Cool Things…

Cool things about the weekend: had an art opening, shipped a quilt that will get me a check in the mail, finished all my grading for last week, finished the drawing for the new quilt, and numbered it. All good. Today is Monday…the first day of three where I have 2-hour meetings/stuff after school. I will survive.

The quilt I shipped had to be washed to remove traces of cat dander. My parents have no cats, so I wash it there, and then iron it and pack it up there as well. I managed NOT to destroy their house while I was there, although I might have used their air conditioning. Briefly. (This is my mom’s studio…much bigger than mine, but similarly messy.)

Got that done Saturday, which is good. I need the money to pay off part of my portion of the boychild’s college loans.

Came back to this sweetheart asleep in the green fabrics. Again. Perhaps still.

I did go to the gym in the morning too…graded stuff…wrote Saturday’s blog there too.

Saturday night was off to the opening of The Big Story…my piece, You Pollute Me, is on the right, with work by Anna Zappoli on the left and Dan Adams between us.

This was at the end of the night, when they were closing up. It was hard to get a picture before that…although my friend Hannah Johansen was at the show (she had work in it too) and snapped this one…

of me explaining something to Julie. It’s a nice little show. Sophie’s Gallery in Kensington…come for the art, stay for dinner or a glass of wine. It has many options very close by.

This is Sunday morning. I swear she moved in between…

But that’s a look, isn’t it?

One of the things I did Sunday was prep two more small block samples…a house…

And a face…

I like variety…I finished working on this one…

Totally normal and acceptable. And started embroidering this one…

I should send them something tonight. Yup.

After that, I finished the drawing with all the things I’d thought of on Saturday while I was doing something else: monarch, bee, poppy.

She’s wide. But not high.

Then I spent an hour numbering her parts. Hopefully better than the last time I numbered something.

I mean, it would be hard to do a worse job than I did last time.

I’m sure it’s possible, but I’m hoping not.

890 pieces…if I numbered correctly. OK then…tracing tonight, one hopes. I have some other stuff I’m supposed to be doing and haven’t done yet. That’s always the case though. Right now, I need to go to school and fill 10 cups with water and 10 balloons with air. And then try to persuade kids that all solids are NOT hard. Like you do.

Take Advantage

I came to this realization last night…from early May until the end of July, I was fighting massive horrible hot flashes. I’ve had them pretty consistently since I was 35. They’re genetic. They’re not going away. But these were significantly worse: hotter, more frequent, hell on my head. During that time, my blood sugar was also crazy. It was too high for no understandable reason. I tried everything. I was just constantly frustrated by trying to control the apparently uncontrollable.

Then the hot flashes mostly stopped. I could sleep again. My head wasn’t constantly on fire. And guess what else now seems to be under control? Yup. Blood sugar. And so many articles and medical people are like, if YOU do more, you can control it. My ass I can. I can’t control the hormonal fluctuations that caused that endocrinological natural disaster. I’m becoming more and more irritated with how the medical profession doesn’t support women my age.

So the positive is control and less fire. Here’s Calli demolishing a stick after a cooling dip in the pool yesterday…a much better choice than trying to walk her when the temps are in the high 90s…

I actually took a nap last night when I got home. I stayed late at work to make sure I was mostly prepped for Monday. We have a lab. I still need to blow up 10 balloons and fill 10 cups of water, but everything else is ready. This is a habit I should cultivate.

So a short nap, then stitching after dinner…another easy sample.

My couch companion turned 4 yesterday. He still has a baby face.

I finally found the mental and physical energy to draw…a great blue heron surveying the ocean…then a mule deer further out, by a stream.

I just need to fill the legs…I’m thinking desert. Then number it and start tracing. Bones? Yeah we need some leg bones…appropriate for the desert bits. School will need some attention this weekend also. Plus some down time with art stuff. And it’ll be cooler than it has been. That’s a good thing…because next week is gonna be hard enough. I’m writing this at the gym, by the way. Another good thing. If the animals are going to wake you up early, might as well take advantage of it.

Update TOC

It’s so quiet this morning. I can hear some bug or bird outside, and the pool motor is relatively quiet today, for whatever random reason. Sometimes I enjoy the quiet. I used to always need noise. I think I’ve spent enough years listening to kid noise that quiet is sometimes a blessing of sorts. It’s still hot here. It’s not unbearable, but it’s not pleasant. Have you seen the Bahamas? I guess nobody hasn’t seen the destruction there. I have to admit to not knowing much about the Bahamas besides the trip destination part. I had no idea there were so many islands. I hope we help. Can I force my government to help countries in need? Well, no, no I can’t. It makes me sad, how stupid we are right now. Ignorant. That was part of the conversation at my stitching meeting last night: ignorant vs stupid. Willfully ignorant in some cases. Ask me how many of my students still think the Earth is flat due to some dumbass Youtuber. The world. Is disturbing. I’m sure it always has been, but it seems worse right now.

So yeah, I had my monthly stitching meeting last night…I’ve been meeting with these women (and more; over the years, we’ve shrunk) for over 20 years.

We were taking a group picture for a member who now lives many miles away and whose birthday it was yesterday. We drink caffeine and stitch or crochet or knit or sit and talk because getting anything out of the bag is too much hard work. We bring stuff to share, like patterns and magazines and books we’ve made (OK, that’s just one of us…the rest of us marvel at the bookmaking but don’t do it ourselves.). It’s a good thing, these meetings of the minds.

I worked on hand-stitching this…

I’ve got to send some info to the Mingei this weekend, I think. So I should get some stuff ready for that.

I came home and finished up the last of the copyediting, marrying the Bibliography, and making sure all the stupid formatting worked. One of the last tasks was to make the table of contents fix itself (the page numbering), and after 20 minutes or so of searching the internet, the answer appeared. Just hit the damn Update TOC button. Sure. It took a while to figure out how to get that button, but once I did, it was like magic.

She’s done. I read all those words. About 5 or 6 times each one. And now I’ll get paid and I’ll be able to get the big trees trimmed before one of them drops a big branch on my roof.

I came home and actually exercised while reading my next book. I was exhausted. I’m still exhausted. It took a lot of energy and willpower to not just go to bed. I thought about it. But once I was up, off the couch, I wanted to do something on the drawing. At our stitching meeting of the minds, while I was answering the question of what the hell is coming out the nipples of the woman I’m drawing (she’s an earth mother…that’s a stream going out to the ocean…it’ll make more sense in color), they were suggesting other things I could draw, so there’s a grey whale…

Or a penis, since that was also a suggestion, and honestly, whales are hard to depict like this. Hopefully it will read better in color. Less penisy.

I also did a sun on the opposite side from the moon…

I’ve got some desert plants that need to go in somewhere…legs? land? And a decision about how to finish it up. Getting closer. I might finish tonight. It’s possible. Then number it and start tracing. And SLEEP. Oh yeah, I have an opening tomorrow night…for The Big Story at Sophie’s Art Gallery in Kensington. It’s 5-8 PM…stop by. I’ll be there closer to 5:30…and probably gone before the end, just because I’ll need to eat. But it’s still a cool little show.

Incomplete Work…

Work is following me home. It seems silly to say that if you know anything about teaching. I leave my computer at school some days and tell myself I’m not doing work when I get home, and then my brain is trying to solve a problem. I don’t ask it to do that. It does it anyway…incomplete work! In my head. I don’t mind so much when it’s how to create an assignment or push something out to kids or something creative like that. It’s a problem that needs solving. The stuff that sucks up energy, mental energy, is the kid stuff. My brain has been worrying a problem since yesterday, like a dog with a bone. I think I have a solution, at least something I can try. I just need to remember to do it. I tell my phone, but I don’t always look at the alarms that go off during the day. So I kept the issue in my head at the dentist, just in the background. And I worried at it when I was drawing, still in the background. Then slept with it. And woke up with it.

In the background, playing right now, I’m listening to the 40-hour teacher week podcast thing. I don’t know if it’s helping yet. I hope so. Some new procedures are working; some aren’t. This crew is a challenge.

OK, so I got home from the dentist late, and mostly exhausted. Still. I think it’s the end of September when I adjust finally. Maybe. I did decide that the sample I was doing for November’s class was probably too big and complicated for the time allowed, so I made two smaller samples. I still wanted to do a landscape…

It’s a good place to do some embroidery. This is 6″ square.

Then I did a flower, because they’re pretty easy…

I’ll probably do a face as well, just because…well, me.

After dinner, I did a little embroidery on it…

But mostly I spent time petting and combing the very nervous Golden Retriever, who was freaked out by a random thunderstorm wandered through in the afternoon.

It’s warm here. Muggy. Sweaty. I was hoping it would be cooler today, but it’s not. By the weekend, it should be. This is usually our hottest month of the year. But it hasn’t been really hellish yet, so that’s good.

It took me a while to find the energy to draw. Really, it was the standing that was the issue. I had decided this sharp corner was bugging the heck out of me, so I cut it out…

And redrew that section, rounding it out…plus drew a bunch more. Some Anza Borrego above her head, plus the redwoods on her torso. A Torrey pine on a La Jolla cliff. Bougainvillea thorny branches for pubic hair. I’m about halfway down. Maybe.

I literally just stare at the paper for most of this time, and sort of half draw things in my head. I might look up some pictures online. I think I finished the top arm too…I was going to go to bed, and then it started talking to me. I like when it talks, so I listen. Plus the tired goes away the later it gets. That can be a problem.

My companion for last night…

He barked at lots of things. It’s what he does.

She’s Not Listening to Me…

Three-day weekends are nice, aren’t they? Unless they are filled with disaster television. I tried to stay away from that. So much out there in the world…guns and climate change and boat fires, for a few. I’m up this morning, feeling tired, not ready for this morning’s parent meeting (first of the year!), wondering how today’s lesson will go, because it requires self-motivated learning (yikes!). I think I’ll be spending a lot of time talking to each table today. Which is a good thing. Exhausting for this introvert, but invigorating as well.

Yesterday was busy…I had to wash a quilt to ship it…

Because cat dander is the issue, I do it at my parents’ house (no cats)…it’s always a little scary to wash one of these, but I toss some Retayne in there. Batiks are notorious for releasing dye. There was some color that came out in the wash, but not a lot. Here it’s rolled up in towels, which I used to squeeze all the excess water out…

Then I laid it out on their entryway floor…

I’ll go over sometime this week and iron it and pack it for shipping. It’s big. And it’s sold. So that’s cool.

Really, Katie thinks I’m there to see her.

Which is, of course, true. We also dumped a bunch of stuff from the pool shed in the parental dumpster. Useful.

I copyedited the Bibliography, which wasn’t long, but was messy. I’m closer to being done with this copyediting job. Like really almost done. Except I can’t figure out the table of contents references. Sigh. It’ll come.

For some reason, maybe because it’s been so muggy, I’m covered in bug bites today…mostly mosquito, but I think one is a spider bite. Always nice to think about. I was just thinking this year wasn’t as bad as last year. Wrong! We have all these clouds coming up from Mexico. They threatened rain yesterday, and certainly the mountains probably got some…there’s a double rainbow out there.

But it never made it here. So we’re just hot and humid instead. And buggy.

So one of the things I was working on yesterday was a recycled fabric block…I actually fused all this down…

It needs some stitching. I need to do a couple more samples, I think. And then embroider them. This takes me back to the crazy quilting days. In fact, that’s where I pulled all the fabrics, because a good chunk of them are recycled from clothing. If you’re on my Patreon, my process will be the first video of the month. If you’re not on my Patreon, join us.

And then I started another smaller drawing for this one show…I finally gave up drawing it smaller in the sketchbook, pulled some butcher paper off the roll, and did it large…

Much easier to see. Now comes all the details. This is where I needed to go. OK, meeting, school day, tutoring, maybe go pack up that quilt. Busy. Tiring. It’s a short week. Best wishes to the Bahamas. Hopefully we’ll see fit to help them, unlike Puerto Rico. Then maybe tonight I’ll get to draw some more. My art brain is frustrated. She needs to do some embroidery too, though. Tell her. Someone. She’s not listening to me.

My Lady Parts…

So it’s a school holiday, just one day, lonely in the middle of the week. Usually Veteran’s Day leans toward one end of the week or the other, so we get a long weekend, but not this year. It’s a nice break between two very frustrating days at school and probably two more frustrating days, unless I can get my mindful mind floating high enough over the stupid shit that it doesn’t drag me down. We’re nearing the end of a unit and there’s just a lot of crazy going on, both with kids and parents, and I don’t have the energy for it, I guess.

Part of that is art-related of course. I finished this amazing piece in September and it didn’t get into that show, and I fully realize there are more shows out there for it, and it’s a challenging piece and I shoot myself in the foot every time I make a challenging piece…unless it gets the recognition I think it deserves, and then it’s all OK. This last year has been hard for that, but I’m still making them, still drawing them, still entering them in shows.

And these cute little cat quilts…see, they’re easy enough to make, but I don’t love them. Well, I love Cat 6, but you can see why. And Cat 3 is sweet, sure, and Cat 7 is kinda cool. But they’re not really fulfilling. They’re a quick snack and I want a full meal. So honestly? I’m trying to finish them all as quickly as possible, which would be easier if I had my binding callus on my middle finger, but I don’t…so it’s sore as hell this morning after doing three of them last night. I will search around for those pads or one of the many thimbles I own, but I know from personal experience that I suck at thimbling…I just automatically switch to an unfettered finger, setting up new holes and sore spots there.

But first I had to go to the doc this morning, another MRI of my “lady parts” as they were called earlier today. That phrase makes me laugh. Because I’m so not a lady. But hopefully after fasting and lying in an incredibly uncomfortable position as magnets yelled at each other through my body, the scan will show my alien beasts (fibroids) reducing, disappearing, leaving me alone to suffer my uterus without them. I suspect one is still there, the big one, the one my kids used to kick during pregnancy. But the hundreds of little ones that populated my uterine muscle, I’m OK if they’ve left the building. I feel a little mean starving them of nutrients, but they were becoming ungrateful house guests who had outstayed their welcome. I was tired of dealing with them and their detritus. So hopefully it’s all good news.

Back to the little quilts. Sizes and prices are listed below. Just let me know if you’re interested in one of them. Shipping is included.

This is Cat 1

Nov 11 15 002 small

11” w x 10” h, $120.

I do actually calculate prices from time spent and then add average shipping costs in. There are no fancy formulas on these. I’m actually debating giving Cat 1 whiskers…so she may look different tomorrow.

Cat 2

Nov 11 15 003 small

13 ½” w x 10 ¼” h, $155. Might also need whiskers…hand-embroidered if so…

Cat 3

Nov 11 15 006 small

13 ½” w x 12 ½” h, $180. Kitten sleeps in this position all the time.

And I rephotographed Owl 2.0 in the daylight…

Nov 11 15 005 small

17” w x 10 ½” h, $235.

So the rest of my day off will be filled with errands and cleaning more of the boychild’s room out, moving it back in here. I’m actually going to move another section of stuff in here out into his room so I can go through it easier as well…because it’s been piled on the floor for so long and I’m tired of it, but there’s no way to force me to get through it in here, so I just don’t. A deadline like a kid moving back for 5 weeks is a lot more motivating.

I love how I can psych myself out. You’d think I would catch on…

While I was cleaning stuff out, I found this body-part crazy quilt I started ages ago (no dates on anything)…I used to do crazy quilts. Still love the idea of them, love the embroidery, but don’t have the time for it. So I drew a series of body parts, maybe 12? on white fabric, and then crazy-pieced the rest of the square around it. You can see some I haven’t pieced yet on the left.

Nov 9 15 001 small

I didn’t do a uterus, but I did do some lady parts. Each part got one main color…that’s a knee, by the way.

Nov 9 15 002 small

A nose…obviously orange.

Nov 9 15 003 small

Eyeballs when you have blue eyes…a predominant number of the eyeballs in my quilts are blue. Some green. Very few brown.

Nov 9 15 004 small

Penis is obviously red…

Nov 9 15 005 small

That’s a strange elbow.

Nov 9 15 006 small

So I think what bamboozled me after that is what color do I do next? Do I do repeats? Obviously I can do green, but after that? I debated gray and black and brown and white, but didn’t like those options. So there are inbetweens, I guess, although I didn’t really censor the colors I used so far, indiscriminately using lights with darks in the color range. Or using colors more than once. Which is probably the best option.

I start these weird projects and my kids will find all of them after I’m dead, including the pile of 50 eyeballs on orange fabric, and they will wonder What the Fuck I was thinking. Sometimes I do too, if that helps.

Anyway, I have one cat left to bind, and then will have 6 to sew by hand, if my finger can handle it later today. If not, maybe I’ll take a break and trace Wonder Under for a while instead. I should probably take advantage of the time and grade something as well, but every time I think about grading, I think about the kid who complained yesterday that I hadn’t graded his warmup from last week yet, because instead, I graded the thing he needed for his study guide, but he didn’t actually turn that IN, so he currently has a zero. He thinks the warmup will save him, but even if he got 100% on the warmup, he’d average out to 50%. Math is not his strong point. It’s often not mine either, but at least I admit it and ask for help.

I really really really want to draw, dammit. Like right this second. Aargh. Set timer. Draw. Then go do cleaning and errands. Days off shouldn’t be wasted…they should be honored with artistic endeavors. And more sleep. And peeing whenever I want (ah, being a teacher often sucks).