I Hope They Didn’t Get Your Mind*

February 17, 2017

Well OK. So I often have plans to get stuff done and it just doesn’t happen. It seems to be more frequent right now. I seriously did plan to get a lot done last night and all of a sudden, it was midnight. It started with staying a little later after school, trying to get a bunch of stuff done. We have girls applying to a science camp, and we have to manage applications, plus we’re trying to finish designing this huge engineering and design project. I like it to be as clean as possible before the kids get in there and show us all the stuff we did wrong or didn’t scaffold enough, so I keep trying to think through what they’ll need or how they’ll misunderstand shit. But my brain is fuzz at the moment.

You wanna know how much fuzz? These were yesterday’s socks. That was not on purpose.

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At least they’re related.

I came home and thought I might work for a while (last period of the assignment from hell, only because no one followed instructions) and then put the binding on, but I’ve been grinding my teeth for days, and that’s stress. And for stress, my best cure is exercise. So I did that instead. It was a good choice; I know that, but it would have been smart to have had dinner already in the fridge, because then I came home and cooked. By the time I finished eating, it was 9:30. Not so good. I sat down to do the two stitches, one from the day before and one for yesterday…I got halfway through and my SIL called. And then the boychild texted me because his voicemail wasn’t set up, so then I was on chat with AT&T, getting that set up. Came back and finished the stitching…well, with help from the ear cleaner on the left, who stole my spool of thread at some point…and the other one, who wanted to sit on my lap.

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Let’s see…I did the light stitching around the blue french knot flowers above Prosper, and there was a little thread left, so I filled in the p. Then I did the buttonhole stitches with French knots above Live, and with the extra thread, I did lazy daisies in the herringbone stitch above it.

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Still filling in. Then it was midnight. Seriously. WTF? I needed more than that. I went to bed, because dammit, I was tired…and then 3:30 AM, puppy starts barking. After 30 minutes of it on and off, and then realizing I could hear whatever it was, AND Kitten was guarding that weird door I have to the entry area, I opened the front door to this guy.

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You sir are why we can’t sleep at night. Calli and I know you are a wild animal and not a threat, although I am still unclear on the fascination your family has with my roof (seriously, this is the baby…I didn’t see Momma), so we can mostly sleep through your shenanigans. Simba, though, has a tiny little brain and thinks you are aliens attacking and will bark frantically until you are quiet. Some of us have to work in the morning, dontcha know? Ugh. This morning.

He is cute though. She? Hard to say. I have no training in sexing raccoons.

So nothing. No drawing, no binding, fuck the world. Seriously. Tonight needs to be better. It’s a good thing I haven’t emailed the photographer yet. Because Not Done. So Completely Not Done.

OK. Today is a new day. And it’s a Friday. It could be good. Eventually. First I have to deal with 130 squirrels high on candy while I have limited sleep reserves due to a raccoon. Yeah. My life.

*Milky Chance, Stolen Dance


Got So Much to Lose*

February 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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Sometimes I wonder about my job.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Cage the Elephant, Trouble


I Wait for the Minutes to Burn*

February 15, 2017

Well damn. I finished quilting the background. It was like a go big or go home moment…I was determined to sew until I finished. Luckily it wasn’t TOO late…just after midnight I think. Here? Here it seemed like I had forever left to go, a vast expanse of blue to fill in. I would never finish.

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Kitten is missing some teeth. She makes funny faces because of it.

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That is her new place to sleep. Because it’s right next to mommy while she quilts. When I move back into the living room to trace Wonder Under, she might follow me in there. That room is scarier apparently. More dog access. She and Simba still aren’t friends. I tried to tell her how good he is at cleaning kitty ears, but she won’t listen.

This is when I got all the way up one side, over the top, and into the blue that was left on the other side…I could see an end here…but that’s still a lot of blue.

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It took about 2 1/2 hours yesterday, totaling up over 19 hours…but all the outlining and quilting in the background is done.

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But I think I need to quilt in the cloud. Just a little. Not sure if I have the right color, but I don’t have time to go shopping.

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Either way, I can put the binding on tonight. Finally. A relief really. It’s not done, of course…it needs ink…maybe a little embroidery. Cat whiskers? Maybe. I haven’t totaled all the hours yet. I’m afraid of that number. The next one is much smaller.

At the quilt store, someone called this quilt “cute” (she couldn’t see all of it) and then asked me how long it had taken me. I said I’d started around Christmas. Not quite true. I did the cut and paste on December 11. So more than two months. It’s big…not surprising. But I did have a focus problem on this one too.

Puppy fell asleep in/on my embroidery bag…

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I filled in green leaves to go with the pink flowers from yesterday.

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Remember to fill in all the empty spaces…

I found all the balls last night. They were all under the coffee table.

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So yeah, we played for a bit, but there’s this interesting conundrum. Do we need to check under there more often? Or do I need a new coffee table that goes all the way to the ground? Or just buy more balls? The choices…

The dogs don’t care, as long as I throw them. They really really want me to throw them.

*IAMDYNAMITE, Hi Lo


Hold Me, Wrap Me Up*

February 14, 2017

First of all, Happy V Day. I’m not really a fan of how this day fucks with many people’s heads, but I still think it’s important to spread the love. Lots of hugs today…we need them.

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And if you don’t, then just pass it on to someone who does.

I had three dogs for a few days there…mostly the two smaller ones played with each other while the other one stared at me as if I should stop it.

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I did not. But Katie is back with my parents now.

So this weekend. Damn. I know I did some stuff. I cooked a lot of things and froze bunches of it for later weeks, packed some other stuff up to eat this week. I know I talked to my daughter twice and my SIL once…well twice, if you count multiple conversations in a day. I know I graded stuff too, but honestly, not too much, because mostly it hurt my brain and took way too much time. And there were other things I wanted and needed to get done. At some point, I just accepted that sometimes talking to real humans is more important than grading shit.

So I had figured out this drawing in my head and I started it at some point on Sunday, before going back to grading…but I fucked up the fingers.

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Facing the wrong way…palms of hands up means fingernails behind, not in front. Liquid paper to the rescue.

I penciled in where one of the heads was supposed to go. Yes, I said one.

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Yeah. That was a good start. Then I worked on quilting for a while…

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That was something I wanted to finish this weekend, but I did not. Because. Shit happens, right? I did get the binding fabric, so I have that available for when I do finish, hopefully tonight, but honestly, probably tomorrow. But I still need to go up one side from the shoulder, over the head and the cloud, and around. Not a small amount, but again, not a huge amount. Close to done.

I wanted to hike the dogs yesterday, but our path is still underwater…

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It’s easier to get around it now, though, after two weeks of mostly drying out (we keep getting more rain…two inches predicted for Friday…in California, we don’t ever just the right amount of rain…it’s either not enough or way too much.).

Now that view looks nice, doesn’t it? All green and lush? (well, for California) We got about a 1/2 mile out and I saw three coyotes on both sides of the trail.

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Now if it were just me, I’d be OK with that. But Calli is older and Simba is a tasty treat. So I guess we’re not hiking here for a while…until the water disappears so it’s not an easy source for them, or until I get a bigger group of people (hello, children) to go with me. I don’t think they’d come after me with two dogs, but there’s no one else out here most days, so I’m not willing to take the risk.

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It sucks, though…the other options are full of other people. Ugh. I like to hike without a million bikes and kids and dogs.

The dogs wanted a longer walk…hell, so did I…

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Oh well.

So then I came home and drew this for school.

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We couldn’t find exactly what we wanted, so I drew it. I might need to redraw it, but that’s easier the second time around anyway. We’ll see. I still need to do a word bank for it.

I sat and sewed for a bit, making up for Sunday and Monday. And realized at some point that I had both Midnight and Simba were curled up next to me.

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I did the bright pink flowers and their centers in Long.

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They still need leaves.

Then I went back to the drawing, because it was yelling louder than the quilt…

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It’s borrowing ideas from two other quilts (maybe more) at this point, but it’s going where I want/need it to go. It’s not done though. As I went to bed, another idea popped into my head for filling arms/legs. So I wrote it down…maybe tonight. ALL the things are maybe tonight.

Midnight eventually moved behind me on the couch.

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A closeup of the faces…because that. Yeah.

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You can’t make me. It’s funny…I drew the center face and thought it turned out really well, and then realized I was going to censor her in some way (muzzle, gag, whatever). But I’d already done this perfect face. So duct tape it. And what’s behind still shows, because I want you to see what you’re covering up, what you’re trying to shut up.

So in reality, I didn’t get anywhere near enough done this weekend…which sucks. But it’s not like I did nothing. It’s progress, stuff that needs to get done. I’ll get there. Slowly, apparently, but I will get there.

*Sia, Breathe Me


They Tell Me to Breathe Easy for a While*

February 12, 2017

I didn’t post yesterday because I didn’t do anything Friday but teach and veg out really. Not really, but close enough. It happens. I’m a fan of giving oneself a break when one needs it, best one can. Sometimes the best thing you can do is go to bed early with a cup of tea and read a book. Not that I did that, but sometimes I do.

I have too many things I need to do this weekend. Yesterday I started with the quilting…wanting to be done with the background this weekend. And then I couldn’t stop. I was going to grade stuff first, but I just couldn’t make myself do it. So I didn’t. There’s three days. Surely I can force myself to grade at some point (ugh).

So I fixed the bits I hadn’t stitched down…and then started quilting the background.

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Trying to remember to not do it really small and tight…it’s not necessary on this quilt and it would take forever. It wasn’t always easy though…I broke two needles (probably going too fast) and a lot of thread. Sigh. It’s frustrating sometimes. I think I did about 3 1/2 hours or so…and got more than halfway around. So that’s a good sign for today.

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Because my goal for today is to finish…so after dental cleaning tomorrow, I can go to fabric store and buy yardage for binding. Seriously. It’s almost done. That snuck up on me.

I have the parental dog at the moment, on top of the other two. It’s OK…she entertains the little one.

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When she’s not lying on my floor.

I kept getting distracted while quilting. I need breaks every 45 minutes or so (yeah, I know, it’s supposed to be every 20 minutes, but whatever…I get on a roll)…so I was trying to find the stuff for this quilt. I had all the blocks and the stuff for the borders, but I couldn’t find the instructions until I stood motionless in my living room for about 10 minutes with my eyes closed, visualizing what I had done with it (taken it to stitch meeting to confer with other stitching people about how best to do the borders: attach before or after). Now it’s where it should be.

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Not that I have time to do anything about it. At least it’s organized. That helps.

I also tried organizing all the BOMs I have collected. Probably should stop collecting and finish them instead. Easier said than done.

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Anyway, eventually, each time, I would come back to quilting.

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With or without Kitten’s help.

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Well, hello. Get off the quilt.

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Mommy, you called me. Did not.

So then last night and this morning, I was trying to make sense of all the shows coming up, deadlines all over my head, images all over my brain…nasty nightmare last night that’s still in my head, but not relevant to ANY of this, dammit.

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Straight up, honestly, hard to focus. So I pulled up a calendar this morning on my phone and talked my way through it. “If I do this first, the drawing doesn’t exist, so I need that done by say Wednesday, and if I make that a 6-week quilt, which is one that’s a reasonable size and number of pieces, instead of the crazy-ass thing I’m currently doing, then I could finish it by this date, and that only leaves me this many weeks to finish that one, and that’s not gonna work, and then there’s this other show, and I would have nothing for it, and that’s my local group and I’m a juror/curator/someone in charge, so I want to have something for that, so that’s not gonna work. But what if I do this one and draw that one and then I’d have two of those for that, but no, that still doesn’t solve the problem of having a piece for that show.” Dammit. There’s so many political quilts in my head at the moment that I can’t focus at all. But that’s one thing I need to get through in my head right now. What to do next, with no fucking down time, which is fine, because down time is focused on bad shit and I don’t need that. I need to DO, to MAKE, to SOLVE.

You should go read what I wrote for Through Our Hands though. They approached me and asked me to write about censorship if I wanted, or just about my work. I kinda did both. And that’s where this next drawing was going…

I had had an idea back in November or October? for the local show and I didn’t write it down, but just held on to some piece of it in my head, so last night, while watching Raiders of the Lost Ark for the 17th time (still good, but not the female character…she sucks), I tried to draw it.

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So I’m not saying I can’t do this quilt…on a redraw…but this isn’t where I want the piece for this show to go. So I stopped. Right before the big money moment, yes. This is still a thing, it’s just way far fucking out from where I need to be right now. Ugh. So I quit.

And then had that conversation this morning. And then driving home, the entire drawing for the local show popped into my head, PING, repopulating itself as I drove. Seriously, my brain erased bits and then added more and then adjusted and drew more. I wish I could just download that. Well, I can. It’s called drawing. I’m afraid I’m going to lose it. The boychild gave me these artsy notebooks for Xmas. I used to have a small sketchbook for jotting shit like this down, and then got out of the habit. I’m back into it. It sits by the side of my bed or in the living room (I carry it around) and all these ideas get scrawled into it…words and sketches. So I put it in there…and it’s censorship. That’s where I needed to go. Sometimes my brain scares me with its ability to create shit out of almost nothing. Just random ideas and nothing else, and then there’s a picture, all the lines drawing as I watch, often while I’m driving, and it’s just there. Boom.

I know it’s years of practice. But it’s still cool.

The immigration one is in the notebook too…it’s fully drawn in my head too, but I don’t have a place in the schedule for it yet…maybe summer? We’ll see. Because there’s a fine line between making for one’s own self and making to get into shows. I’m always trying to find that balance. There are some this Spring that I’m just having to say no to…I can’t do everything. Shows and drawings.

Anyway. I need to draw today. I think I can do it in about 2-3 hours. Aack! Plus three hours of quilting and then grocery shopping and I thought walking dogs, although maybe that’s tomorrow at this point. Plus grading. Sheesh.

This is the book I’m supposed to be reading for school. Apparently Midnight was offended by it.

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Whoops. Seriously. It was the cat. Not me. I actually don’t mind Hattie…I just mind how my district is implementing it…by completely ignoring what he says about how it should be implemented. So they keep calling it Visible Learning, but they’re not actually doing it. They’re micromanaging. Oh well. Trying to keep my frustration low on that. Read the damn book, yell while I’m reading it. Trying to assume best intentions. It’s not worth more energy.

I didn’t stitch Friday, so I did two yesterday…the lazy daisy green leaves around Prosper, and then the blue flowers on them until I ran out of thread.

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Still trying to fill in. That’s 42 days. Still want to put a hand and a tree in. So gonna figure that out. Maybe not today.

Today…draw…quilt…shop…cook…clean (seriously. the floors.). But first? Man I’ve got a headache. Splitting. Weather? Probably. Gonna take meds and do the grocery list. Then get my focus on. Art brain demands it.

*Sara Bareilles, Love Song


All My Nightmares Escape My Head*

February 10, 2017

So first of all, another type of protest art quilt show…when my quilt got pulled in August from the AQS QuiltWeek exhibit in Grand Rapids, Michigan, because there was an invisible penis in it, Maddie Kertay offered to show my two quilts (because in the end, they pulled both my quilts) at her quilt store in Chattanooga, Tennessee, during AQS QuiltWeek down there. By the way, Facebook thinks Bonnie Browning and I should be friends (she’s the AQS Show Director…probably the sweet dear heart who pulled my stuff). This is how you know Facebook is an idiot. Because Bonnie and I are not friends. Bonnie can’t even have the decency to contact ME about pulling my work.

Then Maddie decided to host an online show called The Skin We Are In (not safe for work)…

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I just love that picture. I should say that Maddie is the badass chick in charge of the BadAss Quilters Society and you should totally be a member. ANYWAY, the show is up and you should go see some of the very cool work that has been posted. Molli Sparkles has made a lovely quilt with ALL the penises very clearly marked so you can easily report them to Bonnie Browning. I’m hoping someone has sent her this link.

Sometimes grading is amusing…

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I feel like I would totally give her extra credit if she would provide me with some proof.

Sometimes grading is annoying and I walk away from it. That happened last night. So after battling with a bag of hash browns and eventually winning (I’ve never been able to cook them right, but last night I triumphed! I had to throw out the first two tries, but the third was successful! High fives!), I did some feathery things in the middle…

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To fill in space. Because I’m realizing I should do that. Otherwise I won’t be able to fit 365 days’ worth of stitching in there.

So then I came in here and quilted, and I actually got started relatively early (9:30?) because I really couldn’t stand grading any more. I thought maybe I was being extra mean, but it was more like no one wanted to read instructions. It’s hard to grade stuff when it’s all bad grades. It makes you feel like a shitty teacher. And it’s true, I missed one day when they were working on this. Sigh.

I finished the arm and the rest of the skeleton. I didn’t take a picture because I was on a roll. Don’t stop when you’re on a roll.

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It’s funny because I feel like I’ve really achieved something by finishing all the outlining, but in reality, now I have to do the background quilting, and that’s not a small task. It’s a different rhythm though…

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I don’t have to be as careful as I do when outlining. It took 12 hours to outline all this, by the way.

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It’s not a record for me, I’m sure. I have some quilts that might be as big as this? Maybe?

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I need to go back and catch some places where I didn’t stitch down properly. And then I’ll start on the background…probably not tonight…

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But definitely tomorrow. I want this quilted and the binding at least machine-stitched on by Monday night. At the photographer by the end of next week. Starting on the next quilt (which does not even exist on paper) by next week.

Yeah. Crazy. Kitten slept through all that.

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Although at some point, she woke up to give me a high five.

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Thanks Kitten. I know, right? It’s awesome that I finished that part. BOOM!

*Radical Face, Welcome Home


Your Ignorance Is Showing

February 9, 2017

It’s after midnight. I’m not gonna finish writing this tonight. But it’s in my head, and I straight-up know I won’t go to sleep until it’s out. Simply put, I’m in a mood…I’m pissed off at all the political crap that’s bombarding us on a regular basis. The stupid decisions that aren’t seeing the big picture, the world view. I’m irritated by having to deal with a president who is only barely more mature than the majority of my students. I want to bitch slap all the…well, shit, most of them are Republicans, so I’ll start there…who want to get rid of human rights and instead promote racist and sexist propaganda. Who think it’s OK to put people in charge who don’t understand science, whether it’s climate change or homosexuality, mostly I think because reality scares them. Who want to destroy the environment so they can make money. Dammit I remember Los Angeles in the 70s and not being able to take a deep breath. Who think China made up climate change. Who think the Department of Education is only for rich white people. We don’t need to educate poor people, right? What the hell? I keep thinking, “Your ignorance is showing.” Did I tell you my meditation app has an SOS setting? For when you need 2 minutes of meditative thought because a bunch of men are refusing to listen to an intelligent, educated, ELECTED woman read a letter about human rights…that men were allowed to read later. I’m boggled by that…absolutely boggled. I listened to a mom tonight almost in tears about her worries that her daughter’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan, for those with learning disabilities) would be scrapped by the incoming Education Secretary. Well yeah, because that shit is going by the wayside…along with a million educators’ jobs. And 8000+ EPA jobs. (Who are we making great again? The great unemployed masses?) And the dumbass ignorant rants from my state senator about immigration issues. And others who think a wall will stop the drug trade (wow. really?), let alone that Mexico will pay for it. Or those who think vouchers will be good…why? Because they’re rich white people. And that’s who vouchers benefit. If you don’t have money, your school choices are what you can walk to…they can’t just up and move to La Jolla. DeVos’ assertions about school ratings are so damn IGNORANT that you just want to invite her, as another teacher said, to come stay in my house, in my reality, come to my school and sit through a week, AT LEAST, of my classes. I’m not a shitty teacher because I teach in a Title 1 school…I’m in a Title 1 school because they need me there. Try, just try, to understand the social background of my students and realize that some of them are just glad to come somewhere that feels safe and has food on a regular basis.

And this doesn’t even touch what happens when the stupid decisions and dumbassery start a war. Because that’s looming.

I know for most, I am preaching to the choir. And many of you are feeling as torn apart and stressed by this as I am, and it’s not because I’m a fucking snowflake…it’s because idiots are damaging the world I live in…for me and for those I care for. So I will keep yelling until the pendulum swings back (fast please), because this is not acceptable. And the country I live in allows for protest…it was built on it. So if my rant offends you, so be it. This snowflake (I am so NOT a snowflake) doesn’t really care if you’re offended. I want to know WHY you’re offended, simply so I can probably say, again, “Your ignorance is showing.”

Meanwhile, protest art exhibits and concerts are proliferating, which I think is great. I love listening to the whiners, the ones who think we shouldn’t make MEAN art or PROTEST art because they had to suffer through the last president so why don’t we just shut up. Yeah. They can bite me. “Your ignorance is showing.” I’m making art. I really need this quilt done so I can make 17 more. Like now.

OK. Now I’m going to bed. I’ll write the rest tomorrow…

So I didn’t finish last night, but writing that helped me sleep. I had book club last night, and near the end, when we were done with the book and a few of us were just chatting, which turned into that up above, there was this guy at the bar, maybe 30 years old, and all of a sudden he yells out something like Fuck De Vos! or something, and then apologizes, and then lays out a very well-designed plan for taking care of all this chaos…something about using the government to become a trained assassin and learning how to change his identity with their help and then going out there and “taking care of” anyone who was an issue…sigh. I think there’s a movie about that. At the time, we’re all joking about that as a solution, but we’ve all thought about it, because there doesn’t seem to be a calm rational way to change what’s happening. But sitting around and waiting for the ninja warrior to take out key players in the chaos is probably not a good or healthy plan.

So I’m choosing the art resistance mode…here’s a call for entries for one of the resistance shows popping up…

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I already have work for this one. So if you follow me for my cool quilts, hopefully you realize that most of them have a message, and it’s about women’s rights usually, although sometimes it’s just about being female…which apparently now is a lesser thing again, making me clearly remember being told multiple times that I was imagining a conspiracy against women a few years back. Imagine, My Ass. Your ignorance is showing…and in that case, it was a liberal…but still a rich white male. And if they say it doesn’t exist, honey, well then you KNOW it doesn’t exist, right? My ass. Did I say My Ass?

I came home, and you know, I worked an almost-11-hour day yesterday for school alone, plus an earthquake/fire drill and then a fire NOT drill…so I stitched. Not very much…the lighter-colored fly and lazy daisy stitches on the right. Not sure why. It just happened.

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I’m actually not sure there will be enough space on this for 12 months of stitching. I think I decided 12″ square was enough…We’ll see. That’s 39 days of stitching there…326 to go?

And then it was 11 PM, so I came in and quilted for an hour. I got the skull done…

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And the ribcage on the outside of the arm, plus part of the arm.

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I was hoping to finish that whole section, but it was late. So I wrote the screed above and went to bed, although it was probably 1 AM by then. And I’m up early again today for yet another official meeting, possibly one where I’m told to make nice with another employee…but I don’t know that anyone can make me do that at the moment. If you’re in the school system and not serving my students? Because? Then I’m not really interested in making nice.

I’m looking forward to coming home tonight and finishing the outlining at least. There’s not much left. I really need this to be done…not because I have a deadline (I do), but because there’s so much else that needs making and saying and yelling and drawing, and I’m going to keep saying it until it doesn’t need to be said any more. I don’t actually believe that will be in my lifetime, dammit, but I’m still not going to give up.