Miss Snyder Says Happy New Year…

Well. It’s a Monday. I love those. My current calendar still has Christmas on it (should fix that…I’m a visual person…need to see the days blocked out). I thought I’d be done copyediting last Saturday, but I got more material and then it didn’t get done. TODAY. TODAY IT IS DONE. Seriously, I made the mistake of emailing my author last night and giving him a list of the missing references so I could edit them for consistency…so now I need to do that as well as finish the bit I haven’t finished reading for the 4th or 5th time. It’s fine. I knew taking on work over break would suck, and for a job, it wasn’t a bad one…but it’s been a bit of a slog mentally, and it makes this week fun because now I have to grade all the things I didn’t grade in the last two weeks. It’s not hard, most of it…I just don’t have the right state of mind for it. I just want to watch cat videos and read my book, dammit. New Year’s resolutions for the best moments, yeah?

No, I really want to make art and conquer the job stuff and hike a lot and none of this is new…I say this every year. I do make art, I never conquer the job stuff because they keep making it harder, and I do hike…so there’s that.

Happy New Year! I still haven’t made my little thing of all the pieces I made last year…just the lame Insta one. I’ll put it on my list. You should see my list. It’s long.

So I did finally start quilting…I just didn’t have time until this weekend. And it started with a lot of thread breakage…

At first, I thought it was just because this thread is probably old…I’ve used this color before, but probably not for a while.

But when I started doing the outlining inside the image, it was breaking like crazy, so I started investigating all the things that make it break. It was tension. Thread is as tense as I am? Yeah. Anyway, this is the first time I’ve actually quilted on the new machine, and I was using a different thread, so it took a little fussing to get it right. I’m glad I got there though…because now I can just do a few hours at a time and get this thing done, yeah?

I’m gonna be here for a while, I think. Especially with all the other crap I still need to do this week. Yes, I am one of those lucky teachers who didn’t start back to school today. We have three weeks at Winter Break, which I’ve always appreciated…it means you can deal with all the family and holiday stuff and then still have a week to get back into school brain, which usually means massive denial until Friday before school starts, and then intense panic. It’s good. It works.

I also completed my quilt guild challenge to make a notebook cover…

It wasn’t hard. I enjoyed the stitching.

Did I NEED to spend a few hours on this? Of course not. But we often do things we don’t need to do.

It’s a lot more chill than what I usually do. Most of the fabrics were gifts this Christmas.

I’ve drawn 2 out of the last 3 nights…

We were supposed to go to a small gathering (us and 3 other vaxxed people) on NYE, but turns out the Man had an exposure before Christmas and we were being uber-cautious. We have no symptoms here, but there is a massive shortage of tests, so we can’t even check. I could go to school today and check…but we couldn’t schedule him a test at all. Sigh. I think everyone’s going to end up getting sick this time around. Get vaxxed! And boosted! The friend who got it was vaccinated but not boosted yet (hadn’t been 6 months yet)…so his case was mild…but we do know unvaxxed folks…and hope they will figure it out soon.

So we sat at home and I stitched and drew. New Year’s Day, we went and sat outside (cold night)…and I drew there.

I’ve done 14 drawings so far over Winter Break…I think I’ve missed 2 nights: Christmas Day and last night.

We hiked on New Years Day, but away from all the people. We left it late so we just went to one of our regular haunts…

Made a friend. We’re hoping to do something more interesting this week. The trails have dried out a little, hopefully, from last week’s rain.

In other news, based on 2020, I figured I wouldn’t have much time to read in 2021 (school takes that time away), but then the man was gone for 2 months on the PCT and I had no one to talk to, so I read a lot instead…totally beat my estimate.

Now I need to make an estimate for this year. School still sucks, but the Man is going to finish the PCT and the boychild will probably be on fire camp duty from July through October sometime, so I will be super alone and maybe should aim for 100 books? Or will the July jury duty suck reading time up? Sigh. IDK. It doesn’t really matter, but I like to be realistic. Last year, I made a goal of 45 and kicked it out of the park. I made the same goal in 2020 and only read 39 books (that year sucked). In 2019, I read 40 and my goal was 36. Hmm. In general, over the last 7 years, I tended to read between 35 and 45 books, except for this year and 2014 (which was a clusterfuck of a year), when I read 104. So probably 45 is still a good goal…maybe I’ll pick 50, just for fun. The girlchild set 125. Now I feel like a slacker. Ah well. Yes, I think too hard about these things.

The boychild turned 26 yesterday, making me feel old. I found this in a box somewhere and photographed it for posterity (plus the boychild doesn’t like his photo taken, so this is a stand-in for his 26-year-old self)…

I let him request a cake…my mistake…so many steps. This is Bon Appetit’s Blackout Cake, which apparently tastes really good…

It has all the chocolates in it. All of them. I’m allergic, so I have no idea how it tastes. I just know I touched all the chocolates over the 24 hours it took to make this thing. It actually wasn’t incredibly difficult…just time-consuming. Hopefully it was worth it.

We had the parentals and his dad over…

Simba was the youngest and cutest thing around, so he got all the attention.

I also am still working on Sue Spargo’s BOM from 2020, the mini/lite one, Chirp

I’m on the third type of six different flowers. There are four of each type. Not halfway yet, but getting there. The birds were fun to do. It’s just time-consuming. I find the stitching relaxing, believe it or not. It should be done in 2022. Not gonna commit further than that, honestly.

And this is what happens when you say my name in a Speech to Text program…

Gotta love my students. Whoever that Miss Snyder person is, well whatever. Maybe she’ll grade all the crap that’s here so I don’t have to.

OK. Well. So many things to do today. First, get the damn copyediting done. Get it out of here. Seriously. Then I can settle down to the other two jobs…finding a calendar for the current year is also important…I have the zoo calendar somewhere. That would be a good one. Happy 2022 all…I don’t have high expectations of the year…just hopes that the things I like are more important than the things I don’t.

2021…Get Out of Here…

Well hello the last day of 2021. You were supposed to be nicer. You promised. But we know how that goes, yah? I have no expectations of 2022. None. Nada. Nichts. Oh, except that I will have US District Court jury duty in July…because they wanted me to do a month-long trial in February and after sobbing to myself about lesson plans and grading, I called them and they moved it to July. I guess every three years I lose half my Summer Break to the court system. It’s seriously difficult to plan for all the doctors’ appointments and other shit I can’t do during the school year when you only have 3 weeks for that. I’m so irritated by the whole thing. BUT…I’m not doing it in February. Let’s not think about whether I’ll be able to meet the man on the trail at all in July. Seriously. Fuck.

So I am now about 2/3s of the way through my Winter Break. I have graded exactly nothing, we did finish the stupid tobacco curriculum yesterday (in case you wanna know, 5 lessons = 10 hours of work), and we planned the first week back. All good. Not great, just good. It had to happen and we were pretty damn efficient about it, but I was still awake at midnight last night thinking it needs another readthrough. There’s probably a mistake in it and I don’t wanna listen to some other teacher bitch about that, but I’m amazed at how shittily written the original curriculum was (from Stanford University, no less). I swore at Stanford a lot yesterday.

I am on my third readthrough on the book I’m copyediting, which I wanted to be done tomorrow, but then the author sent the missing bits yesterday, so yeah. I won’t be. I might be. I don’t fucking know if I will be. It depends on today. And tomorrow. And what I decide I need/want to do besides copyediting. My brain is just like gross foam on a latte that’s gone cold. Sorta sticky. Not good.

I haven’t started quilting yet, so there’s no way it will be done in 2021. That’s OK. I did crazy piece a notebook cover for my quilt guild’s 2022 challenge…

And then I embellished the front part…

I still need to do the lining and sew it so it will fit on the notebook…no worries. So yeah, totally brainless stuff. I drew last night too…

After watching the Witcher episode with that tree monster. Don’t ask me to explain what’s happening in the second season of the Witcher…I have no fucking clue.

I did finish the book that the library sucked back last night…stayed up late on Wednesday night to do it, of course, and then the library sent me ANOTHER big (but not THAT big) book I’ve been waiting for…

God, fuck copyediting and cleaning house and any NYE plans, right? Just read this. I actually went to the gym for a couple of hours and got a good start on it. I know what my brain can handle…and it’s not much.

It’s fine. My district gets three weeks for Winter Break. I can spend all next week grading shit, right? Ugh.

While I was at school, working, the Man photographed this from the house.

Missed it. Looks nice.

Yes, I am crankballs. Why do you ask?

So I finished 8 pieces in 2021…the 9th is in there too. I couldn’t get the Top Nine app to work or any of the others, so I just made my own.

I do usually do a page with all my pieces and titles…I’ll probably do that over the weekend, because most of these pieces don’t fit in a square. Much like us.

Well, the cat was happily ensconced on the chair behind me, purring away, then started scratching shit and bit me three times on the back. What the fuck. I do not believe I am bleeding. And then there was a huge spider on the floor. ALIVE. Not any more, you fucker. Fuck 2021 man. Get OUT of here. I am so done with you.

Deep breaths. I need a shower and more caffeine and some exercise. Plus some focus.

This is too close to the truth.

And if you don’t have a planning period, your lunch should be long enough.

Thanks to my co-teacher for these. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

OK. Going to go shower and then go to Costco. Probably not the best choice for today’s mood, but whatever. Also have some gravel to move. That’s exciting. We are going to a super small NYE gathering later tonight…everyone is boosted and seriously, there are only 5 of us including me and the Man…but yes, I am still nervous. Hoping my mood improves before then, but ugh. Gonna go yell at the cat a bit I think…WTF, she’s rubbing her head on my leg. She’s squawking her sorries at me. Fucking psycho. Aargh.

Oldest What?

OK, the 6th day of this blog challenge is one of those topics that I feel like is more about project people than art people (and there’s some serious overlap there, y’all…art people sometimes just make projects, like me and the baby quilts, and project people sometimes make their own art)…Oldest UFO. I seriously don’t care if I have UFOs. Some of them will get done eventually, some of them will end up in another piece, and some were just so I could figure out how to do something (or how NOT to do something), and its existence in my current stash is really just because I hate to throw things out.

I know that somewhere in this house is an old cross stitch or embroidery from when I was a kid that I haven’t (and probably never will) finished. I’m OK with that. Also, some early quilts from when I was learning how to do things…that I will never finish…like this one.

There was some painting and some fusing and there must be some piecing that I don’t remember (I think there are directions somewhere, yo Susan, I think this was one of yours?)…

That is SOME cloud there. I don’t know that I will ever finish this, and I’m totally OK with that. I took a lot of classes when I started learning how to quilt and I have a bunch of unfinished stuff from it. This was when I learned how to do hand applique.

I did a lot of it for a few years. I think every single one of those quilts is unfinished. Sewing things together is not my forte, unless it’s one of my art quilts. There are only two unfinished art quilts, no three; the first two probably don’t need to be finished. They were experiments in a style that didn’t really work. The other one is hand applique and will eventually be finished. It takes so long to make an art quilt in my style by hand.

I also did a lot of crazy quilting for a while…

These are still in process. I think there are 20 of them…and they are all just hanging around, waiting to be stitched on. And maybe they will be finished in the future…

But like I said, the art quilts get done. I have a drive to finish them that beats all the projects I do as hobbies. I guess every drawing I make could be considered a UFO, since less than half of them become quilts. Some years I draw a lot and some a little (this is a little year…which sucks, but I can’t get my head out from under the day job and carve out more time and energy).

So the oldest UFO? Those are all old. Some older than others. I don’t really care about that. They will either get finished or not. I even have other people’s UFOs…unfinished quilts and blocks. UFOs come to me to live an unjudged life. I will love them, unfinished or not.

No art has happened in two days. I’ve been really tired and working a lot. I am making walking and exercising a priority, best I can, so Saturday afternoon was a long walk/hike thing outside. This is the Walker Preserve Trail in Santee…

It’s pretty flat…

Not very strenuous. Might have been all I could deal with. There was a line of painted rocks at one end of it.

A rock snake, as it were…

Interesting idea…I do like these signs…

I think lots of people need to see that sign.

Maybe not that one.

We did a little over 3 1/2 miles. Probably could have done more, but the man’s back started acting up. My next walk is hopefully Tuesday. Too many meetings this week. Too many things I have to do. I’m fairly sure I’ve forgotten some of them. I’m holding space in my head, a bubble, where I can feel OK with the world. I can’t stay in there for long, but it helps. Many things are hard right now. More walking, more art. Speaking of which, getting off this machine and onto the ironing board (not ME on the ironing board…the fabric y’all).

Oh Yes, Procrastinate…

Best teacher skill ever! We’re all experts. I’m writing this and reflecting on yesterday’s work or not work while listening to a podcast on how to reduce time spent grading assignments. Ironically. Because I didn’t finish a full assignment yesterday. I almost did, but it hurt too much, and I quit early. Not really early…it was almost midnight. OK, to be truthful, I graded a bunch and then quit and drew some stuff and THEN tried to grade some more, because I wanted to be done, and I made it through three and stopped AGAIN. THAT was almost midnight. I was tired. My head hurt.

I find when I’m feeling this way, like I’ve done nothing, I should reflect. I did take a bunch of stuff to dad’s dumpster yesterday, stuff the boychild deconstructed. I took one dog to the vet for a shot and got medicated shampoo for the other dog. I made it to the pet store and stocked up on dog and cat food for at least the next month. I like having everything set up for the next month when I come back after break, because it always feels overwhelming to just EXIST after a break, so I need things to be easier when they can be. No matter what I do, it will feel overwhelming. I cut up and cooked a ton of apples for scone-making today, again, to freeze for the next month or so. Baking today. Good plan. I did grade MOST of one of the largest periods of assessments. I can easily finish today and start the next (and last) class. The essays are gonna kick my butt, and that’s all there is to it. I did my drawing a day…can’t explain it, but obviously whatever I was watching had some effect…

You would think so, but I was watching more Craft in America and it was mostly Native American artists…so not so much. All the Craft in America stuff is available on YouTube, by the way. I’m really enjoying it. I even know some of the people in it, like in person.

Here’s the grading help I had…

Oh yeah. And thanks to the kid who thought light green colored pencil was the best choice for his messy handwriting. My Head. Ouch. I did quit soon after his. Hmmm. The first time I quit. Actually, right after his. I blame the light green.

Now I have also been trying to clean up small areas of the house, to throw stuff out and better organize it. I got one counter space cleared (mostly! That’s always the problem…isn’t it?). I keep looking at this pile behind where I sit at the table, but I can’t deal with it. I need a better filing space for house files…they’re all legal sized and I don’t know where to put them. Or how to organize them after 4 refinancings. Sigh. So that overwhelms me. The next space is the art desk and the top of the piano…and the light table, which has all the Christmas books (I want to read them ALL RIGHT NOW). I dealt with a small piece of that and found two patterns and three kits. Why do I buy kits? I don’t have a good answer for that except that when my brain is slow, I like stitching other people’s stuff for relaxation. My own work is not always in a stage that can travel, so I take kits on travel trips, long drives, anywhere I might have to sit and pay attention. I suck at that without handwork. So I buy kits, mostly wool, mostly hand embroidery. Although sometimes quilt stuff…more rarely, or cross stitch. I found one pattern that was an iron-on and ironed it onto fabric. I need to pull threads and put the fabric in a hoop and put it in a travel bag. It won’t take much time. Can you say staff meeting? Yes, I’ve gotten in trouble for that before. Somehow that is MORE offensive than pulling out my sketchbook and drawing. I don’t know why. I know how I learn best and hear best, and it’s while stitching or drawing. So let me do that.

But then I found a wool crazy quilt table mat from 2014. A kit, nonetheless. Holy hell, did I buy that? Well. Now’s the time. I love crazy quilting. It’s fun, relaxing, and easy for me. So I (well, I started to type WASTED TIME by piecing this…but it wasn’t really wasted, because it’s something creative my brain could do and not be super stressed by it…and while I was doing it, some ideas for the next quilt popped into my head, and I wrote them down. Hello Art Brain. How are you?) pieced the mat…

Easy to cut out with freezer paper, although I put it on muslin instead of using their fusible interfacing instructions…mostly because I don’t have any fusible interfacing and didn’t want to buy anything to do this.

In retrospect, I should have done it their way, because after pinning this, you do a zigzag in black (barely shows) rather than proper applique…it’s all wool and stretchy as hell, and the interfacing would have made it stay in place, but whatever. It worked. I stitched it all down and ironed the hell out of it. This designer fuses stuff on top instead of just pinning it. I’ve done another quilt (well, most of it…let’s not talk about the unfinished projects plan I had for last year that totally tanked…instead, let’s make a NEW unfinished project. Um Plan, I meant. A new Plan. ha ha. Ha.) in this method, and it’s pretty efficient. So I traced all the other pieces on Wonder Under, found their mistake in the pattern, redrew things I didn’t need to redraw (I did check at least 5 times and yes, there was a mistake, but I missed HOW it was a mistake until later. No worries.) and then ironed all of them to the wool bits, making only two mistakes on those. Maybe three. Who cares! No one will know. Except me, and I will promptly forget about it. Now I just need to cut all those pieces out and iron them to the mat, and then I can do the fun stuff.

What’s really the point here is that I spent at least an hour on this instead of (a) cleaning the space I was supposed to clean (in fact, I now have potentially a bigger mess to clean up) and (b) getting anything done on the to-do list or (c) starting the new quilt drawing. Whatever. Obviously my brain needed a break.

I’m tired. The hot flashes are back in force and waking me up multiple times a night, plus the neighbors above, who are moving out, left their porch light on all night, and it shines into my bathroom window, which shines into the bedroom. I’m really light sensitive. Basically sleep is a losing game for me. I should have closed the bathroom door, but I’m always afraid one of us will get up to pee in the middle of the night and half awake not realize the door is closed and walk right into it. So I don’t.

It’s a beautiful warm sunny day today. What’s on the plate? Finishing one class and starting another class of that damn assessment. My next drawing will be Goddess of the Fucking Rock Cycle. I’m going to the gym. I’m making about a million apple cheddar scones and a similar number of blueberry scones. I’m going to Costco, otherwise known as My Suburban Hell. I will probably find some other project I NEED to do instead of what’s actually on the list. The man thinks I need to go to this community meeting about a high school they’re trying to put on this tiny piece of land where traffic will be hellacious. Ugh. I hate people right now. Oh fuck! The grocery store…I need to go there. When we went Sunday, half the freezers had stopped working, so we couldn’t get two things we needed. I was supposed to go yesterday and forgot. So after the gym, run sweatily through the store for those two things. Good plan. That’s a lot of shit for one day, and I haven’t even put in the drawing of the day, plus progress on a quilt. Really, what I need to do is contact my photographer about when to bring that quilt in…I think that’s the only way I can force myself to finish it. Silly, really…sitting in front of the telly and stitching sounds lovely. Why can’t I do just that?

No idea. Procrastinate EVERYTHING. It is my brain.

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

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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…

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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.

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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.

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A nose…obviously orange.

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

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Penis is obviously red…

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That’s a strange elbow.

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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).