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

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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


Born in a Brain That He Don’t Use*

November 29, 2017

Feeling much much better about the copyediting job this morning. A friend with way more experience than I have with this system told me about one box I could uncheck. And that solved most of it right there. ONE BOX. I made it through the first readthrough (finally!) and the Bibliography. I’m now almost done. Such a relief. I was freaking out, thinking I would have to start over. I’m still not done…but I’m significantly further along than I was Monday night.

Trying to copyedit on the side while teaching is not easy, as my left twitching eyeball will attest. We have volunteers coming on campus Thursday and Friday to run a lab and an outside experience with concrete, then a field trip next week that science is apparently in charge of, plus official observations on a unit we haven’t quite finished planning (but are already mentally revising for next year). And grades are due again in a week or so.

So I spent 3 hours copyediting after tutoring yesterday…and then another 2 hours cutting stuff out. I’m getting closer to the end…which is good. I have a goal to be ironing this thing together for a good chunk of Saturday and Sunday. To do that, I have to be done cutting out tiny pieces…

I added flower centers on the right side…need to add another flower in there too.

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Then I started cutting, this time with the little dog.

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It’s been cold here at night. Dogs like to cuddle in the cold. Cats too…I had one on each side most of the night.

You can see the box on the top is getting more full with the trimmed pieces, and I can actually see the big box getting emptier…I kept cutting after this…

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More sleeping. Everyone in the house sleeps more than I do…

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At the end of the night, I’ve started cutting out all the flesh pieces…which is the majority of the quilt really. I won’t be done tonight, but I’m getting closer…

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I can feel it now. Getting excited about putting it all together.

So you know how you get all the shopping catalogs this time of year? Every year, I see all these cool fun animal slippers, but they’re only for kids. Sheesh. My feet are too big for these, but I want a pair…or all of them. Seriously.

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I saw the news this morning about Matt Lauer getting fired. On the one hand, it’s so depressing to see people you thought were decent folks getting called on their shit. On the other hand, it’s about fucking time. I can’t tell you how many males in power have been inappropriate in the past, and honestly, I think I scare the crap out of most guys, so that’s saying something. If this is the only good thing that comes out of the Trump era (and may it be a bloody short one), then I’m good with that. As long as it STOPS it. I’m OK with every guy out there being terrified of saying or doing something inappropriate if it keeps them from doing the shit they were doing. And all the decent guys who get it will just continue being decent. That would be good. Unfortunately, one of the biggest offenders is still running our country. And some men are just stupid, so they’ll keep doing whatever they’re doing.

OK. School. Copyediting. Art. I wanted to go to the gym…maybe? We’ll see. Need time.

*Max Frost, Suspended Animation


Everything Looks Perfect from Far Away*

November 22, 2017

My efficiency was compromised yesterday by life. And my eyeballs. And the girlchild, who sobbed into the phone that she just wanted to come home. Well. That made me cry. I do miss the little fuckers. Big. They’re bigger than me. Anyway. I copyedited, I hiked, I ironed. That kinda sums up the day.

This is what copyediting looks like. Hallelujah for that raccoon, let me tell you. He makes me smile every time I look up. There’s a window above that and another one to the left. But I didn’t get as far as I wanted yesterday, because there was a girlchild incursion.

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So I sent her lots of pictures of these guys. Although I couldn’t get both of them to sit picturesquely, dammit.

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Then I did a 4-mile hike in the dark. It was a bit of a challenge, just because there were lots of rocks and no visibility. Yes, I had a headlamp, but I was having some issues seeing anyway.

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But since it was in the 90s yesterday, at night was the only way I was gonna hike. So I’m in this hiking group, but they changed the rules to make it more active, so you have to go on one hike every 6 months to stay in the group. I begged the leader last year to leave me in, but I suspected I needed to do an actual hike with the group soon or I’d be booted. It’s just hard with my current schedule to find something I can do. After work is difficult…most of the hikes I would do are on the day I do tutoring, so it’s already a really long day.

So I went to the top of Black Mountain in the dark. Hence no good pictures. Four miles total…not bad for a Tuesday night.

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Apparently she does this one all the time. I’d do it again…but I wouldn’t get there in time for after work. Too much traffic.

I came home and vegged a bit with this freak…

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And girlchild FaceTimed again, now calmer and more decisive…this face is because she misses the dogs. Simba sucks at FaceTime.

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I did iron last night…but not as much as I wanted to. Hikes tire me out. But there’s Midnight ironed down with her wings…

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Damn I miss that cat. I made a mess again.

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Got up early this morning to talk the girlchild through part of her drive to her brother…found the dog eating student warmups…luckily I’d already graded them.

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Then made the dough for rolls (need to deal with those), plus brine for the turkey (mine is cooking Friday), talked to girlchild some more, talked to SIL, finally showered, my eyes are so tired right now, but I need to go make the rolls and then copyedit. Or go to the store (damn) or drop my book at the library. I graded a little bit this morning…I need to do more of that too. Ugh. And it’s dry and 95 degrees today. My body is rejecting all that. I want a nap.

What I really want is to FINISH everything. Yeah. Not happening. Gonna try to finish grading the one assignment, finish the first readthrough on the book, and iron all the pieces down (that might be a stretch). Today. TRY. I said TRY.

*The Postal Service, Such Great Heights


There’s Still Time to Change the Road You’re on*

November 21, 2017

So I spent a couple hours last night worrying about the girlchild, who was on lockdown in a dorm where a robbery took place at gunpoint. Because we need guns for protection, right? Because if anyone else in that dorm had possessed a gun, a whole lot of people would be injured or dead right now. As it is, everyone was fine, although I think both girlchild and I (and quite a few other parents and students) had the shakes for a while. But please don’t ever say to me that you have a right to carry a gun. Nope. You don’t. Not unless you’re a cop…and even then, I have misgivings because so many of our cops are racist and/or reactionary.

Anyway. That’s done.

I did some lazy daisies on the right that look like bull heads.

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And then I ironed all those inner bits and pieces…here’s the layout for the heart and arteries…

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And the pile of fabrics I went through last night…another 3 hours or so yesterday.

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I’m up to 13 hours in the ironing…with about 400 pieces to go, I figure. It’s not been quick, that’s for sure. Here’s just one of the reds in the heart/arteries section…

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Lots of pieces ready to be cut out.

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And all the fabrics I’ve used so far…

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I’ve been working to 1 AM and then falling into bed exhausted. The nighttime hours are better for this, I find. I did copyedit during the day yesterday…more of that today. I haven’t graded any assignments since Sunday, and I need to do some of that too. So I’m probably not going to finish the ironing today…can’t really blow off the moneymaking part of my week yet. I need to get significantly further along. I do have most of today (I’m hiking tonight), all of tomorrow, a few hours on Thanksgiving (mostly nighttime probably), and all of Friday. But I’m realizing it’s never enough. This quilt has to be done and photographed in less than 40 days. I can do that…but the copyediting has to be done in less time than that, and I have to deal with school. I can’t just push that off. Where do the hours go? Staring at fabric, I think. Mostly. And dealing with dogs. Stupid stuff like eating and peeing. I made lasagne from scratch yesterday…but that’s 3 more dinners on top of last night’s. So that was a good thing.

Sitting here watching a hummingbird on the flowers outside my office window…supposed to be in the 90s today. November, my ass.

OK, so shower, eat, copyedit. Consider venturing out for the chicken broth I should’ve bought on Sunday for the turkey I’m making for myself. Gotta make some rolls too. Should do that tomorrow…

Now get up and go.

*Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven