Me. I’m the Good Cause.

I was supposed to grade this big pile of stuff I brought home, but I decided not to. I did another smaller, easier assignment. I’m OK with that. It was a long day, lots of climbing on counters (just don’t even ask…it’s for science) and meetings and then walking the dogs…wait, I liked that part…

It was raining on my way home, but stopped in time for this. I don’t mind walking in a bit of rain anyway, but the dogs were muddy enough as it was. I’m trying to break my new hiking boots in before our trip…think I’m going to have to take both pairs.

This is what grading looks like sometimes. Sleepy puppy on the left, bitey asshole trying to break into my grading bag on the right.

She likes to tear papers and bite them and eat plastic bags. All very annoying. They are kittens. They do annoying kitten things when they’re not sweetly sleeping with each other.

After all that, I just wanted to cut stuff out. For 3 1/2 hours…

So I did. No, I’m still not done. I still have the stuff in the top right box to cut out.

Maybe I will be better tonight about grading? Or not. It’s not like I didn’t grade. I just chose a simpler, quicker assignment that I didn’t actually finish because my printer is out of ink and I needed a printout to finish it. A printout I already made but left at school. Uh huh. Not on purpose. Grades are due today. I should check them and make sure they’re done. I think they are.

Anyway, a little left to do and then I can iron this beast together…but I will be gone this weekend, so that will make it a little difficult to get a lot done. It’s OK. It’s for a good cause. Me. I’m the good cause.

I’m getting into some shows…Fantastic Fibers yesterday, but also Contingent Upon at Southwestern College…

I have two pieces in this show…it’s only open Mon-Thurs, 10:30 AM-2:30 PM. The opening reception is 3/12 at 11 AM and the artists’ talk is 3/12 at noon. I won’t be at any of it, unfortunately, due to my day job. It’s up through 4/14, and I won’t even be around for my Spring Break enough to go see it. Oh well.

I also got into a book show at the downtown library. The opening is Saturday, March 14, from noon-2 PM. I will be at that one at some point, not sure when.

OK, but today it is photosynthesis day, so I am grateful for the blue skies and sun that are out today (and weren’t yesterday)…to make this lab easier. I’m wondering about next week’s sun-related lab though, since there’s rain in the forecast. We might have to adjust slightly. I remember it raining when we did it last year too, but not a lot. Just a sprinkling. No biggie. A little water won’t hurt them. The kids. Or the lab. We’ll see. First I’m going to work to find that printout. Make some attempt to be efficient.

This Will Be the One…

Late start to writing. I got up late, slept pretty well, despite kitten shenanigans in the morning. Moved slowly in the AM, went to pilates in the middle of the president explaining how we’re all fine and we had the best response (OMG, that was not the best response…but continue on in your dream world bless your heart). I came back and showered and ate stuff, and am now waiting to go to REI to look at, perhaps buy new hiking boots. My traction is going and I’ve been hiking in them for a good 3 years now, maybe more…it’s time to replace them. If you figure an average of 3 miles a week for three years, that’s 468 miles. Need new boots. Hopefully the new pair will not take a year to break in like the last pair. That was frustrating. I did it wrong? Who knows.

I have art to do this weekend. I have errands to run. I need to finish grades. All those things.

Last night, I managed to iron down the last of the pieces, a few bugs I think and an oil well rig. This is the pile, minus a few that were cut out the previous week.

It was only about another 45 minutes of picking fabrics…nothing major. Then I sorted by color. I like to document what I used in each quilt, although honestly, they all sort of have this rainbow run to them. Some have more grays or whites than others. Some have lots of brown or green.

This one…this one is…I don’t know what it is. Not heavy on anything really. Seems a normal amount of everything.

That’s 126 different fabrics. That’s kind of a lot for a quilt this size. When I was sorting them into boxes, I realized I could have reused some in the later choosing from the earlier, but because I had the flu in between, I’d kind of forgotten about them, even though they were in the boxes right in front of me. Awkward. Sorry guys. Didn’t mean to forget you.

After all that, I sat and cut stuff out…like this. One box of stuff that needs cutting. One box of those that are cut out. And a lid for the trash.

Sometimes I move a box for a puppy to sit next to me…

Sometimes I move it for a cat…

I’m very furry friendly.

Well, unless they get in the way of my actually cutting stuff out, which this one sometimes does.

Here’s where I ended the evening…with most of the flesh cut out and the rest of it to go.

More hours. Relaxing ones though.

Ah. Sisters.

OK, off to the hiking boots and other errands. Art too. Need a quiet weekend when I’m not totally passed out on the couch from the flu. This will be the one.

A Wall of Tired…

Well I’ve almost made it through a full week of school in recovery from this cold/flu thing. Actually, I went and looked this shit up. It was definitely a flu.

Yes, I had a flu shot. Yes, I am an intelligent person who realizes how the flu shot works, so I am not ranting about how it made me sick and it doesn’t even work. I also know I work in a virus factory, so the mutations run wild, and I’m just glad I wasn’t one of the puking flu variety. I’ve been trying to go to bed early and get enough rest so I feel recovered, although today is a little iffy. I think I’m just tired. I’m a little better every day, but I’m not well. Yet. Working on it.

Yesterday I took it easy after work, trying to finish my book, and napping on the couch for a bit. Naps are a sign of strength! And old age. But whatever. Finally got back to the grading. I’m actually almost done with the Trimester 2 grades. Early. Luna was very helpful…

She stayed there through the grades and my cooking and eating dinner. Then she woke up and went into destructo mode. That’s the Luna we know and love, the one who earned the Lunatic designation.

After a while of listening to boxes being slammed around by kittens, I dragged my tired self into the studio, hoping I would finish ironing last night. Here’s part of the arteries…

I really am very near the end…this is all I have left to do. If I’d had more energy last night, I could have done this…but I didn’t. This is like four bugs and an oil well. That’s it.

Tonight. Easily. These are very small pieces by the way.

I didn’t even try to pick up and organize all the fabrics last night. I hit a wall of tired and had to put myself to bed.

It happens. Here’s what’s waiting to be cut out…

I started last week, but haven’t gotten much done. Looks like a job for the weekend! Hopefully I’ll be ironing this thing together next week. Hopefully I’ll be even better healthwise than I am today. Hopefully grades will be done and we’ll be thinking about the last trimester with the roughest, neediest group of kids we’ve had in a long time. Plus Spring Break is coming. And COVID-19. Hmmm. Well. There’s a drawing in my head about that too.

Mostly.

I’m slowly getting back to my normal life. I had to get up early today for a meeting. I actually exercised (albeit lightly) yesterday. And didn’t die! Although I forgot a hairband, so that was supremely annoying. I even went to bed after midnight last night, although my brain was racing and it was hard to calm it down, even then. Wait. That’s normal too. That’s really what keeps me up at night. I know they say to do all these non-involved things late at night, so you can fall asleep, but then I’d never make art. My day job would be all there was. And that’s not gonna fly.

I graded another assignment last night. I’ve got dribs and drabs of stuff now, mostly makeup work, and then I’m done. No worries. And then I can do my taxes maybe. That would be good. I finished my Patreon video last night too…the second one of the month. Tonight I’ll do the drawing, maybe finish grading stuff. We’ll see.

I’m almost done with the ironing too…it’s slow at this point, because it’s all the little things. I know I ironed some leaves, the sun, an eyeball last night. I have more stuff to do…bugs, a lightbulb, some clouds. I’m almost done. Tonight if I have the energy, I’ll be done. I didn’t have it last night. Although I did a lot of little pieces last night, I was tired and slow…

More fabrics, more pieces. I should be ready to cut stuff out soon. Tonight or tomorrow night. Definitely.

At school, we started a new unit, so I drew a cover page…I like to try to use all the vocab words (the kids only need to use 4 this time). I think I missed one, maybe two…

Plus I got to color all day. OK, I finished by lunchtime for once. It’s amazing how calm and on task they are on these days. Maybe we should draw and color every day. Or at least once a week. Math is doing financial literacy once a week. Maybe we should do meditative coloring in science. Self care.

These guys were waiting for me at home…a collection of calicoes.

And this one came and sat with me while I graded…

She’s also sitting on my sweatshirt. Which I needed. And wasn’t allowed to have.

Eventually she followed me into the office and hung out there. OK, well, today will be a little high maintenance in class, but hopefully it’s sort of review. We’ll see how that goes. My first science class is like teaching wild animals sometimes. It’s hard to get a read on what they really know because they’re so interested in roaring and posturing at each other. Third period is the same way. I don’t really get a handle on what kids get until I get through 4th period.

Then I can come home and decide what to do with my time. Mostly. There will be ironing anyway.

This Is Getting Done…

Well I must be getting better. I stood up all day yesterday…well, I had one dizzy spell in one class, but they might have been the cause of that. That unit is now done; so is the assessment. I’m ready to move on. I did finally finish grading the current assessment, just in time to do the next one. (cries into her cereal) Ah school. You hurt sometimes.

I have grades due Tuesday. I’m actually pretty caught up, although not done. Never done. I probably should have done more last night, but I didn’t feel like it. Also, I had to keep my office door closed all day yesterday so the kittens couldn’t mess up the piles I had. Apparently my cat complained about that…or maybe she was just out and about more because she couldn’t hide in here. Hard to say. Either way, I wanted to get them ironed last night. So once I was done with that assignment, I went in the office…the studio…that room that’s my hideaway. And Kitten’s.

I found all the last bits of fleshy pieces and laid them out, and then started ironing out each fabric…

Most of them didn’t have a lot of pieces…

The lightest two fabrics, I didn’t think I’d have enough fabric to cut them all out…as you can see, I used a good chunk of fabric 2…

But there was some left…everything fit…although there wasn’t much left…

Fabric 1 had a little more left…

So that was a positive thing. Although I would have just found a second fabric with the same value and used both of them. That’s an interesting challenge in itself.

Here’s where I’m at right now…all the fabrics used so far plus the pile of stuff that needs to be cut out.

I’ve finished ironing all the flesh pieces down and all I have left are all the funny little bits in the body…the lungs and heart and stuff. I did iron the bones and the uterus…at which point, I was pretty tired, so I went to bed. I probably could finish tonight. Then cut them all out…then start ironing together. It’s progress.

I’m tired. I’m still recovering. I’m getting better. This is getting done.

In-Between Stages

Remember that quilt that got stolen and returned? I’m still salty about that. Makes me want to punch someone in the face. Well, that quilt got into another show, and in packing it up, I found some minor damage, proof that it went through some trauma. I have to admit to not looking very closely at it when I got it back…the stress of having sort of lost it was too much for me to process a lot of info. I pulled it out last night to prep it, and realized that when they yanked it off the wall, off the slat that was bolted to the wall, they put stress on the binding where the sleeve was attached…so a hole there needed to be resewn…

And on the other side as well…

I had to resew the bottom of the sleeve on one corner as well. Not a lot. Just a little. It would be nice to know what happened, but I guess I never will.

There was also some dirt on it, probably from being in the trash, so I had to spot clean some areas…

I think it’s OK. I’d just like the perpetrator to at least pay me back the angel money I gave to the wonderful woman who fished it out of the trash and called me. That seems fair. But life is rarely fair. I’m glad to have it back…it means it gets to go on to another show.

Back to the title of this post…the current quilt is in a real in-between stage at the moment. The plus is that I finished ironing all the Earth parts and everything around it. That means last night it was time to start ironing the fleshy bits…and there are a lot of them. I picked a run of 7 fabrics, but I don’t think I have enough of the lightest and second lightest, which could be interesting. I haven’t really dealt with that yet, because the flesh fabrics start in the 400s and go all the way to the 800s.

You can see there are some large pieces in the two lightest fabrics right there. But this isn’t even all of them. It’s the body and the head, but only one of the arms, because it was almost midnight and I still had 100 pieces to sort through and I still wouldn’t have had time to iron them all without staying up for at least another hour and a half, and that’s not a good plan when you’re still recovering from being sick. I managed school yesterday by sitting down and rolling around the room a LOT, and today will be even higher maintenance…so much so that I was dreaming about how to manage it (ugh, why do I have to DREAM about school as well as live it?), so I don’t need to overdo it at this point. I actually used the sentence, “This is your Come-to-Jesus Moment” in class yesterday. Multiple times. Yeah. I know. Apparently you don’t have to work when the teacher is gone.

Sigh. I sigh a lot for school. Anyway. Tonight I can iron. I can finish finding all the flesh pieces, figure out what other fabrics can work for the level 1 and 2 in the flesh, and then iron them all down. All that after finishing grading yet another assignment tonight. Yeah. Yes. OK.

When I’m sorting through and finding all the actual flesh pieces, there’s all these left over for later…hearts and lungs and hair and whatever isn’t flesh.

There’s a lot of that at the moment. All that will need choosing at some point. Probably not tonight.

So I had to cover all this last night because kittens…

Would destroy this in an instant. I don’t like leaving it at this stage, but hopefully it will be OK. Hopefully I will be too. Meanwhile, I have a parent meeting this morning and a tiring day ahead. Lots of sitting? I don’t know how I will do that. But maybe I will. Based on yesterday, at some point, my body will make me whether I want to or not.

Sometimes We Just Have to Be OK…

I’m like warmed-up tea you left in the microwave, a little chilly with that gross skin on top. Really you should just throw it out and start over, which is how I feel about this last week. Not an option though. I spent the last two days at home, mostly in bed or on the couch. Today I have graduated, albeit briefly, to the chair in the office, which is a little too upright for how I’m feeling at the moment. The fever has abated, though, and I’m eating enough food to keep a human alive, which helps when you’re a diabetic. I’m still weak, still stuffed up, still coughing up blobs of inhuman crap…well, it comes from a human, so it must not be inhuman. Outside, it’s raining, pretty heavily at the moment. The big dog is in here with me, because in her old age, weather is frightening. She keeps looking up at me like I can stop it. Like I can stop anything, sweet girl. I can’t.

Yesterday I was well enough to grade a whole host of minor stuff and stalk my students on their computers, shutting down games and stupid Google searches for stuff that had nothing to do with what they were supposed to be working on. Monday will be a Come-to-Jesus moment for all of them. I need to go to school at some point this weekend to pick up all the crap that’s there. Or do I? I have plenty here still to grade: the assessments that require brain power, of which I’ve had none for three days. Questionable whether I have any today. The job goes on.

I am better. That is good.

Wednesday night was a SAQA meeting in this library space that looks like a cell. I guess I’d be glad to have my fabric stuff if I were in jail.

Seems like it wouldn’t be allowed. I didn’t get a ton done, but I got some…

Just cutting stuff out. Got more to iron. Maybe standing will be on the agenda later today. I wasn’t feeling well then either…it was day 2 at that point…I didn’t know how bad it would get.

That’s kinda where my body gave up on this cold thing. I thought I would be OK the next morning. In fact, I felt fine until I tried to stand up. And that’s when I realized I couldn’t go to work. Luckily a sub picked up the job and my team printed all my stuff. I’m pretty sure I was delirious when I recorded a video (no face showing!) for my students, but then I went back to bed for 6 hours.

There were a lot of animals around…

Thursday night, my fever picked up again, after being gone all day, so I preemptively called off sick for Friday, something I never do…two days off? WTF? Oh well. The body isn’t going to heal if I don’t let it.

Lots of lying around with animals ensued.

Some sleep. I read a whole book. I graded stuff. I watched some TV. I spaced out for hours.

Coughed up buckets of phlegm. Bleck. But then Friday evening, I started to feel almost human. No fever. Ate some stuff. Not a lot. Managed to unpack two quilts that were just returned to me. One of them had this on one of the hanging slats. Hmmm. No notice of that anywhere else I’d seen. Interesting.

Well at least I got that, right?

I managed to finish the last little bit of this weird thing…

I’ll get some help photographing it later today. Need someone to hold a towel or something behind it.

Fancy-ass photography methods.

Otherwise, continue to recover. Continue to grade. Hope for enough energy and presence of mind to iron some fabric. If not, read another book. We can’t always be amazing. Sometimes we just have to be OK.

Be OK…

Hmmm. It’s morning. I’m ill. I’m tired, despite more sleep than usual. I read an article about three of my former students, one sentenced yesterday for 15 years for killing the other 2 in a car accident. Geez. As teachers, we hope we only see the good news, the kids going to college and being successful, and I do see some of those. This one, it’s a shock…but maybe also not. It certainly makes me walk into some classes today with a new lens. You want them all to be OK, to realize how to be a good adult, but they don’t all do that. Sad. Very sad. We really do care about all of them, mostly, even the assholes. Although there’s some I’m glad I’ll never see again. Those are always the ones who come back and tell me they finally figured it out. I do a lot of deep breathing sometimes with a few of these kids. Today will hopefully be easy. Yesterday, they were tuned out, still asleep from their 3-day weekend, shocked when they realized I was going to make them DO something by themselves based on what I just talked about. Oh yeah baby.

Today they will be researching in groups, so some will be motivated and some won’t, as always. But I don’t have to talk all period, like I did yesterday. I might even sit down, based on how I’m feeling at the moment. It’s not a good day to be out sick. None of them ever are, but this is the intro to the assessment, so…well, hell, I have a real hard time not coming to school. I come back and they’ve done nothing and it is just frustrating. So I’ll go and hopefully the meds will kick in soon.

I came home from tutoring yesterday (I sat all through tutoring, just moved from one kid to another) and laid on the couch for at least an hour, reading a graphic novel and trying to find my brain. It eventually worked. I ate a little and talked to the girlchild, but then was able to grade one class of last week’s assessment. I really didn’t want to go to bed without making art. It just sucks. So I rallied and found about 45 minutes of ironing strength.

Enough to iron the Earth together…

It’s not much, but it’s something. I needed something. Something creative.

Right now I need a brain. Some energy. Possibly someone to drive me to school. Nah. I’m good. Am I? Fuck. It’s not the flu…just some cold. I should be able to survive that. More tea. Sitting a lot. It’ll be good. A nap during lunch. Oh wait, kids are coming to take quizzes during lunch. Damn. OK. Well. Napping during prep. When we need to write an entire unit before next Wednesday. Minor issue. Yah. It’ll be fine.

Wherever It Works Best…

It was a hard day yesterday, lots of driving, lots of memories of my cousin. She was only 57 and really, honestly, the sweetest (yet still sarcastic and stubborn) of all of us. Church doesn’t do much for me (some of them are beautiful and all), but the priest did a good job despite all that, and spending time with family I hadn’t seen in years afterwards was a good thing. The drive was long, but being a holiday, it could have been much longer. I walked back in the door at home at about 3:30, and walked out 10 minutes later for MY church, the outdoors…

Although to be clear, I don’t do gods either. So really all those Mother Nature/Earth Mother quilts I do? Those are what’s in my head. She’s harsh, she’s beautiful, she’s uncontrollable, and we’re killing her. Or she’ll overcome all our stupidity and let the cockroaches rule next time. But the priest said one thing that’s true…my cousin will live on in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts. We debated some of the other stuff said on the way home, just the wording. They’ve changed the Lord’s Prayer again and I don’t know it any more. That’s probably OK. Anyway, may we all remember Jennifer wherever it works best for us.

For me, it’s out here.

With these sweet dumbasses.

We finally found the plant that makes the dogs smell like maple syrup…

California cudweed…it’s everywhere. And now we need pancakes. I don’t actually like maple syrup. At all.

The pond is back…there’s been enough rain for it to exist…

We don’t feel like we’ve had enough rain this year…I think it was all too early. We need more.

Anyway, so then I made dinner and graded a bunch of stuff, and slowly realized the tired spacey feeling I had was actual illness. I changed out of my pajamas and drove to the pharmacy for “the real stuff,” as the guy said, because I’m not going to make it through this week without medication if that’s the case. I know I sat by someone with a cold somewhere in the last 4 days (besides my students), so apparently being exhausted and stressed out let my immune system fall short. It happens a couple of times a year, unfortunately. So I didn’t make any art last night…I went to bed two hours early to try to make up for getting up too early yesterday and to hopefully give my body some rest to overcome this thing.

Hopefully tonight I’ll rally a bit, finish the book project, maybe do something else. I’m so behind on everything. I can’t focus. I want to be ironing fabrics, so maybe, if I have the energy, I’ll work on that. And more grading. Fun stuff.

Not My Thing…

‘Tis early and there is not enough caffeine in the world. And yet I rise. Not in a good way…just…I managed to get out of bed and get showered and dressed. A challenge met.

I’m driving to Long Beach today for my cousin’s funeral thing in a church. Not a burial, not a reception, just the church part. I don’t know when the rest is happening. No one does. I’m still pretty weirded out that she’s dead, but I know this shit happens, especially as we all start getting old. I’m starting to write this in my office in San Diego, but have to leave soon to drive the parentals, so that means I’ll probably either finish it up there, sitting, waiting (churches are really not my thing), or I’ll come home and finish.

Saturday we tried natural dyes…

The teacher prepped all the fabrics for us…

We did paper too…and a little stitching resist…

Some dye for that, logwood?

Pulling it out of the dye…

I unwrapped somebody else’s because she grabbed mine. I knew it wasn’t mine because I didn’t recognize the leaves…

These are still wet…

Drying at home…

The paper was more impressive…

Finished grading the projects…

Kitten cleaning kitten…

Saturday night drawing while watching a band…

Here it is…

Sunday pups…

And the old lady with Nova…

Sitting in a Starbucks…going to go to church soon. Not something you hear from me often. I’m tired…art tonight?