Face Away and Pretend That I’m Not*

September 18, 2017

Grades are due in a week…it’s part of why I put my head down and put in 10 or so hours this weekend. I got some significant stuff out of the way, but there’s more in the classroom. That plan to spend an hour on the deck drawing? Well it turned into a half hour of talking and a glass of wine, but that was fine. I forget to take that time for myself…there’s always something dragging me back into what I have to do…so it was nice to have someone else remind me. Yo! Go sit outside and relax!

I’m not great at that.

So I didn’t get as much art done as I wanted to, but it’s coming…this is a busy week with lots of meetings, so who knows what’s going to happen. I’d like to be done with the cutting sooner rather than later, but I can’t guess how much longer it’s going to take. I’m over 6 hours in now and it doesn’t seem like I’m half done…although I did a bunch of tiny pieces yesterday and I feel like the rest is mostly larger pieces, so maybe I am halfway? Hard to say.

Lots of numbers and letters…this bit took forever and fussy little scissors.

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You can see them all there…the little triangles will wait to be cut out until I’m ready to iron them down. They get lost too easily.

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So here’s where I’m at…trash box at the top…to-be-cut-out on the left, and stuff I’ve cut out on the right. It seems like there’s still more in the to-be-cut box than the cut box…so I guess I still have a lot to go.

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Usually cutting out takes less time than ironing, so this being halfway would make sense…and big pieces are generally easier to cut out than the fussy little ones.

We’ll see. I’ll be lucky to get 2 hours in tonight…Tuesday might be a little better. Wednesday for finishing? Eh. Maybe Thursday. But ironing together by the weekend? Maybe even Friday night? That would be nice…this thing is taking longer than I thought it would.

Cat standoff…

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Things are getting slightly better. Less growling. Not getting along yet per se, but hey, we’ll take what we can get.

Still working on this…filling in the left bottom. I did a pink and a maroon, lots of French knots and some chain stitch.

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Soon I’ll have to decide what to do with the rest of the left side.

Puppy sleep.

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Spending the whole weekend working makes my brain fuzzy…seriously. It does. Aaugh. This job. It really does try to take over everything. I guess the art is kinda the same way, but I prefer that. Almost every waking moment thinking about art? Not a problem. Maybe it’s because school is such an impossible problem and art is a solution to me.

*Linkin Park, Faint

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Hung Down with the Freaks and the Ghouls*

September 15, 2017

The parrots are back…San Diego’s loud squawky parrots, perched in the trees around my house. They’re quiet at night, unlike the dog I live with, who took offense to all noises last night. I forget how hard September is…I keep walking around muttering “This is HAAAARRRDDDD,” to myself, like that helps. It doesn’t, by the way…in case you were wondering.

Yesterday I taught 130 students how to create a webpage. For most of them, it was their first time. It actually went pretty well…we’ll have to see how it goes from here on out. It’s our first year doing digital portfolios…so we’ll have to make sure we stay on top of it. Really. However hard it is.

I’ve been trying to do some grading every day. Can’t say I’m always particularly successful about it, but I’m trying.

I was 4 nights behind on this…seriously, what is my problem? I did 4 different things/colors in the bottom left…almost filled up in there. Gonna hafta decide what to do next. Aack.

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It’s funny that the dogs and Satchemo have figured their shit out, despite cross-species shit, but the other cats are still not OK with it. I spent about 10 minutes last night with the treat bag, placating all three of them. LOOK! When we’re together, she gives us treats! Let’s be together and not scratching or hissing! Fun stuff.

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This dog? Huh. Getting jealous in her old age. Or maybe she always was.

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I was watching 28 Days Later last night and cutting shit out. I did a couple of hours of it, I think…but I wasn’t very efficient. The top box is trash, the big box under it is all the stuff that still needs cutting out, and the bottom box is the stuff that’s done.

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And this is where I realize the heating pad has been sitting on the couch for months…like since my back/neck last bothered me that bad. Maybe May?

OK, I already know I have to grade like a crazy woman this weekend to make up for being sick all last weekend, but I really want to draw for a bit…just sit out on the deck with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and just watch the sky and draw. I keep saying that and then life slaps me upside the face. Anyway, will I be done cutting all these out by Monday morning? I think it’s unlikely…just looking at the weekend…but maybe I will be. We’ll see. But soon anyways.

I’m also trying to get my head out of my ass on exhibitions…I have some I need to enter or at least look at, but the last rejection kind of irritated me. I hate thinking censorship might have happened, but you never know when you have work like mine. I don’t usually mind rejections…I mean, acceptances are nice, but you have to realize the odds and I do. I’m sure I’ll figure that shit out and start entering again. Hopefully soon.

*Smashing Pumpkins, 1979


One Headline Why Believe It?

September 11, 2017

Well. I’m up. I’m showered. I ate something. I fed animals. I’m not sure I’m ready or capable of teaching all day, but at least it’s a short day…mostly because I have to sit through a staff meeting after, but our new meeting space has beanbag chairs, so I can curl up in one of those if there’s a problem. I have in the past sat upon my rolly chair and propelled myself around the classroom when I didn’t feel well. Standing is problematic, for long periods of time even more so. Going to the grocery store yesterday took it out of me…precipitated a 2-hour nap. I can only assume I needed it.

No art yesterday, none at all, although I rallied enough to finish grading the second homework assignment. That’s a good thing. I wanted to draw, but I was too tired. Ironing wasn’t even a realistic option. I’m hoping for tonight…maybe if I come home and nap, I can do some ironing.

I did do two more nights on this…caught up again…still all in the lower left, filling in spaces.

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My nap companion, faithfully guarding my butt from invaders.

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This morning…

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It’s a new day. I don’t feel completely like crap. I think I’m over the hump. That’s good. Because I need to get some art done…it’s like grinding my teeth constantly when I can’t.

*Tears for Fears, Everybody Wants to Rule the World


I Want to Put on My My My My My Boogie Shoes*

September 10, 2017

Well I am ill. Not illin. Just ill. Ill enough that I spent a lot of the day on the couch, trying to grade stuff. And here, at the computer, trying to grade stuff…but not being very successful. I can’t tell if I’m better today or worse…I’m hoping I’ve hit the peak of yuck and it’s all clearing up the phlegm from here on out. But who knows.

It means I’ve gotten almost nothing done. I feel like warmed-over crap…can’t stand for long enough to iron, I guess. I did venture out yesterday and maybe blew my energy for the day. No ironing. I read a lot. I watched some TV, but even that wasn’t anything I felt like doing. I slept for quite a few hours. I know all those things are fine and good for a sick person, but it’s irritating to have to give in to it. Lost time. I hate lost time. Waiting. Standing in line. Sitting through useless meetings. Being sick. Some social events.

I’m not very patient with reality, I guess.

And there’s times when I’m making stuff that I wonder if it makes sense, if it’s what I want it to be, if I’ll make it and it won’t get in, if I’ll make it and it will never get in anywhere. That happens. Those are down moments in the making process…there will be up ones.

I did three night’s worth on Friday, all in the lower left corner…I’m now a day behind again.

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See. Yesterday. Sitting. Not a lot getting done.

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Although being a cat couch is something.

This was also Friday night…I felt pretty good on Friday night. Compared to yesterday.

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OK. So revise the schedule. Finish ironing today? I dunno if I can do that…so let’s say I survive tomorrow and finish tomorrow…and then start cutting out all week…iron together by the weekend? That could happen. It depends a lot on how I feel the rest of today and tomorrow.

Someone asked if I call a sub for my classes if I’m sick. The reality is that we have very few subs in our district and they generally don’t like middle-school science. Plus we’re doing labs and there’s no way in hell I’m leaving these little hellions who will consistently do everything I have NOT told them to do without being called on it constantly with a guest teacher. It’s not even fair to the guest teacher. I’m still training these guys not to touch everything just because it’s there. Not to lose lab materials (there’s a marble loose somewhere in my class and I guilt-tripped my whole 8th period over the cost of that damn thing, and if you’re not a teacher and you’re thinking, it’s Just a MARBLE, you don’t know what we have to do to (a) get funding and (b) train these kids to respect the lab materials…it’s a marble today and a microscope tomorrow.).

Yes. I cannot feed my college kids because y’all lost a marble.

Anyway. It can only get better. Right? I don’t think I’m worse today. Maybe the same. Not very energetic. Not very clear-headed. But alive. And mostly upright. Watching the hurricane hit Irma…sending good thoughts that way. Someone said I should put hurricanes in my quilts…I have, for years. But more now with the climate change stuff in my head all the time.

This song? So not how I feel. But that’s OK. Maybe it will help.

*KC and the Sunshine Band, Boogie Shoes


Like Spun Glass in Sore Eyes*

September 6, 2017

I’m kinda losing track of things at the moment…sitting here looking out the office window where the leaves keep falling (because it’s Fall? Not yet in Southern California…we’ll hit 100 again before the month is out, for sure), wondering how some days go so quickly I can’t even breathe, don’t even see them slip past. Yesterday was like that…zip! And it was gone. There are pros and cons to that of course…some parts of the day were unbearably long. Lunch is never long enough, nor prep long enough to get it all done. Sleep is never freaking long enough for anything.

It’s something to do with September, I think…even without kids’ back-to-school nights and packets full of paperwork and new soccer seasons, this month impresses on me some level of urgency. I wish it would stop so I could just watch the leaves fall and wonder why they do that when it still looks and feels like summer. Look! There goes another one. It’s not even yellow. Green leaves falling. Stress from last week’s heat? Perhaps. It’s still a marker of time in my brain. FALL.

I did some of this last night, lower left corner again, some chain stitch in some color I can’t remember…a green with a pink in it, I think.

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Even Pandora is playing all wistful mopey music.

Still not sure about this quilt. But it continues. Last night, I got lungs, hair, octopus tentacles, and bullets ironed down.

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I lost one of the octopus tentacles, so I redrew it…and then found it in the next box. I usually check, but this time I didn’t. Mistake. I also figured out where the unnumbered piece belonged. I had traced it but forgotten to write a number on it. That time I had gone through the next three boxes looking for it…and then glanced at the table, where the lonely unnumbered pieces go. And there it was…409…in all its glory. It was the right shape.

Leaves falling 5 and 6 at a time. There’s no wind…just leaves dropping straight down, twirling a bit as they plummet to the ground. I won’t sweep or rake them up…I let them decay where they are. Well, except for the 700 leaves that fell in the pool over the weekend. I tried getting most of those out yesterday.

It’s funny, I try to find an hour or so a day to make art…some days, like yesterday, I’m over 2 hours in and trying to negotiate a later bedtime with my brain so I can keep going, until the mom brain reminds me what it’s like to teach 7th graders metrics and measurement on not-enough sleep (oh yeah. bad.). So I’m 8 hours into the ironing and hoping more will happen tonight, but also I need to deal with the 720 emails from students yesterday and last night (it’s OK…they’re making up work because I explained yesterday how to fix those Not-A’s) and food and the gym is on my to-do list. So I can read my book. OK, also because I need to go to the gym. I do actually like the gym. I just like artmaking more.

With that, I need to book out of here early to deal with stuff…but I did get through all of the 300s and into the 400s, but not very far. I’m doing the weird arm in the middle and then starting on the other figure in the quilt. I’m not quite halfway, but I’m close. That’s something.

*Elliott Smith, Coming Up Roses


Pulling Your Puzzles Apart*

September 5, 2017

It’s funny…I thought I would have all this time yesterday to iron, but grading took forever, plus we walked the dogs in the much cooler weather. Yeah. This dog…

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The clouds were low and it was in the 70s…a huge change from 109 on Saturday.

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There’s an endangered bird species or two who live here…it’s nice that someone makes their homes decorative.

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We tried a new way back, one we won’t try again, because it goes past a variety of sewage treatment areas.

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Plus at some point it’s just a paved road. Not my first choice, although this piece of equipment was pretty.

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I graded for a couple of hours after that, then cooked dinner and did something on this. Hmmm. French knots in the bottom left, in a variegated thread this time.

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And because we were trying to finish watching the first episode of Ozark and I can’t just sit and watch TV, I kept sewing parts down for the next month’s worth of Folk Tails.

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I think I made eyeballs too.

Finally to the ironing! I finished ironing down all the pieces of flesh from the day before.

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Which probably took close to an hour. And then I started on all those pieces that weren’t flesh but were in the body…there were a ton of pieces in the heart this time, and many more arteries/veins…so the reds were more extensive than normal.

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I don’t feel like I got much done really…just the eyeballs and one tattoo and the bloody stuff. I still have parts of the face, the lungs, the octopus tentacles coming off her hand, and another tattoo.

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I started the bullet trails through her head, but didn’t get to the bullets. They’re lined up on the bottom. Anyway. I’m almost 6 hours into the ironing and I still haven’t gotten to the 400s…some of them are in the hair too. So I guess that will be tonight. I hope. I suspect 15 hours for the ironing is a good estimate…although I hope it will be less. Maybe by the end of the week? This is a tough week…back-to-school night will kick my ass. We’ll see.

Here’s the pile of pieces that are ironed plus the fabrics before I organized them…

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I’m trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour (ha!), which just means midnight instead of 1 AM. So I’ve been watching the clock and making myself stop.

Here’s what I’ve used so far in fabrics…the flesh run on the left at the back of the box…and a ton of reds.

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I have to remember that I have tutorial today after school, so exhaustion will be high. But I don’t have to cook dinner tonight…so that’s exciting. No really, it is.

*Coldplay, The Scientist


A Stain on My Notebook*

September 3, 2017

It’s muggy here. And still hot…not as hot as yesterday, when the breeze felt like you were standing too close to a fire. It makes it hard to get anything done. And then the wind picked up; you’d think that would be good, but it was hot and I was trying to sort Wonder Under…the wind was strong enough to pick up pieces out of the boxes and whirl them around. This morning, the wind is gone (although there’s still a wind advisory out), and there’s the trickle of occasional light rain. That part is nice. Sitting here with two cats not real keen on each other’s existence, but tolerating it because of catnip treats and I guess my presence. But we’re still sweaty and uncomfortable and trying to stay semi-cool and hydrated. Ugh. This heat sucks my brain out and spits it on the tile.

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I saw 109 degrees later…it’s interesting though, because I don’t doubt the effects of climate change, but it’s been that hot here before…so I can see San Francisco’s temperatures as an indicator of climate issues, but this is semi-normal for us. The humidity isn’t normal though.

That said, heat or no heat, I finished the damn trimming of the Wonder Under…ironically, so now I can iron in the heat. Laughing about that.

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It’s a pretty full box. There are lots of big pieces that take up space.

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I keep putting stuff out for the hummingbirds. They appreciate it in this heat.

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I had both dogs on the couch with me…because it’s hot as hell and it makes sense to lie on a couch OR on mom when it’s hot.

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Calli looks like this when she wants to go out. I suspect this was a request to go in the pool rather than to pee. I understand.

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The next step is to sort all the pieces by 100s so they’ll be easier to deal with at the ironing stage. Satchemo was occupying the light table though.

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It’s interesting though that once you start putting these bins out and gently pushing them toward a cat, they often get offended and just move. I did leave him room, but this is about when the wind picked up.

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It didn’t take long to sort them…about 40 minutes. Because there are only 800 and something pieces instead of 2000. Note to self!

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I did go to the fabric store and stare at a bunch of possibilities with the drawing in my head, trying to make a decision. NOT a dark blue! I ended up with a gray brown…an interesting color that looks brown against most grays and gray against most browns. Lighter than I usually go as well. So my goal is to start ironing down some time today…honestly, probably tonight, because I’ve got a bunch of grading to get through plus some other stuff around here. I do need to clean up in here too…to put all the fabrics away from the last quilt. That will take about an hour. And I might need to move some cats.

I did two nights’ worth last night…the wavy buttonhole stitch in yellow in the bottom left and the leaf shapes in lazy daisies in the bottom right. I’m trying to fill in all the bottom bits, I guess. This is 245 days in…120 days to go. So 2/3s of the way through the year. Interesting.

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I guess I thought it would be more filled in by now.

We were watching Logan, meaning I was stuck in the living room (which is not where the fabric is), so I stitched some wool bits down on the right.

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This is April…the month I should have done before starting May. I have two more blocks to stitch down wooly bits on, and I think I need to cut out more eyeballs. I usually have a bag of them already cut out, but I can’t find it, so I’m guessing I used them all. I found eyeball fabric though, so I’m fine. Stitching the wooly bits down is my least favorite part of these. And I think once I finish stitching these down, I need to cut out the next batch of block pieces. But none of these are crucial.

Ah…a cool breeze smelling of wet dirt. Now that is bliss. I could live with that for a while. And one of my favorite parts of quiltmaking starts today with ironing to fabric. Yah. That’s a good weekend.

*Squeeze, Black Coffee in Bed