We Really Got to Ramble*

May 22, 2017

At some point, I give up on the school stuff and move on to the art. It is not a full and satisfying life without the art. I did spend some time yesterday at an art opening, but I’ll have to post about that later…no time this morning. Making the art really is the most important part for me…I know for some people the exhibition is a huge part…and I guess I DO it, so it must be important. But I’d really probably rather be in here cutting stuff out or ironing it together than listening to people talk about the work around me. Which reminds me, I have to explain my Quilt National piece on video this week. I should go read the statement again, so I don’t spend the whole 2 minutes staring at the piece.

Yes, Quilt National opens this week. That’s exciting…although getting there will probably kick my butt…it’s kind of nice to have a couple days off work this time of year.

I love this app, Momentum, even though it’s pretty simple (it gives me stuff to stare at, plus a highly visible to-do list). It always asks me what my focus for the day is though, and I often can’t grab that…as you can see by Saturday’s focal thought. I often am not focused.

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I did spend some time Saturday trying to figure out my solo show. I couldn’t SEE it, so I made a doc and started dropping pieces in so I could see the walls. I’m almost done…

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I might need better photos of a couple of them, so I really should figure that out.

A mural on the way to the art show yesterday…we saw this artist at ArtWalk too, but I tossed all the paperwork…but a quick Google search reveals this is Catnap by Michael Summers.

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Then there was this…I couldn’t even figure out what it meant, being outside a clothing store.

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After home, negotiating laundry elsewhere (the washer died for reals this time), groceries, school stuff, making dinner…then I did two days worth on this…some straight stitches and French knots in yellow on the left and then some green around that weird purple flower under the tree branches.

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Finally in here to iron…

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Tiny little pieces…

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It got late, but I kept going…

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She just needed to be done. And she was, around midnight. A good time to stop.

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And now she’s ready for a background and some stitching down I believe. Which is good, because I think she’s supposed to be done on Monday. But right now, I need to go to work. I don’t feel ready, but I’ll be going in anyway.

*Led Zeppelin, Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You

See Inside, Inside of Our Heads*

May 19, 2017

Well some of the to-do list is done. The ritual of crossing things off a list or checking that box, the visual of a long list of shit to be accomplished with lines drawn through…it helps. There’s still too many things on the list, but at least it’s not growing exponentially every day. Yet. Ha!

Just don’t ask about the grading. That’s going really slowly and inefficiently. Too much going on this last week at night. I’m behind. Significantly. This is unfortunate. I can feel all my normal stress responses ramping up, but the eyes aren’t twitching yet. That’s good. I even went to bed a little earlier last night to try and help. We’ll see. I swear, the thing I wish for most at the moment is more sleep…and it’s the thing that’s hardest to find.

I had my quilt meeting last night…it gets smaller and smaller, and I’m the only one who has quilt stuff any more. And last night, I didn’t! Well, I had those last 15 pieces to cut out…so I did that…and then I started sewing wool pieces down on the Sue Spargo Folk Tails blocks, because I think I’ll finish the 5th or 6th one tonight (I can’t remember which one I’m on) and then I’ll only have three for the trip next week. So some part of my brain believes that three is plenty…and some part doesn’t. In the back is one that’s ready…so there are two more in the front that I’m working on…and then I realized that those are all from the month of May and I haven’t even sewn the parts on for April.

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That probably doesn’t matter. I don’t think those need to be done in order. And honestly, I don’t think these are coming with me. My brain tries to organize projects sometimes and then the other more practical part of my brain kicks in and goes, Seriously? Three blocks? You’re not going to get those done in four days…even with all the travel you’ll be doing. You’ll draw and read too…plus grade in any down time.

I hate being bored. I hate sitting in airports and on planes and not having stuff to do. I need a variety of things from which to choose.

We’re all still coneheads. I’m hoping tomorrow’s vet takes care of that. Her really bad foot is better, so that’s good.

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The little guy is also better, but less likely to fall asleep on my studio floor.

So when I got home and dealt with dinner, I sorted the pieces…

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Lots of tiny. Then I came back into the studio and started ironing…

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Things that overlap can be a pain in the butt…

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But I got the first almost 100 pieces done. So that was good. I’m totally creeped out by that hand though.

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I guess that’s a good thing, since this piece is supposed to be creepy. I’m not sure when I’ll have time to finish it…maybe tonight? I really should be grading stuff. I’m trying. I just can’t get much time in class because of how we’re teaching at the moment. My voice is shot…having to talk for three days straight. This is like going back to the old days when we had to talk all the time. We’ve gotten used to less of the direct instruction and more creating understanding…I think that’s cool until I start losing my voice. Today is more talking…but next week should be better. Hallelujah. I think yesterday was the first day all year I was teaching something I had taught before…and it was a relief. It was so easy. That’s a good sign for next year…it will be easier. We still have to tweak stuff, but it will be easier.

*Trapt, Headstrong

You’d Better Change It Back or We Will Both Be Sorry*

May 17, 2017

There’s too much shit in my head right now, swirling around. Massive to-do lists banging into me like two dogs wearing plastic cones on their heads. Wait. That’s real life. I’m tired of their doggy heads banging into the backs of my legs…or both of them trying to get through a door before I’ve opened it all the way. Thunk! One dog gets 7 1/4 pills in the morning; the other gets 1.6 ml? or µl? of some white stuff that he tolerates. Treats for all! Plus soaking of the feets! So time-consuming. And then there’s all the stuff I should be doing for school but keep blowing off…grading, most of it. But also calculating grades and awards. Then the boychild is home in less than a week…I think his room is pretty clean, but the bedding definitely needs washing. And I need to vacuum, but my vacuum is dying a not-so-pretty death, so I need to deal with that. And then I’m gone for two days next week to go to Quilt National…yay! But that’s a planning nightmare for school. You just don’t take off during the sex ed unit. Or. Well. You do. You just plan really well for it.

And this block I’m working on is supposed to be done by the 29th…which it probably will be. It’s not a hard thing to do. It really only needs to be a top, but since the drawn line is really important to my quilts, I’ll have to figure out how to do that without quilting it. I might use batting anyway. Or maybe not, since I think I’m one of the ones in charge of sewing this thing together. I can quilt it later. Maybe. I don’t know.

Anyway. I did manage to finish all the ironing last night…although I did this first, two night’s worth…I did some red straight stitches and then some weird whipped stitch just to the right of the eyeball. Then a barbed chain stitch (I don’t know if that’s a real stitch…it’s just what it looked like as I made it up) and French knots in green near the eyeball and that whipped stitch.

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The color is really dull because I took that photo basically in the dark without a flash. So the next time you see a photo of it, you’ll be amazed by how bright it is.

Then I ironed all those flesh fabrics from last night and cut out the rest of it (a heart…an ovary)…

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So that’s 32 fabrics, a pile of stuff to be cut out tonight, and about three hours of work.

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Like I said, it’s not a hard thing to do…in fact, maybe I should do a few smaller ones. So that reminds me, I need to put an official list together of what is going to be in the Visions show. I should do that this week, because next week is gonna be a cluster. Plus I want it done. I basically know what’s in there…I just have a few wishy washy issues. And being overwhelmed is not helping me deal with them.

I wish I were her sometimes. It looks so easy…

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Goofball dogs.

But really. I think it’s 21 days left of school…and I’m gone for 2 of those. But then I have jury duty. And I need to pick up some copyediting jobs for the summer. Plus I need a big project (or three) for the summer. Right? It’s true, I love that about the summer…a big meaty project or two to focus on with all that “free” time.

OK. Well I still have a headache, so the tea isn’t cutting it. Yesterday we eased into sex ed with Liking vs Loving…much easier than slamming right into anatomy, which is how we’ve always done it. We ramp it up a bit today with relationship abuse, and then tomorrow, we bring out the penises and vaginas. Whoa Nelly. Then slam them upside the head with puberty. It’s on!

*The Human League, Don’t You Want Me

Felling Any Foe with My Gaze*

April 24, 2017

OK. I can go back today. I guess. I’m not ready, but I never am…so what’s new. I managed to grade 6 of the 9 assignments I had…and to grade all of the stuff kids turned in late. So I didn’t do horribly…but progress reports have to be done this weekend, so…ugh. Already ugh.

That said, I got a bit of a reprieve on trying to finish the current quilt. I thought I had to be done and photographed by this Friday, and that’s not gonna happen. But apparently it doesn’t have to. I might be the only person who reads the contract. So I’m feeling pressure to get done still…but not psychotic crazy pressure. Hallelujah.

Anyway…I did get a lot done over the weekend anyway. First of all, I marched for science. My marching team has a plan for how we do this…we meet here and eat a fortified breakfast.

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The Other Kathy had the best shirt ever…if you’re a size medium or smaller, go here to get one.

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If you’re not a medium or smaller, be sad, because she’s sold out. But a lovely shirt nonetheless. She’s a paper cutter from Canada (the artist, Ali Harrison; not my friend wearing the shirt)…which makes sense when you see the image.

Then we leave two cars where the parking is easy and we park in this garage, within easy walking distance of the march. The artist is Christopher Konecki…whose art I love…and his cover picture on his website shows this and a few other of his downtown murals (there are many).

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We take the obligatory march photo…which shows my hat…

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The weird Earth Mother that was behind us while we left the plaza…

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You can see my weird hat (I wear this at school at least once a year)…better in the Other Kathy’s picture…

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Got my lab coat on too. Anyway. Science marchers are different than Women marchers in that it was quieter…but still a good thing. Because science. Duh.

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I don’t know how you ignore 15,000 people in San Diego…especially when they’re fucking with traffic…

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They only gave us half the road this time. Lots of good signs, but I’m not sure the people who need to be paying attention are getting it, after seeing the Trumpster’s statement for Earth Day. It seems his science teachers have a lot of explaining to do for his level of ignorance about cause and effect with the environment. Hopefully some of his party will pay attention to their constituents.

I came home and ironed…body parts…

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She’s not as pink as the others…

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Should be interesting seeing all three bathtubs hanging together…

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Then I took the torso and limbs and inserted them into the bathtub.

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I only had about 100 pieces left at that point, but needed to leave and go to an opening.

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Which is where I found out I had more time than I thought.

Yesterday, I had a ton to do, but helped out the ex by letting him drop a beam on my shin. OK. Not really. That was an accident, but it hurts today. Oh well.

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I get it. It’s hard to do stuff around the house when you’re the only person. Luckily I persuaded him that trying to lift the beam up from the ground and hold it was fucking nuts. So we did it from the deck…if it dropped, that would have killed the ladders, but not one of us. I feel like I need to drive over there today and see if he is still alive, because he had other stuff to do…this might be why old single people need to live in communes, rather than by themselves.

I had a California Fibers‘ meeting yesterday (we have so many shows coming up, it’s crazy)…and this was on a Chinese screen one of the members had in her house. Everything else was traditional old dragons and water and clouds (which apparently are a fungus, not clouds?)…but these look like flaming metal eyeballs, don’t they? I’m not sure what they’re supposed to be, but I really like them.

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Back home, finishing some grading, dogs at the ready…

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Or asleep…whichever works.

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Back to the ironing board, earlier this time…

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Eyeballs ironed separately for better placement.

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Her face done…with crown of fire (can you say hot flashes?).

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Piece the background after (smartly learning from my mistakes) washing it in that stuff that removes the extra dye…Retayne (wish I could retain brain cells, dammit…couldn’t remember what it was called)…

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Then all ironed down and steamed appropriately.

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Damn, if I didn’t have to go to school today…I’d be stitching this down. Yup. Oh well. Back to the day job. That’s what all the artists say.

*Blue Foundation, Eyes on Fire

So There

April 22, 2017

I have 12 minutes before I need to get ready to leave to march for science. Funny, it wouldn’t have been my first choice 30 years ago, when I was in college. I was very much an English literature and art major before I was a science person. Some of that was teachers who told me girls don’t do this, so when I asked questions, mostly trying to figure physics out (it’s still not my strong point), they wouldn’t answer. Somehow I should have gotten all the information I needed from their dry, boring lectures or from the textbook I barely cracked.

When I got my tattoo earlier this week, the fact that I was a teacher came up and the desk guy, who looked barely out of high school, was entranced with physics, with the labs, though…not with the post-lab work…like many of my students, he likes to do and explore more than he likes to analyze afterwards in some sort of productive manner. I love science for its creativity, its persistence, its ability to fuck with us…but I also love it for how it solves problems…and not just in one way, but in millions of ways. I didn’t know back in high school that this subject was one of the best for people who are both right and left brain, who like to see order in the chaos, but are admitting the chaos is always there…who like to find answers even while making more questions.

So I march for science. I march for the Lorax. I march with Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I march with all the women who have chosen science as a career despite all the men who stood in the way. I march for my students, who love the labs, but not the work that goes with them. I march for a subject I didn’t particularly like in school, but grew to love over the years, a subject that now distinctly colors the art I make. I march even though it’s going to be hot and there will be no bathrooms. I march even though I didn’t make a sign (I have a lab coat with my name on it and an eyeball hat and a Lorax t-shirt). I march with my co-teacher, even though she’s currently marching in Texas. I march for the people who don’t believe in climate change, because they can’t see the science through the politicians.

So there.

In other news, I’m putting a binding and a sleeve on this one and trying to hang it from a wall instead of putting it on a bed…ironically, since it’s a quilt about being a quilt.

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I didn’t get much done on this one due to yesterday’s errandness…

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Puppies are bitey and old lady dogs aren’t.

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I worked on this while gaming…

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And I did three days’ worth of stuff on this, mostly down in the bottom right…Some blue star stitches with french knots and cross stitches, then some stitches to decorate the herringbone, both straight stitches in peach and fly and lazy daisy stitches in green.

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Just trying to fill in space as I reach the 1/3-way mark. Whatever for? I do not know. But I can’t stop now.

I May Find Myself Delayed*

April 21, 2017

The last two days have flown by. I spent a few hours out and about today, running last-minute errands, fighting the crazies who shop in the afternoon. I’m still massively behind…behind a line I drew, of course…one that I will have to continuously redraw for the next few days/weeks/months. Some things will slip…they just have to. I went to my quilt “class” (meeting? socializing event?) last night and we were both grading, too stressed about work to be able to create. It made it possible for me to come home and create, though…and what I had to do wasn’t portable, so that really was the best option.

Today I am not doing so well with the options. Oh well. Shit happens. Art takes time. Life takes time. There’s never enough time.

Close to 10 PM, I started ironing…still on the sides…

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It’s a dog!

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And I got the bathtub sides done and started the water…

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Didn’t stop until I’d finished the water…I’m somewhere in the mid 400’s at the moment.

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All that’s left is the body…and the other stuff floating in the bath. It’s about 250 pieces. Certainly doable if I weren’t leaving in 30 minutes or so. Shit! Where did the day go? I don’t even know.

Still don’t know if the girlchild is coming home for the summer. Sad to say…although it means I won’t have to find a new home for all my quilts. Yesterday, a huge chunk of the day was about finding all the quilts that got into shows so far (I’m up to 6 that I know for sure, all shipping out or being delivered in the next month), and then putting labels on all of those that didn’t have them. I was supposed to pack up two boxes to ship today, but only one got done, because I needed a slat (part of today’s torturous errand trip…which included Home Depot and Costco, because I am a glutton for punishment).

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Hopefully she’ll give me a few days’ notice to move these. I do want them to come home. Sigh. Oh well.

OK, well…I don’t think I have time to iron anything else down right now…hopefully I will still have some energy later tonight to do something. Tomorrow, I march for science. Sunday is a fiber arts meeting. I already did the grocery shopping for next week (wow, right?)…and most of the school stuff I needed to do. Just waiting on a few things…even emailed the photographer, to try to force my hand on getting done. I did just decide to put a binding and a sleeve on MomSleep (the one that was on a bed) and try hanging it on a wall…I think it will work. So I need to do that. As well. Sigh. Nutsy cuckoo, I am.

*Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kiss Them for Me

Read the Lines in My Hand*

April 20, 2017


OK. Yeah. Better. Nope. Not really. Realizing how many things are on the to-do list while simultaneously realizing how little time there is to do them. My right eye is twitching again. It’s not supposed to do that on break. And it doesn’t seem to matter that I got a ton done yesterday…today it has multiplied into a monstrously larger amount, I don’t even know how. Part of it is trying to manage four different shows (maybe more?)…finishing work, putting labels on, suspect I need to go shopping for slats or dowels, plus shipping them off…gotta get all that done today and tomorrow. Plus the parentals are gone, so I have their dog on top of mine. And I’m supposed to be deciding what quilts will be in my solo show in July, because I need to know by next Friday. Aack. Double Aack. I have some that are definites (including the one I haven’t finished, oh shit), but I’m blanking on some of the others. Not sure. Need it to fit with the title. Maybe. Maybe it all fits. Who knows? I can’t wrap my brain around it right this minute. Realizing that this weekend is busy as hell, all of a sudden. OK, the realization was all of a sudden…it’s been booked for months.

All I can do is start banging through the list, as always. This is how school stuff doesn’t get done, though…because I’m trying to finish the personal stuff…and that doesn’t even include my original Spring Break goals of finishing all the weeding (ah ha ha ha) and figuring out where all the quilts should be stored and getting my bedroom chaos under control. That shit’s just not happening at all.

So. I got up yesterday and graded one of the longer assignments. Then I started cutting, and I did that for about 4 1/2 hours…

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And then I was done. So 9 hours plus total, I think. And my hand isn’t even that stiff. Good deal.

I had two dogs on the couch with me for most of it…not sure why. I know I’ve been the most boring owner ever this week. Sorry guys.

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Then the third dog showed up and the shenanigans began…

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I ignored them and went on to sorting the pieces out…

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And then came in here and started ironing…

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I am doing all the stuff around the bathtub first…it seems easier that way…

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Well, this tree wasn’t really easy…but it was logical…sort of.

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And I got the cat done after midnight…and that’s where I stopped.

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200 pieces ironed down…only 500 to go. That was my goal for today…I think. I’m not sure I can pull it off though. I have 5 quilts to pull from the pile, check all of them for labels, put labels on those that don’t have them, ship 3 to one location, put 2 in a pile for another location, and then there’s another that’s still in a box that needs to be shipped back. Each batch, I need to look up what else needs to be sent…artist statement? Slats? Return shipping? Who knows. Pain in the ass. Except the work is gonna be out there, so that’s a plus.

Two of the pieces are in this show…which will be up until July 10, I think. The piece on the right is mine, and there will be another smaller piece of mine in the show. I won’t make it to the opening though…it’s free, but you need to register. I think that gets you a free wine ticket though, so you should go.

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And then I’m in this one…but I’m not sure whether it’s just the one piece on the announcement or not. I should be at this opening…

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Anyway, wasting less time here and trying to get everything done without panicking. This is the part where my counselor tells me I must like being overwhelmed because I keep getting into that space. WTF. I don’t know how NOT to get there. Sigh.

*Elliott Smith, Miss Misery