Seen It in the Wild

October 12, 2018

Well when you email the photographer about taking pictures of the quilt, that makes you finish sewing the sleeves on, right? Except I haven’t. It’s OK…I’ll get them done tonight. My stitching meeting is tonight, plus I don’t have to grade. Well, I always have to grade, but it’s not entirely required. I should have nights off, right? I graded last night…I’m trying to get through these essays, short ones, that I thought we had set up with such an obvious formula…but as always, listening to and reading instructions are skills that even adults don’t necessarily value. There are times to think outside the box, but that doesn’t mean you can make up what happened in a science lab. Aliens! It’s always the aliens. Um. Not always.

I’m up early for a parent meeting. Fun stuff those…but if it results in that kid behaving more like he’s capable of and less like a small child, I am OK with that. Parents forget that middle-school and high-school kids sometimes still need guidance and redirection. Or they just don’t know what to do with them. I guess I was lucky…mine kinda figured it out. Don’t be a dumbass. Mom will be pissed.

So after grading and dinner and some spacing out last night, I stood and stared at the big blank spaces of the drawing. I thought about what I was trying to say…about what was important and why. And I started sketching some stuff. And because it’s sketching, it’s super light and really hard to see. OK, yeah, like in this picture, you can’t really see anything. But know that I’m filling in this space with a mountain and plants and animals…

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And as I was going to bed, I was thinking over and over, a ribbon runs through it. I’m not sure how that will play out in real life, but somehow I need to connect her to the landscape or maybe put her more solidly In the landscape. The arm is there, the legs…I’ll have to decide how that will look.

A coyote…some burned-out trees. My Cuyamaca Mountains…

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A bobcat…I’ve only seen one in the wild…and it was while I was driving at 75 mph. It was alive. Manzanita and poison oak. I’ve seen them a lot in the wild….

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California mule deer…more trees…

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And right before bed, when I started to ink some of it. Gotta remember not to go tiny (um. might be too late for that).

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So more of that tomorrow. Maybe tonight. Figure my drawing out in my head all day and then spill it out? Maybe. It depends on how awake I am.

Satchemo won’t be doing any of that, man. Not finishing the last class period of those essays for me. Not going to the post office. Not working on the drawing. Totally not doing the dishes.

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Damn lazy cat. OK. Parent meeting. A million presentations on landforms. Stitching meeting. Somewhere in there I’ll get some food and maybe some sleep.

Words Like Violence*

October 11, 2018

I wasn’t the only one who thought yesterday was Thursday. Now I will have to live through a brain Thursday again. It’s OK. There’s tea. I’ll make it. I keep looking at the calendar for today and high-fiving myself that there’s nothing after school…to make up for yesterday I guess. Long-ass union meeting. Lots of complaints. OK. Heard. Not sure what the solution is. I had to work my prep period yesterday, and it was semi-hellish, and I probably didn’t actually have to work it (there was another teacher in that class)…so it threw my brain and blood sugar off. The thing about blood sugar is that when it’s off, you’re cranky and irritable. That’s always nice. Sigh.

I was home for a whopping 10 minutes, maybe 15…and then all the way across town to book club. They’re currently meeting in Liberty Station in the middle of a courtyard in the dark…which is fine. The Public Market is there for food, although they had all brought food (how nice…I can’t deal with that)…so I went and watched a nice woman make me a crepe, all the while watching a video of someone making a crepe.

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‘Twas a good crepe. And we (book club, not the crepe lady) talked about the book and being white and not always understanding cultural references because of it and being female and how we would have all been burned as witches if it were 150 years ago or so and how awesome birth control is and mindfulness and biofeedback and every once in a while a plane would go over us and we’d look up and watch it, because you couldn’t talk when that was happening and it was a place where my head went OK, you can drive 30+ minutes across town for this once a month. Except at some point, it will get too cold.

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Last night it was not too cold.

I came home and had zero energy to do anything. Except sit on the couch and wonder who did get into Quilt National. I didn’t. It’s OK. It happens more often than getting in. Those two pieces were not particularly friendly to showing with other work. They’ll find their exhibition home. So that’s 6 shows notified and I got into 4. Good odds.

Tonight I should have more energy…both to finish the sleeves on the poetry quilt, and to start drawing the next one full size. That will be my weekend, I think. If I finish drawing Saturday, I’ll be surprised. I have an opening in the middle of the afternoon, up at Palomar College, from 2-4 PM. Both Mammogram

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And Part-Time Oasis will be there…

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As will I. There is also an opening up there this afternoon, but it’s mostly for students. I’m obviously not going to be at that one. Because I’m going to be in my classroom listening to presentations about landforms. You wish you were me. Admit it.

*Depeche Mode, Enjoy the Silence

Control Is Not Convinced*

October 10, 2018

Trying to shut off teacher brain long enough to write…it’s trying to figure out a problem for today. It’s like listening to my students argue. Geez, just shut up a moment. We’ll be fine if you be a little bit quiet. Or not.

I have a meeting after school today and I’m trying to decide what assignment I can grade at the meeting. It has to be low maintenance or I can’t hear the meeting at the same time. I take notes to send to my people, so I have to be able to hear. Which means my teacher brain can’t be distracted by other shit. So not complicated, but needs to get done. Hmmm. I have until the end of the school day to figure that out. That’s not even the problem that was distracting me. That one woke me up at 2 AM and niggled. I hate niggling.

You know how you say yes to something and then you wonder why you said yes, why you decided this made sense, and you know why, but all of a sudden it’s a pain in the ass and you don’t want yes to be the right answer any more. It still is the right answer, but yes now means something the size of a football stadium and before it was much smaller. Like hold-in-your-hand smaller.

Anyway. That’s my brain at the moment. Highly distracted. I try to bring it back into the art world each night. Some nights I am more successful than others.

I did not finish the binding last night. I graded until almost 10:30 PM and then I wanted to tape the full-size drawing together, so that’s what I did. It took me 30 minutes to stand up to do that, but it’s OK…I eventually got there.

Here’s my weird-ass collection of pictures from yesterday…from the redacted poem we did in class yesterday…

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About layers of the Earth, not pizza.

To the parking lot on the way out of school…two crows and their very dead friend, the gopher. They were picking at him when I drove up.

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To cutting and pasting the enlarged drawing together…I did 200%. And then added paper on all 4 sides so I could see the whole space.

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Much easier to visualize now. Although I won’t probably get to it tonight…got a union meeting AND book club, and book club is many many miles away and somewhat complicated tonight. Ugh. I’m not really up for complicated and far away, unfortunately. We’ll see how I feel after the meeting. Actually, I shouldn’t give myself that out…because I won’t go if I base it on how tired I am after the meeting. It’s a new location and it’s different so I’m weirded out by that. I guess. Ugh. More caffeine. Go to work. Think later.

*Peter Schilling, Major Tom (Coming Home)

Brain Fuzz

October 9, 2018

I’m not finding any words in my head this morning. Part of it is that it’s early and I’m not functional yet. Another part is that my brain is drawing things out, testing out ideas, and that uses up a big chunk of available brainspace…apparently the part that comes up with words and coherent thoughts is a part of that. So I chug another large mouthful of tea, hoping my brain reappears sometime soon. Apparently the part that spells is here, because it’s correcting all the finger mistakes I’m making due to tiredness.

I have this one assignment that I’m having a hard time grading…it’s very draining and time-consuming, but there’s this one kid who keeps bugging me about when I’m going to grade it…it’s not like it will make or break him. I have to write a bunch of corrections when I grade them, so that’s why I avoid it. I’ll do it…it’s just taking me a while to get through it. I should just set a goal of a class worth of that every night until I’m done. I SHOULD. Or maybe just grade his so he’ll stop bugging me.

Walked the dogs. We haven’t been to this part for a while. There were signs up about a mountain lion sighting.

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Great. Well. Yeah, we hiked anyway.

I cooked dinner…and then worked on the binding for about 2 1/2 hours…

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While watching Dr. Who, amongst other things. Hooray for the female doctor. I still need to sew the sleeves on and then contact the photographer. Almost done.

Simba has been really cranky lately.

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Don’t know why.

I drew after that. The plan is to enlarge it today after school.

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Because I need to see the whole available space before I can do the rest. Makes sense. Maybe I can have some of my brain back once I’ve finished drawing. I will draw tonight, but I don’t think I’ll finish…but that’s OK. If I finish drawing by the weekend and start tracing, I should be OK. This one can’t be huge…big, but not huge. It would be nice to have my brain back before the weekend though.

OK, brain fuzz. Sheesh.

Move It to the Exits*

October 8, 2018

I feel pretty good about the weekend. I got a lot done. I’m starting the week not as buried as I felt last week. I graded a lot. Plus I got the binding on the new quilt…just need to hand sew the rest. And I started work on the revised drawing. I got two nights of good sleep for once, I walked some dogs, and I was even at a social event for almost two hours! I know, right? This week has more of that stuff. I should cultivate more of that in general, but I don’t really have the time (or possibly the patience) for it.

So I drew while we watched a movie last night…it’s nowhere near done. In fact, it’s not even done enough to take for enlargement, although that might happen tomorrow. I like to have as much as possible done before I enlarge…

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Because I know I will draw too small afterward. Anyway, the goal in the revised version was to move the water spiral off to the left and off her body, so that could be in there too. There’s more to come below. I think the maximum size I can do is 44″w x 60″h, so that is somewhat limiting. This is a 14″w x 17″h sketchbook, so if I start by enlarging to 200%, which is usually the smallest I go, then I’ll have about 10″ in width to add and just short of 25″ in height. That might be enough. I guess it will have to be enough. Scaling it back in my head, for sure…I don’t have to put everything I’m thinking in one piece. Although that is how I roll.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one obsessively checking email on Friday, which was supposed to be the Quilt National notification day. I get rejected all the time, and will probably get rejected again, but one of the pieces I entered is exactly that…everything in my head at that time. Might be a mistake, but I needed to make it. When I entered 8 shows back in August and early September, I knew I was guaranteed to get into one…and it’s been nice to get into 4 out of 5. I wasn’t expecting more than 1 out of 8. So each acceptance is something really cool and appreciated. The rejections are an opportunity to enter those pieces into another show.

So I kept forgetting to take process pictures on this one…I cut the binding out before dinner and sewed it together…then after the movie, I came in here and sewed the binding and sleeves on…around 10 PM or so…

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Then in my most favorite shirt that I can’t wear to school, I started the hand-sewing…

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It’s going to go fast. Then off to the photographer…meanwhile starting the next one. At some point, I’m going to need to figure out the next steps after that piece. I’ve been focusing so hard on the Fall, that I’m not sure what comes next. It’s not a bad thing…I’m OK with not making something for a show. It would be nice, actually. Although the shows are motivating, I am capable of motivating myself without them.

OK, gotta work…and try not to think about justice confirmations and elections (I’m so ready to vote, y’all.) and how we treat survivors of abuse and harassment. That stuff sucks. It’ll show up in a drawing…just not yet.

*Semisonic, Closing Time

I Need Coherence…Not Gravel

October 7, 2018

I don’t usually write on Sunday, but I feel like I actually achieved things yesterday, so writing about that makes me feel better. Hey! I achieved things yesterday! OK, that’s it…I’m done. Not really.

I did grade a lot yesterday, lots of school-related stuff got done…for instance, we’re doing this landform project and we have these cards we are going to use, and for some reason, we decided coloring them seemed like a good idea, so we started the teacher’s aide on that, but she was taking forever, so then we tried to speed-color them on Friday and failed miserably, plus apparently I don’t know how to color, ironically, so I brought the rest of them home and speed-speed-colored them yesterday, so I can deliver them to print shop Monday morning to be laminated. For Wednesday.

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Don’t ask why we do this shit to ourselves. It just happens.

Then I had an art meeting, and art meetings always include food and wine, and this was the wine I had. I love the label. It kind of reminds me of the coloring I was doing.

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Maybe next we should graduate to wine labels.

This vehicle parked at the art meeting.

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These are my people.

Came home and graded more stuff…Simba doesn’t lie like this naturally. I’m pretty sure the boychild was pulling things out of his fur and then just left him there.

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That tail is a disaster. He won’t let us comb it, so I just cut knots out when I remember.

So I graded until 9 PM or so and then I was done with that assignment, so I went in and finished quilting…it was about another hour and a half…lots of thread breaking, or it would have been less. Quilting in between the tree branches was kind of a pain.

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It took a little over 6 hours to quilt her. Then I swept the floor and laid her out to be trimmed.

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It took a couple of tries to get it right, but there she is, all ready for binding.

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That should happen tonight, I suspect, or maybe this afternoon if I am really organized (I don’t feel organized at the moment). Oh yeah, and we walked the dogs in there somewhere too. After art meeting with wine and food and before dinner.

This was Friday night, when the boychild kicked all the animals out of his personal space, so they invaded mine.

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Well, except for Kitten. She doesn’t like the others. Sometimes I don’t blame her. And I bathed the Golden as well. Busy day, really. Today will be another…more grading, groceries, school stuff, and hopefully some quilt stuff at the end. I need to start getting my act in gear on the next drawing. It’s rolling around in my head like a destructive boulder that keeps losing small bits. I need coherence…not gravel.

The Words That Would Mend the Things That Were Broken*

October 6, 2018

I’m desperately trying to be efficient these days, and mostly sucking at it. I listened and slept a lot (well, as much as I could)…it means very little art is happening, which always feels bad, but work is burying me at the moment and that also feels bad. And somehow the new iOs is screwing with my photos uploading to the cloud. Annoying. So it’s almost noon and I was up at a reasonable hour, I’ve made about 5 dozen cookies for a social event later, I sent all the files and info for the Surface Design Journal’s Exhibition in Print, which I got into (cool!), and now I’m trying to write this before bathing the dog in special shampoo, taking my own shower, and grading some shit. Later today, I plan to eat Indian food, because the main man has two shows today that I’m not invited to and can’t crash, and the boychild and I like Indian food. Then I hope to finish this damn quilt with the thread I bought, and then put a binding on it with the fabric I bought after school yesterday. The binding is the brown on the right…the others are impulse buys. Wait, no, they are useful additions to my stash.

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Don’t question it. I keep my fabric contained in here. There’s no reason to panic until I start to take over your living space.

There are more pictures I want to put in here, but iCloud is holding them hostage. Or my phone is. Hard to say. I’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, I got stuff to do. If I see you later today, cool. If not, here’s the announcement for the next show I’m in…you can see me at the opening next Saturday…


I have two pieces in the show.

OK. Off to the races. Get it done. Maybe eat some lunch. That would be smart. And yes, the sketchbook and my Sharpie are screaming at me. I’m listening!

*Maroon 5, Won’t Go Home Without You