All You’re Giving Me Is Fiction*

So the good news is that I’m released from jury duty all this week, so once again, I feel like I have to get EVERYTHING done this week. No really…car fixed, will done, chiropractor (oh hallelujah on that one), shipping stuff, calling back on insurance stuff, all the crap I never have time to do during the school year. But also, art. Because that shit needs to get on with it. Funny, I have people tell me all the time how prolific I am, but I’m sitting here staring at some deadlines instead of dealing with them. So I have calendars and white boards and to-do lists that remind me, and I look at them and then panic. I also have a task manager that tells me how LITTLE I’ve gotten done, when you consider that I am not going to work every day. I can’t explain that. I know that the pressures of school force me to be very efficient in how I work, and during the summer, my brain kinda rebels and refuses to behave appropriately, which is probably something that I need. So sometimes I just roll with it.

Hi Calli. Speaking of someone who knows how to roll with it.

IMG_5716 small

Yes, I was hanging out in the boychild’s room with the dogs and the boy’s foot. NOT WORKING.

Then I came in here (two fans still on…it’s not as hot, but it’s humid, and my hot flashes have ramped up majorly in the last month…I can’t stand it sometimes, I feel like I’m on FIRE. Before you tell me how they will go away, in my family, they don’t. My grandma had them until she died at 83. My mom is 77 and still has them. This is my world.)…and I finished quilting this fucker.

IMG_5719 small

Too many years. Not even anything amazing. Just something I did while watching kids play soccer. All it needs now is a binding fabric.

IMG_5720 small

Apparently I didn’t buy that in 20-whatever when I put the borders on.

Then while watching the TV after dinner, I did 3 or 4 more balls. There are only 3 or 4 more of the orange ones. I’m getting there.

IMG_5721 small

I figure I’ll be done with balls by the end of July, and then I’ll sandwich this one too. Aack! Never gonna finish quilting everything. Get one thing out of the pile and put another thing in it.

Speaking of quilting…I did start quilting this one, just the outlining. It’s small, so it shouldn’t take long.

IMG_5722 small

I’m actually hoping to be done with it by tomorrow, so I can buy binding for it and the other one at the same time, then get binding on and do some handsewing? Maybe Thursday? We’ll see.

This guy likes the sliding glass doors outside my studio. The cats like that he likes that window. They find him fascinating.

IMG_5726 small

I kind of do too.

So at that point, it had cooled down somewhat and I headed back to the light table to work on the big drawing, which needs to be done this week too. It’s close…

IMG_5728 small

I’m finishing up the water section…then I’ll finish the land section and put some stuff in the sky. I’m looking forward to all those things. The art things.

But before that, I need to go pick up a piece of art up in Oceanside. Long drive, but it has to be done. At least I can do it…I find the whole thought of not knowing what I can plan for each day very anxious-making. So when they release me from the jury duty for a chunk of time, I feel very relieved. I like having control of my time over the summer, since it’s so hard to do during the school year. I’m sure there’s something psychological in that, but whatever. I’ll take each week I can get…although now I worry that they’ll try to assign me to a trial in the last week, which they can do (thus extending the service time an additional two weeks, which puts me right into the start of school) and then I have major scheduling issues, because I pushed everything on either side of the service dates. But whatever. Let’s revel in this week and get some shit done.

*Neon Trees, Everybody Talks

Conversations Are So Difficult Right Now

Sigh. I tried to have a conversation yesterday with someone from “the other side” (I don’t believe there are only two sides to anything…especially in this case, because she seemed to believe she was a feminist, as do I, but there were some other things going on…) about feminism. She claimed there were “Real Feminists” (her term) and they didn’t resort to pussy hats and calling themselves nasty women (um. We didn’t start that. We just took it away from the Orange Trumpet). I asked for her definition of real and fake feminism, because honestly, if you believe in equal rights for women (and for that matter, all versions of gender, as we only barely understand them), then I think you’re a feminist. You can be a quiet feminist. You can be a loud proud and in my face feminist. You can be somewhere in between. You can be a male feminist. You can be all kinds of feminist. I didn’t even know about the WAVES of feminism until a few years ago…apparently if you’re part of the 2nd wave, they hadn’t yet figured out that there was more than one wave. Not that it matters to me which wave you are in…as long as you are in the same body of water with us…so honestly, your politics, your voting history, your life existence doesn’t really matter to me, as long as your core belief is in equality.

I think I was a feminist the first time I realized that male artists were “more important” than female artists (they aren’t…you know that’s why I put it in quotes). So that was when I was about 11. Maybe younger. That said, I have a pussy hat. I don’t have a problem with being lumped in with the nasty women. I make art that seems to be in your face, although, honestly, I don’t make it with that purpose in mind. I get accused of it a lot…of trying to shock people with my art. I honestly don’t care if you’re shocked (I do want you to examine WHY you are shocked). I don’t make art so I can stand on a hillside in front of a million people and yell through a mic a bunch of really inappropriate things that upset people. (like I’ve never ever done that. unlike some people.) I make art because that stuff is in my head and it upsets me and angers me and I need to get it out.

I’ve always shown my art because I think it helps our world for (a) those who believe like me to see that there are others out there with similar feelings and build some consensus around that, but also (b) those who don’t believe like me to see other viewpoints and hopefully work around their prejudices or misconceptions or even brainwashing that there are other ways to view issues and the world. If you’re an artist, I don’t care if you show all your work, show some of your work, or show none of your work. That’s your deal.

I’ve used naked people in my art since I was in college (so that’s over 30 years, folks…not new to this rodeo), because I’m more interested in the core of people, the insides, the body shape itself than I am in clothes and the assumptions we make with what we put on people. I’m not trying to shock you. I don’t think nudity is shocking. I don’t think blood or childbirth or breastfeeding or penises or vulvas or uteri are shocking. If you do, that’s about YOU. Walk away if you don’t like it. I will do the same for you. But maybe stop a moment and try to figure out why you’re having that reaction. Don’t stop when you get to the part where it’s a naked person and that’s WRONG. Why is it wrong? Because it makes people do things (I personally think that’s an excuse, but whatever)? Isn’t that about those people? Nudity in itself is not wrong.

If you’re bringing sin into the argument (especially if you’re putting sin on a brand new baby), then you have to admit that religion is informing your reaction. Then maybe walk away? Or…talk to me: “My religion is telling me that this is shocking because of the nudity.” Then see? We can still have a conversation. I say, “Oh, well I don’t believe that, so you can see I didn’t mean for this to be shocking.” And you can say, “Well, I don’t like it. It shocks me.” And I can say, “OK, then. Well move on. Maybe we can have a conversation about something else…like why a pussy hat makes someone a fake feminist? Or where to buy the best fabric locally?” But there’s no need to be defensive about your answer. Just give me an answer. Not angry, not yelling, just an answer. And if I don’t agree? Agree that we disagree and we both (at least right now, right here, in America) have the right to our differing beliefs and feelings…

I do have a hard time with people who voted for Trump and claim they are feminists, but I’ve heard from a few that they voted for him because in general he supported their beliefs…but there was no one who supported all their beliefs. So they let their feminism trail behind on that vote. I can understand that. I’ve had to make similar decisions while voting…to pick my battles…which sucks, but is political reality. I just happen to have like zero things I agree with Trump on, except maybe Space Force. Space Force (pew pew) is an awesome idea. (OK, you know I’m joking, right? Except I really do like exploring space.)

So I will try to keep having conversations, but when someone else uses the term “Madonna lovers” to describe fake feminists, I have to laugh, because the first thought I had was of the singer, because honestly, I’m not a fan of religion FOR ME. It’s not the first thing that comes to mind. It works for some people…some very good and respectful and loving people. I know some of them. But some people use it as an excuse to do some really evil and prejudiced things in the name of their religion or their god(s), and I don’t appreciate that. Don’t start wars because you think God told you to. God told you to get along. If you’re gonna quote him, then follow him.

I tried. I stopped engaging in the conversation, because she thinks I’ve made her a target, and I didn’t mean to do that. I wanted to know what the fuck she was talking about with “Real Feminists.” Because she seemed to think there was a set of rules for that, and I don’t agree. I’ll keep trying. I’m not giving up on communication. I’m not even sure what a fake feminist is. I know there are women who claim they are not feminists, but they appreciate not being raped or beaten with no repercussions, they love driving their cars and going shopping without a man’s permission, they like to vote, they can make choices about their bodies, they can choose to be the most feminine, lacy, home-cooked meal, princess of the kitchen that they want to be (hell, anyone can CHOOSE that, even men)…so I’m not sure why they think they aren’t feminists. Maybe there should be a reality show where those women go back to before we had the vote, before we had rights, or to countries where they DON’T have what we have here in the United States. Maybe then they’d get it.

Double sigh. Moving back to art…which has nudity and uteri and maybe a penis (not in the current one, sorry y’all). Not because I’m trying to shock you. Go back and read it again. Engage in a conversation with me. Don’t just sit there and fume over something that’s only happening in your head.

It’s still hot here in San Diego. That said, it cooled down over 10 degrees and there was a hint of thunderstorm activity (it rained for 14 seconds), so that helped. Kitten has been living in the sink (it’s the coolest place in the house)…

IMG_5681 small

There’s yesterday’s baby thunderstorm…more noise than product (ha ha ha…wait a minute, I’m still talking about the Prez).

IMG_5682 small

I did finish the stitch down…with two fans on me. One was on my face and one on my body. Too damn hot. Lights off (hard to see). My lights in here give off heat, unfortunately. I should fix that.

IMG_5683 small

In the middle of sewing, I had an art group meeting down at Bread and Salt…I love the murals that keep popping up…and this one, melting, was appropriate.

IMG_5684 small

Then back to stitching…I didn’t have much left.

IMG_5691 small

Somewhere in the middle of all that stitching, I saw this. This morning, I redid my fridge whiteboard calendar for the next 5 weeks…and the first day of school is in that last week. NOOOOOOOOO. Yeah. OK.

IMG_5692 small

I don’t have any money to spend right now, but eventually I’ll have to do all that too.

Here’s the back of the stitched-down front…

IMG_5693 small

I always check the back to see if I missed stitching anything down. Sometimes I catch it here, before I change the needle out, but usually not.

It was hot enough for a bunny to sprawl on the driveway…we debated putting water out for them. Then we get mosquitoes though. Ugh. Solutions? I hate maintaining fountains (I suck at maintaining fountains. And the water heats up so fast. You see me dumping ice cubes out there all day, yeah? Maybe.

IMG_5697 small

So before he moved the glass, it was better…there was a horse on the left and a brontosaurus on the right. You can still sorta see them. (yes, I see things in beer foam. I see things everywhere.)

IMG_5698 small

We came back from (air-conditioned) dinner and I did four more of the orange balls. It was way to hot to have the wool on me, so I quit after four. I think there are 9 or so left.

IMG_5699 small

And at the meeting, I did more of those coral-colored flowers. They are tiny and cool, but a pain in the ass.

IMG_5700 small

I also noticed that in the quilt that Sue Spargo did, she stitched French knots all over the wild dog. I like that. But I don’t know if I have enough of that thread to do that, so I’m going to wait until the end? And then probably forget about it. Not sure how to make sure I remember? Maybe write it on the instructions for the last month? That would be smart.

I wanted to draw last night, but I drank too much water and my belly got unhappy and then I got tired and I just couldn’t deal with anything else. I’m hoping to do better today. I know I don’t have jury duty tomorrow, but I have to call in again tomorrow night. One day at a time…one more medical appointment conquered tomorrow, and then hopefully I’ll get Tuesday off as well, because I’m supposed to pick up a quilt and go to the chiropractor (I really need that one)…but we’ll see. Meanwhile, I just need to make art like I’m never going to get any more free time, don’t I? And keep conversing. I’m not writing off the human population…I often want to, and I’m sure they feel the same way about me, but I’d really just rather live in a peaceful, respectful, caring world that doesn’t kill people for their beliefs. Crunchy hippie. I know.

It’s Too Hot…

Ugh. Heat. Smashing my brain cells into headache cells. Yes, I drank water…like 8 gallons of it. And then immediately sweated it back out. I don’t have air conditioning, people. We open windows or close them, then put fans on, then drop a bunch of animals in the pool to cool them off. Including human animals.

So this was the car before I drove east home…at which point, it said 112 degrees. I think the official high in East County was 111 degrees, so I’m sticking with that.

IMG_5670 small

I spent about 4 hours with my co-teacher (a) catching up, (b) complaining about school and shit, (c) sitting in air conditioning, and (d) actually doing school planning.

IMG_5665 small

We managed all of Unit 1 and a good start to Unit 2. We might meet again, depending on the federal court shenanigans that are my summer existence. They called (the Feds) and left a truncated message on my phone that just said “(s;dlkfrag) Federal Court. Thank you.” Um. OK. Apparently if you pick up (who picks up on numbers they don’t recognize?), they remind you to call to check your status. Dudes. Abide. It’s on my fucking calendar.

Anyway, one more day will get us some wiggle room in August and September, which we will probably need.

Here’s the coffee place’s fancy Insta wall…very cute. They had a mild cactus theme. S3…not quite in Mission Valley, but on the eastern edge of it, which is probably close to halfway between our houses.

IMG_5666 small

Plus they had science! This drink changes color when you dump the lemonade in it. I have video.

IMG_5667 small

Sitting on a metrics worksheet, while the computer in the background shows little plastic animals, as we try to decide if they will fit in our graduated cylinders…like you do.

So at home, it was really really hot. The house was cooler than outside because the windows had been closed all day, but even then, the cat who is always hidden was lying in plain sight on the linoleum floor.

IMG_5663 small

Eventually she moved to the bathroom sink, her preferred hot spot locale.

Boychild took the big dog in the pool. I took both of them in. Little one doesn’t like water, but he didn’t struggle. They have too much fur for that.

IMG_5671 small

And in this heat, they dry almost instantly. Hey, it’s only supposed to be 104 degrees today.

So we watched Black Panther last night, and I thought it was way better handled than Wonder Woman. I can’t speak to the POC issue, because I’m white, but the women were appropriately clothed for their jobs, were strong and outspoken and smart (his sister!), and I really liked how that was handled. Although still the patriarchal issue of the king passing his power down to his son and men fighting, with strength being the key to winning. Why couldn’t the queen take over? As I age, shitty representations of women in books and movies become even more obvious and annoying. Oh yeah, and in government. As we watched, I embellished balls…orange balls…but only like three or four of them because this is a WOOL quilt and it was still 90-some degrees after 8 PM.

IMG_5672 small

And then I was looking and thinking, hey self, there’s only two other colors when you’re done with this one. Aren’t there 6 colors? There are not. There are only 5. So I have finished 2/5s of the balls. Good to know. Plus no worries about how I don’t see another color, because there isn’t one. Thank woolly goddess. Going insane here. And here’s the other insanity…I’m close to done on the quilting of that other applique quilt, and then I was going to quilt the wool one that has been pinbasted for two years, and then this one will probably be done this summer and will also need quilting. Like I have time for that, because yesterday I finally looked at the calendar and it’s getting tight. They can’t put me on a trial…I won’t finish the two quilts I need to finish (damn, plus the two little ones that are supposed to be done by the 22nd. Ha! Oh dear. My brain needs to go into overdrive, which it totally can’t, due to the heat).

Anyway. So there’s that.

Sometime around 11 PM, I was finally able to come in here, point two fans at me, and stitch down. And you know what? The fucking tension was fine.

IMG_5673 small

Sometimes that shit just drives me nuts because there’s no rhyme or reason to what works. Sometimes the spool needs to be horizontal, sometimes upright, sometimes through the metal thing, sometimes not. Sometimes tension is at 3, sometimes it’s at almost zero. I just can’t figure it out. Temperature based? Maybe. In which case, the machine likes it hot and uncomfortable.

So today? I have an art-related meeting, I’m going to try to finish the stitch down, I’m going to take a totally pointless shower, because I will be sweating instantaneously afterward. I haven’t had enough sleep, I have a massive headache, and it feels like there’s sand in my eyes…luckily it will just continue to be cooler in the next few days, the fire east of us is mostly under control, and I get to hang with art friends this afternoon. So those are good things. And maybe the federal government will release me next week too. Maybe. Or maybe I will have jury duty and then come home and be totally efficient afterward! It could happen.

I Turn to You, You’re All I See*

I didn’t get up early enough yesterday to write. I had to rush around dealing with animals. I went for my annual mammogram which was quick, easy, and painless. No really! It was. So I was convinced I’d have to go back in because they did it wrong. They also gave me this hairband for free. Apparently hair was getting into the scans and freaking out the radiologists, but they can’t reuse the hairbands.

IMG_5655 small

So I tried to give it back, because you know, medical waste, reduce costs. But no. It’s mine now. We squish your boobs? You get a hairband. And everything was fine. Cleared until next year. Thank you.

Simba tryna make friends. Or just clean Calli’s nose. Hard to say.

IMG_5513 small

Satchemo sleeping on my quilting chair. So I didn’t quilt for a while, because…respect for cats.

IMG_5516 small

Eventually he left…this is actually the 4th of July…I finished the quilting around everything…

IMG_5518 small

And then I started on the background…

IMG_5519 small

And then I took a picture of these beetles mating.

IMG_5560 small

And went back to working on the background.

IMG_5564 small

Sewing around these embroidered trees was a little hairy…

IMG_5565 small

Then we went down to Campland on the Bay for the show…this was the view behind me. It actually got cold eventually.

IMG_5572 small

I do know I would never ever camp here…they’re packed in like sardines. It’s crazy crowded. And a lot of people who are not necessarily my tribe…I can handle it for an evening, but all of those kids are gonna be up at 5 AM…right next to your head. No way. But it was fine for the evening…I finished the wild dog, although I need to comb his fringe.

IMG_5574 small

And then I finally started doing these crazy flowers…I’m on the July blocks? I think? But the instructions for the flowers are in the January instructions…which live in a notebook. So I finally took a picture of the instructions, then read the two sets of instructions (because it’s not exactly the same) like 300 times, and then did it and went OOOOHHHH.

IMG_5575 small

Like that. So I have about 30 of those to do. I think.

This is the man doing his best impression of an old man telling you to get off the lawn…he was looking at the view behind me and all the crazy shenanigans people were getting up to when you’re at an urban campground in San Diego on the 4th of July.

IMG_5578 small

I just tried not to look. Although I faced that way so I could duck when the kickball was headed toward me. Plus so many ways to desecrate the flag…and I don’t really care about that, but oh my eyeballs. At some point, you just laugh and shake your head and be glad you get to leave at the end of the concert.

Later that night, behind me were a million people and eventually about 5 different fireworks displays, which was cool…

IMG_5593 small

It’s still not as cool as having them right over you though. It was a good show. The food was eh. Remember that for next year.

Girlchild asked me for a picture of us from when she was little. I sent her this…

IMG_5654 small

Mom on very little sleep…looks like Thanksgiving (jacket, up at the mountains), so she’s about 3 1/2 months old. Ugh. The tired years.

Not that I sleep well now.

So yesterday, after the boob squishing (yes I know my brain is all over the map. Welcome to Kathy on Summer), I went to a friend’s air-conditioned house yesterday and had a hot flash from hell (I’ve been having lots of them in the last few weeks), so she had to turn a fan on me as well. And then I got cold afterwards because menopausal bodies are fucking insane. But I was trying to do stitchdown on this quilt. Because I started looking at the calendar again and I’m being fucking inept this summer.

IMG_5656 small

But my machine’s tension was being a cranky ass bitch. So I kept having to stop and rethread and try to persuade it to work. Very frustrating. I did get almost halfway up (basically I’m about to do the uterus). So that was good. But it’s so freakin’ hot today, I don’t know if I’ll get any more done. I do sit at the machine with a fan right on me, but ugh…doesn’t feel like enough. If I ever remodel this room, maybe it will get air conditioning. Maybe. Except SDG&E wants us to reduce electricity use today (it’s supposed to be either 106 or 109 degrees, depending on which weather app you look at).

Last night, I finally got some balls done…in fact, I finished all of the second color, which was the Pekinese stitch. So that’s 2 out of 6 colors done.

IMG_5657 small

Then I stared at the colors that were left and tried to decide which one was orange…and started fly stitches…

IMG_5658 small

Seriously, the one next to it? Not orange. Blush. Ugh. Or maybe the pink one is blush. No, I think it’s pink. I don’t even know what the 6th color is. Whatever. No one but me (and Sue Spargo) will know. So not important.

Then my brain was hot and tired. But I didn’t want to not use the time. I feel like I’m losing time. So I stared at the blank sections of that drawing that’s been sitting on the light table for a long time, then figured out where to put the first line of waves (I’m taking two separate drawings that were put together in a long horizontal thing and I’m sort of stacking them and then adding and taking away).

IMG_5659 small

Then I traced in the female figure, the hand, and the oil drums from the old drawing. There’s more going in…most of this base drawing is getting tossed though. And I have to decide where the bottom is and what’s going on the hill above it. There’s a couple of issues going on in the drawing…obviously some women’s issues, but also environmental. Currently it’s named Womanscape, but I don’t know if that will stick. Remind me when I don’t remember what I called it.

OK, today I am working for a while on actual school stuff, and then going into survival mode from excessive heat. I do have a pool…I wonder if I can put the sewing machine on a float. Except there’s a foot pedal. Hmmm. I need an engineering brain for this shit.

*Coleman Hell, 2 Heads

Need to Be Out of Here

Well. I need caffeine delivery at my training. They are nice. They feed us lunch. They bring us snacks and extension cords that don’t have a third prong hole. There’s plenty of water. We can pee whenever we want (trust me, for teachers, that’s a major issue)…but there’s no coffee or tea and the day was long. I don’t sit for that long normally either…like unless I’m on a plane. They had us stand up a few times, but I need a long walk and more caffeine. I’m even willing to bring my own milk and tea bags, if they’ll just give us hot water.

So if you’ve never heard of National Board Certification for teachers, it’s not an easy process. In fact, it’s a monstrous pain in the ass…but doable. And I think it’s useful…not only as a way to focus on how one teaches and picks resources and handles assessment and feedback and differentiation (which is hard), but also to protect teachers from crazy administrators (they’re out there, along with the crazy teachers and the crazy parents). They talk about creating teacher leaders, which kinda cracks me up as I look around the room…there’s some crazy people like me in there, and then some high achievers (English, we’re looking at you), and some who had no idea what they were in for, but it does take all kinds. The teacher leaders I’ve dealt the best with are those who work hard, think about kids and curriculum all the time, reflect all the time, and are willing to share information. Science doesn’t attract a lot of teachers who like to follow rules, I’ve found…there were only two other science teachers there, and I’m betting one doesn’t show up at all today and the other one is only going to show up because she thinks I might be able to help her. And I might.

Anyway, today will be longer. And harder. And I need to find caffeine. Or another thermos.

What else did I get done yesterday? Not much. I watched the window fall out even more…

IMG_5377 small

Fixing it Thursday.

I sewed Pekinese stitch on three balls. THREE.

IMG_5378 small

And then I ironed. Eventually. It was late.

IMG_5380 small

The face…I ironed the teacup separately, same with the leaves…the snake, I did right on the hair. I don’t worry too much about being exactly in the right place for that. It’s not overlapping anything it needs to cover.

IMG_5381 small

The camera and the eye were separate…easier to see where the pieces need to be when I do it that way…

IMG_5382 small

Then onto the face. Cool. I like it.

IMG_5383 small

She’s really pale…which means she’ll pop on a dark background.

IMG_5384 small

I’m almost done with the ironing of the bits. I wanted to be done last night, but I got home and was tired and tried to deal with some stuff, entering a show, finding an old poem for a show…now I need to make the art to go with it, because I committed to that show. Whoops! Nah, it’s OK. I have to do two small pieces by the end of July too. I cut out some small pieces of paper to take to my training, in case I feel like drawing, but that’s hard to do with total strangers sitting next to you and watching everything you do. Plus I don’t know what to do on such small pieces. The big drawing is still sitting on the light table, waiting for me to start something…anything.

But I was in bed around midnight, because I knew I had to get up even earlier this morning…gotta fight traffic. If I get called on jury duty, it’s downtown. Talk about fighting traffic. Ugh. Not looking forward to that. I need lots of sleep over summer break…to make up for how little I sleep during the school year.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll finish ironing tonight, maybe even get it ironed to the background? I only have about 60 pieces to go, if that. And they’re big and easy…no fussy little face parts. Then I’ll have to finish quilting the other one so I can do stitch down on this. That won’t take long…but it will take SOME time. This week is so packed.

There was a video made of the Things That Matter Preview Exhibit…my quilt and I are in it…this exhibit is up at Visions Art Museum through July 8…and then the full exhibit will be in Chandler, Arizona, in November.

I don’t think I’ll be able to make that opening…pretty sure I’ll be hanging with the girlchild in Boston…but I hope I’ll see the full exhibit at some point.

OK, need to be out of here…in so many ways…

Whole Days Turn into Holes in My Mind*

Sigh. Well the universe said hi yesterday. With a rock. It’s interesting (I was gonna say funny, but it’s funny strange, not funny ha ha, so maybe it’s not funny at all)…it doesn’t matter how much I plan money out for summer break, there’s always something that throws a wrench into that plan. I guess in the scheme of things, this is not a biggie…it just had shitty timing. We were driving home from the grocery store yesterday and drove past a guy weedwacking a slope, and his machine shot a rock right through the side window of the car. Shattered it. Now thinking back, with about 12 hours of processing, I guess we should be really really glad we were almost past when that rock shot through, because it would probably have damaged a person if they’d been in the way. I still haven’t found the rock in the car. A chunk of the shattered glass below has now fallen out…on the driveway and into the car…

IMG_5351 small

Just from opening and closing the door and the hood…the hood because the next thing we had to do was jumpstart the Honda, because its battery was having issues (we don’t drive it enough with the kids gone). And then I drove that down to the gas station and filled the tires, put gas in it, cleaned all the windows, because I have teacher professional development today…so I can’t get the other window fixed until probably Thursday, the guy wasn’t insured but said he’d pay for it (if he gave me a real phone number and actually has $400), and my insurance won’t cover it because I carry a high deductible to make insurance cheaper. I hope he’ll pay some of it though, because I don’t get paid in the summer….so it makes bill payment a little challenging sometimes. Especially by the end of August. I can’t order stuff for school until after the credit card cycle is done for July so I won’t see it on a bill until September, when I have a paycheck.

Anyway. I’m trying to find somewhere cheaper than the first two I looked at, but they want a 4-hour window of time to come fix it, and I can’t just leave a car with a hole in the window in a parking lot…so I guess it’ll be driving the Honda for a few days. I just tried the Honda again this morning to make sure it would start and it did. I guess that’s the universe too…

So that kind of blew my afternoon up a bit, trying to get information from insurance and glass places on a Sunday afternoon, with both neighbors throwing parties…we had kid noise on one side and bad cigars on the other. Fun stuff.

I did eventually iron…I was going to draw, but the afternoon kind of clusterfucked my head. So ironing was easier…bird and heart. I’m not sure how the bird will play on the background…I might need to add something behind it…we’ll see. I can’t remember if I was holding fabrics up to the background or not. I think it’ll be OK. The background is pretty dark.

IMG_5356 small

Then a phone and the pills in the stomach…plus all the rib details…

IMG_5357 small

With dinner, there was some more stitching on balls…

IMG_5359 small

Three of them. My average no matter what? I thought these would be faster, but apparently not.

Then back to the ironing…lungs and heart…fussy little beasts.

IMG_5360 small

And the left arm, down to meet the squeegee.

IMG_5361 small

Then I rolled all of that up so I could do the top section…the right arm.

IMG_5362 small

Next is the head and then all the stuff in the sky above. I think I have about 170 pieces left to iron together, and then obviously I need to put it on the background. I might get to all that tonight. Since I can’t fix the window.

Kitten told me it was time to go to bed (it was after midnight…she was right…)

IMG_5364 small

But that mockingbird. Pillow over the head. Gotta pack up for this meeting…call my car guy and see if he has a recommendation for glass replacement. Text the gardener. Meditate.

*K.Flay, Giver

I Like a Plan

A Sunday without planning for school. Again. So delightful. No school worries. Although I’m in teacher professional development for the next three days, so that’s not really no school. But they will feed me. And hopefully it will be informational and useful and not just annoying overachievers. We’ll see. I think I use up all my people skills (what few I have) on my students all year. I need to rebuild those reserves. Maybe hanging out with teachers I don’t know for three days is not the way to do that…but who knows? Maybe I’ll be totally reflective and motivated.

Right now, I think I need a nap. The mockingbird is back. He’s been all over the neighborhood, but last night was in the tree outside my bedroom again. It makes me crazy. I slept with the pillow over my head. Drowning out noise with fabric and feathers. Ironic that. Bird drowning out bird. Very philosophical this morning.

I have this drawing I’m contemplating. I started it years ago, 2012? And it grew, but I’m not sure it grew logically, and it means something different to me now. I was going to just go with it and maybe add to the bottom, but now that doesn’t make sense to me. I thought about just using half of it, but every time I look at it, I see pieces I like and pieces I don’t like, that don’t go with the story as it is now. So I think I’m going to redraw it but move pieces around…make it less horizontal too while I’m at it.

IMG_5142 small

It’s going to be my epic summer quilt. But first I have to tear this apart and redo the whole thing. No Biggie! It’s taken me a week of contemplating it and deadlines to finally make the decision. So redraw it I will.

But let’s go back…it’s been a busy two days. I had a voucher at the local ceramic painting place that was expiring, so me and a million moms and kids headed to the same place to use them up. No one would sit at my table…which was fine by me…but I got side-eyed by about a million people for painting nudes I guess…

IMG_5295 small

These are before firing, of course…who knows what they will look like fired.

IMG_5296 small

Well, we all will next week when I pick them up. I make about one mug a year…I tend to break them. Overuse them. All that.

IMG_5297 small

I also made a uterus bowl…like you do…

IMG_5298 small

With a lot of symbols on the outside.

IMG_5299 small

And then I made a sign for Saturday’s march to keep families together. But that was once I came home and made dinner…I didn’t do that at the ceramics place.

IMG_5307 small

San Diego had already scheduled a march for the 23rd and then the national one came through for the 30th. I already have stuff going on the 30th, so I’m just doing the one march…hope the second one pulls enough people to make a difference too.

I saw this cool sculpture walking to my meeting spot…

IMG_5309 small

And then lots of speeches (too many speeches, honestly) and a short march to the federal building…

IMG_5323 small

It’s frustrating to live in a time when we have to yell and stomp so much for our government to hear us…and they still blow us off. Sigh.

When I got back, my brother was texting me pictures of the boychild with his cousins…going tree climbing.

IMG_5327 small

My kid is the biggest…so far. The others are getting taller every time I see them.

Mine is the long one in the middle…

IMG_5330 small

Looks like fun. I wanna do that. I kinda miss those summers when I would drag the kids up to Seattle to hang out for a week.

IMG_5333 small

Anyway, boychild will be leaving Monday apparently to head south. He should be here in a week or so. So that means cleaning his room. It’s not too bad. I piled the worst of it in the girlchild’s room last year when my guy moved in here and I hadn’t finished cleaning up stuff in my bedroom. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with stuff. I’m not sure if I need it or not and I hate throwing things away. I threw a lot away last summer with the garage clean out. I think I reached a limit at some point.

Anyway, that’s next week. And sometime in July, when I panic about the girlchild coming home.

Meanwhile, my office is always a disaster…but especially after I’ve picked all the fabrics and haven’t cleaned up yet…I leave everything out in case I lose a piece (I found a lost one last night)…there’s a cat in this photo…

IMG_5338 small

There it is. Kitten on Mt. Batting.

IMG_5340 small

She spends a lot of time there. It’s safe from the other kitty and it’s comfortable and in the room where mom spends a lot of time.

So at some point yesterday I felt awake enough to iron for a while, up into the thighs. The sun comes in here in the afternoon and makes it hard to see stuff.

IMG_5342 small

And then I took a break for a while and went to dinner and then came back and worked on the lights and the squeegee and the uterus…not all of that is ironed down though, because stuff is supposed to go behind the top part of the pelvic girdle…

IMG_5343 small

Kitten came down to visit (and watch Supernatural apparently)…she sat on the chair that is hidden there for a while, until the other cat came in and got territorial. Sigh. At this point, I had cleaned about half the papers that were piled on my desk…I still have the other side and then the desk to the left. School sucks up so much time that there are balls that just drop…and cleaning the paper crap up is part of that. So I lose shows sometimes in the paper piles. I forget about them. I try to be logical, but I’m not always good at it. I want to try a different organization plan in here, but I need a new stacking file thing…the two I have don’t fit into each other unfortunately. So that’s a trip somewhere. Organization has been my issue my entire life. I like it when it happens, but I keep changing how I do stuff to try to get MORE organized, and then I wait to see what sticks. I’ve reorganized in my office/studio about 3000 times. I have a plan for hopefully next summer (need money) to do a remodel of the whole room…but I’m not there yet.

Anyway, I was ironing the gingko leaves separately, because they had a lot of tiny pieces and I needed to see the pattern before I ironed them onto the belly fabric.

IMG_5346 small

There they are…

IMG_5347 small

And then I put them on the belly fabric, but folded the leaf itself down until the stuff above was done…first a stomach, liver, and intestines…

IMG_5348 small

And then the ribs and abs…then I could iron the gingkos all the way down. I still need to add a bunch of detail bits in there, but it was just after midnight at that point. I took a break in the middle because the library emailed me that my book was due soon, so I finished it…plus my feet hurt from standing, so I gave them a break.

IMG_5349 small

I’m officially more than halfway done now…lots of complicated stuff still to be ironed. You can see all the bottom bits are rolled up at the bottom. I decided to just keep going instead of ironing the parts separately and trying to fit them together at the end. Especially with the hand that will come down and hold the squeegee…I wanted to make sure everything meets up.

Oh yeah, I finished all the red balls on this quilt and started doing the embellishment of the fuschia balls, which are only a slightly different color than the blush pink balls (there’s one of those on the top for comparison). The stitch around the fuschia balls is fairly easy, but requires going around twice. I only did one…I took time Friday night to finish the 4 red ones that were left and start the fuschia, which is why I got no artmaking done. Plus tired.

IMG_5306 small

I made up for it by doing no ball stitching last night…but I figure if I finish embellishing 3 balls a night on average and there are 80 (79) left to go, then that’s 26 nights. So sometime in July. Plus I should be quilting the other wool quilt, but I have to finish the cotton one that’s under the machine, and ain’t none of that happening in the next three days. So there.

So there’s finishing ironing, maybe quilting, getting prepped for tomorrow’s teacher PD, groceries, maybe a dog walk…if it cools down enough. Maybe some cleaning or organization. We’ll see. Yardwork that’s never done. EVER. One week of summer break gone. I hate that feeling. Then I have to persuade myself that there’s a ton left, everything will be fine, don’t panic. DRAWING. I need to draw. That’s a plan…I like having a plan…

Today Is a Brain Fart.

Well on the one hand, yesterday I started to feel like I was on break. On vacation (staycation…can’t afford to go anywhere). I felt less like school was hanging over me. On the other hand, I still don’t seem to be able to sleep at night. I can’t FALL asleep, even when it’s really late. The shower is dripping (fixing that soon), it’s too warm, animals are making noise, even the human ones, my brain is racing. That! That’s the real problem. I almost got up last night to meditate at like 1 AM. That might have been a smart thing to do. I’m feeling it today. Ugh. I’ve been exercising too, so that’s not helping either. It SHOULD help, but it’s not. Ugh. Always a work in progress. Until I die.

I’m glad the brain is trying to vacation though. It should bring me along.

So yesterday was this…

IMG_5263 small

I don’t really need all that hair for summer. Some of my upkeep is going to require me to use a razor. I’m cool with that.

And then I quilted this for a bit until I got annoyed…

IMG_5266 small

I got most of the way down one side. I’ll do more today. Maybe. I think I need more thread.

Then this guy was Way Too Close. Satchemo. I need to be able to breathe without cat hair going up my nose. His paw is reaching out to caress my cheek…

IMG_5271 small

Because I’m not petting him. It’s not because he loves me. OK, maybe he loves me. But only because I pet him.

Then I set this up to sort all the pieces for the current quilt. There’s always a cat involved when I’m working on the light table…

IMG_5272 small

This guy came to visit. Too big. Legs. Bug. Eeek.

IMG_5277 small

Luckily he was on the outside of the window. We walked the dogs in there somewhere, and then I finished sorting…

IMG_5278 small

Ate dinner and worked on these…I think I only have 5 left…of the red.

IMG_5281 small

Which means 80 left of the other colors. But the embellishments are easier for those balls. Simpler. Less time-consuming. Maybe?

IMG_5282 small

So hopefully it will go faster. And all those balls will get filled up and then I’ll sandwich it and put it away for three years before I quilt it. NO! Not that. I don’t know where I’m putting all these in the house anyway. They’re wonderful and brightly colored. They deserve to be hung. Maybe I’ll rotate them.

After all that, I eventually made my way into the office, cleaned up the mess, laid out the first 100 pieces, and started to iron. At 10:30 PM. Just like normal!

IMG_5284 small

There are two figures hidden in the landscape…they’ll be more obvious when it’s ironed to a background and outline stitched…but I didn’t want them to be really really obvious.

IMG_5285 small

I made it well into the 200s last night.

IMG_5286 small

This part is usually really meditative. Not sure why my brain isn’t cooperating. Right now, I’m so incredibly tired. Ugh.

OK, this is funny. I got a phone call while writing this and then realized my meeting was at 11 AM, not 4 PM, so I kamikazed off to that and totally forgot about this. FUCK MY BRAIN. Seriously, it’s impaired. So it’s good I’m making decisions about wills right now, right? Yeah. Shut up. It’s fine. Gonna go paint some ceramics now. Can’t deal with the rest of anything.

That’s When the Energy Comes*

OK. The animals are starting to get a clue that mom doesn’t budge in the morning until later. That mornings are longer than they used to be. That’s a good sign, because it’s the first summer in a long time that someone else gets up early (and wakes them all up) and I still need to be asleep. It seems fair…I’m going to sleep like way later (still) and my body doesn’t actually have to be up at 6:30 in the morning. Those who work with me know that I am not a morning person. I can do it, but don’t talk to me. I don’t wanna talk. Chat. Trade niceties. I want silence until I’m ready. I will however totally have a conversation with you at midnight about the motivations of the characters in The Handmaid’s Tale. You don’t want that? OK. Well then. That’s what my late-night texting friends are for.

Now my brain takes a lot longer to get functional. I’m really trying to hit relaxation mode…the place you have to be in order to recover from the school year so you can teach the next one. I met with my co-teacher yesterday to try to plan next year (another mess of reordering units and tightening some and adding to others…this is year 3 of new standards…maybe we’ll finally have it?). I now have 17.000 more things to think about. Whoops. I think we’re just going to plan the first unit and then be done with it. Hopefully I won’t have jury duty some Monday or Friday in early July and we’ll be able to pull that off. First we need a place with free wifi, beverage service, A/C, and bigger tables than a Starbucks. Preferably at the midpoint between where we each live. I’m sure there’s a solution…I just don’t know what it is yet.

Meanwhile, I didn’t have a lot planned yesterday. I could have done some things, but apparently school planning sucks your brain out. So I did a lot of sitting on the couch, binge-watching Doc Martin (which now I have to find elsewhere, because Netflix is not getting the current seasons…although some part of me is significantly annoyed by the series and doesn’t know if I want to watch it anyway.), and trying to just keep my hands busy. So more of sewing these bits down…

IMG_5259 small

Because it’s totally brainless and yet I’m achieving something. I’ve thought about drawing like every day for the last 5 days, and I can’t get there. I’m aiming for it. Maybe today? Just sit on the deck with a beverage of choice and some music and just draw. What will be my epic quilt this summer? What deadlines am I actually going to take on? When will I get my act together? Why don’t I just accept that the first week of summer is always a lost one? Anyway, almost all the things are sewn down on that month. I think I have to sew blocks together for the next month…and it’s easier to embellish on smaller pieces than big ones…so I’ll have to think that through.

Meanwhile, so I have to try a new diabetes medication. I’ve been diabetic for 16 years now and my control is iffy at the moment. I need more exercise. I need more time to exercise. And I suspect menopause (which is still not totally a thing here, unfortunately) is messing with blood sugar etc. So I agreed to try the new medication, even after last year’s clusterfuck. She suggested one and I immediately Googled it and found a similar side effect to last year’s, so we rejected that one. This one does not have that side effect, but it does mean injections. Sigh. This disease sucks. So those were delivered yesterday. I have to do everything mail order that’s a long-term prescription, so I get this huge heavy box…

IMG_5247 small

This is so annoying though…I really am trying to reduce my footprint. I’ve been cutting back on using plastic, recycling more, trying to keep plastics out of the house. Now I have a huge styrofoam box coming every three months that is almost filled with ice packs. Plastic ice packs. Which apparently I can’t return to them to be reused.

IMG_5248. smalljpg

So they just get thrown out? There has to be a better way. This is such a waste. Plus the injection equipment, single-use. So annoying. So don’t get sick! There’s so much waste in medical stuff…and yeah, I know it’s better than passing on disease and infection, but it’s still hard to stomach.

This was on the way back to my car yesterday. Impressive…

IMG_5250 small

Next Saturday, the 30th, my cohabitant here will be playing at Nicky Rottens with his cover band, the Radio Thieves. Their lead singer likes to make funky retro record covers…

IMG_5251 small

I’ll be there with my sketchbook and a table…maybe I’ll be relaxed by then.

I’m still embellishing balls. I did four last night…stepping up the pace!

IMG_5258 small

And then I finished cutting all these out, which means I can start ironing things together tonight. That’s the fun part…when the image starts to show up.

IMG_5253 small

It took a little over 10 hours to cut them all out. It’ll probably take 15 or so to iron it together…

This is Calli…she wants her morning meds. She thinks it’s a treat, but it’s really just arthritis stuff. She’s a good girl.

IMG_5257 small

This one, Simba, wants to lie around in the sun. I should probably walk them sometime today.

IMG_5260 small

After I get my hairs cut. Might be drastic, might not. You never know. I kinda want to color it too. Maybe this is just a ruse to get out of jury duty (is purple hair a good excuse?)…or maybe I’m just tired of having the same haircut for a million years.

One of the things I track is how many hours I spend each month (week?) making art…the stuff that I track (which doesn’t include drawing or any of the hobby embroidery). In the last month, I’ve only done 36 hours of artmaking…less than 10 hours a week (that’s grading and being sick for you)…the month before, which included teaching fulltime, I managed 75 hours (almost 19 hours a week, on top of working 50 hours or more a week). Kind of crazy that. With no actual day job at the moment, I should be able to do 50 hours a week of artwork. Hear that, brain? I know. I’m giving you a break right now. You need it.

*Sarah McLachlan, Building a Mystery

I’ve Gotta Get Out of Here*

Seems like we can’t go two months without our current government giving us yet another reason to march so they actually see and hear our disapproval. I’m signed up for next Saturday’s Families Belong Together March here in San Diego. I don’t get it. I’ve been watching a discussion between high school friends on Facebook, with both Democrats and Republicans speaking out against separating kids from their families, with a few (straight up must be paranoid crazy) holdouts claiming this is what will keep them safe. Oh dear. Safe from? Shootings by white American men? Because trust me, I’m way more paranoid about white American men who own guns and can’t process their feelings than I am about refugee and immigrant families. The crazy that comes out of our government…these are human rights issues now, and we usually prefer to be on the side of protecting those.

At least we used to be. I don’t think we know what we are any more.

I need to go find Sessions’ phone number and make a call.

So it’s vacation. I see my teacher friends posting about turning alarm clocks off. I have built-in alarm clocks. They are small and furry and fucking intolerant of sleeping in. I think I got 6 hours…just like normal! Part of that was not feeling well last night and then not being able to fall asleep. Yes, I’m still grinding my teeth. I have too much on the to-do list already. July might actually be easier with no ability to plan anything. Maybe. Who knows. Right now, I’m still sleep-deprived, feel like I’m coming down with a cold, still have the leftover shingles vaccine rash, and don’t feel like thinking too hard today.

You know, there’s maybe 11 or 12 Sundays a year that I don’t have to worry about planning for the week, that I don’t have to write the parent email, that I don’t have to write warmups for the week and post them on Google Classroom. I regularly work 50-60 hours a week during the school year, sometimes more than that. I might get home at 4 (it’s actually pretty rare that it happens), but then I work at home…just an hour or two a night, that’s all…grading stuff or prepping for a future lesson. I don’t take sick days…it’s too hard to prep for them. I don’t schedule doctors’ appointments for a school day…I can’t just leave early without prepping for it. It’s more work than it’s worth. If I start to feel sick during the day, I work through it and come home and collapse. I don’t get to go out for lunch during the school year. If I forget food, I have a stash of popcorn and peanuts to get me through. Summer is our break from all that.

I worked Saturday and Sunday on stuff for next year, cleaning up calendars and folders for the school year that starts in August. Wednesday, I’ll be meeting to start putting the beginning of the school year together…or maybe the end, since we wanted to backwards plan the whole year.

My brain is not on vacation yet. It’s looking out at the pool, realizing not only do I need to trim and sweep around it, but I need to empty the filter and move all the composting piles. And I need to ship a box to Massachusetts and another to Seattle. Plus two appointments today. Plus figure out what to do about the car window that stopped working, go to school and rescue the food and milk in the fridge, come back and do more yardwork or housework or any of the other 17 things on the list. Find the deed to the house. Pack up a quilt. See that’s why the teeth are still grinding.

Saturday night movie watching…sleepy puppy, Where’s Waldo socks, and the last of those 96 damn Palestrina knot stems…

IMG_5172 small

Yeah. I finished them. Finally.

Calli sleeps so cute.

IMG_5176 small

I started trimming finally…

IMG_5179 small

I didn’t get much done on Saturday night…maybe an hour or so…

IMG_5180 small

I found this applique again. It’s ancient. It deserves to be finished. I pinned some stuff to it. Haven’t sewn anything on this in a million years. I used to think I could hand applique art quilts.

IMG_5184 small

Takes way too long.

Interesting formation…

IMG_5189 small

We owed the dogs a hike. It didn’t happen on Saturday because I was still too exhausted. I love these little tiny flowers…

IMG_5190 small

Didn’t see any coyotes. No people either, which was fine. It was nice and cool and windy…

IMG_5195 small

Very anti-summer.

IMG_5197 small

I also love this bush, even though it’s invasive and nonnative.

IMG_5198 small

Sunday night…I started the berry embellishment. There are six colors of berries and each one gets its own embellishment. I started with the red ones. 96 divided by 6 is 16. So I will do 16 like this. Approximately.

IMG_5204 small

I started with the most complicated one. I’m also trying to do a little bit on the wool sewing for Folk Tails each night. Last night, I finished a tree and pinned a bunch more stuff on the September blocks…not that I photographed that. I figure if I just do one or two things a night, it will get done faster. I also borrowed some heavier sewing threads from my mom to test out…I have one Spargo quilt that is finished and has been sandwiched for quilting for like two years. I could probably quilt it fairly quickly, if I had the right thread. So I’m going to try these out and see if they give me the look I want. Then order the correct colors (or find them locally…they might carry them at those shops with all the machines that I never visit) and finish the damn thing. What a concept! I have another couple of quilts that are sandwiched that deserve finishing.

Then I cut more stuff out, for over two hours this time. Could not get the brain to shut up and chill out.

IMG_5206 small

So it’s a bigger pile that’s done…but still a bunch left to do. Realistically probably won’t get back to trimming until after dinner tonight. I will try to do some, but there’s so much else to do. It’s cooler today than it’s supposed to be later this week, so I’d be smart to do a chunk of yardwork today.

OK. Well. So I need breakfast and a shower. And to get the stuff packed up to ship. Boychild is still in Seattle…he was going to leave today, but a request from his cousin to hang out until she gets back from the East Coast persuaded him to stay put for another week. So I have another week before I need to clear his bed. No problem. Part of that project includes finding 6 parts of a quilt that need to ship to Washington state. So I don’t have to do that until later this week. Some part of me just wants to go sit on a beach somewhere so I don’t have to look around here and see the to-do list in my face. Sigh. Vacation.

Probably I’ve used this post title before…

*Big Data, Dangerous