There’s Still Time to Change the Road You’re on*

November 21, 2017

So I spent a couple hours last night worrying about the girlchild, who was on lockdown in a dorm where a robbery took place at gunpoint. Because we need guns for protection, right? Because if anyone else in that dorm had possessed a gun, a whole lot of people would be injured or dead right now. As it is, everyone was fine, although I think both girlchild and I (and quite a few other parents and students) had the shakes for a while. But please don’t ever say to me that you have a right to carry a gun. Nope. You don’t. Not unless you’re a cop…and even then, I have misgivings because so many of our cops are racist and/or reactionary.

Anyway. That’s done.

I did some lazy daisies on the right that look like bull heads.

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And then I ironed all those inner bits and pieces…here’s the layout for the heart and arteries…

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And the pile of fabrics I went through last night…another 3 hours or so yesterday.

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I’m up to 13 hours in the ironing…with about 400 pieces to go, I figure. It’s not been quick, that’s for sure. Here’s just one of the reds in the heart/arteries section…

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Lots of pieces ready to be cut out.

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And all the fabrics I’ve used so far…

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I’ve been working to 1 AM and then falling into bed exhausted. The nighttime hours are better for this, I find. I did copyedit during the day yesterday…more of that today. I haven’t graded any assignments since Sunday, and I need to do some of that too. So I’m probably not going to finish the ironing today…can’t really blow off the moneymaking part of my week yet. I need to get significantly further along. I do have most of today (I’m hiking tonight), all of tomorrow, a few hours on Thanksgiving (mostly nighttime probably), and all of Friday. But I’m realizing it’s never enough. This quilt has to be done and photographed in less than 40 days. I can do that…but the copyediting has to be done in less time than that, and I have to deal with school. I can’t just push that off. Where do the hours go? Staring at fabric, I think. Mostly. And dealing with dogs. Stupid stuff like eating and peeing. I made lasagne from scratch yesterday…but that’s 3 more dinners on top of last night’s. So that was a good thing.

Sitting here watching a hummingbird on the flowers outside my office window…supposed to be in the 90s today. November, my ass.

OK, so shower, eat, copyedit. Consider venturing out for the chicken broth I should’ve bought on Sunday for the turkey I’m making for myself. Gotta make some rolls too. Should do that tomorrow…

Now get up and go.

*Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven


Now That We’re Here, It’s So Far Away

November 20, 2017

Today I have to work for real. I did grade yesterday, but today I need to start the copyediting project I took on. But first? Chiropractor and Costco. I might need assistance getting out of the latter. Shitty timing for that, after seeing the grocery store yesterday. I always forget about the crazy food shopping that happens before Thanksgiving, now that the girlchild isn’t here for the day. She’s the amazing cook, where we had to drive to like 4 different stores finding all the stuff she needed, plus some desperate Thursday morning shopping trips. Can’t say I miss that, but I do miss having her around and cooking.

So when I get done with that, I’ll come home and read and correct until my eyes blur. Maybe I’ll stop before that. We’ll see. I’d like it done before I go back to school. But I also want to get done with the ironing…so balance. Speaking of balance, I took an art workshop yesterday…I did a lot of printmaking in college and soon after, but then I leaned into the fabric and fell in. But this was nice…I had an idea going in, so I did a rough sketch on paper, remembering to flip the word and letters…

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Drew it on the rubber eraser stuff…this is way easier to carve than linoleum…

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Carved and ready to ink…

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Not bad…probably haven’t done this for 20 years…

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Maybe these are my Xmas cards this year (although I need more)…

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Then two nights’ worth on here, mostly doing more feather stitches on the right around the eye.

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And finally in to the ironing. I had to find all the little-head pieces and iron them to the same flesh run as before…

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Here’s all the pieces that were NOT flesh-colored but shoved in there…eyeballs, hearts, arteries, lungs, etc. I had to go up to piece 948 to get all the heads and arms picked.

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But I don’t have 950 pieces ironed down…I gotta do all those inner pieces…

Here’s just the pile of arteries and heart parts.

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At the parentals’ for dinner, I finished sewing down the wonky sun and started to do eyeballs and nostrils.

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The wool stitchdown on this set of blocks seems to be taking forever. Maybe it’s because it’s been so long since I did the last one? I don’t remember.

These two slept on the back of the couch last night for quite a while together.

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I did iron a ton of pieces last night…you can see the pile on the left…and the pile of fabrics on the right.

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I still have all these innards to deal with…

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I did some of the teeth and eyeballs and tongues, but not much else…just the hair on the little heads. So there are fewer piles than there were before.

Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far.

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Calli this morning…glad to be in the house with a HooMan.

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And her little brother, who wants to play…

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I did actually start this post this morning, but then went to the chiropractor visit and a hell trip to Costco (should never go there near a holiday)…and then I started the sauce for the lasagne, ate lunch, and started copyediting before I remembered I’d never posted this. Whoops. Oh well. I’ll work for a while and then assemble lasagne and then maybe iron tonight. I love the ironing. The delving into color boxes to the deep back where there might be a fabric that hasn’t seen the light of day in a year, just to toss it into this quilt. Fun stuff.

*Staind, So Far Away

I Went in Seeking Clarity*

November 19, 2017

I did pretty well yesterday practicing being a normal human being who isn’t holding down three jobs on a random basis…I haven’t started copyediting yet. I think I’ll do that tomorrow. I have been working on the quilt that has to be done and photographed by January 1. But even spending 3 1/2 hours ironing yesterday, which puts me at 6 hours total, and about a third done. That’s it. (Laughing hysterically in my head). And schoolwork? Didn’t fucking touch any of it yesterday.

Good job, Kathy. No really. We have to live a life that’s worth it. And the art is always part of that, although venturing out of the house occasionally is also a plus.

So I had some Christmas shopping I needed to do, which made driving to an arts and craft sale (a really nice one) a good plan. And it worked. Because I got a good chunk of the shopping done. And then I was rewarded with this…a flight of awesome ciders…drunk while watching the guy prep pomegranate seeds for a future batch. Amazing place, Serpentine Cider up in the Miramar area.

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This art on the wall…also awesome…

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Wood burned and painted…totally amazing.

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Then we came home and I spent about an hour and a half piling up flesh pieces…which I then had to cover up so we could go to an art opening…because I couldn’t get it all done. It’s not even done now…I just picked a place to stop (everything but the little heads on top).

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So I have loved Bhavna Mehta’s paper-cutting work for years. You’ve seen her work here before. She did some community work, helping people make wearable paper art, and last night was the (very crowded) opening at Art Produce Gallery. Bhavna had her floral/leaf strips hanging from the ceiling, and then the women who had created works were walking around…

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And there were pictures of them with their creations on the walls…

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It was very hard to get photos of anything.

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But I tried…

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Some dinner found its way into our gullets and then I came back to iron all that flesh down…

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I still have to do the little heads, but I couldn’t handle the giant piles any more.

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And these are all the other pieces of the body that aren’t flesh-colored…so lungs and heart and tattoos and I don’t even know what else. That will be today maybe? After I finish the heads. We’ll see. I was going to do some schoolwork today too. Plus I’m doing a holiday card workshop. Why? Because I felt like it. Yeah, I already know how to carve a lino block and print it, but this is easier than trying to do it here. And I can walk away from the cleanup! Yeah, I know…whatever.

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It’s a week off, but it always goes quickly. There’s so many errands and tasks associated with the holidays, so it makes it a lot harder to feel like you got a lot done this week. But I’m gonna try to be efficient as hell.

*Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine

I Wanna Be Your Left Hand Man*

November 18, 2017

I’m up! It’s morning! It’s a beautiful day! Can you tell that I have the next NINE days off work! I mean, as OFF work as you can be with 5 assignments to grade, a worksheet or two to finish creating, 140 pages of copyediting to do, and 1200 pieces to iron (OK, the last is a joy). So yeah, if you’re thinking, AWWW LUCKY, then you don’t really get that I bring home work almost every night and do these stupid 12-hour days sometimes and work every Sunday and sometimes Saturday as well. Honestly, you give teachers vacations so they don’t all quit their jobs and/or duct tape a particularly annoying child to a chair. Permanently. There’s a reason 50% of teachers quit by their 5-year anniversary.

With that said, I’m not copyediting or grading shit today…maybe tomorrow I’ll start. But I try to keep Saturdays free of that stuff.

This cat and people food…he’s got an issue…”I will stalk the plate crumbs.”

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Two nights’ worth…chain stitch on the left top and then cross stitches. Maybe something else…can’t remember. I’m mostly just filling space.

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Finally made it in to iron around 9 something. I did both sides…the landscape in the background. Although I have a little left to do on the right side. I’ve done about 150 pieces, that’s it. Not fast.

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But I do love doing it…

I also love mornings where I can just sit here and text the kids back and forth while drinking my tea in my pajamas. It was nice.

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This cat…she’s a bit psycho. I’ve been trying to persuade her to come back out into the living room and my office, where she used to hang out, but she’s nervous about the other cat…

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She does love bathmats though.

Anyway, work, the good kind, is on my mind. Gonna do some art stuff today for sure. There’s a balance. I’m working on it.

*Vance Joy, Riptide

If I Kiss You Where It’s Sore*

November 17, 2017

Oh hallelujah dear Friday before Thanksgiving Break. Although today will be like managing wild and hungry chimpanzees while holding a chocolate birthday cake, I can see a big fat light at the end of the tunnel…at about 3:30 PM this afternoon, to be specific. Of course, I have 5 assignments to grade (not bad, actually), my author contacted me this morning and his manuscript is ready for copyediting (it’s OK…I asked for it over break…I need the money), and I just made a to-do list for all the shit around the house that needs doing, but hell…I just don’t care at the moment. I want to SLEEP…and most importantly…MAKE ART. Yes. That. With gay abandon. Throw confetti all over me. I wanna art myself into the ground.

Yes, I’m a little punchy and a lot exhausted.

Exhausted after doing this cool rock cycle lab all day, which started with teaching kids how to grate cheese (well, crayons) with a knife, in case they don’t have a cheese grater. Well, no, we were making sediment from a crayon rock.

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And then I missed photographing all the other steps in between because brain fart. Totally. But here it is after we compacted it and then melted it and then blended it and let it cool off.

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So lab days are always exhausting. But it was cool. I have no voice today, but that’s OK.

Then I went to the opening of California Fibers: Points of View at the Rose Gallery, Francis Parker School…there are my three pieces: Feeding Time, BirdWatch, and You Pollute Me. I look like I have a lot more energy than I really did.

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The show is really nice. I’ll post the whole thing sometime in the next few days. Not right now.

I came home after grabbing dinner and sat for a moment, trying to find the energy to do ANYTHING. I had Simba on one side of me and Satchemo on the other. My arms aren’t long enough to show both. No, I don’t need a selfie stick. It’s OK.

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And then, miracle of miracles, I came in the studio and put all the fabric away, cleaned up, and started ironing the new quilt. This thing is gonna be SO FUN.

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OK. Yeah. It’s huge. I get that. But I’m so excited about working on this. Really.

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I have my Nida Powers sign in here now. Although I really wanted it to be one word. I need to put it up on the wall, but I decided doing that on a rolling chair while tired would be a big fucking mistake.

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So I’ll wait. I will fully enjoy the 9 days off I have, even with all the shit I gotta do. It’s OK. I get to make lots of art in the middle of all that. Yay.

Regina Spektor, Better

We Don’t Notice Any Time Pass*

November 16, 2017

Insert pithy statement about being a middle-school teacher two days away from a week off from school. Make a Venn diagram about your feelings about the next two days versus break and your students’ feelings about the same. In your case, add in holiday stress because food, family, and travel. Then drop in some missing-your-kids feelings, because they are a million miles away. And take two Motrin for that headache that must be caused by something other than drinking heavily at night, because you didn’t.

I had plans for last night! I got about oh say maybe 45% into my plans and my brain and body gave out. So be it.

Somewhat strangely, on this day last year, I had just started ironing Wonder Under to fabric for my last quilt of 2016. Ironic that, because I did NOT start ironing last night, although that was my plan.

Here’s a puppy for you to look at, because he’s cute. He’s not actually a puppy. He’s over 2 years old. But he will probably always be the puppy because he’s small.

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And hyper.

I did French knots on the righthand side to fill in some of the empty space in there.

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Apparently empty space offends me. Actually, that might really be true.

I did manage to go shopping for background fabric yesterday, wash all the other things I bought (it was a weak moment), and then make piles of that and all the fabric from the last quilt that need to be put away.

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So I guess there’s that, because I didn’t put any of it away. Or start ironing. In fact, I went to bed early, because I knew I’d have to be up early today for another stupid meeting. OK, they’re all stupid at the moment.

I couldn’t decide on a background fabric. I just knew I wanted it to be dark, and these are dark. So it will be one of them and then the other will get used for another quilt…or on the back of this one.

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I wish I could say I’d get further along tonight, but I have an opening on the other side of town and it’s a lab day today (gonna melt crayons! in the name of science!), so the odds of my having any energy at all at the end of the day are decreasing rapidly. But I always have hope.

That’s how I get so much shit done. Hope. And crazyassness. Mostly the latter.

*The White Stripes, We’re Going to Be Friends

Anchored Down in Anchorage*

November 15, 2017

I’m feeling awesome because I’m three days ahead on the quilt! For now. Shhh. Don’t break the spell.

I had tutoring after school yesterday and taught a lot of one- and two-step equation-solving. Math…I used to be good at it, but now my brain freezes sometimes when trying to do it. I wonder if what I’m doing makes sense. I wonder if that’s because I don’t use it as much as when I was younger. I have to talk myself through solving a problem: I paid blah and he paid blah and we each owe half so without using an Excel spreadsheet, how do I figure that shit out? Ugh. I feel like quilting makes me Math all the time. Yesterday, I had to measure the drawing and figure out how much yardage I needed for the background. That’s math. I do have to draw it out, though, because I’m a visual learner. I don’t have a problem admitting that.

But first I graded more stuff, because that is the way of the teacher.

Some weird twisted chain stitch and some star stitches on the far right…

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And then I cut for another hour, making it a total of 9 1/2 hours to cut out all those pieces. I started last Friday and now I’m done. Not bad.

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I was tired and I knew I had to be up early for a meeting, so of course, I went ahead, grabbed all the boxes I needed, and started sorting Wonder Under…

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There’s the requisite glass of wine, a boxful of pieces, and 14 boxes ready to go, all labeled with part numbers etc.

This is a new one for me. I don’t usually forget to write numbers on the pieces (then I can’t figure out where they go)…but I did it not once, but three times.

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Sheesh. Brain dead much? It’s OK. It’ll be obvious what they are once I start ironing. It’s like the one kid who didn’t put her name on the test…if she’s the only one in that period, then it’s easy. It’s only if there’s more than one and they don’t have distinctive handwriting…then I’m fucked.

There they all are sorted. That took almost an hour. I wanted to quit about 300 times, but I persisted. As always.

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So I can start ironing to fabric tonight? Well, first I have to clean up in here and put all the fabric away from the last one, plus I need a background fabric (hence the measuring and mathing from the night before). It’s on my calendar for after school. Looking forward to that. But first, I’m going to see what kind of chaos I can create in the classroom today (yikes…three days until vacation for the kids…this is where they turn into scary beasts, worse than a full moon). I can do this…

*Michelle Shocked, Anchorage (song note: I was born in Anchorage…some day I’ll go back)