A Weird Year…

February is such a weird month. So short. So full of 3-day weekends (which I fully appreciate). You try to use that extra day wisely, make sure you have some free time, time off from school stuff, time to just relax. Sundays just disappear into school and groceries for me, and now gaming has moved to Sundays for now, totally confuzzles my brain. So I need today, the extra day, mostly to catch up with whatever I didn’t get to on Saturday, because my brain just stopped working. Not really. I did grade things. In fact, I’ve graded every day, and before you tell me I should take a break today and not grade anything, I’ve already considered it and rejected it because of the number of things I have piled up. The reality is that we’re getting to the end of a trimester, and the art stuff and science stuff make it harder to grade, because I have to full on change my mindset to pop from one to another; same with going from the 6th-grade art class to the upper-level art class.

Anyway, after grading Saturday morning (while the man watched the impeachment), we hiked the Highland Valley Trail, part of the Coast to Crest challenge from 2019/2020. This is a pretty one, although you never really get away from houses and the road.

It looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere…

But in reality, above those deer is a house…

They don’t seem to mind.

And below us is a road…

It’s a pretty trail though. We could have gone further.

But it was getting late.

Just under 4 miles.

WordPress seems to be having font size issues today. Hmm. We’ll see how it posts. Right now, it looks tiny.

Friday night, I did a little ironing on the Desert Bunny quilt. Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it right now.

I’m sure it will change. I quit when it was flesh time…until last night at midnight. Because that seemed like a good time to pick fabrics for a big chunk of the quilt. I tried to pick fabrics I hadn’t used before or often. Success! At least two of them had never been used.


This is such a tiny quilt. I’m almost done ironing it to fabric. Then I get to trim it. I also finished the sleeves and binding on the Spargo quilt on Friday night, but I need someone to hold it up for me for photography. Maybe later today.

Where Kitten sits while I’m teaching…

So she can see me but not be in class.

I keep trying to relax…pajamas, pets…

Furry love.

I miss treats at school.

I can’t be bothered to get in the car before school starts and go buy a donut. Silly what you miss.

Still doing the bullet journal after IDK how many years. It helps focus my brain. I like to try new fonts. My favorites are the ones that are a pain in the ass to draw…

I mean, my favorites are the ones that are totally different for each letter.

Last week’s, I gave up trying to draw…because it was all plumbing. YES. A PLUMBING FONT. Who knew? A pain in the ass to do.

OK, I need to go pick up art from a show that closed. I entered one show last night and started entering another, which turned out to be another pain in the ass. I don’t have a lot of “family friendly” art…at least, I suspect what most people would call family friendly. Oh well. Everything I have for that show is OOOLLLDDD. So be it. Then more grading, prepping food for my mom’s 80th birthday. I missed my dad’s 80th due to a COVID exposure. So I’m bringing food, especially cake. And hopefully some art. Plus grading. Not hopefully on that. That has to happen. And then no more 3-day weekends for a long while. Spring Break is in 39 days though. That sounds almost doable. We have a short camping and hiking trip planned for break, and then the Man leaves to hike the PCT. For possibly 5-6 months. It’s a weird year, y’all. A weird year.

Be Proud to Be Outta Your Mind and Outta Control*

Well so I thought I’d be too tired and sick last night after work and gaming to do anything artistic. Apparently my art brain totally did not agree. So after I did 24 points of damage on some Bloodthirster thing by blowing out its spleen (I was aiming slightly lower), I came home and sat around for a bit, drank some tea, took some meds before that, and tried to get my head around stupid gun people shit…seriously, I can’t even look at Facebook at the moment with all the stupid gun people shit…then my cohabitant went to bed and I came in here to basically just straighten up the studio and get all the relevant pieces in here so I could iron today. So I’d at least be ready.

I laid out the drawing and moved the ironing board and sorted the first 100 pieces…and then started to iron. And that went on for a while, until I realized it was after 1 AM and I should probably try that sleeping thing (which I really do suck at, so honestly, I might have been better staying up longer, except I am sick and I don’t want to make that worse).

Wait, so let’s go back. I embroider at gaming because I’m tired and it keeps me awake. Sad but true…Friday night socializing is not my strong point. I’m almost done with the road part and then I can start embellishing the rest of the June blocks. These are June, right? Why would you know? Yes, I’m behind. Plus this is from 2013. So I’m really really far behind.

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Don’t judge.

So yeah, while I was trying to wake up after gaming, I set up the week’s pages for next week…this is the basic format I use. Top section for general to-do list. Middle section for art-related, although more the doing of art, rather than the business of art. Business of art ends up in the top section. Bottom section is for exercise logging and doesn’t get used nearly enough unfortunately.

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The other stuff is a little random…to-do lists that I don’t want in the dailies, notes to myself, mostly about art stuff…I found someone else’s version of this and tweaked it slightly for what I needed. Then here’s last week’s after I got through (it was a busy week).

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Sometimes I draw stuff on there too, when I feel like it. Some weeks are busier than others. It’s keeping me accountable for what needs to be done…better than online calendars, although I’m using those too…plus a white board calendar on the fridge. I’m pretty damn visual. It helps to check in with myself regularly. It’s even better when I get to use a lot of colors to do it.

Usually I set up the week on Sunday, but I’ll be in LA tomorrow, heading briefly to QuiltCon and then on to an opening downtown-ish. Then home. Long day really. So I have to get all my Sunday stuff done today…groceries, work email, stuff for class on Monday. So I did it last night. That’s probably what jumpstarted art brain.

But I also want to iron today…because I started last night and here’s an hour’s worth…

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I didn’t finish all the earth bits, but I got a bunch done…planning on doing more today.

Girlchild finally found her phone charger and started communicating again. Apparently they had some sort of caravan transport on three boats to that thing out there? I think? Or maybe that’s coming back? Anyway, she balances way better than I do.

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Not that it’s hard to do that. My balance sucks.

I sent her a puppy picture…because he’s tired of me right now. I’m no fun. I won’t play with or pet him nonstop…

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And I’m the only one here today. Oh well. I have my work cut out for me (ha. Cut out.). I’m going to iron for a while and then do schoolwork. Woo hoo. The ironing…I just wanna do that until I’m done. I love this part of the quilt…getting to see it all come together. Yeah. Gonna do more of that.

*Eminem, The Real Slim Shady

I Got Some Lovely*

I realized this morning that my brain has been a week off…well, all week…simply because I forgot to cross off the days of the week on the paper calendar that hangs to the right of my computer. I kept thinking I have more of January…but in reality, January has slipped through my fingers. I’m such a visual person. As a teacher, I write and say the date multiple times a day and it just doesn’t stick until I SEE it. This is one of the reasons I started doing something like a bullet journal this year, although I dunno if it’ll stick. But it helps me to see the tasks and write them out or cross them off, even though I’m using online calendars and to-do lists as well. I have paper calendars on my wall at school and in my office, and a white board-type calendar on the fridge, but I often lose the little tasks, the tiny stuff, the transfers, the payments, the mailing of this or that. I think the weekly thing is helping with that. Maybe. I know for me that writing it down, not just typing it, helps me remember it.

Plus if I’m feeling a little unmotivated to do other stuff, I start drawing in it.

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I don’t usually do a lot of color when I draw. Wait. I don’t do any color when I draw. But when I was a kid, the best Christmas present ever was the big pack of 50 different color pens…because all the ones from the year before had dried up, except for the really ugly colors. I find myself buying colored-pencil  or pen kits, even though I don’t color. Yeah, maybe I should color. In my spare time.

I’m still sick. Not horrendously sick, but not feeling my best. Just want to lie around in my pajamas all day and read fiction while drinking tea. Can’t really justify doing that though, because I also want to finish my quilt and get some grading done, because it’s weighing on me. Last night was gaming, though…so I was working on this a little. Just the tree to go really.

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Came home and sat on the couch until I realized I was really tired and should go to bed. The animals are smarter than I am.

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I got up this morning and saw this…this is what I want to finish this morning. So I will.

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Girlchild was silent for like 14 hours…and I realized she was flying to Northern Madagascar, done with orientation and starting her first home stay and classes. When there’s no wifi, I don’t hear from her. There’s going to be a lot of that. Really, 14 hours is nothing. When she’s in Boston, I sometimes go days without hearing from her, but I see her liking my photos on Instagram or whatever, so I know she’s there, I feel her presence. I paid her parking tickets from school, so hopefully they won’t tow her car while she’s gone. Hopefully her friend will move the car around too. We couldn’t find anywhere to store the car for the 4+ months she would be gone, so this was the solution.

When I was driving to gaming last night, a 20-minute trip I can do in my sleep, I had this idea for a series, but not just my own work…so I don’t know if I’ll be able to ever pull this off, but I like the idea. When reading all the negative stuff toward white women, with the Trump vote and white feminism overwhelming the feminism of others, it’s not enough to say “It’s not ME!” because really that’s irrelevant. The real question is what can I do to (not fix that, because that’s not a thing…I can’t fix it)…to open up the conversation with all women and those who identify as women and those who don’t fall within the two-gender system. I always think of my art as a conversation with the viewers…easier for me as an introvert to talk through my art than to talk in person, I think. So I had some ideas about having a real live conversation with someone who is not a bog-standard cis hetero white chick, like me, but who has a view of themselves that can be drawn…ideally they can draw, although maybe not necessary.

I have this one woman in mind who is engaged in her ethnicity, her color, her race, her culture, and her femininity (honestly, she’s way more feminine…I hate that word…than I ever am), and she draws. And we talk…we talk about our experiences…being a woman in the world (or however she thinks of herself as being in the world) and we draw. You’ve seen my work…I like figure drawings. I imagine she draws herself or a figure that is her, and I draw myself. We surround our drawings with the things we feel about the conversation, about how to find the intersection between our experiences. I listen a lot, because honestly, I know my experiences of being a white woman raised in a fairly affluent community and expected to go to college and following through with that…these are much easier than the experiences of say my female students, who didn’t go camping with the Girl Scouts or to summer camp or to art classes when they were in elementary school or freakin’ tennis lessons (I hated tennis. I sucked at it. But I did have lessons) or cotillion (oh holy crap, another thing I hated). Or knowing you were going to be able to go to college. It’s funny, because I don’t feel like those tennis and cotillion lessons are part of who I am now…but they probably pushed me into what I am. I don’t know. But I feel like if we can talk one on one, then maybe some connections can be solidified. Because it’s true that there is no equality for women unless there is equality for ALL women…and honestly, if we could figure out how to dump this either-or system of you are male or you are female, that would be cool too.

So she draws her figure and I draw mine, and we try to draw some intersection between the two. Then honestly, I want to make a quilt out of that. But I wonder if that is my taking over her image, and I don’t want to do that. I could teach the process and let her create her half…I could do the drudge work, the cutting, the ironing, the quilting. Or I could have her color a cartoon and then follow that when I iron her side to fabric. Or have her bring fabrics to the table. Some of this may be overwhelming to someone who doesn’t create similarly to me though…I don’t know. Maybe even just asking for the figure is too much…although I’d be totally OK with having this conversation and both of us drawing and then maybe coming back together and they have this painting or drawing or charcoal or sculpture that is their version and doesn’t even have a figure in it, but it sits/stands/hangs next to mine. I do want some sort of intersection though, some connection, some place where we come together. So that’s part of the conversation. Where do we intersect? Where do we have things in common? Where can we live and converse and support and create a better, more inclusive world?

Anyway. It’s in my head. Maybe it will become something real in the next year. I do know that even if all I had was a drawing and I did all the fabric choosing and ironing and quilting, it would still be a piece by both of us. Owned by both of us. Then maybe it can go out there in the world and speak to both sides. If there’s a lack of understanding, maybe the viewer connects with one side and can try to see the other side. If that’s a problem…and I think it is. It might even be worthwhile to try to find some white woman who voted for Trump and would be willing to have that conversation with me and draw with me. That might be the hardest conversation, because this is about empathy in many ways, and I have a hard time holding on to empathy for a group who seems to inhabit hate for others as part of their existence. But I realize some of that is my misunderstanding of why they voted the way they did. Change is hard. Change is scary. Some of us embrace it more than others. Some of us jump on its back and ride it into the sunset. Some hide in the closet.

Of course, there’s a strong possibility that my idea is just more white feminist trying to fix it all. Hence the need for conversations.

But today? Today I’m going to finish quilting this little piece. And hopefully the cold meds will kick in. And maybe I’ll draw some stuff. I’ve only got about 17 drawings in my head right now.

*XTC, My Brown Guitar