year, we’ll try to borrow popups for this part. In general, it went well though. Just modify for next year. As always.

I came home and took a shower. Actually no. First I went to Home Depot for slats so I can actually ship the other two quilts. Then I sat down on the couch and tried to read for a bit…

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aka had my leg licked (clean or not, he likes to clean his humans)…and then fell asleep into a proper old lady nap. That lasted an hour. Ugh. Woke up to the black cat asleep on me and the world getting dark (the sun went down) and no dinner plans that I could stomach. I eventually figured that out. The post-nap grogginess was not helpful. I even made enough for lunch today. I find as I get older that breakfast for dinner (and apparently also lunch) is more and more a thing.

This. Yes. I swear. Please just believe us the first time around.


Interesting. Because I suspect a lot of women don’t even whine about it. They just assume it’s something they’re doing wrong. But whatever. Nice-guy misogyny.

Then somehow, with incredible will power, I managed to get up and go stitch down…

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Then I remembered the 17 things on my to-do list. Ugh. Paying bills, ordering shit I need, entering a show, editing a newsletter, emailing people. I did all that last night around 11 PM.

And then I thought I wouldn’t finish the stitch down, because I was still exhausted and it was late…

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And the machine is still having a tension problem…so now on my calendar for today is to call the shop…it’s going in as soon as I finish this one.

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I bullied through and finished though…after midnight.

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I have a show to go to tonight…so I probably won’t be sandwiching it tonight. Tomorrow…I’m waiting to see if I have two meetings or only one…I’m hoping one so I can sandwich. And grade. Because I sucked at that this week. Today is a catchup day for the kids, so hopefully I’ll be able to catch up mentally. And on grading. Although I just had a mental moment…I don’t think we have the stuff copied for next week. Huh. Dammit. Always behind, I swear. Except somehow it all gets done. I don’t even know how some days.

But sandwiching and starting the quilting this weekend. The next one is going to be tight. Let me tell you…really tight. But I think it can be done. I need to look at the drawing again. And finish this one quickly. No more tired nights (ha!). So shut up mockingbird…I need my sleep so I can make art.

*Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

Motherland Cradle Me*

March 16, 2017

I did finally start stitching down last night, late of course. This week is always a hard one because of the time change. You start out OK with the early rise, even somewhat invigorated by the daylight hours after getting home, but I find by the weekend that I’m usually exhausted. Oh wait. That’s every week. Ha. Whoops. And I’m up early three days this week, even earlier…meetings for two days, and then today we have a couple of concrete companies coming to science, so we’ll be outside all day. Luckily it’s supposed to be cooler than it was a few days ago. But it will still be a long day. I might pull my mom’s “come home and fall asleep on the couch”…what she would do when it was her day to work at the hospital as a volunteer. Except I have those dogs. Hard to sleep with them around.

My biggest problem last night was forgetting Kitten had been sleeping behind and next to the sewing machine for weeks. I should have cleaned before I started stitching. Whoops.

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I didn’t stitch for long. But I got started.

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Honestly this wouldn’t take long…so maybe tonight I’ll finish. If I’m still standing. Wait. I don’t have to stand to do this. That’s a plus. Ugh. I’m already tired. And nauseated. That’s always fun.

Seriously though. If I didn’t have so much going on this week and weekend, I think I might be able to finish this quilt completely. It’s so small.

I’m still reading about Toyen…I originally thought I might be able to post two or three artists a week, but apparently the one I started with is so deep and complicated that it might take me longer than that. The internet has so many rabbit holes to fall down. Intriguing stuff.

OK, gonna go put sunscreen on and hope this day turns out to be interesting for the kids. Because if it is, it will be easy to manage. And that would be cool.

*Natalie Merchant, Motherland

Words Make My Mouth Exercise*

March 15, 2017

So I was right. I got no real art stuff done yesterday, except that’s not true. Because sometimes the business of being an artist is what we do. So I sewed two labels on two quilts…

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Really exciting stuff. Actually, the really exciting part was trying to find the three quilts that need shipping in the huge pile that’s currently on my daughter’s bed, because I can’t handle my organization system any more, and I really need to tear apart my closet and build something, perhaps before she comes home in May, or maybe she’ll get that internship and I’ll be really sad she’s not coming home, but I won’t have to move all those quilts.

It’s just hard to know what to feel in that situation.

I got one of the quilts packed up for shipping…I’m hoping for the other two tonight.

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They need ironing and slats and crap that probably means a trip to Home Depot after school. I’m so glad I think all this shit through (better put that on my calendar or I will totally forget).

Um. What did I do? Oh yeah. I added green grass to the right of the tree…straight stitches with some long lazy daisies interspersed.

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And some more of this while hanging out and watching episodes of Walking Dead. I need to do the two eyeballs, the leaf parts and the center of the flower. Then it can get the embroidery done (well, on the left side) and I can retire that packet of papers that I’m currently carrying around in the official bag of shit to be embroidered.

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THAT’S why I like to do them in order…so I can take that wad of papers and threads out and put them somewhere organized and only have two or so months in my bag. Right now it’s three? I think? Yeah. I’m stitching on February at the moment…the sheep? That was February. I can’t remember if I started another one? No. I was trying to do this one next. Pretty sure. Yeah. Because the next February one is two blocks in one. Anyway, my brain likes things to work in certain ways, very organized (yeah that right brain/left brain stuff is kind of a crock when you look at mine…and many others). I try to help it with that.

This morning’s sky was beautiful…for just a moment. I used to have a long morning commute to the east…it was a pain in the ass, but the skies were often the best part of my day. I do miss those. I don’t miss the 5 AM wakeup call. I’m really not a morning person.

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I need to go to the gym today and pack up the other two quilts. I also want to start stitching down, but that might be too much…we’ll see. I’m still adjusting to the time change…finding it hard to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

I did start researching alternative artists…I started with women, but am realizing that some are more gender fluid than that…which I guess is part of why we didn’t get to study them in school. I think I’ve mentioned before that my art history portion of my degree was based on Janson’s History of Art, which didn’t add female artists until I think 1986. My female art history professor tried to supplement (before the internet) with stuff she’d found, and I obviously did some research on my own as a kid and a college student, but it was hard to find a lot of information in the pre-internet age. So I have a list of over 200 female or other genders to research.

I started with Toyen, a Czechoslovakian transgender artist originally born as Marie Čermínová. She logically found being male in the art world was beneficial, certainly being born in 1902 and living until 1980…it unfortunately makes sense. I wish I had time to finish this post right now and add her stuff, but I have to be at work and the puppy is being an asshole and refusing to come in the house. So I have to go get him…in the bushes. I’m looking forward to this about as much as I would to an enema.

*Violent Femmes, Add It Up

Take Only What You Need from It*

March 14, 2017

I really enjoyed coming home from school and sitting on the deck in the waning sunshine, the day still a bit warm, but starting to cool off with spring night temperatures. I probably got bit by some overachieving mosquito or seven, but it was worth it to just sit…only 30 or 40 minutes maybe, but better than most days, when it’s zero.

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Of course, part of why I had time to do that was because Calli is injured, so I didn’t walk the dogs today. Calli was convinced I should throw that stick for her. Many days I do, but she’s still limping. I tried to explain that to her, but it didn’t go down well.

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So I had started this drawing a couple of weeks ago. It’s still not going where I want, but since I’m not sure where I want it to go, it was OK to just draw shit.

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Honestly, sometimes it’s OK just to wiggle the pen across the paper in a drawing motion.

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I find myself drawing less than I used to…not enough time to just sit and do that. Life was supposed to get less busy with the kids gone, but it hasn’t really. I’m sure that’s my fault. I’m hoping next year is better, after we have most of our science curriculum set. We’ll see.

I did come home to a jury summons. I haven’t gotten one of those since the kids were little. And they picked not only Spring Break, but the week I’m planning on taking the first vacation I’ve tried to take for more than two days since oh maybe 2013. So yeah. I postponed it to summer…AND moved it out of downtown, so I wouldn’t have to deal with traffic and hellish parking.

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Pretty sure they’ll kick me right off the premises pretty quickly. Maybe I should bring up the missing penis debacle.

I did the buttonhole stitch wheels in blue. There’s gonna be color in between them too…I left room for that.

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And then while waiting for an episode to end, I stitched more wool down…with a puppy.

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This is pretty relaxing as well.

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I didn’t grade last night. We spent about 2 hours after work trying to spend some money we were given for science, more than we’ve ever seen. We wanted to be sure we did it well. I felt like I had worked enough hours yesterday.

Then I finally went in to iron…only the heads left. I always iron the eyes separately and then place them on the face…more likely to get the expression right.

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Crooked eyes can really screw up the faces.

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Yeah. Those eyeballs just floating around.

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Heads done.

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At this point, it was midnight. Of course, I should have stopped there and gone to bed and finished it tonight. Er. Um. I didn’t. I kept going.

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So now she’s all ironed down and ready to go.

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She’s got some batik running blue issues, but I can fix that. You’d think I’d remember to rewash dark blue batik when I use it as a background…but no. After 25 years, I still just go with it. It’s fine…I’ve dealt with it before.

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Anyway, tonight I need to put labels on two quilts shipping to a show and pack those up and another one to ship out this week…so I might not have time to start the stitch down. I don’t expect it to take long though. I’m hoping it will be easier than it was on the last quilt…the tension was a bitch last time.

Anyway. Progress. Meanwhile, both kids are socked into blizzards and school is closed for the day. Actually, Boston hasn’t checked in…I know her school is closed, but not whether they got the snow they were supposed to…but Ithaca just closed. And Cornell rarely closes. Meanwhile, we’re slated to hit 90 degrees today. Wait. Boston (excuse me, Waltham) has reported “quite snowy”. And it’s gotta be a blizzard for Cornell to close.

OK. Well. School. Yeah. No blizzards here.

*MGMT, Kids

Oh Mother, Tell Your Children*

March 13, 2017

I realize it hasn’t been very long since I last wrote…although I walked a dog (I think I did that before I wrote last night, because he was being very demanding and I figured he needed it…as did I. I often need a walk.).

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I stuck to the streets this time, because I didn’t have much time before sunset and I only had the one dog…and he’s short. Long grass causes issues. It gets stuck in his badly designed fur and turns him green and grassy. Anyway. I walked him past the old chicken farm property, which still hasn’t been turned into the tract homes they said it would be (and I’m OK with that)…

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Lots of wildflowers here…did not venture to Anza Borrego this weekend (although I wish I could over the week)…this is a different one, one I don’t remember seeing before.

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These are just weird. Nature is so full of weird.

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After 3 miles plus (and whatever my ex did to try to tire him out), he finally settled.

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It takes a lot to tire that beast out. I graded for a while…it needed to be done, because there’s a pile waiting for me at work as well. It’s never-ending.

I did the purple butterfly wings…they’re actually chain stitches that chain off of each other.

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And then, because I was trying to finish watching an episode of something, I found block 3 (which is not block 3, by the way, but block 4, and block 4 is actually block 19 or something. Crazy numbering), which is sewn to block 5, and then started sewing down the stuff on block 5, which is way way way down on the embroidery pile.

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I only sewed until the episode was over. Plus I need to find the other three colors of wool. They’re not where they belong. It’s OK. There’s a box. I know they’re in the box.

Then I wandered in here and ironed a cat…

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Hard to see on the Tyvek…but it will show up fine on the dark background.

Then did the other arm and the stuff floating around it…

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And the teacup on her leg. And We Won’t.

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Because (a) everyone can balance a teacup on their thigh in this position, and (b) We Won’t.

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What’s left? Three heads. And one speech bubble. The time change screwed me over. Not only did I have to try to go to bed an hour earlier (a rampant failure on my part to actually fall asleep), but I had to be up early for a parent meeting today. When I signed up for it back in January or whenever it was, I didn’t know it was the Monday after Daylight Savings. Or that there would be multiple disturbances in the night (coyotes AND raccoons…a double dog-barking whammy). Anyway. This will be a rough week…it always is. But hopefully I’ll get those heads done tonight and have this thing fully ironed down before I try to go to bed at an unnatural time yet again.

*The Animals, House of the Rising Sun

Time Will Prove Everything*

March 12, 2017

Well apparently every online service I’m using has switched up its format in the last 36 hours…or less. I’m sure there’s a good reason for it. In the case of WordPress, everything that was over here is now over there. It’s OK. I got this.

I meant to write yesterday, but I lost time to taxes. And no, they’re not done. Almost. Well, if by almost, I mean I’ve finished the hour or so it will take me to track down all my teacher expenses. So yeah. TurboTax wants me to file in 4 days, so they should come here and find all those expenses for me. I’ve found all the others.

Meanwhile, doing taxes takes away from very important artmaking time. I think I did a whopping 25 minutes of ironing yesterday and zero so far today (aiming for after dinner, I think). So yeah…I ironed a spool, an embroidery hoop, and a pair of scissors. That’s it.

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Still have the other arm and the stuff floating around that hand, plus the three heads, a cat and a teacup. Huh. That’s actually not a small number of pieces. I’m a gonna say I probably won’t be done tonight. Just guessing. Because it’s almost 7 PM and I’m not cooking dinner, because I’m not hungry, because it’s not really 7 in my head, so everything’s gonna run kinda late.

Calli has no break. But signs of arthritis. Poor baby.

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So she’s off walk duty for a while. Which doesn’t make her happy.

Gaming on Friday…I’m still stitching. It keeps me awake…I need multiple inputs. It’s interesting though that when I’m really tired, creating shit keeps me awake. So it IS my fault that I stay up late.

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I got a good chunk done Friday night…

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And then came home and tried to persuade the puppy to come inside instead of trying to chase possums or bunnies, because I was hearing big animals up in the bushes and he wasn’t…so I wasn’t leaving him out there alone with the coyotes.

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I did three nights’ worth on this…let’s see if I can remember what I did. I did a light blue bullion and fly stitch above the orange lazy daisies I did last week. Then I added a green fly stitch, but there was still green thread left, so I filled in with a chained fly stitch below the tree roots. And then I did a satin stitch in columns below the orange lazy daisies. It looks kind of like a wall. Maybe.

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Back to filling in the spaces.

Kitten during tax time…needing entertainment…

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Last night, I finished this block, Block 4 of Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails.

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It’s really bugging me that I haven’t done Block 3…but to work on the embroidery, I have to sew on the wool pieces that are on the block that’s sewn to it…like block 15 or something, I think. I may do some of that first…just a bit a day, to get me onto the next one. It bugs me to NOT do it in order. Left brain/right brain crap. I wanna be really creative and all, but only in a certain order. I’m like that with my own stuff too…I like to iron all the pieces down in order. It bugs me inordinately if I’m ironing stuff out of order.

Here’s the three completed blocks…

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I don’t think they actually go together like this.

So my plan for the week…finish ironing the current quilt down and get it stitched down and sandwiched…then start quilting by the weekend. Seriously, none of that should take very long. By the end of the week, I’ll know whether I should be making another bathtub quilt or something else. Because time is flying past me. As always. This week is less meeting-heavy, so it should be good for dog walking (well the little dog, anyway) and going to the gym, but also for artmaking. I’m hoping. Let’s not think about the grading (again. as usual.). The left eye tried to twitch this morning and then quit. So that’s a good thing. But right now? I probably need to make dinner (ugh). Because my leftovers are my lunches…so that would be a good thing to have done before tomorrow morning.


*The Smiths, There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (OK, this isn’t actually a quote from the song, but from one of the live recordings when Morrissey proclaims this post-song…2004 apparently).

I’m Not Catching on Fire Today*

March 10, 2017

Thanks to all for the birthday wishes. There’s nothing quiet about having a birthday at a middle school. That said, the million hugs kinda make up for the bad singing. Mostly. Really I was looking forward to coming home and making art. Sounds crazy, I know, and I did meet up and have a drink, and then went and got my favorite Indian food and picked up a library book (very important). After dinner, I went straight to the art. I think I ironed for more than 4 hours yesterday. Impressive.

I didn’t get ALL the letters, thus proving that you can read a message even with some of it missing…

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The kids followed through on a good birthday present…

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No. I’m not cutting my wrists. Just a long-term wish that I never quite made real. Now I have to, or as the girlchild put it, I’m stealing from my kids…

So the bottom is another pile of people. It looks a little chaotic here…it will be fine with outlining.

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Kitten is my faithful studio companion.

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I think I had Calli for a while as well.

Then ironing legs…

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And the giant World in a Crotch. Which I realize will set some people off.

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Eh. Sorry. Not. There’s a good reason for it.

So Calli is still limping and got herself stuck in the weeds…she got up there but couldn’t figure out how to get down without jumping on the hurt foot. She’s going to the vet today.

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And I need to do something about my weeds.

Later at night, puppy is refusing to come back in. He’s fine, by the way. No more explosions.

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Just chasing possums or bunnies…he separated a family of something and they were squeaking out there. Poor babies. And then the coyotes started howling. He came in then. So he’s not a total idiot.

And I kept ironing.

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And kept ironing. Remember this thing is SMALL.

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I’m mostly through the 200s…ready to start 300s, I think.

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Not bad for a school night. And an old lady.

*Cake, Sheep Go to Heaven