For a Minute There I Lost Myself*

April 16, 2018

Most common nights that teachers don’t sleep: (1) The day before school starts in August (or September, if you’re on that track). (2) Sunday nights. I don’t even know why. I totally tried to shut my brain down. It just didn’t work. I was talking to the girlchild right before, but I also was just glad to hear from her (earlier that day)…the no-internet week was difficult. Meanwhile, boychild is sending me pictures of lost weather balloons (REAL ones, not the Roswell kind of weather balloons).

Some weekends just aren’t long enough.

Yes, I spent most of Saturday in a car. Then talked about my work and all the other quilters’ work (because I was the token quilter there). Then we took all the work down and shoved a bunch of it in my car and drove back. Woo hoo! Ugh. Sunday was like it always is…do some work, clean up, do some yard work, grocery store, prep some food, hopefully get to some art. And the art started early, because I had graded all the makeup work and couldn’t handle anything else. There have to be days of the week when you don’t work. And I already had.

I have my post-dinner routine that will get this quilt done…we finish watching whatever not-quite-an-hour-long show it is and then I sew more balls on until the show is done. I’m on the last thread color…I think. I missed one pink one and some of the red ones seem darker, but let’s just say I’m close to done with sewing them down. Then I need to embellish them.

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I was actually looking up how to quilt wool last night, because the quilt BEFORE the birds has been pinbasted for a million years. I feel like it needs a heavier thread than what I usually use, but the woman I watched on YouTube used a thinner thread. So now I don’t know.

Anyway, so I am trying to get the other one done too…I guess this is number 3. I have all the wool cut out for September and October, but nowhere to put it. So I pieced September to one of the first blocks I embellished…

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And then pinned down the beginnings of stuff.

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I think the whole thing gets sewn together after that, which is a little scary. Don’t worry…it’ll be a while. I have a ton of embellishment left to do on the other piece that traveled with us throughout the Southwest. I didn’t get much done.

This was because the boychild needs to come home after college and may well be driving.

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I was just curious. It’s about how far we drove over Spring Break. But with no help. Long way.

Then I started drawing…it was easier last night. I added an octopus and a jellyfish. So much for keeping it simple.

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Then Christmas lights, of course…and the requisite bones.

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Stardard fare…some ribs, a uterus, the inevitable iPhone, some stuff from the past, and gingko leaves.

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Her hair on the right side…haven’t decided the left side yet. There’s more to add in there.

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This might be a little crazy.

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Found the other drawing I was considering for the time theme. This is good. It’s almost done, as far as the two figures are concerned…

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There’s a third figure I need to draw…but I need to add paper to do that. I think I’ll try to do that tonight, because this deadline is earlier than the other. Honestly, I’m not sure I can finish both. So there’s that. Never let that stop me yet though.

Wow. This is a tired way to start a week. Ugh. Oh well. Must go on.

*Radiohead, Karma Police

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All the Roads We Have to Walk Are Winding*

March 7, 2018

Well. So. I can finally quilt this thing. I have not been as efficient as I sometimes can be. Not sure why. Lack of rice krispy treats I think. That’s probably a good thing now that I think about it.

I’m finding school frustrating; you may have noticed. I think we work hard at giving kids the supports they need to think without giving them the answers. I’m frustrated at the moment with the lack of try I see. I know, I know, they’re 12. Try is hard. It’s hard for grown adults to get up off the couch and do something every night. It’s not hard for me, really, because I like it. I like it better than the couch. I guess I’m wired slightly differently. I’m OK with that.

So I did tutoring and talked to kids who just didn’t get it. There’s one girl who goes to tutoring every day and does hardly any work. It’s just social. Better than home? Yes, for some kids, school is safer and better than home. OK. Well. I will bury my frustration and keep trying. I’m the adult in there, so I should be able to do that.

Meanwhile, I came home, cooked dinner, ate, and watched some X-Files…sewed some more balls on…see! Progress! I’m doing one color at a time. It’s relaxing.

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No, that’s not parmesan. It’s all my pins. Although it’s cracked. I need a new one…pin container that is.

So I cleaned all the tile floors after dinner and then pinbasted the quilt. I only clean floors when I need to pinbaste or trim quilts…

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Lying around on the ground pinning at 10 PM is the best way to end your day.

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I had a hard enough time getting up off the ground.

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Wow…that’s some foreshortening. No way is that boob that big…

My work made it into Textile Fibre Forum…part of the Threads of Resistance exhibit…

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It’s always interesting to hear someone else write about your work. I didn’t make that piece with the thought of Adam and Eve, but I do see how everyone sees that.

This quilt, Rooted in America, made it into Fantastic Fibers, hallelujah. I’m so glad this piece is going out in the world.

Especially right now…

From last night’s episode of Electric Dreams

Great version of that song.

*Cat Power (and Oasis), Wonderwall


Take That Look of Worry*

March 5, 2018

Well. That was the weekend. A lot of working. I think I graded on Saturday for close to 9 hours. Fun stuff. I obviously didn’t write here at all.

Friday, I finally finished the cover page for the new science unit. I didn’t have time Thursday, because I was grading units. I colored while kids were writing warmups and watching the short video we showed.

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Then driving through my town, following this guy. Sigh. Big fucking sigh. I wonder how the other person’s family feels about that. I wonder how you’d feel about that if the teacher didn’t throw themself in front of the shooter on campus…the one you allowed to be armed…because they put their family first.

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Yeah whatever.

Apparently the Tivo is warm. I wanted to persuade him to lie on the DVD player too…duster cat.

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It looks like he tried to…

For one of the online March things, they wanted us to take a picture of our machine…this is one of 4? I think 4? A Singer and 3 Vikings. I usually get my mom’s hand-me-downs, but I had one become overly temperamental when I was in the middle of a major quilt, and mom’s wasn’t working for me. So this was my early Christmas present in 2016.

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Honestly I don’t know how people afford machines that can do what I need them to do (which is sew fast and strong without fucking up). This is a Viking Husqvarna Sapphire 855. It was used when I got it, but my repair guy sold it to me with a warranty, as long as I bring it in every year. I can do that. It’s going in the end of this month actually.

So Saturday, I did spend most of the day with these guys on the couch with me.

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I also binge-watched the rest of The Expanse while grading. And some other stuff.

Then for Sunday, they wanted to see the space where we work. I mostly have all my sewing stuff in the same room I have my computer crap…so it’s school and art…and copyediting, when I’m doing that. It needs a serious remodel, but that’s not in the cards at the moment.

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It’s a tight fit with three tables, three bookshelves (well, technically four), and a ton of fabric. I move the ironing board around based on what I’m doing…but on Saturday, the ironing was set up…and there’s the other view. It’s a little chaotic.

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But it works.

More puppy sitting with me. I lost him for a bit…because he was on the couch behind my head.

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There’s the pile of science units I brought home with me. I did two periods Friday night after I got home from delivering a quilt…that was about 3 1/2 hours, I think.

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So probably 13 or 14 unpaid work hours this weekend. One night, I didn’t have the energy to do anything else, so I sewed balls on.

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I think we were watching a movie. I did start tracing Wonder Under on the next piece too. Barely. That might be crazy.

Then Sunday, after all the errands, I finally found the time to iron the bodies down. You can see one of the gaps, though, above her shoulder. That’s the fun part…trying to make everything fit…especially hard when the ironed background is solid like this one. So I had to do some fussy stuff…in there, I just inserted another piece of the darker blue.

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Down by her left hip, I added more land. Somehow, I got the other side to fit.

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I’m not entirely sure how. Then I put down all the other little bits, the screws, the shoe, the music maker, the words.

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And ironed it all to the background. I like it. The movement is nice. Same with the colors…

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Oh, yeah, and so you can see the studio mess is genetic…here’s my mom’s. BIGGER! Yes. That would be nice. You can’t even see the longarm. I don’t know if I will ever have this much space…probably not. Oh well.

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We went out to dinner with my parents, because it’s my birthday this week.

Then I came home and started the stitch down…

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I got about an hour and a half into it…including all the metallics, which stitched down really well.

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I got a lot of the earth stitched down and most of this figure. So not halfway, but maybe close.

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So I could finish tonight? Sandwich and pinbaste? Start quilting tomorrow? That would be cool. Quilting will give the outlines I want…details.

I did finish grades on Saturday. That’s a plus. They’re due Tuesday. But I have to be in early this morning for some stupid meeting. Three early mornings this week. Ugh. But positive stuff on the quilt. Positive stuff on grades being done (although now I have to grade the tests). I just need to get a lot done this week (unlike other weeks…laughing. Whatever.).

*Phil Collins, Take Me Home


The Pleasure, the Privilege Is Mine*

February 27, 2018

Some much-needed rain today…we’re at less than 3 inches for the year, so far, and this is the rainy season. The dogs aren’t happy though. Sometimes I think the puppy will hold his pee for days just to avoid wet feet.

I’m at the point in this quilt where I’m dealing with a lot of little tiny pieces, instead of the big sweeping bits of earth and sky, so it looks like I haven’t done much, when I’ve ironed 100 pieces together. Last night, I cut out all the little holes in the second line of the text and laid them out…

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I haven’t ironed them down yet…I want to wait until I get the figures ironed down, so I can get the curve right near the arm.

So then I started on the left figure…

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Again, this is about 80 pieces (lots of finger bits)…the back is another 100 pieces, I think.

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So it’s gonna take me a couple days to get through that I think. I’m hoping to finish this figure tonight. But I’m also trying to get through grades and do things like cook dinner etc. And maybe get enough sleep (ha! Never gonna happen…).

I did sew a few more circles on after dinner last night…on this from a million years ago. It’s just filler stitching…for when I’m not quite ready to get up and iron.

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More ironing tonight. I have a goal…makes it easier.

I have a quilt in this exhibit coming up. I’m looking forward to being at the opening…

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I have a lot of openings coming up…this is one of the ones I can go to, luckily. Tonight I do need to pack up another quilt for shipping for another LA show. I forgot to do that last night…oh well. So many things on my calendar shift days as needed.

OK, off to school. The unit is ending, so today is test day and tomorrow they turn in the last month-plus of work. Always a bit stressful…and then I have like 5 days to grade them all. Crazy really on my part. Oh well. Job of a teacher.

*The Smiths, There Is a Light That Never Goes Out


We’ve No Time for Later*

December 27, 2017

It’s interesting…when I don’t have a specific project to work on (yet), my brain just fails to work properly. Maybe that’s being on vacation too. I did work (on grading) for a good huge chunk yesterday and will probably do that again today, if just to finish this stupid grading assignment. That will take me down to just a couple, plus checking all the desperate emails that came in after kids realized I had posted their progress report grades but there was nothing they could do about them. I don’t really understand that logic, but I’m not 12.

Don’t get me wrong, I have 17 thousand things I could be working on. I have three (count them!) THREE pinbasted quilts, one art one and two not-art ones, that I could work on. I have one art quilt that is at the fabric-trimming stage, and if I got my act together, I could probably finish it this week. I really should do that. It would be a good use of my time. I’m kinda rebelling against “good use of my time” at the moment. I have about 4 blocks-of-the-month in various stages of completion (and I did work on one of those for a while, both on Christmas Day and yesterday). I could be drawing every day, all day. I haven’t drawn at all. I did finish a book, The Power, by Naomi Alderman.

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Interesting take on the possible reversal of power if women were in charge instead of men. Apparently testosterone is not the problem…it’s just power in general. She may be right. It’s an interesting story nonetheless.

The girlchild gave me all the ingredients for a Moscow mule (or 17). I love the owl cups and will use them for milk and cookies as well.

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My main only squeeze gave me a drawing by one of my favorite mural artists, Gloria Muriel…this is Lilith

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Christmas dinner was tasty, although I only managed to photograph the cheese plate. I loved that bean dip…gonna make more…

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Simba was spoiled for attention…

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Calli was patiently waiting for ball-throwing activities…of which there were few.

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See Simba? Asleep now. My parents petted him to sleep.

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I cannot explain this picture…

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Girlchild cooked it all…

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See the damn puppy again?

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I came home and did some sewing to fill in spaces on the left again…trying to sort of flatten out some of the edges, so I can use it as a centerpiece for a crazy quilt maybe.

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Still debating that. Meanwhile, I pinned 96 spots on this Sue Spargo quilt from 2013…which has been pieced for over a year. It took me that long to put the green border stem on and deal with the spots.

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There are 5 colors…I started sewing on the darkest ones. I think there’s about 19 of each color, so I’m going to be doing this for a while. It’s very meditative. And then they need to be embellished.

Boychild gave me fabric for Christmas. Well. I dragged him to the quilt store and made him pick some fabrics out, because he drew my name for the Sunday night party. I picked the red and white one…he did the rest.

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I like adding fabrics to my quilts that other people have picked. It widens my range. I’m sure I pick the same types of fabrics over and over.

Then I ironed and dehaired the big quilt for the photographer yesterday morning. It had a lot of hair on it. Damn cats. Really need to clean the floor in here before I start the next one.

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Then I graded and went to the gym and graded some more and made my own dinner because everyone was gone and read my new book, which is also good, and then did more on the left side…

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Satchemo not helping with photography.

And sewed on more dots. Yeah. Forever sewing on dots. Spots. Whatever.

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I wish I could say I have a plan for today, but I do not. I’ve been trying to plan our Spring Break trip, which is a pain in the butt. I need to grade more of those projects, just to get them out of my hair. I need to finish the Christmas holiday cards and send them out. I need to find some focus, but honestly, I’m OK if that doesn’t happen until next week some time. I’m obviously in need of some down time.

*Frou Frou, Let Go


Wondering if I’m Blind*

December 19, 2017

OK. I’m working on daily to-do lists at the moment. Yesterday’s started with 6 things on it; I ended up crossing off 8 (yes, that’s more than 6, why do you ask?) and transferring 3 to today’s list. Today’s list is starting with 7 things. Hopefully those won’t grow.

Stitchdown took a total of 7 1/2 hours, but I finished…with a lot of furry Not-helpers…

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Jockeying for the ultimate cat sleeping spot. He stirred occasionally when I would move the quilt around, but mostly didn’t care that his bed was disturbed AND vibrating.

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All stitched down. I think. Because I missed the spaceship AND the moon at one point.

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Then I had to go buy batting, wash it, and dry it…before I could pinbaste. So I did some other stuff while I was waiting…like two nights’ worth on this…bottom right, filling in space.

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Then because I was waiting for the boychild to finish making dinner (that was awesome cool, by the way)…I pulled this out. This is Sue Spargo’s 2014 Block of the Month, and yes, it takes me forever to do these, but it’s good to have something to stitch on at meetings and soccer games and all that. Seriously, I think this whole quilt came together on the soccer fields…

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I just need to stitch on 96 balls and then embellish them and I’m done. With the top.

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When I put it that way, it sounds like a bit much. Yes, it’s taken me a year to get to this point. You’re right. I’m OK with that. I have the one from the year before that is pinbasted and sitting in the pile with two others to be quilted. I should do that sometime. I think it’s less about finishing these and more about having something in my hands to work on…which is fine.

And then I pieced the back…yes, with the most non-matchy fabrics I could find. I needed 4 yards. I wasn’t buying 4 yards. I had two yards of the leaves, another yard and a half of the green and red stripe, plus some purple to fill in. It’s OK.

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It’s the back. I don’t care. If you do, then insert some rant about how women don’t really fit in, we have to be a little bit of everything, even when it doesn’t make sense.

This morning? Blood tests I didn’t even know I needed (doctor’s office still hasn’t answered me about that), take down of a show I was actually in, and then back here to pinbaste. Why didn’t I do it last night? It was on my Monday to-do list. Because once I got the backing pieced and ironed, it was 11:15. So I didn’t want to stay up another hour and a half when I knew I had to get up relatively early today to get stabbed. I think I’m OK on time…I’m figuring 20 hours for the quilting and another 6 or 7 for the binding. I need to remember to buy binding fabric on Friday. Because Saturday will be crazy. Well. Friday might be too…certainly JoAnns was hellish yesterday. Whatever. I got 50% off my batting. My depression-era grandma would be proud.

OK, making the tea I can’t drink until after the prod and poke. Then off to do stuff so I can come back and do more stuff.

Oh yeah, and I graded one of the six assignments. Five to go.

*Sister Hazel, All for You


It Is So Strange the Way Things Turn*

December 11, 2017

There’s always a point in the task I’m performing while making my quilts when the scale tips, when I can see light at the end of the tunnel, when I know I’m close to the end. That was last night, when I got into the 1100s and realized I only had about 250 pieces (or fewer) to go. Then I can visualize the next step, maybe even the end, and start thinking about the next one. Not yet. Not with this one. Have to get clear of school to get my head around the next one, but it’s percolating. Fermenting. Bubbling away in my brain.

Puppy was very tired yesterday. This is how I felt when I got up in the morning and started grading for 6 hours or whatever it was. I still have to input the final stuff into the system tonight or this afternoon or whenever I can fit it in.

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I ironed a little in the afternoon…had to stop mid-face for dinner.

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I was three nights behind on this, so I put a chainstitched wave on the left side and started filling it in.

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And then, because we were watching Westworld, I started cutting out circles for the Bird Crazy border (it’s not really called that)…I finished stitching the stem down finally. Satchemo is very helpful with cutting out circles…

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More circles, covered in cat and dog hair, of course.

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There’s only 90 of them. It’s only taken me a year to get to this point. They all have to be stitched down and embellished. Sounds like a Christmas Day project. Maybe.

Then back to ironing…finished her head…

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Added the last of the arms…

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I really like this head. It’s awesome.

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Ah Midnight. Weird story. I was sitting here grading yesterday afternoon and felt something brush against my leg, automatically thought it was Midnight, because that’s what she always did. But she’s dead. And there weren’t any other animals in here.

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Yeah. Well. Creeped out now. This is the room where cats always stare intently at the ceiling, like there’s something there, and then I whip around to see what it is, and they pretend it was nothing…until I’m not looking at them, and they start that intense stare again. Sigh.

Asteroid? Meteor?

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The sun…

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This quilt has a lot of floaty bits and pieces…here’s the sewing section…

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Following by a spaceship and a condom. You know, like in real life.

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Lots of birth control options here, although I would recommend against the screwdriver for that, and I think marriage is NOT supposed to be a birth control option. Although the current regime certainly thinks women shouldn’t be allowed to have any of it without marriage. Unlike men.

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Sometimes I really hate people. I try not to. I try to mentally explain and respect their stances, until they negatively affect me and everyone I care about, and then they just irritate the fuck out of me. This quilt is about that. Things that matter: Women. Their rights. Options. Not having someone tell us what we’re allowed to do and when and how. Having a voice.

I have a draft of an email to another teacher on my system at the moment. I’m obviously more mature than I used to be, because I haven’t sent it yet. There’s a trigger I’m waiting for, and then it goes. I’m looking forward to break so I can hermit away from the populace. And make art. And hopefully not grade a million things. Ha! I already know I have an entire unit due Friday. Oh well. It’s still gonna be vacation.

*Peter Gabriel (and Kate Bush), Don’t Give Up