There aren’t many days of school left. I’m trying to get caught up, but little things get in the way. Yesterday I bid on a proofreading job…which meant a sample edit…plus some other stuff that needed editing…so I got no grading done. I’m behind. I need to focus today during prep, which is often really hard for me. Here…teach hard for about an hour and a half and then STOP. Then focus on grading stuff. Then teach again. My brain doesn’t like that, so it often refuses. Whatever. Plus I have yard duty before and after school for two weeks, which is a giant clusterfuck to my organization and schedule. Plus the kids emailing me about their grades. Please please give me a giant extra credit packet to fix my grade! I wasn’t gonna deal with that. Bloody hell.

School is making me cranky. Said every teacher the last month of school. Plus other crap. Think I’m gonna just crawl into bed and come out in July.

When I’d finished all the tasks at hand (and I’m sure there’s some I forgot), I did trace stuff. The first thing I did was a full trace of the owl that’s in this drawing…

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I think this is Owl 3.0. He was originally under a rib bone and a uterus, so I drew those bits out.

I’ve done two others (one of them multiple times)…here’s 2.0, still available.

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And 1.0 (although I didn’t think of him as that)…which I made three times in three different colorways for three different people…

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Yeah apparently I have an owl obsession. This new one is small…fits on an 8 1/2 x 11″ piece of paper, but has about 100 pieces. That guy up there has about 26.

Anyway, from there, I went on to the real business of tracing…apparently very slowly, because I only got about 60 pieces done in an hour…

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I traced a uterus and some tulips and the background stuff behind the giraffe. And then I looked at the clock. Time flies when you’re staring at a light table apparently. I’m on my third yard of Wonder Under, although I’m still filling in smaller pieces on the other sheets.

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Told you this wouldn’t be a quick one. That’s all three yards laid out on the table. You can see I just started filling in the third one on the right.

When I shut down the tracing, I sat down on the couch for a quick moment…just to relax a bit after standing all day. Midnight was looking for attention (I guess puppy got most of it this evening)…

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So there was some attention given.

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I spend a lot of time petting furry creatures. It makes up for being yelled at and dealing with teenaged crisis. And trying to bid on jobs when I have to BE at my other job. And getting left alone a lot when I really don’t want to be. Rough night. So today I go on to teach puberty (because that’s an easy thing to teach to kids who are going through it)…and tonight there is exercise on the calendar (yay!) and I will trace some more. And pet more furry beasts. And count down one more day until summer break.

Back to It…

The week we get off at Thanksgiving has never been a relaxing vacation for me. Whether I stay home and do the whole deal here, or go to Seattle for four days, or what we used to do, which was go to Lake Arrowhead and hang out at my parents’ cabin…it was never relaxing. It was hectic, full of crazy errands and grading before, during, and after. Sometimes I’d manage to quilt or stitch down or cut out a bunch of pieces, but mostly it was tense chaos. And I’m not even the one who usually cooks. I support the cooks by cutting stuff up or whatever. This year, I barely did anything (thanks to my cousin and all HER hard work).

Last week did not break that trend. I did not shop on Black Friday or even Small-Whatever Saturday, mostly because money’s pretty tight right now. Property taxes are due next week and I need to be able to pay them and a credit card bill. Deep breaths. Then I will think about Christmas. I did hang out for a while on Saturday because I needed to do just that. Not grade more papers like I did Friday off the plane. Sunday was the inevitable catch-up day. Five stores later, I think I had got there. Although there are at least two more errands I need to do this week…I lied, three. Maybe more. And then I came home and worked until about 10:30 PM. I did make dinner in there somewhere. My SIL’s convinced I’m eating all this hidden sugar in my diet. She’s wrong. I know where all of it is. I mostly cook from scratch. Seriously, on a good day, I eat fairly healthy. I made kofta balls from scratch, put in lettuce wraps with a cucumber/yogurt sauce and a bit of brown rice. I do OK some days. And there’s leftovers.

I’m not ready to go back to school though. Then again, we never are…teachers. I’m sure the kids aren’t ready either, but they have it pretty easy. I have all the lesson plans done. I’m hammering grammar starting this week. I’m tired of reading their work with no spaces after punctuation, no first word capitalized, the word “I” never capitalized, starting every sentence with “And,” never putting in periods. The computer age may be upon us, but my students aren’t prepared. The English teacher is coming along for the ride. If I have to read all that stuff online, then they better be improving their practice. Meanest science teacher ever! Yeah whatever.

Meanwhile though, and I feel good about this, I finished cutting out the Wonder Under (finally!) for Bathtub 5, which got totally sidelined by the holiday.

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It only took about 4 1/2 hours to do it, but I just didn’t have the time before I left for Seattle. I was determined to finish it last night, so I stopped grading tests (because that was kind of depressing anyway), and finished this instead. Tonight I can sort them and maybe start picking fabrics. Except I’m not sure if I have a background big enough. I’m pretty sure I do, plus I’m supposed to be at the local quilt store tomorrow after school to deliver one of the sold quilts, so I can manage that then. I’m hoping (moneywise) that there is something here big enough. I will need some blues and whites though. I think. There’s some really big white pieces in this quilt, and big is always an issue for me.

But the next part is the fun part…the fabric-choosing part. I’m going to need to clean more of this space up to manage that though. Damn. Forgot about all that. Sigh. So maybe NOT picking fabrics tonight. We’ll see.

By the way, if you’re interested in one of the smaller quilts (cats, birds, hearts), I suggest you tell me soon, because I’m going to put them all up on Etsy sometime this week, and I’ll have to raise prices to do that. Under Recent Work, Catching Cancer 2, Owl 2.0, Cats 1, 2, 5-7, and Heart in Hands 1 and 2 are all available. Also, Birds 7, 11, and 13 are also available…see below.

Bird 8: Purple Bird, 18.25“ w x 14.5“ h, $205.

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Bird 11: Dove 2, 10“ w x 8“ h, $100 (no binding, no sleeve, hangs on rings).

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Bird 13: Diving Bird 2, 10“ w x 8“ h, $100 (no binding, no sleeve, hangs on rings).

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Just contact me on the website or in the comments. Shipping is included in the ones I did this year, unless it’s going international. The birds will need to have shipping added. I include hanging hardware. Think of the holidays…

Sundays? I Got This…

Sundays for teachers are hell. They are the day you get ready for the week. You do all your errands, do all the grocery shopping, get your laundry done, and also lesson plan. You do your best to keep Saturdays free, but Sundays…hell, Sundays belong to the man.

I love Sundays during breaks. I don’t have to do any of that shit. Well, I still have to grocery shop, and I’m sorta trained by now to make them work days. They feel that way anyway. I remember back in the old days, before kids, when I was married but not encumbered, when I didn’t bring my job home with me and have it looming over my head on a regular basis, Sundays were nice then. Late rising, a nice hot cup of tea, reading the paper (who gets that any more?), and watching all those fix-it shows on PBS. Hours and hours of Norm showing you the right tools…if you only had the right tools, your house would be fucking amazing. And Sundays were lazy days. You might make it to Home Depot for all the tools you needed, but you didn’t have to. That could wait until next Saturday, couldn’t it?

Well that explains a lot around here, doesn’t it?

Sigh. So I feel like I wasted many hours this morning on god-knows-what, but eventually, I got my act in gear and started getting work done. I spent an hour and a half on kid budgets…a fun thing you get to do when you’re divorced and all the expenses are split. December is always a clusterfuck for expenses, made even worse by applications to college. I sometimes just want to crawl into a hole and pretend none of that happened (three apps left).

After grocery shopping (holy crap, having the boychild home is fucking expensive) and buying textbooks (not mine; boychild again), I managed time for art…bindings on the two birds…

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They’re pinned down now…waiting to be sewn down. These are the first two quilts of 2015…at some point, I’ll get that summary post done for 2014, wherein I made a shitload of bird quilts.

Sometime yesterday I got the good news that Absolutely Nothing, the Women at War quilt, will be in the show at Grossmont College in March. More about that later. But cool. Yay. Happy.

And then there was this drawing. It so wants to be a quilt. It’s too many hours for the cancer quilt, but I don’t fucking care…

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It gets to be. I drew this ages ago. The Wonder Under’s been trimmed for a few weeks. I traced it back over Thanksgiving break…not sure when I trimmed the Wonder Under…my task app is not being helpful.

So I really should have started the cancer donation, but this one has been fucking screaming at me. So I listened. It only has 160 pieces.

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It’s mostly flesh colors…

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Two sets of flesh colors. It took about an hour and a half to iron the whole thing down to fabric.

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Twenty three fabrics…

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This isn’t going to be very big. It’s not going to take very long. In fact, in a little over an hour, it’s mostly cut out.

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Probably another ten minutes would do it.

Why do this one first? Before the one I know has to be done? Before the bindings are done? I told you. It was yelling very very loudly. In my old age, I try to listen to the ones that yell. There’s a few more that are yelling, but I will do the cancer one next, I swear. Although I have to sew those bindings too. I also need to grade papers and do about a thousand things tomorrow.

I have one more week of break until I have to go back to school. Balance is the thing. I have to figure out how to balance all of the pieces of my life so I don’t feel like shit. It’s kind of important. I’ve got my focus on that. Don’t drop any damn balls, but don’t let the balls take over your life either. I figure once I figure the whole life/balance thing out? I’ll be dead and it won’t matter any more. No worries. I got this.

More Birds and a Birthday

Hello Friday night. How are you? My son turned 19 today. That makes me ancient, right? Not really.

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We did not set any fire alarms off, but it was a close call…

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He did not blow them all out in one go…girlchild’s amazing decorating attempt included car-shaped sprinkles (hey, you go with what you have in the house). I made the cake; she frosted and decorated. She always does the fun stuff.

It’s OK. I was baking it in between doing two more birds, commissions.

But first, the piece for the equality exhibit, which opens the 17th, needed a label. Apparently I need to actually deliver it so they can hang it (what a concept).

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So that didn’t take long. The birds were all trimmed up and ready for ironing…

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HeyBird is easy.

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The owl…it’s a little fussier because of the wing tips, but still not too hard. This is the third color version of the owl…

Onto a background…

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I need to remember that these take about the same amount of time the cancer donation quilt should take, and they don’t have a ton of pieces…the owl is the most time-consuming with 32 pieces, I think. So I can’t draw something complicated. It has to be simple. I was going to take a sketchbook to the boychild’s birthday dinner tonight, but I couldn’t find the small one…

Oh well. These are so freakin’ fast…

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But relaxing nonetheless…

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Easy to quilt…

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Fast…two done in a day, basically…

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By the time we went to dinner for the boychild’s birthday, I was on the background for the owl…Calli loves Grandma…

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Girlchild is crankily doing yet another college app tonight…this may kill me. Look at that face…

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Three more apps after that, all due the 15th. It Never Ends.

So I quilted the background after cake was eaten…

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And then I picked out bindings and trimmed the quilts and got everything ready for when I have time to sew all that crap on.

Here’s some photos that were stuck on the camera while I was trying to set up the new computer…here’s sewing the binding and sleeves on while watching hours of television last Monday…yes, the backing is covered with skulls…

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Calli lying right next to me on the couch…

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There you can see the binding and the backing…

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The pin marks a piece I missed in the sew-down AND the outlining stage…so I had to go back and fix that at the end…

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And here’s a detail of some of the inking I did in the body pile.

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I’m glad it’s done and out of my head. OK. Hiking tomorrow. Need to take myself to bed and be ready for snow! Seriously. There’s snow. Crazy.

Three Birds for Sale

Remember the book Caps for Sale with all the monkeys? Love that book.

So I have a slowly dying computer that needs replacing. Don’t need a monitor or keyboard, just the part that runs everything, and this is the worst time of year for me to find extra cash lying around, so I remembered that I still have three unsold birds. So I’m putting them out there, just in case someone wants to give them as a Christmas prezzie or something.

The two smaller ones fit in a flat padded envelope, but the larger one has to go in a tube. The larger one is bound normally and has a sleeve; the other two are satin-stitched around the edges and hang off of two plastic rings in each corner (the rings don’t show). Prices are based on hours to make them…it’s quicker NOT to do the binding and sleeve, plus that one’s bigger anyway.

This is Purple Bird (Bird 8)…measuring 18.25“ w x 14.5“ h. It is straight…when it’s not sitting flat (hangs from a dowel). Priced at $205.

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This is Dove 2 (Bird 11), measuring 10″w x 8″h. No binding, no sleeve, hangs from rings. Priced at an easy $100.

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This is Diving Bird 2 (Bird 13), measuring 10″w x 8″h. No binding, no sleeve, hangs from rings. Also priced at an easy $100.

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Payment by cash, check, or Paypal. Shipping once payment is received. Let me know if you’re interested. My version of a Cyber Monday?

Peace Through Scissoring…

Hid myself in the gym yesterday. Nice and cold. Reading my book. Peaceful. Achieving something useful.

I came back home and tried to finish tracing Wonder Under, but the girlchild needed more water before her game, so I packed up and headed out into the sweltering heat earlier than I wanted…only 100 pieces done. Like it’s cooler in my house (it’s not. It’s the 7th pit of hell here.).

I spent the time before the game writing…this story I’m writing has a mind of its own. I read the last paragraph I’d written and didn’t remember writing it. Trance writing apparently. And the story is writing itself in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I’ll have to figure out if that section really belongs. But for now, I’m going to keep writing. Sex scene and all. My goodness. Who knew?

Soccer in 100-degree heat…it doesn’t look so bad in photos…it’s not like the flames of hell are on the field.

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The girlchild made two goals and they won the game…4 bottles of water later. I even left her my water. A mother’s sacrifices…never appreciated.

I left the game early for the Fence/Barda opening at Art Produce in North Park, so I missed the end…

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The opening was nice, lots of people and interactions above and through the fence. Here are my two birds outside the bathroom.

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My friends showed up and hung out…we ate and had a good time. Thanks y’all. I do appreciate you.

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Things have changed a lot since we originally installed, but I think it works. The American and Mexican sides of the fence are definitely different: one very formal and one very loosey goosey. Strangely, the installation process was flipped…we (the Americanskis) were very methodical in installation, even though things moved around. The Mexican contingent is still delivering pieces, somewhat due to border and vehicle issues, but their side is very formally presented, while ours flows and hangs and moves.

There’s my house on the right…and the birds I helped hang in the windows.

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You couldn’t walk in and find the Kathy Nida piece. There were no uteri, no boobs. It’s not like that.

Anyway, so it was a good opening. There are more events associated with this exhibit and another opening. I’ll post as we figure that shit out.

Once I got back, I was determined to finish tracing pieces, no matter how late, no matter how much wine I had ingested. I finished up around 11:30 PM. It took 11 hours and 38 minutes to trace all the pieces, about 1080 total.

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Today it’s over 100 degrees again, and I keep looking out at the clouds, hoping they will bring rain.

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They didn’t, but hopefully temps should drop tomorrow. It’s still in the 80s and it’s 10 PM. Ugh.

I’ll start cutting Wonder Under out today…tonight…right now, I’m dealing with school stuff, designing an online assignment on food and another on zombies. I graded a bunch of things using the iPad, which was nice, because I could watch PBS on the computer and grade on the iPad, although it would be nice to have some sort of a notes function in Edmodo to use while I’m grading things on Google Docs. Maybe a rubric I could click on or something. Wish I were technological enough to design the stuff teachers actually need. Maybe it’s all in Google Classroom and I just don’t know it yet.

Anyway. I’ve meditated and it’s time to Wonder Under…although I don’t think I’ll be done by Tuesday night. Oh well. That’s because I worked on other things.

Like I sewed the binding on the LAST of the bird quilts. Well, I thought it was the last of the bird quilts, but apparently someone else wants another owl.Sep 14 14 067 small

Yeah, but do they want a WHITE owl or a PURPLE owl, or an owl of an entirely different color? And can they wait until December? Because I really really need them to be able to wait that long. Rainbow Fucking Owl.

I finished Owl 2, Bird 15 today. It actually still needs a label…

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But assuming she still wants it, it’s a goner as of Thursday. I might do cats next. Not for a while though. I’ve got stuff on my plate.

I spent only an hour cutting things out…

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They were a pain in the butt. I was tired. It was hot. Damn, it still IS hot. And although I definitely should be asleep, I’m not. Because. That’s the way I roll. Badly and with limited rest. My goal? To finish the Wonder Under trimming in the next two nights (could be an issue) and start ironing fabrics Wednesday night, so I have something to cut out on Thursday night at quilt class. If not? Maybe I’ll trace one of the smaller quilts I need to work on as well.

But there’s progress. The progress gives me some peace. I feel it in my chest, like someone took a deep breath and gave me all that oxygen. Like there’s something in my head that feels the scissors tracing around the edge of each piece, analyzing how each piece should be cut out, with the minimum of Wonder Under and fabric waste, but not so much time and energy on the cutting out that it borders on the crazy. I did meditate tonight: once with the Headspace app and the nice British man, and once with scissors and Wonder Under, a careful trimming of the good from the bad, a metaphor for how to live, to cut out the shit, the crap that was thrown at you, the bullshit that people make up in order to excuse their bad behavior. Yeah. So I cut that. And tomorrow I will cut more.

Wonder Under meditation. I should charge admission.


Reworking the Past…

So, I’m starting this post Monday night, already knowing I won’t finish it until the morning, but I’m not mentally ready for bed, so there we are. I started my blog in Spring 2005 and although the pictures are all gone, the blog still exists in words here…I didn’t write much the first year. The second year, I calendared it and started writing every third day or so (it was Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, I think, in the beginning). A little over a year ago, I started writing essentially every night to try to keep the bad nasty away. Writing became therapy. Words out. Good.

So I went back to the installation today, now totaling 7 hours on this installation, and that doesn’t count the probably 6 hours I already have in the floating house and the almost 3 hours on each of the two birds (19 hours, bitches), and I brought this quilt I started a million years ago and never finished, because it had houses in it and we had this wall with nothing on it, and I decided that I wasn’t going to try to finish the quilt last night…I was gonna wait until the group OK’d it before I spent the time, because years ago, fucking YEARS ago, I had given up on this thing. In fact, I think I have a painted version of it after I took a Hollis Chatelain class here in San Diego, so you’d think I could track the years on that, but it was before I started blogging in 2005 and before I started my electronic journal in 2003. I started using Wonder Under in 2001 (documented here)…

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Well…in the top right corner…

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when I was trying to do a different block every week (I didn’t make it for very long).

But here’s what came of it…

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And I suspect this is after the Laura Wasilowski class, but I’m not positive, because it took me a while to finish the quilt from that class, so the date’s not really indicative of when I did it. This was supposed to be an experiment, not a serious quilt.

Anyway, I don’t think this quilt I found has a lot of WU in it.

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The big pieces feel loose. The drawing is probably down in the garage somewhere, but I don’t have time to search it out (and it might not even have a date on it anyway…I wasn’t so good at documenting back then). So I’m thinking this quilt is probably predating my divorce. My guess is late 90s, early 2000s. Seriously. And I know why I stopped…the hand-embroidery. I got it almost all quilted, except for the two houses, which I could quilt now in about 30 minutes flat. And I had crazy-quilt-pieced the background onto muslin…when did I start crazy quilting? I took my first quilt class in 1990. At the age of 23. I think I picked up crazy quilting soon after…so this thing was crazy pieced, and the bigger pieces, like the hills and the house and the hands, were put on top and stitched down without WU, like after I took the Joan Colvin class, so whenever I did this quilt, A Study in Flesh


which is circa 1999. No WU at all in this one. In 2001, I was using WU, but sporadically, and my drawings were usually to size. And some of the background fabric in this quilt was used as the background in Let There Be Light, November 2001, so that implies after that.

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No matter what data I have, and it’s limited from this era, I’m thinking it was started in late 2001. So before I was divorced. Holy god. A whole different existence.

And that means it’s over 10 years old, and I never finished it. I folded it up and left it in a pile. Until last night, when I pulled it out and decided to bring it today. And tonight, I put a binding on it.

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And tomorrow, I’m probably going to finish quilting the houses. And maybe do some hand embroidery on the other side, the light side. I’m curious why I used that fabric for the backing…

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I love that fabric. I must have gotten it on sale. I don’t usually use the good stuff on the back.

It’s interesting that I’m showing a good house and a bad house well before the divorce. There were certainly issues before, starting about 2 years earlier. It was not a good time for me. Not easy. Not fun. My freelance job was disappearing and so was my husband. It was a bad time.

And here I am now, in a bad time again. This quilt…it’s so different from what I do now, it’s almost comical to finish it…let’s assume it’s 13 years later. Anyway.

I also cut out the bindings and sleeves for the last two birds. I’m trying to finish this one by Thursday…

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This one has another couple weeks before it has to be done…

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So a little bit more pressure than I was hoping for this week. I really thought I could survive the weekend and it would all be better. Cue maniacal laughter here. Explains why my stomach muscles are sore…I’m finding myself clenching them sporadically, trying not to freak out. I meditated last night. Will be doing that all week. Must keep everything calm(ish). Must stay focused. I can do this.

Not in My Nature…

Oh Holey Batpuddle. OK, so the plus is that I have had a breakthrough on the painful drawing of death (it’s not really a drawing of death. It’s a drawing that was trying to kill me. It failed. Fuck you, drawing. I will prevail. I am way more stubborn than you are…Yes, I am arguing with a drawing that is coming out of my head and is composed of paper and pen). I got it to the right size (even this was an issue on Friday and Saturday nights) and then penciled in the legs…

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I wanted to make sure the proportions were right. I already have issues with the length of the arms, but have decided I don’t fucking care. Once I had them in pencil, which yes, required some erasing and redrawing (apparently I think people have HUGE feet), I inked in most of the bottom.

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I kept thinking I should add more stuff on the bottom bits, but I do need this to actually GET MADE. It’s not anywhere near done, of course…the tibias and fibulas are missing. Extra credit points if you know what those are. Of course, then crazy brain popped in and suggested drawing phalanges and the other foot bones, so I slapped myself around a bit and moved on. I’ll work on it again tonight, although I’ve been exhausted all weekend, despite TRYING to get more sleep, so I don’t know how well that will go. Yes, I wanted to be done with the drawing by tonight. No, I won’t be. Oh well. Moving on.

I also worked on one binding last night…

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I have two more to put on, one ideally by Thursday night, but it’s the smaller one. I think I have another week or so for the larger one.

In the morning, I had an idea for adding something to my floating house…

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Last-minute decisions. A human figure that hangs down on the inside.

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I will never be able to sell this for the time and materials I put into it, which is kinda sad.

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Oh well. The cats will be quite happy when I bring it home and hang it so they can reach it.

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I spent most of the day dealing with stage 1 of the Art Produce install…

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Which was supposed to be hanging all the houses. We spent the first hour locked out (ah, the wonders of miscommunication) and tying fishing wire to the houses for hanging.

We had a wide variety of types of houses. Most people did more than one…

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I decided to do one big one…

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Linda Litteral’s houses are beautiful…

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Hand-drawn on tracing paper glued to wooden bases.

We got the fence parts in place…

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Installed some hanging apparati above…

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And I spent about 2 hours going up and down a 10-foot ladder, tying fishing wire to the supports above. I was a little tired afterwards.

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One of the other artists was going back today to install a bunch more, and we’ll all be there this afternoon to install birds.

Here they are attaching the fence to the wall…

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Art Produce is a gallery in North Park (San Diego) that has applied for nonprofit status. The exhibit we’re installing is called Fence/Barda, and is in coalition with a group of Mexican women artists who we have barely met. There is an American side of the gallery and a Mexican side.

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But mostly the houses went in today…the inside of mine from below.

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I was down there for 3 hours yesterday and it will be another 4 today. We got the fence location put in place and then moved it out of the way so we could start hanging houses. Then put it back with a ladder on each side for installation purposes.

I finished the two birds for this exhibit. If you come to the show (the opening is 6-9 on Saturday, September 13), the birds are all selling for $100. This meant I had to spend less time on mine than I had with the original versions. First of all, the birds are all 8×10″, so that was smaller than my originals. Then I didn’t bind them…I just satin-stitched the edges. I also didn’t put a sleeve or a label on them…I just wrote the info on the back of the quilt and sewed on two little rings that can hang on nails.

This is Bird 11, Dove 2:

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And this is Bird 13, Diving Bird 2 (although this one is less divey than the original):

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They will be in the show through October; if they don’t sell there, I’ll put them up here when the show closes.

I’m also possibly hanging a quilt that I never finished from way back. I’m taking it in today and asking if they want it…it has two houses on it and it’s a significant departure from the work I do now, but we have some blank wall space on the American side and I think it might fit. I just need to put about 2-3 hours into finishing the quilting and putting a binding and sleeve on it. I was going to do that last night, but decided that I wasn’t going to put time and energy into it if they didn’t want it. So I’ll take it today and see what they say, and if they want it, I’ll finish it by next weekend, when the Mexican contingent installs…I can just go over and hang it on the wall in about 5 minutes flat.

Anyway. So I made lots of progress yesterday. I’m exhausted today and still have 12 things on the to-do list, not the least of which is getting ready for school tomorrow. Yikes! And the girlchild is in a mood (finally school stress starts to weigh on her). I miss the boychild. We had a brief text conversation yesterday about the lameness of Mexican food at Cornell (a shocker). We would FedEx him burritos, but suspect they won’t make it.

My mood’s been halfway between too busy to even notice how I feel (there are pros and cons to that) to sinking well below into the depths of yucky shit. Fun stuff. I’m hoping artistic progress will keep pulling it back out. A girl can hope. Whenever you think the depression might be gone or reduced, it comes back to remind you that no, no it’s not. HERE I AM. Whatever. Fuck you. Now I need to jump on the rest of my to-do list for the day. While many people are lazing around, planning their Labor Day barbecue, I’m trying to decide what I’m taking to an installation potluck (I’m not making anything…there’s just no way) and how to fit 10 more hours into the day. Such is my life. I keep making more work for myself. Trying to draw the lines…I won’t do this or that, I will keep a balance. Ha. It’s not in my nature.

Exhausted Slam

I think I finally hit the exhaustion mark, slammed into it last night at about 10 PM. Surprised I made it that late. I was quilting the birds and realized my eyes were having a hard time staying open. Just a note to the inexperienced: if you quilt with your eyes closed, there is a much higher chance you will sew through your finger. So I stopped. I finished the eyeball bird first though…

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And then did the second diving bird…

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Smaller than the last one. It’s for the Art Produce show, so it has to be a particular size. I still did all the windy quilting though…

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And that’s what made me slam into the tired wall. I wanted to finish the other two last night too, but I fell asleep on the couch and then went to bed after that. There’s no point in trying to quilt when you’re that tired. You’re going to fuck it up. But that’s what school does…it’s amazing how exhausting it is being ON for 7 hours straight. There’s no down time really. There’s lunch and your prep, and you’re usually doing stuff during those, like peeing and eating. It’s just On On On. After the more relaxing pace of the summer, where I didn’t really get enough sleep either, the start of school is always kind of a body shocker. It takes a couple of weeks to get it under control.

Saturday I was going to get all this stuff done and my brain just rebelled. It was done. It was tired. I managed the gym and then the girlchild and I went to a local British pub for the Dr. Who season premiere with about 150 other people…there were lots of people dressed up, kids and adults. Girlchild says I shouldn’t even be allowed to go, because I’ve only seen like 5 Dr. Who episodes (true…time issue, eh? I started watching from Season 1 this week finally).

But we had a good time. It was a good show. Funny. And I drew during the commercial breaks…

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I love my Tivo. No commercials. There’s a phone booth at the bar, so even though her face is still swollen from the wisdom-teeth removal, she allowed photos…

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A friend texted me and asked how the first boychild-free weekend was going. Well I’ve had the girlchild all weekend, so it’s not like what it will be once school starts and she has a social life and isn’t around all the time. Or ever. So I cleaned his room a little (mostly laundry) and his dad has called every night to report, so it’s not the same. He texted back that he does NOT want a monogrammed laundry basket like his roomie has (damn.), although there is a list of things he does want, so we’ll deal with that. He texted back and forth with his sister last night while I was asleep on the couch, so we know he’s alive. And still up at 1 AM. So all that is normal. His cat misses him. She’s been a whiny butt for a few days now. It probably doesn’t help that Jake, the amazingly large-nosed German Shepherd, is here. He sticks that nose into cat faces, despite the claws, and they don’t like it much.

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So. Yeah. And I’m pretty busy. Not a lot of time to stop and think about much of anything, whether it’s his being gone or my pitiful social life or anything else that tends to bring me down. I’m too damn tired. I really want to take a nap right now, but I have 70 trillion things to do this afternoon, and they’re all time-sensitive and incredibly important. So really, I should get my ass off the computer and get the freak out of here. (I’m finishing my tea. That’s why I’m still here. Plus I had to get all the online grocery coupons. Yup. I do that. It’s $20-40 a visit it saves me…that pays for my Netflix, right?). Anyway. Girlchild is gone all afternoon. Social butterfly. It’s not that I would be chatting it up with the boychild if he were here on a Sunday afternoon, but at least it would be another body in the house. Watching me nap. Can’t nap. No time.

I Must Proceed…

A day. A bruise on my hand. Realizing at the gym that all the raucous music and distracting literature in the world can’t keep me from thinking. Dammit. Boychild leaves for college in 30 hours. School starts in 8 1/2 (yes, I should be asleep…I may finish this in the morning). I left school at about 1 PM today. I was done. I had stuff in my head that was unsettling me, throwing me off, and honestly, there wasn’t anything left to do. I came home and finished up what I could. I did physical therapy and the gym and meditation.

I did all the things.

And then I started in on the birds…this is number 13, Diving Bird 2.

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It’s the same fabrics, but I flipped it by accident…

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traced it upside down onto the Wonder Under. It’s a pain to iron then, because I can’t see the pattern through the paper as well. I did that once with an entire quilt. It was very frustrating. This one is not the same size, because it’s supposed to be 8×10 for the Art Produce show…so slightly different.

This one was the same, although…

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I think the background fabric is different, because I was out of the other one.

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I think. Not sure. Yeah, it’s different (you didn’t even know I clicked over to my website to look, did you?). Yes, I use my own website to figure out what I’ve done, thought, planned. So that was Bird 14, Hey Bird 2.

The last one was completely different fabrics…

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because I knew I didn’t have enough to reproduce it as it was in the original. Well, that was the second version of it anyway.

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And then I fussed about the background and decided on this one. It’s a little smaller than the other one. Maybe. Not sure. Won’t know until I finish it. Stitching and all. Hopefully tomorrow night I can stitch some down. Maybe? Who knows. Boychild is not packed for college, although he finally started thinking about it. It’s OK. I’ve already shipped two boxes with bedding, towels, and sundry other items, including a Horton Hears a Who plate. Because who doesn’t need that? Girlchild is already planning what she will bake to send him. He will gain the Freshman Fifteen because of his sister. Or he will be best friends with everyone on his floor. If he’s smart.

I wanted to finish watching the X-Files episode that was on Netflix, so I worked some more on the binding for the Menopause quilt…

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I think I need to call my photographer and just set a drop-off date, because that will force me to finish it.

I gave boychild one piece of roomie advice, which he will probably ignore: Assume positive intent. I wish people did that with me. Because I’m really not out to get anyone, and I’m voted most likely to let you show me who you are, even if I have prior experience with you as an asshole. Yes, that has been on my mind today. Sigh. I always tell my students that I don’t care if your older brother/sister was a total asshole (OK, I don’t use that word), I will not hold it against you. You are your own person and I am waiting for you to show me who that is. Especially that kid who got 12 suspensions last year. I don’t wanna know about it. Come into my classroom clean. Start over. Clean slate.

Wish I could do that with my life. Wake up one morning with everything erased. Start over. There’s so much baggage weighing me down at the moment, I don’t even know where to start getting rid of it.

Anyway. So. School starts tomorrow and I might even be ready. I can’t get onto Google Classroom because I’m not special enough (or I am entirely too special), but I know how to use Edmodo and will do that if I need to.

Mental status? Eh. There’s so much change and shit rolling around that I’m just pushing everything into the corner again. I have a big bubble around me and I try to bounce all the unhappy and nasty off of it. I saw 5 of my girls from last year today and got hugs from all of them (let’s not tell them that I couldn’t remember their names for another 5 hours because I am that lame). So I’m sorta holding everything at bay. I cry because I realize the boy will not ever really come back. He’ll be here for vacations, but then he’ll graduate and get a job and go off into the world. I’ve been a full-time mom for so long. I expected to have a transition stage, but there was something there to transition into. I’m not sure what I’m transitioning into any more. More quiet with fabric. I don’t know if that’s good or not.

I have this sketchbook that fits in my purse and I used to carry it (or others before it) in my former life, when I went out to dinner once or twice a week, and I would always draw while waiting for dinner to come, and I would date and locate the drawing, so there’s all these names of restaurants in all these old sketchbooks. Now there are only dates, because I never really go out to dinner any more. The first few a year ago were at the movies, when I was trying to feel semi-normal and I would go to the movies on Saturday nights and sit there by myself and cry in the movie theater.

Now I just don’t go. I miss them. I can’t afford them…financially or mentally. So I just don’t go.

None of this is particularly healthy. Maybe the drawing is. I need to do more of that, I think. In between all the other stuff. Sigh. Time. Such constraints. And ALL the FEELS.

I am so not ready for the next few days. Or maybe I am ready, but ready means that I will cry. I am sad now and maybe in two days I will be all saddened out and it will be OK again. I just don’t know. I made the mistake the other night of looking at all the photos I was trying to put away, to find a home for, and there was the girlchild, not even age 2, at my brother’s wedding, and the boychild, happily wearing a button-down shirt and tie, shaved little head, big smile on his face, age 3 1/2. Girlchild holding her sippy cup and her hair isn’t even girl-length yet. It took so long for her hair to grow.

And I know I didn’t do it all wrong, because boychild is off to a good school, to Cornell, where he will be exposed to lots of smart people and hard thinking and he will come back a different person, and I know he is there because I did a good job raising him, but it still feels like I did something wrong. Like I didn’t follow the rules so I’m being punished. And I know that lots of moms (and dads) feel sad when their kids go off to college, but it feels like abandonment. I want to lecture him on all the diapers I changed and how long I nursed him and how long it took him to potty train, and dammit, call your mom occasionally and send some pictures of your roomie and where you live and don’t forget that she was there for you. Eh? OK? I see him rolling his eyes from here.

Yeah. I think I’m just gonna be surviving the next few days. Weeks.

I must proceed.

Yes, that’s e. e. cummings he’s talking about. I read Barron Storey’s blog, well, look at his drawings anyway. Must Proceed…