And Oh My Days We’re Rolling*

Somehow I have to persuade my body that midnight is an hour earlier. I find it difficult to go to bed earlier than my body wants me to…although by the end of the week, I’m sure exhaustion from not enough sleep will help. Right now, today, this very early morning that isn’t early but is…ugh. Ouch. Erg. Holding it together but feeling the pain, and it’s only Tuesday. My longest day. Maybe. Tomorrow might be longer.

My students handed in a shit-ton of work yesterday. Good for them, painful for me. I’m getting through stuff. Slowly. As always. It feels more than a little bit overwhelming at the moment. I graded two more classes of tests last night and an entire assignment during a staff meeting (yes, I was mostly listening). Today the kids are starting a project…on some days, I will be buried under the labs, but today is pretty low-key. One more class of tests to grade and then I can work on the massive pile of Unit 5. Ugh.

I took a break there to send out a work email I needed to do. I forget about stuff if I don’t calendar it or do it right when I remember. Happens often.

So after work yesterday, the one plus of the time change is the increased PM daylight for walking dogs…

I don’t have to race home. It’s so beautiful out there right now.

Although some of that beauty is poison oak growing like crazy. Should keep that in mind.

I use an app to track the distance, but the clouds must have been messing with it yesterday (it was raining the whole time we walked)…because that mess at the bottom is not what we did…

We did a little out and back, reconnaissance, trying to figure out what the orange flowers were (poppies…but all folded up)…but not that crazy stuff. So the mileage was off too. We heard a group of coyotes singing to us…maybe the same young ones as a few weeks ago…but didn’t see any.

After dinner, I graded, and then did a few more small drawings. This one is a bit weird for an embroidery design.

But this one might work…

Who knows. I don’t.

On to the next stage on the most current quilt (no, I haven’t finished the binding on the other one yet…why?).

I should be able to get all the Wonder Under cut out this week. Easily. Then on to ironing to fabric. Simba wanted belly rubs…

I combed him a bit too after the mud run we did this afternoon. After everyone else goes to bed or shuts their door, I get the dogs…

Well. And one of the cats…eventually he reached up and started kneading Calli’s leg, at which point, I shoved him off. I never know how Calli will react.

It was cold…so pushing your face into a dog leg makes sense I guess.

I got about 1 1/2 yards cut out…

Not bad. Using new scissors. They have a name on them, but all I can think of right now (so very wrongly) is Tim Horton. That’s wrong. They were a birthday present. We’ll see how my hand feels.

Crap. It’s late. Gotta go to work. Art tonight for sure. And grading. Sigh.

*alt-J, Left Hand Free

Banging on the Door

Wow that’s a Monday morning headache…caused by emails and texts and probably low blood sugar, damn forgot to hardboil those eggs, plus I think the chiropractor is in my future plus there was the 30 minutes of coughing up a lung at 6 AM. Yeah. Hello body! Nice to hear from you. It doesn’t matter some days how young your brain feels…your body is like, nuh uh, you wrong bitch, let me explain it to you. It’s OK. I got this. Not really. I don’t got this. (cries while laughing into her tea)

I am ready to ship a quilt to an exhibit in Utah. I will be shipping six quilts to a solo show in Pittsburgh, probably sending them next month or early May. These are good things. I got into two local shows and rejected from two others. OK. Got it. I have this awesome quilt that I can’t get into a show and that irritates (is that the best word? saddens? disappoints? not sure) me. I will try again. There are always more shows. That combination of show and juror(s) and competitors did not work this time. It’s OK. Awesome quilt moves on. My first Quilt National piece was a Visions reject. I keep remembering that. My second Quilt National piece was a reject too. Keep making. Keep entering. Don’t let the turkeys get you down (I think that’s a direct quote from dad, a Bob Nidaism).

Today will be fine. It just feels like a panicky clusterfuck at the moment.

So what’s going on otherwise? What can I control at the moment? I liked this drawing, but wanted to simplify it for embroidery…so I did…

I think it turned out really well.

Of course, now I also want to do a large quilt-size version of it with a shit-ton of detail, but that’s just how my brain works. I might do that, once I get past the next two deadlines.

Here’s one in progress…801 pieces, measures 28″ wide by 48″ high. Not small…

But way smaller than the last one. I started tracing it last night. And it was good.

I made it to piece 101, I think. Through the first pillbug I’ve ever put in a quilt. Only 700 pieces to go. That sounds like a goal for this week. Although there’s a lot of crazy this week. I haven’t finished grades yet. (they’re due tomorrow.) Sigh. OK. Deep breaths. The to-do list is banging on the door, screaming at me. I hear it. Over there. Thank you mindfulness training for that.

A Fire in Your Bones*

Officially half dead. OK, not really, but definitely not at my finest this weekend. Half my co-teachers are down with it too. I guess that makes me feel better (not really). It’s a virulent thing, that’s for sure. I made it through Friday’s lab with the microphone attachment they give us teachers, but I couldn’t just clip it to my shirt…my voice wasn’t loud enough for it to pick up. So it was a little creepy…having my whispered voice booming out of the overhead speakers. But the kids were really good…it’s funny, when you are sick or troubled in some way, they have huge amounts of empathy. I guess that is a good sign for humanity. Luckily, I felt mostly OK on Friday…not dizzy and almost passing out, like earlier in the week. But the coughing was not great. People ask why we don’t just stay home. (1) Our school doesn’t get substitute teachers. I was even asked to sub my prep period on Friday and I just said you’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t talk. (2) It’s more work to put sub plans together than it is to go in. (3) It’s a lost day for my kids. They won’t get anything out of it…I would’ve had to pull the lab. No way in hell am I having a sub, who inevitably knows no science, do a lab with glass test tubes. My kids listen to me (mostly)…a sub? It would have been a nuclear meltdown. So if I’m well enough to stand, not vomiting, and don’t have diarrhea, I go to school. That is the reality of teaching in a low-income public school.

I felt a little better at night. I graded and even cooked dinner for the fam. And I drew this at around 11 PM because I didn’t want to feel like I’d done nothing artistic for the second day in a row, even sick.

Yesterday, the coughing got me out of bed early. And then I graded for the next 7 hours. Sleepy puppy from the night before…

Trimester 2 grades are due Tuesday. I was behind. I’m always behind. So I got through all the makeup work and two or three other assignments.

While binge-watching Season 3 of Victoria. So glad I didn’t live back then. I’d be dead.

Then I got a strange burst of energy…really strange, because when I took my shower finally, I got dizzy standing up in there. Hmmm. So I sewed the binding on the big quilt. Seriously a lot of sewing…

It took about an hour and a half to get it all on, including the sleeves. I ended up using the more plain fabric for the binding…although I used the other one for the sleeves, so it didn’t go to waste. I really want to be using things up this year…even when it’s a pain in the ass.

We went to dinner and I ate some. And then we came back and I pinned the binding in place and started stitching it down while watching one of the Planet of the Apes movies…

Until my partner in apes fell asleep, so we paused the movie for later and he went to bed. I kept going for a bit, through the first episode of The Passage. You can guess what I might be doing for the next few days. It’s a good thing to do when I don’t feel well. The other option is to start tracing the next one…it’s ready to go.

I’m trying to participate in #marchmeetthemaker and #igquiltfest. I did this last year and flailed through a goodly portion of it, mostly because some of the things don’t apply to being an art quilter on both of them. But I’m making an attempt anyway.

My studio is a not-bedroom that looks over the pool…it’s a sprinkly day out there. I hate the wallpaper. It’s not big enough for everything that’s in there. I look at a tree out the window too. I usually have at least one cat in there, but Kitten has been hiding in the bedroom.

The floor is coming up. It needs a remodel…but probably not as much as the bathrooms and the kitchen. I priced it out last year…to redo the floor and paint it and put in new shelving/storage, and it’s more than I have lying around…until I get all the kids’ college paid off anyway.

It’s worked for me for many years though…so I guess it will keep working for a while longer.

The ironing board moves as needed…and I reorganize constantly. It’s only about 8×10′, but it’s better than nothing…that’s for sure.

The 3×4′ light table is in the living room, along with a lot of in-progress stuff too. And there’s stuff in the girlchild’s room in the closet, plus our closet and under the bed. Because lots of stuff needs storage. And the garage is where all the old drawings go.

One of the prompts is about where you started. Well. Hmmm. I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. And I did screenprints before the kids were born, but then I started learning how to quilt. I began with hand applique, but it just took too damn long to turn a drawing into a quilt. I couldn’t get big enough. So I developed what I do now…

Which still isn’t fast, and is mostly crazy…but works for me. That’s an unfinished hand-appliqued art quilt from probably 2002 or so on the right, and the next quilt on the left, still in drawing stage.

Anyway. So. Today is still school stuff, because grades aren’t done, plus groceries and laundry. And hopefully feeling better. Still woke up coughing this morning, but I mostly slept through the night. Not feeling particularly energetic, but that’s OK. I got about 3 hours of art time yesterday and I’m hoping for the same today. If I have energy, I’ll trace. If I don’t, I’ll sew bindings. It’s nice to have options.

*Welshly Arms, Indestructible

Ride Me a Southbound*

Rough day yesterday…sometimes school is hard, y’all. And I’m still not feeling well…can’t separate out whether it’s a cold I’m fighting or the new medication, but none of it feels fun. So that (of course) affects my ability to deal with stressors, like kids who pretend to be windmills. Whatever. Today I will handle it better. I might have to sit next to the windmill for a while, but I can do that. Even when I’m dizzy and headachy. Seriously, that shit can take a walk. I’m trying to stick with the new meds for a week before emailing my doctor, hoping the worst of the side effects go away. We’ll see.

So when I finally made it home, I seriously wasn’t a fan of doing any work for school, but realistically, grades are due in less than a week. My goal is one assignment a day. If I can get some done at school…great! Yesterday was not the day for that. Even the non-windmill kids weren’t in the mood to do anything independently (aargh), so I did a lot of management. Like why are you just sitting there? I’m thinking. No you’re not. Thinking is more active than what you’re doing and you shouldn’t be drooling. Also talking to your friends about what you saw before school? Not thinking. So there’s all that.

I went to the gym instead for a while. I wanted to read my book, plus I’m one of those freaks who actually likes exercise (wish I had time to do more of it), so I went for it. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Should do it again soon. Came back, co-cooked dinner (um, so even when you’re co-cooking, apparently you’re still in charge. Hmn. There’s that. I’m going to go on strike some day.), ate the foods, and then finished watching the first episode of Umbrella Academy (cool show!) and grading that one assignment per day. Success! I did good. Then I input those grades and all of a sudden it was 11 PM. See, that’s the shit that happens. But art! Art is important and WILL be done every day. It was way too late to clean the entryway floor though so I could trim the giant ass quilt. I’ll do that tonight, when I don’t have to deal with dinner. So then what can I do in just an hour?

Easy peasy. Finish the drawing. This is for a show that’s about indoors and outdoors, comparing those of us who live in mostly sunny and warm Southern California to a artistic group in Sweden, where it’s fucking cold and snowy. So their take on being outdoors is significantly different from ours, we think. Or not? We’ll see. I personally love being outside and wish I could do it more. Being in a classroom all day sometimes drives me bonkers. Anyway, all I had left was the sky, so I stared at it for a while. I didn’t have to do anything, but in keeping with the outdoors theme, I added space. I should work on my space though because this is the same space I keep adding. I should research more planets and weird space things (NASA here I come! Insta follow follows…)…

But this will be good. I like it. This is about 3 1/2 hours of drawing…not counting the original three drawings or so that I rejected.

Then it was only 11:30. Go to bed early? Fuck no. Number the damn thing (and this is how I never go to bed at a reasonable time).

So yeah, those ladybugs will need embroidery. Maybe even their little antenna things should be embroidered, but I numbered them for fun.

Lotso bugs on her face. Kinda like the hike the other day. Very buggy. So there’s 803 pieces I think in this thing. That’s not too bad. I don’t have much time to finish it, so yeah…should get on that. Deadlines! I’ve been ignoring them. Doesn’t help to not feel well and be stressed about health issues. I’m working on that…from multiple places.

OK, work calls. Windmill boy and all. Art tonight. I can do this!

*The Marshall Tucker Band, Can’t You See

Bring Your Etch-a-Sketch to Work*

I’m gonna start writing this at 12:02 AM on Tuesday. Why? Because this song…

I listened to Amanda Palmer tonight on Live From Here, the new version of Prairie Home Companion…here’s the link. Love this song. Makes me laugh. And cry. I’m so excited that I will be seeing Amanda sing in LA in May. I finally persuaded a male attachment to come with me.

So that was last night. I stayed up too late, but I finished quilting. That’s a big yahoo on that.

First we walked the dogs though…it’s been a while since we’ve been to this spot..

It was wet and muddy and stream-filled. Well. Not filled, but we went across at least two of them, one of them three times. Apparently the rain finally caught up with the creek and filled it to the edges…

Sometimes over the edges…the flowers are all starting to bloom…

Thinking about a trip to the desert for the bloom this year…

It was a really beautiful evening for a hike. It’s finally daylight a bit later, so we could go further…here’s one stream, which is actually where the trail normally is…

Calli has no problems or qualms about wading through streams. Simba is not as good. Definitely more water than usual…

Which is good.

Especially for the plants…we stopped here…I was kinda done with wandering through mud at that point.

Plus it was heading toward dusk…

So we headed back to see what the bridge looked like…

They’d fixed the smaller bridge…the rain had pushed it off its bank and into a smaller creek.

I don’t think the big bridge is going anywhere, but that’s a lot of water for here.

The dogs are good sports…

Tons of flowers everywhere.

I love ending a work day like this. Wish I could do it more often. Yes, I graded too…got one assignment done. And then my principal emailed about this professional development thing we have to do, and they totally screwed up next week. Sigh. I set test and due dates. Wonderful. I’ll figure that out later today. Last night I couldn’t handle it. I can’t be mad at him…his wife just had their second kid. I can be annoyed though that we have to do the PD at all.

While I was waiting for boychild to make dinner, I drew a bit…still working on possible embroidery designs.

Might be too much.

Post-dinner TV time with the man, Simba curled up behind him.

The two of them had a coyote scare last night, very close to the prime peeing spot. Scary. Dumbass puppy thought he would go kill the coyote. He does not realize he would be a tasty treat.

I finally went in to quilt at about 10:30 PM…with the goal of finishing.

Which after about an hour and 15 minutes, I did.

With 19 hours and 21 minutes total into the quilting. Crazy shit. Hopefully tonight I will clean the floor, trim the quilt, and put a binding on it. At least, that’s the plan. I’m also going to the gym, so we’ll see how that goes. Right now, I’m tired, but I also want this thing done. It’s taking too long. My brain is done with it.

So. Off to school. Difficult teaching day ahead I think…concept-wise at least. I thought yesterday would be low-maintenance and it totally wasn’t. So there’s that. I also need to prep for a messy lab. Good stuff.

*Amanda Palmer, Ukulele Anthem

These Are the People That’ll Break You*

Friday dawns clear and cold, a nice change from yesterday’s crazy weather…hail and rain and yuck. Hopefully the world will let us dry out (and warm up? apparently not) for a few days. Meanwhile, I have a whole host of emails from kids who just realized they haven’t been turning their work in. I have to laugh at the kid who sent me some comment about how he turned everything in before midnight…but the deadline is TODAY at midnight. OK, well at least he did it. And the exaggerator…”I emailed you ALMOST TWO WEEKS ago.” Um. You emailed me on the 13th. You know I can check that shit, right? Plus there’s the part where I told you all the makeup work would get graded this weekend…which might be a promise I can’t keep. There’s 94 emails so far, so you click on the assignment in the email, then it takes you to Google Classroom, then you have to click on the actual assignment, grade it, close it, wait for GC to acknowledge the new score, write it in the notebook, then close GC, and delete the email. For each one. I hate late work. I really do. But I can’t bring myself to disallow it. They’re 12. They need supports. Anyway. Gradebook closes for late/missing work today. Then I can take a week to grade them all if I need to.

It means we’re almost 2/3rds of the way through the school year though…it’s been a weird year with curriculum piloting and tons of meetings for that. There’s a huge long stretch to a very late Spring Break this year…53 days from now, to be exact. So plenty of work left.

Last night, I had my quilt class…I took my tried and true embroidery project, that is currently only being worked on for about 4 hours a month.

I finished the flowers and started working on the ox.

Two hours of work…not much, eh? This is why these take so long. Oh wait, I did the grass by the tree too. Four whole fly stitches. It’s relaxing though.

Then I came home and did some drawings. I’m trying to draw things that can be embroidered by hand. So I have to simplify stuff pretty significantly for that to be possible…the drawing on the right is the original, which will probably be a quilt some day (or some version of it will be)…the left is my simpler version.

It might still be too much…

But I like it. It’s hard to know what it will look like though without stitching it up.

Then I just drew for a while…messing around…simpler but maybe too simple.

Then this, which is OK…I might try this one again…a little smaller and different hair…

Plus make the eyes the same damn size.

I think this one might work too…

The harder part is color. I can only use 5. I either work all in black and white or I use 89 colors. So there’s that. Anyway, still working on this…it’s really hard for me to not go overboard on details.

Speaking of overboard…I don’t have to simplify this one…

It’s done except I need to decide if anything else is going in the sky. I couldn’t deal with that decision last night though, so I stopped.

I did her hair on both sides last night…and added the obligatory cat and teacup.

Plus some interesting (and relieving) news set those flying hearts back in motion.

The bottom was mostly done, but I added a plug and some lung details…

There apparently weren’t enough pieces. Can you imagine trying to embroider that? Yeah right. Someone would do it. (not me) Anyway. It’s close to done. I can’t promise anything for tonight, though…the guy’s band is playing. Plus it’s a Friday night, so I’ll be tired. I’m hoping to finish the drawing though. Maybe do some smaller ones. We’ll see.

*The Alarm, Marching On

We’re in for Nasty Weather*

I’m debating taking light bulbs to school. For one thing, I think I bought a bunch last year and they are in the prep room somewhere…I just can’t remember where. Second, right now, the skies are clear and blue…which is what I need for today’s lab. But I know a storm is coming in and that clear blue isn’t going to last. But will it last until 3:15 or so? Because that’s all I need. These are the weatherperson skills I need…predicting when the clouds will roll in. My weather app shows partly cloudy until 7 pm. The other app I look at is showing clouds at 11 AM and possible rain starting at 1 pm. Huh. Well. Better go find the lightbulbs.

OK. I’m back. Lightbulbs in a bag, just in case. My job is weird. Today I will get in about 15,000 steps before I ever leave school…just because of a lab. Plus I’m watching for rain. Because photosynthesis and rain aren’t really friends. Especially with 7th graders.

Anyway, so yesterday…I made it to the gym, even finished my book. I’m making it through the assignments that need to be done in the next week or so, slowly though. I finally got to draw at 11:25 PM. Maybe I should’ve gone to sleep, but since it took me a good long time to fall asleep, I think I made a good choice. I was tired…but the brain won’t shut up. I couldn’t get comfortable…too hot, too cold, too flat, head up too high, cat down by feet in just the wrong spot. Someone snoring…well, eventually that stopped, so that helped. I love all the beasts in my bed…they just don’t help me fall asleep.

Anyway, progress on anything is slow…no quilting last night, just the drawing. It was easier to focus on…

I was looking at one of the other drawing fails last night for hair ideas, but I didn’t focus on the hair in the long run. I’m not sure what I want to do with the hair yet. One drawing has what looks like lightning; the other has kelp. So I focused on finishing the dirt, because I was going off the original on that…mostly.

So that part is done anyway…oh yeah, and I added a tree to her arm…

And she’s fully rooted now.

First appearance of a pillbug in a Nida quilt. Exciting stuff. Anyway, I realized that I didn’t have to finish quilting the big quilt before I start working on this quilt. There’s no imminent deadline for finishing the other one. It’s just that I usually do. Otherwise things go unfinished, and apparently, as I age, that irritates my Art Brain more and more. Finish ALL THE THINGS. Which is not a bad philosophy, if it makes sense. I have two art quilts that are decidedly not finished and may never be. So there’s that. One only needs the binding done…the other needs paint. And lots of it. Even that might not save it.

So I could finish this tonight…but here’s today’s schedule: parent meeting at 8, prep the lab (mostly done) before school starts at 9. Teach all day at a crazy running pace, hoping for sun and no rain, then a 2-hour meeting at the district office about curriculum, and book club an hour later. That one might very well fall by the wayside…which is too bad. I like book club, I like talking about the books we’re reading, and I’m on the third book in that series because it’s good. And I need the socialization outside of my job. But exhaustion will probably win out. We’ll see. Then after all that? Am I making art? I hope so. But I’m already running on less than 6 hours of sleep. Ugh. I think that’s the top thing my doc wishes I would do: sleep more. Why? I’m really bad at it. I lie around wide awake a lot as it is. Then she’d like me to exercise more. So would I, but life gets in the way. OK, though, it’s time to get out of here for Task 1. Then art at the end. Goals.

Oh yeah, I got into a local show…#rrrr Reduced, Restricted, Reserved but Resilient, showing at The Front in San Ysidro. It’s the 12th Annual Dia de la Mujer Art Exhibition. It’s a really nice space. The opening is March 7…more to follow.

*Talking Heads, Burning Down the House