From My Head Down to My Snakeskin Boots*

(I would never wear snakeskin boots. I think snakes should keep their skins. It just happens to be what I was listening to as I finished writing.) Debating how to get to school today. I could walk, but I should have already started. Plus I’m still sick and physical exertion is not a great plan. I could take the car that’s here, but that causes logistical issues later. Well. Or I just leave tutoring early if necessary. Not responsible teacher behavior, but maybe the easiest choice. I call Lyft. It’s not a long way and is reasonably priced, but my house is hard to find. Not sure I want to deal with that. Make the boychild wake up and take me. I could. But I probably should have told him last night then. And my brain was in fuzz mode. So I didn’t. Too many decisions. I have 20 minutes to figure it out. Easiest is to just take the car and deal with the consequences later. The car guy has had it since Thursday, trying to diagnose what’s causing the random stalls. I just want it working before we go to Utah in two weeks. I also want Utah to warm up slightly, especially at night, but that might not happen. Someday I’ll have enough money to vacation in a real bed. With walls. But still in cool places. Maybe just a trailer or something.

I didn’t get anything done last night for grades. Instead I applied for something that I think is important, but suspect I won’t be picked for…which is fine. I applied. I can let it go if it doesn’t happen. I’ll figure grading out during class this week. Hopefully. There’s only like 56 videos to watch. I should take my headphones to school with me maybe. Not today, because today is virtual reality day, and that requires me to manage, but tomorrow, when they start their posters…I don’t have to be as present for those. One ear in, one ear out, listening for whatever crazy. Not sure I can concentrate enough in class to do that.

We got a beehive removed from one of the composters yesterday. They built it in like 4 days. Resourceful beasts. Someday I’ll consider a beehive on the property, once I figure out how to take care of it. And away from the back door. I use a guy who takes the bees to his hives and installs them there. He’s a nice guy. Plus he sends me pictures of what he does when I’m not home, so my students can see the bees and the hive.

Normally I walk the dogs every Monday after school. Don’t let anyone tell you dogs don’t know the days of the week, because this was me when I got home.

Why aren’t you taking us out? Why aren’t you putting your boots on? Why? Needy at all guys? Wednesday. I’m aiming to be better by Wednesday. At least enough to hike 3 miles. Calli was physically pushing me with her nose, lifting up my arm, get up get up! Sorry guys. Don’t feel well.

I started the ironing late, probably 10:30…but all I had left were these four tiny bugs…

Awww, they’re cute. And then I ironed the whole thing to a background…

Yup. She’s about 30″ w x 50″ h. Tonight I should start the stitch down. I don’t expect it to take long. There’s detail, but it’s not a huge piece. I’m hoping to get it done in a couple of nights. Maybe 3-4 hours? Thursday night, pinbaste. Start quilting…not Friday, because I have a meeting. This weekend, it needs to get quilted. With everything else. Aack. No, I can do this. I can. I emailed the photographer. I’m committed now.

*The Hiss, Brass Tacks

It’s Not in the Paper, It’s on the Wall*

So I’m still sick and I had some very dizzy exhausting moments on Saturday and Sunday, but some of that may have been exertion or food-related (have to remember to eat even when I’m sick), so there’s that. I was apparently functional enough to iron almost an entire quilt together, but not to remember to actually buy the pasta for dinner tonight. Even though I had a list for everything we needed for the week, it wasn’t written on there, because why? Because foggy sick brain, that’s why. Like don’t put me in charge of anything today…besides the 140 kids I’m normally in charge of, plus teaching another teacher’s class, because it’s April Fool’s Day, so I’m gonna teach history (but just for a period, it’s OK).

Seriously, though, I put in 8 hours and 40 minutes into the ironing and I’m almost done. I’ll be done tonight, assuming I don’t collapse from exhaustion after school.

Here’s both sides of the hair complete.

I thought I was totally off on placement, but somehow made it all fit right…

Once I got the neck in, it made more sense to do the torso next…

Although that’s minus a butterfly. And then I attached the dirt, just to make sure it worked.

This piece is about being connected to nature. So yeah, that’s a volcano there. Attached to her nipple. Like you do.

Then I started on the face. I did the butterfly in there somewhere too…it’s peeking out on the bottom left.

Her face is covered in stuff. Um. I just coughed up my lung. Bad plan. Can’t remember when I got up in the middle of the night and took medicine. Let’s assume it was at least 4-6 hours ago and take some more.

Always iron the eyes separately. That way they won’t be too kittywampus.

Although she’s got a droopy eyelid. So at midnight, this is all I had left to do…4 tiny bugs.

It was tempting to just do them, but I was tired and I knew I would still have to iron it to a background, so it’s OK to leave it until tonight.

Here she is so far…

Looking good! I love this. And getting her all ironed this weekend was a good thing. I was seriously worried about being able to finish, but now I think I’m fine. Maybe. This weekend might be an issue.

Her face minus 4 bugs…

Anyway. I’ve already started drawing the next one, but I won’t be able to show any of it. That ought to be interesting. I will need to draw and embroider more to entertain you maybe. Or sing songs. For the next two months. Except I keep coughing, so singing might be an issue. So iron down tonight and hopefully start stitch down. I think I can be pinbasted by Thursday? Hoping? Then quilted by the end of the weekend, then binding. Photographer next week. I should email him, because the deadline is tight.

But first, off to school to pretend to know about the Reformation. Or the Illumination. Or some Tion. (Notes to self that art history is really the ONLY history she’s had since high school.)

*Sublime, April 26, 1992 (Miami)

Blame the Virus

Hi. I’m sick again. Twice in a month! Sheesh. The cesspool I work in…or live in. This one feels and sounds like it came from my bedmate. Not the cat. So there’s that. So I’m coughing up a lung. Or a planet. Hard to say. Plus no energy. So I didn’t feel well enough Friday night to do anything artistic. I graded and then I went to bed. First I fell asleep on the couch. I thought if I rested, I’d be able to finish the cutting out of pieces, and that didn’t happen.

But this is awesome. Spring has sprung!

I’m not sure I feel better today than yesterday, which is a little disturbing. Oh well. Life.

Another one released…

I finally got around to buying fabrics to stitch these up. I don’t know when I’m going to have TIME to do that, but that’s a whole ‘nother problem.

Yesterday I did no work. Sorry, job. Not sorry. I did finish cutting everything out…it took another hour and a half or so. So that’s 9 1/2 hours total cutting…and then I sorted yesterday. I had to take a short nap after sorting…

Standing was an issue. But then I mostly rallied. I started ironing…

I drank a lot of tea, I think. I took some breaks. I ate a little. I read a little. I watched a movie with the man who got me sick. Yeah. I forgive him. Not his fault. Blame the virus.

Ironing the dirt…

It’s a lot of rocks…

That’s the whole base done…ready to link into the body.

Then I did the sky…

This quilt isn’t huge. It’s not small either. But not huge.

Added all the things in the sky…

I think this was after the movie. Not sure.

This definitely was. I lost a leaf ball. I was trying to find it at about 11:45 PM. I remember that.

And I ironed a piece of the stem to the wrong fabric, so I redid it. This was somewhere close to midnight. I said I rallied. This was when I got tired. I had done part of an arm before and realized the head needed to go behind it, so it would make sense to skip ahead in the numbers, pull from the 500s and then the 400s, leaving the 300s behind for now.

Do I feel guilty for not doing any grading yesterday? Well, yes…yes, I do. But I need this to be done too. Progress report grades are due next Tuesday…so the project needs to be graded, but really…anything else can fall by the wayside. Again. Sigh. I really do try to do my best at ALL the jobs and then my body says no, you can’t. So no, I didn’t hike yesterday, even though I really wanted to. We’re aiming for next week…Saturday or Sunday. Hopefully my lungs will be back by then.

I do have about 50 emails to get through with kids’ late work. I should do those today. Plus laundry and grocery shopping and getting ready for the week. But ugh. I just want to laze around and iron a lot. Sigh.

This guy…best use of the stationary bike ever…

I mean, really…all the things are cat beds, right?

The Pile Is Still There…

That moment when your daughter, who is less than 2 months away from graduating college, tells you she’s dropping out to become a boudoir photographer.

It’s OK. She’s joking. I’m good. I’m laughing even.

Long staff meeting yesterday. It was supposed to be fun, a photo scavenger hunt, but I wasn’t in the mood for it. I have too much work to do. I wanted to get home and walk the dogs. Which I did anyway…

There’s still water in the streambed…

This guy wasn’t scared of the dogs…

Everything is so pretty now…

Lots of flowers and greenery…

Enjoy it now…it’ll be dead in a couple of months…

Walks are good for dogs and humans…pretty interesting flowers on this bush.

I know this bush is always there, but I don’t remember the flowers…

I’m just so happy when I make it out there, even though we got back at like 6:30 and then I had to cook dinner and it was late and I was tired. It’s OK.

Lots of these little guys…

Anyway, after dinner, I did not grade anything. I figured an almost-2-hour staff meeting that was mostly a waste of time (sorry…I wasn’t in the mood for interacting with people. Introvert problems) meant I shouldn’t have to grade at night as well. Plus I wanted to finish ironing…which I did! So 8 hours total of ironing to fabric, with 142 fabrics…

That’s a lot for a quilt this size. But there’s all the pieces…

Now I need to cut them all out. Ha! OK. Easy peasy. I only worked for about 30 minutes, because it was late by then, but I did a little.

You’ll be seeing this pile for a few days. Hopefully not a lot…but who knows. Meanwhile, work calls. Loudly. Sigh. I always feel bad when I don’t grade at night. Silly really. I should be able to take a break. But then I get to school and the pile is still there.

Gonna drag my introverted self out of here now. To school. With a million people. Yeah.

A Box Full of Pieces

I wonder what Mondays felt like before we had civilization. I guess if you work on a farm, you work 7 days a week. When did the almighty weekend come into existence, to have so much power over our brain? Ah, the answer is 1908, and it was a religious reason…interesting. Certainly, we also used to make children work instead of educating them, and there are times during the school year when I think we should go back to that. But only for a bit…long enough for them to see the light maybe. This is after I spent a few hours reading all their reasons why they didn’t like the last unit. I take the negative comments more harshly than the positive, and they were mostly positive. I should remember that. Some kids just don’t like to work and anything that isn’t a video game or YouTube videos is work. So there’s that. I feel that way sometimes too. I put a hike on the calendar for next Saturday…to get us ready for Spring Break’s trip but also because I need it. And it’s not work.

Sunday was productive. I finished grading the assignment I started Saturday night and input some grades. I also finished grading all the makeup work. This week will include grading the project they just turned in, which won’t be easy…it’s made up of 5 different assignments and is a bit of a challenge to grade. Plus there’s still a bunch of stuff from earlier in the month that I haven’t gotten to. Stressful. As always. This job is. Two-hour staff meeting today…there’s so many things I’d rather be doing with that time.

One of the things I finally got done (mostly because of gentle harassment, which is fine) is picking the colors for the last three of these…

Now all I have to do is stitch them! Yeah. OK. I’ve had some offers of help, and I might take them up on that, but first I need the fabric and then I need to try one out myself and see how it rolls.

But then I will ask for help, I think.

They are going to market somewhere this week.

Personally I would use about 16 colors for each one, but I’m limited to 5. If you buy just the pattern, you can use whatever colors you want. Anyway…so I’ll be adding these to the to-do mix.

We had dinner with the parentals, came back, and I exercised and graded, and finally headed into the studio around 10:30 pm. Not bad. I knew the sun was coming up in the ironing…and I got it done…

Along with the rest of the hair and some neck stuff. Like plasma on the neck. And the flowers on the chin…I did those too. I stopped just before the bugs and all their little tiny pieces. It was almost midnight. So I have the bugs to do…the eyeballs, and the snake on her nose/brow. That’s it. I think it’s less than 100 pieces and I could finish tonight. Which is good, because I’m behind. Interestingly, last year, I was working on a quilt I needed to finish quickly at exactly the same time and I did finish it…but it was a little smaller and had fewer pieces, I think.

I just went and checked. I did most of it in 25 days (tracing Wonder Under to the binding), and it had 664 pieces. This one has 802 or so pieces and I started 3/3 on the Wonder Under. It needs to be done by April 10th or so. I might make it. It will be tight. So there’s that pressure on me.

The last two times I’ve been ironing fabric, Kitten has been in here, keeping me out of this box of greens.

Well, not entirely…I’ve been pulling them out from under her, but she whacks, so you have to be careful.

So here’s where I was at last night…with everything that’s been used so far and a box full of pieces that need trimming.

Tonight I hope to fill the box completely so I can start cutting tomorrow…hopefully ironing by Friday. Seriously. That’s the plan. While grading and going to 2-hour meetings (there are two this week) and eating and exercising and all that good shit. Yup. It’s just a Monday. No problem.

Join Our Insect Nation*

Struggling to function this morning. I really need a day off where I don’t have to do anything, whether it’s school or art or whatever. A relaxing day of just hanging out and drawing on the deck and listening to music and going for a walk. Maybe next weekend (don’t look at when grades are due)(don’t look at when this quilt needs to be done). Yeah well. That’s supposed to be how I do Spring Break, right? Or I should manage the week better? Or not. I did find art time yesterday…or as I should say, I made time for art yesterday. I needed that.

But back to Friday…it was a long day of trying to get kids to finish their projects, so lots of walking outside to check on kids who were supposed to be making videos, but the beautiful day and being able to be outside after a whole lot of rain this winter made their brains explode. Yeah well. So there’s that. After work, I headed out to the Music Box to see the man in two bands…he’s been practicing for another band since October or so (yeah two practices a week has been interesting and sometimes challenging for everyone involved).

It was a good show, though…even with standing for 3 hours. Sometimes it would be nice to sit at a show! Proof I’m old, I guess. Boychild drove me downtown, so I wouldn’t have to park…ice cream sky…

And I tried to draw, but one of the former band members decided to hang out with me (and spill beer on me, fun stuff)…the first band is a one-off. The singer likes to do a bunch of different music, so this was his idea…

And then Radio Thieves played afterwards…

Some new stuff, some old stuff. I had fun…

I came home and when I was putting the pup in his crate, I found the missing laundry ball…one of those wool balls for the laundry has been missing for probably a year. We’ve all checked our laundry, but it was in the crate, under his bed.

I only found it because Calli must have pulled his crate apart a bit when she was freaking out the other day about the rain, so I was trying to put everything back where it belonged, and the ball came out from under his bed. That little asshole.

Poor Calli…

Oh yeah, she has lots of toys. But she needs people when there’s weather.

Saturday morning, I graded…finally finished the big science unit. And then I ironed for an hour or so before the art meeting…

I’m making progress, although it still seems too slow.

The meeting was about membership and the website (that’s my shit to do)…this was around the corner…

Those flowers refused to stay put. Came home, grabbed the man, and drove back down to Barrio Logan for an opening, Chicana: Liberated & Empowered at La Bodega Gallery.

Fascinating masks by Soni López-Chávez

There’s always a few really interesting pieces…

The top piece is by Jasmine Garcia and the bottom by Maria Nevarez.

This one was amazing…

Nice reflection, eh? By Yesenia M. Hulsey.

And I think I’ve posted work by this artist before…

I couldn’t get a straight view, because it was in front of the bar and buying beer was very important to some art patrons…this is by Joni Nunez and is only $200. Wishing I had a spare couple hundred I could use…I wish that a lot though.

From there, we headed to Hillcrest to the new location of the Studio Door Gallery for The Crow Show…this is by Leslie Shirah.

Sometimes I really have to search to find the artist’s names. The gallery had these number tags, which honestly are really hard to read, and then a paper list. Dudes…please just put labels up. I don’t want to search through a paper list. This of course was after the last show, with few prices, some names not even on the pieces, and the last one with a post-it note. Sheesh. All you need is a printer and some labels.

This is one of Denny Driver’s pieces…

Which is about free will…

And this is by Laurel Izard

Always nice to see quilts hung in art shows.

We did make it to one more art show, but I was photo’d out by then. Too many people in the way. Then dinner, but it was loud…good, but loud. I was tired. Hell, I’m still tired. Sigh.

We watched a movie and I graded stuff, and then headed in to iron after 10:30 PM. When do I make art? When you’re asleep. These are cat parts.

Silly cat is like 4″ square and had about 20 fabrics in it. Here’s where I’m at so far…

I’m in the 500s…still so much to go! And so much school work needs to be done today. Fuuck. Seriously. Sometimes I feel like I will never get caught up. I guess I do every June. So I’m in the hair…still need to do all the stuff on her face, plus the sun…which is a ton of pieces. Maybe that’s my goal today…get the sun done! Seriously, it’s like 100 pieces just in this tiny sun. What was I thinking? No one knows. But it’s such an integral part of one’s life in Southern California. The sun comes out and we all go outside and do stuff. Spring!

Anyway, shower, laundry, groceries, parent email, write warmup, finish grading last night’s assignment, grade all the makeup work so kids don’t flip out, and I don’t even remember what else. Sigh. I spent all day yesterday in pain from the Liver Alien (or whatever it is)…and today, it has wandered off (so far, knock on wood). Fun stuff. Such a relief. Art…I will do art today. One of those things up there might lose out. Or sleep…that’s probably what will lose.

*Adam and the Ants, Stand and Deliver

The Never-Ending Crazy Not-Balance

Normally we’d be going on Spring Break about now. But no. It’s OK. I can handle it. Just three more weeks. It better be just three more weeks. I can almost do that. I just don’t know if my kids can…my students, that is. I’m hoping they can. Me? I look at Spring Break and I see an awesome trip I’ll be on, but I need to finish a quilt before I go and get it photographed, which isn’t an easy task, plus I’ll need to grade as much of the stuff that gets turned in on that last week before we leave on our trip. Ha! Which is somewhat more challenging. And there’s another quilt that needs to be done relatively soon after that, with being gone on a trip, plus going to Boston for the girlchild’s graduation, plus all the other school stuff…it stresses me out to think about all of that, but then there’s travel and life oh yeah and a concert in LA. There are some amazingly good things coming up in the next few months. I just need to survive some of the amazingly stressful things too. As always.

Yesterday, I spent almost 2 hours in traffic to deliver two quilts to a show. It really wasn’t that far…it was the time of day plus rain plus accidents. Then I went to the gym, because my meeting got rescheduled and I hadn’t gone to the gym this week due to crazy night stuff, so that was a good thing because…well…exercise and then also I finished my book! The one that was due back to the library like last week, so that was lame. I can’t keep up. It was Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver, and it was interesting…I’ve always loved Kingsolver’s books, but I’d read a review that complained about the politics, and now that I’ve read it, I’m like, um, so you are a regular reader of Kingsolver and you’ve never had an issue with her politics before? Huh. Well. (I didn’t have a problem with it). I liked the two stories in different times of this piece of land and what was around it, some of which ends up being true. The story itself wandered a bit, but I still enjoyed it. It’s definitely political on a minor level, but also deals with climate change, which I consider scientific, not political (mostly because I think the politicians should get out of that argument, due to their incredible ignorance on the subject).

Dinner was super late and I was tired. I brought work home again and did none of it. Seems to be a common problem these days. I will put my health (aka exercise) in front of my job, for sure. And often I put art there too, since it loses out during the day. I did get around to artmaking eventually…

I ironed the heart and all the arteries…plus a tree and a tattoo of sorts. Again, I’m not getting a LOT done each night…but I’m getting some of it done. I’m a little worried about time…there’s three weeks left. That’s it. I’m not as far on this one as I would have liked to be…I have a show to go to tonight, a meeting tomorrow…and a ton of grading that swallows up my time. Plus that meeting will inevitably mean more work. Ha! Sigh. The never-ending crazy not-balance.

I’m still in the 300s…out of 800, although I’ve done a bunch of ironing of the pieces in between, because all the flesh is done. I should remember that and not panic so much. Tonight, I don’t think I will have the time or energy to do any of this. Tomorrow? I will try to make time. I want the ironing done this weekend…I don’t know if that’s possible. Probably not. Who knows.

I came home yesterday after the rain storm to a frantic Golden Retriever who now associates rainfall with thunder, and she hates thunder. I didn’t notice right away, but she had panicked and tore through the bedroom and closet in her distress…

Poor puppy. She tries to hide and pulls everything out in the process. Boychild wasn’t home because he took this one to the vet for her continuing eye issues…

She’s been watching Love, Death & Robots. But she doesn’t have glaucoma. Good to know.

OK, so I need to go to work and manage the kids’ turning work in (hopefully turning it in) and finish grading the last of the giant science unit and finish an independent study contract for a kid who never does work in class so that seems like a total waste of time and go to at least one meeting and do duty and who knows what else will come down upon my head but at the end of the day, I will be standing at a music show for about 3 hours (that ought to be interesting) and then probably collapsing into bed. Bed, sweet bed. You know it’s bad when I just want to go back to bed an hour after I got up.