Pointing Me in a Crooked Line*

Long day full of convulsive uncontrolled coughing and grades! I think I finished those. I hope I finishing those because they’re due in 6 hours or so. I even have sun this morning! So the sun-related lab I need to do today might actually happen! That is exciting. Keep the clouds away. Yesterday’s overwhelming stress attack is mostly gone. There are still way too many things to do (as always), but a bunch of them went away (or got rescheduled). I even managed to get through a dental appointment without coughing up a lung…I must be on the mend.

I’m still trying to keep up with #marchmeetthemaker and #igquiltfest, but there’s only so many hours in the day. Here’s my tools…minus the sewing machine. I swear by Sharpies…I’ve tried a bunch of other pens, but they either smear or have a fuzzy line or something.

Those scissors have pencil lead all over them…so not pretty and new-looking like other people’s…definitely well-used. Same with the iron. It’s been dropped enough times.

The other prompt was about fast finishes…well the only way they’re really fast is if they’re small. Back in 2014 and 2015, I made a bunch of smaller quilts and sold them…

I think I sold most of them to friends and family, and there’s only so many of those you can do, so I stopped. They’re relatively quick to make though.

So after dinner, we were watching the end of the movie the man fell asleep during on Saturday night, and I was working on the binding…with help…

The aerial shot. Simba doesn’t really feel comfortable around Satchemo, but apparently he gave up on his stress last night and fell back to sleep with a cat on his butt. Satch really wants to be on ME or the quilt, but he’s not allowed…which doesn’t stop him sort of obsessively trying. He’s a persistent bastard.

Calli is currently lying on the floor in here with me because she keeps stealing paper and cardboard and trying to eat it (Satchemo’s scratch toy gets the worst of it), which is freakin’ annoying. So she’s in detention with me right now.

After the movie, I did a bunch of stuff on the to-do list, and then settled down to trace for a while…

I’m up in the sky, having finished the ground. I’m only in the 170s though…the sky went slowly. Big pieces, harder to trace. Or they take longer to trace. With three hours into the tracing, I’d like to have more done, but this is kind of how it rolls. Tonight will be the same. I blew off grading last night because I stayed late at school to do it. Tonight I need to do some actual grading I think. I don’t want to get too far behind.

So grading, tracing, and something to do with that embroidery stuff again. Maybe some binding. Sounds like what I’ll be doing most nights this week, when I’m not an opening or a meeting. Not bad. I can handle that.

*Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine

Banging on the Door

Wow that’s a Monday morning headache…caused by emails and texts and probably low blood sugar, damn forgot to hardboil those eggs, plus I think the chiropractor is in my future plus there was the 30 minutes of coughing up a lung at 6 AM. Yeah. Hello body! Nice to hear from you. It doesn’t matter some days how young your brain feels…your body is like, nuh uh, you wrong bitch, let me explain it to you. It’s OK. I got this. Not really. I don’t got this. (cries while laughing into her tea)

I am ready to ship a quilt to an exhibit in Utah. I will be shipping six quilts to a solo show in Pittsburgh, probably sending them next month or early May. These are good things. I got into two local shows and rejected from two others. OK. Got it. I have this awesome quilt that I can’t get into a show and that irritates (is that the best word? saddens? disappoints? not sure) me. I will try again. There are always more shows. That combination of show and juror(s) and competitors did not work this time. It’s OK. Awesome quilt moves on. My first Quilt National piece was a Visions reject. I keep remembering that. My second Quilt National piece was a reject too. Keep making. Keep entering. Don’t let the turkeys get you down (I think that’s a direct quote from dad, a Bob Nidaism).

Today will be fine. It just feels like a panicky clusterfuck at the moment.

So what’s going on otherwise? What can I control at the moment? I liked this drawing, but wanted to simplify it for embroidery…so I did…

I think it turned out really well.

Of course, now I also want to do a large quilt-size version of it with a shit-ton of detail, but that’s just how my brain works. I might do that, once I get past the next two deadlines.

Here’s one in progress…801 pieces, measures 28″ wide by 48″ high. Not small…

But way smaller than the last one. I started tracing it last night. And it was good.

I made it to piece 101, I think. Through the first pillbug I’ve ever put in a quilt. Only 700 pieces to go. That sounds like a goal for this week. Although there’s a lot of crazy this week. I haven’t finished grades yet. (they’re due tomorrow.) Sigh. OK. Deep breaths. The to-do list is banging on the door, screaming at me. I hear it. Over there. Thank you mindfulness training for that.

A Fire in Your Bones*

Officially half dead. OK, not really, but definitely not at my finest this weekend. Half my co-teachers are down with it too. I guess that makes me feel better (not really). It’s a virulent thing, that’s for sure. I made it through Friday’s lab with the microphone attachment they give us teachers, but I couldn’t just clip it to my shirt…my voice wasn’t loud enough for it to pick up. So it was a little creepy…having my whispered voice booming out of the overhead speakers. But the kids were really good…it’s funny, when you are sick or troubled in some way, they have huge amounts of empathy. I guess that is a good sign for humanity. Luckily, I felt mostly OK on Friday…not dizzy and almost passing out, like earlier in the week. But the coughing was not great. People ask why we don’t just stay home. (1) Our school doesn’t get substitute teachers. I was even asked to sub my prep period on Friday and I just said you’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t talk. (2) It’s more work to put sub plans together than it is to go in. (3) It’s a lost day for my kids. They won’t get anything out of it…I would’ve had to pull the lab. No way in hell am I having a sub, who inevitably knows no science, do a lab with glass test tubes. My kids listen to me (mostly)…a sub? It would have been a nuclear meltdown. So if I’m well enough to stand, not vomiting, and don’t have diarrhea, I go to school. That is the reality of teaching in a low-income public school.

I felt a little better at night. I graded and even cooked dinner for the fam. And I drew this at around 11 PM because I didn’t want to feel like I’d done nothing artistic for the second day in a row, even sick.

Yesterday, the coughing got me out of bed early. And then I graded for the next 7 hours. Sleepy puppy from the night before…

Trimester 2 grades are due Tuesday. I was behind. I’m always behind. So I got through all the makeup work and two or three other assignments.

While binge-watching Season 3 of Victoria. So glad I didn’t live back then. I’d be dead.

Then I got a strange burst of energy…really strange, because when I took my shower finally, I got dizzy standing up in there. Hmmm. So I sewed the binding on the big quilt. Seriously a lot of sewing…

It took about an hour and a half to get it all on, including the sleeves. I ended up using the more plain fabric for the binding…although I used the other one for the sleeves, so it didn’t go to waste. I really want to be using things up this year…even when it’s a pain in the ass.

We went to dinner and I ate some. And then we came back and I pinned the binding in place and started stitching it down while watching one of the Planet of the Apes movies…

Until my partner in apes fell asleep, so we paused the movie for later and he went to bed. I kept going for a bit, through the first episode of The Passage. You can guess what I might be doing for the next few days. It’s a good thing to do when I don’t feel well. The other option is to start tracing the next one…it’s ready to go.

I’m trying to participate in #marchmeetthemaker and #igquiltfest. I did this last year and flailed through a goodly portion of it, mostly because some of the things don’t apply to being an art quilter on both of them. But I’m making an attempt anyway.

My studio is a not-bedroom that looks over the pool…it’s a sprinkly day out there. I hate the wallpaper. It’s not big enough for everything that’s in there. I look at a tree out the window too. I usually have at least one cat in there, but Kitten has been hiding in the bedroom.

The floor is coming up. It needs a remodel…but probably not as much as the bathrooms and the kitchen. I priced it out last year…to redo the floor and paint it and put in new shelving/storage, and it’s more than I have lying around…until I get all the kids’ college paid off anyway.

It’s worked for me for many years though…so I guess it will keep working for a while longer.

The ironing board moves as needed…and I reorganize constantly. It’s only about 8×10′, but it’s better than nothing…that’s for sure.

The 3×4′ light table is in the living room, along with a lot of in-progress stuff too. And there’s stuff in the girlchild’s room in the closet, plus our closet and under the bed. Because lots of stuff needs storage. And the garage is where all the old drawings go.

One of the prompts is about where you started. Well. Hmmm. I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. And I did screenprints before the kids were born, but then I started learning how to quilt. I began with hand applique, but it just took too damn long to turn a drawing into a quilt. I couldn’t get big enough. So I developed what I do now…

Which still isn’t fast, and is mostly crazy…but works for me. That’s an unfinished hand-appliqued art quilt from probably 2002 or so on the right, and the next quilt on the left, still in drawing stage.

Anyway. So. Today is still school stuff, because grades aren’t done, plus groceries and laundry. And hopefully feeling better. Still woke up coughing this morning, but I mostly slept through the night. Not feeling particularly energetic, but that’s OK. I got about 3 hours of art time yesterday and I’m hoping for the same today. If I have energy, I’ll trace. If I don’t, I’ll sew bindings. It’s nice to have options.

*Welshly Arms, Indestructible

They Don’t Come Much More Sick Than You*

So there’s not much coming out of me today…energy wise, a report from yesterday, or for that matter, voice noise. I can type but I can’t talk. I’m doing a lab at school today. I’m hoping my voice reappears OR…I will write it all down and use teacher sign language to keep them from destroying the room. We’ll see how that works.

We did make it to the play and it was awesome until we had to leave before the end because they started late and our buses had to leave with us or without us, and we chose the former. It’s a long walk otherwise. That part sucked. But I think otherwise it went well. I came back and bought Footloose (the 1984 version) on Amazon Prime and we watched the last 45 minutes to see what happened. It was cool. They were mostly into it.

I then drove to San Ysidro to drop off work for next week’s show and met the curator, who had never seen an art quilt. She was sort of flabbergasted. I’m not sure if it was in a good way…she was still processing. She was expecting a painting, I think. But the guy that works there (he’s the gallery director, so he more than works there) had apparently talked me up from last year…he really liked the work…so I got in. That’s cool. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the opening.

But it took over an hour to get down there, drop stuff, and get back, and I wanted a nap so bad…but no. Need to grade. I got one assignment done…I’m down to one more assignment and all the makeups I didn’t finish on Sunday. Not bad. I think I can do this. But when I finished all of that, I went to bed. I read for a little while, but was falling asleep doing that, and finally gave up and did the sleep thing for real. I’m not better today, but I have more sleep in me.

So I only have two pictures for you: my quilt trimmed and folded up with the two possible bindings on top. Tonight I would like to be well enough to decide which one wins and sew it on.

We’ll see how that goes. I also need to go to REI to pick out my birthday present, so if I feel REALLY well, I might do that instead. Except Friday traffic. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. I also need to grade tonight and I’m in charge of making dinner, so that’s a thing.

And the second one…the girlchild’s official LinkedIn photo…

She’s graduating in a few months and everything is changing. Well, no…she is still the amazing kid she’s always been…just older and in a blazer and trying to find employment. Scary stuff.

Anyway, let’s hope my voice reappears and then lasts…and that no one breaks a test tube…and that I make it through the day, quite honestly.

*The Fratellis, Flathead

And in Return You Gave Them Hell*

Definitely sick. Named this cold after the snuffly kid who’s been sitting in front of me really snottily for over a week. Stole the Kleenex box multiple times. It’s officially my one cold per school year. It’s never good timing, is it? I mean, no one wants a cold. So a field trip day could be worse…it could be a day when I have to talk the whole day in the classroom. So today, I will be watching a musical with a bunch of 7th graders. I think I can do that. Except I wonder when I will get to pee. I always wonder that. People who have jobs where they can pee whenever they need to…sigh.

We hiked again after school yesterday…I got home early enough and needed the exercise.

So apparently did the dogs…

Random pretty shit you see by the side of the road…

Makes up for any trash we saw before that, eh? The rains mean the weeds are plentiful and sometimes beautiful.

Similar view after…post-dinner grading…with furry beasts.

“I’m trying to keep my eyes open but I just can’t.” So I graded another assignment. Unfortunately, that goes pretty late some nights. Needs to be done though. Then I had to find, iron, dehair, and pack up a quilt to be delivered today after school for this show…

I like the space this annual exhibit is in…

It’s local and there’s interesting artists I don’t usually see in there. Looking forward to the opening.

Then it was 11 PM. I was smart and cleaned the entryway floor while someone else cooked dinner, so it was dry and ready to go. Because no way am I mopping at 11 PM. OK. Well. I have. But not last night.

It’s a challenge to start this that late, especially since I was definitely feeling this cold last night. But I did…laid it out.

And then trimmed it straight and mostly even…

She’s 76″ wide and a little over 66″ high. Big one. And now she’s ready for the binding. Hopefully tonight, I’ll get that attached so I can hand sew for a few days (and holes in my fingers). But first a field trip and driving to San Ysidro to drop off a quilt and the gym is on my list, but IDK if that’s gonna be in the cards. I hope so. I want to read and exercise. I want to feel WELL ENOUGH to do those things. Right now it’s a little questionable.

*Tears for Fears, Shout

Ride Me a Southbound*

Rough day yesterday…sometimes school is hard, y’all. And I’m still not feeling well…can’t separate out whether it’s a cold I’m fighting or the new medication, but none of it feels fun. So that (of course) affects my ability to deal with stressors, like kids who pretend to be windmills. Whatever. Today I will handle it better. I might have to sit next to the windmill for a while, but I can do that. Even when I’m dizzy and headachy. Seriously, that shit can take a walk. I’m trying to stick with the new meds for a week before emailing my doctor, hoping the worst of the side effects go away. We’ll see.

So when I finally made it home, I seriously wasn’t a fan of doing any work for school, but realistically, grades are due in less than a week. My goal is one assignment a day. If I can get some done at school…great! Yesterday was not the day for that. Even the non-windmill kids weren’t in the mood to do anything independently (aargh), so I did a lot of management. Like why are you just sitting there? I’m thinking. No you’re not. Thinking is more active than what you’re doing and you shouldn’t be drooling. Also talking to your friends about what you saw before school? Not thinking. So there’s all that.

I went to the gym instead for a while. I wanted to read my book, plus I’m one of those freaks who actually likes exercise (wish I had time to do more of it), so I went for it. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Should do it again soon. Came back, co-cooked dinner (um, so even when you’re co-cooking, apparently you’re still in charge. Hmn. There’s that. I’m going to go on strike some day.), ate the foods, and then finished watching the first episode of Umbrella Academy (cool show!) and grading that one assignment per day. Success! I did good. Then I input those grades and all of a sudden it was 11 PM. See, that’s the shit that happens. But art! Art is important and WILL be done every day. It was way too late to clean the entryway floor though so I could trim the giant ass quilt. I’ll do that tonight, when I don’t have to deal with dinner. So then what can I do in just an hour?

Easy peasy. Finish the drawing. This is for a show that’s about indoors and outdoors, comparing those of us who live in mostly sunny and warm Southern California to a artistic group in Sweden, where it’s fucking cold and snowy. So their take on being outdoors is significantly different from ours, we think. Or not? We’ll see. I personally love being outside and wish I could do it more. Being in a classroom all day sometimes drives me bonkers. Anyway, all I had left was the sky, so I stared at it for a while. I didn’t have to do anything, but in keeping with the outdoors theme, I added space. I should work on my space though because this is the same space I keep adding. I should research more planets and weird space things (NASA here I come! Insta follow follows…)…

But this will be good. I like it. This is about 3 1/2 hours of drawing…not counting the original three drawings or so that I rejected.

Then it was only 11:30. Go to bed early? Fuck no. Number the damn thing (and this is how I never go to bed at a reasonable time).

So yeah, those ladybugs will need embroidery. Maybe even their little antenna things should be embroidered, but I numbered them for fun.

Lotso bugs on her face. Kinda like the hike the other day. Very buggy. So there’s 803 pieces I think in this thing. That’s not too bad. I don’t have much time to finish it, so yeah…should get on that. Deadlines! I’ve been ignoring them. Doesn’t help to not feel well and be stressed about health issues. I’m working on that…from multiple places.

OK, work calls. Windmill boy and all. Art tonight. I can do this!

*The Marshall Tucker Band, Can’t You See

Bring Your Etch-a-Sketch to Work*

I’m gonna start writing this at 12:02 AM on Tuesday. Why? Because this song…

I listened to Amanda Palmer tonight on Live From Here, the new version of Prairie Home Companion…here’s the link. Love this song. Makes me laugh. And cry. I’m so excited that I will be seeing Amanda sing in LA in May. I finally persuaded a male attachment to come with me.

So that was last night. I stayed up too late, but I finished quilting. That’s a big yahoo on that.

First we walked the dogs though…it’s been a while since we’ve been to this spot..

It was wet and muddy and stream-filled. Well. Not filled, but we went across at least two of them, one of them three times. Apparently the rain finally caught up with the creek and filled it to the edges…

Sometimes over the edges…the flowers are all starting to bloom…

Thinking about a trip to the desert for the bloom this year…

It was a really beautiful evening for a hike. It’s finally daylight a bit later, so we could go further…here’s one stream, which is actually where the trail normally is…

Calli has no problems or qualms about wading through streams. Simba is not as good. Definitely more water than usual…

Which is good.

Especially for the plants…we stopped here…I was kinda done with wandering through mud at that point.

Plus it was heading toward dusk…

So we headed back to see what the bridge looked like…

They’d fixed the smaller bridge…the rain had pushed it off its bank and into a smaller creek.

I don’t think the big bridge is going anywhere, but that’s a lot of water for here.

The dogs are good sports…

Tons of flowers everywhere.

I love ending a work day like this. Wish I could do it more often. Yes, I graded too…got one assignment done. And then my principal emailed about this professional development thing we have to do, and they totally screwed up next week. Sigh. I set test and due dates. Wonderful. I’ll figure that out later today. Last night I couldn’t handle it. I can’t be mad at him…his wife just had their second kid. I can be annoyed though that we have to do the PD at all.

While I was waiting for boychild to make dinner, I drew a bit…still working on possible embroidery designs.

Might be too much.

Post-dinner TV time with the man, Simba curled up behind him.

The two of them had a coyote scare last night, very close to the prime peeing spot. Scary. Dumbass puppy thought he would go kill the coyote. He does not realize he would be a tasty treat.

I finally went in to quilt at about 10:30 PM…with the goal of finishing.

Which after about an hour and 15 minutes, I did.

With 19 hours and 21 minutes total into the quilting. Crazy shit. Hopefully tonight I will clean the floor, trim the quilt, and put a binding on it. At least, that’s the plan. I’m also going to the gym, so we’ll see how that goes. Right now, I’m tired, but I also want this thing done. It’s taking too long. My brain is done with it.

So. Off to school. Difficult teaching day ahead I think…concept-wise at least. I thought yesterday would be low-maintenance and it totally wasn’t. So there’s that. I also need to prep for a messy lab. Good stuff.

*Amanda Palmer, Ukulele Anthem