The Lone Crow

I’m more than a little frustrated by technology this morning. Nothing is working right…it’s either slow or nonexistent or doesn’t remember who I am (same same). My brain is mush from trying to (a) remember all the shit I’m supposed to do, (b) grade all the shit I’m supposed to grade, and (c) shit, I don’t even remember the last thing. I’m trying to type this on the iPad because my desktop and I are no longer friends and I’d really like to get this done before I start the long hellacious day ahead.

Must stop working on day job before 10 pm.

Tuesday I was smart and I walked. 3.65 miles. It’s a good walk. Our air is still unhealthy, but I have to admit that I didn’t track it before, so maybe it always was. The haze is not normal though. Those aren’t our fires…those are from somewhere else.

Walks are nice. They help. I should do more of them.

Working on that.

I managed some ironing at 11 pm or so…

The central figure with her cytokine storm.

Then last night, I got the other side done minus the forearm…

It was well after midnight. I forget that school starts earlier now and I have to get up earlier.

The heart, the lungs. Y’all, the news is so awful. Is the next quilt about wildfires, the stupidity of our leadership, or forced hysterectomies? I just don’t know where to start. Maybe I will make a nice landscape. Sigh.

I feel like this is one of the few things I can manage appropriately right now…laying pieces out in numerical order.

Got it! I can focus on that. The rest is too many pieces. Ironic…so many people think my quilts have so many pieces! Crazy! But those pieces have numbers on them, consecutive numbers, and there’s a master drawing with matching numbers and pieces. It all makes everything so easy. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but look at what I get at the end. My day job? None of that right now. Random numbers, no master drawing, nothing matches up, can’t even get my head around it some days.

And then I walk in on a late-night cat convention.

WTF y’all. WTF.

That’s me right now. The lone crow, squawking at the top of a denuded tree.

It’s OK. The leaves will come back. My murder is around, just not right there in my space…which is hard.

There’s blue up there.

In four minutes, I will walk to my classroom and try to focus on flowing water and flowing lava, and grading something, and maybe the future science I’ll be teaching. Then later I can iron stuff. Because it’s like meditation and I need that.

Sitting in an Empty Mall

So I need new glasses…lenses actually. I went to the disinfected eye doctor successfully and got a new prescription, and the lenses are ready, so now they need an hour to pop them in my glasses. Fun. It’s an indoor mall, so it’s closed, but a few people are here and I’m sitting on a chair, blind as a bat, with the iPad about two inches from my face, typing this. My mask is on and I’m pretty sure I’m cross-eyed. This is the level of paranoia I will have at school. No. I will be more paranoid at school. I will be sitting in my classroom by myself for 7 hours a day in less than two weeks, yelling at anyone who tries to come in my room. Depressing and lonely. It is staying alive though. Hopefully.

So I’ve been getting a little art done. The days slip away so quickly. This binding will take a while.

I actually really like this part of the process…it’s relaxing, although the pins (and cats) are pokey.

There’s 470” to do of the binding and the sleeves. That is 13 yards. Really? Shit. That’s a lot. So Sunday I did two sides…four to go. I didn’t do any last night. I was working on Patreon embroideries. I finished one on Saturday or Sunday night (can’t remember which)…

Damn either she’s blurry or my eyes are getting worse. I’ll wash and iron and rephotograph when I can see. And when the blurry-eyes-tryna-focus headache goes away. I also started this one…

And finished it. Note to self: design more simply. That woman with the rainbow hair was complicated.

This was after dinner, when I was contemplating what to do with the rest of my evening.

Definitely needs a bath and attention from an iron.

Saturday, I managed to get the man to go with me on a walk at the beach…

We just hung out at Dog Beach…not a ton of people and a nice breeze.

We actually ignored the real beach and walked where there were fewer people. I enjoyed it. IDK about the man. His foot has been bugging him and his work is stressful. But he did it and that’s something. I know outdoors is more important to my moods and sanity than his. Although I think it would help him too, I know everyone has to be making their own choices willingly for that good outdoor feeling to work though.

With that in mind, my science co-teacher and I headed to Sunset Trail in the Lagunas yesterday for some much-needed planning and venting.

It was a little warm, but we did a fairly short hike…with her dog, Watson…

We both had masks and Watson’s leash is the requisite 6-feet long to help with visualizing appropriate distancing.

This is one of my favorite hikes. Not hard, great views.

We stopped for a while and took some notes about how to do school this year. Science will be a challenge. And then her shoe died.

The entire bottom sole came off. Folks, here’s my shoe PSA from someone who has had plantar fasciitis multiple times…new boots every 500 miles. New other shoes when the wear is obviously changing your stance. It’s OK…she’s going to REI today.

Water of the Woods…aka the cow pond…no cows today.

Watson got too hot or just plain tired after a while (note: his limit is about 2 miles, maybe more if it’s cooler), so he got a ride.

He didn’t seem to mind not walking…

Lucky dog…

Weird tree growths. We have ideas for videos from the trail and the kitchen or garden for school. It will be hard to implement those while sitting in my empty classroom. I’m going to apply for field trips. For me and my co-teacher. Even walking in the neighborhood of the school and looking for relevant stuff would be better than sitting in an empty room.

We have another hike planned for next week, adding another teacher to the mix.

All good things. Part of my sanity.

Right now, Calli wants to go in the pool, I have a bunch of quilty things I need to work on, but first, I’m eating a late lunch. I made pancakes with leftover sourdough starter earlier and froze them. The hardest part of going back to the physical classroom is not being able to get stuff done at home. It all gets shoved to the weekend. Grading comes back with a vengeance and all gets pushed online, so more computer time. Like I wasn’t already staring at a screen enough before. But it keeps us safer, so we will do it. I have to laugh at the people who thought we were only working 3 hours a day before…well, they’re welcome to try to do my job before they say how it should be. Hoping I get it all figured out in the next few weeks. This is the most unprepared I’ve felt since the first year I taught. Nice feeling.

Not My Thing…

‘Tis early and there is not enough caffeine in the world. And yet I rise. Not in a good way…just…I managed to get out of bed and get showered and dressed. A challenge met.

I’m driving to Long Beach today for my cousin’s funeral thing in a church. Not a burial, not a reception, just the church part. I don’t know when the rest is happening. No one does. I’m still pretty weirded out that she’s dead, but I know this shit happens, especially as we all start getting old. I’m starting to write this in my office in San Diego, but have to leave soon to drive the parentals, so that means I’ll probably either finish it up there, sitting, waiting (churches are really not my thing), or I’ll come home and finish.

Saturday we tried natural dyes…

The teacher prepped all the fabrics for us…

We did paper too…and a little stitching resist…

Some dye for that, logwood?

Pulling it out of the dye…

I unwrapped somebody else’s because she grabbed mine. I knew it wasn’t mine because I didn’t recognize the leaves…

These are still wet…

Drying at home…

The paper was more impressive…

Finished grading the projects…

Kitten cleaning kitten…

Saturday night drawing while watching a band…

Here it is…

Sunday pups…

And the old lady with Nova…

Sitting in a Starbucks…going to go to church soon. Not something you hear from me often. I’m tired…art tonight?

Random Friday Title #7

I think I need to start this weekend to build/draw the book project I’m doing. Or admit I’m not doing it. But I bought the paper, so I should try. It amuses me that I thought I would be an architect when I was younger, but then I always joke that I can’t draw a straight line, so that’s why I didn’t. Realistically, as a young, artistically inclined female, I had few role models for that or guides as to what to do with your life. Be an artist? Sorry. Gotta have a penis. Well, except I had Mary Cassatt. Seriously, she was the only female artist they would teach you about in elementary school because no nudity, no flowers you had to explain that might be sexual, no crazy stuff going on…just women and children. Easy! So I used to say I was the reincarnation of Mary Cassatt, because I knew I wanted to be an artist and I didn’t know any other female artists. Sad, but true (thanks, Mary, for your inspiration).

Obviously I moved past that, but I think what is freaking me out about this book project is that I have to draw straight lines. Yup. I need a pattern. That’s tomorrow some time. Or maybe tonight, but we’re gaming again (after a year plus hiatus), so I can’t promise I’ll have brain power or stamina. Maybe enough to make a pattern. We’ll see.

I had a stitching meeting last night, but no one came. It’s OK…really. I’m trying to build a group, but I haven’t found the right situation or people or IDK what. I’ll figure it out somehow. Or maybe just start taking ceramics classes. Hard to say. I started taking a monthly quilt class years ago and that morphed into a monthly stitching meeting that I really enjoyed. I was 23 when I started and everyone was older than me, and none of that has changed, except a lot of the people older than me are retired and can meet during the day. So that doesn’t work for me.

This is the lovely room we are currently meeting in.

Yes, it looks and feels wonderful. Rolling eyes. What did I do? I sat there for an hour and a half and input grades from the last four days. It was productive. I did bring stitching, but this work needed to get done, and if no one else was there, I was gonna do it.

I came home, made dinner, ate it, and started a drawing…with assists.

Some a little closer than others.

I need a redo on this one. Better composition, better hands, better helmet, more stuff. War Daughter.

I like the heart.

Then I cut stuff out for a while…

Hard to do with rampaging kittens, but I employed the Spraying Bottle of Scary Water, which helped.

Luna does like toes.

Lining them up, lightest to darkest.

Calicoes have attitude. Every cat in the house is a calico. Not sure what we were thinking.

But there is play now, and that is cool.

Sometimes there is also sleep, and that is also cool.

Today, my co-teacher and I get to plan all morning, and then we have to go to our afternoon classes and listen to the counselors teach about e-cigarettes and vape pens. I’m hoping their science isn’t crap, because it has been before. I already see typos in their presentation, which just drives me bonkers. You don’t have to be good at spelling etc…but you should have someone else review it so y’all don’t show kids those mistakes. They have a hard enough time knowing what’s right (ah yes, my own typo) without teachers making it worse. And we should know better.

This morning was pretty.

And now I must go.

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.