So Take That Look out of Here*

November 14, 2017

My new oatmeal tastes funny. I couldn’t find the old stuff. Instant, but low carbs. I don’t need a million carbs for breakfast, but on a cold morning, a quick and easy oatmeal is nice. So the new one, ironically, being low carb, is way too sweet. I’m sure they’ve been uber-healthy and used some fruit juice or something, but blech. Yeah I’m a diabetic who doesn’t like sweet things. More irony. So I’m forcing myself to eat it because I need food and I hate wasting food (Hello Grandma…that’s you talking)…but yikes yuck blech.

Yesterday, my students started a new unit, so I got to draw…I know how meditative that is for me, but I was noticing how it worked for them on a Monday as well…just time to sit and color. To interact with the new content merely as pictures first. They were relatively calm for a Monday after a 3-day weekend…a Monday before getting a whole week off…

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It didn’t take me all day to color it…I was done in 4th period…so I could grade stuff.

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But then we had a 2-hour staff meeting afterwards, watching a video. The guy we were listening to was fine, although I don’t focus well at 3 PM on a Monday after teaching all day, so I had to draw to stay awake.

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It was a long video…

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I’m not disagreeing with the guy…I just think I’m already trying to do what he says. Not quite at the level he does, but I’m not sure I needed a video that long to get it. I fully understand the difference between equity and equality…there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes to do all the things teachers are supposed to do. Teach content. Take care of their basic needs. Give them the self esteem they’re lacking. Teach them the difference between their, there, and they’re. That one alone is a bastard.

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I have no great insights after all that. But it makes me feel better about how I was trying to deal with the one kid a few weeks ago.

Home to the dogs and grading a couple of assignments (I’d really love to go into the week off with no grading…which is just about impossible)…Simba got his toy to stand up.

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I did two nights’ worth on this…that weird chain-stitch R shape and some pistil stitches below it.

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I don’t know why the dogs were so tired…they did nothing all day…

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This one is really tired apparently.

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I cut out another yard, the second to last one. I should have been more focused and finished, but I wasn’t. Tonight hopefully. Although I still have to grade.

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Then I can sort and start ironing to fabrics…early! That’s a plus, for once. I’m looking forward to that part.

*Big Country, In a Big Country

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I Used to Live Alone Before I Knew You*

November 6, 2017

Well progress has happened. I blew off school for most of yesterday…and did art instead. I also ran more errands and dealt with my increasingly disastrous shoe issue (they all die at once apparently), and I cooked stuff for lunches and visited the parental units, but mostly I made art all day because that’s what my head could do. Grades are due Tuesday, but I’m far enough along that I think I can easily finish tonight. That’s the plan anyway.

So I drew for about two hours…added some tools, a UFO, and a sun and comet…like you do. When I put the final version together, I think I’m going to move the comet down and away from the sun a bit…but I don’t need to worry about that now.

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On the other side, a rocket and the moon…

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I’m totally leaving the rocket there.

Above, I added more stuff and things…science, a pocket watch, the dollar we don’t get paid…

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A screwdriver and more science stuff…

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But the top wasn’t pulling together, so I added the banner…yes I was watching Einstein while doing this, and he’s kind of a dick toward women (then again, many were, right? Not excusing it…).

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Then we went to the parentals for dinner and I saw this picture again. Well that’s amusing. We actually got the boychild to smile.

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My parents won a family portrait, so we were all in it. It’s a little frightening.

While I was there, I sewed down the snake and started on the hippo.

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Then we came back and I numbered the drawing. I was hoping for the 800s, but knew it was way too big for that (it’s about 60 x 70″)…but 1348 isn’t bad. Really…it’s not.

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That’s totally doable. I’m really liking this one…

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I already marked the salt as knots…French knots instead of fabric dots. Makes more sense. Although there are small pieces in this thing, I didn’t need to make more.

Because of Daylight Savings, I had what felt like an extra hour, so I kept going for a while and did about an hour of tracing…

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I got one side of the landscape traced, into piece 82 or so. Then I went to bed early and couldn’t sleep. Too many things in my head for that. Sunday nights suck for teachers…it’s so hard to clear your brain of the week so you can get enough sleep to get through it.

Anyway, the plan is to finish tracing Wonder Under this week and get all of it cut out hopefully by Monday, so I can alternate copyediting with fabric-choosing. I have some Thanksgiving stuff I have to do, but I’m hoping to have a good chunk of the week to do what I need to get done…I don’t have endless amounts of time to make this quilt, so I need to be on task. As always. OK now to face the week…

*Rufus Wainwright, Hallelujah


A Cat Would Be Nice

November 5, 2017

Well hello. I am still supremely sad about Midnight. I’m trying to do all the stuff I’m supposed to do, like grades and errands and finding obscure lightbulbs (don’t even ask), but it sucks sucks sucks. She hung out in my office all the time, and now she’s not here, so it’s hard to be in here…

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Her fur is still on everything, because she laid on everything. She’ll be in every quilt from now until I die. And beyond probably. Aargh. Dammit world, why?

It’s hard to be out in the living room too, because she was out there too…

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Thursday night before she got sick, monopolizing my sketchbook. She seemed fine then. So it’s gonna take me a while I guess. The hardest ones are when you get no warning. You spend months medicating a cat and taking it to the vet and giving it subcutaneous fluids and it’s almost a relief for everyone, including the cat, when it’s done. I’m sure that’s true for people as well. For 5 years, my grandma had 6 months to live. We were somewhat ready when it actually happened.

So I’ve been keeping busy, because there’s just too much shit to do to NOT be busy.

Friday night was gaming…I sewed these blocks together and then worked on the bottom left block. That guinea hen needs feet, but apparently I need to sew something to the bottom of it for that to happen. I need to finish the flowers on that block and then the monkey has a bunch of stitching, and then I can move onto the sheep.

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I did two nights on this (actually I did three, but the second picture is crap). I’m mostly trying to fill in on the left side now.

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Then I was trying to get the rest of the June block organized, since I’ll need it soon enough. I wanted to keep all the blocks separate, because it’s easier to embroider a single block than a conglomerate, but that doesn’t work with the road and overlapping shit, so I gave up and sewed all this together. June is the three blocks that still have pins in them. So I’m still sewing wool down for those. Obviously.

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All that happened on Saturday afternoon, when I was done with grades (well, for the day) and I had run errands and I had very little brain power.

Then we went to an art opening in the roof area of a hotel in Little Italy…great views, shitty parking. But it was a good base for hanging out in the evening, and a friend of mine was in the show, so it was a good excuse for it.

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I was lame and didn’t take any photos of my friend’s work, Kim Kane Niehans, but you can go look at her website and know that she does beautiful work.

So this show is associated with 1805 Gallery, which does artist residencies in this tiny studio, all glass, on the street level in Little Italy, here in San Diego. The goal is to interact with the community, so artists deal with that in different ways. I was not consistent about taking photos, but I liked this work by Chantal Wnuk…very expressive.

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And these pieces by Lauren Siry, the organizer/gallery curator/owner.

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A view of the entire space…very cool…5th floor on a gorgeous San Diego night.

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Then dinner down the street at Queensland Public House…

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And home for some episodes of Orville and drawing…I added Kitten into the quilt. She stars in lots of them.

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Still trying to persuade her to come sit out with me in the living room. I know I complain about them sitting on the light table, but I like their presence…just not their effect on the drawing.

Then I started adding more hands…an apron…80 cents to a man’s dollar (still trying to figure out how to show that), a uterus…

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On the other side, I went for birth control…because that’s gonna get more expensive, harder to get, which equals more babies that people can’t feed and maybe don’t even want. Sex is a biological urge, but women aren’t supposed to have it? Men can, and we’ll even fund the drugs for them to have it longer and harder than their bodies will allow, but women, we’re supposed to be prim and proper and fuck you, seriously?

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I’m pretty irritated with politicians and white men and a huge swath of the voting public at the moment.

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I’m just filling in spaces at the moment, trying to visualize what the final drawing will look like. I’m close, very close. I just need some time with my head and some tea and a cat would be nice. Sigh.


I Got a Mind Like Weather*

November 3, 2017

Well one thing about teaching middle school: some of them have incredible empathy and some of them are socially inept and some are just jerks at this age. One hopes they will grow out of it. Most of them were in the empathetic to inept range yesterday…inept in that they blurt stuff out and want you to explain everything when you don’t have the emotional energy to do so, and probably don’t need to burst into tears yet another time. Then again, at least one adult was in the socially inept range.

We rescued Midnight out of a tree in 2005 and she was the girlchild’s baby from there on…

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She’s the only cat we’ve ever had who would ride in a stroller.

When I got home, I petted this thing a lot…he misses her too. He went looking for her yesterday. They were buddies.

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You know he doesn’t understand where she went.

Eventually I found the mental energy to stand up and draw…I don’t feel like I got much done, but I did whatever I did for almost an hour. I suspect most of it was staring at the paper. But I added a background landscape…

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It’s simple enough. Just a place to land the body…

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I used to always just drop them in space…and sometimes I still do, these legless torsos, like busts on invisible pedestals, floating in the middle of nowhere. Now I feel like they need a home. I’m sure that says something about me.

I added in the sewing stuff that was in the original drawing but wouldn’t fit on my second try. And I added the glow around Midnight…that solves the problem of dark cat on dark background, but also makes her look (as a friend said yesterday) a bit more badass…

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She wasn’t really that badass. She looked it because she had that long nose and those green eyes, but then she’d rub up against you or knead your belly with her claws and chirp with this tiny little voice, and you’d realize what a big softy she was. I miss her. It’s hard when there’s no warning, when they’re fine one day and the next they’re so ill there’s no way out of it. It sucks for those of us left behind.

This morning’s sunrise.

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It must be about Daylight Savings Time…for me to be seeing sunrises. I try to get up after that…OK, off to school and the mostly immature emotions of 12-year-olds. Hopefully they’ll be on task and I’ll be patient with them when they’re not. Some days that’s harder than others.

*Max Frost, Adderall


The Big Sad

November 2, 2017

I don’t have a lot of words in me this morning. This shit is never easy. I’ll just give you mostly pictures.

2006: Midnight with girlchild…

Midnight Thursday night…

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Ahhh. Poor kitty.

Walking is good.

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I stitched a little.

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I drew a little.

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And some more than a little.

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Women’s rights…

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Women’s issues…

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Midnight…

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She gets to be in this one. It’s hard to put a black cat in a quilt when you tend toward dark backgrounds.. But I’ll figure it out.

And the dumbasses who tried to follow me on Instagram. Fuck you assholes.

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Let’s hope today is a little easier. First time I’ve cried in front of students. Today might be the second time. Oh yeah, rejected from two art shows in one day. It’s OK. I wasn’t really paying attention to that.

We’re gonna really miss you, Midnight.


Not Lesser Than

October 31, 2017

Happy Candy Day to those who celebrate it. Being a teacher today is not always the easiest thing in the world. Actually, tomorrow is worse for candy and trash. Fridays for Halloween are always best. They have the whole weekend to eat all their candy and get tired of it before coming back to school.

That said, we get to dress up…not much this year, but a little. I had an idea but then lost my roll. Oh well. It’s also the last day of the month, which means it’s almost November…that’s crazy. October is usually one of the longest months of the year, but I feel like I took a breath and it’s gone. I guess the plus is that I have some vacation days coming up, so more artmaking! Yay. Looking forward to that.

So I graded last night…I’ve been super efficient lately, so that’s nice. It feels better than being really behind.

We have a sick kitty, so there was some time last night trying to assess what her issue is and how emergency-like it is. I’m still not sure. I know the vet closes early today, so I’ll have to go tomorrow. Sigh. She’s not a happy kitty, but I can’t really say what’s wrong. And they’ll ask about her eating and peeing, and this is the cat I never see eating or peeing. She’s very secretive. Strangely, I thought she was only 10 years old, but when I was checking my records, she’s actually 12…going on 13. Yikes. So I freaked out about that for a while, because I haven’t had a lot of cats live past 13. It’s like finding out your parents were 90 years old when you were sure they were only 60. Whoops. I’m a space cadet. Anyway, lots of pets for Midnight and hopefully we’ll figure out what’s bugging her and it will be simple…after $500 of blood tests, because you know that’s how it goes.

My ex exercised the puppy yesterday afternoon, so he was asleep on my shoulder while I was worrying some of that out last night.

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I did some more on the left…fly stitches…

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Trying to make a shape that can be enclosed in a crazy quilt in some way. Not sure how I’m going to do that. I don’t have to know until January 1.

When my brain eventually started to behave, I grabbed the enlargements I made after school. I did one set at 250% and then realized how big the main head would be and sized it down to 200%.

Then I cut and pasted them together…they actually fit pretty well for once. I’m not even sure why sometimes it’s better than others. It could literally just be the copier I picked…or it could be some other variable. But here’s 200%…

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The group I’m making this for is called Things That Matter…and I’m focusing on women’s issues again for this one. It needs to be at least 60″ wide, so I added paper on all sides to make the head not quite in the center. There’s more below her than above her.

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I knew I wanted a nursing baby, so I penciled that in. I don’t always draw directly with Sharpie. At this size, there’s a lot of pencil that happens.

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Then I inked in some of the basic shapes.

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I’m just getting started. That was about an hour last night of drawing. I’m still letting the sides and upper area (above the shoulders) percolate. There are a lot of things in my head. As always. I’m tired of all the attacks on women in the last years, especially this year. It’s exhausting. I even had a student tell me that men work harder than women. This is a kid who is majorly failing. A boy. He said women can’t be scientists because they don’t work hard enough. I love it when a 12-year-old is sexist like that. Then I had to explain sexism, because they thought I said sexy. Whoa. No 12-year-old is sexy…sorry. Not to adults. Unless there’s something wrong with them. So that was a fun moment.

Sometimes I wonder if I have any effect on some of those boys whose cultures tell them women are lesser than. LESSER THAN. Hmnnn. That’s a place to go for a title maybe. We’ll see. Meanwhile I continue to try to brainwash them while they’re young. Respect all people, male, female, or other. No judgement on what is better. There is no better or smarter. There are those who work hard and those who work average and those who don’t work hard and those who try but can’t work hard and those who don’t try, but even they often have so many things in their heads from home and family that they honestly can’t be engaged at school. But they all have potential. And a place in our world.

Not lesser than.


I Think There’s a Flaw in My Code*

October 30, 2017

So even though I am nowhere near done with grading, finishing the project I did over the weekend seems to have cleared a panic blockage. Of course, I may feel differently as the week goes on, but for the moment, I’m good. I still have to grade all week, but it’s not so bad-feeling as it was last week, I’ll even (hopefully) have some time in class this week to manage some of the grading. It’s good. I got this. Seriously.

You don’t wanna know how many hours I graded this weekend. BUT! I finally got a good start on the new drawing…I just needed some time and mental space to do it.

First of all, some more photos from Saturday’s museum run…here’s a Monet…which are always way better in person, just like most art. I don’t know how much longer these are at SDMA, but you should check them out.

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Because that cliff is pretty amazing.

There was a section on Latin American art. But I didn’t take photos of the signs, so all I know is that this disturbing image was in there…

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I feel bad that I can’t tell you who that is. Oh holy cow, I found it online: Alfredo Castañeda, Figure in a Landscape (Figura en el paisaje), 1980. I work for you people, seriously.

In other art news, Quilts=Art=Quilts opened this weekend in Auburn, New York, at the Schweinfurth Art Center, and my piece All Stacked Up in My Head is there on the right…

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Then last night, we put on a movie…a kind of disturbing movie honestly, with lots of death and shooting and aargh (Lawless about the Bondurant brothers, moonshiners). But I did some stuff, filler bits, on the left side.

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While the animals left me alone (mostly…they were walking on me at one point)…

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And I pulled up the other multi-head drawing on my iPad, took the drawing from last Thursday night, and did this…

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It’s nowhere near done, but it is ready to enlarge for the full-size drawing. And it spilled easily out, like it should. Sometimes it takes a few iterations for whatever it is to come out. So I’m going to enlarge it this afternoon, get it taped to some larger bits of paper, and hopefully work on the full-size drawing tonight. It feels good now. I’m ready. (Don’t look at the calendar and see how little time you have to work on this. DON’T.). It’s good. I’m good. I’ve got some holiday time coming up. If I can get her drawn and numbered this week, maybe start tracing Wonder Under? I want to be at the fabric-picking stage by Thanksgiving week…although I do have a copyediting job that week as well. No rest for the wicked! Or the driven. I’m probably more the latter.

You know what’s really hard today? Not that it’s Monday…but that I want to stay home and draw instead of dealing with school and all the fun stuff that goes along with it. Oh well…that’s the grownup part, right? I will always be envious of those of my friends who can work on art whenever they like…I remember the conversation I had with my ex about how I would be able to do that at some point…both exes actually. Whatever. I’m pretty proficient…it works however you make it work.

*Halsey, Gasoline