May 24, 2016

I’m listening to this right now…

That word misfit. “All I had to do was be a voice to the story.” Telling the story can save your life. Funny that word misfit. I used the word “alienated” when I was living in Britain, because I so obviously didn’t belong, but honestly, there are times now, here in my own country, when I feel the same. Anyway. The art. It saves me.

Puppy was a barking beast Sunday night, so yesterday was full of my tired and student crazy. Some days you just wonder what’s going on in their heads. Classroom management is a moving target. Behaviors are awesome, and then they degrade into looney tunes.

So I was exhausted enough to nap briefly on the couch when I got home, with girlchild on the other couch, a cat on my chest, a dog perched on my hip. Then I managed to get my butt off the couch and take the big dog for a fast walk…she and I booked it around the 3 miles. Girlchild is still recovering from her existence, so I left puppy with her. Funny that one of the things I was looking forward to when I got home was the girlchild cooking, but I cooked last night. And then spent another hour trying to get the boychild’s room done…he comes home tomorrow. No, it’s still not done, but it will be. I’m close.

So what to do after that? Between projects…your brain just sort of flails a bit. Does a lot of “I don’t wanna” and “Don’t make me…” until I make it. I need this drawing to be done so I can go on to the next stage. An hour later…

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I added a homeless woman, a series of cocoons and butterflies of unknown origin, and poppies. The right side is probably done. I think I might have something on the left wrap around the column in the middle, but I haven’t figured that out yet. There’s a space above the butterfly that bugs me.

And once that’s done, I’ll spend an hour (at least) numbering it. That’s probably not happening tonight. But maybe. Today is the start of frog dissections, so it’s two long hard exhausting days. I’ll be glad when it’s over. I love showing the kids the parts and how they all fit together, but the managing of all the stuff and getting through the whole lab with enough time left over for clean up makes it a difficult day.

But the good news is that I’m close to getting the next project started…although I’m half debating doing another smaller one. No. NO. You are going to do the big hard heavy one and then you will feel better about getting the next one on the list done, and maybe you’ll have time for a small one in between. Seriously, this project is daunting. It feels huge. Except it probably isn’t any more huge than the big one I did last year. So whatever. Just do it.

I Especially Need…

May 23, 2016

I had plans for art yesterday, but in the end, my job and life got in the way. I let myself be OK with that because part of life was picking up the girlchild from the airport and another part was taking a long walk with small beastie…he can do three miles, in case you were wondering…he wasn’t exactly sure he could do it about 2/3’s of the way through it, but he did it. Although it had zero effect on his rampant hyperness.

I have to say, although he’s cute and all (everyone says it), he can be a handful. This morning, he finally was calm enough to come near Kitten without hissing and growling occurring. But even then, they are at an uneasy standoff.

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Hopefully with some more people in the house, this will get easier, because I’m pretty low on sleep right now with Mr. Barkypants getting his fluff in a huff every time a bird chirps or an animal wanders past my house (it’s a fairly frequent occurrence). And for me to say I’m low on sleep is something…since I don’t get much in the first place.

Girlchild is asleep down the hall, although apparently she’s driving me to work because we’re down to one car. She’s been out of school for a week and a half, but flew to my brother’s house so she could see her cousins, who alternately charmed her and annoyed the crap out of her (as all good cousins do). Tree climbing was one of the things she did…here she is upside down in a photo she liked, but I edited for her, on the fly, on the phone (yes, I know you can do better, but compared to what it used to look like, I thought this was pretty good).


Looks fun. I should try it some day.

So although I’m (as the girlchild says) a little salty that no art was made, there were good reasons for it. Although I graded and cooked dinner from scratch, so the first? Eh. It rules my life while I’m in school. The second? Good job.

It’s hard to explain to people what being a teacher is like on a regular basis while we’re in school when they just see your long “vacations” (we work through many of them or go to professional development, and summer is unpaid, so that’s not a vacation). Understand that there isn’t a single day when I don’t work…and I don’t get paid for those hours, any more than I get paid for the hours I do almost every single day after I get home from work. And even though I thought I was doing a bang-up job this year saving enough money to get through the summer, one big car issue just kicked my ass on that, much as it did last year…my cushion is now gone. Or it will be as soon as I pay that credit card bill. I do this every year, try to survive the summer. I don’t go on vacations anywhere. During the school year, we can’t take off for more than a few days without causing a ruckus. Every year, I have to rethink my plan for food and peeing during the day, as they move my prep period almost every single year. I’ve had 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 8th, and this next year, it will be 4th with lunch following directly. Which sucks for a diabetic. It means I’ll have to remember to eat during class, and I can already tell you, I don’t remember that shit.

Anyway. As I get closer to my time off for the summer, for the time I need to recharge from a very difficult year, a year where the kids took months longer than usual to finally figure out the consequences of not turning work in (and some still haven’t figured that out), my brain is getting excited…not just for the mostly uninterrupted artmaking time, but also for being able to pee when I need to, for being able to have lunch out (things teachers can’t do), for being able to run errands during the week because the stores are still open, for not feeling physically and mentally drained by a particularly hard day…or week even. For getting my Sundays back! No lesson planning, no parent email, no updating the website(s) we use for school. No dragging grading with me to my parents’ house for dinner.

I’ve done other jobs. I know the difference. I deserve my unpaid leave in summer. Without it, you would have very few people returning to a mostly thankless job each Fall. Of course, we do it for the kids…not the money…not the time off. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need a break. I especially need a break.

Eighteen days and counting.

What’s Next?

May 22, 2016

So the first kid comes home today. Her room was relatively clean, but I didn’t wash her bedding after she left because I did that when she left in August and then her cat puked all over the clean stuff. So I waited this time, and sure enough, there was puke. Damn cat. So I just need to make her bed. So the cat can puke on it.

Boychild’s room is the one where I dumped all the stuff from my office. I spent about 3 hours dealing with it yesterday, and I’m down to a manageable pile. He comes home Wednesday, so I have a little more time.

So it seems I spent most of yesterday doing my favorite thing (cough)…cleaning. Seriously, there were many hours of it. Then I finally sat down and started sewing a binding on the most recent quilt, still unnamed. In fact, both of the last two, finished within hours of each other, are unnamed. Working on it.

This was the view last night…quilt on my lap, sewing binding. Simba right next to me (better than earlier when he was ON me and trying to bite the quilt. Um. No. Then Midnight sprawled further down on the couch.

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Here she is finished, a little over 34 hours to make her.

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Need official photos, but think I will wait until the next smaller one is done. Plus the embroidery on the orange one.

Here’s the next one hanging up. I could start quilting it today.

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Quilting is pretty brainless for me. Easy peasy. Don’t have to think or plan and really do anything but move the fabric around under the needle. Try not to hit the hand. This quilt top is so old, I don’t know how old it is. Might be 2006. Might predate the world. NO! I found it…May 12, 2006. It was on my old blog. Yes, I’ve been blogging since the dark ages. Why do you ask?

It’s my art journal in many ways. TEN years to finish a quilt. Yeah. Well. Shit happens.

Speaking of finishing, the section in the middle is all I have on this drawing before I can (deep breath) NUMBER it and determine exactly how crazy I am.

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And since it’s next on the list, I should do that this week too. I know in general what I want in there. I just don’t know what that looks like or how it will fit. That’s the issue. It’s OK. I’ll get there. And this one won’t take 10 years. The other quilt sat around because it really was just a mental experiment, something to do when my brain wouldn’t settle down on anything. It’s like a drawing, but freehand with fabric. This drawing has been sitting around in this state for a while now, since May 2. It has 9 hours of drawing in it…well, more than that, because the first bit was in a sketchbook. So probably 11 hours. For those who have seen this quilt…


Wise Choice…for the Earth Stories exhibit…it was a 13-hour drawing. Anyway. Moving on. I have about 17 errands (again, must be a weekend during the school year) and grading to do, plus I’d better make the girlchild’s bed. After all that, I can decide what to work on next.

Pushed Out of Line

May 21, 2016

Some things about my life have changed drastically in the last 5 years, and some, not so much. I still love to draw when I’m out in the world, at a restaurant, in a bar, whatever. The quilt I’m about to finish was drawn on a plane. The big ones don’t usually start in a restaurant or somewhere like that…they start on the couch, TV on, legs up, surrounded by furry beasts. I like the ones that are small enough to go in the larger sketchbook. This huge one that has occupied the light table for weeks now is overwhelming. Exciting, but overwhelming.

So last night, I was watching a band and I had eaten my food and was watching really bad dancing by old people (OK, some of them are my age, but they are old dancers…). So drawing seemed the logical thing to do. I started one but it was awful. And then I did this…

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She has mountains in her hair. And that’s a mighty cool plane there. And trees on her boobs. Someone said that the people sitting around me must be scared. Mostly they ignore me. Sometimes they stare and then get embarrassed if I catch them. Occasionally they tell me how cool it is. But whatever. That’s not why I do it. I do it because I’m out listening to music and hanging out and it’s relaxing. So a Friday night after a hard week and a particularly difficult day…makes sense to get the pen and paper out. If I’d stayed home, I would have graded stuff, and really, the drawing was a better option.

When I got home, it wasn’t quite bed time, so I pulled this one out. The binding was done, but I needed to sew the sleeves down…

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So this drawing was done somewhere between 2010-12 in my smallest sketchbook, probably at a soccer game or in a restaurant, waiting for dinner. I enlarged a bunch of them back in 2013 because I wanted to make some smaller quilts, both because they’re faster and because I needed some for shows that don’t want big work. I’ve been working my way through the smaller ones, but I cut out three at the same time…this one, Nakedman, and (shit, what was the third one…). Funny, I know there were three. Nakedman was finished in February 2013. Eyeball Tree might have been the third one, finished in June 2012…which would mean I enlarged them in 2012. Believable. I have a blog. I bet I could check that.

Found it! June 2012…there were originally FOUR of them, Eyeball Tree (2012) and Feeding Time (2011…uh oh, revise the timeline again) were done and so I moved on to the second two, finishing Nakedman in 2013. So the drawings are probably from 2010. And in 2011, I copied stuff (sheesh…), and then I made one in 2011, one in 2012, one is 2013, and now one finally finished in 2016. Seriously, it had been hanging around in the studio, ironed onto the background, for three years apparently. So I stitched it down, quilted it, and bound it…and it’s finally done. I don’t know what I think about it, and it doesn’t have a real name yet, AND it needs embroidery (those are salt and pepper shakers). So I guess it’s not QUITE done. Close though.

Sometimes quilts get pushed out of the line and then I never finish them, or it’s years later. This is one of those. There’s another one ready to quilt that I don’t even think exists in my task managing app. This last one was in there, minus the first two parts. So I could guess the timeline. But the other one must be much older. It’s before I was drawing patterns. I guess the good news for them is that I eventually get around to finishing them, even when they get pushed out of line.

Anyway, so that was last night. Today I have a ton of cleaning to do because both kids are coming home in the next few days. Plus the house is just a mess. And grading. And some other time-consuming stuff. Hopefully I’ll get some art time in as well, because it makes me feel better. Less stressed. Happier. All good.

Damn Adulting

May 20, 2016

I forgot to take photos of the other quilt I worked on last night…oh well. I went to quilt class and sewed a binding on that crazy orange quilt. I still need to sew the sleeves on, so another hour or so. It’s an older quilt top. I just wanted it finished. Then I came home and wanted to finish the one I’ve been working on. I almost finished it the other night, until that pesky adult voice that thinks I need to sleep spoke up. Damn adulting.

So I worked on quilting it…

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And finished. I really only had about 45 minutes left. It took about 4 1/2 hours to quilt the whole thing. Not bad. (I did not grade any papers last night…bad Kathy)

It wasn’t bedtime yet, so I found a binding (easier to do from your stash when you are working with a smaller quilt) and used the fabric from the backing to cut two sleeves.

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I originally bought that fabric when I was still married. Back in the dark ages. I was going to make a dress out of it and some other fabrics. Not sure where the others went. Never happened, of course. YES, I used to sew my own clothes. Can’t be bothered anymore. Plus I mostly just wear black. I still have lots of that fabric left, that’s for sure.

Oh, I forgot about this. I’m working with one of my art groups on a Sexism in the Art World show that will open in 2017, and we were talking about making a coloring book. One person had suggested a topic that was eh, yawn, no thanks (there was a reason for it, but still. eh.), and this coloring book came up…

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Midnight is shocked that it was only $10 online. I was not shocked and purchased it for my weird book collection, so when I die, my children and grandchildren will have plenty to talk about and to make them laugh their asses off instead of crying. Yup. I really care about my family. (Just as a side note, there are some very pretty drawings in there)

Simba has now sat on the foot pedal (I trained my cats out of that years ago) and tried to sit in my lap while I was quilting.

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Really! I am a cat! You can let me on the chair! He’s still adjusting, as are we all. Wait until the rest of the family gets home.

Bindings on…

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Small quilts go so FAST. I’m going to remember this when I’m working on the next beast, which will probably take 6 weeks of nonstop work.

You can barely see Midnight in the back…that’s where she sits most of the time.

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No, that tupperware bin cannot be used for anything but cat butts. That is the fourth cat butt that has graced that box…maybe fifth. It’s funny how they claim space. Even now, I’ve got Simba on the floor in here, so Calli won’t come in. Simba comes in when Calli does, but then won’t lie down, like he is now. When Katie is here, it’s a whole ‘nother juggling for space. I regularly have three animals in here, one of the smallest rooms in the house.

Anyway, I’m not home tonight, so the quilt bindings will have to wait until Saturday or Sunday. And then I have to officially admit to being done with this quilt and move on to the big one. I don’t know if I’m ready for that, but my artmaking schedule for the summer tells me I have to be. On the one hand, I’m excited to be starting the big quilt, but I also know how LONG it will take, and that some parts will just feel endless. And I do have another quilt top that’s pinbasted, another old one. I might quilt that first, because I know it needs hand embroidery, and then I’d have that to work on if I didn’t feel like working on the big one (yes, one more reason to procrastinate about the big quilt). Sigh.

OK, but before I can move on to any of that, I have to go to work and pretend I adult well.

Stretching Past What We’ve Always Done

May 19, 2016

Hallelujah for the nice kid in Petco who helped me pick out and install a harness on the little beast yesterday. I wanted to try walking both of them in a nice wide-open area, but the leash was too short and the collar didn’t seem safe enough. Simba pinwheels around a bit on it. So a harness it was (never owned a dog small enough for a harness…so he had to show me how it worked). We only made it 1.56 miles…the big dog tricked me into a shorter path she knows (she walks with my ex and the kids too), plus Simba is a tiny baby really and if I’d gone further, I probably would have had to carry him for a while. So we’ll have to figure that out, because normally I do 3-mile hikes during the week. My SIL has a little dog and says 35 minutes…and that’s what we did I guess. Lots of leash tangling and bizarre walking behavior. The dog has sorta been trained, but not well or consistently.

But this cat…

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She’s still incredibly unsure and runs when she sees him, and so he thinks that’s a game and chases her. She’s whacked at him once, but missed his nose. Not sure if that will mellow out, but I hope so. The other cat has taken another furry addition to the house in stride and doesn’t care.

That’s where I was grading by the way. Pens are there to fill out the gradebook I keep on paper, but everything else is online. I did go through the worksheet and the website I assigned them and filled it out myself, just to see what answers I SHOULD get. Holy moley, sometimes I wonder how some of these kids will make it through life. They just make up random shit…this assignment was so easy, I filled out my worksheet in less than 7 minutes. Granted, I didn’t have to go find pictures or write full sentences, but they should have been able to handle it easily in the time I gave them. And many did.

Simba is still trying to figure it all out.

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I’m looking forward to the kids coming home next week to help out with this puppy thing…because it’s a bit tiring. The timing could have been better. He does go to bed and sleep all night, except at 3 AM when he hears an animal in the bushes and thinks he needs to protect all of us. Puppy growling.

I have blood testing this morning, so I’m fasting (no caffeine, no food) and that’s never a good start to the day…especially since we have testing, so I have no prep, no bathroom until 12:15…unless I call admin. Which I may have to do today, after 40 ounces of water, or whatever it is. And they’ll still complain about my veins. Whatever.

I wanted to finish quilting last night, but knew I’d have to be up extra early for the lab tests, so I stopped before midnight and went to bed (see, I CAN do that).

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I’m almost done, though…dammit! Oh well. I’ll finish tonight, except I really should grade something tonight. I’m trying to get caught up, which means an assignment a day. And I can’t get through much while we’re testing. We’ll see. I’d really much rather finish quilting and get a binding on this thing than grade papers. Shockingly.

I’m also starting to process (in my head) a collaborative project I’ll be working on over the summer for the women’s group I’m in. Honestly, these types of projects kind of terrify me, because I’m not used to working with other people…in art. I work with other people all the time at school, and sometimes I know I don’t know enough to do stuff well, but I just research the heck out of it. This thing, it’s a little weird and I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out, and I guess I’m really an introvert/loner, because the socializing that needs to happen to create the project is really freaking me out. Whoops. I’ll be fine. My art brain is just having a moment. It will get over it, as my co-art person says, when I have enough wine and brainstorming to get past it. More on that later, but it starts with a $5 nightstand. Stretching past what we’ve always done is usually a good thing.

But now, now I need to drive to the lab and let the bloodsuckers have at my poor tiny veins. Then I can eat. And more importantly, get caffeine.

Again. As Usual.

May 18, 2016

Busy day yesterday. One car in the shop. Got a ride home and the second car’s battery was dead. Got that replaced, then drove out to UCSD to pick up a dog that needed a home…this is Simba…

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A very tired Simba. I’m sure coming here was probably a bit overwhelming. Another dog, cats, a yard. He’s been pretty good about it, although I don’t think he’s eaten anything yet but two chicken treats, and it took a while to get him to go to sleep in his own bed.

He needs some shots and to be neutered, which girlchild will handle when she finally gets home.

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Simba showed up because of the girlchild and one of her friends…and it’s funny, because I just had this conversation with the boychild, who would love to have a cat, but can’t have one in the dorms and doesn’t want to get one until his living situation is more stable. And sure, shit happens. You could have pets and then have a stroke and be in the hospital for months. So have a plan for that. We have multiple backup plans for pets in my small family circle here in San Diego. And I suspect most of my friends know (from past experience) that I take rescue animals most of the time. Some of my best pets started out as an oops that some kid picked up outside a grocery store, a freebie that couldn’t be in the apartment or whatever.

Anyway, between the car and the puppy (because he is still a puppy), I didn’t get any art done. I was so exhausted by the time I got through dinner, I couldn’t focus. So I eventually went to bed.

However, I have some photos from a couple of openings I went to last weekend (there were 4 in two days…I actually missed the 5th one due to exhaustion).

First of all, I went to the Allied Craftsman show at Sparks Gallery, in downtown San Diego. I know a few people in the show, so I wanted to document for the two groups I’m in with them (I still have to write posts for those two blogs…tonight!). But I also saw this artist at the show…by Alexander Arshansky, this is Native American

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His work is very detailed…this is Born in Fire

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His work was upstairs in the gallery, separate from the Allied Craftsman show, but definitely a joy to look at.

You can see all the Allied Craftsman pieces on the Sparks Gallery website. Here are two quilts that were in the show, the one on the left by Viviana Lombrozo and the one on the right by Charlotte Bird (who is in one of the groups I’m in).

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Below, in the middle is Jeff Irwin’s Circulation, flanked by his Pump and Vanishing Point plates.

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I photographed other work, but it’s for those blogposts. I’ll link to those here once I actually get them written.

Then I went over the the Cohort Collective’s show at Subtext Gallery, also downtown. The show is called Tiny and the pieces were all…small. These are all by Dolan Sterns, Creatures of Dirt

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They seem to be on old metal lids, apparently done in white out and ink.

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Stearns is a skateboarder and usually does much larger pieces…on walls. Like the whole wall.

There were two pieces by one of my favorite fiber artists, Jaclyn Rose…this is I-breathalyzer.

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And Leave the Way You Came In

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Then a new artist for me, Christopher Konecki…this is Last Glimmer (of Hope)

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He has a wide variety of work…this is Staying Inside on the left and a side view of the other one.

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And then he and Spenser Little teamed up for some great little pieces…this is Cat on Leash

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Mermaid Bubbles

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And my favorite, We Used to Write Love Letters

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A detail of the wire work…

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Then Spenser Little’s wire work…this is Multiface

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Mini Deity Number 2

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His larger deities are bloody amazing; the detail is boggling.

This is Mini Deity Number 1

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And the back side of Schizophrenic on Coffee Multiface

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It’s amazing how little line you need to convey expression. The Tiny show is up until June 10. It really is a tiny show, but there’s a lot of value in seeing it.

Well. Art tonight? Maybe. We’ll see. I’m a little buried at the moment by life. Again. As usual.


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