Another Nail for My Heart*

January 1, 2017

Hello 2017…you came in half-assed and with a scary hug from a stranger in a sparkly bodysuit (weirder things have happened to me, honestly)…there are some things to look forward to this year, and some things that terrify me. I don’t have any resolutions that are new, just bolstering old ones. I didn’t pick a word for the year, but if I did, it would be loud and protesting and feminist and activist (not those words in particular, but some one word that incorporated all of that). I turn 50 this year, full-on cronedom here I am, ready and willing to kick ass. My doc brought it up for my next checkup, and I was like, yeah, yup, bring it, I’m here. I can do this. No fear. Stress? Sure. No fear.

Looking back at art in 2016, I made 11 things I consider art…10 quilts (although one is still not wall-ready) and 1 nightstand. There’s definitely some things they have in common: lots of dark blue, lots of staring-you-in-the-face…which makes sense. One commissioned piece, another already sold, although it’s touring for another two years. Five of them have been in shows already and one is committed to another show in Sweden. Not bad.

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I had more quilts last year, but a lot of them were small. May 2017 bring more work! More sales would be nice too, but honestly, it’s not why I make it. I make it because I have to…because to stop listening to the artbrain would make me ill. And I want to be as healthy as I can be.

I ironed yesterday…I kept thinking I was close, real close, to ironing the body parts, but no. I’m not. I spent about 4 hours ironing and then got to the skeleton. Looked at the clock. Nope. No time to do all that in one go. Not before I had to be somewhere. So I stopped. Here’s some stove parts…not the rings themselves, but the silvery bits around them.

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I was ironing while watching the second season of The Man in the High Castle…too close for comfort, I think. Hard to watch.

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Here was the layout just for one of the two cats in the piece…

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I pick one thing and then choose all the fabrics for that one thing at a time. So next is the skeleton…which has quite a few parts…seen mostly below…

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With the box of already-ironed parts. I have almost 11 hours into the ironing so far. I wish I were further along. But I’m not.

I had a monster of a pile going, fabrics that I’d used so far. I keep them all together until the quilt is done…

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While I’m ironing, so I can reuse certain colors and patterns throughout the quilt, and after, in case I lose a piece, so I don’t have to go searching through my entire stash looking for that one grey I used in a tiny piece. I have learned some lessons over the years.

I did organize them before I left…not by color, but at least in boxes.

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See? Colors. Still a lot of greys though.

Then it was out for NYE. I’m with the band. I wasn’t really in the mood to be out with a bunch of strangers though, so mostly I watched…tapped my toes a bit. Sang along a little.

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And drew. This one…there’s a more complicated version in my head, but harking back to the nuclear bomb drills of the 80s. That shit is still in my head.

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And then a pre-drawing for the next piece in my solo show…not quite what I want, but it’s getting somewhere.

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And somewhere is all it has to go right now. I have some drawing I have to do in the next few days…I do have one week left before school, but it’s a crazy week. Lots to do in very little time. So panic sets in. As always. Nothing new there.

*Squeeze, Another Nail in My Heart


This Way Is a Waterslide Away from Me*

December 20, 2016

Late post for me. I started it earlier with finding and resizing photos, until we got the call to head out for miniature golf. Never got it written. Until now. Busy days.

So yesterday was a trip to the Wild Animal Park, which isn’t called that any more. Damn. What is it called? The San Diego Zoo Safari Park. You can see why I might need to look it up. I guess it’s been a while since I’ve been there.

This guy was cute…

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And rhinos are inordinately fascinating.

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Not nearly as fascinating as the freaks I’m related to, however, as you can clearly see.

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After dinner, I headed over to the drawing, again. Still. Although last night, I was pretty sure it was done…I’m not sure if it is or not right now, but I’m going to go spend 2 hours at the gym with my book and my out-of-shape muscles and see how I feel after that.

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She’s big. 49″ w by 84″ h. Or so. So I should get my act in gear and start numbering tonight…and then tracing my ass off. I’ve also done zero grading since school got out. So I need to get going on that. Maybe not starting tonight. Tomorrow? I still have errands to run, clean up to do around here, Christmas stuff to finish.

I did change out the fetus. He was too lumpy. The new one is much better. I just cut the other one out, inserted a piece of paper, and drew a new one.

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It happens. Little fetal reject there.

Anyway, the bro’s family is gone tonight, so there’s just mine to deal with from here on out. I can just about handle that, although I think it’s time to whip up a chore list. I need help. Always, eh? Yeah.

Y’all should make a mental guess on how many pieces are in this thing. I have one. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be right. Ish. Do it. Write it down somewhere. I’ll report tomorrow on the reality of my crazy. And remember, I did try to keep it simple. I did. Really. Well, as much as I ever do.

Finish numbering and start tracing tonight. Finish tracing by the weekend? Might happen. We’ll see.

*Weezer, Say It Ain’t So


Drive until You Lose the Road*

December 19, 2016

It’s vacation. Full of family and chaos and bad food…bad for you, not bad-tasting, unfortunately. Or fortunately, depending on whether you have to go to the doctor for a checkup this week (sigh). I’m managing to get some drawing done, though, although sometimes it’s like I’m pulling it out of my brain like a tapeworm. It keeps breaking and I have to stare at the blank spaces on the paper for 17 minutes until I get a piece of it back. Or like last night, just go to bed and after 10 minutes of tossing and turning and can’t get comfortable, all of a sudden it pops into my head and no way am I getting out of the warm bed to go draw that. I type a note to myself on the phone instead. I do still remember it this morning, but the note guarantees I’ll remember it.

So here’s how it went. I was standing around waiting for my brother and his kids to surface on Saturday, so I worked on the skeleton, after making the decision to continue it below her arm. It would have been weird if I didn’t.

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I was really just paranoid about a million rib bones. It turned out OK.

Then I added a tree with hands on the other side. I like trees. They’re in lots of my quilts. They usually have fruit of some kind…this one is a bit strange. I believe those are peaches…and hands.

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Adding feminist symbols throughout.

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Because that’s what should be graffiti on a stove.

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Still need something under that hand. Think it will be a cat. Not sure.

The boys and bro are finally free, so off to Balboa Park for a train museum, climbing, running, wrestling, and Pokemon Go.

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Saturday night was dinner and sleep, blessed sleep. Then Sunday morning, all the way up to the OC for the extended family party. Got my bro, his two boys, and my monsters all in one picture. A miracle.

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Girlchild is still working on the essay that is due today. One cousin is listening as they discuss politics and policymaking.

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Then came home and started to draw again. Winged death in the stove window…makes sense to me.

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Girlchild is still working, with puppy assistance.

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I keep drawing. Probably am going to cut out that baby, draw a new one, and tape it back in there. I think I decided that around 1 AM. Did not get up and DO IT at 1 AM.

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I’m still debating whether the bottom is finished at this point. The right side seems unfinished…

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So I add stuff. Honestly, I need to add one more thing, but I’m not sure what it is yet.

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It’s a cat. I keep thinking that so it must be that.

Finally I head to the…head. It’s been hard to consider the head, but it finally spoke to me (I stared at this space for quite a while).

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At the same time, the skull spoke.

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There they are together. The hair was an issue, but that’s what I went to sleep with…and it slammed into my brain during the toss-and-turn stage. My brain is like a salad. It needs tossing.

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So hopefully sometime tonight I’ll get that done. Girlchild is going a little crazy with the essay-writing…puppy likes pets.

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And another branch down. Sheesh. I can’t even see where it came from in the tree. But it’s a big one. More cleanup.

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Today is more cousin action, once we get out of here (getting there)…but the drawing. I think it will be finished today. I have Christmas stuff to do as well (not today!). I’m panicking slightly, but hopefully that will go away. I have a lot to do over break…I find I do better once all the Christmas stuff is under control. Ha! Whatever that means.

*The Fray, How to Save a Life


There You Go*

December 16, 2016

Today in a nutshell: rain, assembly, 12-year-olds, quiz, last day of school before break. Yeah. But we will survive it. We always do.

And three glorious three weeks of break with no kids and only 8 assignments to grade. I should have graded more this week. Oh well. (8 assignments, 7 of which will take an average of 2 hours to grade, so that’s 14 hours, plus the unit they’re handing in, which is probably 5 hours total, then inputting grades…guessing somewhere between 22-25 hours of work to do on vacation. OK. That’s unfortunately normal.)

I do have both kids back home, hallelujah, although girlchild’s flight was really late last night. There’s a lot more noise…and puppy is doing much better. He’s medicated and all signs do seem to point to some sort of muscle or back strain from doing too much puppyness. I think he’ll be fine in a few more days. As it is, he’s back to romping a bit, but not quite happy about jumping up and down on couches and such.

Insert cute picture of dogs that I’ve already used, because I don’t have any photos from yesterday.

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My drawing…I drew nothing last night. Too stressed and waiting for flight and exhausted. Even tried to nap for a short time, although that was kind of a failure. I would have liked to have the drawing done before tomorrow, but it’s not going to happen.

So the plan (because it always helps me to have a plan…damn, the right eyelid is twitching): Finish drawing this weekend. Number the damn thing. Sunday and Monday are pretty much lost days…so realistically, let’s say I’m done with those two tasks sometime Monday night (it could happen). Then tracing. It’s hard to estimate tracing time when you don’t know how many pieces are in it. It’s bigger than the last one. Maybe equivalent to summer’s piece. So about 20-25 hours of tracing. I should be able to have that done by next weekend. Then cutting, ironing to fabric the next week. Trimming and ironing together the following week? Is that possible? I think so. But it means this quilt isn’t even being quilted until school starts. Well. That’s probably gonna be how it goes. We’ll see. At least now I can sorta see the big picture.

Speaking of, I need to go to school now. Yeah. I’m not a praying person…so I’m gonna quick, build a shrine to the Teacher Goddess and offer her a burnt offering of a broken pencil, a homework pass, and a fuzzy peppermint from my pocket. That should do.

*STRFKR, Rawnald Gregory Erickson The Second


Getting Nothing but Static*

December 15, 2016

I swear yesterday felt like a Friday. Yeast lab was a disaster in 2nd period, but eventually we got it working (I think we say that for every lab involving yeast…you’d think we’d figure that shit out)…I spent most of the day teaching empathy and appropriate behavior more than cellular respiration and the effect of changing the reactants on the product. I’ll be reteaching both today, for sure.

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Certainly, I’ll be doing dishes at school today…and generally straightening stuff up…and trying to figure out why Splenda has more product than Sweet & Low. It was an exhausting day, followed by a long union meeting.

That said, I’m currently listening to the B-52s and it’s helping me wake up and find the energy to get through this day. In bed around 1 AM (I was drawing) and up at 6:30 (girlchild texting…plus that’s when I usually get up)…not enough sleep. Plus exposure to strep throat, so now I’m gonna be paranoid about any throat pain for the next 4 days. I’m basically laughing hysterically and throwing a big Fuck You to the universe mentally at the moment.

In other news, Simba seems better. His back is definitely bugging him, because he’s scared to jump off the couch, but he gave boychild a proper puppy greeting.

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Yes, one kid is home. The next one comes home today, as long as the plane takes off. She’s never been cancelled, like the boychild has. So it was kind of amazing that all his flights took off within an hour of the appointed time. I don’t remember the last time that happened.

My brain wasn’t ready to sleep last night, so I drew after boychild went to bed. I had this skeleton pop into my head yesterday morning, so I wanted to start that.

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I’m not sure if I’m going to continue all of it…I’m still debating that. I’m debating a lot of things on this drawing. Maybe tonight I’ll get to the head…I really should do that before I put the skull in there. I think.

I got the photos back on the quilt I just finished…totally forgot about that. This is Give Me Time

Kathy Nida fiber artist

She’s the 11th piece of art this year for me, and probably the last big quilt of 2016. I have one smaller one to do, but the next big one probably won’t get done until early 2017. It’s 38″w x 70″ h…I seem to be doing more of these long skinny pieces lately.

Here’s the bird and sun that had to flip sides. In the original drawing, they are on opposite sides.

Kathy Nida fiber artist

It’s a quilt about time and how it affects us, all the ways time and increasing age weigh us down…mostly how bodies change and bad stuff that starts happening.

Kathy Nida fiber artist

I do most of my work from a fairly personal perspective, if not what’s actually going on with me, then what I’m worried about for myself or another person.

Kathy Nida fiber artist

Snakes show up pretty often in my work. Because they’re easy to draw. No, not really. I just like how they fit into spaces and have all these crazy colors. Plus they’re biologically interesting. We’re terrified of them, but they’re fascinating. They imply some tension between good and evil. All these things attributed to this long skinny worm thing.

Kathy Nida fiber artist

Plus they’re pretty damn efficient…unlike how I feel at the moment.

Anyway. I’ll have to write up a full statement at some point. Not there yet. I did finish it in time for the entry I needed it for…with a day or two to spare. Something to note…I was way more efficient in working on it when I was teaching than when I wasn’t. I should keep that in mind for the next three weeks. Try to be efficient when I can.

Which probably starts by going to school today and getting shit cleaned up for the break, since they’ll be doing our floors…so everything has to be cleaned and put away. Yeah. That’s funny.

*The B-52s, Channel Z


I’m Wishing My Days Away*

December 13, 2016

I’m realizing that the holidays are just around the corner, about to slam into me headlong. One sign? Both kids coming home in the next two days. Am I ready? Well, sort of. One kid’s room is vacuumed. Bedding is washed but not on the bed. Christmas presents are still laid out and not wrapped. Yikes. That might be an issue. Did I think about that last night? Yes. But I also vacuumed and took apart the vacuum because of that burning smell (I’ve never found a vacuum that can actually handle lots of dog hair). Then vacuumed some more. And the table is finally cleared off. That’s impressive. And some of the Christmas stuff is up. So did I grade anything? Fuck no. Yeah. I worked many hours yesterday. I will work even more today and tomorrow. I won’t feel like grading stuff when I get home. That’s kind of one of the problems this year…so much of my prep spent on planning that I can’t get any grading done at school, so it’s eating up a ton of at-home time. I could potentially be going home on Friday with 8 assignments to grade…last year it was 7 and I didn’t finish. So that’s motivation to get some of it done this week. Somehow. Yeah.

That said, this drawing is populating my brain and I’m letting it. All day at school, the empty spaces percolate in my head, so I can come home and fill them on the paper. That said, I had a big space present itself last night and it didn’t take long to fill itself in my head. I had finished drawing the uterus and pelvic girdle, and there was an unusually large area between that and the ribs (it happens). So I stared at for a little while and thought about how this quilt is about breaking out of gender roles, about getting out of what’s expected of you…and these women popped into my head. So I drew them.

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There’s a lot going on in here. I still need to have a focus for the head and decide if I’m doing the whole stove or stopping with the top. And if there will be stuff on the sides. I’m leaning against that. The arms still need details too. But it’s coming.

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I don’t keep track of drawing time in the small version usually, just when I go full size. I’ve spent three hours so far on the full-size drawing. I will mull on the face today.

When I sat down for a little while, Midnight came for love and attention…yes, I wear mismatched flannel at home…the cats don’t care.

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And I did get the tree lights on. I really like the lights part of Christmas. There’s Christmas lights in a few of my quilts, including this one. I should add more of those in there, I think.

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Puppy still doesn’t feel 100%. He’s been quiet. Tummy issues.

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Well, if you wouldn’t eat everything in the world without thinking about it, that probably wouldn’t be an issue.

Puppies don’t listen.

I’m hoping to be tracing onto Wonder Under by the weekend. And next week is off! Although family is in town in the beginning. And Christmas shopping is not done. And there’s yardwork to do. I need some good rainy days so I can’t do anything but stay home and make art (unlikely here in the desert of Southern California). First need to survive school. The kids are seriously pushing all our buttons. I will need to meditate in between classes…maybe. We have a lab tomorrow, so hopefully that will help. The mess? Not so much…but at least they’ll be engaged in doing something.

And I get to come home and draw…

*Police, Walking on the Moon


I Go About Things the Wrong Way*

December 12, 2016

Hey. Monday. Would you knock it off? Seriously. Nobody really likes you. You could be nicer, maybe quieter (probably not your fault trash pickup is on Monday…it’s probably different days in different places, you’re right). But seriously…make sure the tea is made, that there’s a healthy warm breakfast on the table? That would help. And plenty of sleep.

Yeah. I ask. I do. Last Monday before Winter Break though…oh hallelujah. Although I should get through some of this pile of work before that happens, so I don’t have to take it all home with me, eh?

Saturday morning, I met with other San Diego educators planning ways to counteract possible government interference with our kids, our students. I hate how some conservatives make teachers out to be money-grubbing haters who don’t care about kids, because honestly, I’ve never ever met anyone like that. In 15 years of teaching. I’ve met stupid people and people who made shitty decisions and lazy people, just like in any other career, but no one goes into this for the money and most of them care about kids…after time, that may change, but usually they get out when that happens. We have an incredible attrition rate…in science, 50% quit by the 5th year. Another 50% are gone by 10 years. So we’re being proactive…figuring out what schools need and asking for it and standing behind it. In a peacefully protesting sort of manner. I can’t just sit back and watch ignorant people come in and destroy everything we’ve fought for…in students’ rights, teachers’ rights, support of schools. It’s not OK.

I spent a lot of the meeting stitching, because I don’t like to just sit and listen.

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If I could get away with doing this at school meetings and professional development, I totally would. It relaxes me and helps me think. I know this…

The rest of my day involved gift wrapping and a bridal shower and a weird company party. And Sunday was work work work until I got to the end of the day. Here’s all the stitching I got done during the meeting. These things take forever…so much detail on them.

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But cool when they’re done.

Anyway, I had enlarged the drawing from Friday night 200%, so Sunday night I cut and taped it together…

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And then added paper top and bottom (and eventually sides), trying to figure out how big to make it.

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It’s not super wide, but it’s long. I penciled in some shapes, just to make sure the perspective was good, and then I started drawing…

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Does your cat lie on the stove? Mine does. Not when it’s on. Had to train her out of that.

Anyway, there’s a start. I don’t think I’ll be done drawing tonight though…think this is gonna take a while. I’m OK with that. I like to draw.

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In fact, my two favorite parts of quiltmaking are the drawing and ironing the fabrics together. I just have to remember that everything I draw has to be cut out at some point, twice, in fact, maybe technically three times. So don’t make them tiny and don’t add a million pieces.

Still no progress on the tree. It’s on my list. Cat approves.

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Art before tree. At least last night. My to-do list has ballooned this week. Kids are both coming home (assuming weather doesn’t stop that), both their rooms need some minor cleanup, and the house is a disaster. Plus school on top of that and meetings every night I think. Crazy chaos. It starts today with trying to teach kids who checked out sometime in November. I should give them a quiz then. And have a major assignment due. Yup. That’s how we roll.

*The Smiths, How Soon Is Now?