Needing the Art…

September 24, 2018

Well I worked a lot this weekend. I got a lot done. It never feels like enough, because there is always more, but it was a good two days. Until your SIL asks what you did all weekend, and all you can say is “graded shit.” Well. It needed to be done. The next few weeks are busy…more for my date-night companion than for me, but mine will translate into more grades (progress reports are due next week) and hopefully artmaking. I carved out time yesterday for a significant chunk of that. At some point, I’ve done enough grading and I need to do something else.

One thing we did (well, the boychild did) was replace the wireless card in my computer, trying to solve the internet problem in here.

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Spiders had been in there. Weird. The plus is that when I have internet, it is now much faster. The minus is that I am still losing the internet…but only on the computer. The laptop and other devices work fine in here. Sigh. So that’s still a problem that needs solving.

I did do some work in the morning, schoolwork, but after 8 or so hours on Saturday of that, I wasn’t giving up the rest of the day. I started ironing around 4:30 PM…

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This one shouldn’t take long…

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I took a break to make this week’s lunches and start dinner prep. It was group cook night…make your own damn pizza. Although I did the dough prep.

So during dinner’s TV watching hour, I did more of these. I didn’t get much done last week on this.

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I think I still have 7 of them left. SLOOOWWW. I remember predicting the end of July. Maybe the end of September? That’s a little less than a week away. I only work on it when we’re both home and eat together, so last week, I think that was one night? Maybe 2?

Anyway, after that, it was back to the ironing. These are all the 100s, in stacks by 10s.

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I started by ironing the fruit and the fruit bowl separate and then putting them where they belong…

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Then working on the legs…back hip and roots first, then back foot…

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Simba was with me for a while…

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Here’s the whole front leg done…

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And then the heart and starting on the front arm.

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The bird and nest are done, but I quit before ironing all the leaves on. It was just about midnight at that point.

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And I would have had to lay out all the 300s and cut out a lot of the leaves (they’re small) before being able to iron them down. I do try to head to bed around midnight. So I ironed for 3 1/2 hours and I’m more than halfway done. I won’t get that much time tonight, but I will get some. We’ll see how well I do, but I would hope to be stitching down by Wednesday or so. I don’t have any night meetings this week until Friday, so that’s a plus. I do need to grade a lot still though…hopefully mostly at school. We’ll see.

I did not get the copyediting job, so that’s actually kind of a plus. He wasn’t the most accurate guy when it came to communication. Turns out he wasn’t just ignoring me for days…he was getting other quotes, which I don’t mind…but TELL me you received my bid and then TELL me why you aren’t answering. Geez. Professionalism. Meanwhile, I have students begging me to grade their late work (I do that once a week and I did it Sunday morning) and demanding that I change their grade because I didn’t tell them about the back page (I did) and kids losing their science folders in their backpacks (yikes!). Sigh. This job carries a significant amount of frustration, true. That’s why I love (and need) the art so much. Hell, I’d need the art no matter what I did for a living.


It Ain’t Going Nowhere*

September 18, 2018

My internet here in this office, with this computer, is getting worse and worse. I had 85 videos to watch yesterday, short ones, but 85 nonetheless. So I’m sitting here with video after video freezing, frustrated as hell, but then the internet or my computer figures its shit out and its go go go. So I got them done and all…there’s a wireless card on its way here that may help…or I may give up and wire this room…because the wireless sucks. Hopefully it’s fixable. All that was after picking up my sewing machine, where the guy who fixes it actually noticed one of the inconsistent issues I was having and fixed it (he thinks), plus playing dodgeball at school as a team-building exercise. I don’t like dodgeball. I didn’t like it when I was a kid; I like it even less now. I don’t have the reflexes or good eyesight to catch, I don’t have the upper body strength to throw, and I’m not that kind of competitive, the kind where you have to bean someone to win. We came in 2nd place, which was kind of a surprise. And here’s the thing. There were a few staff members out there who are new, who I don’t know at all. So if I’d been paired with them at a staff meeting, I would have been open-minded about meeting them and getting to know them. But the one who hit me hard? Well, now I just think he’s an asshole. So I’m not sure the team-building worked.

Whatever. I’m too cynical some days. Moving on.

After grading all those videos, I made a good dinner, one I will make again, although once again, the recipes are totally clueless about how long stuff takes to cook…30 minutes, my ass. But relatively easy, once the time adjusts (to an hour, fuckwads, an hour). After that, I revised the copyediting bid…apparently he totally miscalculated the word count…so instead of a nice sum of money, it’s an OK sum of money. Less time? Less money. Pros and cons. I’m a little relieved on the time commitment, but then it almost doesn’t feel worth it. So conflicted!

Then I cut stuff out for a while…

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Which apparently I was also doing LAST year on September 17 at night. Weird how that works. Pile of trash on the left, cut-out pieces in the middle, lots still to be cut out on the right. That’s like 2 hours of cutting. It looks like nothing. More of that tonight. Although grading too? Ugh.

Kind of pitiful.

Plus I have these guys following me everywhere.

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At one point this morning, after one person left for work and the other person wasn’t out of their room yet, I had all five animals in here…

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Two cats are not in this picture…one is on the chair behind me, and one is hiding behind the monitor. There’s no being alone in this house.

Which is probably OK.

*Alison Moyet, Invisible


You Got Your Manipulations*

August 18, 2018

Checking things off the list. The copyediting is done and sent back to the author. I should’ve finished it a week ago. Oh well. He gave me plenty of time…and I still turned it in two weeks early, so that’s a plus. It’s also off my shoulders. A big plus. We managed pine-needle piles this morning…made some more compost-y heaps on the front not-lawn and prepped the trash can I use for the compost bin with more nicely damaged pine needles. I am not ready (at all) for the start of school, although I have most of my supplies…the ones I know I need, anyway. I’ll figure it all out next week. As always. I’m tryna be chill.

I did stitch some bits down yesterday…and emailed the photographer today, trying to reserve him, forcing myself to pick an end date that is all too soon for finishing this thing. I have enough batting and backing here to pinbaste tonight, which is the plan, after finishing the stitch down and getting the girlchild to the airport. Then quilting…quilting will take a while…here’s Kitten not helping with punctuating dialogue. I hate punctuating dialogue, in case you were wondering.

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Yesterday’s stitch down attempt…a mere hour after the all-day school conference and before girlchild’s birthday dinner.

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I couldn’t handle any more after that. Quilting…will take probably about 20 hours or so…and binding another 8 or 9. And I have two weeks. OK. That’s doable. Ignore the day job and the hike I’m going on. Really. OK. I can do this. I need to finish the stitch down this afternoon though.

Hear that, Kitten? This afternoon. Kitten is lying on my Quilts=Art=Quilts acceptance…

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You Pollute Me will be at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center from Oct 27-Jan 8…check it out.

There’s actually no nudity in this quilt. It was originally made for a really nice gallery in a private middle school. It’s still a cool quilt though.

Anyway, I need to do some stitch down. I have 4 hours until my airport pickup…girlchild going back to Massachusetts. I’m going to stop looking at my class rosters and stressing out. I AM. Seriously. There’s no point.

*Tonic, If You Could Only See


Every Single Night They’re Driving Me Insane*

December 4, 2017

Copyediting project is done…it officially took a week longer than I wanted it to take, thanks to the wonders of Microsoft Word. Field trip is a giant clusterfuck of bitchslapping. No worries. I may quit before then. Wait! No. Meditate. Get all mindful on that shit. Seriously. I can pull that mindset up WHILE I’m getting and answering texts about the buses going to hell in a handbasket…after 10 PM on a Sunday. I’m still stressed about it this morning, but I realize I can’t afford to quit. Yet (whoa! Growth mindset before a full cup of tea…if you don’t know what I’m talking about, well…you’re probably fine without it. And you’re not a teacher.).

I finished the copyediting and sent all the files after 10 PM, if you’re wondering how functional I was yesterday…the answer is, not very.

It got done. That’s what matters.

Kitten actually came out and briefly hung out with me in the office, all by herself. It’s been a while since she’s done that. Cat interactions are still somewhat fraught with drama here.

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I title this, “Things that need washing”…

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Yeah, he is a bit of a freak.

More flowers on the right…probably gonna have to move on to something else soon.

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Then once I was done (and yeah, I graded and did a bunch of other school stuff), I started ironing again…

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And realized I’d ironed these two onto the wrong fabrics. The gray should have been on the one in my hand…the tree was supposed to be green. Except I decided I liked it gray. I did re-iron the other one, because a volcanic cloud of ash probably isn’t very green.

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It’s interesting, though, because I’d noticed that piece before when I was cutting and when I was sorting, and I was trying to figure out what it was, based on its shape and color, and I couldn’t. Well now I know why. (and yes, I usually do know what they are based on shape and color.)

Right side done.

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Then I started on body parts…super light against the white teflon sheet, but will pop against the dark blue background. I honestly didn’t get very far. I was pretty tired.

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Less than 200 pieces in…but not by a lot.

As it is, I wasn’t in bed before 12:30 AM. More tonight…hopefully with no school stress (ha! yeah right.). Seriously. School needs to back off and be nice. I don’t want to get sick before break, and increased stress affects the immune system. Sigh. Like I have any control over what goes on at work. Official observation, field trip, grades due, 2-hour staff meeting, plus the two weeks before Winter Break, which deforms the 7th-grade mind in a way I just can’t understand…it takes a strong immune system to survive all that. Y’all should thank a teacher sometime in the next two weeks. They need it. Maybe buy them dinner and a drink as well.

The two sides…the body goes between them…

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Seriously looking forward to some more of this tonight. But right now? That Dream Police song is stuck in my head…dammit…

Now it’s stuck in yours too. Say thank you.

*Cheap Trick, Dream Police


Going Just to Be Sane*

December 3, 2017

Every new month, I read back through previous years of the blog for that month, looking for the clue to how to survive it better, to how it makes me feel, because so many things are cyclical. I guess it’s good to review that, because three years ago, I still was going to multiple night soccer games, freezing my ass off, and then dealing with feeding kids and all that fun stuff. Although they are coming back in a week or so. It helps me to have a space in my head to prepare for the next few weeks…knowing that the holidays are coming, but that makes school that much more crazy for the weeks leading up to it. Knowing that I have some free time coming up to finish this quilt, even if I have to really push to get through any of it right now.

Even yesterday, a wide-open day…I copyedited (I’m almost done!), I worked, I managed a bunch of stupid tiny tasks, but I did finish some stuff and start the ironing, and that was my goal. I’m totally braindead today (which is funny, because I really do have to work today and be incredibly efficient and I just don’t have it in me). One of the reasons I write this almost every day is because it clears my brain and lets me prioritize what I gotta do. It helps.

So after copyediting, I took about 18 minutes to finish cutting everything out, for a total of 17 hours and 38 minutes of cutting…no small feat.

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Down to a small box full of 1360 pieces or so.

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Then I sorted them. Here’s the before picture. I forgot to take an after picture, but imagine them all sorted by hundreds.

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And then headed in to start ironing. I cleaned up the space a little first…

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You can see the cat under the ironing board. It’s a popular spot.

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That’s all I got done…because I had a show to be at, and the call was earlier than I originally thought. It’s OK. I was ready for a break…

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Although I didn’t realize there would be an actual elk there. Am I the only one who thinks they sort of desecrated the elk by putting party decorations on it? Seriously. I feel sorry for all the elks I saw there.

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It was someone’s birthday party. Not someone I know, of course…

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I’m there for the band. I’m the groupie. Well, there are other groupies, but I’m the weird one who sits in the corner and draws.

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As proven here. I spilled my first glass of wine…I wasn’t in the mood to dance (sometimes I do). I was tired. But it was an amusing people-watching event.

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Yeah, the elk stuff got in there. And the American flag…because I am most definitely American. Born on an Air Force base in Alaska. You can’t deny my citizenship. But sometimes this country makes some of us feel alienated…well, an awful lot of us, honestly…for a variety of stupid reasons: sexuality, race, religion, even just for existing.

Here she is without the weird lighting…

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And the wine spilling drawing.

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Came home and waited for the musician to come home…with his cat batting at my face…”pet me bitch” is his stance. So I did.

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Then did two nights on this, still on the right…just keep putting those big flowers in all the way down. They’re fun to stitch.

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And that’s where I was last night. I did about 4 1/2 hours of job stuff: copyediting job and art job, mostly. Today will be teacher job and the other two. Yikes. Well I should get on with that, even though I feel fuzzy and brainless. I’ll get there. The ironing is already calling to me. I can be pretty damn efficient when I hear that art call.

*The Black Keys, Tighten Up


In the Key That Our Souls Were Singing*

December 2, 2017

OK. Well that was an exhausting week. I got to sleep last night, despite 46 texts from my kids while I was asleep, plus a text and phone call from the pool guy, and a very insistent, apparently starving cat. I have lots of plans for the weekend, but as always, everything small and tiny takes up all the time. I’m still in pajamas (hey, I was in pajamas all day yesterday) and the first cup of tea hasn’t quite kicked in. Probably need to make cup number 2.

In good news, we made concrete and learned about superplasticizer and nobody died or got concrete up their noses, so we’re good.

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What’s funny is that they all had the same recipe…but look at the results.

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That’s a sign of what we deal with every freakin’ day. I’m laughing, actually, because otherwise I would be crying. Two more weeks. Two more weeks with a field trip and an official observation. I didn’t leave work yesterday until after 5:15, because we had to clean up all the concrete stuff, help the company who came out pack up all the stuffs, and then try to revise our field trip and notify everyone in the world that we were doing that.

I made it to gaming…but brought shit to cut out, because I’m trying to be DONE DAMMIT. I’m a little over 17 hours in…

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Home to puppy. Fell asleep soundly for a good long time…

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So I’m almost done. The bottom has maybe 10-15 pieces left. And then I’m done.

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Did I mention that I was almost done?

So. I can’t work on that until I get through the second readthrough on the copyediting. Doing that now. Then finish cutting and sort the pieces. Then IRONING! Woo hoo! Finally get to see it go together.

I got into a cool show this week that will be at the Oceanside Museum of Art February through July, opening March 17 from 6-8 PM (I can put 4 people on the free list to get in). It’s called Artifacts, and will be opening with two other exhibits at the museum, all based on the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, about a future civilization where we have lost electricity and many other things that make our society go. I did read the book before entering. I’ve seen the work that will be in our exhibit, which is with Allied Craftsmen, and it is pretty amazing…wood, ceramics, fiber, basketry…a wide variety of good stuff. So that was good news.

And I’m looking forward to some music and drawing tonight…need some down time after all this.

*Earth Wind and Fire, September


Don’t Pay No Mind to the Demons*

November 30, 2017

Copyediting is almost done (yay!)…it seems like I will never be done with cutting pieces out though. I’m sure that’s not really true, but some nights, it seems like I don’t really get much done. Tonight should be better…quilt class will give me a bigger chunk of time. Of course, I could come home any night and blow off all other responsibilities and just make art…wait, I do that already some nights. Certainly I haven’t brought any schoolwork home this week, unless you count printing new rosters. I had to add one kid and delete two. It was very time-consuming.

Anyway, the copyediting will hopefully be out of my hair sometime in the next four days. I potentially have another project coming up, but I’m still debating that one, and she may balk at price. We’ll see.

I’m waiting for this flower stalk to just burst out…it’s been getting taller and taller (no middle-school jokes here guys…I get those all day long)…

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I did more flower-type things on the right side…

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I may just do those all the way down. OR! I should do a flower stalk from an agave in here maybe. That would be cool…

This dog. Seriously. She sleeps in the weirdest positions…

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And this one. He was not happy that I was copyediting instead of throwing the ball for him (no worries…my co-dog-minder took care of that later)…

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I only did a few hours of copyediting…I’m on the second readthrough. And I’ll do a third, because I’m finding some mistakes in the second read. I hate that. But I worked for this guy before and he seems to like what I do to his stuff, so we’re good. But if I do it too late, I know I’m missing stuff.

Then I started cutting…this is a pile of fleshy pieces for the little heads and arms on the top of the larger head…

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I don’t cut the super tiny ones out until I’m ironing, because I lose them too easily. But here’s a pile of all the stuff I cut out before I started in on the bigger flesh pieces, the ones from the larger figure.

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At some point, Simba threw himself on my lap and refused to just lie next to me.

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So it’s hard to see progress…but you can see I did get into the larger flesh pieces. What’s left to cut out is on the right…

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I think once I get through the big fleshy pieces, I probably only have a couple hundred pieces to do. So hopefully tonight we’ll see some significant progress. I’m unlikely to be able to mentally copyedit (well) after 10 PM…and I have quilt class until 8, then dogs and dinner, so I suspect I might try to do one section (but that’s how I miss the mistakes). So I’m thinking 3 or 4 hours of cutting instead. We’ll see.

Yeah, even Simba thinks Calli sleeps weird.

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I have to laugh. I’m expecting some art notifications in the next few weeks, and one came a day early, a rejection. I wasn’t expecting anything but a rejection from that one, but I keep trying. It’s an art gallery, but they have taken fiber art in the past…just not mine. The one I was supposed to hear about yesterday hasn’t sent anything, which sometimes is a rejection, right? I hate when they do that…but I suspect it’s just that they didn’t get done, based on previous interactions with them. There’s another one this month that I really want, but I won’t die if I don’t get it. I never do. Rejection is reality. But I did have two friends send me a link to the same entry notice…one they both thought my work was good for. And it probably is…and because I got the one rejection, I definitely have work I can enter! See…one door closes and another one opens. Sometimes it takes a while…but that’s OK. I keep making and the world takes some of them and not the others.

OK, visitors AND a lab in class today. Prepare for chaos. Tomorrow too. Don’t even ask me about next week. I might over-react.

*Phillip Phillips, Home