I’m Somewhere…

Ah the blur of midweek. Feels significant, but really, there are three full days of kids and seemingly coercing them to continue to work even though Spring has infected their brains. Or something has. Insects maybe. Not sure. Certainly the last two academic assignments I’ve graded seem to be affected by something. Not sure the excessive rain helps. Excessive for us, anyway. Over an inch yesterday. Ah well. Moving on.

I had an opening last night…exhausting day/time for those, but it’s at Grossmont College and the college receptions are always during the week for obvious reasons. I have a really hard time with the Thursday night ones, but Tuesday seemed doable. I made it an hour! Impressive, eh? OK, just under an hour. It’s a good show! You should go see it. It’s at the Hyde Art Gallery on the Grossmont College campus. Walk-ins from 10-4 Mon-Thur. I know! Hours I can’t actually go see the show, so there we are. Sigh.

This is all work by Feminist Image Group artists. It’s very colorful and varied in style and material.

I have two pieces in the show, ironically the same two that were at Liberty Station last year. I had dropped off 5 quilts (he wanted to choose) and had even made a new one for the show. Here’s Beyond the Concrete

Which was made for a show it didn’t get into, and then went to Quilt National.

And You Pollute Me, which has been all over.

It’s OK; I have a show for the other piece. Well, I’ll enter it anyway. It probably won’t get in because it has a dead (Earth) baby and that’s a library show. Sigh. Ah well. And that’s the show I’m currently making a piece for anyway. Probably neither will get in, but they will eventually get in somewhere.

I do have pieces that never get in anywhere. This is one of them…

Connected at the Hips. No one ever accepts it. Ah well. And it has aged out of most entries, I think. I finished it right before COVID hit. That shit happens (the never getting into shows part; not the pandemic part…although that DID happen).

I’ve been good about grading at night AND getting art done. Brain is back to tired but functional instead of tired and NOT functional.

Sunday night, while not sleeping, I decided the main figure should not be flesh-colored because she was like a protective Earth Mother and the people she’s holding need to stand out, so if they’re all flesh-colored and she’s NOT, then that will happen. So I made her light blue. Like you do. I picked out all the fabrics and then spent most of the hour plus on Monday night trying to find all the pieces that were her flesh. Started at 37 and went up into the 300s, I think.

I ironed the first set and then went to bed…and then last night, I ironed the rest of them…plus a bit more.

So I’m somewhere…well, IDK how far I am, because I’m still in the under 100s on some things. All the little figures and then all the stuff on the main figure that wasn’t flesh: heart, lungs, hair, arteries, etc. So more of that tonight. I’m honestly hoping to be done by the weekend. I have goals in my head: finish this one as quickly as possible during Spring Break, finish quilting the Sue Spargo bird quilt that’s been under my machine since January (is that for real?), then start ironing the cyber/bio punk piece together. It’s waiting patiently. Then I have one more big one to finish by mid-July. Insane much? Yeah well. Fuck work. It’s hard. I need the art to keep me sane. Plus I know I’ll be gone for about 6 days in April (camping and hiking, if my body can handle that) and then about 10 days in June/July (Seattle, baby!). So I need to be efficient or something. Back to my old healthyish self. Being sick like that sucks. I feel like I lost three-plus weeks.

In other news, I’m way ahead in my Goodreads reading challenge for the year. I planned for 60 books this year and I’ve already read 20. I’m not sure how I’m being so efficient in reading, but I’m powering through books like a crazy woman. Sign of the year. Need the fantasy worlds to get me through. I stayed home a little later yesterday to finish another one. Also I’m now in TWO book clubs (crazy, right?), so that is motivating me. Also I love to read. So there’s that. My goal for next week? Add the gym back into the mix. I’ve been doing pilates and not a lot else. Body needs more. But the blood sugar issues from the meds they gave me for the scarlet fever have been part of the problem, and the numbers are finally getting better. Which is why I’m feeling better. All good.

I started a new cross stitch from June Bug and Darlin during book club…

Nice and easy. Appreciate that.

Also, here’s a drowned rat er dog.

Not sure why the boychild took him out during the worst of the rain. Certainly Simba also probably wonders that. It was raining so hard yesterday that at the end of one of the classes, they came on the intercom at school and told us to hold kids for a few minutes until it calmed the fuck down. OK, not the words they used, but certainly the sentiment.

OK. Parent meeting today that I think will not go well (not the parent’s fault…the kid…who knows, he might step up). Then forcing one group to write and the other group to think and then write. Labs and simulations tomorrow. Then field trip on Friday (ugh…this one is not my favorite and I have to come back and teach the other group). Looking forward to the weekend, even though the number one thing on my to-do list is my taxes. Hoping to tip the numbers the other way or panic greatly. I could use a check from a piece that sold two years ago any day now. That would be nice (it’s not happening for a while, unfortunately). Ah well. Maybe something else will sell soon. Or my taxes will miraculously figure their shit out. I guess that’s my job. Sigh. Hurts my brain.

Pilates after school, then cook an easy dinner (Wednesday self thanks Sunday self for that plan…although I have nothing for lunch tomorrow and tomorrow night’s dinner is a challenge…a tasty one, but still…). Then maybe grade more stuff and definitely iron more stuff. Get through the pile of little peoples. That’s the plan.

All the Pieces

All the pieces are done, ironed together. I just need to make them fit. Ha! That’s always the issue. I love it when the quilt top is just one giant ironed-together piece with no holes in it, because it’s easier to get onto the background. Pieces like this with a little bit here and a little bit there, and they all have to fit together, which implies I ironed them together really well (ha!)…those are the hardest. I’ve got two big heads (here’s one of them from Friday night)…

Then there’s the head and upper torso of the main figure with the arms, then the lower torso with the rest of the three figures and the body of one of the big heads. They’re all attached in some way. It’ll be a challenge. It’s not a small piece, so doing it on the ironing board won’t work. I finished the Earth last night…

That was the last bit…and I found the missing ‘s’ finally. It was in the box of 1300s, even though it’s a 300. It has aspirations…

In other art news, Coronawood got into Quilts=Art=Quilts, which is cool. And I’ll be part of an artist talk on October 2 at the PHES Gallery in Carlsbad.

Should be interesting…a wide variety of work.

I spent a huge chunk of the weekend working on school, which is funny, because I only just got my nose above water and my mouth sometimes. Meaning 8th grade is planned through next Monday and is a disaster after that. I spent 5 hours on Sunday just dealing with that, and then the other 3-4 hours was grading stuff and posting stuff and trying to make sense of stuff. I brought home 5 things on paper that I didn’t touch, needed grading. I’m taking some of it to my other quilt guild meeting tonight. Valerie Goodwin is talking. I took a class from her last year on Zoom and wanted to hear/see her in person. Also I won’t be at school for two days this week, so hence my panic about school stuff. But I’ll be at SAQA Summit listening to artists talk and then taking a 2-day workshop. I still need to write sub plans.

That whole 5 hours yesterday was on this chair with this cat behind me…

It wasn’t particularly comfortable.

Later we walked the little dog. Not sure why I call him that, since he’s the only dog we have at the moment. I guess I have a wishful big dog.

We only did 2 miles because all of us were tired. The boychild has been gone a lot lately for work, so Simba has been needy. And a shitty sleeper. I’d like to thank the local coyotes for my lack of sleep today. Boychild may be back Wednesday…depends on local fires. He was on one over the weekend, but seems to be off it now. I told Simba; he understood nothing.

We managed dinner out…

So I drew something very basic that I’ve probably drawn some version of about a million times. Which was fine, because at least I was drawing.

This school year, man. I’m hoping I get a better handle on it soon. It’s been shit. I should say the 8th graders are mostly fine. They are a decent group of kids. I just don’t have the curriculum down until like 5 minutes before class. The 7th grade, I’ve taught this curriculum enough times that I’ve got it, but the kids are a challenge…and not all of them. Just a significant enough number of them that it is hard and exhausting and sometimes they behave and sometimes they are shitheads. Because they are kids, yes, but also because of COVID and not being in school and still figuring out how not to be immature and some of them don’t HAVE to behave at home, so why behave at school? Some days are good, most are ok or tolerable, and then some are just shit. And because I end the day with them, it just throws me. And then the curriculum is stupid, the stuff I’m using for 8th grade. Hate Amplify. It’s lame. So repetitive, only one right answer, hardly any hands-on stuff. There are simulations, but it’s not the same thing. The kids need something to put their hands on, to mess with. Hopefully the next unit is better. I guess it’s only as good as I am, and I don’t feel up to it by myself. I don’t have any other curriculum that I can do with them. And I don’t have time to go searching for stuff, or the brain power, because I would have to be able to get the big picture to do that, and I’d need like a 40-hour week of planning to get there.

On top of all this, some messy shit with adults happened last week at school that still is pissing me off. I need to drop it, let it go, but it’s shitty and I can’t get it out of my head. Thank you brain for that.

I did finish one book, read a whole ‘nother book (the Man hates it when I use ‘nother)…

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy…second book in a series, but basically I love anything by Becky Chambers. Reminds me of why I don’t hike the PCT as a thru-hiker.

Anyway. I’m on yet another book now. It feels good to read. I do love to read. And draw. And sleep. I love sleep so much and I suck so bad at it.

Today is chaos. I’m giving assessments to both classes, although 8th probably won’t finish today. 7th will if it kills me (and it might). Staff meeting after school, plus counseling, pick up the parental dog and bring her back, then off to the quilt guild meeting. I’m not sure I can do all that, but I’m going to try. I should eat something in there sometime. I’d like to say I’ll iron when I get home, but odds are that I will just collapse. We’ll see. A girl can hope.

Free the Pins!

Oh my. I’m not even halfway through the week and I feel like a truck hit me…not because of COVID…I’ve been fine except for some residual phlegmy grossness since last Tuesday. And yes, I just taught two days in a row for the first time this school year, but geez. I know I’m getting older, but man oh man. Three more days? It’ll get better…I’m doing labs all week with 8th grade, so that’s a lot of physical movement…a LOT…and then 7th grade is the mental thing…they still don’t know how to do 7th grade science and their behaviors are insanely inappropriate: yesterday was walking out without permission, arguing about observations (I’m right! The teacher can’t be!), throwing oneself across the table (not me, y’all…not me), yelling “he didn’t do anything” when I sent a student outside for a discussion (dude, not talking to you), plus a plethora of minor stuff, stupid noises, yelling out. My co-teacher uses a citizenship points system that I’m implementing just with 7th grade to try to curb some of this crazy. I know it’s because I was out for 6 days, so I will just need to stay the course and be that hardass mixed with personal conversations (had two good ones yesterday with boys who need attention, and yes, they do!) until they start to get it. There’s rules. Disappearing for 25 minutes during class is breaking some big ones.

Sigh. So it’s making it hard to get art stuff done…and I have a bunch of administrative-type stuff I’ve been doing…entering shows, cutting slats, putting on labels. All good, because it means showing my work. It doesn’t mean a lot of progress on the current quilt…but now that I know it won’t make the deadline I was hoping for, it doesn’t really matter if I speed through it. It’s all ready to be ironed together, and hopefully I will start tonight.

As I was doing all that stuff, Kitten knocked down a piece that has been hanging on a board in my studio that is basically hidden by a pile of batting (that Kitten likes to sleep on)…I totally forgot about this piece…

People have been trying to date it based on the fabric…I can tell you it’s probably early 2000s. But the best part is that I never finished the sleeve.

I swear, I have a million sewing pins stuck into an in-progress piece, which is why I keep having to buy more, because I run out. Mind-boggling if you think about it. I should finish that damn sleeve, yeah? Totally. FREE THE PINS!

So that night, nothing but admin. Last night, I graded late…trying to stay on top of things. But then I remembered that I had scanned some photos for a 9/1 deadline for a coloring book one of my art groups is doing, but I needed to clean them up. So I spent an hour doing that (stayed up later than I should have, probably not helping with the exhausted feeling this morning, but I wasn’t watching the clock).

Kitten is entirely unhelpful. She had her head on the keyboard at one point. Even now, her tail is whacking up and down in front of the screen. Anyway, drawings are done and emailed. Woohoo!

I did finish sorting all the pieces on Monday night too…it only took another 10 minutes…I was sure it would be longer. So here’s the whole quilt…

Doesn’t look like much right now. Hopefully it will look better in a week, although it’s supposed to be like 106 degrees this weekend, so I’m not sure how much ironing I’ll be doing. I’m just hoping they fix the A/C at school. Rumor has it they have the parts and they’ll be installed this morning, just in time for the beginning of the heat wave. Woohoo! Gonna need that.

Growing mushrooms at school…my co-teacher and I are trying to do a fun/tutoring thing with science after school once a week.

Hopefully will be successful pizza in a few weeks.

Here’s my first compost tomato (that wasn’t stolen by wildlife)…

Are cherry tomatoes just immature tomatoes? Or are they a different subspecies of tomato? Is this a cherry tomato? I just don’t know. It is awfully cute though.

Yeah. Did that. With a bang.

Now I’d like to move on to surviving the rest of the week. Or even today. Pilates after school. Then finish packing this quilt up so I can start ironing in the hottest time of the year. Woo! No really, I love the ironing-together part of quiltmaking, because it’s the first time I see all the fabrics together the way they are in my head. Really love it. First, though, finish this tea. Need more. Then get outta here.

Ruh Roh

So today is my first day back at school with kids…my room isn’t totally ready, I don’t have all the materials for a lab I’m apparently doing tomorrow (I feel like I should be more on top of this shit), and the Man tested positive for COVID on Monday. I’m still testing negative, but woke up with what feels like a stuffy nose? I’m writing sub plans in my head for the next 5 days (well, 3, because I don’t have to teach on the weekend, thank god), and it’s a cluster because it’s those first few days when everything is more hands on, supposed to teach them how to exist in my class, and who knows who might BE in my class if (when?) I test positive. I masked all day yesterday, will continue that. But I feel like I’m a giant-ass redwood about to fall, but not yet, maybe today? Maybe tomorrow? I just don’t know. Do I plan the labs and hope I don’t come back to my room being burnt down? I just don’t know. I’m not even done setting up our online classrooms because I just haven’t had time. The district sucking away that Friday planning time really…well…sucked. Yeah! I’m feeling better right now with a shower and a cup of tea in me, my sinuses have cleared, but my voice is off. Hell, I feel off, but that could all be in my head…I’ve done that before. Or my body is fighting it and let’s hope my immune system, two vaccine shots, and two boosters are all stronger than one variant. Ha!

Just stay away from me right now. For so many reasons. I have had a stuffy nose multiple days this summer…allergies related to weather and/or dust. So who knows.

I finished proofreading last night. That’s a good thing. It was kind of a mess. But it’s done. The mess was not because of me…I blame the copyeditor. But hey, IDK what she started with.

I’m still ironing, but pretty damn slowly. I might need to admit that I’m not going to beat that deadline. It’s OK. I have other pieces to enter, and this one will still get done. There’s just something about an insane deadline.

Piles of pieces in the 600s, 700s, and 900s…last night, all I ironed down was the cat. Hardly anything.

I think I did 16 minutes on Monday night and 26 minutes last night. Big time! Better than nothing. It is what it is. Even if what it is is frustrating.

Not a lot of color in this one. Well maybe there is, but it’s all chaotic-looking here. Lots of fleshy bits. I’m still ironing that pile of lungs/heart/whatever. So far behind.

Kitten is still depositing fur on the black fabrics in that box…

I have a piece in this upcoming show.

And another show in September in Liberty Station. I’ll post that one when I get a thingie for it.

OK. Well, I’m going to go do this first-day thing and hope for the best. It’s humid, I’m sweaty, I have meds for a stuffy nose, I have COVID tests (sorry kids, Imma test right now while you’re writing on that paper), I’m going to write sub plans during prep? I think? I honestly don’t know what to do. Right now, I’m going to print my class rosters and get to school and hopefully everything else will make sense from here on out. Wish me luck. Send the anti-COVID thoughts.

Stop Thinking for a While…

Hello vacation! Or break! Or NO ZOOM ZONE. Whatever you wanna call it, this teacher is on it for three weeks. Don’t get too excited. You should see my to-grade list for that time period…it’s massive. I’m hoping to bang through it quickly though. Although it includes 5 large art assignments. WTF was I thinking? Nothing. No, I was thinking that if they didn’t finish before break, they would throw them away, and no one would have them. So there we are. Anyway, wish me luck on that. I’d like to have everything planned for January (except art, because I need to wait for the other teacher to do some stuff) and graded by Christmas Eve. Could be impossible. We’ll see.

I’m stressed, I need sleep, I need to not be on Zoom a million hours a day. I need exercise and books and sewing and drawing and relaxing. We’re halfway through the longest school year I’ve ever experienced, and it will take everything I have in me to get through the next half. Sure, there’s a few 3-day weekends in there and 2 weeks of Spring Break, but mostly it’s a hellaciously long stretch of ugh. Meanwhile, my neighbors aren’t social distancing for shit, because they are young and apparently can’t get sick or die or get their relatives sick or anything. I don’t even know what to think about that. I think about every interaction I have, every time I leave the house, everything I do that is outside of here. And I’m paranoid as shit about it. Maybe it’s being high risk? Or just naturally paranoid? Anyway. They’re fucking nuts.

So the topic for today is “If I could sew with…”. Hmmm. Is this a person? If so, I want to sew with Queen Elizabeth. I know she learned how. And I’d like to talk to her and meet her dogs. And then I want to sew with Sue Spargo, just to see how her mind works; she’s incredibly creative. And then maybe the BadAssCrossStitch woman, Shannon, just because she sounds interesting and is trying to create community with stitching. Honestly, anyone who’s ever stitched the word “fuck” on fabric…I wanna have a big stitchalong with them. And then I’d like to stitch with about a million of the stitchers I follow on Instagram, because some of them have such interesting and different styles from what I do…I wanna watch them and try to do it that way and maybe just talk to them about birds and cats and pine needles. Or whatever.

Now the other way to look at this is “If I could sew with…” metal. Are we talking materials here? I have done a tiny bit of metal stitching, not the metallic thread, because that is always a pain in the ass, but the twisty stuff, damn, what’s it called, purl? AKA French bullion wire (because it looks like a bullion knot, but wire, not thread). I also have some metal mesh I always wanted to use. There isn’t much stopping me from using metal, but time and ideas…I got close when I stitched on window screen to make my COVID mask.

Not quite metal. Maybe just stitching with different things. Experiment more. In my spare time. Some day, I will have spare time that is not eaten up by grading 17 assignments in a week, and I will have more time to spend on experimentation. Or not.

It’s highly possible I should have looked at the list of blog topics before I signed up to do this. Speaking of, it’s the first day of Winter Break! I like to do a drawing a day over Winter Break. Shall I? Can I? Do I have the fortitude? I have the last two years. Hmmm. Gaming tonight…it’s possible to draw and game.

Meanwhile, I’ve been cutting tiny pieces out…I made it through all of the flesh last night…

I did a lot of it in a stitching meeting, totally exhausted.

Made it into the sky. I’m hoping to be done by Sunday so I can start ironing it together. We’ll see how it goes.

You gotta love your job a lot to answer an email like this…although the suggested answers are pretty valid.

I didn’t use one of them. I wanted to.

Remember back in November when we went up to 29 Palms to help construct that labyrinth? Well here’s a drone view of it…

Linda did an awesome job setting this up and building most of it. So cool.

Got some more artsy shit coming up over break too…mostly looking at other people’s art, but as artists, we need that connection to other people’s work.

But for now, find a sketchbook and a pen for drawing while gaming, plus probably need to see if I can grade a few things, and I need to find some supplies for these classes I’m taking in January, ironically need plastic bags, just the words off them, but I don’t have a lot of plastic because I don’t use it unless I really have to, plus some stabilizer I don’t use either. Maybe mom has some? Who knows. It feels a little lighter having no required work for three weeks…hopefully by the end of next week, it will be a lot lighter. Unlike the summer, I know mostly what the next 6 months of school look like…painful but doable. Summer was so stressful because we knew nothing at all. This is just stress that I know about.

OK. Find sketchbook. Stop thinking for a while.

Out in the Wind

So I spent this weekend in 29 Palms helping to install a labyrinth our fearless leader Linda Litteral has been working on for months. Our ex-fearless leader, Anna Stump, has started an artists’ residency out there on a property she’s been cleaning up for a while. The landscape speaks to you, whether you want it to or not. This is all part of the art group Feminist Image Group that I’ve belonged to for about 7 or 8 years, when I was looking for somewhere to show my work that didn’t write me off as a porn artist (the quilt shows, because of the nudity) or a crafter (the art shows, because of the quilts). It’s a supportive and accepting group that is growing every year. The pandemic might have slowed our exhibitions down a bit (there’s one still trapped in the downtown library), but we are all still making in one way or another.

I have about a million photos to process and no real time for it this morning, so this smidgeon will have to do. A 3-hour drive up and back, my first In ‘N Out since March? February? No seats in the house.

It’s OK. You’re supposed to eat it in the car.

We stayed in a quirky barely-more-than-one-room AirBnb about 3 miles from the dairy.

It was a funky place, probably one of the cabins originally built so you could get a free 5 acres.

Concrete floors, painted…

Well a little bit…

Headed out earlyish the next morning to haul rocks…

Literally drove out a ways, opened up the back of the car, picked up rocks, drove them back to the labyrinth where Linda placed them. This is where I heard they had called Biden/Harris for the win. There was some yelling! A miracle? Not really. So many people still OK with Trump-level hatred and behavior. I’m not OK with it. And this isn’t a solve…we can’t go back to standard Democrat government…because it didn’t solve a lot of the issues in schools, in communities, for people of color, for immigrants. We need to work on this country…and I don’t know how to get people to see that only focusing on your fear of different or of losing “what you have” is not a healthy way to live. But let’s hope we can move forward…I don’t have a lot of faith in the far right, the group that promotes white supremacy and shooting people and Let’s Make America White Again. It didn’t start out that way, y’all. And we aren’t special enough for it to go that way. And damn, the environment, people’s rights…ALL people. Shee-it, it’s gonna take some time to fix some of the last 4 years of crazy. And for people to find the love for their species. All that went through my head in the middle of this labyrinth.

We had a tour of the place, and by then, the wind had picked up and it was hard to be out there. I was expecting more work, but there were a goodly number of us and it went quickly.

The man wanted to hike up in Joshua Tree, but got up there and encountered hail and rain, and was warned of snow (it never rained on us, OK, maybe a few drops in the afternoon), so he gave up, came and got me, and we watched bad and OK movies while I drew…I finished this one from earlier in the week.

There’s the rocks! IDK what is going on with the tree, but her face is good. Sometimes I just draw.

We debated venturing out into the cold, still a bit windy, to make a fire, and decided to stay warm.

The next morning, I was out at the dairy earlyish again for the dedication of the labyrinth. We had a video guy out there with a drone and he recorded us walking it a few times.

We also recorded our artist statements for our particular pieces in the labyrinth…

There’s mine, officially untitled. Then they recorded us again inside, because the wind had really picked up and I suspect some of us are hard to hear.

I have loads more photos and will get them on the FIG blog hopefully later this week.

And the video, whenever it’s done. I can’t say I love the desert, but it is fascinating. And we keep coming out to Joshua Tree and having weather issues. The last was hot (in February)…this was the opposite. The wonder of a land that is so harsh and beautiful.

Long drive back, I’m so exhausted now, I can’t even tell you. But it was worth it to see the piece in person and help put it together. The animals were glad to see us. Nova is hiding here.

“You can’t see me.” Hmmm. Kitty butt. Oh yeah, and I drew this on Saturday.

I actually have a way I want to redraw this…we’ll see if it works.

This week is a weird one. We get Veteran’s Day on Wednesday off, which fucks up schedules for the kids…some of them have two days of instruction and some have three, so I have to do something that will help the group that gets more, but not harm the ones who don’t. I did some school planning in 29 Palms…had to…grades were mostly done (they’re due tomorrow), but I hadn’t planned much. I don’t feel ready to start teaching in an hour and 18 minutes, but it’s not like that’s gonna go away. I’ll get it done. Hopefully. I am totally exhausted. Went to bed early last night but didn’t sleep well. My body is tired, my brain even more so. Somehow by tomorrow, I’ll have to get my head around planning the next week of school…not even sure how. I don’t feel good about this year, I’m having a hard time making sure the kids are connecting with the curriculum, the assignments…I know a goodly chunk of them are connecting with me, because of emails and chats in Zoom, but it’s so hard not seeing them. Plus I feel like I’m talking to myself half the time. Trying to get them to answer on Zoom is like pulling teeth.

Well, I get a flu shot today, finally…couldn’t get in before now. My left eye is twitching…not a good sign. I need to pack up two quilts for a local show and another to ship it out of here. Got paid for it and am happy to send her to a new home…just need to get the slats and a box, I think. Yikes. Then hopefully draw the second iteration of the second drawing above, and maybe start making something. Kinda driving me crazy not having that to go to in the evening. My fault for not being able to make a decision. So on with it!

Everything Changes

My computer is trying to download a video from iCloud that I need for my Patreon. I tried to do it last night, and nothing was showing up. At first, the computer said it would take two hours (for a 90-second video) and now it’s down to 2 minutes. Wildly inaccurate, if you ask me. But it’s where I’m at…not believing the technology. Seriously, I’m still looking at the weather app for this week, going into October, with temperatures of 104-105 degrees for the next few days. Ugh. I’m gonna die here in the no-A/C. I’d like the app to be wrong, but I’m sure it’s not. And I know the download speeds vary for the internet, mostly because my internet is a cranky bastard (I was gonna write bitch, but no…let’s not land all the bad shit on women…we get enough of it as it is)…yesterday, it kicked me out, or Zoom kicked me out of class 4 times in one 45-minute period. I suspect today will be the same. When it’s warm, it’s worse. Hopefully not, since I’m doing a demo today. Boychild and I set up stream tables in the living room (you know, like you do) and tested them.

The animals were fascinated. What’s really fun is the sand needs to be wet to do this, and it’s supposed to be hot as hell today, and I’m not just doing it today because all the schedules changed, so it needs to stay set up until after I teach on Thursday. Ah. Well. Life is interesting. The cats want to be in it. After today, I’ll move the trays outside until Thursday, although we’ll have to cover them out there as well…don’t need to make a bug nest or some intriguing place for a skunk to poop. Who knows what will happen with them.

I do have a prep period in between the two classes today, and I start with my smallest class…I’m more worried about the huge class on Thursday with a bunch of special-needs kids. It’ll be fine. I’m sure.

Here’s the temperatures…should keep the sand drying out (not what I want, unfortunately)…

So yesterday was like the first day of school again, except now I have three grade levels and three class preps and 40 more kids than I had last week. But I’m not in the classroom. Pros and cons. Today all my peeps go back with actual kids and we’re taking bets (not really) on how long it takes to shut school down with the first case of COVID. They’re in cohorts, so one will go home at a time, but you still know it’s going to happen.

At the end of the day yesterday, after managing a bunch of stuff I wasn’t ready for and also wasn’t completely comfortable with (ah, what’s new, 2020?), I rested briefly.

This space is over-crowded at the moment…and I need to figure that out, but right after that picture, we were setting up the stream tables and then I was running around watering, folding my laundry, making dinner, setting up the slides for today’s teaching, trying to figure out how the fuck far I can get in the lesson in an HOUR. Ugh. An HOUR. Too long. I’m hoping to get them to a certain point and then push them off to finish on their own, but yesterday, they were leaving when I said, hey, this thing needs to be done, and then it wasn’t. Sigh. So conversations need to happen today.

In good news, I think I said this before, but the quilt I haven’t been able to touch in a week (or more?) is tentatively sold. A deposit is on its way with a signed agreement, and as soon as I can get the two things off my shoulders that I need to finish this week, I’ll be finishing that one up.

She’s still in this stage. Not much ironing left…and then stitch down and quilt. Close to the end. Then I need to make some smaller ones.

First, though, I needed to finish this…

There were some very tense moments when she tried to collapse, but I have a strut inside right now that hopefully will help. Also, hopefully, she doesn’t explode in the kiln. I’ve tried to be really good about air spaces and all that. But you never know. Worst case, her parts will be by the side of the labyrinth we’re building.

It’ll be better if she’s whole though.

OK, well now I just need to figure out how to get her to our amazing ceramics person and her kiln before her deadline. I think I’ll need an assist on that. Then onto the fabric piece for SJSA, and then I can get back to the one on the ironing board. Which is sold! Good thing…money is tight right now. Not getting paid all summer is hard.

OK, survive today…only three classes instead of all six. Time to prep for next week, hopefully, or even beyond. Teaching art is still difficult for me (after the first day!). It’s not the same as in person…it’s really hard. Plus I don’t know the program we’re using very well, or any other programs, and there’s the matter of getting kids supplies when they can’t come in or won’t come in, for whatever reason, and what supplies actually exist and how to grade this shit anyway (I really don’t remember what I did a million years ago). It’s a lot of mental energy that I don’t have at the moment. No exercise in the last two days either, and it’s going to be hot as hell today, so that will make it hard. Hoping for a walk, if merely to clear the brain. Everything changes. We adapt, we adjust, and then it changes again. It’s a rough year for everyone…but teaching has been incredibly difficult. I’m not having fun right now, and I hope that changes…it has in the past few weeks been fun again sometimes, but right now…ugh. Nope. Not.

Everything Under the Sun

I try not to be the person who counts days from this to that, although I have a Countdown app that always has the holidays in it, the week off for Thanksgiving, three weeks for Winter Break (I know, lucky!), two weeks for Spring Break, eight weeks (unpaid those) for Summer. And then the trips…last year was the Arizona/Utah National Parks in Spring, a couple of winery trips (one right before everything shut down in March), a trip to Portland and another to Joshua Tree National Park. All good. But right now, the numbers in my head are how many days to the election? How many days I’ve been mostly stuck at home (it’s a lot, over 6 months, just like the rest of you)? And the big one, how many days until I can go back to school? It’ll be at least 365 more, I think. That’s the hard thing to contemplate. Up to now, I’ve had a teacher team to plan with, dealing with the same kids, the same schedules, the same curriculum. As of Monday, I have none of that. Or very little. I’ve felt incredibly isolated as it is, but this is throwing me. It’s OK…I’ll get through it. I’ll survive it. I have a job. I’m mostly competent at it. There’s too much right now and I’m so fucking sick of 15-hour days focused on school school school, but I will eventually either get a handle on that time suck or I will quit and copyedit full time while selling one loaf of sourdough bread a week, because that’s all I can manage to make. It’s hard to say how close I am to that moment. I’ll let you know.

So the artmaking is sporadic and I have to fight for that time and yesterday I was told I should be watching education-related videos WHILE I am making art, because that’s time I could spend on school stuff that I’m not. Eye-opening. And don’t think I haven’t considered it. But I’m already in a half state of crying on a daily basis, and I think that might push me over the edge.

This shit sucks, y’all.

And then I wake up this morning, not really sure what I’m teaching today. I’m sure it’s on a calendar or a post somewhere; I just didn’t review it yesterday like I usually do because I couldn’t. And I checked my email, and Bigger in the Outside was accepted into Excellence in Fibers VI

She’ll also be at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad after this weekend with two other pieces of mine. The Excellence in Fibers show was supposed to have a corresponding museum exhibit, but that’s postponed until we don’t know when…if ever. Like many things this year. I guess the acceptances motivate me to make more? They don’t actually at the moment. It’s more a matter of where to put my brain that ISN’T school. Making bread is just as useful a place. Maybe. I don’t know. I know I’m not getting any peace out of artmaking right now, but then, maybe I never did. It’s meditative, and maybe without it, I’d be jumping out the window and running as far and fast as I could. We just don’t know. Because I haven’t stopped making it.

The SJSA Remembrance block is still in progress…I traced it on Wonder Under a few nights ago…it only has 116 pieces, so it’s not horrendous. And then I started cutting them apart one night, Tuesday? And didn’t finish.

Last night was my now-biweekly stitching Zoom, so I quick cut the rest apart, and then after the Zoom call, started ironing them to fabric. It’s not ideal, because I still have the last 80 or so pieces from the COVID Daughter piece on my table, and it’s precariously on my ironing board, waiting for me to come back to it (I want to!), but I got about half the pieces ironed down to fabric.

I quit when I got to the flesh, because I knew I was tired and couldn’t handle it. And I also knew I needed to do schoolwork. Yes, I took a break from about 6-10 PM…and then went back to work. I did also make a trip to Home Depot for new roller blinds to block the AM sun from my work spot and to pick up and drop off stuff at school after hours. I saw two people and waved. That was all.

Anyway, I’ll finish ironing the pieces down sometime in the next 24 hours and then cut them out…I might actually do some of that during gaming tonight. It needs to be done by 10/3.

I’m still working on the clay vessel for the labyrinth…

If I do a little each night, it hardens enough by the next night to support the next few inches.

So after the Wonder Under was done last night, I pulled this out and got a few inches higher.

I’m not going to be able to go high enough to put a full torso in, but that’s OK. I was trying to fall asleep last night (ha! What a fucking joke) and my brain told me how to finish the top, wherever it is.

Here’s my fat cat odalisque.

I want to be more like her.

And the girlchild has been gone for almost three months now, but we are still finding remnants of her cooking experiments…

I obviously don’t clean anywhere near enough.

OK. It’s the Friday before everything switches again and I gain 40 students and two more preps and two more grade levels and minimal support from anywhere, whatever, and grades are due Sunday and I was grading last night at midnight, fuck this job and COVID and the stupid government for not doing its job and stupid people for not wearing masks and staying away from each other and I need to get some exercise this weekend, maybe even this afternoon, plus get everything under the sun done that needs to be done and maybe a little less of the crying stuff because I can’t see to type or grade shit when I’m doing that. Peace out y’all. It’ll be different in a few days.

Send Cookie Thoughts

Hey y’all. I missed writing yesterday. My brain was on GRADE GRADE GRADE mode. It’s been there for 4 or 5 days and I’ve missed some things I should have been paying closer attention to. This school year just sucks. Usually, about now, the school year is calming down, we’re finding a routine, and stuff is getting under control. I’m sure you know the end of that story in 2020. Fuck all that, we’re back in, starting over, fuck the routine, and fuck calm.

Saturday, I ignored school. Mostly. I did a bunch of other stuff, including some art projects I just needed the impetus to get started, so I could then do a little each night. One was the clay piece for our FIG labyrinth…

I used to do ceramics in school and then for a bit after, but I think before the divorce? Or maybe just after? It was hard to find a studio and the time, so it just didn’t happen. Anyway, on Saturday, a super dry and hot day, I started finally. Sliced into the clay, started trying to roll coils and stick them together.

It was much easier Sunday night. I had something started, my hands were remembering how, and it wasn’t as dry out.

I have this clay tool I love, I remember loving it, but I can’t find it. It’s here somewhere, in this house.

She can’t be very tall, so it hopefully won’t take me long. That said, I didn’t work on her at all last night. Last night was kind of a clusterfuck.

The other thing I started was my SJSA Remembrance block, for Nicholas Bils.

I traced his face, and then went and got it enlarged about 150%. Then added it to a larger background.

And then added stuff in the background: his name, his dog, a river (for his dog, whose name was either River or Rio, and because he lived on the water).

And then last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under…

And get that done.

I have fabric for the shirt, but it needs to be dyed. Not sure if I can pull that off this week, so I might change my mind about it. We’ll see. Time is at a premium. Not my choice.

We walked around Lake Murray Saturday night…

It’s too peoply too, but manageable.

It was dusky.

Saturday night stitching was brainless.

Sue Spargo’s Homegrown March blocks. All I can handle is stitching it down.

I only have one done of the four. Don’t get excited.

Sunday, I had an appointment to go to Visions Art Museum to see Judith Content’s amazing work…always better in person.

It’s totally worth it and hopefully won’t close down today.

I was also introduced to Melody Money, whose work I haven’t see before.

She’s got some handwork on there.

Fascinating stuff.

Lots of details…

You should totally go see both these shows.

They’ll be there until January, so even if we shut down museums today, they’ll open back up eventually.

Fun stuff.

Very joyful.

Here’s where I’ve been grading…

Notice the cat? Yeah. It’s a crowded space when I’m doing everything.

Work sucks. I’m freaked out by everything. Everything is overwhelming. Staff meetings make my brains melt. Kid demands made me cry last night. I can’t do more than I am. Yesterday, I walked for 3+ miles to get it out of my head.

I only took the little dog. The big dog is too old for that far. So she was sad, and he was tired. But I needed it.

With that, Happy Tuesday. Love you all. Well, except for the non-mask-wearers. I don’t love you right now. And send cookies. But I’m fussy about them. So don’t really send them. Send cookie thoughts.


This is quick. I need to leave. Oh wait. I really need to leave. Never mind. I’m bringing it with me. Openings that are only 14 hours apart. Hence my headache. No wine at the last one. Nothing but coffee and yogurt at this one. Ouch.

So this is from last night’s opening of That’s What She Said…Artists Speak Out, at the Martha Pace Swift Gallery in Liberty Station. This is a Feminist Image Group (FIG) show and is up until January. There’s an opening every first Friday that I’m going to try to be at, so plenty of time to see this show.

I have two pieces in the show…this is All Stacked Up in My Head…

At some point, I’ll get an official post up for this one…not sure when.

I came home late and graded and went to bed, got up this morning and drove to another opening…Metamorphosis. This is Allied Craftsmen, another group I’m in, with the Mingei Museum, which is currently under construction, so the show is at the San Diego City College Art Gallery until December. This is the member preview…the real opening is Thursday from 5-7 PM. I’ll be there too.

My piece is way down on that wall.

I’m staring to lose track of where everything is. That’s Womanscape.

I also found out yesterday that Swallow Me Whole won 1st place in the Surface Design Association show Beyond the Surface…so that’s cool.

Meanwhile I need to grade like crazy today, hopefully engage in some actual art making time, and go watch the man perform. Exhausted already. Plus still have a sick kitty. It’ll be fine.