Not as Daft as They Seem*

June 21, 2017

I have this goal every summer, maybe every school break, to get everything in the house cleaned up, voted out, put away, dealt with in some way. There’s too much stuff and a lot of it should just be gone, but it honestly overwhelms me on a regular basis. I started to clear off the eating table (it’s not in a kitchen or in a dining room, so I don’t know what the fuck to call it) and to put away some of the stuff that was on there, I had to clean off the bench, which meant a pair of scissors and trimming fabric. Don’t even ask. It’s a snowball effect. I’m trying to do 20 minutes or so a day, and then once I get some of this editing/art exhibit stuff under control, I’ll spend more time on some significant issues…like the garage or my bedroom. With the boychild’s help. But now, just looking at a pile of books, it’s not like I have anywhere to put most of them, with every bookshelf in the house filled, so I either have to go through and get rid of stuff, or I have to build a library into a second story, and that’s gonna take time AND money, both of which I have very little.

Yesterday I worked and I put off other work and it was hot and I couldn’t think straight. I did get new glasses though, which is good, because these are not always great. Mostly that’s because I’m tired though. I’m still tired. I didn’t sleep well last night…the cough is getting better, but I felt wired, like it was time to get up (it was…if I were going to school)…and I couldn’t go back to sleep. That will get better. I know it takes almost two weeks some years to settle into summer. It takes two weeks on the other end to get used to waking up for school, adjusting back to my work sleep schedule.

I found this in the front yard…a beautiful hawk feather. Symbolism? I will be observing more, become more aware, and then act decisively.

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It’s beautiful, whatever it means. I stuck it to the front of the house…protection against something.

I was giving this blue buttonhole stitch fingernails, or fingerrays. Or something.

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I finished the hippo and started work on the water.

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I had enlarged this again, but only 150% (I math) this time. It’s about 21″ wide, which works.

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Kitten is back in her hidey hole of paper…

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She sleeps hard. This photo reminds me that all my leftover mechanical pencils are in that leather thing behind her. I’d forgotten that.

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I added about 30″ to the bottom of this and drew out her legs in pencil, just to get the proportions where I wanted them (I won’t say “get them right” because I think she’s already out of proportion…but I’m OK with it). Then I was trying to figure out what to do about the crotch area, since this one has to be no nudity for the venue…and yes, the rocks are reminiscent of that, but they’re not that, so there. I still need to fill in that area with more stuff…

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Then decide where the third ground area is going and fill in all the rest. And remember this needs to be done by September. And it’s not the only one. Scary deadlines? Somewhat.

I also need to do a coloring book for the July opening. Yikes. I really need to get kicked off jury duty next week.

But today? Another drive to the north to finish the catalog for the first exhibit, then the chiropractor, then copyediting and maybe the gym, if I can pull that off. And quilting the community stuff, and also drawing please. I’m trying to carve vacation time out of the list of things that need doing. Plus that 20 minutes of trying to put shit away or toss it out or rehome it. And I need to meditate more. Ironic that it stresses me out to find time for meditation. And showering. And eating.

Oh yeah, tomorrow is the talk at Sparks Gallery. Again, I’m going to explain my connections to modern weaving. I think you’ll be surprised by what I’m going to say! I might be surprised too…

*Arctic Monkeys, Fluorescent Adolescent


I Can’t Control My Brain*

June 17, 2017

Lost voice has upgraded into sore throat and lost gravelly voice. Well luckily I have no need to talk for the next 55 days.

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OK. Maybe the girlchild will want me to talk when she comes home. Hard to say. Sure that’s on there because I’m looking forward to seeing her…but also because all of my quilts that are currently NOT in exhibits are lying on her bed. And she’ll probably want them to move by then. So that’s a deadline.

I got to school yesterday just after 9 AM. These are in our school garden, managed by one of the teachers…the garden looks great.

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This is my co-teacher’s room…her homeroom was useful and helped her organize all the new materials we got this year by unit. (My homeroom was singularly not useful, but that’s OK…they’re not my homeroom any more.) Our plan was to catalog all of the new materials and old and organize them in cupboards or the prep room by unit, thus saving us headaches and heartaches next year. She’s sitting at Unit 1…my computer is at Unit 2.

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That took a long time. And then there was cleaning up our rooms and trying to decide what to do with a huge pile of old and mostly useless chemicals dumped on us by 8th grade.

The custodial staff stacked my desks and tables in this pleasingly symmetrical formation. Women did this…not men. Just so you know.

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My room as I checked out. Pitiful really. I don’t usually take everything off the walls, but we have been teaching all new standards, so I needed to redo from scratch, now that I know what we teach. Plus we’re going to do it by unit…so if you go back and look at the picture of my colleague’s room, she has fabric rectangles up for each unit.

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I do not have that yet. Hello, Ikea. Later, people. Boychild did help with the take down and clearing out of some stuff I’ve had in here for 8+ years, so that was nice. He might even be around to help me set up…he’s tall and works hard and fast. Useful. If you need someone who’s tall and works hard and fast, let me know…he needs a summer job still.

We were there for over 6 hours, sweaty, tired, exhausted. There were about 10 times when I just wanted to quit, and we didn’t even do the last thing we needed to do. But we had to be out of there at a certain time. I got home and showered and the boychild and I went and got Indian food for dinner. And then I tried to function. I filled in the space around Prosper with a woven stitch and some other stitches, the space between the “e” and the “r”.

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Then because I was trying to finish watching something in here on the computer, I worked on this guy…Palestrina knots all the way around. It seems like a pain in the butt until you get into it, and then it’s easy. I don’t know why Palestrina knots terrify me so much. I’ve done a million of them now.

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And then I finished tracing this one…5 1/2 hours total. There’s some huge and long pieces on the two pieces of Wonder Under on the left.

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Honestly don’t know when I really have time to cut them out. I should be doing so many other things. No really. Not kidding.

Puppy and boychild joined me for a bit…

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He likes to be ON people. Except it’s hot here. Ugh.

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Soon after this, the big dog started vomiting. Which continued for a while. I’ve cleaned up a lot of vomit this morning. I could do without that.

So summer. Hallelujah. Need to make like 3 quilts. Seriously. And copyedit lots. And clean, toss, and organize lots. It’s frightening actually how much needs to be done. Right now, I’m still just taking it a day (hour?) at a time, trying to get some rest and find my brain. We’ll see how that goes.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun


Let It Run All over Me*

June 12, 2017

Busy weekend, working and music and art opening…I did manage some of that down time…which was a good thing. I didn’t disappear the to-do list though. It still lurks, reminding me that summer vacation is a misnomer…that teachers pick up all the pieces in summer that they’ve been dropping all year long. At least I might be able to sleep in an hour or two. At least I won’t have to deal with 12-year-olds for 8 weeks. I might get more free time. I’ll certainly have more time for exercise, especially hiking. I’m looking forward to that.

But first we survive the last week of school. And that is not a small thing, for teachers or students.

So first of all, I have three pieces hanging at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts through June 24, part of the SAQA Untethered Thread exhibit…yes, I had three with no nudity (although the larger one is called NakedMan).

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You should check out the show…there are some very nice pieces in it.

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Then we headed over to the parentals for dinner…it’s been a while. Yes, Calli is still a conehead. Her foot troubles have been a pain. She’s a good dog. Just keeps conking us with the cone.

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She uses it to scoop up balls while playing fetch though.

 

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I did a bunch of grading this weekend…I’m basically done. I have a few more things that need to go in, but then that’s it. I need to do all the comments too. Ugh. Hate that.

I finished the one piece of trellis stitch that I hadn’t done on Friday.

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I did three nights on here…two on Sunday morning and one on Sunday night. Let’s see if I can remember what: the herringbone and cretan lines on the left, plus the fishy lazy daisies on the right.

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Now I’ll embellish off of them.

My parents’ dog is here for one night. We offer a special service. We will remove one dog’s worth of hair from your dog if you let them stay here. Yes, that’s right…one dog’s worth of hair.

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Such a deal. This dog sheds weird. The boychild did that. He wasn’t sure when to stop (before the dog has no hair?).

Then I decided I had earned art time. I traced for an hour or so…

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I did all the tiny tree parts, basically…from piece 71 to piece 176.

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I’m not sure how much I can really justify working on this in the next three weeks…unfortunately, it’s not on the to-do list. It will be, but probably after July 1. I think that’s when my vacation really starts. I hope.

*Van Morrison, And It Stoned Me


Relaxation Attempted

June 10, 2017

Short post, just to check in. I graded for about 4 hours this morning so I could take time off this afternoon to sit on a pier (not sure where the actual pier is, but there are boats and water) in almost sun to listen to that band I’m always hanging out watching.  The weather is pretty good, the food and alcohol are free (yes I crashed another private party, although I think I have permission to be here). 


Wait, there’s this view…imagine a wine glass as well…


School is almost over, the next three weeks are crazy as hell, and the girlchild is texting me from Waltham, MA, where she’s driving a van for 8 hours to try to make enough money to pay her rent. (I just loaned my sunscreen to the lead singer of the band.)

I need to find more of these moments…work or not. Sanity is important…as close as I ever get to it. 

Finish grades. Clean out room. Plan for next year. Finish documents for solo show. Quilt community quilts for other show. Copyedit a manuscript. Clean house. Clean out garage. Somehow make a summer quilting plan. 

Yeah. That’s not a lot.

I worked on this last night at gaming…


It helps with the teeth grinding…

I’m not great at gaming, but my character freakin’ rocks…Silma the master dwarf engineer and marksman one-shotted a crypt ghoul last night…

Most amazing thing I’ve done all week. Maybe all month.

Ok. Back to trying to relax…


Push That, Push That, Push That to the Floor*

June 9, 2017

Well it seems like my summer break isn’t starting until July. I picked up a copyediting job…with a rush on it. Good news? Money. Pay college. Honestly, try to pay for the summer too. Bad news? Well, now it’s gotta get shoved into the two weeks after school gets out, which already has three quilts that need quilting for the art show I’m helping curate, plus jury duty, plus I’m sure I don’t even remember all the other shit I’m supposed to be doing. Finishing up for the solo show and delivering all that (need to work on one part of that tonight…maybe see if I can get all the paperwork done). Plus I wanted to make a coloring book for that show of my drawings. Hoping to still be able to pull that off.

Unfortunately, my assistants either roll over to have their bellies rubbed or roll their eyes at me.

Where are the post-it notes. I need to write things on them. Somehow that helps. Chipping away at the crazy to-do list a little at a time. FIVE days of school left. All the awards are at the printer. Grades are closer to done (not done though). My classroom is a disaster. My house is a disaster. I took 5 minutes and gathered shit to be tossed off the kitchen counter. And then I tossed it. Well. I recycled it, because I try to be environmentally responsible.

I do try to leave the house for something besides my job sometimes. This is my stitching group…since I was pregnant with the girlchild, who turns 20 in August (really. Holy Moly). My friend Julie has been working on this uterus pattern from Knot by Gran’ma for me…we both bought the pattern, but it turns out there is no way in hell I would be able to make this…I’m just not talented (or experienced) enough. Luckily Julie likes to do weird shit like this for me. (I have a zombie fairy doll and a Frida Kahlo fairy doll from her.) So last night was the finishing touch…here’s a side view as we tried to decide how to photograph her.

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On the ledge behind the chairs at the Starbucks inside the Mira Mesa Barnes & Noble…in case you want to replicate this look. I LOVE IT. Seriously. Love.

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Almost as much as I love the uterus I built. And the girlchild around it. (Yes, I should dust…I didn’t realize until I saw this photo).

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Freakin’ awesome pattern and hard work by Julie (she had to say her personal mantra many times in constructing this). Much appreciated.

Then I did the blue-green cretan stitch on the far left. I still need to fill in some, but wanted to spread out as well.

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I should remember to take a shot of the full piece of fabric so you can see that I will probably run out of room by December.

I worked on this at the meeting. That’s trellis stitch in a psychotic rayon thread…it’s fussy shit man. I love that in two hours, all I really got done where knotted Italian stitches on the tree and the whipped stitch outline on it. Time-consuming shit.

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Speaking of time-consuming shit, I did start tracing Wonder Under on the climate piece. I did all of it until I got to the fussy tree trunk. Then I went to bed.

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Like an hour late. I really need to have more sleep, but I was incredibly stressed by the increasing to-do list and couldn’t fall asleep anyway, so whoo! Yeah! It’s Friday! And I’m currently teaching sexually transmitted diseases! Yah!

My lord. The plus is that the teeth are no longer grinding (no, I don’t really know why), but both eyes are starting to twitch. I’m going to get a better night of sleep tonight. Really. I am. And then finish EVERYTHING. I’m going to finish it all. Yup. I am. Just don’t fucking bug me while I’m trying to do that, OK?

Oh yeah, I forgot. I was desperate for something cookie-like last night and we had a box mix of gingerbread that said you could do this that or the other and make cookies out of it. It wanted me to roll them out and use cookie cutters (who the fuck do you think I am? Is it fucking Christmas?)…well so I made hockey pucks.

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They taste about as good as they look. Sigh. Left them for the boychild.

*REM, Radio Free Europe


I Know You Better Than You Fake It*

June 7, 2017

Good morning. Here in East County, it is a little cloudy, maybe even foggy in places. My house is quiet, sans boychild and dogs. It’s OK for it to be quiet sometimes honestly. The cats are wandering around, rubbing up against my legs. I’m not very awake. Sleep was troubled…a vomiting cat (I’d already washed the bed cover once…she’s on a roll in the last 24 hours), some wacky stress. I managed to finish one part of the solo show, but two more parts are left. Someone needs to do the dishes. And I need to grade stuff. Yesterday was the last tutorial of the year (oh hallelujah). I finished the academic awards and sent them off to the printer. There’s still a few awards left…I need to check one batch of those today…another will final tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, 27 boxes of science materials that have to be parceled out to all three grades just showed up in our prep room. And it all has to be put away, locked up even, before next Friday. Ah shit.

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I think another 8 boxes came after this. We’re gonna have our homerooms help unpack. We hope. Well. Maybe not MY homeroom. The last two weeks of school are just a little more stress than I need. I think I need another walk.

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And yeah. There’s that. I do usually roll on the side of too many fucks given. I have four assignments left to grade, plus some stuff to input that’s literally just check off that they did it or not. The last assignments to be graded come in Friday, so the weekend is kinda shot I think. I’m not totally panicking yet. Maybe I should be?

One thread on here…let’s see if I can remember where. Oh yeah! There was some blank space on the left side where the L of Live is…I filled it with chain stitches in a purple color.

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And then because I was hanging out and watching Fear of the Walking Dead (man there’s some plot holes and bad writing in that show), I worked on these guys.

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These are blocks 9 and 10 in Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails. I also have block 25 in with this pile. Looking at the quilt, it seems so overwhelming with all the stitching detail, but it’s not so bad one block at a time. I did the grass in Ohio and then I’ve been couching them since then…at my art meeting on Sunday (I have a really hard time just sitting and listening at meetings…I need something for my hands to do), and then last night I finished the couching and did the bullion knots for the flowers. Thems some cute hippos. I really like working on these. They’re very meditative. I don’t have to think very hard to make. I just read the instructions.

Yeah, kind of the opposite of what I do on my own, which are still meditative in their own right. I didn’t have any time after working on the solo show photos last night to go number another quilt. I made the managerial decision to go to bed 30 minutes earlier than I usually do. Except it didn’t help. Oh well. I’m managing. I’ll survive. There’s tonight (gotta grade tonight…and finish a statement and a resume).

Thinking about the summer though. I want to finish the Bird Crazy quilt, put it together and do the borders. I need to do these three quilts for the FIG show…but that’s just sandwiching, quilting, and putting together. Remind me not to hand sew those bindings. I want to make some big and impressive quilts. I need to deal with some deep cleaning in the house and garage. I need to find a way to make some money over the summer (bidding on another copyediting job this afternoon). That’s not a small to-do list. It never is.

I also need to find time to just sit outside and draw. And time to go outside and hike. And time to just sit and read. Hang with my kids when they’re still around. Let the brain come back.

*The Smashing Pumpkins, 1979


Don’t You Shiver*

May 31, 2017

I’m apparently still in recovery mode. Yesterday was long and exhausting, and my body responded with a few dizzy spells. I think it’s because of the diabetes…not knowing when I should be eating (my body…not me…I know when to eat…I’m back on California time…I just think my body is somewhere in Texas or something). I taught all day yesterday and did tutorial, and then went to the vet to pick up the dog. I wish they’d say what time she was ready, so we didn’t have to sit around there for an hour (ugh) waiting for her to be released. She had a fox tail that was causing abscesses in her foot, and finally we had to go surgical to clean everything out. The fox tails are nasty here this year because of all the rain…so she’s wearing a sock at the moment (not sure how long that will last…) and looking somewhat miserable.

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The cone isn’t helping. She has a new one now…hopefully she’ll be less capable of folding it out of the way to nibble on her wounds.

When I took the dogs out to pee (when I finally got home), there was a weird plopping noise in the pool. So I finished up with them and went back outside and there was this guy clinging to the side of the tile…

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I helped him out and he did that weird running lizard dance to the nearest bush. I’ve never seen one that color before. I was debating whether it was normal for his species or not. Looking at the California herps list…I’m not sure. I didn’t get a great picture of him, but he was really pale gray and white and spiky around the head…anyway, he’s in the yard now, doing his lizard dance.

I spent a bunch of time last night putting together stuff for the solo show. I need to take about 5 quilts to the photographer this weekend…then I’m done. I think.

So I came out to stitch for a while…too stressed to manage anything else. Both these guys were all over me, so I petted them and scratched them and combed them.

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I did three nights’ worth on the stitch a day (how did I get behind?)…some blues and browny greens and another green purple…honestly, I was just filling in spaces with straight stitches and French knots and fly stitches…all around the lower part of the hand and above the tree. Bullion knots as well, I think.

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I forgot to post this last week…this is what’s done on Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails, my hobby stitching. There are 6 blocks done…the block attached to the funny-shaped tree is not done yet. I think it’s part of the next month. I’m not exactly doing stuff in order apparently.

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I did do some of the next month while I was traveling, but not much, honestly. I was too tired last night to do anything else. I brought the sketchbook to the couch with me, but gave up to exhaustion. Today won’t be better…we have a World Cultures Fair at school until 6 PM. I’m hoping I’m still functional by then, but I don’t have much hope for getting a lot done tonight.

I think I need a week to sleep off the jetlag. Ask me when grades are due. Plus I have all the photos from Quilt National and from the other show…need to deal with all that stuff too. This is teacher survival mode even without all that! I’m laughing. Seriously. It’s all you can do at some point.

I am starting the pregnancy video today. What I really want to do is sit in my chair and stitch while the kids watch and take notes. I will not be doing that. My grading will be screaming at me instead. No rest for the public-school teacher (until June 16).

*Coldplay, Shiver