Settle Down, It’ll All Be Clear*

February 14, 2018

I am currently being harassed by a puppy. He doesn’t understand mom’s morning routine. He doesn’t know I’m running a lab today, I have a parent meeting before school, I still have duty before and after school, and there’s a union meeting after school. Ugh. Long day. Oh yeah, and a pre-observation meeting. I typed up my lesson plan, but realized yesterday that I have a hard time getting my head around the constructs administrators like to use to observe whether we’re teaching correctly. I do it automatically…it’s harder to pull out the pieces and say, oh yeah, here I do this and here I do that. I just do it. But this should be the last observation for another 5 years unless I piss off another principal. That’s the reality of it sometimes…who did you poke too many times. Frustrating job. And people wonder why we need unions. But that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

Oh yeah, and it’s V-day. Happy Valentine’s Day to y’all. If you like that stuff. Too much chocolate for the likes of me.

Puppy went outside with his big sister. Can’t send him out alone. Too many coyotes.

Yesterday was also a long day, but I currently have a very heavy piece of James E. Watts’ art residing in the boychild’s bedroom, waiting for the exhibit that will open mid-March. I’m glad he trusted me to drive off with one of his kokeshi. More about that later…when I actually have details.

I have to admit that I finished my book before I ironed last night…mostly because it was due to the library today, and because it’s electronic, they just take it. I can’t hold onto it and just pay the fine. I had about 60 pages left. It was good. The next one in the series is on hold, but I’m about number 5 on the list. I’m reading the James S. A. Corey series that was used for the Expanse TV show; just finished book 2. I actually think the books are way better. But now I don’t know what I’m reading next…whatever I can find in the pile, I guess.

Then I ironed. So it was a late start. I have a little over 7 hours into the ironing so far and it’s going to be a while…the flesh parts are next and they are time-consuming.

This is all I have of this yellow fabric. I started with a half yard many many years ago. Seriously, I started buying quilting cottons 27 years ago. This one is useful, although you are looking at the back of it.

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I do have my favorites. Not much left of this one.

Here are the two metallics Julie bought for me on sale, from some store going out of business. I was considering metallics for the screws and posts in the spine of the lefthand figure. A different kind of bling…

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The question was whether they’d hold Wonder Under and if the heat of the iron would destroy them.

Well…I did use a pressing cloth, just in case. The bright silver one is fussier than the darker leathery one (which is a great texture), but I think they iron fine. Stitching them might be a pain, but what’s new? I’ve used satin and sequin stuff before, and it was the same issue with them…permanent holes.

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I’ll probably test out the stitching tonight, just to make sure I want to use them. Well, I want to use them…but how much of a pain will they be? Gotta test that shit out.

Here’s the pile of fabrics so far…yes, there’s the sun on top. It was actually in the 700s, but I finished all of the 300s that weren’t flesh colored, and I wasn’t ready to pick flesh tones (it was almost midnight), so I did the sun early.

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Honestly, I’m about halfway, and the rest of it is all the two bodies in the quilt…so mostly flesh. I’m hoping to pick those tonight, and then maybe Thursday get all the innards done. Like bones (so many bones) and metal bits and hearts and trees…because yes, one of the figures has a tree. Why not? Exactly.

It’s actually a metaphor for the metal that’s helping her spine stay straight…the trunk of a tree? Yeah? OK. Just nod your head. I’m not good at the explaining part of my quilts.

Here’s the pile of pieces ready for cutting…

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And the group photo…

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It looks so chaotic at the moment. It will all come together and make sense. I used some of my favorite fabrics in the sky…space is a cool place for purples and blues. For a while, a lot of my quilts had layers of earth at the bottom (I don’t know why I say “for a while”…like I’m going to stop doing that. I still like it)…now I’m branching out into space. Anyway…I’m enjoying this part of the quilt. It makes the long days doing work stuff worthwhile. I also spent some time last night trying to map out some exhibit entries…there’s a bunch of stuff in the next few weeks that needed decisions…I think I made them, although now I’m wavering in the morning light. I’ll let it sit for the day and then decide for real.

*Phillip Phillips, Home


Like a Leper Messiah*

February 13, 2018

The girlchild is currently observing lemurs in the middle of cellular nowhere. I might hear from her on Thursday. I’m kinda glad she’s far away, because there are apparently no showers. I am looking forward to lemur pictures though.

Meanwhile back here, I managed to walk the dogs yesterday on my day off…this does in fact feel like a great achievement. It’s hard to get those walks in when I’m dealing with meetings etc. after work and the sun goes down so early. This is one of the few walks where we haven’t seen coyotes yet…

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Oh, I know they’re there…they’re just not in my face, so I’m reasonably OK with it. I try to avoid sundown, best I can.

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The green popped up from the little bit of rain we got two weeks or so ago.

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There’s still water in the stream…

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And there’s more and more of the weird cones protecting some plant that’s supposed to grow here. Makes for a strange landscape sometimes.

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But it tired the assholes out, so that’s good. No barking at night. Some cranky snapping at the cat. He misses Midnight.

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We all do…

I finished a quilt…this is BirdFoot. It’s ancient, like 2007. We watched Hidden Figures (good!) and I sewed the sleeves on. I’ll get it photographed the next time I go in to the photographer.

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I probably kept track of how many hours were in it up until it became a quilt top, but who knows where…in a calendar I tossed years ago? Yeah, probably. Oh well. I can estimate based on stuff similar to it, luckily.

I started ironing late…

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I did a lot of things in the sky. Not all of them. I still need to pick some more purplish fabrics for the last little bit.

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I did get into the 300s though…not quite halfway, but close. Next up is flesh, and that’s time consuming.

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Here’s everything used so far…and the pile to be cut out.

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Today’s gonna be a really long day, but it’s all good…I’m going to have work in another show and I need to go get a piece from another artist. Long story. Maybe later. There’s no rest for the already busy, apparently.

*David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust

The Strong Are Few*

February 12, 2018

I did better yesterday with the to-do list. I got 3 1/2 hours of ironing in, graded most of one assignment (just one period left), managed the grocery shopping and a bunch of other tiny stuff. I still feel like I’m behind, of course. There’s no solving that problem, because it’s in my head. The art opportunities are exploding all over the place. I have to stop and take a breath to figure out what I can actually enter. That’s not a particularly bad problem to have.

Still, doesn’t this look like the life to have?

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Cats always do relaxation in an enviable way.

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That’s my chair, cat. She likes to sit there while I iron or sew. She also likes to sit there when I’m on the computer, which is slightly more problematic. I’m sitting in it now, and she’s on the floor staring at me, wondering when I’ll move. Soon, Kitten…soon.

So yeah, I ironed…I’m in the 200s at the moment, up in space, in the sky.

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Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far…there will be many more.

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Certainly all that blue/green focus will change when I get into the bodies…but for now, this is what’s on fabric…

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Hopefully there’ll be more tonight. I have the dentist, hanging out with school friends, then I need to finish grading some stuff. But hopefully at the end of the night, I’ll be ironing again. My goal is to be done with all the ironing this week, ready to start cutting pieces out. We’ll see how that goes. It’s a plan anyway.

*Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Nothing But the Water

Dancin’ and Singin’ and Movin’ to the Groovin’*

February 11, 2018

So I drove my quilt 45 minutes north of here yesterday and then drove another hour back (same distance, welcome to traffic), and while I was driving, an entire drawing populated itself in my head. I’d had a vague idea of it before, but it was flat out laying down lines and spaces during the drive, to the point that I don’t remember a good chunk of it (let’s hope all the safety parts of my brain were fully engaged). So when I got home, I could start working on one of the things that needed working on, or I could sit down and draw.

Well. Um. So even though I have a to-do list 17 miles long with some pretty damn important things on it, this was a compelling drawing, so I sat and drew for about an hour before we left to finally see The Last Jedi

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I did pencil in general shapes before I started, because the overlaps on this thing are numerous. So that’s about an hour of drawing.

And then when we came home from the movie and dinner, I finished it.

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Maybe another hour. It felt really good to get it on paper. So that’s that thing…I can plan all I want, but sometimes, I just have to do what my brain wants. I blow off what my brain wants when I’m working and when I need to grade things, so it seems fair to let it have its way sometimes. And now I have a drawing from it.

Here was the Oceanside Museum of Art yesterday…there was an artist’s talk going on, I think, but the quote on the building was cool…not that you can see it that well in a tiny picture.

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Luckily, it’s part of the installation with the wall above, so you can see the quote and its explanation by the artist, Marcos Ramirez, on the page associated with Undocumenta, one of the exhibits that just closed in the museum.

I finally took a decent picture of this so I can put it on Etsy. It’s 11″ square.

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It’ll be up there in a little bit.

And today? Today I actually have to do the things on my list. Like a lot of them. But that’s OK. I got a drawing out of it yesterday. I’m good.

*Wild Cherry, Play That Funky Music

Started as a Quiet Friday Night*

February 10, 2018

I think I’m finally getting past last week’s exhaustion. It took going to bed way earlier than I usually do. I took my book with me and read some pages. Then woke up later and hadn’t turned a page (well, electronically), so obviously I’d slept through some bit. Finally gave up on the book and performed sleep maneuvers as well as I could (which if you’re exhausted is pretty damn good) for a full 7 or 8 hours. A miracle for me. I feel better than I did last night. That part where you’re so tired you feel dizzy? Nah. Don’t like that.

And I’m almost done with my book. I hate that feeling of not knowing what you’re going to read next. It’s not like I have a shortage of books to read…just what do I feel like reading next? I just don’t know. Do I want to stay in this universe that I’m reading that has like 9 600-page books? Or do I want to read something else? I just don’t know yet.

Today I have to deliver a quilt. I found it last night, deep in a giant roll of quilts that I deposited on the boychild’s bed, because there’s already shit in the girlchild’s room. I’ll put it back when I have help to do so. Hopefully there’ll be more quilts to pull in the next month or so. I have a couple of entries out. I need to ship one to LA at some point too. Ugh.

What I really want to do today is iron a bunch of Wonder Under to fabric. I think I finally have enough sleep in me to do that. Although grading will happen at some point. And more blissful sleep, I hope.

I got this bag as part of my Kickstarter reward for the Social Justice Sewing Academy donation. They’re still doing cool stuff. You should still donate. I also got a patch…need to decide where it should go.

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So that’s obviously a house, a sun, and a windmill. The green thing is an alien spaceship. That’s how my brain works anyway.

So I’m debating going to QuiltCon in Pasadena. If I went, it would only be for about 3 hours or so, though. I have to be in LA for an opening at 3 PM, so this would be on the way. And I’d have to get up and outta here early. And I’d be gone all day.


It’s hard to lose a weekend day…for school and art and all the errands and crap I get done when I’m not working 10- to 12-hour days. Aargh. Sigh. I guess the question is what am I going for? I think modern quilts are interesting…I don’t need vendors. I guess the quilts? Well, I’m still thinking about it. I have to go up there anyway.

So at gaming last night, I finally finished this guy, the last block of April…while I killed a…a…damn, what was that giant dog thing called? Don’t remember. It was a good dice roll though. I did not mention the chaos star that the DM forgot about. Or maybe he was just being nice. Who knows?

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So May’s blocks are already finished, and now I’m working on the three blocks of June…doing some couched road that is gonna be wonky as hell. I’m OK with that.

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It seems like I have an awful lot of this quilt done, until I realize I have to do June, July, August, September, and October, with three blocks each. So 15 more blocks. There’s a few more done that are attached to other things that are having the wool sewn down. Different box. Not pulling that out right now.

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It’s fun to work on these though. Even if I’m only sewing on them every two weeks, it seems. I certainly got more done when I was going to soccer games every weekend. Oh well. They’re not as high a priority as the art quilts, that’s for sure.

Girlchild is still posting from Madagascar…she’s still about a week behind in her posts, but seems to be doing one a day now. She leaves for a lemur trip on Monday. We’re all jealous.

OK, art tasks and then artmaking and whatever else fits in the holes around that. It’s a plan.

*Marian Hill, Down

Watch Her Moving in Elliptical Patterns*

February 9, 2018

Still tired. Seems puppy has forgotten how to not bark all night. I got the spray bottle and dragged my poor tired old body out of bed about 5 times until he stopped. Even with the coyotes, I’m like, dude, seriously, they’re outside. They’re not even right outside the window, slobbering on the glass. They’re like across a major road. No worries, OK? He grumbled a lot (he really does make a grumbling sound) and turned around on his bed a bunch and yipped a few times, but then either I slept through the rest (not likely) or he stopped.

I think about what I do with the dog and what I do at school with kids, and sometimes there’s not a whole lot of difference. There are kids who have forgotten (sometimes purposefully) how to do their work, how to turn it in, how to stay on task, and I have to stand on them. Not literally, but constantly remind them of what I expect until I get it. Or don’t. Because that happens too. Projects are cool because we see all this great thinking, but also incredibly frustrating, because a lot of our kids can’t handle a project, even when we break it down into daily steps. I walked around yesterday to every table and commented on one single part of the assignment: “You did it. Awesome!” or “You didn’t reply.” or “You haven’t done any of it.” There was very little surprise with the last one…the first one made a lot of kids happy or incredulous that their tablemate had done it. The middle one just caused arguments, “Yes I did.” Try again.

Anyway, today is the last day. They are supposed to do videos today…I’ve already deleted about 5 of them that were way too short. They will love me for that, I guess. I did email them and tell them why. If I don’t delete them, they usually won’t go redo them. “I did it already!” is what I’ll hear. They have the time to redo them…they need to learn that skill, the redo skill. Fixing things!

Anyway, it’s a long time until Spring Break…I can feel it in the air…the kids’ brains disappearing even though they’ve got 6 weeks to get through…us too, I guess.

Yesterday was long and exhausting. I had before-school meetings and after-school appointments and meetings. I took two quilts with me to my stitching meeting so I could do bindings. I was sure I’d be able to finish at least one, but I was sewing way too slowly…and I was late getting there, etc. etc. I have this much binding left…

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From the top down that side and barely around the corner. Of course, then I have two sleeves to sew on as well. But it’s almost done. Honestly I haven’t been working too hard on getting these done, obviously.

I also entered a show last night. I had debated it for a while, but I had a piece that seemed it might work, so I went for it.

Then I debated. I was way too tired to stand…and I’d made some significant brain errors yesterday due to tiredness, so I didn’t feel like ironing. I mean, I WANT to iron…I was just too tired at 10 PM to start. And I knew this week would probably go that way…it’s why I pushed to get started on the ironing earlier in the week. I’m hoping to get some done this weekend.

So I sat on the couch with a couple of animals, including this big goofball. “See my toy? Do you see my toy? I have a toy.” Yes Calli. We all see your toy.

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And I took the drawing from the staff meeting earlier this week, and I drew it bigger and added a head. So it didn’t turn out like I wanted it too (I wanted 5 heads, but I ran out of paper space…a common problem for me), but I just kept adding shit until I thought I was done. It was a good thing to get out of my head.

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I might need to do another one at some point, but this was cathartic for now. Back to the question…are they yelling at each other or trying to eat each other? I don’t know the answer to that. I guess to get 5 heads in there, I’m gonna have to start much much smaller. Good to know that too.

I have gaming tonight, so I know I won’t get to ironing…but I’m hoping I get a good night’s sleep. I do have to deliver a quilt tomorrow, so I should figure out where it is, dehair it, iron it maybe, and pack it up for delivery. That would be smart. And then a 3-day weekend, with at least one full day of grading stuff, but a big chunk of ironing as well…I need that. More fabric meditation.

*Phoenix, 1901

You Got to Lose to Know How to Win*

February 8, 2018

Yesterday, while on crosswalk duty after school, two of my former students came up to talk to me about high school. I’d spent all day with kids who thought coming up with new ideas that they couldn’t copy off the internet was HAAARRRDD (well yeah, school is supposed to challenge you…otherwise, why would you need it?). Now don’t get me wrong, the majority of kids are designing really cool, amazing stuff that shows a vast expanse of interesting thinking (yay!), but for some kids, they don’t even know where to start. Well draw the snake egg. Because you have to keep it warm and protect it, so draw it. Because it has to be in your drawing.

Anyway, these two girls were bright, interesting thinkers, and honestly, I don’t remember their grades, but they were there to tell me (a) they missed me, (b) high school is HAARRRDDD, and (c) they missed middle school, because it was so much easier. One said we teachers had claimed high school was the best 4 years of our lives! I said, well, hell no…college was way better…and even that was often HAAARRRDDD. I enjoyed the hugs, told them I knew they would be fine, that I had faith in their good, hard-working brains, and now I had something to tell my kids today, I guess. That what they think is hard isn’t hard? Well…middle school is its own kind of hard…that’s for sure. So maybe I’ll keep that to myself today.

I have no art to show today. Instead of artmaking last night, I climbed most of Mt. Woodson (we did a mutant version of the Fry-Koegel trail, shortening it up and avoiding most of the asphalt road). I don’t even have pictures because it was dark. There ARE pictures, but they haven’t been posted yet. Proof that I was there! That I hiked 4.5-5 miles on a school night! Yeah, so it did wipe me out after. I did a little eating and reading and hanging out and then went to bed early and didn’t sleep a lot, because the coyotes were out in force and little Simba can’t handle that. He becomes a tiny Pomeranian coyote warning system (dude, like we can’t hear them yipping?) and my brain can’t deal with noise at night, so sleep was a problem. And I’m up early for a meeting, so I’ll be half dead by the time I get through the day. What’s new? Nothing really.

Here’s the only proof I have of the hike…and yeah, I did over 9,000 steps at school before I even left to hike, which is scary in itself.


Here’s part of the hanging out process. There’s Mr. Barkypants, napping away. This is why he can afford to stay up all night yelling at coyotes.

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The girlchild is out of the rainforest and back into a cell service area. She had a good time, even though they weren’t allowed to shower until they’d written and presented (in French) a group essay on scientific procedures. I think her blogposts are a full week behind now, but she’ll get there. And at some point, we’ll lose her and cell service for longer than three days, I’m sure. She did check in at one point from the top of the rainforest…but I’m fairly positive there will be healthy chunks of time coming up when she won’t be able to even do that.

The best use of the new headlamp? Besides hiking? Lighting up the backyard for the nervous Nellie of a night-pee-er, Calli. She appreciates it.

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I do plan on art tonight. I’m hoping I’m still functional after multiple meetings and hangouts and another day of It’s HAAARRRDDD and my laughing maniacally because I forced 12-year-olds to think and create. It’s a tough life sometimes. I’m glad I have the time and ability to hike and draw and make art. These things are all good.

*Aerosmith, Dream on