Head-Swallowing.

September 21, 2018

I keep drawing heads swallowing smaller heads. It’s actually even a notation in my weekly journal, constantly on the to-do list…”draw more heads smaller” is what it says. And yet I keep drawing them the same, not fitting more than one or two on the page (probably a function of page size…I should totally go full size). I’m not sure what it means. People always want me to explain my work, and when they realize that I was really tired last night and I made the mistake of having a glass of wine with dinner instead of waiting until really late, and so I almost fell asleep on the couch at 9:30 PM, like a normal person, but then I realized what was going on and got up and got my act together and did something artistic, and somehow that turned into being awake enough to draw another head-swallowing moment, well they give me that look that makes me wonder how crazy I really am. I’m sure it’s some psychological thing where I feel like my job and life are swallowing what I really want to be doing or something like that. Not so difficult to figure out.

I’m not really crazy. Just a bit. Just praying here to the internet/computer gods that I can keep the connection long enough to post this. New computer card arrives today. Let’s hope it solves the problem. Here’s the drawing, not done.

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I don’t know where it’s going. I just wanted to draw. So I did. That’s a little less than an hour’s worth of pen on paper. It felt nice. I should do more of it.

It’s really only because I couldn’t get the internet to function at all, so I couldn’t grade anything. Frustrating. I need to grade stuff.

I did have quilt class last night. I finished outlining the blue flowers, sewed the rhino horns with split stitch…harder than you might think over wool…and then palestrina knots for the bird’s legs.

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It never looks like much for 2 hours of work. There will be more of it at gaming tonight. I’m on the July blocks now. I think.

In between the class and the drawing, I did sort the fabrics for the next quilt, so I can start ironing this weekend. Here’s in process…

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And done. Very exciting stuff.

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This is not a hugely complicated quilt, so it didn’t take long. If I weren’t so tired (why am I so tired???), I would’ve started ironing it together, but that would’ve meant standing up. I didn’t do a lot of standing or walking yesterday…I was in a training, which meant my classroom went to hell in a handbasket. I love trainings. Actually, we planned for most of it, so that was good, because we needed to do that. We need to do more, of course, always more, but we’re closer than we were.

So this weekend is full of grading and hopefully ironing. And sleeping in tomorrow. I really like to sleep in. I’m such a shitty sleeper, it’s kind of ironic that I get up in the morning and I’m already thinking about when I might be able to put the pillow over my head and ignore the alarm clock.

I’m not even trying to play music right now. It would break the computer. It means I have to come up with a title with no support system. Hmmm.


Just One More Peaceful Day*

September 20, 2018

I haven’t had time to draw in a while. I used to draw a lot more. I’d like to draw more. One I think I do draw is cover pages for science. I also draw when I have a specific piece or exhibit in mind. In science, every unit has a cover page that’s about the upcoming topic. It gives the kids a chance to sort of check out the subject matter, google a bunch of stuff about whatever we’re studying, and start to use some vocabulary words. For me, it’s a chance to draw and color for a good portion of the day. I even sit at their tables with them and color (I usually pick the most disruptive table, so there is a purpose to my madness). Yesterday was such a day…the beginning of Unit 2. I also got a bunch of grading done, so I don’t feel bad about taking a break to hang out and draw.

So the next unit is earth science…

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I illustrated some of the vocab words…and then I got to color.

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It just took 5 tries to get that picture to load. Internet, wifi, computer, whatever it really is, I’m about to scream. So many struggles. I know, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just frustrating.

When I got home from school, after hanging out at Michael’s and trying to find things that would fit in a graduated cylinder (don’t ask…it’s the life of a science teacher)…we took all three dogs out for a long tiring walk.

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At no point in time did my legs get excited about this walk. I was excited. I was breathing in the air…looking at the landscape, taking in the outdoor existence. All good. But my legs were like lumps of wood that I dragged along on the trip. Also, the puppy was like that. Uphill was torture for him. Apparently he spent 4 hours racing around in the morning and he was tired.

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So we made him more tired. All of them really, because then Calli basically collapsed at my feet for the next 4 hours. Right there. Not moving. So I cut stuff out for about 4 hours too.

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I just refused to do any schoolwork. Looking back on it, that was lame. But I did it. It’s done. It is what it is. Moving on.

At several points, I almost quit cutting because it’s not the most exciting thing in the world to do and sometimes those pieces are a pain in the butt to cut out. All the little tiny flesh pieces, for example, kind of drive me nuts. Yes, I know I drew them, but that doesn’t mean I like cutting them out. Not every part of the process is fun and games.

Anyway, I got down to this…

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And I’m looking at the clock, knowing I would have to be up a bit early this morning, and I’m thinking, ah, what the heck. Just finish tomorrow. Except I already know I have a meeting and probably really will have to grade something and I really should just do it. Well, you know me. I did just do it.

Here’s the whole quilt, ready to be ironed together. That’s about 8 hours of cutting…

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It doesn’t look like much. I don’t know if I’ll be able to start tonight…maybe a little bit? I have a meeting and I need to grade some stuff. It does feel like the grading never ends. In fact, I’m going to do some now. Before work. I think. And then hopefully I can get this ironed together by early next week. That’s the plan anyway.

*Staind, It’s Been Awhile


I’m Unusually Hard to Hold On to*

September 3, 2018

I’m thinking this was a very good weekend. It helps to have an extra day, doesn’t it? Especially for teachers, who usually lose a half to whole day of their weekend to planning and grades. I spent a significant chunk of time on school stuff, only because I had to organize the parent email for Sunday, but it wasn’t too bad. I know it will get worse, so I’m enjoying this weekend, when I had some time to laze around with a book or just NOT do something, which is really hard for me.

So we went to a couple of local wineries on Saturday afternoon…this one was nice, because of the view.

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It was a great day for grapes as well…

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And they had alpacas.

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We came home after and had some dinner, and I started trying to finish this drawing…

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And then decided I should stitch these to their boxes…these and four quilts need to be delivered next weekend for the Soka University show that opens on September 20.

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I’m going to have to figure out when I can go see it…since it’s only open Monday-Friday.

I’m still working on these…I have 5 pink balls left to embellish, and then all the dark orange ones…

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And then I’ll have TWO wool quilts that need quilting.

Puppy sleep…

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Ah yes, on Sunday, I finished the drawing. It’s good, although I’m still debating something in the top right.

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And then I numbered it…

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High 500s, I think. Not bad. Not huge. Not too complicated.

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Then we planned a hike to Hollenbeck Canyon this morning…need to get in one good long hike each month. Today was the day.

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It was shady and cool at the start…

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Those weird gourds…I’ve never seen the yellow flowers before though.

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And these spiky things are pretty cool…

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It’s definitely summer to fall here…

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Old oaks, mostly dry grass…this is near the top of the hellish hill…we hiked up from the dark green in the middle right. Boychild took a different (aka longer) route…

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You can’t see him, but he’s waving from the crotch between the two hills. He eventually caught up with us. Long legs and youth…I never had the first and I barely remember the latter.

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The path down into the back valley…

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There’s a coyote in this picture. Wave if you find him.

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Dead snake…probably got hit by the bike that went by earlier.

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And the long view out toward the south and the Jamul mountain range.

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Boychild for the win. It was a little over 5 1/2 miles. Not bad. Home before lunch!

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There’s all the parent emails I input and/or checked on Saturday. Kitten’s got this under control, yeah?

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OK, so on the schedule for today: enter one more show (I’m up to 6 or 7 I think), drop sewing machine at mom’s so she can take it in to the shop for me and they can figure out the tension/feed dog thing, make my lunches for the week, start tracing Wonder Under, pack up the 4 quilts that need to be delivered next weekend, put a label on one of those quilts, maybe read my book. Not a bad ending to a 3-day weekend.

*Sara Bareilles, Love Song


Tell by the Way That You Switch and Walk*

September 1, 2018

I’m posting a little late today, because honestly, I didn’t do anything last night except try to finish my book because it’s overdue (I didn’t finish it yet, and now two more are at the library to pick up…the horror!) and cook dinner and import a bunch of email addresses for school and try to make sense of what my students typed in the form in the first place. Oh my. I’m not done with that mess. Although it was better than typing them all in myself.

But after a decent night’s sleep, I was ready to do some art stuff. Although then I remembered the hand stitching that I was going to do on the quilt I dropped off at the photographer’s last night. Whoops. Oh well.

Actually, here’s what I did in class yesterday…the first unit cover page for the new year.

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How to alternately scare and fascinate your students in one go! Yeah!

Then I worked on this again. More embellishment of balls. Remember how I was going to do 3 a night and be done at the end of July? Yeah I remember that too.

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Laughing hysterically at that one. I was also going to quilt that wool quilt…and honestly, I need to take my machine in. In fact, I should call about that right now. Hmmm.

OK, I called. She’s going in this week. The feed dogs refusing to stay dropped is what persuaded him. Cool.

Meanwhile, I enlarged a drawing that I originally thought needed redrawing, but now I think it just needs more. Then I taped it together this morning…

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Looked at the size, since there are limits…

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And added some to the bottom and the left (needed room for the tree’s leaves)…

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Then debated, and added some more to the top. I’ve got some drawing to do now.

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So I started.

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It needs to percolate in my head more. My nature friend Julie is currently wracking her brain for what animal I just drew. Who knows? It’s fuzzy or spiky and has naked legs and a naked tail and a pointy little nose. And it likes cherries. Who doesn’t like cherries? Well…half my household, that’s who. Or some of them only like maraschino cherries, which make me gag. So there’s that. But y’all know I totally made up that animal.

OK, the plan for today involves wineries. So that’s good. It may or may not be conducive to drawing. Hard to say. But this quilt is gonna get a significant start this long weekend, that’s for sure. I also need to clean up and pack 4 quilts and 2 boxes for the Soka show that will open in September. Yikes. That’s work. Plus deal with all those emails. Sigh.

*Violent Femmes, Gone Daddy Gone


Nobody’s Right if Everybody’s Wrong*

August 31, 2018

It’s Friday. You may have noticed. I had this long conversation with my brother’s family last night and he kept asking, so what are your plans for the weekend, and I’m like, survive until it happens? Sleep in? Send a parent email? Get 300 email addresses input from the spreadsheet that hopefully the students have filled in properly? Did I mention sleep? I suggested a hike to my household and my one reluctant co-hiker was like, what? Really? And I’m like there’s three days off…seems like a hike could inhabit one. Really? There was a lot of disbelief there. And the other co-hiker will probably want to do 17 miles (not happening). In full sun. So we’ll see. But I did just finish a quilt and the next one is around…sort of…but not quite ready for starting, I think. Maybe. And I have no grading to do yet, because we have a wondrous teacher’s aide this year who is highly efficient and even writes positive comments to the kids. The best I do is smiley faces and the occasional Very Nice or Awesome. She finished the one assignment we had this week. Woo hoo! So that’s three days with a lot of stuff I don’t have to deal with yet. I know I’ll have packed, stressful weekends with a ton of work involved. This isn’t one of them. Revel in that. Somehow. Imagine me dancing around!

So the first thing I did when I got home yesterday is do these blood-type tests. Girlchild keeps telling us she’s O-neg and that’s why the Red Cross harasses her to come in and donate all the time. I had this vague memory of being A-something, but wasn’t sure. I didn’t know the boychild at all. So we did these tests.

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Boychild is O-pos and I’m A-pos. So we did some Punnett squares in our heads and read up on it…it’s like doing science labs at home. He was convinced she couldn’t be O-neg. I wasn’t sure either. Surely it would help if we knew what their dad was. Now we know he’s a lot of things, but probably O-pos.

Puppy on my lap…I’m still in that state where I come home from school and half-collapse on the couch.

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He doesn’t mind.

After everyone ditched me for the night, except for the cats, here’s Satchemo harassing a baby gecko on the screen…the same one that was there last night.

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Might be a really stupid gecko.

Then I entered an art exhibit that took a really long time because I had to write art statements for two quilts that I finished a while ago, and my brain was not in the right place for that. I think I wrote coherent things. It’s hard to know. I still have three more to do this weekend, but I need photos for two of them.

Then I ironed these two quilts, removed as much cat hair as I could, and rolled them up for the photographer. So I have duty before and after school today, and then after that, I’m driving to the photographer’s, so I can meet two deadlines. Cool stuff.

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I should have rolled them up on the light table, because it’s nice and big, but I prefer to torture myself with trying to roll up a really large quilt on the ironing board, all the while trying to keep the parts from hitting the floor and getting covered in hair again. It’s a challenge. Really, who needs to go to the gym when that’s how you’re spending your afternoon.

I didn’t eat dinner. It’s a good thing I didn’t feel like eating dinner, because my dinner plan had already been eaten by the boychild. I just didn’t know it. I guess I could’ve cobbled something together, but I was tired and that is not the best mindframe for cobbling stuff together.

So then I settled down to draw. I had no real plan in mind, except I was supposed to be drawing for the poem exhibit I’m going to be in. I had drawn for it a few weeks ago, but then rejected it for some reason. Except now when I look back at the drawing, I think it’s fine. It needs more, sure, but I think it’ll work. So I’m going to enlarge it today, tape it together, and see how I want it to go from there. So after photographer, I need to go to the copy place. And then I need more milk, so that’s a grocery store on a Friday night. That’s probably a mistake. Expect more collapsing on the couch when I get done with all of that. Everyone is helping cook tonight. It’s not just gonna be me.

But I’m sitting there last night with my sketchbook open. And tiredness all throughout me. So then, I’m like, what other shows am I considering? I picked one and read the requirements and thought about it a little bit and drew a little bit. I did actually sketch in pencil first (I don’t always do that), because the parts needed to look a certain way.

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Not a bad start. I’m not sure this will be anything in the long run, but if it is, this is a good way to begin.

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Although it’s not what I meant to draw at all. So there’s that. And it’s not done, if I’m going to keep going with this one…there’s a whole bunch of stuff that should go on behind her. Anyway. We’ll see. I’m not sold on it yet.

So this weekend? Sleep. That stupid email with all the crap that goes with it. Some sort of thing outside with my hiking boots on. Hopefully with one or another persons or maybe dogs or who knows, I’m on my own with the coyotes. Probably some food. Maybe some music or art or a movie or I don’t know. Something that sets my head up for the month of September, always a joyous month of holy crap is that my to-do list when it comes to school. Laughing. Really. And maybe some more random drawing.

*Buffalo Springfield, For What It’s Worth


It’s No Better to Be Safe Than Sorry*

July 30, 2018

This summer, the heat is really getting to me. I don’t have a lot of extra money in general…even less so during the summer…but I’m sort of currently obsessed with installing A/C in my office for NEXT summer…and maybe the bedroom as well. Although I think my lack of sleep is more about noise (of the ceiling fan) and my brain not shutting down properly than about temperature…so A/C in there won’t help. It’s hard to say. I’m currently fighting heat rash on the inside of my elbows from ironing…I think if I could get my sliding glass door to open in here, that would help at night. I’m ironing more at night because (in general) it’s cooler. It’s at least dark. Sometimes there’s a breeze. So today, my plan is to get the sliding door to open and to finish the ironing. Then I go on to cutting things out…and YES, I’m a good three days behind where I wanted to be, but that’s reality, so you just suck it up and move on. I have no jury duty today, but there’s no guarantees on the rest of the week, and after this week, things get hinky. Sigh.

Anyway, I did manage just about 7 hours of ironing over the weekend…not great, but progress. My total is currently almost 22 hours, so maybe I will finish at about 25 hours. Hard to say at this point.

So let’s walk through the weekend. I entered another show on Saturday morning and did some techy stuff to help with that group. Kitten helped.

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Calli also helped. She’s especially helpful when I’m trying to walk across this small room to get to the drawers of blue fabrics. Usually she leaves after I do that a few times.

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More sleepy Kitten. She’ll be 10 in two weeks.

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So the first thing I needed to do was pick the fabrics for the hill behind everything. I did finally decide on greens (no florals though)…and I dumped the last one…the lightest one…because it was too busy. I found another interim one and bumped the second-to-last one down.

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I really like that fabric, but busy isn’t good for backgrounds…usually.

This is a lot of fabrics for what was two tiny figures on the hill.

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I’m having to pull a different flesh run for every body…in this case, only a hand. It means I’m using a lot more fabrics than usual.

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This was the pile before we left on Saturday for the man’s show…

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And this is the to-be-cut pile. Growing growing growing.

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Interesting wall near the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. I really like this wall…wish I could afford to put one in my yard.

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So we had to be up there early so the band could set up, but I wasn’t allowed in (no problem)…so I found a coffee shop and drew. I have a piece that needs to be done by the end of October.

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This drawing is pretty close actually. There’s some things I would change.

I ate and read my book and then walked back to the show…this wall was on the way.

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No doubt about that.

Announcement board…

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Here’s that drawing so far. Tree needs stuff. I think the whole thing needs more space. Not sure about the bottom leg.

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In the Belly Up, we had an hour wait for the opening act…so I drew some more.

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And another one…

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The show was great…they did well. Hopefully it will turn into more shows for them. I don’t get to see all of the shows…the next two are high school reunions, so those are harder for me to get into (I do crash some things). I guess that means more artmaking time. On a Saturday night. Ugh. I do like to make myself get out of the house and do stuff, but sometimes, making art is easier.

So I started ironing late on Sunday. Got up late, did a bunch of stuff, groceries and all. This is the run for the next human…a light one.

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I had to move 3 of the now 5 boxes of fabrics being used in this quilt so I had enough room on the ironing board…it’s the three smaller boxes on top of the grays. I’m still pulling from those boxes.

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One of the fabrics I picked had a piece ironed to it…from I DON’T KNOW WHAT. Seriously. I obviously forgot about it, and probably had to cut it from something, but it’s a very low number. Strange. Maybe that small quilt with the hand?

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Kitten is still holding down the fort. She likes to be near me, but isn’t keen on being out in the living room. This feels safer for her.

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At some point, I looked at the clock and went Huh. OK. Well past bedtime. Wide awake, brain racing along, but I knew I’d have to pee both dogs and I’d be woken up at 6 AM and you’d think I could fall asleep that late, but no…my brain was going overtime on the next figure and how to make it stand out from the background. Sigh. I need to get the brain under control before school starts.

So the pile grows.

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More today. I think I’m in the 1400s at the moment. I lied. I’m in the 1500s…about halfway through, but a huge chunk of that is leaves, so they’re all chunked together and will get ironed in one fell swoop. So I have about 350 pieces left. Easy peasy.

I did some Palestrina knots on the hippo last night at the parentals…

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Almost done. OK, need a shower, some food, finish ironing, do some GISH stuff (google it), wash a sleeping bag, try to clean a tent that was immersed in Madagascar mud (yup, it’s been a while), and maybe check some other stuff off the to-do list. Running out of days. I start looking at school stuff August 1. I need to put my classroom back together too. Ugh. Don’t wanna.

*a-ha, Take on Me


Art for the Win

July 18, 2018

Well the best thing I did yesterday was to get kicked off two juries. I didn’t even do anything that I know of to get kicked off (ah, profiling)…but I’m OK with that. I had to be there most of the day, unfortunately…two trials and not enough jurors. I finished a book, which is pretty good, considering how much time I spent staring at ceilings, listening to other people try to answer the questions. The plus is that there shouldn’t be any more trials this week, and although I’m still on call for the rest of the month, they have a new batch of numbers they’re calling in next week, so hopefully that was it. Knock on wood…wait, the woodpecker outside my office window is doing that for me. Nature loves me.

Anyway, so that made it hard to do anything else yesterday. I was mostly braindead and pretty tired…although I did finish numbering the beast. I don’t think I’ve put this many people in a quilt ever (trying to confirm that in my head…three has happened…wait, I can think of one with four people…). This one has eight people. Ah. Eight different runs of flesh tones. That will be a challenge. So will the background, so the people will show up. Will have to consider all of that.

Simba watching me number…it’s pretty exciting. Not. Not exciting at all.

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So I thought it had 1854 pieces, but then realized I’d forgotten to number the cat, so 1880 it is. I was really hoping for like 1200, but it was not to be. Oh yeah, and there’s a penis in it. I like to point that out these days because people keep hallucinating those things. And no, it’s not in there because I need attention. This quilt is about women and the things we do to them, like send them dick pics or use the penis as a weapon. It’s also about that whole (if you were an art or art history major, you know about this) male gaze turned on itself. What about the female gaze? How we see the world? It would be nice to have some of the world interpreted equally. It never seems to be.

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Anyway, I had hoped to start tracing last night, but I was exhausted…fell asleep on the couch at some point. Did not get enough sleep and spent most of the day sitting around and doing nothing. So today? I’m going to bingewatch bad television and trace Wonder Under…because there’s about 20 hours of tracing to do and I’d like it done by the weekend…and I have nothing else to do today. I do have to call tonight and check that I’m not on jury duty again tomorrow (aack no). But then I can trace more tomorrow.

I still need to finish this weaving of my story. As I weave, I kind of think to myself, “so what happened next?” and I weave what I think that might look like. I have a limited amount of yarn, so that makes it more difficult (not a lot of colors), but I’m OK with that.

Satchemo likes it too…

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Expand the view, and you can see how Simba feels about it.

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I’m finally more than halfway…which is good. It needs to be done by Sunday.

I got rejected for the last copyediting job, with a really snotty comment about my fees. Well I knew those would be an issue for her, so I had addressed it in the offer. Sure, you can find someone who will copyedit your 80,000 words at $15/hour. And they might even be awesome at it…but if they are, they are totally underselling their abilities and making it harder for the rest of us. You should be paying them more. And if they aren’t awesome, which is more likely, then you get what you pay for. Honestly, I’m not going to undersell my skills. I’d rather be making art, and at the moment, I can afford to make that choice. There is, however, no need to be snotty about it. That just leaves a bad taste in everybody’s mouth. Welcome to our America, eh? It spills over into everything.

OK. So I’m up. I got some sleep, hallelujah. I’m going to go trace stuff. I am NOT going to talk to people for a long time (I will talk to animals though). Art for the win.