See Where That Goes…

Hey y’all. Two days of silence. Well, only here. The rest of my existence has been loud. I just didn’t have time to write in the last two days. But today, I am back to school, and this is part of my morning wakeup routine. I’m really not awake until after 9 AM, which is difficult, because I usually have students at 9. And they require interaction…energy I usually don’t have at 9 AM. Hence writing, which gets the word part of my brain in gear, plus also makes me reflect on the day and what I might need or want to get done.

Needs and wants are often very different, of course. I want to go back to sleep, because oh hells that was a shitty night’s sleep and I’m mostly braindead…but no, I get to sit through a few hours (or more) of meetings and professional development, which is pretty much the bane of my existence. I mean, I guess another colonoscopy would be worse, but I don’t need another one of those for like 10 years, so that’s a plus. These damn things come every week (although not the all-day version, which has its own special level of suckage). It is what it is. My day job pays the bills and is generally not boring and I even enjoy the teaching/kid parts (well, mostly), although not when I realize two of my top students were copying off each other. I’m disappointed in that.

I’m also sort of reeling still about finding out Saturday that my cousin Jennifer died. She was a sweet and quietly sarcastic woman and although she had been sick for a while, we all had hope that things would turn around. I did see her in October, but had plans to do that again…too late. So I’m sort of walking around in a daze with that one…trying to put something that makes sense in that hole in my head where she resided.

Saturday I was in Palm Springs for a class taught by Svetlana Shigroff…who I follow on Instagram. I’m not sure how I found her…Instagram has its algorithms…”you like this so your friends like that”. I had seen her work and then a video of her making the work, and I was fascinated by the process and the product. I feel like I should follow those urges to learn new things, so when I saw she had a class coming up (I actually missed the first one in November, couldn’t go then), I signed up. Yes, it’s a 2-hour drive. Each way. It was Winter Break. I felt like I could handle that.

And I could…the class was tufting, which is kind of like rug hooking…here’s the setup…

You can see the weird tool we used on the frame.

You work from the back…

It took me a while to get the loops regular and consistent…

This is still from the back. You can use a variety of fabrics, but I stuck to jersey because for me, it was more about the image than the texture.

There were about 13 people in class. I’m pretty sure I knew one of them from somewhere (odds of that)?

Still from the back. Definitely some new muscles using this beast.

I got as much done as I could…

Here’s the whole class with their pieces…

I’m famous! Nah. But if you want to follow the artist on Instagram, you can…

You can see I didn’t sit for this…

And she had a better picture of the group than I did.

I made it home by 5:30 and settled down for some cheery Chernobyl and brainless stitching.

The next day, I had an opening up at the beach…so you need to see the water…yeah?

I have two pieces in this show with Allied Craftsmen at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad, California. This is my work, Desert Daughter, in front of Arline Fisch’s cool metalwork.

And my snarky self with Some Like It Hot…which meant I got to explain menopause to two college students.

Home to kitten activity…and getting ready for school.

Sometimes they stop moving. On me.

Finally started drawing again…this thing will be done soon, with or without Luna’s help…

It’s coming. All good. Meanwhile, school is back in the schedule. I can be irritated by the lack of work I got done over break, but there’s no need or purpose for that. I am trying to process Jennifer’s absence. I have a lot of grading that’s still not done. I can’t fix all that. I can just start now and see where it all goes.

Ditching

I’m not at school. Not going today. Going on a quick weekend trip. Crazy timing for that, but it’s possible there is never a good time. Currently sitting in an airport… not sure where getting sick is more likely: school or airport waiting area. They both are cesspools of germiness.

Kittens made it successfully through their spaying; we’ll see them Sunday.

I managed to find (at a store, 10 minutes before they closed) a background for the quilt…

It’s even washed, but it needs to be pieced. It didn’t happen last night. I exercised, graded the last of the hellacious essays, and packed instead. I even posted my Patreon video. All good.

While I was grading, Kitten explored the tree…

Very closely.

Well I’m hoping this is a fun trip. I packed hiking boots. Doesn’t that guarantee fun? More later…probably while I’m sitting in an airport somewhere. Back to trying to finish grades…

I Killed an Iron…

Happy Monday! I know. It’s Monday. I’m trying a positive attitude. I actually did OK this weekend and am feeling OK about going into this week. Not awesome, but OK. As always, I’m tired. I’m behind in grading. And the floors are dirty. What’s new? I know, right? It’s not raining. That’s a plus. Today’s classwork is a known thing. Also a plus. The lab is tomorrow. That will be harder, but it’s a pretty easy lab. I’m only working 4 days this week…at school…because I’m ditching school for a day to go to Portland. Why Portland? No good reason. We had a free flight that needed to be used before the end of the year, so we picked somewhere relatively close. Honestly, if we sit in the Airbnb for the whole time, it will be OK.

So I did a lot of artmaking this weekend…I think that’s why I’m feeling OK about it being Monday. This was Saturday afternoon…

It was a delightful afternoon. I gave myself about two and a half hours to iron.

It’s a great form of meditation…

Kitten break. They finally got big enough to be spayed…it’ll be this week, mostly while we’re gone. Poor babies.

These are the 200s, all laid out for ironing.

This thing is going together pretty easily. Here’s the start of Figure number 2…

Saturday night, we had the man’s work party, on top of a downtown building again.

It was OK. Snacking food is hard for a diabetic. There was gambling AND a murder mystery AND a masquerade. Seemed like a lot. The man won pizza socks. Lots of them.

Sunday was slow-moving, like my dad in his truck, carrying a lime tree from a friend’s house that is about to be sold to my house where it will live in the ground quite happily. Hopefully.

I grocery shopped, did laundry, and even graded. But I ironed for another 2 hours. I actually killed my iron last night…

I’ve dropped it multiple times, super-glued the base back together twice, but this was The Death of It. Seriously, pieces went flying. Everywhere. It’s gone.

Luckily, I keep a spare.

Kitten interaction in between things…

That’s my leg, Luna.

Kitten (the real Kitten) likes to hang out while I iron.

Sometimes right in front of the screen. There’s Figure 2, getting ironed…

Then she has eyeballs and she’s right side up.

The hardest part of this quilt might be deciding which way is up. This will be the third quilt this year where I’ve had that issue.

Starting on Figure 3. That’s where I had to go to bed.

I won’t be done tonight, but I’ll be close. Stitchdown by the end of the week. Then hopefully quilting next week.

Here’s my top nine on Instagram for 2019. Interesting…two aren’t quilts and two are old quilts. But that’s OK.

And one has no face. That’s just weird.

OK, today is the festive (not) forced holiday party at work for 2 hours. Shoot me now. Then I can come home and iron to my heart’s content. Well, I have a grading goal, but THEN I can iron.

Earned It…

I guess today’s post should be been titled ‘We Survived’, since we managed to get through the zoo field trip yet another year. I do actually like this field trip…I have just a small group of kids and it’s mostly not stressful…once you’re actually on the bus. We aren’t actually there a long time, so we always miss some of the animals…

Somehow we always catch the flamingos. Oh yeah, because they’re by the entrance. Then I take a survey of the group as to what they want to see… and then we head that direction…

I had mostly girls this year with a couple of boys I had to add on at the end. They were pretty good, even the two guys…

The one who whines all day in my class did not do so on the field trip.

I don’t know if that’s because he was in a smaller group or because all those girls intimidated him.

Either way, I don’t care. He behaved. It went well.

When we got back, there was the requisite amount of running around and returning nurse stuff, cafeteria stuff, dress-coding a kid (duh on the short shorts sweetheart), finally eating lunch, then ‘teaching’ my 8th period (here’s a video. eat the foods. be quiet. don’t bug me.) as I cleaned the classroom, and then did duty.

I got home and ingested caffeine. It started to rain. Then I headed out to an artist talk. I was pretty tired.

Which is why it looks like I’m praying to my phone in the photo…came home and ate the ordered pizza, graded an assignment with this guy…

And straight up? Went to bed. Three hours early. So tired.

This morning was a not-relaxing (but good) pilates class, some food, some reading (book club meets Wednesday and I haven’t finished the book…luckily, it’s short). I showered, petted this little (not so little) beast…

And these two…

Who have now flipped their growth spurts…Nova (on the left) gained more than Luna this week. She’s still smaller, but not as much.

I have about 4 hours now of an afternoon, rain falling, gloomy skies. I think I’m going to iron for a while. I should grade some essays too, but I don’t feel like it. I’ve earned some art time.

Quickly…

This is quick. I need to leave. Oh wait. I really need to leave. Never mind. I’m bringing it with me. Openings that are only 14 hours apart. Hence my headache. No wine at the last one. Nothing but coffee and yogurt at this one. Ouch.

So this is from last night’s opening of That’s What She Said…Artists Speak Out, at the Martha Pace Swift Gallery in Liberty Station. This is a Feminist Image Group (FIG) show and is up until January. There’s an opening every first Friday that I’m going to try to be at, so plenty of time to see this show.

I have two pieces in the show…this is All Stacked Up in My Head…

At some point, I’ll get an official post up for this one…not sure when.

I came home late and graded and went to bed, got up this morning and drove to another opening…Metamorphosis. This is Allied Craftsmen, another group I’m in, with the Mingei Museum, which is currently under construction, so the show is at the San Diego City College Art Gallery until December. This is the member preview…the real opening is Thursday from 5-7 PM. I’ll be there too.

My piece is way down on that wall.

I’m staring to lose track of where everything is. That’s Womanscape.

I also found out yesterday that Swallow Me Whole won 1st place in the Surface Design Association show Beyond the Surface…so that’s cool.

Meanwhile I need to grade like crazy today, hopefully engage in some actual art making time, and go watch the man perform. Exhausted already. Plus still have a sick kitty. It’ll be fine.

This Had a Title, but WP Ate It

It’s the last day of September. I’m OK with that. I like the sound of September, with the hint of Fall, but I hate the Southern California teacher-time reality. It’s usually hot and dry and exhausting and overwhelming. October brings a little chill in the air (well, not any time in the next two weeks, can you say 80s across the board) and those beautiful blue skies with fluffy white clouds scuttling across them. Plus the kids settling down and the admin stopping the crazy to-do list that they put on top of everything else and getting back into a routine. Hopefully on all that. First we will have the panic of the first progress report with standards-based grades, in which everyone fails until they figure out how to prove they are proficient. PROGRESS people. No one should be perfect to start. Then you’re doing it wrong.

Well. OK. I had one kid who rocked the first assignment. Well played, sir, well played. The rest of the panic is palpable, except for those who haven’t yet figured out that they never turned in the assignment…which might be better than those who mucked it up so badly that I had to put my head down and/or walk away from the computer.

I still have one class of 26 essays left to grade. That makes me nervous, because everything is due tomorrow and I’m not done. But I finished the other class at 10:30 last night, mostly because I was texting another teacher at the same time, trying to help her with the grade program, which upgraded and fucked its own self up, but also because we’re shifting from everything being an academic grade into effort being something totally different than proving you know the stuff you’re supposed to know. It’s really more you can prove you understand how things work when it comes to science. It’s not facts…it’s concepts. And those are hard. Hard is good, though. Hard is learning. Hard is thinking. Hard is working. They will get better at this. Someone should tell their parents that (oh wait, we did).

With that, know I spent a good 6 hours grading on Saturday, with a quick trip in between two of the classes before I tore my hair out. I needed to go to the post office, and I stopped (as a reward, yes, you’re right) at a fabric store I don’t usually go to. Not because there’s anything wrong with it…the one I like has 7000 more bolts of fabric or so, which gives me a lot more choices. But I stopped here because it was on the way home and I needed a fabric fix. And they were having some sort of event where I got to spin the wheel (woooo!) and I won something! OK, everyone won something…that’s how the wheel was set up, but I won something pretty good…

Oh yeah. $25 off next time. Wait. That means I have to go back. OK. Well. There we are. Next time I have to grade one of these essay assignments, eh?

We had no real plans for the night except getting the fuck out of the house and hopefully moving bodies to get my brain out of the shithole it was living in…there’s a reason I never became an English teacher even though that’s what one of my degrees is in. So we parked on one side of Balboa Park and walked all the way across it to a restaurant on the other side…

It was good. I needed the exercise. I needed the fresh air. I needed to get away from weird explanations for the states of matter.

We came back and finally watched Capt. Marvel, after sitting on the same DVD from Netflix for the entire summer. Plus SOMEONE watched it without me, despite our agreement. I had plenty of stuff to cut out. Even though I’m not done ironing, I can still start cutting.

The cat snored through the whole thing. He kept trying to get onto my lap, but eventually gave it up. So that’s two hours’ worth of cutting tiny flesh pieces out.

All the stuff that’s done is on the left, stuff to BE done on the right, and the trashy bits on top. Just in case.

I’ll throw them out eventually. When the quilt is done.

Sunday dawned with a giant crazy to-do list in my face, which I dealt with after going to the gym. A necessary thing. I finally got to the grading in late afternoon…yeah. I know. It was a day. I did prep all lunches, grocery shop for the week, go to my parents for dinner…all the things.

I could have kept reading essays at 10:30. Wait. No I couldn’t. I was holding my head together by then. I finished that period, got up, and came in here to iron. At least for a while. I needed to.

Here’s the dogs at my parents. I was trying to draw the September drawing for my Patreon. I did draw something, but I don’t like it.

So I’m going to try again tonight after grades are done. Assuming grades are ever done. It might be tomorrow. Technically that’s late, but I sent a message explaining. Hopefully that’s OK. This is my reality. I didn’t procrastinate…stuff just got moved and this is when the assignment that needed grading got turned in. I’m trying. Ugh. It hurts. Grading, not drawing. I just couldn’t get my head out of grading enough to draw well.

It’s OK. There’s always more paper for this. I guess even if there wasn’t paper, I’d still be making marks on something.

So I ironed for about an hour and a half…adding to the pile of fabrics used and pieces to cut out.

I ironed the heart and the eyeballs and the hair and the veins and arteries. And a thorny pubic area. Nice. Oh yeah, and some redwood trees. Technically not found down here, but oh well. I like them. They fit. I still have quite a few pieces to go, but I have no idea how many, which is kind of a metaphor for my life right now. And that’s fine. Now I have to go to school and try to explain to a bunch of kids why their grades aren’t what they want right now, and then tell them I’m not fixing it before progress reports, but that it’s totally fixable, and then writing myself and my co-teacher a note about having the first standards-based assignment WELL before the progress report due date so we don’t ever have this happen again thank you piloting curriculum and general bad timing. Yeah.

Take Advantage

I came to this realization last night…from early May until the end of July, I was fighting massive horrible hot flashes. I’ve had them pretty consistently since I was 35. They’re genetic. They’re not going away. But these were significantly worse: hotter, more frequent, hell on my head. During that time, my blood sugar was also crazy. It was too high for no understandable reason. I tried everything. I was just constantly frustrated by trying to control the apparently uncontrollable.

Then the hot flashes mostly stopped. I could sleep again. My head wasn’t constantly on fire. And guess what else now seems to be under control? Yup. Blood sugar. And so many articles and medical people are like, if YOU do more, you can control it. My ass I can. I can’t control the hormonal fluctuations that caused that endocrinological natural disaster. I’m becoming more and more irritated with how the medical profession doesn’t support women my age.

So the positive is control and less fire. Here’s Calli demolishing a stick after a cooling dip in the pool yesterday…a much better choice than trying to walk her when the temps are in the high 90s…

I actually took a nap last night when I got home. I stayed late at work to make sure I was mostly prepped for Monday. We have a lab. I still need to blow up 10 balloons and fill 10 cups of water, but everything else is ready. This is a habit I should cultivate.

So a short nap, then stitching after dinner…another easy sample.

My couch companion turned 4 yesterday. He still has a baby face.

I finally found the mental and physical energy to draw…a great blue heron surveying the ocean…then a mule deer further out, by a stream.

I just need to fill the legs…I’m thinking desert. Then number it and start tracing. Bones? Yeah we need some leg bones…appropriate for the desert bits. School will need some attention this weekend also. Plus some down time with art stuff. And it’ll be cooler than it has been. That’s a good thing…because next week is gonna be hard enough. I’m writing this at the gym, by the way. Another good thing. If the animals are going to wake you up early, might as well take advantage of it.