Insanity Laughs Under Pressure We’re Cracking*

I’m still trying to process all the gun killings last week. I’m trying to process the idiotic things people say after gun shootings and all the arguments I’ve seen on line and did I mention stupid shit people say? Whether you’re pro or con CNN, last night they refused to show the shooter’s picture or say his name…instead they spent an hour or so talking about the victims…about the couple that had been married at the synagogue 60+ years earlier, about the two brothers who were always there. I have to admit to not being able to watch…but it was an admirable choice. And little to no mention of the two African Americans gunned down in a Krogers, one with his grandson watching. WTF America? WTF. My anti-gun quilt (let me be clear, I am anti-gun) has arrived in Chicago for the Quilt+Resist show, not that it will change the minds of anyone who believes their right to a gun is greater than the rights of others to live their lives.

I am an absolute stress monkey at the moment. I have way too much on my plate and I’m exploding all over the place. I’m trying not to. I need to meditate. Last night, my meditation was in the form of ironing fabric…and a little bit of stitching. After I finished some of the grading, of course.

I did that flower in the left corner. Sometimes people ask me why I stitch on this when it’s not my design. Because it’s relaxing. And I can finish something in 20 minutes, even if it’s just a flower.

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Then I messed with the road again. This road is a pain in the ass. But I’m almost done with it…I think. Although mine won’t fit around the corner until I sew the other blocks onto it…so that will have to wait.

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Then I fussed with a unit my co-teacher is piloting and I’m sort of piloting as well, but I wasn’t at the training and the book is confusing and it’s hard to know what we can do in one period, plus I have to leave stuff for a sub while I’m in Boston, and somewhere in there, my head exploded because I couldn’t figure out how to open the damn PDF in Preview so I could pull out the homework. My kids are going to freak out with this much homework.

It was past 10 PM when I made it in here, the studio, the place where art happens and sometimes I grade shit. Sorted the first 100 pieces…piles of huge and piles of tiny.

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The huge are dirt and water (I didn’t iron any water last night)…the tiny are animals, mostly a snake is what I dealt with…in fact, there’s the snake laid out down there.

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Hopefully she looks as cool in real life as it did in my head when I was laying out its complicated ass. Seriously. Ten fabrics for one snake that is about 3″ square.

I didn’t get far. Although I have dirt fabrics picked for the rest of the mountain, I think. I need to add some grassy bits to it though. And make sure whatever is behind the bobcat makes it pop out.

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So mostly that’s sand and dirt, with a few rocks and a snake. Not even 100 pieces ironed last night.

I also did the last bit of my Halloween costume. You figure it out.

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I didn’t have a chance to walk the dogs (and myself) last night. That didn’t help. I calendared it for Wednesday, when I have some chance of getting home at a reasonable hour. Not last night. Not tonight. Now the eyelid is twitching as well. Sure that’s a sign of stress and tiredness (dog had to pee at 4:33 AM…not 11:50 PM, when I tried to take her out…4:33 AM, when I didn’t want to be outside half naked with a flashlight.).

*Queen and David Bowie, Under Pressure (I don’t pick these…my Pandora is psychic)

Put Your Money Somewhere It Will Do Good

So this is really early and only vaguely coherent…either that or it’s really late, but still vaguely coherent. I was trying to get myself to bed early last night to get up for this crazy-ass flight this morning, and honestly, I suck at the relax and go-to-bed part of my life, so we’d watched the end of one of the Marvel movies (don’t have to watch TOO hard) and I was tracing Wonder Under (only got to about 720 or so, more on that later) and then stopped drinking tea (don’t attribute my sleeplessness to that…it doesn’t matter…I’ve tried without drinking it and I still am wired until after midnight) and drank a glass of wine and stopped trying to trace and was trying to actually physically walk down the hallway to the bedroom, but I had this Facebook post I wanted to do for one of the groups I’m in, but I was missing one piece of information. So I went to the website to see if I could find it on my own, and I found out (about a month after the fact) that my gun control quilt, Rooted in America, won 2nd place in Fantastic Fibers. Wow. OK. Wasn’t expecting that (isn’t that the best kind of award? Yes. Yes it is.).

But (and I woke up at about 1 AM on this one) I’ve had this tab open on my computer for a GoFundMe that I really wanted to send some money to, but it’s the time of year when I have to make sure I have enough to get through the whole summer with no paycheck, and I’m not sure of that yet, so I was waiting on the donation until I got through the end of school and all the kid expenses etc. before I donated, because maybe it was going to be a significant donation because I think this group is doing really good work and maybe it was not going to be as significant because two months with no paycheck is kinda painful. So now I can gladly send the larger amount…which makes me happy.

So the awesome cause is one I’ve talked about before, Social Justice Sewing Academy. They’re doing a summer program for kids and will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10K. You should check it out here…and give them some money, if you feel up to it. Not only are their quilts amazing, but the kids they work with are our future and we need to get them involved in politics and change for all our sakes. So as soon as that check gets here, I’m pushing most of it back out into the world to do good.

Meanwhile, like I said, I traced some stuff, but not enough…I shall survive.

I started the fourth yard of Wonder Under…

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I’m in the 700s…

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I misnumbered…again! Pieces 670 to 699, and then I restarted at 670 again. AGAIN. So that’s 29 pieces with a’s on them (all on the back at the moment…hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out in real time when I iron)…plus one that wasn’t even numbered, so it got a b.

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I’m leaving 5 animals in the capable hands of this guy…I’m sure he’s up to it, although he’s rethinking it right about now, when all three will start barking at the arrival of the car to take me to the airport…

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This one was not sure at all last night as to why there was luggage and Katie (my parents’ dog) and all this hustle and bustle…

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They will all be fine. With that, I gotta go get moving.

I Don’t Ever Wanna Feel Like I Did That Day*

Yeah, I’m up early. I was already awake…trying to remind myself in my sleep to wear my anti-gun-violence T-shirt today for Columbine. Things we remember: Reagan being shot, Columbine, 9/11. Fun stuff. Right eye is twitching. Yesterday was calmer. Today will be frenetic, because things are due to the teacher and you didn’t tell us! I did. You aren’t giving us enough time! Yes I am. Next week will be a little more chill. But we’ll be talking about what war does to a country, to a national park, to be specific, and that’s walking a fine line sometimes. Too many of my students have direct experience with guns and bombs falling. I think about that and I’m glad I grew up in sunny Southern California, where the only guns are in the workplace and at school. Whoops! No seriously, my growing-up time was also pretty chill. Same stupid drama you always see in middle and high school, but also dances and parades and homework and ditching school and dressing up for Halloween and all that stuff. No war, except the cold one. No weapons, except the nuclear ones.

The quilt I’m working on now isn’t about guns or even women’s rights or climate change or anything else political. It’s personal. I need a little mental space to work on it…it’s easier to see each piece as this particular shape than to try to tag it on social media with what’s important. What’s important? Across the board, how we treat people. All people…whether we’re trying to work with them in a group or teach them or love them or be with them or just stand in line with them in the grocery store. Or like that guy who was trying to drive up my ass the other day because he wanted to pass the truck in the other lane and he was in the wrong lane and I wasn’t going fast enough for him, so all I could see was the grill of his pickup truck and his middle finger thrusting at me in my rearview mirror. Really? I was doing 67 mph in an only lane that was exiting that freeway. Not fast enough. I wonder about his life that he thought that was an appropriate move. I hate that those guys sit in my chest and make all the feels.

I graded more yesterday. I’m trying to get caught up. It’s frustrating though, because then some kid emails me, completely confused about what I graded, but he never turned it in. So that’s a zero, sweetheart. I can’t (won’t) grade what you don’t turn in.

I had quilt class last night, which is just the two of us most times now…which is fine. I didn’t want to haul all the stuff to trace Wonder Under, so I just took the box of things that need sewing down. I forgot half my thread, but this is my quilt teacher, so she has that stuff. We like never run out of thread…the spools last seven thousand years when you’re doing applique…it’s such short strands. Even all the bindings I’ve sewn down…I think only the black and the dark blue thread are anywhere near empty…and they’re still NOT empty. When I die, it will be spools of thread and art exhibit announcements…and the FABRIC that drive my children bonkers. I’m OK with that. Maybe by then, I’ll be a mural painter and it will be my spray paint collection in the garage instead.

I got the lion’s body down, the two rectangles in the background, the body of whatever that gray animal is, and now I’m working on the tree. Still lots to do. Not even sure where the wool thread is for that blue hut.

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This is Mind the Gap, a show I will never see in person, unfortunately, due to the stupid hours. It closes today, I think…pick up is next week. Good friends drive down and photograph the show for you. Mine is on the right…there’s more pictures, but I didn’t have the energy to download them all yesterday. I partnered with James Watts, whose kokeshi doll is being stared down by my angry earth mother.

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I’ll post more later for that. I swear.

Then after dinner and grades, I started tracing the new quilt. At 1000 pieces (and it’s 1001…I just found one I missed), it’s going to be a while…

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There are some big rug pieces in there that take up lots of space on the first yard of Wonder Under. There are three figures on this quilt…so there will be lots of flesh tones. The fireplace is gray stone. Something to think about. The background will have two colors: floor and wall. How will I get the contrast I usually love? Well I need to consider that. Red wall? Dark brown wood floor? Dark gray stones in the fireplace? We’ll see. Complicated for sure. It’ll be at least 10 hours of tracing, probably more like 12. So I won’t be done with that until the end of next week probably. Good to have goals.

Time is tight. 39 days. Will I be making the other one also? What…am I nuts? Sigh. Yes. Yes I am. It may not be possible. I may have to reconsider. I may have to work harder.

This was at school. I have no idea why.

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Early meeting today. Long day today. But there’s a weekend and that’s a good thing.

*Red Hot Chili Peppers, Under the Bridge

Sitting All Alone Inside Your Head*

I think right now, at 2:15 PM on Saturday, I finally have some sense of being on Spring Break. Mostly. I have a pile of stuff to grade, both online and physically on my light table (so the Golden Retriever can’t eat it). I have a quilt to finish. I took 290 or so people to the zoo yesterday with my teacher cohorts. Today, I marched in the March for Our Lives. I was exhausted all week. The last thing I wanted to do was get up this morning and march, but I did it. Because I had to. Because people aren’t listening. If I can be part of the mass of humanity that has to show the fuck up, stand out there, and keep yelling before the politicians hear us, then so be it. I will keep marching. I got up, made a sign, picked up my teacher friend, found parking, and marched. I am still exhausted. Let’s hope I get some rest in the next two weeks.

So here’s the last few days…well, actually, this is a photo of my significant housemate cat owner other. That guy who lives here. One of the band wives took this picture at House of Blues last weekend…one of his non-keyboarding songs. Nice lighting…

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OK, back to this week…zoo yesterday. I had a good group, which helped, because I made them go fast…

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I really love the new baboon exhibit. It’s fascinating to watch them.

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Especially the young ones…

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I wish they were all in open spaces…

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Because these fences suck for photography…

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And the penguin/shark exhibit is cool too.

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Hua Mei was out and awake…

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These guys! I had to laugh…

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So after the zoo, we came back, managed some crazy, watched a school play, and then cleaned classrooms for break, so they can redo our floors. I forgot to water the plants. Oh well. And then I came home for about 10 minutes and drove to an opening in La Jolla, where I forgot to take pictures, then more driving to gaming…where, yes…I did in fact cut out pieces for the new quilt.

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For #igquiltfest, the theme for the 23rd was stash. This is maybe a third of my stash. There’s more. It’s messy…I haven’t put everything back from the last quilt. I don’t usually do that until the quilt is done, in case I need to cut a piece, like if I lost one…

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Then I got up this morning, and made this sign…

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The gloves are to show I’m watching my politicians…except I forgot and left them in the car. Whoops!

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And we marched…

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Me and my quilt teacher, who also teaches in my district (and made the eyeball gloves)…

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It was a beautiful day. But it’s almost like I don’t want to smile or acknowledge the gorgeous weather, because I’m marching for something pretty damn serious.

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There was a lot of anti-NRA stuff…which I’m totally OK with. We have let political lobbies control too much of government.

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The only way to improve this situation is to start passing a LOT of gun control legislation. I’m lucky to live in a fairly liberal state, but my city isn’t liberal. And certainly where I live is not.

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The kids were out. The teachers were out. So yeah, as a teacher on the first day of Spring Break, thoroughly mentally and physically exhausted, it was very difficult to get up this morning and put on my boots and face all this. YES. I wanted to stay in bed and sleep in and lounge around in pajamas all day.

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But I didn’t. Because this. You need to hear us.

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So. Now I’m on break. Marching was something I had to do. I would love to go back to not needing to do that. But it doesn’t seem like that’s happening soon. And that makes me sad.

Today? I have grading and quiltmaking. For the rest of the day. Hopefully getting my head in a better place.

*Stone Sour, Through Glass

I Really Don’t Want to Make Another Quilt about Gun Violence

So I’m wearing orange today…#ENOUGH…because dumbasses with guns shoot up schools. And my government lets them…hands them the guns sometimes. And if I were going to head up a committee to “harden up” schools (omg that person has never taught at a Title I middle school), I would not put DeVos in charge of it, because the only words she knows are “vouchers” and “school choice,” and she can’t figure out how to put those in a sentence with “save the kids.” So today sucks. I can’t walk out because my kids won’t get it and I’m responsible for them. I’m responsible for their learning and their safety and their cleanliness and their appropriate behavior in the classroom and a whole host of other things. And none of us get paid enough to stand between a gun and our students but most of us would. But I’m walking out in spirit. I hope you see it, all you NRA supporters who are up for election in 2018. I hope it makes you pee your $1000 pair of pants right down into your real leather shoes.

Meanwhile, back in the classroom, as a teacher, I’m constantly looking at what I’m teaching and trying to decide if they get it. I think on a one-on-one basis, most are sort of getting it, but this group is very slow-moving and often completely off task. And mean. Empathy is hard. It’s hard for some adults. So slogging through that and thinking I suck as a teacher on a daily basis is really dragging me down. I’ve analyzed it. I taught this last year. It’s completely possible for them to do what I ask them to do…but it’s taking me a lot more management than last year. And they’re not being incredibly successful. That may be more about the time of year than about anything over which I have control. Plus middle school reminds you of how little control you really have.

So that’s making the days exhausting.

Last night, I managed to finish the commission quilt. That’s exciting. All the binding and sleeves are done. I need to email the photographer and see if Sunday works for him…and then hopefully I can mail it to the new owners next week some time (oh school, please keep the meetings to a minimum). I do need to put a label on it too. Because it’s a commission that wasn’t from something already in existence (my last two commissions were redos of parts of larger pieces), I’m giving the new owners some time to live with the quilt before they decide if it’s what they really want. I’m hoping it is, but it seems fair to give them a choice. They’ve paid me a percentage for making it so far, so if it comes back to me, I have the quilt and some money for my time. Commissions are strange beasts in art. Useful but strange.

Puppy is helping me sew bindings on while watching one of the funniest episodes of Black Mirror ever (U.S.S. Callister, Season 4, Episode 1)…

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Not an official picture, obviously. I still need to calculate hours etc.

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Now here’s the real crazy. I have two weeks to finish another one. Normally that would be impossible. Certainly looking at the number of meetings I have this week and my disaster of a weekend, you’d say No Effing Way. But the drawing is done, it’s numbered, and as of last night, I’m almost done with tracing the Wonder Under.

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All I have left is the head. The hair is even done.

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About 60 pieces left for tonight. And it only has 664 pieces total (well, there were a few numbering issues). It’s not huge. And after next week, I have a whole week off of school.

Can I do it? Maybe. It depends on a lot of stuff, but I’m going to make an attempt. If I fail, I’ll still have a new quilt made in time for some show, right? I did get into another show, a local one, opening April 12…called Art That Cuts…I think mine qualifies in many ways. It’ll be at Mesa College and I should be there for the opening, assuming it’s at an hour I can go (unlike the one opening tomorrow, yeah?).

Simba is sad when it rains. He doesn’t like to pee or poop when it’s wet. He is a floofy dog. Rain is terrifying.

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And yes, it’s raining again. Hard. Hopefully it will stop by lunch so we can go link arms in the quad against gun violence in schools. I really don’t want to do another quilt about that.

I’m Trying Hard to Take It Back*

Yesterday was a no art day. I went to book club. I was tired. I think I might be getting sick, which would probably mess up the weekend’s plans. I’m holding out hope at this point. We’ll see. I did grade a little bit yesterday, but mostly I read a bunch of stuff online about our stupid president and his belief that arming teachers is the best way to solve the school shooting issue.

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If someone told me I had to carry a gun to do my job, I’d quit. If someone told me that someone else on campus was carrying a gun, a teacher or a coach, to apparently protect us, I’d quit. I wouldn’t trust the idiot who thought that was a good idea. The idiots who believe more guns solve the gun control issue can come teach. They can come work the monstrous hours we work, deal with the crazy behaviors and rules and testing we deal with, they can do the parent meetings and the staff meetings and the professional development and the reading of this book in your free time so we can not discuss it later and the grading and accountability and all that shit. They can look at their paycheck and see how they feel about being highly educated and highly disrespected by their own society. They can stress over the weekend and late into the night about lesson plans, kids with suicidal tendencies, and principals with crazy agendas. They can do all that.

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Oh wait. They can’t. Or they won’t. There are so many things wrong with this solution, I can’t stop banging my head on my desk over it. It’s bad enough that I have to consider my life over those of my students (because we would protect them). I did not choose that as part of my job. I did not join the military, the police force, or even the fire department. I do not fight in wars, I do not train in artillery, I do not shoot at targets. I chose to teach kids to think and grow. I chose to do something positive in society. I did not choose to carry a gun. I will not choose to carry a gun.

Sigh. So today is my last day with my current counselor…I started seeing her in 2013 because something really shitty and awful and devastating happened and it was beyond me. She has calmly and rationally pulled me down off whatever sky-high branch I flew to and helped me remold the pieces of my brain that broke back then so that they are mostly functioning. They’re not perfect…they never will be…they won’t even be that cool Japanese Kintsugi, where they mend broken pots with gold. They are stitched together with my drawings and my quilts and held with a few hands in place. The joining places do feel fragile at times, even now, but I think I’m OK. She tried to graduate me out of counseling a year ago, and I wasn’t ready. It feels like if I stop going that some massive horrible thing will happen again and I will fall to pieces again. I’m really paranoid about that. And when I tell her that, she nods her head and walks me through my achievements of the last 4 1/2 years and I say OK, I get it, I hear you, I’m not ready.

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Someday this will be a quilt. I’m not ready for that yet.

But I guess I’m ready to stop going to counseling. Because I know if more shit hits the fan (and it inevitably will…it’s just a matter of how and when, because that’s what it was last time…a how and when and out of the blue with no warning is not apparently a good thing for me), I will maybe freak out and maybe not and if I do, I know where to go. I know how to get there. I did it last time. I realized my head was broken and I went to get it fixed. I didn’t think it was fixable at the time, but it turns out I mend. I’m not the same person any more. But I am still me. I’m better at some things now and worse at others. I can’t see colors in the dark very well any more. I’ve got some major baggage that I don’t seem to be able to shed. I guess it’s enough to know it’s there and to manage it when it tumbles down on top of me.

So tonight? Tonight I will say goodbye to my counselor and hope I never need to see her again (strange relationship that)…and I will come home and hopefully sort some fabrics and start ironing them together, and this thing that’s pretending to be the beginnings of a cold will give up and move on, and the president and all his gun-toting cronies will disappear in some sort of a meteor crater that also sucks up all the automatic weapons and other stupid shit but doesn’t hurt any innocent people or children. Wait. That one is probably pretty unrealistic.

*Fun. We Are Young

Karma Police, Arrest This Man*

I didn’t write about the school shooting in Florida yesterday because I couldn’t deal with it. When I first saw the news, it was calling the 17 people injured, which changed later to dead. I had to read the headline 5 times until it sunk in, because before they were injured…now they were dead. Nothing has changed up top though. No one is listening. If you have a gun and you’re not using it to keep bears off your property or some other similar problem (no, that doesn’t count for immigrants or people of color, assholes…you don’t get to use them on people unless you’re a cop AND you have a really good reason that will hold up in court and it doesn’t have anything to do with shit you imagined was there or happening), then please give it up so we can send YOU our thoughts and prayers about how you will possibly be able to exist without your weapon, rather than how those 17 families will possibly be able to exist without their child or father or mother or whatever.

New work from Kathy Nida

I didn’t read any articles or watch any videos about it until last night (when I wrote this), when I had finished grading, because honestly, it’s the one thing that might make me leave teaching, the thought that some idiot might come on campus and kill a bunch of kids, even that the one idiot might be one of my ex-students, still irritated that they earned an F for doing no work. It’s not fear for me (although that is there), but fear that their anger would reach out to other people on campus, that other kids or adults would die because the kid was angry at me. It’s not just the dead bodies…it’s those you left behind filled with fear as well, fear to come to school, fear about the people around you.

At my first teaching job, 9 days in, that’s what happened. A kid brought a gun to school to kill the teacher who “gave” him an F. We don’t give Fs. You earn them. Just like some kids earn As, Bs, etc. And no, I don’t think the grades themselves are the problem. I think the problem is that often kids don’t see themselves as producers of anything. At some point, they will need to work. They need all the skills and practice they can get, but they need to put time into that. Right now, as I’m grading a major project that they had 9 days to complete, I’m seeing a lot of that inability to complete. The lack of connection from work product to grade. It’s frustrating. We need to teach them to think, but they also need to believe that thinking is important. And yes, it’s incredibly difficult sometimes to get a 12-year-old to care about that product if their own life has a significant amount of suckage or drama or if support is lacking.

So yeah, I guess if I’m going down in a blaze of gunfire, it will be either protecting my students from some dick with a gun or because I “gave” someone an F. That’s a motivator to inflate grades, I guess. Anyone ever think that one through? And then you have more kids applying to college who can’t read, write, or do math of any sort. Doesn’t look good on the job front. Honestly, they need to be able to problem solve more than any of that, and that’s where the kids seem to lose their brains sometimes. Sigh.

I hate my government and the politicians who are refusing to solve this problem. I don’t hate a lot of things. Well, I hate chocolate because it makes me throw up. I hate asshole drivers, although maybe if they’re not in their bigass vehicles trying to shove their shiny metal grill up your ass, maybe just maybe they are kind and gentle people who don’t throw their cigarettes out the window. It’s possible. But I really really hate every single politician out there who is refusing to listen to that kid from Florida who was on campus during the shooting: You’re the adults. We’re just kids. Why can’t you solve this?

Short Answer: We can. If we don’t want all these mass shootings, we have to look at the gun control laws in place in ALMOST EVERY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Yeah. That.

Sigh. Such a big sigh. I guess I can’t ignore the bad and ugly for long.

Anyway, so I graded stuff last night…this project requires me to watch a 3- to 5-minute-long video for every kid (that might have been a mistake)…but it’s OK, because 50 kids didn’t even do the video and of the other 80, about half did less than 3 minutes. I can’t say it’s the most exciting thing in the world to grade, but I multitask and grade other things while I’m watching. I finished one period yesterday and had grades ranging from a perfect score to an 11/65. It is what it is. I have on my calendar to do one period a day (well, I put 4th and 6th together, because 6th is tiny). I’ll be done Sunday hopefully. Grades are due in a few weeks, so I have to get control of this. Because my core job is teaching kids…not protecting them from political insanity.

Unfortunately, just making a quilt doesn’t stop that shit.

I did iron a bit yesterday…wait, before I did that, I did some binding sewing on the piece that’s been lying around…I ate dinner (alone). Yesterday I ate lunch alone, had my prep period alone and came home and hung out alone and there was a lot of alone, except for all the shooting crap in my head. It was not a good thing.

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I still have a lot of binding to do. This weekend? Maybe.

As you can see, I am not allowed in my own chair. Oh. And I’m still managing to keep a weekly journal of the shit I need to do, the shit I got done, and the shit I keep moving to the next day on the off chance that it might get done. I do get to use color pens to do it though, so it’s totally worth it.

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I actually had to write a proposal statement for one art show, and then I got into another art show, so I had to organize my calendar for that. I honestly keep losing a week of February (isn’t it over yet???). I guess that’s a good thing. Because I have a week I think I didn’t have? I guess.

So I did finally get to ironing. It was late. And then I was tired. I did some hair and some other thing and then got stymied by eye color. So I’m waiting on an email from the mom about eye color, but honestly, I could have kept going on the ironing. I was just too tired to do it. It’ll get done. Hopefully tonight.

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The pile that needs to be cut out…

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Seriously, there’s so little left to iron…although there’s more under the box to the left. I was too tired even to unearth those for the photo. It’s not a lot. It was just too many decisions on color. Hard to do that when you’re really tired.

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Here’s the other piece that will be in a show in March through May: We Won’t Go Back

It’s a local show down in San Ysidro, Dia de la Mujer. Cool stuff. I have about a million openings coming up in March and April. This is not a bad problem to have, surely.

So I’m going to go to school now and wonder about the sanity of some of my failing students, whether they would be the one to come to school and shoot up the classroom. I’m going to look at some of the kids who I just referred for counseling (actually, I’m not…because they don’t worry me…it’s the angry ones who worry me…). I’m going to keep on teaching them to think, best I can. I’m going to hold them accountable for their work, best I can. I’m going to continue to care about their minds, their hearts, their corporeal presence on this earth, best I can. Even the assholes. And some of them are assholes…but they’re kids, so I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they will grow up to be less than assholes. And I’m going to keep voting. And telling others to vote. Seriously, you need to vote the assholes out. All of them. Every single one.

*Radiohead, Karma Police

Follow a Rejection with an Entry

So I got news on two exhibits yesterday. One was earlier than I had expected and it was good news…the other was bad news and kind of upsetting, because I really wanted this piece to go out into the world…

This is Rooted in America, and yes, I made it for the Loaded Conversations show that SAQA is putting on with the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. I think it was a hard rejection not because I had made it specifically for that show…I do that all the time…but more because I had so much personal emotion stitched into it. A recent staff meeting had us going over what to do if a shooter is on campus (Run, Hide, Fight). As someone said, if 20 1st graders dying at Sandy Hook isn’t going to persuade politicians to change gun laws, nothing is. Until we replace those politicians. It’s a frustrating thing.

But I do understand a juror looking at a pile of work and trying to make what they think is a cohesive show out of it. I don’t know if this piece will ever be shown, though, because it is controversial…but it’s made. I guess that’s my part in it. I’ll keep entering it until it ages out.

The show I got into is at the Branch Gallery in Los Angeles, opening March 17 in the afternoon. Two openings in one day…could be a little crazy. More about that show later, since this is just a preliminary notification…not so official. But put it on your calendar if you’re in the LA area.

So the piece I’m making now is for a juried show as well, so it might not get in. As always. I’m used to it. I do handle rejections OK most of the time. And I’m OK now with this one…I was just really disappointed. I wanted to be able to say my piece. That your need for a gun is not more important than my students’ needs to feel safe. I still believe that.

Meanwhile, I’ve still got 40 hours of stuff to do on the current quilt before…well…the 26th. Yeah. Kinda crazy timing, but it’ll do. Boychild is on a roll of trying to get shit done around here…which means I haven’t gotten much done on the quilt since Thursday night. But I’m also still exhausted from school, even after 9 hours of sleep last night and a couple of cups of tea and a 2 1/2 mile hike with the dogs. OK, wait, the last one is part of why I’m tired right now.

I could nap.

Most of the grading I need to do is online, but I did bring this pile of Unit 3 home…

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I have 6 assignments to grade and this is the biggest one by far. I don’t have a plan this year. Sometimes I say I will do ONE A DAY! UNTIL THEY ARE DONE! And I start with good intentions, get bogged down by the holidays, and flail mightily at the end. I don’t think I ever finish them all over break. So there we are. And with 40 hours of quilting needed on this quilt in the next 9 days, along with all the holiday stuff, I’m not promising shit at the moment. So there.

I had gaming last night. We are in a difficult situation that has lasted over two sessions so far and will probably continue for a couple more before we can stop and heal our people. I happily finished stitching the monkey while we rolled dice and tried to figure out what to do in hindsight.

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That guinea fowl’s feet can’t go on until I attach this to whatever’s below it. But before that, I’m stitching the sheep block in the top right…

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I think the guinea fowl on the right might lose his feet when I stitch it together…but I can redo them. There’s a third block that goes with this month…I haven’t even started the embellishment on it. Stitching this stuff is so relaxing for me. Stitching and drawing. Not grading. I have 23 days off. It sounds like a lot. It never feels like it though. At least 30 hours of grading in there, plus two hours when I have to do professional development, whether I like it (or need it) or not…I wish I could choose to develop myself in what I need. You know what I need for school? Rock identification. I need a geologist to sit down with me and all the rocks we have loose in the classroom and tell me what they all are, and then tell me how to identify stuff when I’m hiking. That’s what I want for PD. Not “How to Use a Computer” or some variation of that. App speed dating is what I have to sit through when I come back. Sigh. Really? Hope for the best on that one. I guess in real life, I would suck at speed dating. Nothing new when it’s for school.

OK, well, I’m hugely behind on the hand-stitching on that piece that will be done December 31…I should get caught up on that. I need to quilt. I need to enter another show today. I forgot about that. Gonna do that now. Follow a rejection with an entry. It’s fine. Moving on.

There’s Still Time to Change the Road You’re on*

So I spent a couple hours last night worrying about the girlchild, who was on lockdown in a dorm where a robbery took place at gunpoint. Because we need guns for protection, right? Because if anyone else in that dorm had possessed a gun, a whole lot of people would be injured or dead right now. As it is, everyone was fine, although I think both girlchild and I (and quite a few other parents and students) had the shakes for a while. But please don’t ever say to me that you have a right to carry a gun. Nope. You don’t. Not unless you’re a cop…and even then, I have misgivings because so many of our cops are racist and/or reactionary.

Anyway. That’s done.

I did some lazy daisies on the right that look like bull heads.

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And then I ironed all those inner bits and pieces…here’s the layout for the heart and arteries…

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And the pile of fabrics I went through last night…another 3 hours or so yesterday.

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I’m up to 13 hours in the ironing…with about 400 pieces to go, I figure. It’s not been quick, that’s for sure. Here’s just one of the reds in the heart/arteries section…

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Lots of pieces ready to be cut out.

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And all the fabrics I’ve used so far…

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I’ve been working to 1 AM and then falling into bed exhausted. The nighttime hours are better for this, I find. I did copyedit during the day yesterday…more of that today. I haven’t graded any assignments since Sunday, and I need to do some of that too. So I’m probably not going to finish the ironing today…can’t really blow off the moneymaking part of my week yet. I need to get significantly further along. I do have most of today (I’m hiking tonight), all of tomorrow, a few hours on Thanksgiving (mostly nighttime probably), and all of Friday. But I’m realizing it’s never enough. This quilt has to be done and photographed in less than 40 days. I can do that…but the copyediting has to be done in less time than that, and I have to deal with school. I can’t just push that off. Where do the hours go? Staring at fabric, I think. Mostly. And dealing with dogs. Stupid stuff like eating and peeing. I made lasagne from scratch yesterday…but that’s 3 more dinners on top of last night’s. So that was a good thing.

Sitting here watching a hummingbird on the flowers outside my office window…supposed to be in the 90s today. November, my ass.

OK, so shower, eat, copyedit. Consider venturing out for the chicken broth I should’ve bought on Sunday for the turkey I’m making for myself. Gotta make some rolls too. Should do that tomorrow…

Now get up and go.

*Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

At Night the Crickets Creepy*

Well. After a 10-hour day at work (ugh), I realize that although I wrote this well before I left for school, I never hit the final publish button. I do that now. Tired. Yup. But still gonna aim to draw. Even badly. Bad drawing is better than no drawing.

I’m sitting here trying to get enough tea in me to be functional (let’s be real…semi-functional)…the cold/viral thing is starting to wane, although I mostly collapsed after work yesterday for about an hour. And I’m texting my kids back and forth until they start having a discussion of how to write about torture (ah college…the things you have to write about)…and then I’m really out, because I don’t know that I could ever be pro torture. And honestly I don’t know much about it. Sure, there’s torturing pedophiles and crazy dictators and maybe even the current president (although you know he wouldn’t last long, the big baby)…and since the kids are obviously having this discussion because someone has an assignment due, I’m OK just watching them converse 3000 miles away. I miss them. Lots sometimes. Although I have nothing to add to this discussion but that torture is mean and we shouldn’t do it.

So where am I today? I finished ironing all the fabrics down for the little quilt last night. It’s really not THAT little, but compared to the last one…it’s small. I’m not going to keep going on it right now. I really really really need to start drawing the next one tonight. Somewhere I need to find the brain power for it. So expect a lot of bad starts and flailings on paper with Sharpie tonight. Woo! It’ll be great. Seriously. Maybe it will just spill out of me. Sometimes it does.

More stuff on the right, filling in spaces…

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The parental dog is nervous about the new cat…

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Satchemo is not scared of Katie.

I started ironing late…had paperwork, school stuff, other crap to deal with…but I didn’t have much left to iron, so I was pretty sure I could finish.

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Here’s all the fabrics I used. I really did think it was gonna all be bright colors. It’s hard to know what it will actually look like from this though, because it doesn’t show the mix…there’s a lot of blue in this. The purples take up a lot of space. The browns are all in one section. Same with the yellows really.

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There’s the pile…let’s see how long before I actually cut them out.

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I did pick up my most recent quilt from the photographer…first one ever with a gun in it? I think? First one on a beige background, that’s for sure. If that’s important…

New work from Kathy Nida

I’m glad she’s done.

New work from Kathy Nida

It was difficult to draw it, to make it, to quilt it. Sigh.

New work from Kathy Nida

Probably not picking this one for my profile picture any time soon.

New work from Kathy Nida

Although those are my kids, my students. Even the annoying ones. We’d protect all of them.

New work from Kathy Nida

Still gotta write a coherent statement on that one. Tonight. I’ll do that tonight. After teaching all day, meeting with admin, duty before and after school in 103-degree temperatures, tutorial, and protesting at a school board meeting. Yeah. It’ll be fine. Really. It will.

I guess it’s good I had another project that was at a good place for occupying my brain for a week or so. It didn’t seem ready to move on right away.

So this was my crew last night.

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I told them it was bedtime. Some were more ready for it than others. I get it. I was ready. I’m ready again right now, but it’s morning again, so I can’t really go back to bed. Yet. (growth mindset…that’s a teacher joke.)

Art. Tonight we draw. We draw even if we don’t feel like it. We draw to get to the drawing we need to draw.

*Squeeze, Pulling Mussels from the Shell