Not a Soul Up Ahead and Nothing Behind*

So. I ironed it. It’s all ironed. It took 4 hours last night, but I did it. I’m glad. I needed to see it all together. The end of the day was just shit and I’m still carrying all that crap around in my head and I needed to see this done and put together and whole. Ironic, because one of the questions for Monday’s staff meeting is about self care for teachers. Yeah. That. Now did I get enough sleep last night? Fuck no! Of course not. Brain worrying about school shit kept me up and then woke me up early. Thanks brain. That and the covers getting stolen a few million times. Rolling eyes on that one. Sigh.

But I finished the ironing. It took a little over 21 hours total to iron it all…but first, the boychild fed me dinner…

‘Twas good. Nice broken plate there…

I had company on the couch as I decompressed a bit. It was only a 10.5-hour day. No biggie. Really. I’ve done worse.

Thanks guys. I needed that. Have I told you about my soft fluffy animal socks? They have animal faces on them. I put them on my Amazon wishlist for Christmas and my ex got them for me. I love them. Wearing smiling animal faces on my cold feet is awesome. So are pajamas. Pajamas are very awesome.

Then around 8, I went in and ironed the bee and the bug on a leaf onto her face…

She’s got some nature going on.

Then I ironed and sewed together the background fabric…this thing is freaking huge, by the way. The background is cut a little over 79″ w x 70″ h. This might be some of why this thing is taking so long.

It fills the entryway, for sure. I couldn’t go a lot bigger and do this here. So when they’re this big and in multiple pieces, I iron on the entryway floor, because I can’t see everything on the ironing board to line it up. And the tile can take it.

Please remind me when I am old to make smaller quilts. Kneeling on tile is not easy.

One head at a time, Figure 5 first…she’s the base on the left…so it’s an easy place to start.

I moved her a few times, trying to get the spacing right. Her head is not actually attached to her body at this point. When I’m trying to fit a bunch of stuff together that has to actually touch, it’s easier to have a few things loose for leeway.

Adding the head for Figure 4…it overlaps Figure 5’s mouth…

Right now, I have Figure 5’s arm all piled up, because it’s supposed to overlap a bunch of stuff and I’m sorta praying to the fabric goddess at this point that it will all line up.

Shockingly, it did. Figures 1-3 were all ironed together in one piece with the arm from Figure 4…so I plopped that beast down and started trying to make it all go in the right place. I’m still missing the bottom torso piece for Figure 2 here, plus the other hand for Figure 3. And a moth. Oh yeah, and a cloud.

Plus nothing is ironed down.

Finally got it all tacked down well enough to move it, although I lost part of a snake eyeball and the syringe fell apart…

And this is the correct orientation. Syringe fixed. Moth ironed. Cloud placed. Shit, still no snake eyeball. Gotta fix that. That pink arm made it all the way across onto Figure 1 and fit just perfectly. Wow. It’s like it was meant to be. I’m really happy with this. I realize I have at least 10 hours of stitchdown, and then 20+ hours of quilting, plus a lot of inches of binding to do, but it’s all good. It was totally worth it. Every year, I try to make at least one big quilt that isn’t based on an upcoming show or theme or deadline. It’s true that I was trying to get this one done in time for a deadline, but I failed…but that’s OK, because I needed to make it.

People keep trying to guess what it’s about…the core is anxiety. That’s what it feels like sometimes to have all these worries eating at you, trying to swallow you. This is like inside my brain some days. I started drawing swallowing heads about a year ago and then I kept trying to draw them until I got this to work.

OK, well I need to take Kitten to the vet, so she can whack them again. And then I have an art meeting tonight, plus at least one opening, plus another art meeting tomorrow, and somewhere in there, I need to grade a bunch of stuff. So there’s that. But hopefully I’ll start stitchdown tonight. I’m not really in the mood to people much, so that should work. Ironic with all those meetings I’ve got to go to, but that’s how it rolls some weekends.

OK, you may not know that most of my titles come from whatever music I’m listening to in the morning while writing. But I’m listening to a new Pandora station and it seems to be ALL freaking love songs, and that is just not how I’m feeling this morning, so I’ve rejected the lyrics to two songs so far. If the tech really is listening in, Pandora should figure out that I need something angsty right now or even positive life shit, but not lovey dovey crap. OK, this is still a love song, but I can handle it. Sheesh.

*Walk the Moon, One Foot

My Head’s Above the Rain and Roses*

Yesterday a kid muttered while we were all working, “Yeah, Ms. Nida knows how to color stuff in.” Hmmm. Well. That’s something. I do have years of experience in coloring, although I used to do more of it. I used to screenprint my art, and I would make two copies of the original drawing, one for tracing the next screen iteration and one to color in, so I would know what colors things would be. I don’t do that any more. Can you imagine trying to color in a quilt this size with colored pencils? I’d be here for days. Months. So now I do it in my head. Yeah, I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. A lot of things go on in my head. I’m thankful my brain allows that. It’s not always the best brain. It’s a worrywart. It responds to stress in a sometimes inappropriate way. It’s not always clear on tact. But it draws and colors like a beast. I think my 12-year-old brain would be absolutely thrilled by what my brain can do now.

Although more sleep would always be appreciated. I was convinced by the end of the day that yesterday was Friday. (It was not.) I sat there grading last night on the couch, almost falling asleep (certain hours of the day really kick my butt cognitively), sure that I was sleeping in this morning (I did not. Because it’s not Saturday.). Painful realization. I’m trying to get caught up on grading, which is a never-ending proposition, but all of a sudden, I was significantly behind and I panicked. I finished one assignment last night and input some grades and got most of the way through another assignment. It’s progress. This weekend is a clusterfuck, though, so I need to be on task.

It meant I didn’t get as far with the ironing as I wanted…I didn’t leave myself enough time to finish…

First I pulled the torso off the teflon with Kitten watching…

And then I started ironing the head together…

She has a bee on her cheek and then a leaf with a beetle. At 12:06 AM, I decided that would be at least another 30 minutes and I couldn’t do that. So I went to bed. But now I really want to see it done tonight. I want to see all the heads in one place, all connected. The plus is that I’m not in charge of dinner tonight, so I have a chance of pulling this off. The minus is that I really do need to grade stuff as well. So we’ll see how that goes. I’m excited though. I haven’t seen this thing in color, except in my head, and it’s nowhere near as vibrant in there as it is here. Plus the contrast against a dark background is going to make it pop. Geez, call in sick and finish it! No. That’s not responsible. I’m mostly responsible.

Yesterday’s unit cover page for my science kids…

A nice relaxing day coloring with the kids. Except the ones who are never relaxing.

Next week is a bunch of labs, so I should enjoy today’s quiet (they’re watching videos and figuring stuff out without my help)…well, I’ll be grading and trying to get those kids on task who are never on task. I think my co-teacher will be on her third day in a row of labs today, so she should be losing her shit. It’s so hard not being on the same page…we’re too used to working together and supporting our nervous breakdowns. When she finishes piloting this unit, we’ll be back. In 6 weeks. I have my own stints of labs coming up.

Simba in his lookout position, ready to guard us from any intrusions…

Sweet little asshole. He did not help with the grading though. And I think he’s really part cat.

OK. Now it really IS Friday and I am dead tired. But I’ll survive and rally and hopefully really really iron this thing together tonight, instead of all the other nights I thought I’d iron it together. Yeah. Hopefully.

*Green Day, Still Breathing

I Told You the Truth About the Old Me*

Oh Thursday, you wannabe Friday. But you’re not. You dawned chilly (for us pitiful Southwesterners) and bright, a light breeze wobbling the tree leaves around outside my window. Thursday, you hold no meetings for me. No appointments. No have-tos (well, please don’t ignore grading, dear, because you need to get your teacher act in gear). I will finish ironing today. I will. Imagine me in the front yard, barefoot (why can’t I remember to put socks on when I get dressed? Yes! All you high-school friends. I am still barefoot. Fuck the school AP who made me come into his office to discuss my refusal to wear shoes.), raising my arms to the heavens, fists clenched. I WILL FINISH IRONING TODAY!

This quilt has not been quick and easy. It’s OK. They’re not supposed to be. But sometimes, I want to be done with the task I’m on. And I’m not. This would be one of those times.

But I had book club last night…so after I came home from work and did about a million silly tasks and answered ALL the emails (OK, not all of them), I went to book club. I like book club. I like that I read all these books that otherwise I might not see…because I can be pretty insular in what I read. Plus I’m not very social, so this makes me leave the house. Besides for work. Plus did I mention it’s in a wine-tasting place?

Can’t argue with that. I made it home close to 10 PM, hung out for a while with the people and the dogs and the cats, and then went in to iron, because that’s how I get stuff done…I do a little every day. I ironed for almost an hour…no, I haven’t been in bed before midnight at all this week.

I got the second arm ironed down…that hand got ironed together with the second figure, so I’ll need to connect them up at some point. And then I did the wings. So there’s just the head to do, then put it all together and onto a background, which I suspect will take a much larger floor than I have in here. Sometimes I can do it on the ironing board, but I don’t think this is that time. I’m suspecting I’ll be cleaning the entryway floor tonight and doing it there. Which is fine.

And then stitchdown and sandwich and quilt and bind. But first, go to school and deal with the stress of The Day We Turn All the Things In. I can tell it’s stressful, because I had high-level kids emailing me at 11 PM and expecting an answer. Sometimes I wish I was the kind of teacher who could totally unplug and leave the job at school, and then I’m OK with not being that person. Really, I was so efficient yesterday with all the phone calls and emails and stuff. If only I could do that every day.

Well, today is Thursday, the day I will finish ironing. That makes it a good day. Plus I don’t have to cook tonight and I still have one of these kickass scones for breakfast. Apple cheddar by Smitten Kitchen

OMG, these are to die for. I had apples to use up, so I made a batch and froze them so I (and the boychild, because I am sometimes a nice mom) could have one a day. They don’t last well, apparently, although the boychild says they’re fine. He eats cold food though when I would heat it up, so whatever. I tried to explain to Kitten that she wouldn’t like them. This is the cat who eats my Shredded Wheat if given a chance. Anyway, I’ve been baking one each morning. Yum. Makes a nice change to cold cereal, which I’ll be back to tomorrow.

Oh yeah! My Quilt National piece is going to France! That’s cool…here’s Beyond the Concrete

It’ll be at the European Patchwork Meeting in Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines, France, September 12 – 15, 2019. It hasn’t traveled much, but this seems good. I wish I could go with it…

*Cold War Kids, So Tied Up

Until the Stars Lost the War*

I did well. It was good. I did all the things. I think. Well, if I didn’t do them all, it’s because I forgot they existed. Or it was grading, and I just didn’t get to that. (and that’s OK)

Mostly, I wanted to be sure I ironed. I want to get this thing all put together so I can SEE it. Plus I have deadlines that are barking at my ankles like a little dog.

So school, tutoring, chiropractor, gym. I started ironing after 10 PM…I’m on Figure 5…and she’s one of the most complicated figures…

She has a torso and both arms, and they’re really LOOOONG…because I made them stretch all the way across the bottom of the quilt.

I didn’t even get to both arms…just the one and then most of the torso…

Also she has wings and they have lots of pieces…I didn’t even get to those.

Geez. This is not a small quilt. But I’m pretty sure I only have about 150 pieces left to iron down. So that’s cool.

Her head, other arm, and all the crap that surrounds her. Then put the whole thing together. Looking forward to seeing it.

Yes, she’s really pink. I tried to do each figure in a different range of flesh tones. Me? I run kinda pink. Maybe not this pink, unless I’ve been in the sun. But since all of these are me, because all this is inside my head…she can be my sunburnt self I guess.

Meanwhile. I stayed up too late again. I was trying to finish that section! Kitten is currently spazzing out under the drawing and trying to figure out how to destroy it.

I need to go to work and manage the last day of a project on the same day as a massive math test. I have book club tonight, which is cool. I might get to iron as well…maybe. I hope so. Her other arm? Her head? Seriously, 150 pieces won’t take long. Maybe ironed onto the background on Thursday? Starting stitch down on Friday? I totally will miss the deadline I had for this one, but I just have to assume there was a good reason for that. Mine, not some superpower’s…and I need to start drawing the next one. It will need to be done early so I can do the NEXT next one on time. It should be fine…they finally did the specs for the next show, and although they said no size restrictions when I asked back in December, now it’s max 30″ wide, which is nothing. Tiny. So I’m glad I hadn’t already started drawing. Need to rethink that one a bit. But that’s a future thing. Not a LOT in the future, but probably not tonight. I have to say I really look forward to MAKING every night. This weekend is a bunch of stuff I have to do and making will not be able to be a priority. Last weekend was the same. Ugh. Wish it were different. I would seriously hermit at home all the time if I could get away with it.

Anyway…finishing my delicious fresh-baked scone (OMG, these are good)…then going to work and trying NOT to be irritated by the kid who called me an Old Ass yesterday (I might be, but he doesn’t get to tell me that…he’s gotta LIVE with me to tell me that). Meditative breathing before dealing with him again. It’s not the name-calling that bugs me…I know he has stuff he’s dealing with that causes that…it’s the constant disruption of other kids. So we’ll be dealing with that today. Fun stuff…

Revivalists, Wish I Knew You

Justifying Crazy

Hello not Monday morning but feels like Monday morning because I was one of those lucky people who did not have to go to work yesterday because of MLK. Appreciate it. Appreciate him more, but in the moment, I’ll take the day off as well. One of the people I follow on Instagram said, Hey! White people! Instead of dropping an MLK quote on the day, send some money to a group that supports people of color. Awesome idea…I don’t have lots of money, but every $20 counts. I’ll be doing that tonight.

Yesterday was kind of a rush. Doctor (no solutions yet), scheduling more doctor, blood-letting (love that), shopping, dog walking…gotta love dog walking in the middle of a beautiful winter day with bright blue skies and sun, but not too warm (sorry Northeast…I apologize for January’s wintry weather in San Diego).

All the greenery here is dead…but further out, the typical grassy hills that turn green after the rain…I’m pretty sure I took this picture by accident.

I love that I do this walk all the time and see new stuff on a regular basis. This is a very interesting mushroom growing out of the hillside next to the trail.

We have another interesting one in the backyard, fed mostly by dog poop I think. Probably not edible.

There’s the green hill! Of a landfill.

We spend most of the year staring at dead brown grass, so this is nice.

After that and making scones (like you do, because you have apples that need to be used up and you can then cook them for breakfast)…I went to my guild, Canyon Quilters, and did a talk.

None of those are me. There are probably pictures of me out there, but I don’t have any of them. Those are my quilts though. I talked for an hour or so about how I make quilts and why I apparently get so much done (I don’t feel like I get a lot done, especially currently…feels like molasses these days). I remember nothing I said. Apparently I amused some, but there was one woman asleep in the front, so it was a little like teaching 12-year-olds (well, not much, because no one was tapping on their desk with a pencil or trying to mouth a conversation across the room). I appreciate the opportunity to try to explain what I do. Justifying the crazy! Oh hell, you know I’d make the stuff anyway.

I was tired afterwards, but I didn’t get any art done all day, which is frustrating. I also didn’t get any grading done, but I’m less frustrated by that. THAT job would take over my life if I let it.

So I got my butt off the chair and wandered into the studio at 11:24 PM. I ironed the eyeballs and nose slits on those three snakes…

Pulled the Figure 4 head off the teflon sheet, and put it in the box with Figures 1-3. There to wait until I’m ready to iron it all down.

And then I ironed the sun.

That was all I had time and energy for last night. I spent half the night trying to persuade the puppy that coyotes were not invading us and he could stop barking. I feel a little drugged at the moment, up too early with not enough concentrated dream time, but a freshly baked apple cheddar scone is making the world a better place, one hot steamy bite at a time. Can’t beat that. Now I just need to persuade the boychild that he can’t eat all of the rest of the scones today. It’s amazing what a delicious baked good can do for a morning.

My plan for the day? I think I’m in survival mode for a while. I’ll let you know. Certainly I would hope ironing Figure 5 would make it into the final plan, but I’m really tired right now and I know the gym is in my future…AFTER school and tutoring and the chiropractor. Wish me luck…

Catch Up…

Such efficiency yesterday. School stuff done (not all of it, but the stuff that had to be done…although that’s a never-ending task), groceries done (except for what I need to go to a different store for today, which is luckily a holiday for me so I can do that), cooked dinner, tried to use things up, mostly successful (way too many potatoes), finished the slides for tonight (just need to roll up all the quilts and then NOT forget to take anything), did the assigned daily art item, graded some stuff, AND ironed a head together. I feel pretty good about yesterday. Let’s hope today continues that feeling. Because I know going to school tomorrow will once again make me feel like I’m way behind (laughs until cries). I do keep track of my grading to-do list. It used to be piles of papers, but now it’s mostly online, so it is harder to see. I still FEEL it though. Never caught up. Never caught up.

So today I go to the doctor to talk about the weird pain that waxes and wanes. Maybe to talk about my blood sugar numbers. Maybe I will get a little irritated about how that shit was handled. We’ll see. Irritated doesn’t really help things. Straightforward criticism of patient instructions (or lack thereof) is probably more useful. We’ll see. I like my doctor. I don’t really want to find a new one. I just don’t think diabetes care is her specialty.

Anyway. So. Kitten keeps me company as I work on the computer.

Or she might be about to eat that magazine. Hard to say. I spend a lot of time on computers. For art. For work. For everything. Oh yeah, you can go here if you want to see a local article about me. They basically have the artists write their own articles and then refer them to friends. It’s nice to see all my friends’ articles though. We talk about art, but not usually in these terms.

I traced the moon appliques onto freezer paper and got most of them cut out last night. Now to choose some appropriate flesh fabrics.

That was actually Sunday’s assigned project I was working on. A miracle. We watched a movie (and the moon!), so I had some extra time. Or maybe I did this while dinner was finishing up. Can’t remember.

After dinner and dishes, though, into the office/studio for ironing. I started by unsticking everything I’d done…carefully folding it up so hopefully I don’t lose any pieces.

It will come back out later. I need to deal with the last two heads by themselves. They’re just too damn big.

The bottom half of Figure 4’s jaw…

This thing is bigger than it looks here.

You can get a better idea of size here…

That head could swallow that cat.

Head done, except for the eyes and nose slits for the snakes.

I needed to go to bed, because even though I have today off, I had to get up for the doctor. Need to leave soon actually. Anyway, I feel pretty good about that extra hour I did…I’ll finish the eyeballs and nose slits today and then move on. Although today is busy, so we’ll see what I can get done. Dogs walked, doc, groceries, talk plus dinner…hopefully some schoolwork in there. There’s a few assignments I just want done and out of my hair. Let’s hope I’m motivated today.

It’s nice to have an extra day off. Helps me “catch up”, whatever that means.

Everything Will Work Out

I did a lot yesterday. I marched. I stitched. I read. I ironed. A good day. I didn’t write, because I had to be out of here early, and I was not a responsible adult who went to bed early the night before, because…well…I can’t really explain that. I have stuff to do and it’s taking more time than I thought it would. As it always does.

I ended Friday with a kamikaze trip home after school to grab the dogs and run to the hills before we lost daylight…

With a little rain in the last few weeks, California gets green…so pretty. see the dog head down there.

It was still damp from a week’s worth of rain, but the skies were mostly clear.

We saw a million rabbits and hares, but only one coyote. Oh yeah, and this guy. Just sitting there as we walked past.

Yo. You’re supposed to be scared of people and dogs.

We were pushing it with the daylight thing, but it was a good walk for all involved.

The days are getting longer. This will get easier.

Saturday morning, I got up early and met a marching friend for brunch. I liked this cactus.

We went down and listened to music and speeches…sort of…while I stitched. I needed the mental down time. I didn’t want to stand. I’ve been standing all week. Two hours of standing is too much right now.

It felt good. Relaxing. Positive. And then we marched…because it’s important that we still represent…that the politicians can see that we’re still here and we’re still not happy with what’s happening, whether it’s immigration or women’s rights or issues of racism in our country.

I didn’t bring a sign this year. But I liked this one.

So true.

These were beautiful and heartbreaking. The immigrants who died in custody as they were trying to come here for safety. Children…

That’s not OK.

We need to be better than that. I hope we can be.

So I did some stitching Friday night during the movie watch…finishing up the August blocks…

So that whole section is done until I sew it to the next section, so I can finish the road and flowers on the other side of it.

I think I have to do the September blocks before that happens. Which I started at the march.

Didn’t get much done, but it’s a start. After dinner and some couple time, I came in here to iron…got another cat done…

And a snake…

And then the arm of Figure 4…

Along with a hurricane. I’m in the 900s. I’m getting closer to done. I’m hoping to work on it today as well, but I have school stuff, the slides for the talk tomorrow, and groceries. So I need to be efficient as hell to get to ironing as well. OK. Plan made. I also suspect I will need to iron Figure 4 by itself, instead of trying to fit it into what I’ve already ironed. It’s getting too large, too heavy, too unwieldy. But that’s OK. I’ll do Figure 4 and then see if I can add it to this. Or I might have to wait until I iron it to the background. It’ll be fine. Everything will work out. In time.