I Would Like to Hold My Little Hand*

May 13, 2018

Happy mom’s day y’all…unless it’s not a thing for you. I admit to having a troubled relationship with the day, because I never had my kids on Sunday mornings due to the divorce agreement, so no breakfasts in bed, no kid-oriented stuff in the morning…I guess I had the ultimate mom break on those mornings (other moms would tell me that), but generally it just made me sad. Today, both kids are 3000 miles away (well that’s better than 11,000 miles away, for sure). One doesn’t acknowledge these things; the other is working 11 hours today, but texted me and then called me. They’re good kids. I think they’ll only need a little therapy to get over my influence on their lives. Tonight I’ll hang out with my own mom, who remembers every time I drive her bonkers that she raised me to be an independent thinker. My cohabitant is currently out buying breakfast burritos, because we don’t want to deal with the Moms Day brunch crowd. Sounds good to me.

Yesterday, I went to Pepperland, the Mark Morris dance group performance of an interpretation of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Group Band, the album. There were a ton of visual inputs at this show, both from the color of the dance costumes to the movement of the dancers. I don’t watch a lot of dance, but I do appreciate it. Plus there was a theremin, and that was cool…very much used as a voice in the music.

Otherwise, I spent yesterday ironing a quilt together…I had the legs already…so I started working on the rest of the figure…

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It needs outlining and shading in the hand area…

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I found this piece, but I don’t think it belongs to this quilt. Seriously. So I don’t know what quilt it belongs to or how it ended up in these boxes.

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His head and chest…

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Imagine the dark background behind him that’s not there yet…

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Then I started working on the other female character…I’m missing the one black dot on the yin/yang. I’m hoping it shows up…if not, I’ll cut a new one.

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I left it there yesterday afternoon…need to do the head and heart for this one as well, and then start on the background. It’s taking a long time…and I have stuff that has to get done today, so I was hoping to be done this weekend and I’m not sure I will be. I just laid out all the 600s, I think…so that’s 400 pieces left to iron. Maybe today? Ugh.

Then get it down to the background and stitched down…I’m running out of time. Deep breaths. It’s OK. I’ll figure it out.

*Rusted Root, Send Me on My Way

Not Today

May 12, 2018

I have been looking forward to this weekend. No real events…just something tonight. No things I really HAVE to do, except work on these two quilts…which I should probably get going on. I slept in (but went to bed really late too). I need a swathe of unplanned time to just sit around in my pajamas and drink tea and maybe do what I want. Think what I want. Not really though. That’s what weekends SHOULD be…but I’m stressing out about school and getting stuff done and whether or not to give kids more time to finish something when I can’t really afford to give them that time. Because I need to grade it. Aargh.

Anyway. I don’t know who let all that shit in, because I was trying to keep it out. Deep breaths. Sip the tea.

I worked on both projects last night. I also wasted chunks of time doing hell I dunno what. Seriously. I really don’t know.

A student gave me a rose for teacher appreciation week (his mom made him)…I don’t pick yellow usually, but it’s pretty.

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I traced Wonder Under for about an hour while my show was finishing up…I’m in the 300s? I think? All the way up both legs and now starting to do the stuff around that.

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Then I moved into the studio and worked on ironing the second figure. He’s got legs…

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And I did his hands (one hand is literally just the tips of his fingers)…

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That hand was complicated. I like it though…and the arm attached to it.

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I numbered the fleshy bits before the box he’s holding, so I guess I’ll iron all the body parts and then the box and then insert the box? Not sure. That was midnight last night and I was tired, so I quit…and then stayed up too late anyway. It happens.

Today I am braindead. So I’m going to eat, shower, drink more tea, and then start ironing I think. I have an event tonight, but I should be able to get a chunk done this afternoon. Kinda looking forward to it. Then tomorrow I can make a decision about whether to extend kids’ time or grade stuff or whatever. Not today.

Not Remembering My Existence

May 11, 2018

Well at least it’s Friday. That’s a plus. By the end of the week, I’m really tired, so I sleep better. I think. At least I don’t remember waking up to vivid dreams of coyotes or previous lives. I hate waking up and not remembering my existence.

I started ironing yesterday. I did a bunch of other things too, but really, the most important one was the ironing. I ironed for a long time too. Because it was nicer than other things. It’s often nicer than other things. I was going to write it’s always nicer, but that’s mostly not true…I do occasionally like to hang out with humans. Interactions are nice. But sometimes I still just want to be making art instead of socializing. Sad but true.

I ironed a backpack…it’s a little beat up.

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Some pens…

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Some books of some sort…really just a place to put some of that hedgehog fabric.

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That might be all of the hedgehog fabric I ever use. That one piece. The kids will be getting rid of my fabric after I die and they’ll pull that half yard out with the one tiny hole cut out of it and go…WTF mom. Seriously?

Yup. Seriously. It was worth it.

A camera…old school.

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Those were easy. Super fast. Then came the first of three bodies in this quilt…here’s all the 200s and the tail end of the 100s all laid out.

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The two piles on the bottom left are all the fingernails and other pieces that were too small to cut up before…I’ve learned to cut them out right when I need them so I don’t lose them.

Now this would have been a good stopping point if I’d wanted to go to sleep at a reasonable time. However, I am less about the reasonable time (obviously) and more about getting to the point I want to get to…so I wanted to finish her and get her onto her rug. So I kept going. There’s not much left here…just one arm and her face. The rug was done already.

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So I persisted. I could have stopped here too…but no.

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On the rug. Good. Well done. About 250 pieces in, close to 4 hours.

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Now that was satisfying. More of that tonight please. There are two more figures and a fireplace. I want her (the whole quilt…not the her that’s in the picture above) ironed down this weekend…ready for stitch down. Yeah that’s crazy. Have you seen my schedule for the next few weeks? Better that you don’t.

I ordered some threads I saw online on a whim…Dirty Threads from Deb Lacativa…and wow, they are gorgeous…yes the fabric came with it…gonna be using that somewhere too.

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Lots of color in those strands…fun stuff.

And then this thing. Wants to be in my face. On the couch.

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Hi Calli. You’re a dork.

Well at least there’s no testing today…except of my patience. More ironing tonight. I’m excited.

It Could Happen

May 10, 2018

I really need to work on this thing where I sleep through the night. It’s like having a baby around…except it’s my brain or the dog or who knows what. Exercise seems to help, but I don’t always have the time or energy for it…like if I walk in the door at almost 6 PM and I’ve been working that whole time, except for a nice leisurely lunch with my coworkers because it’s teacher appreciation week and the only kids who appreciate me are last-year’s kids (I’m OK with that…we’re probably pretty annoying right now…by this time last year, they won’t still be annoyed by us)…well then I THOUGHT about the gym, but a wave of exhaustion hit me as I walked up the stairs to the front door. So I didn’t. I will later this week. I’ll just do it on a day when I get home before dinnertime.

I think mostly the sleep thing is stress. I have other signs: the twitching eyelid, the canker sore I always get, the tight jaw…yup. That’s stress. I’m trying. I really am. So last night, after getting some stuff done like rejecting one proofreading job because the timeline was too tight for someone who works during the day, dealing with beneficiaries on my life insurance (yo kids! It’s you! plus how did they spell my brother’s name wrong? It’s the same as mine!), and some other email stuff…I decided to start tracing the next quilt. Yup. I don’t hardly ever, as far back as I can remember, work on two at a time…except when I’m working on one and the deadline on the other is more important. Then I might set the less-important one aside to work on the more priority piece. But I’m doing these pretty much simultaneously. Mostly because I had a Netflix video that I knew my video-watching partner wasn’t going to like, and he was gone, so I could watch it while tracing, but not while ironing (two different rooms, only one has a DVD player. I wrote VCR. I mean, it has that too, but we don’t use it any more).

I traced for almost 3 hours. Meditative.

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I didn’t get super far…all the stuff in the bottom, ready to start on her feet. Maybe 150 pieces or so. Not sure why it took so long, but it did. My brain fighting the process. I’m still working on not bringing any work home…on getting stuff done at school and at meetings, so I don’t have to bring it home. Not sure that will last, but I’m trying.

I got a phone call this morning at 6:30 AM from a duct-cleaning place. Every other day or so there’s another message from one of them. That and the phone researchers…one called last night at 8:45 PM. Annoying…not sure how to get off those lists.

Early meeting today…hopefully I’ll wake up and find my brain by the time I get to school. It could happen.

I Am Superman and I Know What’s Happening*

May 9, 2018

Well girlchild is home. In Boston, anyway. Strangely, now I miss her more. Because she’s in the US but not here? Mom brain is a strange beast. I’ll see her in 2 1/2 weeks. Plus even better, we now can revive the mom-kids group text! I bet the boychild is thrilled about that.

I’m so tired lately…I know I don’t sleep enough, but usually that’s not a huge problem. Right now I’m not sleeping well AND it’s not long enough. I even went to bed early last night, but I still feel like a truck hit me this morning. End of year exhaustion? Starting in early? There’s 26 days left. It sounds like a lot. Six weeks sounds worse. And then I think about trying to finish these two quilts in that time and I panic.

All right then. Let’s not think about that. Back to a day at a time. Today is the first day of state testing. Never fun. One kid said yesterday that this must be the teachers’ favorite time of year because we love torturing kids. Oh for fuck’s sake. I hate testing. Arbitrary contrived bullshit stressing the kids AND us out…to what end? Accountability? Yeah right. Whatever. There should be a better way.

Yeah. I’m cranky. I’m going to be artmaking tonight (after school and a union meeting).

Last night, I managed to finish cutting out the last little bit of pieces (it was an extra 38 minutes, so if I’d done it the night before, I wouldn’t have gone to bed until after 1 AM, so it’s probably best I didn’t listen to art brain.).

Here’s all the pieces ready for the next step. It took 11 hours and 12 minutes to cut them all out. Much longer than I thought it would.

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Ready to sort them all…I really hate this step, but it’s mostly necessary…otherwise I’ll never find the pieces I need in a pile of a thousand.

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An hour later, I’m sorted…with a cat butt to assist.

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I wish I could say I then got up and ironed or did anything, but you remember that part about being tired? Sigh. Not a particularly productive night. I always figure my brain (or body) needs the break, but it frustrates me. So hopefully I will frustrate myself less tonight.

Simba likes it when I sit down somewhere that he can cuddle next to me though. So there’s that. Abstract with dog.

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I made the dog happy.

*REM, Superman

If You Only Knew*

May 8, 2018

I’m apparently reading a book no one else wants to read. Usually, I get a book digitally from the library, and it always checks out all my holds at once…they’re never spread out over time, like when I requested them, but I’ll get four all at once and then I have 21 days to read four books and I kinda do a library panic, because I can’t just HOLD ON to that book. When the time is up, they’re just gonna stop my loan and that’s it…if I’m on page 161 of 400, it doesn’t even matter, because the Time Is UP. (Yes, I have a lot of fines at the library for overdue books, the real kind, not the digital kind…why do you ask?) So I have this book and it’s warned me that it’s due in three days and I’ve been reading it, but when I started, there were only like seven days left on the loan, and it’s not a particularly short book, and I do go to work and cook dinner and walk dogs and occasionally try to have a life, so I can’t just READ READ READ even though there are times when that’s all I’d LIKE to do. So there was no way I was gonna finish in three days. Just no way. So I have a choice…I can buy it, which I only do very occasionally, because money and data and why own it when I’ll only read it once (I have a very good memory…generally I don’t like rereading books because I remember too much and it’s like someone gave away the story to you already, spoiler alert, except my brain is that someone). Or I can re-request it. Usually every book I’m reading has at least 3 and sometimes 300 holds on it, so I won’t get it back right away, which is really annoying, so then I’ll stay up to 2 AM reading it instead of not finishing.

I can’t stay up late enough to finish this one…it would be an all-nighter and odds are I’d fall asleep in the middle of it due to tiredness caused by not sleeping caused by stupid hormones and age and IDK what else (I had this vivid and terrifying dream…moment…of a coyote while I had the puppy out and the leash was stretched out and nothing actually happened because I woke up instantly and painfully with my heart trying to beat out of my chest, it was so realistic). So I re-requested it. And the library sent me this message, chill out my dear mamanao (that’s Malagasy for Yo’ Mama) cuz no one wants this book but you, so as soon as it seems like it’s gonna come back to us here at the library-yo, we’re gonna check it right back out to your sweet self. Don’t you even worry your old wrinkly head about that sweetie because it’s yours…for as long as you want it…(because no one else wants to read this).

Huh. OK. I’m not really offended. It’s the fourth book in a series of nine and I’m not even sure number nine is out yet, but apparently most people make it through the first three books and then quit. Losers. I’m going for the gold. (It’s the series that the TV show The Expanse is based on, and I happen to really like it.)

In other book news, I read the wrong book for book club this month, so I’m not going. It’s OK. I read June’s book. Whoops. I think I forgot to request May’s book? Or I requested it but it never came, because everyone else had requested it too? I just don’t know. There’s no book posted for July yet, so I can’t pre-read…but that’s OK, because July is vacation. Except this year, it’s a fake vacation because of jury duty looming over my head all month. Aargh. I can still go to book club though.

OK, so I drove to San Ysidro yesterday after school and it was pretty easy traffic-wise, hallelujah, because it’s a long way, just to pick up my quilt, but I think a lot of people went to that site for a bunch of other meetings and stuff, so that’s cool. It’s a nice space, even if it’s far away. Then I came home and walked the little dog, because he’s been way too hyper lately, and the big dog still needs to rest her foot. And then cooked dinner. Late. So it’s kind of amazing I got anything else done at all honestly. And I wish I had gotten just a LITTLE bit more done. I get to the end of the evening and think that a lot. Damn yourself for taking that 20-minute break in the middle of the evening there. Damn you for needing to take pee breaks or heat up your tea. If you’d just worked harder, you’d be done and on to the next task. Yeah. Workaholic much?

This is why there are only like 20 pieces left to cut and I had a hard time stopping, but it was after midnight and I kept thinking I could finish, but then it was approaching midnight thirty and ladies and gentlemen, I really need to be able to function like an awake person at school, so this is just not acceptable. But Art Brain is whining because SERIOUSLY LOOK HOW FEW PIECES ARE LEFT.

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Ugh. I did not finish. I will finish tonight and then I will sort them and then hopefully I will have enough energy to start ironing tonight…or maybe I will trace the other one for a while. They both require standing, though, which is sometimes hard after a long day at work. But progress! Shut up, Art Brain. You’ll be fine. Teacher Brain needs sleep to function. She pays the bills…well, most of them.

Puppy is an asshole by the way. I know y’all think he’s cute and all, but he poops in the most random places on walks, and at least 17 times, which is just annoying, and he won’t sit and wait patiently while I pick it up. He tries to race around on his leash and pull on the hand that’s picking up his crap even when I tell him to sit and then he freaks out if you tie the bag to his leash and then he wouldn’t go to bed last night until I told him he was being an asshole.

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Little dogs. Assholes. Yeah, he’s adorable, but…

*Shinedown, If You Only Knew

Nobody’s Right If Everybody’s Wrong*

May 7, 2018

As far as I know, the girlchild is currently on her way to Kenya…she should make it back to Boston by sometime tomorrow morning, our time. What is that, 29 hours? Something like that. She has one friend flying the whole way with her, which is good…better to have them with buddies than on their own. If you are Facebook friends with me, you can see the 250 pictures (or so) that she posted yesterday…well, assuming you know her name. The cat just put her belly in my morning tea. Gross. Anyway, I think girlchild had an awesome and appropriately difficult time and she’s coming back to classes, a job (or three), no real home for at least a week, a car that needs service, a computer that needs service, and toilet paper. Those are all manageable. Really.

Meanwhile, I tried to make art, lots of it, yesterday. I’m feeling the deadlines breathing down my neck. I’ve had this drawing lying around for a while…the last time I worked on it was April 15…then I switched over to the one I’m working on now, because it has an earlier deadline. Plus I had these empty spaces and I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I wanted this to be a comprehensive history of what Kathy is as an artist, and I’m not even sure I can remember all that.

So yesterday, I felt like drawing and I added a bird…

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And the sun and a cloud up top…because most of my quilts seem to have those things. I forgot to put an alien ship in…maybe I’ll add that.

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Long and skinny…

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And then I numbered it, but sort of randomly at times…I decided to add fingernails here because all the other hands had fingernails and probably no one but me will ever notice this one hand without fingernails, but it would’ve bugged the crap out of me, so I added them. And had to use letters to number them, because I was already in the 200s somewhere else.

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Oh well. It wasn’t the only place I messed up. It’s 904 pieces plus about 5 or 6 lettered pieces. The little dots on the film are going to be embroidered or painted or something more sane than cutting them out of fabric.

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After I numbered, I kept cutting out on this one. I have almost 10 hours into the cutting since Thursday. And I’m not done. I’m not really even close to done. So much for my estimating. You just never know. There’s not a ton remaining in the lefthand box, but there’s more than an hour’s worth.

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So maybe I’ll finish tonight? Maybe? Who knows. I should be ironing sometime this week though.

When I was getting ready to go to bed, I realized I had 3 out of 4 animals in the living room with me…

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The other one was on Calli’s bed when I got to the bedroom…in the dark…

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Calli wouldn’t get on her bed until Kitten moved…apparently cats are scary.

I need to drive a ways this afternoon to pick up a piece from a show. Then hopefully walk the small hyper dog. Then cook and consider my options for the night…I think I will continue cutting, but maybe I’ll start tracing too. We’ll see.

*Buffalo Springfield, For What It’s Worth