Come and Open Up Your Folding Chair Next to Me*

I am so close to done. With a quilt. Not school. That’s why I stayed up late (again). I finished the quilting last night. I can’t show it to you yet. But it looks cool. Tonight I’ll trim it and put the binding on. I’m emailing the photographer…right…now. OK. That’s done. Now I have to finish it. I love forced motivation. OK, I really do want it done, because I want to work on something I can SHOW you.

Plus, I’m looking forward to having my Patreon pick the next one. I edited the video together last night and just need to add some titles or something. Every time I do this, I learn something new about video editing. This time, it was how to rotate the video. I still need to figure out how to fill the screen with it, but that’s tonight maybe. Well, let’s be honest…I have math testing again today, and this time, I get back the hellion who’s been gone the last three days of testing, and then I have science curriculum training for 2 1/2 hours after school. Which currently sounds semi-torturous, but maybe I’ll feel better about it at the time. Unlikely.

Last night, I had a union meeting. I was filling out a lease application to co-sign for the girlchild at the same time, and wondering yet again at when I might be able to stop paying for my kids. I think the answer is a long time from now. As I’m staring at the hole in my kitchen counter and trying to figure out how to fix it long term. No stress. So the house needs work. I literally cannot deal with that right now. Remove old grout, caulk between the sink and the counter, find tiles that will fit, trim them to really fit, adhere, and grout. Not happening until June 21st. Well. I can do some of that before then, but it needs to dry out, and that’s not happening either.

I’m going to try to finish the Patreon thing tonight…but it will probably be tomorrow night, posting Saturday morning. So that’s a little behind my self-imposed schedule, but the reality right now is that school is kicking my butt.

And then there’s these guys…

That’s Katie…my parent’s dog. They’re in Seattle at my nephew’s middle school graduation. Calli is never really sure about Katie. In this photo, Katie is yowling. Really that’s the only way to explain it. She sings. In dog. She’s very excited when new people come home. Or go to the mailbox and come back. Or get up in the morning.

She’s a good guard dog, although very nervous.

Will you come back? Will you? We always do, Katie. We always do.

I am totally holding dog treats in my hand here.

Because otherwise, they’re throwing their doggie bodies all over the place. This makes them pay attention.

OK, there’s 11 days of school left. I will be done with grading at some point (I did a bunch of that yesterday too). I will have my sanity back at some point (it usually takes a week or two after school gets out). Today will not be that day. At all. But I have an early meeting today, so let’s start with that and get on with the rest of it.

*Regina Spektor, Folding Chair

I Am Superman and I Know What’s Happening*

Starting the morning out with a rousing rendition of I Am Superman by R.E.M. Music makes it better. I am tired. This is nothing new. My brain is having a hard time shutting down at night. I wish I could remember to meditate when that happens. I need an alarm that realizes I’m stressed and tells me to meditate. This is how smart my phone needs to be. Does Pandora realize I’m not awake and need rousing music? It must, because now it’s Boston with More Than a Feeling, which does want to persuade you to be awake. Unfortunately, my brain is not looking forward to state math testing today. Math is hard for all of us…I was doing a lot of it in tutoring yesterday. I have to talk myself through some math problems. And the math teacher in there wasn’t really helping. I did know how to explain probability though. So that was useful.

I then kamikazed to the post office, but the stupid machine was so slow that I didn’t finish before they closed. I was able to send one envelope, but not the package, so somehow I need to go back today…and with another envelope, because I realized at 10 PM that one of the art entries for this week actually needs to be mailed.

I got right on the bike when I got home because my library book is due and they’ll take it back if I don’t finish. So I finished. It was good. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho…

I’ll definitely read the next one…when I have time. Right now, I’m trying to read the book club book, because that’s next week. And then we’re going to be teaching two books in science next year…somehow. So I need to read one of them and the kid version of the other one. There’s a whole series. So there’s that. I like to read, so this is not problematic, except when trying to find the time.

Then I graded stuff for a long time. And finished awards. And then graded some more. I’m tired of it. Really. Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter.

So yeah, that art entry popped up when I came in here to quilt. I finished it and quilted for a while, over an hour. I finished the outlining and started the background. I didn’t get super far, but it won’t take long to finish.

I have a union meeting tonight, so hopefully that won’t go super long and I’ll have time tonight…although I’m in charge of dinner too. Sigh. I want this thing done. I was hoping I’d be done by the weekend so I could drive it to the photographer on a day when I don’t have a meeting. Because next week is also ugly. Then I might get some of my time back. Maybe. Well, there’s about an hour of quilting left…so that’s my goal after dinner tonight.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide on the next one…it’ll be one of these four…either one of these two…

or one of these two…

I’m going to let my Patreon people decide. I need to finish that video. I might be able to do that tonight. Uh huh. (By finish the video, I mean process the whole thing. It exists. That is all.) OK, off to school and math testing. It will all be fine. I think the boychild is going to the post office for me. I don’t see how I can get there in time. Deep breaths. I tell my students to ask for help, but then I forget how to do it myself. It’s just easier to do it all myself. It’s not really, but I tell myself that. It is not escaping my attention that I have a quilt called I Can’t Be Your Superwoman.

*R.E.M., I Am Superman

And Then It Got Better…

Well. When your stress levels are high? Organize your photo files. Seriously. Your brain will start to shut down and refuse to stay awake. It’ll be like, this is the most boringest thing EVER. Which explains why my photo files are NOT organized. Like from 2014 on. It’s patchy. The J months are a mess. I mean, I organize every day I download stuff, which is pretty often because of this blog. But then they stay in those daily folders. I prefer to have all the photos of a quilt together, all the animal pix together, etc. But then when I’m looking at a photo of a box of trimmed quilt pieces from 2014, I have no freakin’ idea which quilt it is sometimes. So then I’m staring at the quilts I finished that year and trying to figure out which one I was working on in June 2014. Pain In The Ass. Then again 2014 was kind of a fucked up year. And then it got better.

That’s my mantra for the last 13 days of the school day: And Then It Got Better.

Staff meeting. Shorter than usual. Slightly stressful to think about some of the stuff for next year. Back to no food or peeing for 3-plus hours in the morning. Not ideal. Sigh. Although my co-teacher has to run across campus twice in that time, so I guess at least I don’t have that. It will all be fine. It’s a long way away. (Not really) The plus is that the meeting got done early, so I could kamikaze to the quilt store and buy binding. It’s in the dryer, so I don’t have a picture. I remembered to turn the dryer on at 12:30 AM. Electricity is cheaper then anyway. I hate our new electricity usage plan. The times I’m home and awake are the most expensive. It totally fucks over anyone with a standard day job. It’s not even cheaper on the weekends. So I’m constantly doing laundry at 9 PM at night. And I can’t cook dinner except during those hours.

So I got binding fabric…because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go until Friday, and even that might be questionable. I did quilt last night…although I had 17 thousand things to do first. As always. I hooped this one…

She’s going to travel with the store for a while. You can get her pattern (and others) at Global Artisans…rumor has it that kits are also available. I’m designing 6 more over the summer.

Oh yeah, before I ever did that, I walked dogs…and myself…and the boychild.

The weather was a lot cooler than I had expected…

This dove…just sitting there.

The plants are still crazy tall…

But not tall enough to hide the two guys getting naked in the brush. Um. Guys. There’s poison oak down there. Hmmm.

Well. We tired her out.

That was while I was quilting. I only have one section left to quilt and then the background…not much. I should be able to finish tonight. Then trim and bind. This week! The next three days are full of school work though…four different meetings before and after school. Ugh. (And then it got better)

Here’s the quilt waiting for me…

Morning light on the backing. First I’m going to go teach the remainder of the pregnancy stuff, plus do tutoring. Then I’ll get the rest done. Last night, both eyes were twitching. Too much. Too much. Breathe in and out. Deeply. Slowly. Shit. I don’t have a plan for homeroom. Fuck. OK. Off this and onto the job stuff.

Because I’ve Forgotten…

I was so ready to be in bed by midnight last night, and then the girlchild texted that she heard someone in her house. She’s subletting and she’s been the only person there for the last week or so. There are supposed to be other people in there this summer, but she wasn’t expecting them this early or at 3 AM. So she’s freaking out, and now I’m freaking out. I almost called the cops for her, but some frantic texting later finds that it really is the kid who is supposed to show up 4 days from now. Oh good. Sigh. So that made my brain hit overdrive. The plus is that I got my laundry folded in the meantime, during said texting. She was worried that she would call the cops and it would sound crazy. I tried to tell her there’s nothing crazy about a woman by herself in a house hearing a noise at 3 in the morning. Hell, I called the sheriff on a raccoon. To my credit, it was a freakishly huge raccoon and it was making people sounds. Long story. Plus I had three dogs going bazonkers at the time. I’ve spent a large part of my adult life living alone, and I get what she’s saying. It’s why I like dogs. Anyway, I’m glad she now has a housemate, although an incommunicative one apparently.

I took on a copyediting job for “August sometime”. It’s an author I’ve worked with before, so I’m pretty clear on what the tasks will be, but the timing is not ideal. Early August? OK. Late August? Yikes. But I need the money to pay off the kids’ college portion for which I am responsible. And I’d rather have that done sooner than later. As it is, I’m supposed to be paying some of the boychild’s off, and I haven’t had the money. Maybe once I get into the summer and see how much cash I have, I can pay off part of it. Most of it will come from the sale of an art quilt the end of the summer. Unless some other disaster happens that I don’t know about. I need to sell my car this summer too, which is going to mean a loan for a newer one. Fun stuff.

So where am I at on the quilt? Not as far as I’d liked. It is what it is…yesterday was inordinately busy.

I’m about halfway through the outlining. It’s not taking long, but I haven’t had long either. I needed to finish grading an assignment last night so I could calculate awards and input grades and get stuff out of my hair. So I did that. I went to a bonfire in the middle of all that where we burned the question box cards from the sex ed unit…it was a little early for this year’s cards, but my co-teacher had all her cards from last year. We read them out loud and it’s amusing.

I did quilt eventually…it was just almost 11 PM.

Even though I’m not done, I pulled it off the machine because I need binding fabric and this week is a clusterfuck for getting out of work at a reasonable time. The store closes at 5 and that isn’t going to happen on Tuesday-Thursday. There is supposed to be a 2-hour staff meeting today, but I’m hoping he releases us early, so I can kamikaze over to the quilt shop. I’m pretty sure I can finish the quilting well before Friday, and that’s the next available time to go to the quilt store. If not, there’s a store closer to me that is open until 5:30, but they don’t have as many fabrics…it’ll do if it has to, but I prefer the other place.

In other news, I have a random water leak under the sink that I can’t locate. It might be the tea kettle leaking, so I replaced that. It might be the garbage disposal or a pipe, but I haven’t been able to locate the actual leak. I can’t really call a plumber if it’s just water dripping past the sink because the tile is all gone. I don’t really know what to do about that. I replaced it all once, but couldn’t get it to stay permanently…it’s a very wet part of the kitchen and eventually everything decayed away again. I can’t really afford to replace it all…but maybe I will just have to do that, even though my whole kitchen is a 1977-era disaster and needs major work. I’ve been piecemeal replacing things for years…the oven is on its last legs. The microwave is at ankle height. It’s just a shit storm. I figure once I get college paid off, I can start on the house. Anyway. Maybe I need to just learn how to make a concrete counter from some DIY YouTube video and that’ll be the solution. Who knows. My summer is already a mess.

Here’s a cat though…

She was watching me quilt. This is why there are two chairs in my office. One for me and one for a cat. Sometimes. Sometimes she wants to be in the same chair I’m in.

And here’s a sleepy puppy. Who is not a puppy at all. He’ll be 3? in September. I think he’s 3.

His adorable face is what keeps us from killing him when he barks at 3 AM. Which he’s been better at lately.

Anyway, today I start videos about pregnancy (fun stuff), then we have testing for two days, and then I teach about birth control. In my personal world, I need to put together my first Patreon video for June (it’s in parts right now), plus do some drawing, and finish this quilt. I’m sure there are other things on my calendar that I’ve forgotten about right now (post office, sharps disposal, library book, exercise, dog walking, grading)…but hopefully I’ll remember them before too late. If you asked me to do something and I didn’t, feel free to remind me. Because I’ve forgotten.

More Chock Full…

This weekend is even more chock full than I thought. I’m getting some stuff done, though…but probably not all of it. Today will be a little crazier than I thought. This week might be a little crazier than I thought. Oh well. Roll with it.

I have one class left to grade of the big huge assignment. I need to get it done like now. I also need to calendar the week, so I can get a hold of the minutiae. I need to quilt. I need to write the warmup for the week. I’m sure there’s other crap I haven’t even thought of…laundry, team email, groceries. OK, I’ve thought of those.

Yesterday, I had a school thing to go to, repping for the team. I live closest to school, so it’s easy enough to show up for the girls in science. I got to see one of my kids from 4 years ago too, and she’s still interested in science, so that’s cool. Planning on going to college in a science career too. All good. Although not necessary. I just want them to find their happy, their passion. My kid from this year, who is normally so self-assured and confident, was terrified. She’ll be fine. She’s awesome. She doesn’t know it yet though. School is the safe place. She fits in a slot there. This is bigger and different. I hope she rocks it.

I did quilt yesterday…I was right…this is quilting really fast. I’ll be fine with the deadline…

Although getting binding…not sure when that is happening. That’s the problem with my job and the open hours of the quilt store. So I’ll have to figure that out. They used to be open later one day a week, and they stopped that. It makes it difficult. If today weren’t so crazy (I keep using that word), I might go today. Thinking about it.

Yesterday also meant a trip to Campland to watch the man play…I stitched…

If you don’t face the kickball game, you will get hit in the head.

Chair turned around toward the stage (kickball was over). At this point, it was starting to get too dark to stitch, so I quit…

But I got a bunch done first.

I also tried to draw…

It was a little too dark for it. Lights from the stage got in the way of a successful draw. I was trying to record it too. We’ll see how that looks later. I’m constantly trying to think of what I could record for the Patreon. I have one video that’s done; I just can’t show it until after June 30. So there’s that.

Friday night, we went to the opening of Bhavna Mehta’s new exhibit at Art ProduceThe Body Is a Home

As always, her work is beautiful and different…

I’m taking a class from her in July about papercutting and embroidery. I just want to try new things. I think it’s important to consider how to branch out from the work we always do. It’s easy for me to make art quilts. I like my women’s art group because it makes me do different things than what might be easy. So we’ll see how that goes.

Kitten is often frustrated by the geckos…

And yet fascinated. Me too, Kitten. Me too.

OK, so many things to do. I should start with shower and food, and then try to make sense of the world after that.

I Don’t Need a Huge Piece of It

Wow. So May is a long month, but it has whipped by, leaving me in the dust. I close the gradebook for the last time this school year next Friday. Holy crap. That means I have to finish grading stuff. And a bunch of other things need to happen. Like magically. I had hoped to get a lot of grading done yesterday while the kids worked on vocab, but there was a lot of behavior stuff going on. So I didn’t get much done, unfortunately. I finished one class of the big assignment by staying a little bit after work, before going to my friend’s retirement party. And then, I brought one class home with me. I only have two left. But they have to be done by Monday. And this weekend is a mess. So there’s that. OK. Well. I’m going to have to figure it out. I’m not quite at the point where I can see a light at the end of the grading tunnel. Ah the sweet respite of summer, where no lesson planning or grading has to happen every damn night.

I was supposed to go to the gym last night, but by the time I got home from the party, I was exhausted. Not too exhausted, though…because I pinbasted the quilt.

The backing is this fabric I’ve had for years and never used…

It’s way too busy to be a background, but it was just too amazing not to buy. Plus it was on sale. But I’m trying to use stuff up. If I have a small piece of it in my stash, I can use it for images…I don’t need a huge piece of it.

I think that’s my life lesson for the day. True for cake and wealth and responsibility. Responsibility especially right now. I’m wondering if either of the people I live with will realize the fridge is dirty and even just wipe off the shelf. Or is that just me. Sure, it’s my fridge. It’s my house. But we all live here. And that doesn’t even touch on school stuff. Sigh. There’s been a lot of this lately…

This is from the Noom app. Some of the articles are good. And it’s not that I didn’t know this. Trust me. I know this. I suck at it, but I know it. As my friend Julie tells me, Be Brave. And I also think because I am older and (maybe) wiser that I just don’t give a fuck about some things any more. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who are teachers and don’t get kids. Or people on teams who don’t pull their weight or work cooperatively with others. I’m a lone wolf at a lot of things, but I do know the power of teaming when working this job on so many fronts, and it’s been a joy to have some really good team members in the last few years. I think I pull my weight. I could probably be nicer about it. Maybe.

On that note, my quilter friend of (holy crap) 29 years is moving to Portland in a few weeks for good. We’re going to attempt online meetings, but it’s not the same. So I reached out to SAQA to see what’s going on with meetings locally. I need to branch out a bit. I’m hoping there’s meetings that are not just during the work day. In a city/region this full of people, there have to be like-minded artists who just want to hang out once a month and stitch. Hopefully. This as I listen to the girlchild, who is in the Boston area jobhunting and currently subletting in a house where no one is living at the moment, plus all her friends have disappeared for the summer (or forever) and she has nothing to do but clean and run errands…which will eventually get expensive. She’s like me…needs to have shit to do…and NOT like me…in that she is an extrovert and gets energy from her interactions with people. So hopefully all that will get worked out soon.

Me? I need to go teach pregnancy today, do a lot of other things, go to a friend’s opening, and then figure out whether I can start quilting tonight. This thing is going to quilt quickly, but I actually need time to DO it for that to happen. And the next week is a mess. I want it done by next weekend, if I can pull it off. We’ll see. At least it’s Friday again. I’m totally in survival mode.

They Spun a Web for Me*

Sorry I am so light on pictures right now. I have this finished quilt top, all ironed down and stitched down. Close your eyes and imagine it, although I can’t tell you anything about it. So there’s that. There’s no nudity in it! I can tell you that. I know you’re shocked, but I only use nudity when it makes sense to me. The problem is that other people don’t have the same sense as I do. Tonight I will be pinbasting it and hopefully starting the quilting, although I have some stuff to do after school and I want to go to the gym and finish my book. So there’s that.

Last night, I was on the stationary bike, grading Venn diagrams about the pros and cons of plastics, while looking up temperatures in New Orleans in December, and texting a high-school friend about National Parks I’d been to. There’s no picture of that either.

I took one picture of the stitch down. I tried to make it really artsy so you couldn’t see what I was stitching down, because I can’t show you that yet, and it was not artsy enough and you can totally see it. I’m gonna have a ton of pictures in July. Not now.

The plus is that I’m close to done (well, at least a week out), and then I will have pictures galore of the next quilt, whatever the heck it’s gonna be. I have three or four smaller drawings that are already numbered. I’m going to toss them up on my Patreon and let them vote. I don’t have the brain power to decide for myself. One minute I’m all about one of them. The next minute, my brain is reneging and picking another one. Indecisiveness! Actually, it’s just decision fatigue. Totally. I need a team to decide for me.

I did get to 11:55 PM last night and I only had like 3 inches left to stitch down and this happened.

Well, first the bobbin thread tied itself in a knot around the holder on the machine that probably has some official name like Bobbin Stick Thing, and then I couldn’t get it to unwind appropriately, so I took a seam ripper to it. Then I refilled the damn thing and sewed that three inches, but it all took some time. And profanity.

No I have not had enough sleep. Why do you ask?

But it’s done. So I can go on to the next step. Which is good. This weekend is somewhat of a clusterfuck, so I’m going to need all the head start I can get.

Here’s Kitten hiding behind a quilt.

Not a very artsy photo.

OK, I have a headache and I need to eat and find a new chiropractor. Maybe not right this second. I also have some art exhibits to enter. I might do one now. Time is short.

Oh yeah, another article that includes info about my solo show in Pittsburgh…Fiberart International opens this weekend and they are advertising my show along with it, which is cool. Because I didn’t get into Fiberart International, but entering there was how I got this show. Which is cool.

OK. Food. Entries. Teaching. All that.

*Coldplay, Trouble