Shed Our Skin, Let the Sun Shine In…*

Hello Monday. You woke me up several times during the night, trying to fake me out. Tellin’ me it’s morning when it’s really still the middle of the night. You wouldn’t let me sleep that last half hour at all. And now you’re all gloomy and pissing down spit (which I am totally OK with, so you didn’t get me then…). I don’t feel like I got a weekend at all. But OK. It’s that time of year. I’m about to get some time off…much-needed time. I just need to bully through.

We did go to my parents for Fathers’ Day. I told him all the things at my house that were broken, because that’s what fathers want for Fathers’ Day, right? I also made him chocolate cake. That might have been nicer.

Here’s my guy (not my dad) looking for UFOs after throwing the ball a thousand times for Calli while I was grading…

Seriously. Hours of grading this weekend. And the kids trying to turn stuff in late.

Katie was being weird.

There was a coyote out there…we saw it go by the house on the road, into the driveway and then the lower yard, and across another property. You can just about see it below. Maybe. Middle right…

Scary. We came home and I graded some more and eventually stopped and made art. It’s not that I was done with grades…they are due today, but I can’t do any more until after 2nd period…

I had about 200 pieces left to trace, so I did them. Yes, that means I stayed up too late. Why do you ask? My brain was wired by then. I was wide awake and totally stressed out. I finished tracing…only two yards and a small bit…

It took me about 5 1/2 hours to trace them all. Almost exactly 100 pieces an hour, which is my usual estimate. Tonight I’ll start cutting…because you know why? Tonight I won’t have any grading to do. Because it will be done. For the year.

Then I can start to wade through my gigantic to-do list, but also on that list is the art stuff. So that’s a good thing. Today? Today getting there will be a bit hellacious…but it’ll be good once it’s done.

*Ivy, Edge of the Ocean

As It Should Be…

I am still exhausted after 9 hours in bed. Of course, too much of it is moving cats, pulling sheets on and off during hot flashes, and a brain that won’t shut the fuck up. It’s OK. I’m almost done with school. I will get there. To the sleep place. I honestly feel like I need to just start running (I’m not a runner any more, thank you knees) and keep going until the computer and school can’t find me.

I graded a ton of stuff yesterday, made it through all the makeup work, went to a graduation party in the middle, still exhausted, then came home and graded the opt-out assignment for the kids who aren’t in sex ed. That thing almost killed me. I guess “don’t copy off the internet” really means “copy your ass off.” I would like to thank the kids who really took the assignment seriously, and maybe thank the kids who didn’t turn it in, because I didn’t have to grade yours at all.

Weird-ass spreadsheet and hash marks keep me organized on this thing, I guess. I made notes on our planning calendar for next year…hopefully I’ll have the brain power to make those changes for next year. They’re not hard. And no one will be graduating in the middle of my last month of school, so that should help. I hate that my job makes it so difficult to travel outside of our prescribed breaks. But it is such a hassle. So stressful.

I also hate seeing kids who blew off turning in that last assignment, when that’s all they needed to pull their grade up. This group was pretty good, especially compared to last year’s crew. We know it’s a fluke, so as a teacher, you’re always trying to decide how to better motivate kids, what to do about that one kid who you totally flailed on (not your fault, but you still blame yourself). That’s the part that keeps me awake at night.

Anyway. That’s done. I still need to do the final grade input and finish up with homeroom, and then I’m done. Plus laundry, grocery shopping, the last parent email of the school year, and Father’s Day stuff.

This was Buddy yesterday at the graduation party.

Everyone wanted to pet him, but it just makes him anxious. He did allow me to scratch his back and behind his ears right before we left.

I came home and graded for another few hours. It’s a lost weekend. No art. No art. Maybe tonight?

Friday night, my stress kept me up way too late watching a stupid movie, but I also did a summer to-do list. I don’t want it to be super long. No matter what, I won’t finish most of it.

That’s the way it always goes. But I’ll try. It’s a place to start. Plus there’s art stuff on there too. As there should be.

So Happy Fathers’ Day to those to whom it matters…

My dad is kind of a dork, but he knows how to fix all the things. I’ll be asking him about an electrical thing tonight. Isn’t that how all Fathers’ Day events should go?

Graduation Up the Yin Yang

Thunderstorm and lightning, plus hail…makes for an exciting night. There’s another one coming tonight, when we try to fly out. That sounds nice.

I am exhausted. It’s been a long weekend. Saturday, we helped the girlchild move a ton of stuff. Her dad broke her dresser, but it will work for storage. Sometimes I wonder about timing. She’s leaving today for Portugal and not coming back until she has to be out of her apartment. She has a sublet for the summer, but can’t move in until the 24th. Not so ideal. So storage it is.

Then we went and walked around Walden Pond…

It was beautiful. Too many people though. Dinner back here with the girlchild etc. Etc is vague on purpose. It was nice though. We’re in a nice house and everyone has a bedroom. It’s a little light on seating for a group this big, so I’ve been at the dining room table to grade etc. it has a nice leafy view and lots of light.

Sunday, we had three graduation ceremonies…the first at 8 AM. Getting 5 people through showers and breakfast was fine, except it was really early California time. My brain is a little fuzzy.

Girlchild is still job-hunting, like many of these graduates.

Graduation ceremonies are horrible things to survive.

I stitched a lot…only one person talked to me about it. Said she was fascinated watching me stitch (2 hours for the big graduation, an hour for each of the smaller ones)…

I finished this one in the second ceremony. It took about 4 1/2 hours…definitely smaller and easier to stitch than the other ones.

I started this one…and got more done on it in the third ceremony.

Lunch was “how can we eat all the leftovers.” We failed. There’s still stuff in the fridge.

Here she is with my lovely parents…who read my blog for the pictures.

There’s one of you guys! The goal we came up with is no wheelchairs for all of my niece and nephews’ graduations. So they need to keep moving. We figure the last graduation will be when my dad is 89 1/2, so we should be fine. (Laughs hysterically)

Sunday night was a great tapas dinner. I graded into the night.

Today, we’re doing the final move into storage and cleaning…then hopefully getting on a plane home. Right now, I’m being vacuumed around and harassed to finish eating And writing so we can get out of here. I expect more stitching in my future and maybe grading, and probably not enough sleep tonight. But she’s done with school…yay! And now we just need to finish paying for it. I hope she has fun on her post-grad trip and comes back to a job offer. That would be awesome. I hope we make it home tonight. That would also be awesome.

Stupid Scissor Rules

Well. That was a weekend. I’m so glad I planned it though. I remember thinking, ah, no, you’re going to Boston the following weekend, it’s May, which is always a clusterfuck, LA is a pain in the ass, you’ll have to get somewhere to stay, blah blah blah, all the things you say when you’re trying to talk yourself out of something you really want to do. But I didn’t. Amanda Palmer was great. Amazing. A performance more than a concert, but riveting. Even though I knew some of the story, I hadn’t heard it from her, and that made a difference.

We drove up to LA, found our hotel, which was within walking distance of the venue, and hung out for a bit…

Hanging out looks like this after driving up to LA. Then headed out to get dinner early, because…well…so I joined Patreon originally to support Amanda Palmer. I had been reading her blog and she talked about it and I checked it out and went HEY. This is a thing. This is how we as a society support musicians and artists the way they want to be supported. This is how we back their projects and encourage them to do new things, better things, things that may not be very commercial, but are very much what we want to see. So I joined. And one of the things about her Patreon is she wants to hear from us and see us, so she sets up a photo shoot before every show. Ours was here…

And we needed to be there by 5:45. So we ate early…at Mikkeller…

Which has great art…

So we were at that park, waiting for AFP to show up and the security for the park? the buildings around the park? kicked us out. Because we were gathering on the walkways. They left the homeless guy on the lawn, but a bunch of liberal, semi-strange-looking people is definitely a danger to humanity.

Amanda showed up and talked to us…

Which was cool. There are many needy people who are fans. She is good to them, very patient. Much more patient than I would be.

I wish we’d had more time to walk around and photograph art around the area, but really, after the photo, we went back to the hotel for about half an hour and then headed to the venue…

The Ace Hotel is an old theater that’s been converted/adapted.

The inside is completely amazing…totally over the top…this was taken after we all left…

Our seats were in the lower balcony to the right. It was good.

She talked a lot, played a bunch of songs, there was definitely ukulele…it was emotional, sometimes painful, and funny on top of all of it. An amazing show. Four hours plus of amazing. It must be exhausting to do the show. I wanted the needy people to be quiet, but they never are. She handled them well. There are times to respond and times to ignore. I was worried the man would be bored, because he wasn’t really an AFP fan in the beginning, hadn’t heard anything since the Dresden Dolls, but she talked a lot about music and being an artist, and I think that dragged him in. He liked it. I loved it…it was a very personal experience, despite the hundreds of people and not being able to get through the bathroom line. It was worth the 5 hours of driving and getting not so much sleep and going to an iHop on Mother’s Day (oh hey, mistake) and not getting much work done and all that.

I did a drawing, but I don’t have the energy (or time for that matter) to get up and photograph it (find it first). I’ll do it later.

Yeah. Cool. Totally worth the trip.

I came home, rushed through all the errands, graded 96 emails worth of makeup work (ha!), came in here, and started ironing.

I was supposed to record the last bit for my Patreon video, but I forgot. So tired. So I’ll do that tonight. I wrote it in the calendar. After dog walking. It’s on the list.

I am nowhere near where I wanted to be with this quilt. I cut out nothing on the way to or from LA, because I did all the driving. I was too tired in the hotel. I’m about halfway through the 400s after last night, but that’s still about halfway…no, probably less than that. So I’ll have to decide if I want to bring it to Boston and cut stuff out. I can’t cut on the plane (stupid scissor rules). I could cut at three different graduation ceremonies though. Ah? Thinking about it. I have traveled with stuff to cut out before.

Anyway. It’s a busy week. I’m going to get done whatever I can. I’d like to be done with the ironing, but I can’t guarantee that. I can only try.

And oh hey…next weekend, we’ll be here…

to see the girlchild graduate. She matches the trees and the flowers.

And Oh My Days We’re Rolling*

Somehow I have to persuade my body that midnight is an hour earlier. I find it difficult to go to bed earlier than my body wants me to…although by the end of the week, I’m sure exhaustion from not enough sleep will help. Right now, today, this very early morning that isn’t early but is…ugh. Ouch. Erg. Holding it together but feeling the pain, and it’s only Tuesday. My longest day. Maybe. Tomorrow might be longer.

My students handed in a shit-ton of work yesterday. Good for them, painful for me. I’m getting through stuff. Slowly. As always. It feels more than a little bit overwhelming at the moment. I graded two more classes of tests last night and an entire assignment during a staff meeting (yes, I was mostly listening). Today the kids are starting a project…on some days, I will be buried under the labs, but today is pretty low-key. One more class of tests to grade and then I can work on the massive pile of Unit 5. Ugh.

I took a break there to send out a work email I needed to do. I forget about stuff if I don’t calendar it or do it right when I remember. Happens often.

So after work yesterday, the one plus of the time change is the increased PM daylight for walking dogs…

I don’t have to race home. It’s so beautiful out there right now.

Although some of that beauty is poison oak growing like crazy. Should keep that in mind.

I use an app to track the distance, but the clouds must have been messing with it yesterday (it was raining the whole time we walked)…because that mess at the bottom is not what we did…

We did a little out and back, reconnaissance, trying to figure out what the orange flowers were (poppies…but all folded up)…but not that crazy stuff. So the mileage was off too. We heard a group of coyotes singing to us…maybe the same young ones as a few weeks ago…but didn’t see any.

After dinner, I graded, and then did a few more small drawings. This one is a bit weird for an embroidery design.

But this one might work…

Who knows. I don’t.

On to the next stage on the most current quilt (no, I haven’t finished the binding on the other one yet…why?).

I should be able to get all the Wonder Under cut out this week. Easily. Then on to ironing to fabric. Simba wanted belly rubs…

I combed him a bit too after the mud run we did this afternoon. After everyone else goes to bed or shuts their door, I get the dogs…

Well. And one of the cats…eventually he reached up and started kneading Calli’s leg, at which point, I shoved him off. I never know how Calli will react.

It was cold…so pushing your face into a dog leg makes sense I guess.

I got about 1 1/2 yards cut out…

Not bad. Using new scissors. They have a name on them, but all I can think of right now (so very wrongly) is Tim Horton. That’s wrong. They were a birthday present. We’ll see how my hand feels.

Crap. It’s late. Gotta go to work. Art tonight for sure. And grading. Sigh.

*alt-J, Left Hand Free

A Fire in Your Bones*

Officially half dead. OK, not really, but definitely not at my finest this weekend. Half my co-teachers are down with it too. I guess that makes me feel better (not really). It’s a virulent thing, that’s for sure. I made it through Friday’s lab with the microphone attachment they give us teachers, but I couldn’t just clip it to my shirt…my voice wasn’t loud enough for it to pick up. So it was a little creepy…having my whispered voice booming out of the overhead speakers. But the kids were really good…it’s funny, when you are sick or troubled in some way, they have huge amounts of empathy. I guess that is a good sign for humanity. Luckily, I felt mostly OK on Friday…not dizzy and almost passing out, like earlier in the week. But the coughing was not great. People ask why we don’t just stay home. (1) Our school doesn’t get substitute teachers. I was even asked to sub my prep period on Friday and I just said you’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t talk. (2) It’s more work to put sub plans together than it is to go in. (3) It’s a lost day for my kids. They won’t get anything out of it…I would’ve had to pull the lab. No way in hell am I having a sub, who inevitably knows no science, do a lab with glass test tubes. My kids listen to me (mostly)…a sub? It would have been a nuclear meltdown. So if I’m well enough to stand, not vomiting, and don’t have diarrhea, I go to school. That is the reality of teaching in a low-income public school.

I felt a little better at night. I graded and even cooked dinner for the fam. And I drew this at around 11 PM because I didn’t want to feel like I’d done nothing artistic for the second day in a row, even sick.

Yesterday, the coughing got me out of bed early. And then I graded for the next 7 hours. Sleepy puppy from the night before…

Trimester 2 grades are due Tuesday. I was behind. I’m always behind. So I got through all the makeup work and two or three other assignments.

While binge-watching Season 3 of Victoria. So glad I didn’t live back then. I’d be dead.

Then I got a strange burst of energy…really strange, because when I took my shower finally, I got dizzy standing up in there. Hmmm. So I sewed the binding on the big quilt. Seriously a lot of sewing…

It took about an hour and a half to get it all on, including the sleeves. I ended up using the more plain fabric for the binding…although I used the other one for the sleeves, so it didn’t go to waste. I really want to be using things up this year…even when it’s a pain in the ass.

We went to dinner and I ate some. And then we came back and I pinned the binding in place and started stitching it down while watching one of the Planet of the Apes movies…

Until my partner in apes fell asleep, so we paused the movie for later and he went to bed. I kept going for a bit, through the first episode of The Passage. You can guess what I might be doing for the next few days. It’s a good thing to do when I don’t feel well. The other option is to start tracing the next one…it’s ready to go.

I’m trying to participate in #marchmeetthemaker and #igquiltfest. I did this last year and flailed through a goodly portion of it, mostly because some of the things don’t apply to being an art quilter on both of them. But I’m making an attempt anyway.

My studio is a not-bedroom that looks over the pool…it’s a sprinkly day out there. I hate the wallpaper. It’s not big enough for everything that’s in there. I look at a tree out the window too. I usually have at least one cat in there, but Kitten has been hiding in the bedroom.

The floor is coming up. It needs a remodel…but probably not as much as the bathrooms and the kitchen. I priced it out last year…to redo the floor and paint it and put in new shelving/storage, and it’s more than I have lying around…until I get all the kids’ college paid off anyway.

It’s worked for me for many years though…so I guess it will keep working for a while longer.

The ironing board moves as needed…and I reorganize constantly. It’s only about 8×10′, but it’s better than nothing…that’s for sure.

The 3×4′ light table is in the living room, along with a lot of in-progress stuff too. And there’s stuff in the girlchild’s room in the closet, plus our closet and under the bed. Because lots of stuff needs storage. And the garage is where all the old drawings go.

One of the prompts is about where you started. Well. Hmmm. I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. And I did screenprints before the kids were born, but then I started learning how to quilt. I began with hand applique, but it just took too damn long to turn a drawing into a quilt. I couldn’t get big enough. So I developed what I do now…

Which still isn’t fast, and is mostly crazy…but works for me. That’s an unfinished hand-appliqued art quilt from probably 2002 or so on the right, and the next quilt on the left, still in drawing stage.

Anyway. So. Today is still school stuff, because grades aren’t done, plus groceries and laundry. And hopefully feeling better. Still woke up coughing this morning, but I mostly slept through the night. Not feeling particularly energetic, but that’s OK. I got about 3 hours of art time yesterday and I’m hoping for the same today. If I have energy, I’ll trace. If I don’t, I’ll sew bindings. It’s nice to have options.

*Welshly Arms, Indestructible

I’m Never Where I Want to Be…*

I spent over 8 hours yesterday grading. The night before, I spent about 5 hours. Today, I’ve already spent 3 hours dealing with school stuff, although not all of it grading. It’s time to pay the piper? It’s not pretty, that’s for sure. I’ve still got at least another 6 hours just in science journals probably, and I think I’m officially about to kill someone. This isn’t healthy. I am trying to get it all out of the way so I can get some art brain on this week, because I’m still wallowing in deep sad shit from hell in my brain; in fact, the responsible part of my brain just stood up from her chair, where she is quite sensibly knitting a scarf (I don’t knit) in scrubs (I don’t own scrubs), and she pulled the curtain around the bed where the rest of my brain is connected to tubes and looks quite beat up, and she told me that now is not a good time. Come back later.

Well. OK then. I need to draw. Or something. There’s no fucking time! Groceries and errands and organizing shit and someone needs to take the tux back (boychild) and I’m supposed to go to a work thing tonight and probably I should bring a gift but I don’t have a clue what and then I’m supposed to go over and pick some stuff up from my parents.

Let’s talk realistically about how much can get done in one day (not much).

Last night, black cat (hard to see) lying upside down on the couch near the pile of crap I was grading…

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See that pile of notebooks? That’s one class. One of my smaller classes. I have five classes. It was a long night. And then when I finally went to bed, I couldn’t fall asleep.

I did try to settle my brain before bed. I cut stuff out for a little less than an hour…

Jun 1 14 008 small

Left pile gets higher. Middle pile gets smaller. See the uterus? And I think heart parts are on top of it. Yes, I keep all the trimmings until the end. I am well known for dropping real pieces into that box by accident. Didn’t I say something about being done this week? What a joke. I’m over 14 hours.

I took breaks during the day…I did go to the gym, where I finished this…


So I’ve read both Hyperion books now (yes, I know there are more)…and I really liked them. When I didn’t hate them. When I wasn’t slogging through vocabulary and world-building that was heavy and torturous. Yup. I know. It doesn’t sound like a recommendation but it is. Just because something is challenging to read doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. These are worth it. This is a book club selection for me, and strangely, the book club organizer has set up the next meeting by saying it’s going to be about why we shouldn’t have read these. Interesting.

Then I got the boychild ready for prom and followed him somewhere to take pictures…

Jun 1 14 006 small

He went with a group of kids (this is a small portion of the group)…

And I planted some stuff that was going to die if I didn’t plant it soon. So I took breaks. But it still sucked. I’d like to say I got a lot done (and I did), but there’s still so much to do and I am just behind all the time.

I had plans for today and they all got fucked up. Sigh.

I’m trying so hard not to feel like this all the time. I have all these inner conversations that just suck, and during the last 2 minutes of meditation, when he says to let my brain go and do what it wants, it literally SCREAMS at me, at the top of its brainy little lungs, just full on screaming. That can’t be good.

So last night, as an additional break between grading, I read this…


Short. Really good. Made me cry. I guess the Wall Street Journal might make me cry right now too, but this was good. Sigh. Took me 11 days to read The Fall of Hyperion and less than 12 hours to read this one. Take what you want from that.

Boychild is mad that I’m posting that picture. He’s mad that I won’t take his tux back for him. He’s mad that I exist at the moment, although I did all the grocery shopping for him. So. Whatever. Teenagers. Sheesh. Oh yeah, and he’s only had 2.5 hours of sleep and he’s NOT cranky (my ass).

I’m cranky and I had 7 hours…really shitty hours, but mostly sleeping. Maybe.

OK. Tonight. Sigh. More art, less work. After I go to a work-related party. Yeah. I know. But these are the good people. Maybe I will leave with the brain in a better place, cuz it ain’t there now.

*Peter Gabriel, Solsbury Hill (Sion’s fault)