Conquer All That Shit

Two weeks of Winter Break left, one assignment left to grade, 23 videos left to make (OK, probably more than that, but 23 that I know of…it’s OK; they’re short). A quilt I thought I’d finish in 2020, but won’t, no way. It’s OK; it’ll be the first in 2021. Expectations all year have been massively adjusted; that will continue. Our safe road trip now includes a Winter warning with snow etc. Hmm. Wasn’t expecting that, but we just need to drive through it to the other side. Should be OK. Additional stress I didn’t want or need. Whatever.

Blog Challenge almost over: I seem to have moved past the need to blog every day. For whatever reason, when I’m teaching physically on campus, it works, and it doesn’t work when I’m literally walking from this room into the other room. I can’t explain it. Welcome to my brain. People always want me to explain it, and I just can’t.

Yesterday’s topic: my favorite sewing foot. I can’t tell you how little I think about this. I use two feet on my machine, the regular one you do almost everything with and the open-toe bouncy foot for free-motion quilting.

I have a bunch of feet…

There’s even more underneath that, and I don’t use any of them. I don’t know what they even do. And I probably don’t care. I had a different free-motion quilting foot with the old machine that I liked better than this one, just because it was wider and transparent and I had better control, but I wasn’t patient enough to wait for one to ship to me and I got used to this one. I’m not that fussy, I guess.

Today’s topic is Techniques to Try. Again, there’s really nothing out there that I want to try that I haven’t? I’m not even sure where to start with that. I have some plans for doing some acrylic painting using paint pens? I keep planning to do it and never get around to it, but I’ve painted before and I draw a lot, so I don’t really think of it as a new technique. New Year’s is the time to think of these things, right? The few classes I take are more for the interaction with a different teacher/artist, listening to their way of doing things; I’m interested in their process more than I’m interested in learning their technique, I guess. I like to listen to people talk about how they make stuff.

Back to what we’ve been doing: we did a socially distanced Christmas dinner and present unwrapping. It was a little chilly, but really, it’s Southern California. We don’t have a lot to complain about with weather. My mom, considering something…

It’s been a rough month…my dad fell and is in skilled nursing right now, hopefully recovering well, but because of COVID, we can’t get all the info we want or need. Mom has taken the brunt of it. She’s a tough old lady, though…a little too tough, sometimes. We did FaceTime with dad…

Not sure what to say about that, except brain injuries are hard on everyone involved. Except Calli, the old lady dog. She was fine. And Simba…

Although he did seem overstimulated at one point…there was a lot of that going on…

Girlchild made an awesome dinner…

Plus dessert and appetizers.

Then back home for a relatively quiet evening…

Being watched by Kitten. Yes, I graded on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day and on Boxing Day. I just want it done, dammit. I am taking breaks.

This is right after Luna was shoving her face in that basket, exploring the threads hidden below the bag on top of it.

She’s a little irritated with my saying no.

I got a cool science teacher superhero from the Man for Christmas…

Handmade by a friend of his…

Someday she’ll go back to school with me. For now, she hangs out by the computer.

I did finally do some ironing on this last night…

Fussy little leaves and overlapping shit up there. It’s taking a long time.

I’ll get there eventually. Found one of the two missing finger bones. In the wrong bin. Oh well.

Tomorrow, we are leaving for a few nights away from the work/home place, safely not talking to anyone or interacting with anything but nature and a very clean Airbnb. I’m going a little crazy being stuck here every day all day. You might have noticed. Being here makes me think of everything that needs doing, and then I flail and can’t get any of it done. Typical holiday behavior, somehow worse this year. We’ll do some exploring outside and hiking and quiet time with no TV and no house/yard that need a million things and no school workstation staring me in the face. Read a little, draw a little, find some peace. And then come back and conquer all that shit. Maybe. At least some of it.

Yo, Watch the Way I Navigate*

Conflicting music in the AM. Chaos everywhere. The cookie dough is made and in the freezer, so I can make cookies for the big huge gigantic family party tomorrow. I ate breakfast and showered. I have to drop Amazon book rentals at the UPS store. I’m not done Christmas shopping. At all. I’m now waiting for the call to go Pokemon. A load of laundry is in so I have something to wear tomorrow. Drawing? Geez. Maybe. I was exhausted last night. Crashed. Today is blue skies, everything still damp. (I just ran out of here to turn the sprinklers off for the next week…saving water…and the water bill.) Both kids home, one getting the other into their school library, trying to find some article or book for her essay due Monday. So she’s focused mostly on that, and I’m not allowed to talk about how crazy it makes her. She’ll really be here on the 20th…or sometime the night of the 19th. We’re not sure which.

This time of year is always a little difficult for artmaking…a lot of family obligations jump in the way. I have to learn to take a deep breath and let that happen. Know that I will find time for art somewhere, somewhen.


Dogs trying to get along. They’re not great at it. Puppy is highly energetic again, back to his normal self, bouncing all over the place and trying to eat everything.


Calli is an old lady and has limited patience.

My tree has lights and three ornaments on it. My daughter has taken over the couch. The dogs get the other one.


That’s what essay-writing looks like. My light table is right next to her…that’s where the drawing is. Ugh. Well, it’s not like I know how to finish it right now anyway.


Essay writing takes place everywhere. Puppies are distracting, but appreciated.


Even when they help with the unpacking. The animals love all the attention…


Anyway, today does not belong to me. Neither do Sunday or Monday. I’ll do my best to get some art done, but the reality is that family comes first. I can even ignore the 8 grading assignments I brought home for a few days.

Hope you find time for art in all the other stuff. And if you don’t have family hogging your time, I send you hugs. If you want them.

*Gorillaz, Feel Good Inc.

Family Focus

At Thanksgiving, I had the same issue as I had with Christmas: incredibly busy with family stuff, but still feeling the sadness of depression lurking through every bit of it…but not wanting to post about that, because so many are dealing with (a) happy feelings because of the holidays or (b) probably much worse feelings than mine…I do have my family around me, although they may drive me bonkers at any given moment. I don’t like posting depressoid shit over the holidays, so I preloaded some pictures for easy posts to get me through a couple of days of holiday stuff…and then I was too tired to write on those days (ironic).

But this one is easy enough for the 20 minutes before I have to drag two animals to the vet (fun stuff)…

A few weeks ago, we had our big family party…I’m never very good at these. Although I’ve known most of these people my entire life (or their entire lives, depending on how old they are), I don’t really fit in. The counselor says that’s by choice, but it’s not a conscious choice I ever made. I like them well enough, but their lives and mine are significantly different, even though there are other teachers, other moms, other quilters, even one other artist (although he didn’t come), and we’re all related…anyway, I’m sure the alien feeling is all mine.

This year, it was at my mom’s cousin’s house in San Clemente, which yes, overlooks the ocean. Girlchild had homework to do, so we put her in the gazebo overlooking the ocean, where she apparently got some work done.

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Nice view, eh? I’m not sure I would have gotten anything done.

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The men gather to talk about financials…my brother on the left, my dad on the right.

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I can’t actually confirm what they were talking about…a later conversation I dropped into was about why it’s hard to cook brownies near the ocean.

The good part of the weekend is seeing my brother, his lovely wife, and the three cousins…here’s the middle one…only barely tolerating the camera.

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Here’s the girlchild posing for her senior year photo (not really; we were joking around about props and locations for such photos)…

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She’s not a senior…YET. Here’s the youngest of the crew…

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And my two with the oldest of my brother’s kids, during the present-opening time.

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I have no idea what happened here, but at least they are getting along.

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I spent a lot of time outside (who wouldn’t, with a view like that and a day like that)…

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The boychild actually tolerates his cousins well…I think my niece has been climbing into his lap since she was old enough to climb…

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This may be the last year…she’s 11.

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My SIL manhandled babies. There were lots of them…I found myself with one at one point, because it was crying and I didn’t walk away from it…but I wasn’t persuaded to hold on to it for long…I prefer it when they can talk. This is one of twins born in the summer to my second cousin.

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Most of the second cousins are quite a bit younger than I am…I’m the oldest in that group…hence babies when mine are almost adults.

The boychild managed to be more sociable than I did, which wasn’t hard.

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My niece is growing up…now in middle school…

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Her parents are in some deep shit soon.

This is what it looks like when someone is Snapchatting (in case you don’t know how silly it looks when you’re doing it).

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And here was the sky as we got ready to leave…

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Yes, they got a jumpy house for the kids. No, I didn’t go in. I wasn’t in the mood. It’s OK for me to not be in the mood. Next year will be different…different house, different sky, different babies, different Kathy. Hopefully another jumpy house.

I Made That…

This whole sleeping thing seems to be confusing my brain again. I don’t get tired until super late and then I can’t sleep at night and I can’t sleep in on mornings when I actually could (sleeping in meaning 8 AM) and then I yawn most of the day. That’s not how it should work. Eyelid still twitching. I don’t know if it will ever stop. Last year at the end of the school year, in June 2012, it twitched for over a month…took until about 3 days after I got out of school to stop. Maybe it will be done by Christmas.

I managed exercise (not enough), meditation (brain was barely present), and cutting out fabric (57 minutes)…

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This one was fun. Yes, a spider web…in pieces. None of these pieces are easy to cut…they are all so complicated and fussy. Occupies my brain. Good thing. It was getting irritated by grading tests. Bad scores. My daughter and SIL were grading warmups for me…interesting experience for the SIL, a former teacher in a very different type of school. Maybe she has a better idea of my student population now. She made an interesting comment about holiday bonuses and teachers not getting them…she said, well don’t you get gifts from your students? Um. No. Occasionally. A candy cane sometimes. I’ve gotten mugs, a few picture frames, and a shot glass (yes, seriously), and a scorpion in a keychain. That was way cool. It’s OK. I don’t expect them…it was just funny to me that she thought we all got tons of stuff…she was in a private school in Seattle. Much different group of students.

So tonight I needed to do art stuff. The pile of pieces that are cut out is getting bigger…

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Although it doesn’t feel anywhere close to done…and it’s not, at 5 1/2 hours. I suspect there’s another 6 or so hours to go. I wanted to be further along. I always want to be further along. I’m a little driven. I don’t know why. I mean, yes, there is a deadline and I have to get it and the other quilt done and photographed by a certain date, but it’s more than that. It has been for a long time. It’s worse now, like this is the only thing I have…and it has to mean something after all the shit I’ve been through. There has to be something that I can look at and say, yes, that was worth the time, the effort…because other things I have put that time and effort into? They either have failed or they don’t make me happy. At one time, the art made me happy. I hope it will again. Sooner rather than later.

And the pile of leftover bits is also getting bigger…

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Usually I throw it away every night, but it’s showing me something. Progress. I need to see that at the moment. Everything else is such a crazy mess: the house, Christmas plans, school, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. At least one thing should be easy to look at and see progress.

Today was easier…spent time with the close family, my brother and his crew, parentals, and my own two monsters.

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They don’t make me answer hard questions (much). Girlchild is going to be a mess tomorrow…no cousins, no dad…he flies to the UK tomorrow for two weeks. That will be hard on her more so than the rest of us. Jake will be here, for those who remember his exploits in escaping. We’ll have to see how that goes…hopefully he will curtail his awesome love for me and only jump up on me two or three times a day.

Some family member at the party yesterday gave the two male cousins each one of these…

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Which of course they loved…but we decided that the TSA would NOT love them and so they were handed to me to ship to them with their (obviously going to be late) Christmas presents…which meant that my kids bogarted them as soon as we got home and proceeded to shoot each other all over the house and lost one of the bullets, but we think we can get a 30-pack, plus now I know what Santa is putting in their stockings. It was seriously dangerous around her for a while (they are nerf bullets…no real damage). I think Santa is sending extra bullets to the boys too…at least that’s what he told me.

Although he couldn’t explain this warning sticker on the guns…

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These are Zombie Blasters, by the way. Apparently you shouldn’t shoot them near books. Or books are dangerous. Or you shouldn’t shoot them in libraries. Or if you shoot them, you will be attacked by books. Not sure.

Anyway. It’s a busy week. I will try to hold to exercise, meditation, and art on a daily basis. The thought of having to cook for real every night and schedule around multiple soccer games and juggle everything under the sun with no help is a little daunting, but hell…I’ve been doing it for years. Hence my stress levels. Working on that. It reminds me that I never had the help I really wanted. It wasn’t available. It’s on my list for next time, if there is one. Of course, knowing what you want and actually getting it are two separate things that rarely meet. Everything is so complicated. I think I’d rather just deal with my quilts for now. They’re complicated, but they’re MY complicated. I can handle that. I made that.