Don’t Know What It Means…*

March 29, 2017

Tired this morning. Puppy has been Mr. Barks-a-Lot the last two nights. Not sure what living creature is offending him now…sometimes when he’s barking out the window I think he must be able to see eddies in the wind that none of us can see. Or ghosts. Or he hears dogs barking five miles away and they are warning of impending tsunamis…now he’s got the big one barking too. For nothing, as far as I can see.

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Maybe he’d bark less if he didn’t have all day to sleep. I don’t have this luxury, unfortunately. It’s not all his fault…some neighbor was making noise before 6:30 as well. Sometimes I think I need a padded bedroom, against noise and light and all intrusions. Certainly I’m sure someone’s designed it better than mine. Some noise catcher that grabs unnecessary dog barks out of the air and turns them into something else.

Yesterday we started a new unit, the last one besides the sex ed unit we teach at the end of the year. I kinda went overboard on the cover page. And I still need to color it.

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Which should be less of a priority than grading probably (but is more fun).

Came home and ate and watched Walking Dead with my favorite couchmates…although I was not the lap of choice for once…dog nose being warmed by cat.

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They like each other.

OK, I added some pink to the blue squares at the bottom…straight stitches, lazy daisies, fly stitches.

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They look a little like vulvas. Seems appropriate. There’s too much blue and pink at the bottom…need to fix that.

Then I had a choice. Grade or trace? I really want to hit this deadline. Yes, I still have to grade. I just didn’t have it in me yesterday. I did enter a show, so it was already a late start. I don’t like grading after 9 PM. So I traced…for a long time. In the dark background, you can see puppy…waiting for me to sit with him.

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I got to piece 613, which is the neck. So all I had left was neck, head, and crown of fire (don’t ask), which was about 84 pieces. But it was 12:15 AM. And finishing would have been another hour. And that’s not responsible.

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Aargh. So I guess I’ll have to try and finish tonight…although I am going to see Neil Gaiman tonight.

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Definitely a worthwhile way to spend my time…but it’s hard to walk away from all the crap that needs doing. Workaholic. Yes. So grade if I have time, but definitely finish tracing. Then tomorrow is cutting…schedule is tight. But if I get the whole mess ironed down before we leave on vacation, I could take the cutting task with me. Maybe. I’m a little worried about this timeline, straight up.

*Nirvana, In Bloom


What You Gave to Me the Day I Wandered*

March 28, 2017

Spring Break must be close…I made my trip travel list last night…at least the first version of it. I’ll have to borrow some stuff off my dad, who has all the camping equipment in the world. I’ll need a good book or two to read. I think I’ve actually finished everything that was on my Right Now list…waiting on two books from the library, maybe three. It’s OK…I’m not leaving this weekend. I have NINE whole days of school left before I’m allowed to leave. And in that time, I have 17 thousand things to grade, my taxes to finish, a quilt to get significantly closer to done, and if I look too closely at the house and yard around me, I’ll persuade myself that I shouldn’t take time off.

Yeah. Well. I’m gonna need to take some time. I’m still grading the climate projects. It’s hurting less, because I’m almost done…although trying to watch the videos when Kitten decides she wants my attention and stands in front of the screen is a pain in the ass. I have 18 left. Well, I SHOULD have 18 left, but I’m betting some of those kids didn’t do the video, so that’s much faster to grade, although hard on them.

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That’s the hardest part of creating curriculum…seeing how much work you’re going to have to do before next year so you can get more of what you wanted out of them. I’m trying to be smart and take notes…maybe even start rewriting rubrics now. Maybe.

So I was sitting here writing, listening to the pool motor straining, thinking…what the hell? The water level is high enough. So something’s caught in the basket…go out there. Sure enough. Well that explains the skunk smell. Poor thing…I do like wildlife, even when it smells bad. I’ve pulled possums and gophers out of there before, but never a full-grown skunk. I always feel bad when that happens. Like I should have done something to protect them more. Sigh.

Um. Let’s see…oh yeah, I made boxes out of the triangles at the bottom and added a lazy daisy stitch, and then used up the rest of the thread in French knots, which I do a lot.

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While doing that, three of the four animals in the house came by to lie on me…you can’t see the black one, because I couldn’t get her in the picture as well. You should also be impressed by how my shirt (from school) matches the pajamas and socks I put on when I finally got home last night.

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I got up eventually (it was pretty late by then) and started tracing. I got into the water, which is always a pain in the ass to trace. Figuring out where stuff overlaps and drawing these wild pieces that are all loopy and swirly…can drive you a little bonkers.

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That’s what I get for drawing bathtubs full of water, right? I have not learned my lesson.

So I think I’m in the 400s…like 428 is next or something like that. So I have about 200 pieces to go…but the water ones take longer than normal pieces because they’re so complicated.

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I wanted to finish tracing water last night, just because it’s easier to keep in my head what is overlapping what if I do it all in one go…but then I looked at the clock and it was late. And then I couldn’t even go to sleep, so that sucked. My brain was ready to keep going. To the END! Yeah. Well. That’s the same brain that will get irritated by behavior today, so I have to manage it a bit.

My ex brought me a lemon…with the dog’s pills. She’s now on official arthritis meds, plus more anti-inflammatories, and higher doses of the joint meds she’s been on since she was little, plus some salmon oil. It’s a lot of stuff, but hopefully she’ll feel better.

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She’s obviously aging. Poor girl. I don’t know what to say about the lemon, except that I’m kind of impressed it kept growing, despite its obviously limiting circumstances. It smells very lemony.

So I don’t know if I’ll get through tracing all 200 pieces tonight…which is unfortunate, because I know I have stuff Wednesday night that will go late. And I want to get this thing to the next step. I wonder how hard and fast the next deadline actually is (I’ve been trying NOT to think that, but…it might need to slip a little). Yesterday was a lot of overwhelmedness…too many things to get started and done. A lot of those are still hanging over me today…but that’s kind of been this school year. You are overwhelmed and you will take it all in and breathe deep and then go hike somewhere to try to dispel the panic. Yeah. I could do with less of that. I’m feeling a bit like that lemon.

*The Proclaimers, I’m on My Way


But Forget It All, I Know I Will*

March 27, 2017

I spent a lot of time grading student assignments this weekend. I’d like to say I’m done, but I’m not. I think I have 23 to go…which sounds like a lot to the part of my brain that will have to watch all those videos. I’ll get through them, but I wanted to be done. I often want to be done with the work part so I can go on to the art part…a split in my life, when normal people plop down on the couch and watch some TV to wind down, I’m getting up to stand for the next two hours, tracing. Which is in fact what I did…eventually…

I did finish the other quilt; well, the binding anyway. I need to do some other stuff to it. I think. Photos will follow. It won’t be officially photographed until the end of April, with the other one, which doesn’t exist.

I’m reading this book that I’ll write about later…but I liked this quote in the frontmatter with regard to art…

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And that might have been what Marker referred to (haven’t seen the movie), but in the context of what I’m reading, it becomes much darker. I still like the quote though. More about my reading later…not today; got a parent meeting. I’m already behind and overwhelmed.

I drew this Saturday night while watching the band play…

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I had done a drawing back in January and had some false starts in the sketchbook, so I turned one of them into something.

Here’s another false start…

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We’ll see what I do with that.

I had to take a walk yesterday to clear my head after grading stuff. I was getting irritated. Getting outside and touring the neighborhood trashcans is always nice. (I actually do just look at plants and the sky…the dog is more interested in the trashcans.)

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Wildflowers abound.

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I skipped Saturday’s stitching…so I did two yesterday. I started a wacky bird to the right of the tree. It’s not done. And then I did the blue straight line triangle shapes on the bottom. I saw someone else stitch something like them, so I wanted to put them in there. So I did.

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Still not sure I’ll (a) make it all year on this and (b) have room to stitch all year on this and (c) be able to stitch on it during my trip over Spring Break. But that last bit is fixable and the first bit is no guilt and the middle bit is. Well. It just is.

I then continued to trace Wonder Under for the next bathtub…this will be the third one I actually make of the six or so bathtub drawings I’ve done.

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I got an hour and a half or so in last night…there’s only 630 pieces and I have 350 done.

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I’m hoping to be done Tuesday…then cutting them out…then hopefully ironing down to fabric by the weekend. We’ll see. The timing on this one is really tight.

I got this thing called a Rocketbook. You can draw in it with special pens (downside) and then there’s an app that will scan it and send it where you need it…like all the ones where I mark the rocket picture at the bottom, it will send them where I tell the app all the rockets go. So I can have one for drawings and one for school stuff and one for art notes and one for one art group I’m in, etc.

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The coolest part though is that when the book is full, I can microwave it and it will be blank again. So last night I tested it out with a really quick, simple drawing, just to see how it worked. The pens are OK…they’re erasable though, so that’s cool. Anyway…it’s just something techie that I thought was really cool and wanted to try out. Plus I have a staff meeting today and I’m not allowed to bring tech and this is kind of like tech in that I can scan the notes and mark the apple, and they’ll all go to my Google Drive for school, to the folder I tell it to send all my staff meeting notes. And that’s cool. Even though I’d rather just type them. No time.

OK, parent meeting (OMG, are we just realizing our kids are failing?) and school and at some point I get to make art. My daily goal…get all the other shit done (or done enough) so I can art.

*Squeeze, Tempted


So Motivate, Though It’s Hard to Let It Ride*

March 25, 2017

I’m taking a way-too-brief break from a day full of grading. I can’t say I’m having fun, but I’m trying to get it done. No promises honestly, because some of this is just a slog. I’m trying to sew the binding on the newest quilt while I listen to the videos…because some of them are a bit um long and maybe boring. But some are kids who never talk in class, and they’re really interesting because of just that. Certainly I’m also reflecting on how to redesign this project to get more of what I want for next year. That’s the hardest part…because I might not remember for next year, so I try to write notes on the calendar and/or revise now. Writing curriculum is a pain in the ass. I’ll be glad when I can just refine stuff and make it more awesome, rather than making it from scratch.

So this is my view today so far…

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Taking little breaks regularly (that’s what this is…a break from the grading) so I don’t go crazy. Maybe I’ll get the binding done too while I’m at it.

Last night, I was just grading until I got to 3 videos totaling 20 minutes from one kid. It was a giant NOPE moment. I gave up.

And I slept in this morning, mostly because there was barking in the night and it wasn’t mine. But it kept me up. And I was tired. You should always acknowledge tired and try to do something about it. Sigh. I try. I don’t know why the stretch from February’s 3-day weekends to Spring Break is so long and torturous, but it is. My patience worn thin. My workload has not abated all year. I’m just done. But I can’t be done. So there we are.

Two more weeks until Spring Break. Then the run through until testing…it will be rough, but it will get done.

I did more of the flowers on the left, filling in between, but running out of thread, so one flower is not done. In the middle. Oh well.

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As with everything else, I will figure it out.

My couchmates last night…the cat licking my arm and the puppy throwing himself into my lap.

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Hopefully the binding will get finished while the grading gets done. And then maybe tomorrow, I can continue tracing Wonder Under on Bathtub 4 (turns out that one is #4, even though I’ve done #2 and #5), although there’s some planning and cleanup that needs to happen first, of course. So much work. Ugh. Overwhelmed. Buried. I really want to go for a walk…but I can’t do that…maybe tomorrow.

I do have plans for tonight, although they’re not ideal. I will get out of the house with my sketchbook. So I have 5 more hours. Use them wisely. Stop wasting time. You will just pay for it later.

*The Roots, What You Want


Now That She’s Back in the Atmosphere*

March 24, 2017

Well. Tired. Yup. Need more sleep. I try. Well, not very hard. But I do try. There’s just a space between enough sleep and happy because I got to make art, and I lean towards the latter. I also know that should be “toward”, but it sounds weird. Regional vernacular. See even when I’m bloody exhausted, I can figure out grammar. And that’s important. Ha! It’s really not. But whatever.

So yesterday I had quilt class, for the first time since I think September. It’s not going away for a while…but eventually my teacher will move north to her incoming grandchild and I’ll have to find another group of like-minded women (this might be incredibly difficult) who meet locally (also difficult). Sigh. But not now. So that’s good.

I wanted to be handsewing the binding at said meeting, but that would have meant even less sleep the night before, so I just got everything ready. And it’s probably good that’s all I did, because when I started sewing last night, I realized I had been a math dumbass (not surprising after midnight…math is not my strong point and it was an improper fraction too) and had to recut the binding. But the question of what to do at the meeting was easy enough, because I do have another deadline looming (they always loom…they don’t ever just come in and sit down for coffee and biscuits, let alone come in and start doing the dishes)…so I started tracing the Wonder Under for the next quilt. I don’t usually overlap when I’m working, unless there’s a jump in line. I have a couple of quilt tops that aren’t stitched down, for example. And some others that aren’t what I would consider serious art quilts that are in stitchy limbo. But generally I get all the way through one before I start the next one. I think a one-day overlap on these two is not a huge deal though.

I got a little over an hour in and about 100 pieces traced. Hopefully more tonight, but we’ll see…because I had to grade last night and I will have to grade tonight and perhaps every night until June 15.

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It’s such a relief when I don’t have to grade. So rare too.

I started doing flowers on the left side…but I only did every other one. I’ll have to figure out how I’m going to keep handling that.

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Then into the room of fabricky goodness, where Kitten deposited ALL the fur on this quilt. Bindings on, sleeves on…

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Pinned down. Yup. Used an existing fabric, which luckily I had enough of to cut another set of binding strips that were 5/8″ wider. Sigh. I hate to waste fabric. See the cat hair though?

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I think she needs a bath. Not that a bath will solve the hair problem.

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So now it’s all ready for the handwork. Woo hoo! Finished in March. Leaving me 5 weeks for the next one, except I will be gone for one of those weeks. YIKES. OK. Deep breaths. I got this.

Now I know you just come here for puppy pix…and he’s not a puppy…just a little furry asshole.

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Who is often cute. And bitey.

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But yeah…lots of tummy rubs and scratches were needed last night…and this morning, I need to get my butt out of here. Like now. Yikes…

*Train, Drops of Jupiter


When You Gonna Wake Up and Fight*

March 23, 2017

Hey. So. When art brain is on a roll, it’s hard to shut her ass down. Last night, 12:35 AM (let’s remember I have to get up at 6:30 to get to school on time), I’m staring at the current quilt, thinking…wtf. I need to finish this. I need to finish it now. I can do that. Look at clock. Fuck. Dammit. Aargh. So yeah, I COULD finish it, but bedtime would probably have been closer to 1:30. On a non-school night, no problem. Sometimes having so many school nights just sucks. I can’t just head in an hour later and make it up in the evening. Even calling sick is so much of a pain in the ass that I rarely do it. Get a sub. Make sub plans. Figure out how to get the sub plans to school (once showed up, barely walking, still in pjs, feverish, barely post-vomitous, just to dump three pieces of paper on my counter and then drive back home to crawl back into bed). Yeah. Not easy.

Anyway. So. I did NOT finish. Because I am a responsible adult. Mostly. Really.

I did come home and walk dogs…which was a problem because Calli demanded to go. I wasn’t going to take her because she’s still limpy, but she really really wanted to go. So we limped. She’s going back to the vet Friday. If it’s arthritis, then she needs something else.

Julie! Here’s a bigger shot of that weird plant you couldn’t identify before. It’s not a yard plant…out in the middle of all the wild areas. Multiple plants…

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Spiky balls. And the flowers are red on top, but the lower ones are yellow. Freaky.

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This is Simba when he wants to go outside but doesn’t yet realize it’s raining.

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He hates water.

I have had some issues with dinner lately. I just don’t feel like eating anything. And then nothing I have sounds good. I wanted pie last night. I settled for French toast and Brussels sprouts. Why? They are both foreign? European dinner?

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It was actually pretty good. Needed sausage. But my store hasn’t had any for a long time. Things to hide in your freezer for weird-ass nights like last night.

I graded…see, I made puppy tired. Midnight’s look is amusing.

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Then I added another twig branch thing in the bottom right. Another brown thread.

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And then while watching the end of the episode of The Magicians (notice that Midnight is now sitting next to me…puppy’s foot is still over there), I worked on this, the fourth (not fourth) block of Folk Tails…couching threads forever on this one, which is nothing when you consider that each of those brown spots is going to be surrounded by tiny bullion knots. Pray for me.

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Finally into the quilting room. Kitten moves over, mostly, and I quilt the background…

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I think the quilting took about 4 1/2 hours. But it’s done…

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And then I trimmed it…

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And I found a binding and cut it and the sleeves…

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And that’s when I had that conversation with art brain about the importance of sleep. It doesn’t care. If it were summer break, I would have stayed up. Hell, if it were Friday night, I probably would have stayed up. Wednesday though? Aack. Nope. Too much to deal with at school to do that. Need some reserves to deal with the annoyances.

With that, I have a parent meeting this morning…quilt class tonight, but I won’t have time to put the binding on before I go…which does suck, but it’s not like I didn’t try. Sure I could have NOT exercised…but I needed to do that. So. Priorities I guess. Next quilt is ready to go though.

*Shinedown, Sound of Madness


It’s Not Going to Stop*

March 22, 2017

You know how when you go to a website where it already knows your user ID and password, and it has that box to click Remember Me? If it already knew who I was when I got there and I didn’t click that box, would it forget me? Do I need to remind it to Remember Me every time? I just don’t know. It’s shit like this that keeps me up at night. I want answers. (Actually, that last bit IS what keeps me up at night.)

My head’s going in circles still with the to-do list, but I think if I just bust through a bit of it every day, I’m gonna make it. As my co-teacher said, we both have significant others who will be doing music stuff on Saturday, so we can just GRADE ALL DAY. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I know, right? SIGH. Deep heavy sigh. Then again, I’m the one grading in line. The plus is my eyelids aren’t twitching yet. But the fact that I haven’t finished grading the last unit and the next unit is due Monday is causing me some stress. Yup. Next year it won’t work like this, but for now, this is how we roll.

Yesterday’s teaching was frustrating for me…mostly because even after I figured out how little they knew about graphing and Google Draw (I can deal with that), there were the attitudes, mostly the “Please give me the answer because this is hard” attitude. I’m OK with school being hard. Just try…that’s all we ask. It was interesting to see who jumped in and did and who sat there and stared at it, hoping it would go away. I can’t deny feeling that way sometimes, but you know, it doesn’t go away. Funny…reminds me of one relationship as well…where I know it’s work and not magic and the other person never figures that shit out. The worst of the kid attitudes though were the whiners, the “I don’t get it” crew. WHAT don’t you get? Did you try? Nope. Big fat nopes. Just whiny. My job can be frustrating.

So first of all, here’s the asshole mockingbird. That’s the wires across from my house. He was in the neighbor’s tree.

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Interestingly, he was totally silent last night…incoming storm (which still hasn’t appeared). So I need more rain to keep him quiet? Sigh.

Then Calli is still having foot problems…so she used to run to the mailbox with me, and now she just sits by the car…

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Waiting for me to come back…

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Semi-patiently.

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Unlike this one, who does not know the word patient in any way, shape, or form.

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Um. What did I do? Oh. So I’m going through this tube of threads in order and it was brown next. I didn’t want brown flowers, because those are dead flowers, and why would I want to stitch dead flowers. So I did twigs on the right instead. I’ll deal with filling them later. Like maybe in May.

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Then I spent over an hour grading while the girlchild FaceTimed me. I did finish all the late stuff and the one assignment I had started grading in line, so that was good. I’m getting there. Seriously. It’s just slow and painful. It helps to talk to someone while you’re doing it.

Kitten was ready for me to start quilting again…although moments later, she fell off this. Mean of me to laugh.

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I caught her. And then went back to outlining.

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The machine was being cranky…I’m not really sure why. I cleaned everything out and rethreaded the whole beast, but the tension was off. Then I noticed the feed dogs were half up and half down. I can’t figure out why that would have an effect, but it started stitching correctly when I fixed that.

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So I kept outlining. But I thought it should go faster. I always think that though.

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I have about three hours in…

This is the pile of dark blue fabrics I’m apparently collecting.

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It’s my favorite background color. So when I go buy enough for the next quilt, I often can’t choose, so I buy two. Sometimes I end up using one on the back, but sometimes I just save it for the next quilt.

Not this one, obviously. There’s a vagina in the peas.

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And a ribcage in the carrots.

My favorite part is when I finish the outlining of the face…it’s where all the character of the piece is…the duct tape section came out perfectly. I still need to deal with the blue spots on the forehead…damn batiks.

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So that was well after midnight, which explains my grogginess this morning. I did start (barely) quilting the background. It won’t take long…tonight for sure. I swear. I need a binding too…hoping there’s something here that will work. Otherwise I may have an issue. Sigh.

Here’s the old lady in one of her favorite sleeping positions…

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She’s a sweet girl. Even the other one is sweet at this hour, until I try to get him to go in his crate. Then he’s a bitey asshole.

So yeah. Day sucked until I got to tutorial and kids actually were thinking, and then coming home and hanging out and then getting shit done that I actually cared about…then it got easier. Deep breaths for today (the assignment from yesterday continues!) and remembering dogs and quilting will be at the end of it.

*Aimee Mann, Wise Up