Dear Wild Animals:

Dear wild animals: I realize many of you are nocturnal and I sympathize with that whole ‘avoiding predators’ things, sleep during the day, yada yada yada. But I am not nocturnal. Well mostly. Let’s put it this way. I have to subsume…no, not subsume…sublimate (something sub anyway…is subserviate a word?)…my nocturnal tendencies to hold down a day job that requires some level of awakeness (oooh also not a word) and ability to make 7,000 decisions in 14 seconds flat. So when you, wild animals, are traipsing through my yard and on my roof at holy shit in the morning, the little dog who is currently sleeping with me loses his tiny little mind and barks and boofs until at least an hour after you are done traipsing. Please traipse elsewhere. Or do it more quietly. Please.

Tired. Yes. Why do you ask? When am I NOT tired? Hmmm. Good question.

I think I might finally be getting back to some normalcy in the art stuff after last week’s disruption. Monday night, I had to pack a quilt, a HUGE quilt, that need ironing and lots of dehairing and is just huge and awkward as hell to get done in here (stop making huge quilts!)…

So I got that packaged up into a box that was 83″ high. And yesterday, I shoved it into my car after school and dropped it off so it could go to Quilts=Art=Quilts in Auburn, NY.

Hello box that is almost as long as my car. I love this quilt. I love that it’s getting into shows. I don’t love shipping it. This weekend, I need to clean up and pack two more quilts…wait, no, there are five quilts going out between 10/8 and 10/14 I think. Still waiting for an answer on one…because they want delivery during the day…not shipped. Um. Artists have day jobs? Really? Sigh. It’s a school, too, so you’d think they’d get it. No answer yet. OK. So there’s that. It’s done. So last night, I’m like, where the hell am I on the quilt that I wanted done by the beginning of September that is now going to be an October quilt because my day job is a time-sucking asshole? Oh yeah, sew the background together. Easiest thing I’ve done all day. Seriously. Then I trimmed it. I did measure twice (good). I probably should have checked my drawing with the measurements twice (oh well) because I had graded for about 3 hours and I was tired. I knew I was tired, but I wanted to be making art dammit. Anyway. The measurements are fine. Somehow in my head, though, even though I’m staring at a drawing that is taller than it is wide, I started ironing with the fabric horizontal instead of vertical. Luckily I didn’t get far before I figured out shit wasn’t going to fit. And I didn’t iron hard yet, because I didn’t know if it was in the right place. So I could pull off everything I’d ironed.

It’ll be fine. Everything is fine. Tonight (hopefully…after school and taking the cat to the vet and cooking dinner) I will try again. Thinking it through. Again. Wish me luck. I also ironed the nonwoven version of my drawing down to some silk I had lying around (welcome to my weirdo stash)…plus a random diatom thing that we put on there to use up the nonwoven.

I trimmed the silk away on the smaller piece…didn’t have time/energy to do the larger one, but I will. Then I can paint the silk from behind and see how that looks. That’s not happening soon…I have grades due in less than a week and that’s all I’m doing is grading and trying to plan 8th-grade science with zero help. I emailed the other teacher and that’s a no. I don’t think he’s doing anything but the provided curriculum, which has no labs, or hardly any. It’s driving me and my kids bonkers. I’ve been trying to map out the next unit so there’s plenty of hands-on stuff, but I can’t even get my head around the subject matter (Force and Motion, Velocity, Speed, ugh…it’s not like there’s a shortage of cool things to do…I just can’t figure out how to organize it). I will have to get there at some point (actually really soon), but I’m not ready. Hopefully my 7th-grade co-teacher will be helping this week with some real basic stuff. Here’s my piece in the PHES Gallery in Carlsbad…the artist talk with four of the artists (including me) is Sunday night at 5 PM.

Hopefully I will be coherent. Questionable at this rate. This is a mental war I’m having with the online library at the moment.

I order books online to read on my iPad, and they’ll be like 6 weeks out or 3 weeks out and then they all come the same week. Every time. Luckily they have a new thing where you can say, um no, deliver it next week instead…so if you’re like me and you already have one book you’re reading that’s supposed to take 7 hours and you only get to read for like 30 minutes most days and another book queued up that’s supposed to take 9 hours, and you really really want to check out a third book, but you can’t. Because you only get them for 21 days and there’s already 5 people in line behind you, so if you start reading it and don’t finish, it might be another 21 days before you see it again. Or more. Someday in the future we will just pay writers a living wage no matter what and all the books will be free and fully accessible. Seems reasonable, yeah? I think so. But for now, no, I will try to save up all the books I want to read (right now, I am obsessively checking out every book written by two women authors…been working on them all year. I think I have four books left for one of them and only three on the other. Then I can read other things (I do read other things while I’m waiting for these to show up). Who are the authors? Natasha Pulley and Sarah Maas…light, except when it’s not, total fantasy or steampunk or dystopian strange fantasy. Not real. Makes up for everything else. OK. School. Today is rocks and landforms in 7th grade and designing systems to capture energy in 8th. I’m hoping 8th runs itself and I can do some planning. 7th never runs itself. It requires constant putting out of fires and sometimes arguing with the adults who are supposed to be helping kids in the class, which I honestly could do without. So hopefully that’s solved today too and I can do art for real with a larger portion of my brain tonight

.

Three Days of Art…

I had a great three days of art, although I hit some line on Saturday and had to come home a few hours early and take a nap to beat a migraine that was starting. I’m still tired, but that’s normal for me, unfortunately. Certainly, this is not the week that will fix that. I’m glad I signed up for the conference. Most class situations I need to travel, so there are travel costs, plus hotel etc, and then it’s too expensive for me. This was perfect…in town, no travel/hotel costs. Kept my food costs down by bringing lunch one day. Wish I had had more energy for hanging out after, but that was my body telling me I was doing too much. I know the next SAQA conference is in Florida, so that’s not happening, but I’d keep my eyes open for another one (although they don’t do workshops usually, and I really enjoyed that).

The best part about workshops is getting to know/hear how another artist’s brain works. Betty Busby has a very interesting and creative brain, and it was very cool to listen/see her process. We did lots of fabric painting, which was cool, but also the nonwoven stuff in the cutting machine was very cool too.

But first the painting…sun prints…

Plants under the silk…

Metallic paints…

This needs ironing…

I didn’t make as many as some…

I had more silk…just never know what to do with those pieces…

Although I have more ideas now than I did. The coolest part for me was the nonwoven stuff in the cutting machine. I did a few diatoms the day before…

And then went home Friday night, did schoolwork for 2 hours (ugh), then took one of my drawings, thickened the lines and simplified it…

Until it looked like this…

Then texted it to Betty, who put it on her computer, and then we made a cutting file of it…

Tossed my other piece of nonwoven into the machine…

And got this!

Fiddly as shit. The plan is to iron it to silk, then paint from behind, cut the silk away from the design, and then put that on a background for quilting etc.

The leftovers are pretty fascinating too…

I was not organized enough to save them for a backwards version. Not really backwards. Opposite? Notan? IDK. But certainly I have some ideas…she showed us how she has all these parts (if I divided a drawing into parts) and you can compose with the parts.

Hmmm. More ideas. Also finally found my Inktense pencils and played around with them a little bit before my brain shut down.

It really did shut down. I drove home and went straight to bed for an hour. In the afternoon. Took meds. Woke up and felt better. I did not get enough sleep last week and my brain was in overdrive. Plus Saturday night, we went to the Man’s dad’s 85th birthday party. So I needed to be awake for that.

Sunday was all work. Simba on guard dog mode…

Until about 9:30 PM, when I started searching out all the quilts that need to be shipped or delivered in the next few weeks. A big one needs to go out ASAP. I have one more roll of quilts to pull down for two of them that are going later, but I found a chunk of them.

Some of them have never been in shows, so that’s cool. And now the studio is a disaster area! I’ll get the exhibits on the page where I tell you what shows I’m in…as soon as I get progress report grades done and survive this week. It’s hot again. What are the odds that my class A/C is working? Three work orders, no change. I’m gonna be irritated if today is still no change. Probably gonna be irritated anyway, honestly, because I was gone for two days and a bunch of kids did absolutely nothing. Ah well. It is what it is. You reap what you sow. Or something. Off to the day job. Hopefully I will get back to ironing soon…probably not tonight, but soon.

Hello Art Friday…

Hello Art Friday. I’d like to make you a thing. A regular thing. I used to have Friday Draw on my calendar and then every Friday, at night, I’d pull out my sketchbook and draw for an hour. Ah the days! Then I got buried in school stuff and sometimes I do absolutely nothing on Friday nights because my brain is gone, and sometimes I grade things, because it means I don’t have to do it some other time. I don’t know what the solution this year is, but I want to draw more, but also, school is taking so much time that I can’t do the things I want.

Although I took these two days off for the SAQA thing…yesterday we got to listen to a bunch of inspiring artists talk about their practices: Jane Dunnewold, Paula Kovarik, Betty Busby. Best quote: “When you know what you’re about, no one can take that away from you” (JD). Paula made me want to use more, play more, cut things up more. Betty is just amusing and inspiring as hell. I’m spending the next two days in a workshop with her. Looking forward to it. I got to see lots of other people I hadn’t seen in years, since 2019 or 2015 or whatever. Yes, I also got a new student at school, had to add them to my online class, then to the app they were using in class, and then they pulled my sub, the one that has access to everything, fuckers, seriously, if I set up a specific sub that I trust while I’m gone, then you shouldn’t fuck with that. That shit pisses me off. So who knows. I did set stuff up so hopefully anyone can handle it, but you know how that goes.

I have all my art supplies packed up, I’m wearing an old holey shirt and shorts, I got sunburnt yesterday at lunch, so I have my sunscreen. I even packed a lunch so I could save some money and just buy caffeine and maybe spend more time playing during the 2-hour lunch break rather than waiting in line somewhere for food. I have ideas swirling around my head and it feels really good. So yeah, I’m an introvert (I needed a serious alone-time break yesterday between the talks and the two exhibition receptions). So I went to Liberty Station, walked around, ate…

(it looks better than it tasted, unfortunately) got some caffeine, and then sat in the car, trying to charge my aging phone (it was not happy) and drew for a bit…

Oh, I also graded a week’s worth of homework papers while listening to artists talk, and then stitched the rest of the time, because I am notoriously bad at listening if I am not distracting myself with something in my hands…

Definitely making some progress, but it will still take forever :-). Forever is OK though. For some things. Not traffic…

I don’t usually have to sit in traffic. But I did it for art. And besides, the location where the art is happening is pretty nice…

Cooler too. Always a plus. Autumn my ass. Southern California does Autumn for about a week in late October, and then that’s it. We’re done.

My ex is at a wedding in the UK…check out that building…also check out that family! It’s nice to see them all in a photo together.

Also looks like nice weather.

Last night, I sat on the deck in the dark, talking to the Man, collecting mosquito bites. Thought I was staring at a planet up in the sky. I was…it was Jupiter.

Also my birth constellation. Nice coincidence.

This morning, the sky was pretty. My phone can’t handle the pretty…

Unfortunately…

OK, well, the personal art project is definitely suffering this week, but it’s for a good cause. I don’t expect to get much done on it until maybe Sunday, but we’ll see. I will however be slinging some paint and who knows what else today…looking forward to it. Plus after all the emails from school yesterday, it’s good I wasn’t there I guess. I don’t know. Whatever. Just needed a break. If I take two days a month every month? Yeah, that won’t happen…and it’s too hard to do the prep and after stuff. But definitely to remember that making art helps…and maybe taking a day off to catch up on grading AND make art would be a positive thing. We’ll see. For now, though, it looks like there is less traffic today, so I will be leaving soon. Need more caffeine. I’m certainly failing on the sleep front still.

All the Pieces

All the pieces are done, ironed together. I just need to make them fit. Ha! That’s always the issue. I love it when the quilt top is just one giant ironed-together piece with no holes in it, because it’s easier to get onto the background. Pieces like this with a little bit here and a little bit there, and they all have to fit together, which implies I ironed them together really well (ha!)…those are the hardest. I’ve got two big heads (here’s one of them from Friday night)…

Then there’s the head and upper torso of the main figure with the arms, then the lower torso with the rest of the three figures and the body of one of the big heads. They’re all attached in some way. It’ll be a challenge. It’s not a small piece, so doing it on the ironing board won’t work. I finished the Earth last night…

That was the last bit…and I found the missing ‘s’ finally. It was in the box of 1300s, even though it’s a 300. It has aspirations…

In other art news, Coronawood got into Quilts=Art=Quilts, which is cool. And I’ll be part of an artist talk on October 2 at the PHES Gallery in Carlsbad.

Should be interesting…a wide variety of work.

I spent a huge chunk of the weekend working on school, which is funny, because I only just got my nose above water and my mouth sometimes. Meaning 8th grade is planned through next Monday and is a disaster after that. I spent 5 hours on Sunday just dealing with that, and then the other 3-4 hours was grading stuff and posting stuff and trying to make sense of stuff. I brought home 5 things on paper that I didn’t touch, needed grading. I’m taking some of it to my other quilt guild meeting tonight. Valerie Goodwin is talking. I took a class from her last year on Zoom and wanted to hear/see her in person. Also I won’t be at school for two days this week, so hence my panic about school stuff. But I’ll be at SAQA Summit listening to artists talk and then taking a 2-day workshop. I still need to write sub plans.

That whole 5 hours yesterday was on this chair with this cat behind me…

It wasn’t particularly comfortable.

Later we walked the little dog. Not sure why I call him that, since he’s the only dog we have at the moment. I guess I have a wishful big dog.

We only did 2 miles because all of us were tired. The boychild has been gone a lot lately for work, so Simba has been needy. And a shitty sleeper. I’d like to thank the local coyotes for my lack of sleep today. Boychild may be back Wednesday…depends on local fires. He was on one over the weekend, but seems to be off it now. I told Simba; he understood nothing.

We managed dinner out…

So I drew something very basic that I’ve probably drawn some version of about a million times. Which was fine, because at least I was drawing.

This school year, man. I’m hoping I get a better handle on it soon. It’s been shit. I should say the 8th graders are mostly fine. They are a decent group of kids. I just don’t have the curriculum down until like 5 minutes before class. The 7th grade, I’ve taught this curriculum enough times that I’ve got it, but the kids are a challenge…and not all of them. Just a significant enough number of them that it is hard and exhausting and sometimes they behave and sometimes they are shitheads. Because they are kids, yes, but also because of COVID and not being in school and still figuring out how not to be immature and some of them don’t HAVE to behave at home, so why behave at school? Some days are good, most are ok or tolerable, and then some are just shit. And because I end the day with them, it just throws me. And then the curriculum is stupid, the stuff I’m using for 8th grade. Hate Amplify. It’s lame. So repetitive, only one right answer, hardly any hands-on stuff. There are simulations, but it’s not the same thing. The kids need something to put their hands on, to mess with. Hopefully the next unit is better. I guess it’s only as good as I am, and I don’t feel up to it by myself. I don’t have any other curriculum that I can do with them. And I don’t have time to go searching for stuff, or the brain power, because I would have to be able to get the big picture to do that, and I’d need like a 40-hour week of planning to get there.

On top of all this, some messy shit with adults happened last week at school that still is pissing me off. I need to drop it, let it go, but it’s shitty and I can’t get it out of my head. Thank you brain for that.

I did finish one book, read a whole ‘nother book (the Man hates it when I use ‘nother)…

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy…second book in a series, but basically I love anything by Becky Chambers. Reminds me of why I don’t hike the PCT as a thru-hiker.

Anyway. I’m on yet another book now. It feels good to read. I do love to read. And draw. And sleep. I love sleep so much and I suck so bad at it.

Today is chaos. I’m giving assessments to both classes, although 8th probably won’t finish today. 7th will if it kills me (and it might). Staff meeting after school, plus counseling, pick up the parental dog and bring her back, then off to the quilt guild meeting. I’m not sure I can do all that, but I’m going to try. I should eat something in there sometime. I’d like to say I’ll iron when I get home, but odds are that I will just collapse. We’ll see. A girl can hope.

Like the Wind…

Well. A deserted island is calling me. Nah, it’s only a week until SAQA Summit: 3 days of art quilt stuff and making without being at school. Yes, missing 2 days of school will kick my ass. Writing sub plans for that will kick my ass. But it will be worth it. I just realized I probably needed supplies for the class a couple of days ago, so panicked a bit, but I think I either have most of it or can get it easily. Maybe not silk habotai. I know I have some silk, but probably not that. Anyway, looking forward to that while panicking about the everyday school stuff, like prepping for labs (did a bunch of that yesterday) and making sure my planning is done (it wasn’t). Trying to get far enough out to WRITE sub plans and have stuff planned for the beginning of the next week, since my weekend is pretty full. Good full, but full nonetheless. THIS weekend? Empty. I think. Hallelujah. Need some time. I also want to finish my book. I went to the gym on Monday after school because UGH that day, and I just exercised and read. So I’m at 86%…just need to finish. Not sure when…back-to-school night was last night, union meeting tonight. Busy week too.

Anyway, I am still ironing, slow but sure…maybe just under an hour each of the last two nights.

Worked on the right arm (on the left side)…finished it last night…

Also finished a rocket and a cat. Tonight will hopefully be the left arm (on the right side). I was wrong about whatever pieces I said I was on the other day. I’m now in the 900s, but barely, so I must have been in the 700s on Sunday night. This is not fast. I’m working too many hours for the day job. It’s double everything, double plan, double labs, double thinking. Art at least was a repeat each trimester, and the art teacher and I had a basic plan I was working from. Now I have almost nothing…a curriculum that is confusing and repetitive with a subject I’m honestly not that good at. Fun. I did do two cover pages last week…well, I’m still not done with one. I finished 8th grade yesterday…

Then quickly drew 7th grade (still need to color it)…

I did that in the 20 minutes between science not tutoring (don’t ask) and back-to-school night where the mom who’s been berating me for everything under the sun showed up. Also fun stuff. I would like to thank 8 years of meditation practice for my response to that shit.

OK. School. Plan like the wind. Grade like a hurricane. Go to a union meeting and take notes. SLEEP (oh wait, not yet). Cook dinner. Trash out. IRON for as close to an hour as I can get. THEN sleep.

It’s All About Energy…

Today is a holiday for some, not all, as the boychild went off to training today, earlier than I wanted to be up, so then all the animals were ready for me to be up, in fact, I think Luna purposely got herself stuck under the dresser just so I’d get up (and then got herself remarkably unstuck) and the boys next door have new toy machine guns (seriously. I’m not kidding you) that they run around shooting at each other, rat-a-tat-tat, which is not conducive to sleep or thinking or anything but rage, honestly, or maybe less rage and more WTF toward their parents. Religious as fuck but machine guns. Anti-Satan (gasp!) but OK with killing. They seem like nice people. I just don’t get it.

ANYWAY. So I’m up earlier than I want to be, which has been the case since before the kids were born, so you’d think I’d be used to it. It’s still hot here, which make everyone cranky, although I think yesterday was cooler. We had clouds a lot of the day, and sure, they were monsoon clouds, so it’s humid, but not as bad as Saturday. Today dawned clear and hot, though…so all the fans are on and I’m in here typing before it hits 95 degrees inside. Even the internet is cranky in the heat. I was trying to do school work yesterday afternoon, and that was a no-go. Slow as hell and kept freezing. Could be the new loaner computer though. Either way, it gave me an excuse to quit working and iron instead. For whatever reason, my studio was cooler than the living room. There was actually a breeze yesterday. Not so much today…a little air movement, but not much.

So I finished the one figure…her right hand and face were all that I needed to do…

Then I started on the figure next to her…

That’s when I took a break to try to do schoolwork. Waste of time really. We went over to the parentals for dinner, brought side dishes and dessert (what requires the least amount of time in the kitchen)…then came back, it was dark and night and a little cooler, so I got the third figure done…

And started the large figure on the right, after the broken Statue of Liberty…

Some of my drawings are more stream of consciousness than others…I think of them as brain dumps or an anxiety drawing, how do I just get it all out of my head and onto paper. This is one of those. Whatever my concerns and anxieties are, for some groups of people (BIPOC/LGBTQ), this shit is way worse and doesn’t seem like it will ever go away. My old-white-lady concerns are ten million times worse for them. Anyway. I love that I made progress…hopefully there will be more today, but first, I really need to do schoolwork. Way fucking behind.

Friday night, we went to see the Threads of Inspiration show at Inspirations Gallery in Liberty Station. Here is my quilt Bill! Bill! Bill! about Bill Nye…who not only made all those awesome videos we know and love, but continues to advocate for the planet.

This quilt was part of the A Better World exhibit pre-COVID about people who make this a better world. So he’s traveled a bit. A friend of mine sent me this…

So I believe I am 4 or 5 degrees separated from Bill…which feels good. I hope he laughed.

The show is up through the end of September, so check it out, because there are some cool pieces…

It is a SAQA local show, so Southern California and Nevada…

If you’re coming the the first day of the SAQA Summit, the official artists’ opening will be that night.

I will be there for that. I will also probably be exhausted, but what’s new?

Lots of color in the show…

Some fun work…

If you want to see each of these pieces with all the artist info, I’ll be posting them on the SAQA SoCA/NV instagram page @saqa_soca-nv once I get done posting about Desert Diversity, the local show in Phoenix, Arizona, right now. Or stop by on Thursday, September 22, from 6:30-8:30. I think otherwise it’s open only by appointment.

The next opening is next Sunday, from 2-4 PM…

I delivered that piece Saturday. First time out in the world with that one. I will probably be at the opening earlier rather than later, depending on when the grocery shopping gets done. Sundays are a little crazy usually. This coming weekend is a little more packed than I like them. I like some down time, some art time, some reading time, some hiking time. Which means it needs to cool the fuck down enough to hike. Not happening today. Maybe Saturday.

I drew before we ate out on Friday night…it was definitely cooler at Liberty Station. Hungry man…

Didn’t feel like a serious drawing. So whimsical it was.

The view of clouds on Saturday reflected in the pool where I kept putting my feet to cool off.

I couldn’t find the energy to put on a bathing suit and go all the way in…so up to the knees it was. With my book.

Other bits and pieces from the week…I thought this drawing was a pretty effective explanation of yo-yos and energy.

Made me laugh anyway. And here’s the apples I brought home to compost from the apple batteries…they were getting buggy after four days…

Seems like a waste of food, but the kids learn a lot from this. Mostly they’re a little mind-boggled that apples have energy.

I keep finding caterpillars on the milkweed and on the citrus trees, but no cocoons so far…on either.

I think I have too many birds for the caterpillars to survive. Something has been stealing the tomatoes again too…I had one almost ripe one and it’s gone. Probably rats.

This…true…

What can I say? Black is versatile. Hides the spills.

This one was at my parents’ house, just hanging out on the grass.

Probably close to dying, but it was pretty.

I worked a tiny bit on Sue Spargo’s Homegrown. I think I’m still doing April’s blocks.

I had to read the instructions four times and then turn the book with the embroidery stitch instructions upside down to help me get this far.

This. Sigh.

And finally this…

Kitten is doing OK. She’s not great. We’ve been switching her meds around, trying to make her more comfortable, but also increase her appetite with giving her horrendous diarrhea. I think we’re closer to a solution, but I will be happy when I can stop giving her the medicine that makes her foam at the mouth.

OK, so all the things that need to happen today, on my holiday: cook lunches for the week (meat is in the crockpot already), laundry (I did not get to the washing machine first, so I will have to wait…also to shower), grade a bunch of stuff, post things for this coming week, pay some bills, get some posts ready for SAQA’s instagram, fix my website current shows and recent work sections, read my book (maybe), iron some art (definitely), and get ready in general for a short but packed week at school. I’m finally getting my lost filling replaced, got two parent-teacher meetings and one “how-the-fuck-do-we-manage-this-parent” meeting, got one stitching meeting, chiropractor with mini-massage before (that’s a necessity), plus a Pilates class. I think that’s it. I’m not counting next weekend. I wanted to hike but it’s too damn hot. So I’ll aim for next weekend for that. Plus there’s some stuff on my to-do list for the day that I’ve already forgotten, even though I only wrote it down like an hour ago. Hence why I write it down! At least this is a day off…I appreciate that, even if I haven’t been very efficient with my time. Hopefully the heat won’t be too bad today and I can get things done. I will feel better going into the week if I can.

I feel like this whole post is about energy, which is what I’m teaching the 8th graders. Less what I am teaching and more what they are learning. I just throw a bunch of materials at them and then they figure out the things with a little bit of help from me. Which is the way it should be.

Free the Pins!

Oh my. I’m not even halfway through the week and I feel like a truck hit me…not because of COVID…I’ve been fine except for some residual phlegmy grossness since last Tuesday. And yes, I just taught two days in a row for the first time this school year, but geez. I know I’m getting older, but man oh man. Three more days? It’ll get better…I’m doing labs all week with 8th grade, so that’s a lot of physical movement…a LOT…and then 7th grade is the mental thing…they still don’t know how to do 7th grade science and their behaviors are insanely inappropriate: yesterday was walking out without permission, arguing about observations (I’m right! The teacher can’t be!), throwing oneself across the table (not me, y’all…not me), yelling “he didn’t do anything” when I sent a student outside for a discussion (dude, not talking to you), plus a plethora of minor stuff, stupid noises, yelling out. My co-teacher uses a citizenship points system that I’m implementing just with 7th grade to try to curb some of this crazy. I know it’s because I was out for 6 days, so I will just need to stay the course and be that hardass mixed with personal conversations (had two good ones yesterday with boys who need attention, and yes, they do!) until they start to get it. There’s rules. Disappearing for 25 minutes during class is breaking some big ones.

Sigh. So it’s making it hard to get art stuff done…and I have a bunch of administrative-type stuff I’ve been doing…entering shows, cutting slats, putting on labels. All good, because it means showing my work. It doesn’t mean a lot of progress on the current quilt…but now that I know it won’t make the deadline I was hoping for, it doesn’t really matter if I speed through it. It’s all ready to be ironed together, and hopefully I will start tonight.

As I was doing all that stuff, Kitten knocked down a piece that has been hanging on a board in my studio that is basically hidden by a pile of batting (that Kitten likes to sleep on)…I totally forgot about this piece…

People have been trying to date it based on the fabric…I can tell you it’s probably early 2000s. But the best part is that I never finished the sleeve.

I swear, I have a million sewing pins stuck into an in-progress piece, which is why I keep having to buy more, because I run out. Mind-boggling if you think about it. I should finish that damn sleeve, yeah? Totally. FREE THE PINS!

So that night, nothing but admin. Last night, I graded late…trying to stay on top of things. But then I remembered that I had scanned some photos for a 9/1 deadline for a coloring book one of my art groups is doing, but I needed to clean them up. So I spent an hour doing that (stayed up later than I should have, probably not helping with the exhausted feeling this morning, but I wasn’t watching the clock).

Kitten is entirely unhelpful. She had her head on the keyboard at one point. Even now, her tail is whacking up and down in front of the screen. Anyway, drawings are done and emailed. Woohoo!

I did finish sorting all the pieces on Monday night too…it only took another 10 minutes…I was sure it would be longer. So here’s the whole quilt…

Doesn’t look like much right now. Hopefully it will look better in a week, although it’s supposed to be like 106 degrees this weekend, so I’m not sure how much ironing I’ll be doing. I’m just hoping they fix the A/C at school. Rumor has it they have the parts and they’ll be installed this morning, just in time for the beginning of the heat wave. Woohoo! Gonna need that.

Growing mushrooms at school…my co-teacher and I are trying to do a fun/tutoring thing with science after school once a week.

Hopefully will be successful pizza in a few weeks.

Here’s my first compost tomato (that wasn’t stolen by wildlife)…

Are cherry tomatoes just immature tomatoes? Or are they a different subspecies of tomato? Is this a cherry tomato? I just don’t know. It is awfully cute though.

Yeah. Did that. With a bang.

Now I’d like to move on to surviving the rest of the week. Or even today. Pilates after school. Then finish packing this quilt up so I can start ironing in the hottest time of the year. Woo! No really, I love the ironing-together part of quiltmaking, because it’s the first time I see all the fabrics together the way they are in my head. Really love it. First, though, finish this tea. Need more. Then get outta here.

The Dream

Am I ready for a full week of school? I’m never ready. I never get enough done on Sunday afternoon. I never feel like I’m ready. I have done many things to get myself and my stuff ready, but it never feels like enough. My biggest issue today is that I need a computer…mine was refusing to connect to the digital projector on Friday. I was able to limp along for the day, push stuff out and try to get kids in the right place without being able to show them, but today, I actually need them to see what’s on my screen and there’s no other way to easily push it out. There are no loaners that we know of. I might be using one of admin’s computers instead. Which is awkward and a pain. Not looking forward to it, no lie. Last year around this time, IT had to send my computer out to get a new battery. I told them then about the charging issues (because I think all this has to do with issues with my USB-C ports), and they chalked it up to the battery thing and then I spent all year trying to persuade my charger to seat correctly so the computer would actually charge. My computer is not due to be replaced until the next school year. The last loaner they gave me was so old that things wouldn’t load. I’m not looking forward to that either. I already tried compressed air in the ports, on the off chance that a big blob of dust was causing all this. No luck. Ah well…to be a fully funded teacher! What a dream!

I did follow my new plan of no work on Saturdays (actually did this most of last year too)…so I dealt with some art stuff, bought the compressed air (that’s all the work-related stuff I did), bought some slats for a piece that needs to be delivered next weekend…it needs a label too, so that’s on the list for this week. I entered a show, did some other art paperwork. I read my book a lot. And then I hiked for the first time in a long time…

My legs were not quite ready, post-COVID and no exercise for a bit, but I powered through. Felt pretty good after the first mile.

Saw a coyote…

No really, there’s a coyote in that picture. It was not happy about my presence.

I started late…but it was still warm. Also saw this tree face…

Probably hiked past that tree a few million times and never saw that. So the hiking was good.

I also finished cutting stuff out…

It took over 24 hours of cutting to do this thing…

And then last night, I started sorting, but I should have started earlier…why didn’t I? Because I was still doing school work. Probably did about 5 hours yesterday. Just trying to get organized and semi-caught up. You are never really caught up until the year is over.

I didn’t have much left to sort, but it was already late and I needed to go to bed…

It doesn’t look like much, but it would have been at least another 30-45 minutes. And I’m already the last one up here, so all the noise from the previous two wakes me up anyway. Don’t need to start the week more tired than necessary. Finish sorting tonight, and then start ironing this thing together.

The Man had a show at Stone Brewing Company on Saturday…

I did not go. It was a long way and a long time and I was tired. I needed some quiet me time.

They seemed to have fun though.

Meanwhile, I chilled with the cats…

OK, mostly they slept. It was fine.

I recently wrote an article about my work for Art Quilting Studio…it’s the Autumn issue…

I’ve been able to find it at Barnes & Noble, but it’s also available online.

I get paid a small amount for the article…but also it looks really good…

It’s nice to not be censored. Or remembered just for the dick that wasn’t there. And the internet just deleted the rest. And I need to go to school…so this is where we end. More tomorrow!

Stapled

Well here we are. Back in. The saddle. School. Meetings and prep today and tomorrow, kids on Wednesday. So incredibly not ready. I would be much more ready if I only had one grade level this year, but that’s not happening. I spent 5 hours over the weekend just finding and trying to make sense of my bulletin boards (gotta get two grade levels up on the wall). It’s all about the staples…

I’ve had to move everything so far to get room for an additional 6-7 units (IDK even how many units I’ll be teaching because I can’t get that far ahead right now). Which means I unstapled everything and then stapled it back up in a different place. It’s all about the staples getting picked up by something other than my feet. Today I have meetings all morning and then this afternoon and most of tomorrow to prep for realz. We’ll see how that goes.

Here’s what 2500 people at a school district conference looks like…

Actually, that picture was probably less than 2500…I didn’t take a photo of the actual conference room (ballroom) we were in (this was breakfast), but it was a lot. Wore a mask. I don’t want to be sick for the first week of school. Was it worthwhile? Eh. Some camaraderie, sure, but we could have done that in a smaller group. One speaker was interesting (because he was funny). The rest? I’d rather be setting my room up. The reason I had to go in over the weekend was because normally they do about 90 minutes on Friday and then we get the rest of the day to prep. We didn’t get that. So that sucks. That’s tone deaf, honestly. But it’s done.

I’m still proofreading. SO CLOSE TO DONE. Hopefully today, although today is kind of a mess. Maybe tomorrow.

I’m also still ironing. I did NOT meet my goal of finishing the ironing this weekend…maybe if I hadn’t had to go in to school over the weekend. And yes, sure, I could have NOT done that and tried to get boards up once school starts, but using last year as an example? I never did it. Never had the time. This year will be similar with two different classes. I will never have time. So I did that. For my sanity. This is Friday night’s progress on the piles of fabric and pieces…

On Saturday, I focused on the main figure, so here’s what she looks like when I’m picking fabrics…

Although I forgot to do the head. Whoops. This is what one fabric of that run looks like…

Not much left of that one after this gets cut out. Which is fine. There is always more fabric.

Saturday night’s final count on the piles…

When I pick the fabrics for the flesh, I lay out all the other pieces too (bones, heart, lungs, hair, etc), but they don’t get ironed down right away. Fleshy bits first, then the rest, which can take a while…

Each pile is some discrete object on the quilt…there’s a pile of arm hair, a needle and some thread, some fingernails. I know those because I ironed them last night…

Still ironing those, honestly. Will be tonight as well. I have no idea how far along I am. I’ve pulled flesh through the 900s, but haven’t ironed all the missing bits in there, back to the 200s, I think. Maybe the 300s. Quite a bit to go. Revised goal? Work as fast as fucking possible this week.

Kitten loves it when I leave these drawers open for her…

She’s still not eating much, but seems perky enough. Comes out for her meds anyway. Wants pets. Still eating pine needles, because that’s a thing. If I could make her food smell like that, maybe she’d eat more of it? Or is it the long stringy stick-like-ness of it? Who knows.

Oh yeah, I drew (and read my book) at the district conference. It made it more bearable…

Too many people. Even if there wasn’t COVID, I wouldn’t have enjoyed being in a space like that with that many people. Lots of bugs in the drawing though.

OK, need to get going, wake up, ready for a meeting with a lot more people, then a smaller meeting, then lunch out (because we don’t get to do that during the school year), then work my ass off in the classroom. I went up and down off the counters about a million times in the last two days, mostly thinking that the next time I’d have to do this…well, I could do it every year, but I’d rather not. So maybe this is it? I spent a lot of time telling myself to be careful and not fall off anything. Oh yeah, and the boards aren’t anywhere near done…I’m missing all the vocab and posters and big ideas and essential questions. For 8th grade, those will get filled in all year, because they flat-out don’t exist yet. So there’s that. Knowing that.

One of the baby owls keeps coming back and hanging out in that tree outside my office window at night. Screeches occasionally. I talk to it. Say hi, how are you, thanks for coming back. Probably it’s coming back for our mouse/rat population (which it is welcome to eat), not for my dulcet tones. I haven’t named it yet. Betty? Betty the Barn Owl? Eh.

Most important part of today…send a thought out to Simba…he’s being left alone all day for the first time in a long time.

Poor pup. OK. Wish me luck for the 2022-2023 school year. I think this is my 20th year teaching? Something like that. Or my 20th starts in February, because I was a mid-year start. Yup. Either way, it’s a lot.

Space for My Self…

I have two days of summer left. Then hours of training and prep and then we teach. We teach a lot. Not ready. Never ready. I think I could finally be in my classroom tomorrow. Maybe. But that would mean spending the last day of summer in there, and that seems like a bad plan mentally. Some wonder why I keep doing a job that causes so much stress; I probably don’t write enough about the amazing stuff, the thinking and learning and aha moments that happen in the classroom. The kids…the ones you get to, not the ones that drive you bonkers (although sometimes those end up being the same kids). Also, I hate to be bored, and it’s hard to be bored in this job, unless you’re in a staff meeting or professional development…sad, but true that those are mostly boring. I got through all four hours of online training. Also boring. Very repetitive and some of the questions are badly written. But it’s done. This week is two days of sex-ed training (yeah, really) and one day of district-wide meeting (ugh, lots of rah rah and whatever they think is important…last year was a hotel owner trying to tell us how to treat our customers…kind of irrelevant, but they hammered it all year, so I guess they thought it was important). I don’t mind an inspirational speaker…sometimes they are…I worry about the additional focus/work they want to throw at us. I don’t have it in me. My fault for working a goodly chunk of the summer…I had to, to pay the bills.

Anyway. It’s a start. Stop worrying about it and just do it. Find space for my self in between the work. That’s always the biggest challenge.

It’s been hot here, so quiltmaking has required a fan. I finished tracing the Wonder Under on Friday…

No help from Kitten there. Eight yards of Wonder Under approximately…

Almost 19 hours of tracing. Then I went to watch the Man play a show at the park…

Lots of little kids dancing, which is always funny to watch…

I drew a little…

I think there’s another drawing too. Didn’t take a picture of it.

Then Saturday, I started cutting out the Wonder Under…

I started at my quilt guild meeting, then came home and sat myself down with a fan blowing directly on me and started cutting. Bingewatching too.

The Man and I took a break; we’re dining out at fast-food restaurants until he gets a job (this was a particularly expensive fast-food place, if you ask me), but there was a lovely sunset going on…

Not sure I’d go back for the food though. It was OK, but expensive.

I cut a lot over the weekend…in fact, I cut all of it out in 9 hours and 20 minutes.

Later today, I’ll sort it into boxes by 100s, clean my office so I have room to start ironing, and then start picking fabrics. My goal is to have it all picked this week and hopefully start cutting. It should be about 18-20 hours to pick fabrics, so having three days of training and meetings is not particularly helpful. I hate sitting through meetings without something to do with my hands. It helps me think…but teacher trainers tend to think we’re not paying attention if we’re drawing or stitching or knitting or whatever. Which is idiotic. But hey, whatever. So I’ll need to get all that done AROUND the training stuff. PLUS get my room set up. Ha! There’s not much time for that next week. We have two days to prep, which would be enough if I didn’t have multiple meetings and an orientation (that’s new) that I have to attend. So probably I will need to go in over the weekend. Unpaid. We’ll see.

I’m also trying to finish the proofreading; I finished one readthrough and a check for headings, so now I’m on the second readthrough, which should be faster. I want it done before we go back to school. I’m motivated.

I got the photos back for the most recent piece, titled The Way Out

And found out last night it will be at the PHES Gallery as part of the Feminist Image Group’s exhibit Portals, opening September 11. The opening will be 2-5 PM on the 11th; hope to see you there. (51 ¼” w x 80 ½” h, $5997)

It’s nice to make something for a show and have it get in. So often, it doesn’t, which is fine…then I still have a piece I can show elsewhere. But it’s nice when it works.

Lots of cat action…best use of the exercise bike at the moment…

Kitten turned 14 last Thursday. She goes to the vet today for more tests. We have a definite gastro issue, but hopefully can just medicate. Been trying to keep her on food she doesn’t really like with a baby appetite.

I’m not sure the heat helps. She sleeps a lot. But she still races around sometimes like the kittens (who are going to be three this September and are definitely not kittens any more).

Nova begging for pets.

Her sister doesn’t like her any more for some reason. Sigh. Ah well. They all know how to get attention from us.

In barn owl news, the babies are gone…totally all of a sudden. On Thursday night, they were squawking out there all night like normal, and then Friday night, there was nothing. Saturday night, we heard a few screeches, but adult sounds, not the babies. Same with last night. I read online that the parents often chase them out, especially mom, when they are old enough to get food on their own. I’m hoping that’s what happened and not that a neighbor got annoyed and did something. It’s so weird…having seen and heard them so many nights to suddenly have them gone. I’m kind of verklempt. The last videos we have look like the adult checking inside the owl box (which I never saw the kidlets go in and out of) and swooping around. The night before, kids doing all the things.

OK, maybe a lot verklempt. Miss those annoying squawkers. In November or December, we’ll pull the box down and clean it out. Then hope for someone to come back next year…they should.

Right now, I’m locked in my office with Kitten and Simba while the Man does some online interviews. It’s warm in here and I need breakfast and a shower. Plus some proofreading time. I may just wait until he gets through all his stuff. I think there’s a phone interview after this. Stressful for all of us. Well, except Kitten. She’s sleeping through it all. So proofread…then clean in here. Then sort all the Wonder Under, pick a background fabric, and start ironing. Somewhere in there, go to the vet, plus make dinner. Not bad for a summer day.