Teaching Kittens to Fingerpaint

‘Tis Wednesday and I am trying to type this while a senior cat headbutts my chin and licks my hand. Also my right wrist hurts…and trying to figure out if it’s (a) all the computer grading I did yesterday, (b) lifting weights at the gym, or (c) tracing a few really big pieces of sky on Wonder Under is really pointless, because I think it’s all of them. Note to self: take computer off stand to grade. Also go find the wrist brace because last time you wore it for a day and things were better. My chiropractor is already going to have fun with my neck and upper back on Friday. Let’s not add other injuries from your silly job. Tiny little laptop keyboard plus bad angle of body and wrist. Silly.

So I’m not feeling like there’s much progress on the tracing, because I’m up in the big swoopy bits of the sky and the pieces are huge and a pain to fit onto the Wonder Under, so they take much longer to trace than all the small pieces I was doing over the weekend.

I think the first night, I only traced like 25 pieces. But they were big and fussy. Last night? Last night, I started on piece 411 and finished on 441. I’m still in the sky, but I’ve moved from the back right to the back left, and there’s not a lot of it left. So that’s a plus, because I’m used to doing about 100 pieces an hour and this does not feel like movement. I’m 8 hours in and still in the 400s. I’m only getting about an hour and 15 minutes of tracing each night during the week. I went to the gym last night, prepped breakfasts AND cooked dinner on Monday night. Tonight I have an art meeting on Zoom, tomorrow a stitching meeting on Zoom plus science planning. It’s hard to get time to make things right now. But exercise is important and so is the socializing. Most of them are back on Zoom for now, until omicron fucks off. I’m still getting a few quarantine contracts each day…wait. I don’t think I got any yesterday. Is that possible? Knock on wood, knock hard.

I will go back and fill in all those little spaces with the smaller pieces I’ll be tracing tonight or tomorrow night. I hate wasting Wonder Under. I save pieces that are bigger than 3″ square for when I need just a small piece to retrace something (happens all the time) or when I need to make a label for the back of a quilt.

Speaking of quilts, there are three in Escondido at the California Center for the Arts right now in the California Fibers’ exhibit Surface, Substance, StructureSo Cal Mama

I Can’t Be Your Superwoman

And Portrait of the Artist As a Young Woman

I haven’t made it up to the show yet. It’s up until March 6, so check it out.

And I also have a piece in the A Better World exhibit at Visions Art Museum, Bill! Bill! Bill!, a tribute to Bill Nye.

They’ve been closed for the last week or so; I haven’t seen this exhibit either, but I did see it in person when it was at Road to California? I think? Can’t remember where…it was pre-COVID, though, so fuzzy brain. It will be there until April 3. Lots of opportunities to see Nida originals! OK two opportunities.

I’m trying to finish up Sue Spargo’s Chirp before this year’s block of the month starts, ironically because I haven’t finished last year’s either. Silly, but a goal anyway. There are 24 flowers around the edge.

There are four of each type of flower. I have finished three of the types, so 12, so halfway! Woo! Wait, this also might have something to do with my wrist hurting today…those yellow cast-on bullions are a pain to do.

Every flower has them. I’m getting better at them. I guess that’s the plus. I did start the fourth flower type last night, but this is not a fast border to stitch. I suspect they got complaints, because last year’s easy BOM had a super basic border. I like a complicated border, but when you think you’re almost done and then there’s still 6 months of work (I do these slowly), it’s a hard mind thing.

OK. Time for me to get my ass out of here to school, where it’s a Wednesday, so I teach ALL the things, four different things, it’s like my hair is on fire…

Yeah. Welcome to my job in pandemic times. It’s never really a cake walk anyway, but this stuff just makes it harder. My morning science block will be like pulling teeth…I know because I did it with three classes yesterday. The afternoon block should be slightly better? Maybe? But then 6th graders in art. We are starting something new, though, so maybe that will help. It will feel less like teaching kittens to fingerpaint? Hard to say. Tracing the damn sky tonight though. That’s a thing.

Simplify. Fewer Words.

Mid-week posts while I’m teaching are SPARE. Unless I get into a show. Which I did! I have three pieces that will be in a California Fibers show at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, opening in January…looking forward to that. One of them is NOT the one I made for the show, so if you want to see the hiking quilt, IDK when or where that will be…so here’s I Can’t Be Your Superwoman…which did get in.

Dear WordPress: Why are you being so bitchy this morning? I already know today will be a challenge. I don’t need it shoved in my face. Seriously, it wouldn’t let me bold the title. Then it wouldn’t let me delete the caption under the figure that I didn’t even put there. Then it wouldn’t let me add a new box to type in. It’s like dealing with some of my students. Actually, yesterday, two kids did the thing when I pushed them to do the thing, even though I had no help in a class with 8 SPED in it (soon to be 9, I’m pretty sure)…I’m so tired of our SECA shortage. I’m especially tired of not knowing there will BE a SECA shortage in my classroom until the SECA just doesn’t show up. Yesterday was manageable only because two of them were absent. Another one drew a pentagram on my desk and another with chalk pastel (we had a conversation…I think we bonded over blackened fingers for art) and two of the others rocked it. Today is the less capable group, though, but I’m guaranteed a SECA in there due to child in wheelchair (oh good). We’ll see how it goes. Today is hard because I teach 4 different things: an Advisory topic (IDK WTF today is…I never know until I look at the form), the Block 1 of science (today is figuring out what fossils are on the continents in certain eras…yesterday this went well, good good), Art (will be fucking chaos of India ink and paintbrushes, pray for me to the Goddess of Art Teachers and the Hell in Which They Exist with Materials), and finally Block 2 of Science, which is all thinking and figuring stuff out, which often is a dead silent, not even crickets, because WE DID THE THINGS BUT WE DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM. Yeah. So that. And I have a meeting this morning so I have to leave in 10 minutes.

I did no art on Monday night because I was cleaning my studio. I started with putting the fabrics away.

From the last two quilts…one big one and one little one. I can’t focus on the next one until the room is under control. Also I need the boxes the fabrics are in to sort the Wonder Under, so it’s almost forced cleaning. This is a small space and it is already chock full, so without that stage, there is nothing happening.

Then last night, I made it to the gym for the first time in a month (woo hoo!), came home, packed up two quilts that need to ship out today, and finally made it in the studio for artmaking at about 10 PM. Ah good. So I sorted the first 100 pieces and ironed the first set of dirt to fabric.

It’s a start. It’s not a great start, but I’m ready to go for tonight. I should get a full hour in tonight, I hope, maybe more, although the gradebook opened, so I might be doing that instead.

Nova in a mood.

She likes to scratch things.

Anyway, I gotta get outta here, do the school thing, racing through, which is what most days feel like (hence the exhaustion at the end), then Pilates, then home for dinner and art stuff. Plus thinking about sub plans for Friday. I wrote them, but I need to simplify. Bullet points. Fewer words. Hard for me. You might have noticed.

Not Hard. Just Time.

Hello Friday! It seems like it was just Tuesday. I guess that’s a good thing. I have a ton of stuff to get done today, on Friday, and hopefully that will actually happen so I don’t have to do all of it in the middle of the night. I’m supposed to deliver 7 quilts tomorrow to a gallery…awesome thing that! Opening is this coming Thursday.

Good thing I’m reminding myself of that, because I thought I had another week. All seven quilts need to be ironed and dehaired and readied for exhibit. Luckily they are smaller and not particularly wrinkled, but it needs to happen before tomorrow afternoon. So there’s that. I think one needs a label and slats too. Not hard. Just time.

That’s the mantra right now. Plants need watering. Not hard. Just time. I really need to draw a stethoscope for this Social Justice Sewing Academy block. Not hard. Just time…plus getting the cat off the bag it’s in. That’s harder. She has sharp pointy bits. School…need a doc done, some posts done, papers copied, grading warmups and some other stuff. Not hard. Just time.

As far as the art stuff is going, really what I need is energy. I did a little stitching after dinner on Wednesday night on the SJSA block (got it out from under the cat for once)…

Then I managed to iron down all the fabrics for the Patreon reward piece…

It took about an hour and a half. I borrowed some fabrics from the one I just finished cutting out and then added more. It’s actually mostly blue in area…I think it’ll be cool. We’ll see though. I need to cut those pieces out. I was going to do that last night, but mostly I laid down on the couch and tried to keep my eyes open while the man talked. Then I went to bed.

Why? Usually I can do the things. Yeah no. I was at school early, then stayed late to plan science…trying to do it all in one day is hard. I’ll get used to it again, but it’s hard. We can’t get everything done and we don’t have the same prep periods, so I just don’t have the rhythm of it yet. I’ll get there. Maybe on Week 3? Maybe by then we’ll be shut down. So many kids out on quarantine or pandemic concerns (they have symptoms but haven’t been tested or if they were tested, parents didn’t tell the school the results…so they’re just out for 10 days)…trying to keep track of those and my head. Ha! Then after all that, I drove 45 minutes to the California Center for the Arts for the closing reception of the Allied Craftsmen show Crafting Memories

There’s my piece. Hopefully I’ll be back here in January with California Fibers and more pieces. I did meet people and pretended to network. Not really. They all came and talked to me and that was OK. Then I Zoomed with my stitching group on the way home, picked up a burger, came home, ate it, and collapsed.

Not my best moment. Today will be better. Today I will do ALL the things and finish them all and then go get tested for COVID because I’m just gonna do that every week or two to make sure I’m not infecting the world…and then clean up and pack up all those quilts and maybe cut some things out or maybe go watch the man’s band (outside…I think this is probably outside of my exhaustion level). And sleep. Because I have to be up early for the annual boob squeeze. Do it! Breast cancer doesn’t care that there’s a pandemic or that I’m exhausted.

Damn zebrafish. Yeah. Going to school now. Doing all the things. Caffeine is also my friend today.