A Cat Would Be Nice

November 5, 2017

Well hello. I am still supremely sad about Midnight. I’m trying to do all the stuff I’m supposed to do, like grades and errands and finding obscure lightbulbs (don’t even ask), but it sucks sucks sucks. She hung out in my office all the time, and now she’s not here, so it’s hard to be in here…

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Her fur is still on everything, because she laid on everything. She’ll be in every quilt from now until I die. And beyond probably. Aargh. Dammit world, why?

It’s hard to be out in the living room too, because she was out there too…

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Thursday night before she got sick, monopolizing my sketchbook. She seemed fine then. So it’s gonna take me a while I guess. The hardest ones are when you get no warning. You spend months medicating a cat and taking it to the vet and giving it subcutaneous fluids and it’s almost a relief for everyone, including the cat, when it’s done. I’m sure that’s true for people as well. For 5 years, my grandma had 6 months to live. We were somewhat ready when it actually happened.

So I’ve been keeping busy, because there’s just too much shit to do to NOT be busy.

Friday night was gaming…I sewed these blocks together and then worked on the bottom left block. That guinea hen needs feet, but apparently I need to sew something to the bottom of it for that to happen. I need to finish the flowers on that block and then the monkey has a bunch of stitching, and then I can move onto the sheep.

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I did two nights on this (actually I did three, but the second picture is crap). I’m mostly trying to fill in on the left side now.

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Then I was trying to get the rest of the June block organized, since I’ll need it soon enough. I wanted to keep all the blocks separate, because it’s easier to embroider a single block than a conglomerate, but that doesn’t work with the road and overlapping shit, so I gave up and sewed all this together. June is the three blocks that still have pins in them. So I’m still sewing wool down for those. Obviously.

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All that happened on Saturday afternoon, when I was done with grades (well, for the day) and I had run errands and I had very little brain power.

Then we went to an art opening in the roof area of a hotel in Little Italy…great views, shitty parking. But it was a good base for hanging out in the evening, and a friend of mine was in the show, so it was a good excuse for it.

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I was lame and didn’t take any photos of my friend’s work, Kim Kane Niehans, but you can go look at her website and know that she does beautiful work.

So this show is associated with 1805 Gallery, which does artist residencies in this tiny studio, all glass, on the street level in Little Italy, here in San Diego. The goal is to interact with the community, so artists deal with that in different ways. I was not consistent about taking photos, but I liked this work by Chantal Wnuk…very expressive.

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And these pieces by Lauren Siry, the organizer/gallery curator/owner.

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A view of the entire space…very cool…5th floor on a gorgeous San Diego night.

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Then dinner down the street at Queensland Public House…

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And home for some episodes of Orville and drawing…I added Kitten into the quilt. She stars in lots of them.

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Still trying to persuade her to come sit out with me in the living room. I know I complain about them sitting on the light table, but I like their presence…just not their effect on the drawing.

Then I started adding more hands…an apron…80 cents to a man’s dollar (still trying to figure out how to show that), a uterus…

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On the other side, I went for birth control…because that’s gonna get more expensive, harder to get, which equals more babies that people can’t feed and maybe don’t even want. Sex is a biological urge, but women aren’t supposed to have it? Men can, and we’ll even fund the drugs for them to have it longer and harder than their bodies will allow, but women, we’re supposed to be prim and proper and fuck you, seriously?

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I’m pretty irritated with politicians and white men and a huge swath of the voting public at the moment.

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I’m just filling in spaces at the moment, trying to visualize what the final drawing will look like. I’m close, very close. I just need some time with my head and some tea and a cat would be nice. Sigh.

I Got a Mind Like Weather*

November 3, 2017

Well one thing about teaching middle school: some of them have incredible empathy and some of them are socially inept and some are just jerks at this age. One hopes they will grow out of it. Most of them were in the empathetic to inept range yesterday…inept in that they blurt stuff out and want you to explain everything when you don’t have the emotional energy to do so, and probably don’t need to burst into tears yet another time. Then again, at least one adult was in the socially inept range.

We rescued Midnight out of a tree in 2005 and she was the girlchild’s baby from there on…


She’s the only cat we’ve ever had who would ride in a stroller.

When I got home, I petted this thing a lot…he misses her too. He went looking for her yesterday. They were buddies.

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You know he doesn’t understand where she went.

Eventually I found the mental energy to stand up and draw…I don’t feel like I got much done, but I did whatever I did for almost an hour. I suspect most of it was staring at the paper. But I added a background landscape…

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It’s simple enough. Just a place to land the body…

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I used to always just drop them in space…and sometimes I still do, these legless torsos, like busts on invisible pedestals, floating in the middle of nowhere. Now I feel like they need a home. I’m sure that says something about me.

I added in the sewing stuff that was in the original drawing but wouldn’t fit on my second try. And I added the glow around Midnight…that solves the problem of dark cat on dark background, but also makes her look (as a friend said yesterday) a bit more badass…

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She wasn’t really that badass. She looked it because she had that long nose and those green eyes, but then she’d rub up against you or knead your belly with her claws and chirp with this tiny little voice, and you’d realize what a big softy she was. I miss her. It’s hard when there’s no warning, when they’re fine one day and the next they’re so ill there’s no way out of it. It sucks for those of us left behind.

This morning’s sunrise.

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It must be about Daylight Savings Time…for me to be seeing sunrises. I try to get up after that…OK, off to school and the mostly immature emotions of 12-year-olds. Hopefully they’ll be on task and I’ll be patient with them when they’re not. Some days that’s harder than others.

*Max Frost, Adderall

The Big Sad

November 2, 2017

I don’t have a lot of words in me this morning. This shit is never easy. I’ll just give you mostly pictures.

2006: Midnight with girlchild…

Midnight Thursday night…

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Ahhh. Poor kitty.

Walking is good.

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I stitched a little.

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I drew a little.

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And some more than a little.

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Women’s rights…

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Women’s issues…

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She gets to be in this one. It’s hard to put a black cat in a quilt when you tend toward dark backgrounds.. But I’ll figure it out.

And the dumbasses who tried to follow me on Instagram. Fuck you assholes.

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Let’s hope today is a little easier. First time I’ve cried in front of students. Today might be the second time. Oh yeah, rejected from two art shows in one day. It’s OK. I wasn’t really paying attention to that.

We’re gonna really miss you, Midnight.


November 1, 2017

Rough 12 hours in Nida artmaking world. I got home and Midnight seemed more dehydrated. I had a vet appointment for today, but I changed my mind and took her to emergency last night. Probably a good choice. Still waiting to see what the specific issue is, but it’s something in the GI tract, gallbladder, pancreas area. Later this morning I’ll have more info, hopefully before I have to start teaching, since I’m not the best emotionally with this shit sometimes.

At the vet last night…she wouldn’t stop nervous purring…she doesn’t like the vet anymore than the rest of us…

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I hate leaving them there. Then I don’t sleep.

People always comment on the cats in my quilts. I think I’ve had a cat since I was about 7 years old…I didn’t have one in my actual household for the 4 years I was at college. After college, I think it was about 3 or 4 months before I got Juniper. It didn’t take long for more cats to show up. I think 1989 was the last time I only had one in the house. We maxed out at 4, which was rough (emergency situation) and only lasted about a month. We lost a couple to coyotes in the early days of letting them out. Now they are all indoor cats.

The oldest one was 16 when he died…most of them live to about 13. They’re almost all rescues of some sort. Midnight was plucked out of a tree outside the Target in El Cajon. We heard her mewing from the indoor soccer field across the way. We put signs up and no one claimed her. She’s officially the girlchild’s cat, but you know how that goes. Midnight is currently 12 1/2 years old…I thought she was younger. She doesn’t act like an old cat. Let’s hope her body agrees.

Satchemo is the newest addition. He came with his daddy. He’s about 8, we think, and kind of a bastard sometimes, although he also just wants all the kitty loves and pets. Plus he drinks from the faucet, which is just weird. He’s still adjusting to being here after two months, but I have great hopes for kitties sleeping together for warmth. He gets along fine with dogs, which is kind of funny.

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Kitten is mine 100%. She’s 9 and a strange one. Calicoes often are. She’s still adjusting to Satchemo. She is the current inhabitant of bedroom territory. I’m hoping she ventures out again, but this is her safe spot. She and Midnight were never besties, but they tolerate each other with minor hissing.

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She’s the dumbass who swallowed thread a year or so ago.

Anyway, when I got back from the vet and ate something, I had another pile to grade…and I really needed to do that first. So I did. And then it was late and I was tired and stressed, so I went to bed instead of drawing. I’m hoping for good news today so I can draw tonight. Hoping.

Please Tell Me Why*

July 11, 2017

Hey. You. Are you the one who gave my neighbor’s kid that whistle? The one they blow all the time? Come Here. Closer. No. RIGHT HERE.

It’s weird how I don’t notice the whistle most of the time, but when I do, I can’t make it stop reverberating in my head.

Girlchild comes home tonight. The flight is already delayed. Her room is kind of a mess. My fault. All my quilts. So that’s my job today. And the 27 things I just put on my Momentum to-do list. I haven’t been checking many off, because a lot of them are something like “Trace WU for Long Skinny”…well I’ve been WORKING on that, but only hit the halfway mark last night. I am only tracing after we’ve put in 4 or 5 hours on the garage and whatever else needs doing…so mostly at like 9 PM and later. And then I stay up way too late because art brain is like a little kid on summer vacation who begs to stay up late, and then at 6:30 AM when the dog wants to pee, my real brain swears profusely at art brain.

But art brain deserves some time. She’s waited for it. So yeah. I’m a little ugh sleepy this morning. And full of that high-pitched kid whistle. With a to-do list that is 10 miles long. It’s all good. She’s trying to be patient. To know that hanging out with the kids and banging out some major work on the house while I have help (oh my lord, having help is a joy) is a priority for the next few weeks. Boychild goes back in about a month. Girlchild is only here for 2 weeks. Sigh. Time. Is a bitch. I go back to school about the same time boychild leaves. Fucking sucks.

I can do this. I’ve traced for over 3 hours the last two nights. I hit the halfway point…and more.

This…more chain stitch and filling in spots. On the right. I’m also using up all these weird tiny pieces of Wildflowers thread from the crazy quilt package shares I used to do a million years ago. I get like a yard of thread…and I use it. Oh. I just looked…I didn’t do chain stitch…I did the spiky buttonhole around the one wave. Duh. I was tired. I still am tired.

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Then back to the tracing. I’m not sure why the cats are obsessed with the light table. It’s glass, so that’s probably cooler. Plus maybe they just like being lit from below.

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There were a lot of small pieces in this tracing session. Sometimes the boy comes in with the dogs. When he goes to bed, he brings them all to me. Yes, a 21-year-old goes to bed before me.

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If I sit on the couch, Simba wants to sit with me, but he’s not happy when I’m tracing. Then I got the second cat. Because it’s not annoying enough trying to maneuver around one cat.

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Yeah. And the white one kept trying to knock the wine glass off. This is restrictive guys. Y’all need to stop.

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I’m in the high 700s…with 1300 total…so about 500 to go. Ugh. That’s a lot. What you can’t tell in that photo is that the fan is in the bottom center and it’s pointed right at me. I wonder if they can feel it and that’s why they’re there. It’s possible.

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I’m in the middle of tracing that handful of flowers. Who the fuck thought that was a good idea. Trying to figure out the overlaps and what is numbered what…what a pain. Upside down. Ugh.

What was my original goal on this piece? I think I can finish tracing in the next couple of days. I hope. Then start cutting Wonder Under…this weekend is kinda booked. And I’m going to Lake Arrowhead next week. So that’s complicated. I can finish cutting these out, but I can’t start ironing until I get home. Iron to fabric all next week. Then trim the following week and start ironing down. Yikes. This isn’t going to be done before I go back to school (it might be done. It could be. If you weren’t cleaning stuff out. Which you need to do.). It’s so early this year. I need to check my calendar stuff again. Overwhelmed.

But today, today is easy. Clean girlchild’s room and the kitchen table. Check off some of the stuff on the to-do list. Maybe do a little on the garage without the boychild’s help. I have an idea. I don’t know if it’s doable. Huh. Art brain is on it. Will let you know. Certainly the messing around with art stuff that I wanted to do this summer is apparently off the table at the moment. Oh well. Shit’s gotta get done.

*Lit, My Own Worst Enemy

It Don’t Feel Right*

August 12, 2016

So I think yesterday was one of the most productive art days all summer. Sad that today is the last DAY of summer. And I’ll be at school for the whole morning. Oh well. At least I know I can still do those monster days. (because I’ll be doing lots of them this year…)

What did I do? I traced Wonder Under…for HOURS.

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The cats love this part of the project. I personally do not so much love their involvement, since it is mostly their fluffy butts that are involved.

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Sometimes I have to push or pull them, or pull things out from under them.

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So while I’m being thankful that this cat is still alive, I’m also cursing her existence. Or at least her existence on the light table.

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She might be cursing me a bit as well.

Really, I spent a lot of time with the cats yesterday. Wonder Under is a fascinating thing. Plus light emanating from tables. Which might be a thing if it were cold out, but it’s not. I have a fan pointed at the light table, and they don’t generally like fans. Except for yesterday. Yesterday fans seemed OK.

So did laundry baskets…

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And really, just staring at Mom on a regular basis and meowing plaintively because I am so obviously ignoring their asses.

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I traced for over 7 hours yesterday…I’m 8 1/2 hours in, I think. I’m in the high 600s, so I’m only halfway. THAT is the part that sucks. That and the fact that I might run out of Wonder Under. Sigh.

I’m four yards in? I think?

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This one doesn’t have quite so many tiny pieces as the last one. And it has about 700 fewer pieces as well, which is a good thing. I might actually finish it in time.

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Which reminds me, I’m picking the others up from the photographer today. I think. After school. And then tracing for another (insert number of hours here).

Girlchild leaves tomorrow morning. Early. That’s a hard one.

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She’s leaving so early because she’s doing orientation for the incoming freshmen. It sucks that she’s not around to help the first few days of school for the first time in like 5 years. I can’t persuade the boychild to do it. Not sure I blame him.

OK. School first. Then art. Then family.

(Apparently Pandora has decided I need some rap to start the morning. She may be right…)

*The Roots, Don’t Feel Right


July 1, 2016

Well so this is morning. Apparently. After being up after 1:30 AM, trying to settle cone-wearing Frankenstein cat (now baby, that’s a scar…), then a 4 AM wakeup for meds (for the cat) plus something puking, and the dog going ballistic before 9…I feel semi-drugged, definitely not rested, just half awake, if that. Ugh. Reminds me of the baby years.

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The poodle trimming of her legs is also nice. Especially since they told me to take off the bandage when I got home, and then there was blood everywhere. I wanna see you hold a pissed-off and drugged cat with a cone and blood oozing and try to one-handedly get a bandage on that. The kids had left, of course. Sigh. I’m really quite amazing in a hard place.

Last night, she was decidedly more pissed off about the cone and surgery in general (the photo above is this morning. She hid in the fabric drawer hole for a good long time.

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Yesterday, the girlchild got her hair done in a pinkish manner. I don’t have a final picture…

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I’ll have to get one.

I’ve been stuck in places where sewing on these is all I could do…so I finished these.

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I only have three left to embroider, and then I can sew them together. It’s very relaxing. Funny though…a year ago, I had nine left to embroider…so I’m really slow. I guess that’s why I’m years behind. Whatever. It’s not a race. I always tag this as Bird Crazy, but I realized its real name is Bird Dance. This is a Sue Spargo BOM from a few years back. I like her stuff…it’s got depth and fun stitching and it’s relatively easy to do. She’s released this one as a book now. In fact, she’s released all the ones I have except this year’s, so I can post about all of them now (there were issues with people copying her stuff before). Seriously though, her instructions are so amazingly good that you’re an idiot (and a jerk for stealing her ideas) if you don’t buy the book/pattern/whatever the heck it is. Plus she’s going through cancer treatments at the moment and deserves all your money. The one she just released, the Folk Tails quilt, is absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to get done with this one for real so I can start the embroidery on that one.

I did iron finally last night…I had to finish copyediting in the morning, then check out the girl’s hair, then do counseling, and pick up Kitten, and cook her shit she wouldn’t eat, and cook myself shit I would eat, and THEN…then I could iron.

I’m 26 hours in…LONG time picking stuff. This is the tiger on one breast…

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I also did the cat (aka Kitten) and flower vine on the other breast, the lungs, and the heart. So I did a lot…I’m in the 1500s now, the high 1500s I think. I have all of the torso done…just the head and an arm left to do.

I do have two more chapters to copyedit, but they’re not due for a while, so I’m taking a break. I want to get this fully ironed today…I probably only have about 300 pieces left, so that’s 3-4 hours. Then I can sit and cut pieces out for another 20 hours. While syringing water into the cat’s mouth, because I haven’t seen her drink anything yet. Plus I need a break. It’s been a lot of work lately, and that’s good, because it means I might be able to pay for the cat’s surgery AND college (ha. Well. Maybe.), but I also need to draw and sleep and relax and read books. Like a normal person does on vacation.