More Adventure, Less Grading

November 17, 2018

A friend texted me last night and reminded me that I hadn’t updated some of the pages on my website for a LONG while…for the Recent Work? Since March? So I fixed that. Hey! I made art this year! I had forgotten. I guess this school year is really kicking my butt. Not sure why. And then I updated the Current Shows page as well, although it doesn’t look like Quilt National did a lot of traveling this time around. I’m actually expecting some of my stuff to be heading home soon. And then a couple head out to a new home, which is always nice.

So we’re leaving this morning for Chandler, Arizona, where the Things That Matter exhibit will open in its entirety. I don’t usually drive 5+ hours for an opening, but I really want to see it, plus it’s doable, and I have 9 days off of school (although not 9 days off of working for school, nope, not that, I made a list of what needs to be graded and planned and fainted dead to the floor…in my head, anyway). That’s also 9 days to finish a quilt that is not even halfway done, I think. Hysterical laughter ensues. At the least, there’s a good 30 hours left in it…but I think it’s more. So yes, I am taking the tail end of it with me to cut out in the car. If I drive half the time, that gives me 5 hours of cutting time, at least. That should do it. I hope. Come home Sunday and sort the pieces, then start ironing its ass together.

But here’s Not Less Than, which will be in Arizona for a while.

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More specifically, it will be at the Chandler Center for the Arts, Visions Gallery, Chandler, AZ, from November 8-Jan 6, 2019. Then it will travel to the St. George Art Museum, St. George, UT, March 23 – July 6, 2019. I might be in Utah while it’s there too…I just realized. Huh.

I did cut things out for a while last night. This was fun…

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It WAS actually. I’ve done just over 11 hours of cutting. This is not a quick quilt. But I only have the stuff in the bottom left box to do. It’s not a huge amount…it’s not a small amount either, but I think I can get it done. I need to get it done.

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So it’s going in the car.

Then when I was in Boston, I did a little embroidery, all on the plane though. So I guess NOT in Boston, but on the way there and back. Oh wait, I also did some at a soccer game. It’s easy to do while watching videos…keeps my hands busy. But I had finished all of this block except the owl and the hut, because the owl apparently needed eyes and I had forgotten to put them on, so last night, I made eyes and put them on. Now I can embroider them and the beak.

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Now he looks weird because of the no-beak. I didn’t have the hut instructions, because they were from a different month, but it turns out, I had those instructions shoved in my bag because it’s the road instructions as well, and they get used every month from here on out. So silly me.

My dog view. Not my beer.

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This one is adorable when he’s not barking at random shit.

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Anyway. I have a drawing in my head that wants out, so I have a sketchbook, although it’s the small one and I suspect the drawing is large, but I can do a smaller version of it. I have my book, because one should always have a book (or 7) while traveling. I have my bullet journal/calendar thing, because my head is swirling through to-do lists and I can’t handle not writing shit down, I have my embroidery, my quilt being cut out (traveling to yet another state), and hopefully clothes and meds and maybe some food or soap. Leaving in 23 minutes. I should eat. Ready for adventure! There should be more of that in life. Less grading.

Figure Out the Insanity

November 16, 2018

Normally, I’m totally aware that a break from school is coming up. I’m all talking about it the week before, making lists of what I’m gonna do, planning for it, getting ready. Yeah. Well. It starts today at 3:45 PM and I’m just now realizing it. I’m so buried in school stuff, I’m having a hard time getting my head up to see the calendar. Plus, doesn’t it feel like Thanksgiving is early this year? It does. I’m not ready. I’m really not. I actually want to stay at work for another week, so I can be more ready to take time off. Sounds crazy, but all the planning and grading that I could get done in another week? I’d be more prepared to take time off. As it is, I’m going to be working my butt off next week on art and school…which is fine, because I got to go to Boston and I’m going to Arizona tomorrow…that’s more traveling than I usually do.

Boston, by the way…

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Well, that was Waltham anyway. Guess I left just in time, if being cold was an issue. Sorry, Northeast…it’s still pretty warm here. Not at night, but even at night…it’s still warmer. My heat has been kicking on in the morning, so the house is under 65 degrees. I know, stop laughing, but when I left the gym yesterday, it was a smack-in-the-face cold that I wasn’t expecting. It was probably 10 degrees warmer at my house. Weird.

So yes! I made it to the gym. Gotta keep that habit going. But then dinner was haphazard and late (need to plan better) and then I was trying to create lessons for after break, and I was missing one file, maybe two that I needed. So frustrating sometimes to try to do this. I’m not piloting the curriculum, but I’m trying to stay on the same page, so once we get OUT of the pilots, we’ll be in the same place. It makes me want to bang my head on a table sometimes.

It was almost 10 PM when I realized…it’s almost 10 PM and I was going to cut out all this stuff. Sure you were. I got about an hour in and realized my head was nodding and my eyes were closing. This is not working. I am nowhere near done. Well, I’m closer than I was an hour ago, I guess. Think positively!

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That pile on the right still needs cutting out. I’m going to work on it tonight and then maybe take it to Arizona with me. This quilt is so frustratingly LONG at the moment. I know it’s me, though, so that’s even more frustrating. Sigh. It will be awesome when it’s done. If it’s done. I honestly have NO IDEA what I’m working on next. Laughs hysterically. OK. I know there are some shows I was interested in, and I have a deadline in like April? For something I haven’t even thought about. So there’s things I can think about, but not for about 2 weeks. I have less than 2 weeks to finish this. Fuck. OK. It’ll be fine. It’ll get done, one way or another.

For now though? I need to go to my day job and persuade kids to finish all their work before they take a week off, because they don’t want to work next week any more than I do (I will be working next week…catching up with grades and planning). I am looking forward to long hours of artmaking though. Ironing and stitching down and quilting. At some point, I will have the guts to look at hours from a previous quilt and try to figure out the insanity of next week. But not now. Now I’m going to school.

Shut Up and Let Me Art

November 15, 2018

Adjusting still. My body has no idea what time zone it’s in, so it’s just randomly hungry and tired. I wasn’t in one zone long enough to adjust totally. The plus is that I’m wide awake when the alarm goes off in the morning, because it’s always later in my brain than it really is. I’m sure that will readjust soon, probably painfully. The hardest part about coming back to school after being gone is trying to remember all the stuff you’re supposed to do. I have piles and piles of stuff to figure out. I did some of it yesterday during the union meeting after school and then after dinner. Today I’ll figure out the 3 or 4 kids whose projects need assistance, call the two parents who want meetings (before break? Not happening), and I’ll try NOT to think about all the grading this unit entails. Piloting new curriculum mostly sucks right now, especially with looking forward to another 3-4 weeks of it. I’m hoping the next one is better, but my kids won’t have access to the online component, so maybe I should just drop it and do some version of what we did last year. Aargh. I don’t even know if it will fit. Anyway.

So I did cut out a bunch of pieces for the new quilt while I was in Boston. I didn’t take everything with me, though, because I knew I wouldn’t finish, and the larger pieces are harder to transport in ziplock bags. But I thought I had a significant chunk done…and maybe I do…it just doesn’t look that way. I spent an hour and a half cutting stuff out last night, and this is where I’m at, with over 8 hours into the cutting…

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Nice cat. Top right is the bag of trash. Bottom left is everything that’s cut out. Bottom right is the gigantic pile of what still needs cutting. It looks huge. Tonight I will come home, hopefully go to the gym, do some grading, and then cut like a madwoman. I want to be done with cutting and sorting before I leave for Arizona on Saturday morning. I also want a chunk of grading done and out of the way. That’s a bigger joke, honestly. I can’t get anything done in class, because the unit we’re teaching is just plain old direct instruction, where I talk ALL the time and I hate it.

Calli does too. I got home yesterday and planted myself on the boychild’s bed, and he sent me some dogs (and one of the cats just showed up, like he does).

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Simba needs lots of attention too.

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Although apparently he got to run around a lot yesterday. He likes that.

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OK, so hopefully today will be a little less direct instruction (ha!)…sigh. I’m having a hard time. Soon I will be ironing this quilt together and it will feel better. I’m going to be working on it all day every day next week. Looking forward to it. Just everyone shut up and let me art.


November 14, 2018

I’m back. Ready for school? Well, no. But I’m going anyway. My blood sugar is trying to figure out what time zone I’m in. It’s massively confused. I fed it, hoping that would help. Really I should be wide awake right now, being three hours ahead, but I’m still recovering from traveling, I think. Why sitting on a plane is exhausting? No one knows. Actually, there are probably multiple scientific studies about it. None I have time to read right now!

I miss the girlchild already. I guess it’s easier when I don’t see her all the time to forget that I miss her. But I do. She’ll be home for a little while over Winter Break…but that’s always a crazy time of year. Then I’ll see her at graduation. Then who knows when…

So there’s that. My cat was very happy to see me…slept with me all night. Haven’t seen the dogs yet…that’ll be later today. I suspect the man who lives here also missed me…

So three days of school before a short break. I can handle that, right? I hope so.

So Monday, girlchild had classes almost all day, so I headed into Boston to go to the Gardner Museum…it had a small weaving exhibit, which included this piece by El Anatsui, and some other cool work as well.

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I didn’t really know what to expect from the palace side of the museum. I only knew it because of the art that had been stolen. It was interesting…

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I walked along the water for a bit afterwards. Honestly, it was a bit chilly out.

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So I drove to Cambridge to this fabric/yarn/maker place. It was cool…

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I didn’t buy much…just a few fabrics that caught my eye and a small embroidery pattern.

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Life in a college apartment is always loud, it seems. Mine was not so…although the year I spent in Britain was a bit. I shared a floor with all guys, though, and they don’t impulse-cook like women do. I cut out quilt pieces while they made pumpkin vegan (were they?) chocolate chip cookies.

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Tuesday, girlchild sacrificed two classes to take me to the New England Quilt Museum, where I got to see Salley Mavor’s work for the first time in person…plus Susan Carlson, who came to my guild, and a SAQA show. So that was cool.

We were both tired and it was pouring rain. So we went back to the apartment and I cut out pieces while she watched a French movie for class.

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I would sit at the window and watch squirrels all day if I lived there.

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Getting on the plane was a piece of cake…no line anywhere. And the plane was almost empty. I had a whole row and more. And when the in-flight entertainment wouldn’t work, they comped me internet, so I watched Stardust on Netflix while stitching. This was after reading most of a book.

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I was missing the eyes on the owl (whoops) and the hut instructions were in Block 3, which I didn’t have (I hate it when she does that), so then I worked on the giraffe…

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So I need to find this guy some eyes so I can finish him, and then find the Block 3 instructions so I can finish the hut.

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Preferably before Saturday, when we drive to Arizona for an opening. I should be able to handle that.

So. School. Cutting more pieces out…hopefully getting them done and sorted before we leave Saturday, so I can iron a whole quilt together next week, AND quilt it and bind it (sounds impossible from here). But first kids. Yeah.

Just Hanging by a Moment*

August 4, 2018

So last night, I tried to finish cutting out all the pieces, but even with 4 hours in (remember…I needed 6), I did not finish. I’m in the 200s, so about 2-3 hours are left. I’ll get those done today. I’m at 18 hours total so far.

I had regular dog company the entire time…he looks cranky because he’s really tired because he ran around all morning and then we took him on a walk.

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See? Tired. I sat and cut for a long time…

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Here’s where I quit…it was only 12:30, but I wanted to try meditation again before bed, because it seemed to help the other night. I’ve been bagging up the trash bits, so that’s only a third of what I cut last night. I need a bigger box for the pieces that are cut out. It’s full.

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Here’s what’s left…oil drums, ocean bits, and the last of the mermaid.

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Here’s the walk from earlier…it was still hot out, so we kept it relatively short.

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I need more of those.

Anyway, today? Finish cutting pieces. Sort them. Start ironing them together. Also do two GISH things and submit them (it’s the last day), copyedit the last chapter (the rest is done…except I need at least one more run-through of the whole thing and then some fussy stuff). I’d like to go to the gym…we’ll see about that. The man’s band has a show tonight, but it’s a reunion, and those are harder to crash, so I’m on my own tonight…artmaking it is. I’m realizing how little time is left…how much of it is commandeered by other people. I think that’s what I hate most about the school year…how much time I lose to what other people need me to do. Not the actual teaching…but the immense amount of time that grading entails, plus all the professional development and meetings and trainings and crap that others put on me. Especially when I don’t get anything out of them. I need one good tip or piece of info or idea from a meeting or PD for it to be worthwhile. So many of them, I walk away with nothing.

And as for the meditation? I so didn’t sleep well last night. Still not…even with exercise and meditation. Going to keep working at it…

*Lifehouse, Hanging by a Moment

With One Foot in the Past*

August 3, 2018

No jury duty today. The last day of worrying about it. Glad it’s done. Maybe I’ll be more chill about it the next time the feds tie up most of my summer with not being able to schedule anything. Which is why my foot is going under the knife on Monday! First day I could schedule it. It’s OK…some weirdo cyst that’s been causing issues for two years now will hopefully finally die a horrible death. And truly hopefully, a quick recovery with no restrictions on standing or walking.

School is officially looming. Three emails yesterday from the principal, one about our rooster mascot, which something apparently finally caught and killed. Sad…I think every teacher on campus has a picture of him lurking in the lunch area or in the parking lot. I do, but I can’t be bothered to go find it. I have video of him serenading me as well. Like he did.

So the days to get shit done are counting down. With that in mind, I fully met the goal from yesterday and did 6 1/2 hours of cutting shit out. I’m proud of myself.

First, though, in true GISHness, I painted a portrait that I can’t show you of Jensen Ackles using Skittles as paint.

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Note to self: Skittles suck as paint. The other year, I painted Jean-Luc Picard with condiments…still some lack in color choices. Sure, this year, I could have gone out and bought the other colors of Skittles, but no. I went old school. I’m not allowed to show pictures until the thing is over. Today I will be creating a portrait of my favorite actor, politician, or public figure in flower petals. This is problematic because I don’t have anything blooming at the moment. I did steal some from my friend’s house yesterday and will head over to my parents’ sometime today (shhh…don’t tell them…). I haven’t decided who to do, though. And then tomorrow, I’m making a special hat. A very special hat. Yup. And then it’s over…it’s only a week long! Sad but true.

So I had my sewing-during-the-summer meeting yesterday, where I’m mostly the only person who shows up, but that’s OK. I cut there for almost three hours…here’s where I was at when I left…

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Then I went to Target to buy a birthday card. Yeah. So you know how that goes if you’re a teacher.

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That is not just a birthday card. Pro: I’m almost done with school shopping.

And then I had to drive to Encinitas for an art meeting. I cut stuff out there too, for about an hour and a half, and then came back home and cut stuff out on the couch for another hour or so. The stuff that still needs cutting is in the top box…you can see it’s much emptier. All the cut stuff is on the bottom left and trimmings on the bottom right.

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Significant progress…I’m in the 600s, so if I spend another 6 hours today, which is the plan, then I will be done. On time. On plan. What a concept.

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Knock on wood, because it’s never that easy, right? It’s a goal. I’m aiming myself at it. The to-do list is long and complicated, but it’s still good to have a goal. OK, on to the copyediting and errands and all that crap.

*Tears for Fears, Head Over Heels

Kept Alive by the Pouring of the Moonlight*

July 24, 2018

I’ve been listening this morning to Sue Bleiweiss, one of the organizers of Threads of Resistance, talk on the Just Wanna Quilt podcast run by Dr. Elizabeth Townsend Gard about the Threads of Resistance exhibit and the reactions at the Texas and North Carolina shows…very interesting to hear. Sue says something during the podcast about why we (sometimes controversial) art quilters do what we do…basically, we have something to say and we want people to hear/see it…to have those of a like mind have a place to feel validated and maybe motivated to make change or art in response, but also to have those who disagree see other viewpoints. I know I surround myself with people who think a lot like I do about politics, and it’s not a bad thing to hear other viewpoints. Hearing them doesn’t make me necessarily believe in them, but I think the conversation is important. To have a group like the Artist Circle Alliance put this show together and find venues and create and print a beautiful catalog is an amazing thing. I’m one person who mostly sits in her house and doesn’t talk to humans in person and makes art for hours on end…and I fully appreciate all the work they’ve done to make this show happen so my voice and others can be heard.

So when people demand that the show be canceled or they boycott an event where many other things are hung and vendors are selling stuff, solely because of one piece of the show that they object to, it is a way to silence those voices…to shut down parts of the country that have valid opinions and beliefs. I understand, for example, not wanting to be part of the Women’s March because you don’t agree with what it stands for…I don’t understand trying to shut the march down so no one can voice their thoughts. The United States has a history of shutting down certain groups, of not listening, and I had hoped we were moving into more open communication in the last 10 years, but it seems all those thoughts and feelings will not be allowed. That is unfortunate. It’s not what’s best for the country. As a teacher, I always have to consider the child, each one of them, and decide what is best for my students…as a whole and as 150 or so individuals. It’s difficult. No, sometimes it’s a rancid pain in the ass. I do it anyway, because it’s right. Same here. We need to allow discussion, expose misconceptions, shine light on some of these thoughts in order to come together. It doesn’t mean we have to agree…although agreeing on some basic human rights would be nice. If you just shut down discussion, though, no change can happen.

Anyway…it’s hot here in Southern California…not as hot as it will be tomorrow, but hot nonetheless. Heat waves in July…no climate change, yeah? Right. This was me and Kitten for a good chunk of yesterday…resizing pictures (Kitten is useless at this)…

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Watching videos about installing portable air conditioners (still useless, Kitten)…

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I’m debating this thing…it’s huge in here, but it does cool the room off. But it’s gigantic and loud and this isn’t a big room and I have to have the door closed and then the animals can’t come in and I’m not sure if I like it or not and I don’t know whether to keep it.

Sigh. The air conditioner is causing me stress.

Last night, I cut stuff out for over 4 hours…Puppy came and went. There’s a fan to the left of him, so I have to place the box appropriately so all my bits of Wonder Under trash don’t fly all over the room.

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I changed to a bigger box. I knew I had to be up early to deal with tree guys, so I went to bed…well…not really very early, honestly. Oh well. If I’d stayed up another 30 minutes, I would have finished the Wonder Under cutting extravaganza.

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‘Twas not to be. Many people (OK, only two) thought my scissors were onion rings. Now I’m hungry for onion rings. I’ve never made onion rings before.

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Nope. Just my beat-up old scissors. Seriously, they are puppy-chewed. But they are the best for this. No drag, comfortable for hours of cutting. Strange, I know, considering their non-paddedness.

This is all I had left…about half a yard.

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I finished this morning before 8 AM. Ugh. I don’t like before 8 AM. That was 12 hours and 20 minutes total of cutting…on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Well and 23 minutes on Tuesday morning. Not bad.

Here are the trees in question. Not the best picture. I have two giant ficus trees right next to the house, and as they have grown and grown and grown, they now pose some branchy issues for the next storm. Yes, I am dreaming of storms.

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A view from the backyard…over the house. They are a bit rampant. And the bougainvillea has grown into them. I have lots of trees. I love trees. I’m hoping this guy is good and not a lollipoper. I hate when they lollipop trees.

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Because I’ll use his business again if he’s good.

Anyway, now I’m ready to sort Wonder Under into 19 bins by number. But that’s the eastern side of the house and it is currently in full sun. So maybe I’m in here typing and then cleaning up and trying to decide about this damn beast of a cooling machine. I think an in-wall unit makes more sense, but that isn’t happening any time soon, is it? Nope. It’s not. Aargh. Heat makes me a little crazy, I have to admit.

There’s the bins, waiting for the sun to hit its zenith. Plus I have to take Calli to the vet this morning. It’s gonna take a good 2 hours to sort those.

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So sometime this afternoon for that, ironing by the evening, I’m hoping. I need a background (hoping I already have that too). Cleaning for now. Oh. And I have a copyediting job that just popped up. Ah timing.