Or Not…

Monday mornings. I didn’t do enough schoolwork this weekend because I just couldn’t. I had other priorities and I will pay for that today, I’m sure. I have curriculum done for 8th grade through Wednesday, probably. Not ready for next week at all, not even close. 7th grade is fine except for the fact that we just barely got approval for the sex-ed program last week, sent letters Friday, and start next Monday. It’s good but it’s less time than we usually have to prep for it, so that’s stressful. Plus frog dissections this week and collecting a bunch of stuff…so yeah. I’m not prepared. I hate that; usually this is the time of the year where we can step back a little from the crazy. We’ve taught sex ed enough that it is a known entity. There are some stressful bits, but mostly the kids are engaged, unlike in math or whatever, so that makes it easier. I’ve spent most of the year, though, with 7th grade curriculum being the known, the easier (the actual kids in the classes are not)…so that’s been the only saving grace to teaching two grade levels. Otherwise it’s been a stressful shit show. I’m not sure how the other members of my team are so chill about it. It’s been nuts. 23 days left.

My goal this weekend was to get the quilt pinbasted. Which meant finishing the stitchdown. Which meant blowing off most of my schoolwork.

Friday night, I didn’t get far…

Pigoon, legs, stopped at the arm, hadn’t finished the torso.

Saturday morning I did some before going to a baby shower…

Maybe 20 minutes. At that point, I was fairly sure I wasn’t going to finish…

Came back from the shower and hiked…I promised my physical therapist I’d hike every weekend until I saw him again to test out the knee. Lots of ravens on the hike…

Came back and went to dinner, date night, drawing with no plan…

Not sure why it ended up being a dog…but last week’s was even weirder…

Then I did stitchdown for about 2 1/2 hours. At some point, I was just thinking it needed to be done. That if I went to bed and did the rest the next day, I wouldn’t be pinbasted until Tuesday and that would suck.

This is the back, by the way, never to be seen again.

I scan the back, looking for mistakes, stuff I’ve missed, didn’t stitch down. I’m seeing one right now. It’s OK. I can catch them in the quilting.

I guessed 6-7 hours on the stitchdown and I was right…6 hours and 45 minutes.

Then Sunday happened. Chaos. I was ready to clean the floor, and then remembered I hadn’t checked for batting. So I did that. Went through the whole pile…nothing’s big enough. Dammit. Drove to Joanns, which was mostly empty (Mother’s Day?), came back, washed the batting, dried the batting, but in between, found another pile of batting I’d set aside after the last time I bought batting. Pretty sure it would’ve been big enough. Giant ass sigh. That’s where my brain is right now…in not-very-efficient panic mode. Also I cleaned the floor and taped the backing down that I had pieced, then remembered the batting wasn’t dry yet and we were running out of time to leave for the parentals, so I pulled it back up, didn’t finish before we left. See, that was the plan…finish pinbasting before we left so I could do school stuff when we got back. Or not. So I went to dinner at the parents, forgot to take any photos because my brain. Fuzz. Then came back and laid it all back out, this time with dry batting.

Then pinbasted while watching the first episode or two of Queen Charlotte.

Kneepads and all. I think I’m in love. With the show, the quilt, and the kneepads. And now I can quilt. Well, after I go to school and try to plan the rest of the week during a staff meeting. It’ll be fine.

This is very true of the classroom, except we skip the spraying it black part. Today we are doing embryos in 8th grade (embryology as part of the theory of evolution) and human impact on national parks in 7th grade. On Friday, I heard that The Way Out won Honorable Mention at Form, Not Function.

It’s still a very relevant piece. Unfortunately. Nice to get an award for it.

When you live with an artist, there are always things all over the house that remind you of that. I found this in the hallway. Not sure how it got there…on an animal butt? or my shirt? Oh yeah, and I’m the artist.

I do know what it’s from, at least. Seriously miles away from where I was working.

No yardwork this week either…

I don’t actually have a pile of dirty dishes OR laundry, but there are definitely things piling up that are driving me nuts but that I don’t have time to deal with. Ah well. I will get to it all eventually. Or not.

Quilting tonight though. I’m figuring the quilting will take 16-20 hours. There’s a shitload of details in this thing. Plus a healthy chunk of just plain background. It won’t be quick. So an hour a night this week? Maybe a little more. I don’t have a ton of meetings this week like last week. And my weekend is more free for once. I’m still not expecting to be done this week. Next week. Yeah. I have some deadlines I’m dealing with. I’ll be fine with this one; it’s the next one that’s questionable.

Anyway. Mother’s Day was stressful (school and my fault with the batting) but ended well. Saw my mom (she looks good), talked to the girlchild (she also looks good). Got some nice gifts from the kidlets…always nice when they get me stuff, because it’s not stuff I would have gotten myself. Appreciate that. Hoping to hear at school about a new science hire plus our principal for next year…hoping the district is not populated by total idiots. You know how that goes. And I get to quilt tonight. I love that. I can’t watch Queen Charlotte while I’m doing that, but I’ll figure that out. Worst case it’ll be listening to music or podcasts. Meditative. All good.

Everything She Needs…

Weekends just aren’t long enough for all the things. I suspect some people do some of the things during the week, but all I do during the week is work on school, work on art, eat, sleep, and occasionally exercise. A few social things on Zoom or in person, but not many. Today I have a 2-hour staff meeting and a drive to my photographer’s after school, so it will be a long day. Ironically it is a short teaching day. Ah well. I’m giving an assessment (quiz?) in one class and showing a movie in the other. Should go fine.

What did I do this weekend? Lots of school work, a hike, dinner out with the Man, an art meeting almost an hour away (lots of drive time in the last week for art), groceries, laundry…maybe 50% of what I needed to get done. As usual. It is what it is. I did read my book too, so that’s my time. And pilates. Necessary but my time.

I ironed all three nights…not getting enough done on this thing. Haven’t had enough time on the weekends to spend a few hours ironing, unfortunately.

I had these tiny little overlapping veins/arteries to deal with on Friday night. They were a pain in the butt.

And then I had filled up the teflon sheet, so I was going to need to move the whole thing off and reattach it, which is always a bit scary.

Plus I ironed an incubator. Gotta be way easier than giving birth. Although not very portable. Should’ve put a handle on it.

Added an in-leg phone with apps, plus a fleshy knife pocket for dangerous situations.

Tried to consider all her needs.

She’s got some sciency experiments going on.

Some are turning out fine. Some maybe not so much.

Some protective breastwear.

Last night, I ironed the little froggy boy plus some additional tech for her arm.

Really she’s got everything she needs…except maybe a body fridge for storing sandwiches and drinks. Didn’t think of that until just now.

Really enjoying this piece, which is nice. It’s a little twisted and dark but fun. Political, but some wouldn’t see that. Not like most of mine, which bash you in the face with politics. And I have hit the halfway mark…which just means I need to go faster. I really need this one done sooner rather than later. Sigh. Ah well. There’s 12 hours into the ironing, probably 12 more to go.

And it finally warmed up enough at night to switch flannel out for the quilt I started a million years ago and finished last year.

Still need to make matching pillow cases. Haven’t done that. Have the fabric, have tons of the fabric, but time…that’s another issue altogether. I have a baby shower coming up and there’s no way I’m going to be able to make a baby quilt. Sigh.

We hiked at one of the local spots we regularly do, but haven’t been to since December.

The water moved the bridge a little off…it’s meant to move. There’s a lot more water than normal.

Lots of flowers…

We keep doing these close to sunset due to all my stuff during the day. It’s nice out, but we expect to see more coyotes and don’t. Not sure why.

Then dinner out and the drawing I started last week and couldn’t finish.

It got weird. So did the Man.

Kitten’s hiding space behind all the things.

A friend got me this…

Totally appropriate. I can’t sew with shoes on. Or slippers. The Man thought she had gotten this specially made, and I’m like no, this is a thing…I’m not the only one. I still don’t think he believes me. Finding space for it in here…

Starting the week out tired. I know, what’s new. I got a lot of 8th grade stuff done yesterday and then realized how far behind we are in 7th grade stuff. Whoops. Plus grading. I can’t lesson plan AND grade, and progress report grades are due next week. I didn’t grade any of the late work or redoes…didn’t have time. I don’t know when I will have time. I have dueling meetings this Saturday. Can’t be in two places at once. Oh well. Plus I’ve gotta fit that hike in. 33 days of school left. Getting there. Losing my mind on the way, but getting there.

Up High…

From Organ Pipe, we went up to 5500′ in elevation, higher where we hiked. It was cooler, but not enough during the day to really matter. We considered (and deconsidered…unconsidered? Removed from consideration) one hike due to the climb with the heat. We’re out of shape and heat is hard. But it was still a nice place to be, Chiricahua National Monument, which might be a National Park by the next time we go. Which will be hard for it, because there are only 26 campsites or something like that. We had a great campsite when we were there in 2018 (minus the loud kids in the two sites next to us), but I couldn’t get that one, so this is the one next to it.

Not as good. Lots of sun issues during the day, lots of moving chairs to get shade. But not bad. The amphitheater was right next to it, though, and people kept going there to have private conversations and/or entertain children. Notes for next time.

The last time we were there, we had the energy to hike after we set up camp (WTF, who were those people?); this time? Not so much. We did sit through an hour-long presentation on paws, pines, and poop that was totally worth it. I know more about animal poop now than I ever did before. Did not help at all when I was on the trail, staring at scat, trying to figure out who had left it. Ah well.

There were many Mexican jays in camp.

They were pretty ballsy about being on the tables…

Good reminder to put shit away, which is good, because this is bear country…and jaguar, mountain lion, and bobcat territory, plus!!!

Our first time seeing a WHOLE coatimundi in the wild (last time we only saw the tail disappearing into the brush). This is a single male. We still haven’t seen a whole group of females wandering around.

Last time, we also saw deer. We saw them while driving this time…

But our evening attempt to hike to the meadow they like to hang out in turned into a mostly dark night hike, not so good for seeing deer. We were really bad at timing dinner this trip…either too late or too late. Really, we were always too late even when we tried to be early.

The first night, after the very long poop talk, we ate freeze-dried things and then the Man tried starting a fire, but it wasn’t in the mood and neither was he. I did draw by the dying fire…

The wind picked up while we were there.

The last time we were here, we missed a shuttle up to the top with a hike down to the visitor center (we only camped one night), so this time, we wanted to do that. The shuttle picks you up in the campground and drives you up to Massai Point, so you don’t have to come back to your car.

Last time, we went down into Echo Canyon and then had to climb back out in the heat, which was not fun. So this was more fun. Although it was still hot. So we have saved the longer hike for the next time, when we will either have to start earlier in the year or earlier in the day. Not sure which is going to be easier to pull off. PLUS be in better shape going into vacation, so no job shit that takes up tons of time, no scarlet fever or nasty colds. You know. Ha! Because we have control over all that.

Chiricahua is known for its hoodoos.

It’s different than Bryce, if you’ve been there. But still cool.

That said, it was warm and we were glad to mostly be going downhill.

Lots of different pine trees out there too, a nice change from saguaros.

Also these things are fun to consider drawing.

So this was about 5 miles down…

Mostly exposed…

Reminded us of home, honestly. But there was a breeze, which made it bearable. It really was only in the 80s, but at 6500 feet starting, the sun just feels hotter.

There was still water in the stream at the bottom though. We did another mile and half at dusk to Not See the deer, so we got our 5-mile Hike to Health pin from Chiricahua too. Cool beans. And we have reasons to come back.

I worked on this block in the car from El Cajon to Organ Pipe, in the campground at Organ Pipe, in the car from Organ Pipe to Chiricahua, in the campground at Chiricahua, and in the car home to El Cajon…

I go back and forth during the day between stitching (mostly brainless) and reading (requires slightly more brainpower, depending on the book)…nighttime is for drawing.

I finished it somewhere outside of Gila Bend, I think. Or going into Gila Bend. Hard to say. It all looks the same.

Is that Interstate 10 or the 8? And then I started the next one…got about that far in the car…

And almost finished it…

Crooked tree trunk and all.

So when we got home, we were there for less than 24 hours, and then left for a They Might Be Giants concert at Humphreys. We had reserved a room as a treat, and they gave us a balcony overlooking the venue! So I stitched there a bit…

If we’d been smart, we would have watched the whole show from the room, because it rained and rained (drizzle, but solidly wetly constantly drizzling)…

It was fine in that picture…

But no. We wanted to hang out and bounce around down where we could see the whole thing.

Although trying to see over the people in front of me got harder and harder. Ah well. And this video was because everyone was singing along to this, but you can also see the rain going sideways through it.

Amusing. And no, we didn’t bring raingear. This is freakin’ San Diego, y’all. In Spring. So I think I had 4 layers on, including a hoodie. The Man didn’t. We didn’t think it through. It was fine; we had fun.

Foggy/cloudy view of downtown.

We wanted to test out some of the AI art apps, just to see what they did. I find them frustrating, and gave up pretty quickly, but from that picture of us above, and the text “woman covered with cats”, I got this.

I couldn’t get it to do anything with my art. Ah well. I went back to stitching. The Man has 20 tries with mice with mushroom hats.

Here are better pictures of the four drawings I did on the trip…

Some were more complicated than others. Oh wait, there were five. But I abandoned this one.

It was after I’d seen a bunch of news articles about shooting and pregnancy laws and stupid political bullshit. Like this shit…

Which then turned into this one…and anytime they want to pull Viagra? I’m good with that.

Which I might make into something.

Here’s the windy night drawing…

I was reading about all this space stuff, which might explain her head. Might not.

And the last night, when we were both in pretty irritable moods honestly…

Although it’s not apparent in the drawing, unless you look at the really bad coatimundi drawing. Ah well. Shit happens.

I also managed to find the energy to quilt on Tuesday night…

It took a lot of caffeine…

And a certain amount of panic about the end of Spring Break always coming much faster than I’m prepared for. Yesterday, I spent most of the day working on a artist’s grant application. My CV is now up-to-date, I’ve found some relevant press releases, and I submitted the whole damn thing around noon today…probably about 10 hours in that thing, but if I get it, totally worth it. If I don’t? I can try again. I’ve done the hardest part already. Plus maybe it’s time to try for some artist residencies too, although they would need to be paid for in some way.

More quilting last night after staring at that damn CV for about 5 hours…

I’m more than halfway through the outlining. More today. I was expecting to be done with this by today, but reality is always a slap across the face. I have four things to grade, all the makeups and redoes to grade, lesson planning for 8th grade, posts for 7th and 8th…ugh. I will have to do some of that today or tomorrow, but the goal is to finish the quilting, pack up another quilt for a show, do some house and yard work? Maybe. Eh. Floors need cleaning. I want to go on a hike tomorrow. We’ll see.

Kitten has been stalking me. She’s very glad to have me back.

The other two are as well…

I’ll finish off with this…

Made me laugh.

OK. Yard? Because it’s still daylight and a little moving around won’t hurt me. Then quilting. I’m not cooking tonight (hurrah!). Then more quilting. Yeah.

In the Desert…

Well we’re back; told you it was a short one. A short one with limited cell service. I’d be sitting in camp at night and 3 texts would ping in but whatever service had brought those in whisked away with the wind. It was all good. Nice to not be tethered to all that for a few days.

The landscape, as always, was gorgeous, as are the animals and the stars and the moon (although we lost that the last few days due to the landscape). I do get tired of eating the same stuff and having to clean up at bear level (better than having bears in camp though). And if I had to camp for more than three days with no shower, I’d probably shave my head because I can’t stand my hair anymore after that. Last night’s shower was a delight. Usually we camp for a while and then get an AirBnb for a break, but because this was a short trip, we skipped that part. Which is why we got up yesterday morning and drove all the way home (from the Eastern side of Arizona). We needed a bed, a fridge, and a shower. All good.

We stop at weird little parks to eat lunch while we’re driving, just like I did when I was a kid and my parents drove me across the country to see every historic landmark in the US.

This mural was in one of those parks.

By the way, the landscape described as “high-density cactus forest” that is Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is absolutely gorgeous in spring…all flowery and green and weirdly amazing. Totally would go there again, even though the daytime is hot. They say April is the end of the hiking, and I would agree, unless you are hiking at night. Warm. Some shade, not enough.

I’m not really a desert lover…it’s hot and dry and often flat, but this was beautiful.

We were lucky to have gotten one of the few campsites with a ramada, which gave shade at certain times of the day, mostly the hot times.

You had to keep your car hood up and start the car at least once a day to keep pack rats out of the engine. I never saw any, but I did see a lot of hoods up.

Mostly flat desert makes for really nice sunsets…especially when there are some clouds out there.

We went to one of the ranger talks, about the moon, which I just finished teaching about.

No fire pits, but we managed fires in the grills. Good thing…the Man can’t stand camping without the requisite staring into the fire and managing the fire. It’s fire TV. I do a little staring myself, but mostly it’s my drawing time.

The moths were particularly happy about my headlamp on the first night.

It was warm enough to not even put socks on for a while. It’s been a while since we’ve camped anywhere that warm. And of course, that means it’s even warmer when we’re hiking, which is harder. But hike we did. The Arizona parks have a Hike for Health thing going on right now where you get a pin if you hike at least 5 miles in the park (proven by photos), so we did that in both parks. But honestly, we’re out of shape after a particularly un-hikey winter (health plus work plus weather). Normally we’d be in for 10-15 miles a day, but we did less.

We did Victoria Mine, which was close to 5 miles when we finished; we should have started two hours earlier to beat the heat, but we didn’t. The ocotillo was just starting to leaf out, so some had flowers and no leaves, some had new reddish leaves, and some had green leaves.

It’s a fascinating plant. I keep trying to simplify it for the quilts I make, because making it realistically is a very time-consuming thing. If I JUST made a quilt about one ocotillo branch, that would be doable. Anything else would be nuts. Says the woman who regularly makes quilts with over 1000 pieces.

I do love me some ocotillo though.

In Organ Pipe, we had pretty good cell service, so my Seek app for identifying plants was working. Since I just made my Desert Mother quilt last year and had researched all these plants, many of which I’ve seen before but never ID’d, it was cool to go around and see them in real life…the Organ Pipe cactus themselves…

Plus all the different chollas…

Saguaros of course…

So many saguaros…

I’d never seen the inside of one…

And some of them had fascinating growth patterns…

Lots of flowers because…Spring…

Spring is such a short season that I often miss the blooms that happen.

By the time I have a free weekend to go down to Anza Borrego, it’s done.

I called this Introverted Cactus.

Stay the fuck away cactus. It’s actually some thorny spike cactus (like no duh, look at that thing). In bloom, nonetheless! This was on the kamikaze half-run up a hill to see the sunset. We didn’t time dinner perfectly, so it was a bit of a rush.

The mine itself had these weird little ceramic sculptures that the rangers said they’d found elsewhere too.

Not original to the park probably.

Requisite photo of us, me looking very red and sweaty (’twas warm!) so we could get our pin.

It was a fairly easy hike, in terms of elevation etc. Just warm.

So that was almost 5 miles…then we rested for a while, cooled off, I took a shower with their solar collectors, so warm sometimes, sometimes not.

Then we realized how crappy our cooler was (seriously needed daily ice infusions, which was a pain)…so we drove into Why, Arizona, to get more ice plus drinks plus snacks.

Lots of cool mural stuff at this convenience store…with a quilt motif!

Pretty amazing…

And fun.

We tried a drive, but the ‘better’ dirt road was enough to persuade me that the 21 miles of ‘not so good’ dirt road would be a pain. The other drive was closed for repairs, unfortunately, but reason enough to come back.

Camp was fine. I had a book, cold water, a chair, and shade. I also had friends…this trapdoor spider by the water spigot…

A round-tailed ground squirrel who came up to my feet until I jiggled them.

Then a run up to the sunset…

Another proof picture…where I force that smile…

Yeah well. Still warm.

But beautiful…

Drawing on the second night…

I had actually started another drawing (I’ll post better photos of these once they’ve downloaded off the cloud), but couldn’t get my head around it. Something about protecting unborn children more than the actually born ones. And guns. And teachers. And banning medications for women, but not men. It was frustration. This second drawing is better and has the potential to be something. When I’m traveling, I just draw to draw, not to potentially be a finished quilt. I usually focus on the landscape around me, which is how this started, but I couldn’t get past the other crap going on in our country.

Which hello…this truck was in one of the campsites down from us…

I finally got all the way around it…

Nice sentiments…

Beautiful. I hope she was safe as she drove. I hope no one made it unsafe for her. Because that’s our existence too, more than half of the nation: women, LGBTQIA, children, people of color. Not safe for any of them. And it should be. I’m not sure when the politicians will realize they are outnumbered. I hope it is soon. As I make my work and it becomes more and more relevant with time instead of less…which is what I want. I want the problems to go away, for the world to be better, and it’s not going that way. It’s getting harder for all those groups and that’s just wrong.

OK, with that happy finish! Ha. Oh wait, I did start working on this on the road…

Just so you have a comparison to later. I always take too much stitching, and that’s OK. No one ever wants to run out of something to work on when you don’t feel like drawing or reading.

Today we are going to a concert, They Might Be Giants (my Xmas present to the Man), and are staying near the venue to make it easier for us old folks, so I need to get a bunch of stuff done, laundered, put away, etc before we leave. Early. Because we are old. Plus school stuff and other stuff…like shipping a quilt to a show! I got into Form, Not Function with The Way Out

So that’s cool. More politics. Nothing like a Nida quilt with a uterus AND a giant vagina with a landscape in it. Originally made for a show called Portals. So there’s that. Good news all around. I have some work to do this week; even was quilting last night, despite being exhausted, so more of that today as well. First to make sure the pool guy put everything back after trying to flood my house, then another delightful wonderful shower, and then stuff to get done. It’s still Spring Break for 5 more days. More about Chiricahua and the second half of the trip tomorrow. Or Friday. We’ll see.

Different Shade of Red

Field trip day. Pros: no teaching in the AM, get to be outside (sort of?), and I’m chaperoning the introvert art geek girls (they picked ME! OK, I was one of them in middle and high school). Cons: I still have to teach 7th grade (hoping the annoying ones go home early or don’t come to school), I’m going to the Midway (ah, me and the military, such a fit), my knee is still not the best (I totally fell off my physical therapy schedule with getting sick), and I’m totally exhausted already. At least it’s different. I appreciate a different day every once in a while. A change in the routine. It isn’t until we’re on the buses, though, that it feels OK. Right now, it just feels stressful, but since my co-teacher did almost everything (!), I really shouldn’t complain. She’s awesome, IDK how she does it, oh yeah, she has a student teacher and I always say no to those. NOT rethinking that. The day I say yes is the day I get some perky little thing that drives me bonkers.

In other news, it’s Friday, hallelujah, even if I have to spend all of tomorrow doing taxes and planning for next week, I don’t care, because it will be here where I can pee when I want and make 7 thousand cups of tea and pet dogs and cats in wild abandon. Plus no annoying, gaslighting 13-year-old boys who are clueless about life. I do appreciate most of them, because most of them in 8th grade seem to be getting a clue or are totally mature and responsible and amazing. Which I tell them all the time. One of the gaslighters told me he would be a MAN next year (age 14, freshman in high school) and he would be nice to me when I was nice to him. OMG. SHHHHHHH. I told him I figured he’d be OK, he’s smart enough, eventually he would figure out what he needed to do.

So being away from all that shit for two days is a plus. I do appreciate a huge number of my kids…I really do. They do the things, they think, they try, they work, they ask questions, they figure stuff out. They’re fun even when they’re having a hard day, because they realize they’re having a hard day. It’s a pretty small percentage of those who drive us bonkers, but this year, the bonkers is taller and wider.

I ironed on Wednesday night…

I started ironing all the little figures the main figure is protecting. I needed lots of small runs of different flesh tones. Hopefully it works out.

Then last night, I finished those and started on the rest of the bits and pieces that make up the figure.

The top left bin is all the fabrics I used for the figures; there are 7 of them. I couldn’t even iron all their hearts onto the same red fabric. They needed their own shade of red. Crazy, I know. I have a few of the 300s left, and then I think I’m in the 400s. So more than halfway? I think? Who knows. My biggest issue is what to do with the main figure’s hair. When I decided to make her blue (on a blue background), I didn’t really consider hair. I might just go for some crazy multi-color thing. We’ll see. Probably tonight we’ll see.

The right eye is twitching again. It went away for a bit, but it’s back.

I also had my stitching Zoom meeting last night, so I worked on one of the May Homegrown blocks from Sue Spargo.

I’ve been working on these forever. Then again, her Bird Crazy (not its real name) quilt is still under my machine, and I think I started quilting it in January. It would probably take 2 or 3 hours to finish it…it’s on my list for Spring Break. So is EVERYTHING though.

I figured this out really quickly…

I have a screenprint from before the kids are born that is called Make It So. Someday I’ll get all my prints photographed (or copied from slides) and posted somewhere. Not this year.

OK. I have to go to school. Need to put a snack in my bag. Need to make sure I’m ready for later. Ha! I’m never ready for later. More tea. Don’t forget to pee. Phone fully charged. Lunch ready for when we get back (I’d better get to eat…it’s always an issue these days and that sucks). Exhaustion level high, but we all know how to deal with that. Six days of school until Spring Break. We can DO this. Also, I want to read my book. Hmmm. Later.

Fuzzy Around the Edges

Oh hey. Is it Daylight Savings Time now or Standard Time now? And which is better for my health overall? More daylight, less sleep? I don’t know. I do know that my brain last night was like FUCK THIS and FUCK SLEEP. Which is always helpful when you are going into a full week of school and you’ve been napping every afternoon to try to recover from the school stuff and still recovering from stupid scarlatina (I guess they didn’t like the scarlet fever name or it had too many bad connotations, so they gave it a name that sounds like an Italian cocktail). Yes, I’ll have the scarlatina? With an olive please. Thanks.

The brain is not helping. Did I grade anything this weekend? One thing. I graded one thing. I really have no excuse. I had nothing planned on Saturday. So what did I do? Slept in a bit, spaced out a lot, read my book (very dark, very slasher, but not), and then made a decision about this upcoming show where the curator is on crack and thinks we should be able to drop everything and make a new piece in a weekend. I drew something…

And then I wasted a lot of my Saturday energy on driving to copy this AND going to Home Depot (the second thing is what threw me). Came home and napped. Then cut out the enlarged piece (200% bigger) and decided I didn’t like those hands, so I cut them off…

Added some paper above, below, and to the left, and then drew the rest…

RESISTED THE URGE TO ADD MORE. Seriously. That’s hard. Then numbered it…

It’s got almost 600 pieces? I thought it was closer to 500, but I’m looking at that and I see 595, so I must be dreaming the lower number. And I have 53 days to finish it. Plus I can’t stand up for extended periods of time and the next step is all about the standing. Ugh. I’m not sure what I was thinking except GET BETTER GET BETTER FUCKING GET BETTER. I also napped somewhere in there. Napping every day, but can’t sleep at night? Aargh. That’s school stress brain, actually. It was yelling at me about not grading, and I’m like, well, how the fuck do you think I’m going to grade tomorrow night if I’m so exhausted from not sleeping tonight?

Dumb brain doesn’t listen.

Did I still cut pieces out? Hell yes. It’s sitting down and relaxing. Friday night…

I always think I’m so close to the end and the last few days are like…yes…yes…no. Saturday night (a little fuzzy around the edges there, which is kinda how I felt too)…

And Sunday night…

Full on staring at the bottom of the box there. Almost done. How many hours so far? 16 plus hours of trimming. Not bad. I probably have a little more than an hour left. My goal is to trace for 30 minutes and to cut for 30 minutes. Work on both for a bit. Bribe myself to do the standing. Because right now? I need a nap. Granted, my brain is still protesting the time switch AND it’s Monday AND I didn’t sleep much last night.

The assembly on Friday was an inflatable SkyDome. It was nice…

Also somewhat fuzzy around the edges. Dark in there. It was a good intro to the space unit. Lots of walking to get there, plus crawling into the thing, and then out. I took a semi-nap during 3rd period, I was so exhausted. Any day now, body. Sigh. Fifteen school days until Spring Break. I might sleep for the first five days. It’s possible.

Fabric of a Nation…

Hello. It’s a holiday for me. Hence my writing at a weird hour. It’s been a weird day. For one thing, we left on a short road trip Saturday morning and got back yesterday afternoon, so today I’ve been trying to do all the things I would’ve done yesterday and the day before, and I’m running out of time. Which is pretty standard for my weekends, unfortunately. I needed some significant brain power for one thing though, so I did most of that first. I’m not done, but I’m on a roll, and I think that will help in the long run.

Meanwhile, why the road trip? Two art opportunities: Fabric of a Nation is at the Skirball Cultural Center through March 12, and it’s been on my list since it opened in Boston. So that was my original plan. Then figured I might as well make a weekend of it and do a loop past the Cheech in Riverside, since I hadn’t been there since it had opened. Both incredible shows. Lots of color. Lots of amazing imagery. I’m going to try to put it on here, but there’s a lot (and there’s more photos I took, but I don’t have the time to do all of them, so I picked the best of the bunch).

So this was my first Bisa Butler piece in person, I think. I’ve seen photos and videos, but it’s never the same as closeup.

This is To God and Truth

Her use of patterned fabric is amazing.

There’s no such thing as ‘too busy’.

This was a detail from an old applique quilt that had some racist blocks on it. This is Scenes of American Life by Mrs. Cecil White.

I always wonder if she meant to be racist, or was completely clueless about it. Or if it was commentary (unlikely; the quilt is from the 1920s). There’s so little known about some of these. Her technique is pretty fascinating for the time. Too bad parts of it are questionable in subject matter.

This crazy quilt was kind of amazing. It’s by Celestine Bacheller.

Fascinating. Most crazy quilts might have one center pictorial block, and then regular pieced crazy quilt blocks around. I’ve never seen one like this.

Carolyn Mazloomi’s graphic Strange Fruit II was even more emotional in person than in photos.

Just black and white. No way to shy away from the topic.

A detail from the Harriet Powers’ quilt…

I always think I take more (and better) pictures than I actually do. I remember seeing pictures of this one when I started quilting in the 90s. It was mind-boggling then in its simplicity. Still is.

And this one, Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Kisasi Ramsess.

Amazing use of color, again, and patterned fabrics that don’t seem to belong together and yet do.

We spent the night in Pasadena, near where I grew up. I worked on one of the Sue Spargo blocks in the car and while watching a strange movie…

And I did iron on Friday night…

Wings and a strange cat. Not this one…

Although she is pretty strange. And toothless. Or light on teeth, anyway.

There were signs at the Skirball as part of another art project by Chloë Bass called Wayfinding, up through September.

Lots of thought-provoking stuff. Do you laugh or…?

Hard to say. We walked around Pasadena a bit looking for art (all closed up), found some food and drink.

Drew something weird.

Then the next morning, drove through my old neighborhood and said hi to the house I mostly grew up in…

Cool house. Interesting what they cut down and what they leave. It was a nice place to grow up in, the house anyway. Some of the town was not so nice, but that’s another story.

OK, I have work to do, so all the Cheech photos will have to wait until later. I did iron yesterday night though…these were all the fabrics I used on one kind of weird steampunk butterfly.

I’m a little more than halfway through the 1200s now. Getting close to done.

I do need to go back to work now, though…need to grade some stuff and do some more planning, make sure I’m ready for tomorrow (don’t FEEL ready, and there’s a staff meeting in the morning, which is different). This week, I will hopefully be very efficient (unlike last week) and finish all the things, plus get done with the ironing on this thing so I can start cutting them out. Everything is taking a lot of time. I’m glad I took two days off and did some ME stuff, but I knew I’d pay for it today and the rest of the week, so there’s that. It’s nice to have the extra day, though, to catch up. Won’t see that for another 38 days. To be very specific.


I have once again, for the millionth or so time, made it to Friday. I would like to congratulate you, as well, for making it, although I know for some of you, Friday is just another day and not the last day in a school week that has already kicked the shit out of you and there’s probably more to come today that you don’t know about. Yet. Then I get a blessed 3-day weekend. There are things planned on the weekend, unfortunately, because I have two books to finish and a brain to mend (and possibly a body as well), plus three thousand things to grade and another four to lesson plan.

There are 49 days until Spring Break. In case you were wondering.

I made it to stitching meeting last night…I was only home, between helping to break up a fight and cleaning up a ton of lab stuff with my co-teacher, for about 20 minutes: peed and fed the dog and then got back in the car and drove north to hang out with my stitching friends. Which is always good. Our Google-search term of the month was ‘spray cheese’, something I don’t think I’ve ever had. Because apparently the Super Bowl is this weekend (did not realize). Also we solved the problem of the cats pulling down all my shirts in the closet; I just need to implement it. And everyone is making beautiful things, and I can’t show you what I was doing, because Sue Spargo hasn’t published it yet, but basically I’m doing the applique on the wool blocks and then giving them to my mom to embroider (she gets to keep the quilt once it’s done). Her birthday is next week and I’m supposed to have three more done, and that isn’t happening, but maybe one? We’ll see.

Wednesday night was sort of chaotic: got home late from the union meeting, then read for (probably too long) a while to settle my brain, then cooked late, ate late, then worked for a bit on school stuff, trying to fix the things (always fixing the things), and then went in to iron and realized I needed to enter a show or I wouldn’t have time to enter it at all, so I did that and THEN started ironing.

Which is why I only got about 41 minutes in.

I did the metal work on the leg and breasts. I did not get to the arm/hand, because it was in a different box and was a million pieces and I needed to go to bed. So I ironed something else small. An electrical plug and socket? Is that what you call the thing it plugs into? I think I call both of those plugs. That’s problematic. And probably wrong. Ah well. Don’t have the brainpower this morning to correct that shit.

Then last night, I had stitching until 8 PM, then picked up dinner for me and the Man, who worked late and was exhausted as well, then we hung out and ate for a bit, then I (guess what) did more work (answering an email from petulance) and THEN got up and ironed for another 41 minutes. I lied. Last night was 44 minutes.

Doesn’t look much different, does it? I ironed a uterus, quite a pretty one, blue and pink and red. And I don’t remember what else…oh yeah, a tattoo of a yin/yang symbol. Not much. Damn this is slow. Day job. Fucking day job. I’m still doing bits and pieces of what’s on the flesh in the torso and legs areas, but I’m close to done. And then I’ll be in the 600s box, although I’ve done some of the 700-900s already. I think the face was in the 1200s. And I still haven’t made a decision about the coloring of the extra arms, so that’s problematic. I think one wants to be teal, but I started looking for a run of light to dark teal last night, and that might be harder than I would like. We’ll see. I wanted bright and I might need to go dull. There might be an argument for dull as well, since that’s someone else’s arm and/or a 3D-printed arm and maybe teal is not as good as a gray blue that reminds one of dead things.

Still thinking that through. In case you were thinking I just randomly pick colors without thinking deeply about them.

These are the last two cover pages for science…

I’ve actually had a hard time getting these done this year; not enough time to draw and color them in class, so they just never get finished. This got further along than the last 7th-grade unit though. That’s a plus. Mostly because a bunch of the squawkers were absent and the rest were chill and working.

Fun stuff. Needs color.

Today I need to finish grading the roller coasters so we can pull them apart for next year (need to reuse the bases). Some are already falling down, but I did get video. I’ll have to process that this weekend maybe. I need to rethink forcing them to label things for next year. Not sure how I’ll roll that. But I should put the notes about it in the lesson-plan calendar, because otherwise I will fully forget about it.

Today’s a pretty chill day in both science classes…well, elephant’s toothpaste in 7th grade, but just notes and a weird video in 8th grade. Need some chill after the last four days of chaos (mostly outside the classroom, but it reverberates inside). Also taught my 4th period the word ‘hellacious’. I’ve found it very useful over my lifetime. Want to pass that wisdom on to the young ones.

With any luck, I’ll get a ton of stuff done at school today, then come home and read for a while and iron for a while, and then figure out how to do the work this weekend AND do some relaxing and sleeping so I can get through the next week. One week at a time? We might be there. One day at a time sometimes. It’s wearing…on all of us.

On the Thrifty Side…

It’s raining again. Sort of. Pushed off to tonight mostly…oh yeah, and my drive time (which is remarkably short and only notable because one must get TO the car and OUT of the car). Rain is good for California…I’m just kinda done with it. I’ve got some yard stuff to do. That said, the sprinklers have been off for a good long time now, and that’s a plus. A slightly smaller water bill will not cover the heating bill, but it will help. A little.

Here’s a teacher thing…two of us on my team were checking our account balances yesterday to see if we would bounce with the groceries. I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be like that. It’s been an expensive few months. I have some extra in this paycheck though (backpay on our new raise), so I’m putting that aside for travel. I’ve got some stuff lined up and some other stuff I’d like to do, if I can afford it. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I spent a good chunk of the weekend grading (and not planning, unfortunately). I’m not done. I’m never done. I was hoping to be done with the roller coaster drawings, but I needed another hour and a half I lost to an art meeting or buying dog food or trying to find leeks. Fun stuff. I did work on cutting out the Wonder Under though…

Simba was not helpful. I finished cutting Saturday night.

And then sorted it last night, which took over an hour…

Some of the Wonder Under I was using was from the end of a bolt, and I am incapable of just throwing it out, even when it’s releasing the fusible from the paper, which gives me a bunch of weird pieces like this…

Which I will lay out on a colored lid (so I can see them all) and every time I find a piece with no fusible, I’ll try to match it up to one of these, which is a little (perhaps more than a little) insane. If I can’t match it up, I’ll retrace it. Sigh. I hate it when this happens. I could have prevented it by tossing out the last few yards, but I’m a little on the thrifty side, I guess. Perhaps a little too much.

The good news is that I get to start ironing to fabric tonight. I love that part. I bought the background fabric yesterday (the dark blue) and some others…

Hanging out mostly in the batik ranges these days.

No hike this weekend, not much of anything but grading and a 2-hour art meeting at the Mingei, which required parking a mile away. Not a bad walk for a Saturday though. Good news, though…we have an upcoming show at the downtown library gallery. More shows that need new work! At first, they said a year old, but we petitioned for longer (like how long do they think work takes to make? Plus I’m already buried in this one. Sigh. I don’t work fast enough). We’ll see what they come back with. I have so much out right now that I think I’d have to make something, perhaps something smaller. This one is not particularly small. I think finished it will be about 46″ wide by 72″ high. OK. That’s not small at all.

Saturday night’s drawing…

Actually took two Saturday nights. The Man can’t eat certain things right now as his jaw is healing, so our places to eat dinner are fairly limited. Ah well. They serve fast. Not enough time to do a whole drawing, unfortunately.

Well let’s hope I am efficient today and get lots done, and the rain holds off until I get home, and the demonstration in 7th grade goes OK, and someone else is cooking dinner. Oh wait. That’s me. Ugh. OK. Well. The rest can still happen, right? And I need to grade a lot and plan a lot. As always. We are officially past halfway and I can start considering that I might survive this school year. Like the last three.

More Than a Cloud

I totally forgot yesterday was Monday. Well done! Good start. I mean, I appreciate the extra day to get stuff done. I even made myself a special post-it to-do list for the weekend with things to cross off (I did not finish all of them, but I did a lot). These two months, January and February, there’s this delightful smattering of 3-day weekends that make me think I can be caught up, and then the disaster of March happens, with 5 long weeks of no days off. No breaks. Just a slog until Spring Break. Teachers know what I’m talking about. May is very similar, but at least ends with a 3-day weekend. Two-day weekends…I lose a whole day to trying to get ready for the week, so just Saturday is free…and it often isn’t. I have progress reports due next week, so this coming weekend is looking a little stressy. Trying to get ahead of that now, but we’ll see how it goes.

It rained all weekend. Like a downpour. Not as bad as further north of us, but at over 3 1/2 inches of rain here (I bought a rain gauge just for this); that’s sometimes our annual rainfall. Everything is exceedingly damp. No trees went down here, not even a fallen branch (knock on wood), so that’s good. A few water issues, but nothing major. The garage will be damp for days. I need to actually sweep water out of it when I get a chance (not sure when that will be). So we didn’t go a lot of places…but I did work a lot. As always. Don’t seem to be able to escape it.

I finished basting and delivered the cross-stitched blocks back to my friend, so she can spend a few months hand-quilting them before I have to figure out how to put them together. I also picked up one of my quilts from a show that closed.

This show was extended into February…

I’m hoping to be at the closing reception, only because it’s First Friday in Liberty Station, and that’s always cool.

OK, on to the weekend tracing, of which there was a lot, although not as much as I would’ve liked. Like maybe 2 hours a night instead of 1.

This is filling in the little spaces in between bigger pieces…

I had a strange leftover piece of Wonder Under I used at the end of a bolt. Some of it was releasing from the paper, so I cut those bits off. Don’t want to deal with it.

Friday night might have been one of those 2-hour nights…

Saturday night definitely was. We had a neighborhood party to introduce ourselves to our new neighbors, and then I came back and did more as the Man crashed…he had emergency dental surgery Friday and was kind of a mess all weekend. Hopefully it’ll be better this week for him.

Lots of complication here…still filling in the spaces.

I think this was Sunday night…another 2 hours…

But Monday night, I was working later on school stuff, so only an hour and a bit. I’m in the 700s, I think. Close to halfway, but not quite.

I thought I’d be further up the drawing by now, but no. It seems there are more pieces in the top half than the bottom half. Even though the bottom half is solid pieces and the top has a lot of open bits. More smaller pieces up top; bigger pieces down below. I have the upper torso and arms, plus head, plus everything she’s holding. And when I say arms, one is done, three to go. Yup. She’s got four. Like you do.

So based on how many pieces are left and how fast I’m tracing, I suspect I’ve got another 8 days of this. Not so exciting to watch on your end, but pretty meditative on mine. I’m OK with that.

This is from the book I’m really enjoying, The House in the Cerulean Sea

Books are nice, especially on rainy days. And sunny days. And windy days and cloudy days. Yup. All the days.

My possibly permanent existence…at least while I’m still teaching.

Friday afternoon’s sky, before the rains started.

The caterpillars are still here, still eating. I bought them more food. Planting seeds for more after that.

Simba does not like the rain. At all. His raincoat seems to help a little.

Mom’s flowers on Sunday night. Did I take pictures of my parents? Nope. Forgot.

Sigh. OK. It’s only a 4-day week. It’s a busy 4-day week, though, so bracing for that. But I have tracing every night and a good book to read and this week is actually planned out. I didn’t quite get all my planning and grading done, but that’s always the case. It’s not supposed to rain much more (although the clouds have rolled in again and my co-teacher sent me a photo of a double rainbow, so maybe we’re not out of it yet…it’s dark as hell to the west and sunny on my left shoulder).

Fully appreciated yesterday’s social-media roll through MLK quotes I hadn’t seen before, the ones challenging the white capitalist take on him and his views. One was from 1967 and could still be used today, sadly. Things have changed but nowhere near enough. As long as people are using ‘woke’ as a bad thing and ‘patriot’ as a good thing (after Jan 6? Really?), there are still some major problems in this country. And the world. Brazil. Talking to you. So we work in small ways to improve those things, best we can, through our relationships with people and through the web and all the other crap. Making art. Reading more books. Listening to more people, different people. Dark clouds rolling in here, y’all…gotta get to work before it turns into more than a cloud.