The Good Meditative Stuff.

It’s my first day of nine days off of school. There’s about 40 hours of grading in there, but let’s ignore that for now, eh? Honestly, all I really want to do at the moment is avoid human interactions. People. Anything needy. Well, except for kittens. Kittens are needy but fun, so I’ll deal with them. And I can deal with a few people. OK, maybe one. At a time. But not before 9 AM. So far today, I’ve done a pilates class (actually talked to three different humans. Maybe four. No, five. But most of it was short and sweet. Take my package. I had knee surgery. My name is Kathy.). I need to go sign all my paperwork for the loan to put solar in. That’s exciting. I will probably need to speak to one person for that. I need to buy milk. No need for speech, y’all. There should be an introvert line at the grocery store. No Need to Ask Me If I Found Everything OK. Seriously. Don’t speak. Yes, there’s self-service in some of the stores, but I’m aware of that taking away people’s jobs, so although I personally prefer the self checkout, sigh. Please just don’t make them talk to me.

After signing papers, I have hours of alone time with my grading and my ironing. Gonna do both. Might have to talk to people tonight. Or not. Maybe not. I just don’t know. I’m OK with not.

So I finished Figure 2 last night…and all the bits in and around her. I’m ready for Figure 3 this afternoon.

Then Figure 4 on Sunday, start cutting out. Be done by Tuesday? Night? Then start ironing together. I’d really like it all ironed together by the time I go to Lake Arrowhead on Friday. Sigh. Then I can draw the next one while I’m in Arrowhead. Get it ready. Because time…it flies. Erratically, yes, but flies.

My right eyelid is still twitching from last week. And people. People are making it twitch.

Sometimes I’m OK with people. I worked on this on Thursday night at my stitching meeting…started the lion…

And finished the tree…

This is Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails 2015 Block of the Month. Yeah. I’m slow. This is September’s blocks. I’m getting closer to done. There were three people there. They were fine.

You’re always getting closer to done if you keep working.

I spent some time with kittens and my book this morning…my toes are fascinating.

Then again, everything is fascinating when you are a kitten.

They love to play…

It’s hard to get good pictures because they are always moving. We are still mulling over names. This is hard.

How do we climb the curtains?

Devious little beasties.

They met Simba. There was fear and confusion all around. A little bit of hissing…

Hopefully they will all get along.

OK, off to the bank. Then back here to grade and iron. It sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, minus the grading, but let’s just understand that it has to happen. I’ll fit in the good meditative stuff around it. Make that eye twitch go away.

It Either Will, or It Won’t…

It’s been a rough week. Yesterday…had ups and downs…ups that remind you of how it can be. We did the cover page for Unit 2. We kinda know each other now, more than before. The kids drew, and I rolled my chair around to work with every table, stealing a colored pencil everywhere I went. I started up front, with the kids who don’t do anything or are off task or just plain don’t understand, but I made sure to make it to the back tables too. They’re all seated by their homework grades at the minute. It means some days I want to kill the front tables, but then I look back, and there they are, all the kids who work their butts off, working their butts off, staring up at me. Yeah. I’m good. And honestly, checking in with some of the knuckleheads was good too. I still have this one boy’s look in my head. For the warmup, I stole something from my co-teacher…”I wish my teacher knew…” and he had written about how nervous he is all the time. And he’s this big adult-looking kid who’s always either half asleep or something, and he’s got this sad look on his face, and now I worry even more, because how do I fix that? I don’t. I work with it. Aargh.

One way I know this year has been a rough start is that I never finished coloring my Unit 1 cover page. I’ve never NOT finished. Ever. So I was gonna finish Unit 2…and I did.

OK. There were a million other things I could have been doing in the classroom, but honestly, sitting with the kids and coloring with them was the best thing…both for me and for the group and for the individual kids. It was good. Plus in 8th period, this kid is showing me his drawing from across the room, and I’m trying to figure out WTF it is and I think it’s toes, and I’m trying to figure out what toes has to do with chemical reactions, and he’s a super needy kid and has this look on his face and I just lost it. Laughing so hard I’m crying. It’s OK, he didn’t mind, and I gave him a side hug and said thanks for the laugh, you might pick up some extra credit off that. My god it was awful. Still chortling on that one.

Satchemo is still with us, but he won’t eat. The hardest part of owning pets is knowing when they’re done…when there’s nothing else we can do.

Especially when there’s no warning.

I spent some time with my stitching friends last night…I took something easy and brainless to work on. It’s what I needed.

This is Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails block-of-the-month from 2015. It’s the third quilt of hers I’ve done. They are a nice filler for me. I don’t have to create anything or think about it. I just follow someone else’s instructions and do it and it’s relaxing and not stressful. I haven’t gotten much done on this all year because of all the embroidery patterns, so it’s nice to get back to it. It’s slow. But that’s OK.

I came back from stitching, entered a show, made food for the opening tonight…oh yeah, there’s an opening tonight in Liberty Station. I’ll be exhausted, but I’ll be there. And I have an opening tomorrow too. It’s going to be an interesting few days. So many things to do…so little time. Tonight is What She Said…Artists Speak Out, in Liberty Station, located behind the Solare restaurant, the Martha Pace Swift Gallery, from 5-8 PM. I have two quilts in that. And then tomorrow is the Mingei/Allied Craftsmen show Metamorphosis at City College Art Gallery. I have one big quilt in that. The Mingei is under construction at the moment, so they’re doing stuff in other places.

Then I sat and cut for an hour and a half. It doesn’t look like much…the pile on the left is done.

The stuff on the right still needs to be cut out. I honestly don’t know when I’ll be doing that. The man has a show Saturday night. I have a hundred things to grade. Well. Technically, way more than that due to the shitload of students I have. Woo! Love it. Ugh. Seriously, this weekend hurts to think about. Openings are cool, but when I’m stressed like this and just want to get work done, it’s hard to do what feels like wasting time. I’m considering taking a chair and stuff to cut out tonight. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. I’ll be sleeping in on Sunday. Trying not to think about the cat or the workload or how it will all get done. It either will or it won’t.

Making Up a Title…

Well here’s an interesting commentary on recycling and the current government…my fees went up because we can’t send stuff to China (I’m actually OK with not sending it out of the US…it’s one of the things I think should stay here so we can stop shoving it under the carpet), but my trash company won’t even take all our recycling because they’re missing the machinery to actually recycle it, so there’s that, and what are they actually doing with the extra money and recycling? There’s no information about that at all…just we have to offset these expenses that we aren’t going to explain to you. I’m still trying to figure out how the current government helps me financially (it doesn’t), but I’d really like to solve the recycling issue here in this country. That would be nice.

It was a busy weekend. That’s why I didn’t write either day. I bought background fabrics the previous weekend but didn’t get that far until Saturday…I ended up picking the second one from the top.

I just leave this stack here and pick from it for background or backing.

Friday night, I finished cutting out the Wonder Under and then sorted it…

It didn’t take long…

This was Saturday morning, trying to organize my brain.

Sunday morning looked similar, but I think there was a different cat, plus a different page in the journal. It’s cleaner at the moment. It won’t stay that way.

One of Saturday’s jobs was to sort all this and put it away.

If I don’t clean the studio in between each quilt, I can’t think straight. Sorted by color for easy storage.

I was video messaging a friend by now who moved away…here’s my set up for the newest quilt.

It’s harder to concentrate on picking fabrics when I’m talking to someone. I’m really slow.

But I got some done.

Saturday night, we went to the Adams Avenue Street Fair, hung out, watched some bands, mostly Buck-O-Nine, which was fun except for all the dumb rude people.

Yeah that.

Late night gecko encounter…

Kitten was excited.

Sunday was a million more things to do, including a pile of grading and seating charts…finally stitched a bit with dinner…

Haven’t worked on this for ages. It’s very meditative.

But I needed to do actual art…so I ironed for a while…

I haven’t gotten very far…most of the 0-100s box and some of the 100s box. Need to figure out the rest of the ocean…

Sleepy puppy waiting for me to pet him…

Or for the boychild to let him in. Boychild broke his toe, so he won’t be hiking with me this week. I’ll survive. But it sucks for him.

OK, off to work. I’ve got shit to do this morning. As always.

Everything Takes a Lot Longer…

I had two weekday mornings to sleep in, and now I’m up early again. Ah school. Yes. I’m coming. Apparently parking will be an issue, so I’m debating getting a Lyft…what are the odds that they can find my house? Hmmm. Who knows.

I remember this about summer…everything takes a lot longer than you think it will. Here’s the pluses: I have everything I need to fix the sink area. I also learned how to use a tile saw. I hate saws. They scare the crap out of me. I’m pretty convinced I’m going to cut off my hand every time I use one. But I did it anyway. Progress! Home Depot twice in one day! Now that’s summer. Some day I’ll find the money, time, and energy to do the carpet in the rest of the house…that’ll be a crazy summer. Or remodel the kitchen! Need a lottery ticket on that one.

Anyway, I did manage some artsy stuff as well. I think I spent close to 5 hours writing a blogpost about the art and poetry exhibit one of my art groups, Feminist Image Group (FIG), had back in December. Precisely why did I take so long to even start it? Because I knew it would take a long time. You can read it here. There’s finding all the photos and resizing them and finding all the titles and artist names, but then also checking for permissions on the poems and then copying, reformatting, and in some cases retyping those. But it’s posted! Now I can move on to the more recent show. I also posted a quick thing to the other art group whose blog I manage, California Fibers. We had our website professionally redone and I’ve never used Squarespace before. It seemed fairly straightforward. All that stuff takes time. I do it because it matters; it makes those groups better.

My next mental task (despite the work I’ll be doing today) is to figure out what I can do for the refugee problem here in the US…with kids being locked up with no essentials for days, weeks, months on end. I don’t have a lot of spare money. I might have airline miles. I feel like being in San Diego, close to the border, there must be something else I can do besides Paypal. But I don’t know what it is. I can’t even formulate a drawing in my head…and drawings don’t save kids’ lives. Or adults for that matter. It’s true I didn’t vote for this president…and the people who are in office who I did vote for, they are pretty vocal. They need to be more so. Sometime today I’m going to figure out how I can contact those people and do so. In between smart-designing middle schools. Or whatever I’m doing today. The NPR news report I heard yesterday about the conditions in the facilities where they are holding children was disgusting. This is not the America I want to live in. There is no excuse for this. No wishy washy lawyer language that makes it OK.

With that in my heart this morning, I’ll be off to work to figure out how to teach kids. Refugees some of them.

I did some sewing stuff yesterday…I just realized that I missed the leaves on the bottom right. Duh.

That baobab fruit was in the way.

I traced this and it’s in my bag for the conference. I don’t like down time. I may not even pull it out, but at least I’ll have it. And a sketchbook.

Sitting for long periods of time sucks. Hopefully it will not be a lot of that. I need action. Not sitting.

I ironed for a little bit in the afternoon…

And then after dinner…all those fabrics for one succulent.

I had to stare at the drawing for a long time before I decided on hair color. Here’s everything I’ve ironed so far and a chaotic pile of all the fabrics.

I like to clean up before I start the next day…

It helps me see everything. I honestly don’t have much left…some clouds and rain, and the eyeballs. I think that’s about it. A rainbow. So I could easily be done tonight and starting on the trimming of the pieces.

My cold is still here, but barely. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow I’ll have the energy to walk the dogs. I need to start exercising. I’m feeling blah. Heavy. Tired! Still. OK. Work, then political crap, then art. Or all three will merge. We’ll see.

Too Many Threads; Not Enough Knots

Sheesh. What a morning. I’m efficient, but not efficient enough. Too many threads; not enough knots. What am I getting done? Some things. I filled a bunch of cracks in my driveway yesterday so they can seal it in a few weeks. I need to fill more, but need more sealant to do that (note: trip to Home Depot). The right eyelid is twitching again. It comes and goes. I’m trying to get enough sleep. I did better last night. I think that’s because the cold is getting better. Hard to sleep when you can’t breathe. I don’t know how many nights of 8 hours of sleep I will need to feel human again though…probably more than I can get in the next week. I will have to be up early tomorrow and Thursday, unfortunately.

Hey local SAQA members! We’re getting the group going again. I will be hopefully putting together a monthly meeting in the La Mesa/El Cajon area too…I want to meet once a month to just hang out and stitch stuff, and show what you’ve been working on. Nothing stressful or worklike. Just fun and hanging out. That’s my goal anyway.

What else did I do yesterday? I got a new chiropractor…my neck is still sore, but I think that’s my fault. Phone and computer and all. I spent a lot of time setting up stuff for a new blogpost for one of my art groups. It takes forever to find all the photos, resize them, find all the names of the artists and the artwork, and in this case, write names of poems etc. Some misunderstanding about Fair Use Laws…but I’m still working on that post. I have two more to do for that group and then I’m going to try to do the other group’s blog as well. Sometimes I hate all the stuff I take on for other groups, but I also know it benefits me in the long run. So I do it.

Sometimes it takes me a long time to get it done though. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for everything. This was my post-dinner, still-watching-American-Gods stitching…

Working on the tree. Nothing fancy here. I’m just doing this until I get my act together to start the next embroidery pattern sample. I picked threads and mocked this up…now I just need to transfer it to the fabric.

I’m doing this on a white fabric. I do love the black, but it’s a pain to transfer the pattern onto, and this one is complicated. I’ll transfer it later today and start embroidering hopefully tonight. I just realized I have no mock colors on the nipples, so I’ll have to figure that out. The pen colors aren’t particularly accurate either, but they’ll do to remind me of what I was thinking. I would do it differently if I could use more than 5 colors. I would use about 20 or so!

Kitten was blocking my access to the pink fabrics last night…

Speaking of colors! I was going to keep this quilt all in the muted range, and then my brain said, heck noes, you needz all the colors. So I went a little bright in her chest area.

It’ll be fine. There’s a lot of green and brown in this. Not sure what I’m going to do with her hair yet. That’s another large portion of the quilt.

OK, well I have plenty to do now…mostly filling in poems and sending emails and hoping people respond and then renting a tile saw and trying to figure out how to use it. Minor detail. I might even finish ironing sometime soon. Well. It’s taking me a long time. So maybe not today, but still soon. Ish.

What Kind of Heart Doesn’t Look Back*

First of all, I would like to thank that hyper little guy RB who was sitting in the front of my classroom playing Uno and coughing all over the desk (I even moved away from him) for the oogy feeling in the back of my throat right now. Ah yes, the gift that keeps on giving…a student cold. Woo hoo! Thank you thank you. C’mon immune system…I fed you avocado and bok choy…do your thing! I know I’m still tired and running low, but you can’t make me be sick on top of all of that. I need recovery time…not something else from which to recover. Sigh. Head down on desk. Go take your vitamin C. Again.

So things are happening around here. Cleaning (a little) happened. My office got straightened up so I could iron in here. The kitchen table is slowly appearing. This space…this space, I have not touched. At all.

Really, I could just blame the cat. But it wasn’t her fault. I’m not sure how to organize some of the stuff over there. That’s part of the problem. I think I need to buy two frames and maybe some matboard. And some organizers (NOOO…I hear my son yelling that there is no need to buy MORE things. I should just throw some out. I did do some of that yesterday too.). Whatever. I am a messy person, but a mostly organized messy person. My studio is a prime example. Of course, I would love to have a studio two or three times this size, but I’ve seen the genetics, and my mom’s studio looks just like mine. Except bigger. With more organizers.

I am considering boxing up the crazy quilt stuff and opening up that space…but it’s largely inaccessible space…so that doesn’t necessarily help. I’ll think about it. Certainly the blues, greens, purples, and whites have expanded beyond the bins I have. This was my straightening up before the new quilt…found a place for the completed embroideries, put all the fabric away from the last quilt, swept the floor…

Now I’m ready to iron. I didn’t actually do any of that until around 10 PM.

We spent 2 hours at the vet…ugh…Simba needs his teeth cleaned and Calli has some huge lumps that need handling.

We’ll be back on July 1 for those things. Fun stuff.

After dinner, we (I) had finally decided to get STARZ so we could watch American Gods. And I love it. Totally worth it. After eating, I finished the house on the first September Folk Tails block, which has been sitting around for months.

I think I’m taking this with me to all the design conferences I have this summer…I can’t sit and listen to people talk for hours. Then again, the one next week has 3 hours a day of Improv. Um. OK. My social niceties will be challenged. I guess it’s a good thing I’m there, for the introvert insight. Like you’re killing your introverts with all your plans! You need to give them the space to learn and create in a comfortable way too. I think people forget that when they plan shit. Unless they are one.

So after all that and whatever else I was putzing around doing (I exercised), I laid out the first 100 Wonder Under pieces…picked a background (I always have a few)…you can see it in the back there.

And starting picking fabrics. Ah bliss…

Here’s where the stress relief is…right here. This is what I’ve been waiting for…

Dirt and rocks…

Yeah. That’s good. Strangely, the quilt my Patreon community picked has those red rocks of the desert that we spent all of Spring Break driving and hiking around, but this drawing is a couple of years old. I had Earth Daughter and wanted to do some different versions of it, and this is the next one, Desert Daughter. Next up? Body parts and cactus. All good. This won’t take long. Then I should draw Ocean or Mountain Daughter? Maybe.

Today is not the day it will happen though. I’m fully booked, I think. Maybe tonight? We’ll see. I might just collapse.

Speaking of the Patreon, I just posted a video on there of me ironing a tiny face. It’s the second video of the month, so almost all my patrons will be able to see it…for only $2 a month, you can see me ironing the most tiny eyeballs ever. The next video is already edited…it’s me drawing…which is kind of cool to watch, I think. That will release the first week of July or so. Next up I need to do my June drawing for the Patreon…looking forward to that in the next week.

*Sara Bareilles, Breathe Again

Whole Days Turn into Holes in My Mind*

I keep staying up late to get art done, and then in the morning, my brain is mad about me for that, like it didn’t know about it last night? I think I just need some mornings that are 8 or 9 AM and not 6 AM. I’m really not a morning person. At all. I mean, I can handle the animals because they’re not too demanding really. They just want their breakfast and pets, and I can do that without too much effort. Plus the petting makes you feel nice and loved. Which is much better than how middle-school kids (and some of their teachers) make you feel during the last week of the school year. The plus is that we’re done with the sex ed. Today is a field trip (which is tiring and exhausting and sometimes stressful) and then movies in the classroom after. Thank god that psychotic principal who wouldn’t allow any videos isn’t here any more. “EVERY MOMENT IS EDUCATIONAL!” OMG dude, then put your ass in my place today after these kids get sugared up for 4 hours and sit in a classroom with them. Seriously.

The hardest part about today is that we have an award ceremony after school, so I’ll be there until at least 5:30. I might need a nap. Thinking about bean bag chairs for my room so I can sleep in there. Like I have time for that most days. Murphy bed in the prep room!

Yesterday after school, I did all the things. It took 30 minutes to find one file from two years ago on my computer. I’m not sure why. I must have been staring at it for ages and not seeing it. I need to run an updated budget to see what I can afford for a newer car. This one is about to start being really expensive. Which is unfortunate. But whatever. It got me through the college years. I also patched one teacher-friend’s jeans and cut and sewed alternative necklines on two sweatshirts for another teacher friend. And I cooked dinner.

After eating, I was working on that cow-like thing. I think it’s an African buffalo.

I finished him, whatever he is. Next on to the house.

And then I started cutting stuff out…

It was late. I didn’t finish. At some point, I did remember that I had a really long day today that is largely caffeine free (might be a mistake). Damn bowling alley doesn’t sell tea. There’s not much left to cut out, so that’ll be tonight…and hopefully sorting it out too. Then I can iron tomorrow, if I have any brain power left.

Speaking of brain power, it’s taking like 4 brains at a time to get stuff done. Here’s science and history…

Yeah, we buy matching shirts. Although only two of us know the rules about how to stand to make your waist look better. I like that my NOPE is the bigger one. We did get approved for both proposals for paid work this summer, though, so that’s cool. I do think my team is mostly awesome. It makes it easier. This is not an easy job. It’s not even always rewarding, which is why people say we do it for not enough money…but there are good people with good intentions, and this time of year, you see pictures of former students graduating with honors and that makes it all good. We know how shitty 7th grade can be for a lot of kids.

Anyway. I should go to work. I need a lot more caffeine and a chiropractor visit, but otherwise I’ll be good. I got my peeps.

*K.Flay, Giver