Down Here So Laughable and Small*

September 13, 2017

The good news is that I’m done with the ironing. It’s funny, the disconnect when I type that. I don’t iron clothes. Like ever. OK, once maybe for the boychild when he had a college interview. I don’t iron my own stuff…unless it’s got a major issue. I just buy stuff that won’t need it. Because I spend so much time ironing when making art…that’s why. It took 13 hours and 39 minutes to iron 800 and something pieces of Wonder Under to fabric. It’s probably gonna take another 13 hours or so to cut them all out. Well. Maybe not…it’s taken less time than the ironing on the last two quilts…so maybe I’ll be done sometime over the weekend? Who knows. I have two nights clear…I think. That’s probably not enough (snorts hysterically…who the hell am I kidding? Nowhere near enough. OK, add in Saturday and Sunday, and maybe I’ve got a chance of finishing by the end of the weekend. That’s realistic. So ironing together next week. There’s a plan.).

Yeah, I’m still sick, but not as bad as I was. I’m still getting wiped out easily at night though. I think I worked a 12-hour day yesterday, between school, tutoring center, coming home and trying to make sense of the next unit, and then a last-minute, late-night revision of the quiz we’re giving today.

THEN I made art. Yeah. Well it didn’t take long to iron the last bits. I think I only did art for like 52 minutes last night (yes, I keep track…it keeps me accountable to doing it).

So here was flailing on the couch…

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And Satchemo giving Calli lovepats (no claws) while Calli tried to get me to throw the ball for her.

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Then I realized I had to get up and deal with the school stuff, because we start the new unit Friday and I’m not ready. I had this cider I wanted to try at a restaurant over the summer, just because of the name, and the last time I went to BevMo, they had it, so I bought a couple bottles…and I was feeling kind of ultra-stressed, so I poured a rare glass before dinner…this is Ginja Jinja.

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It was pretty good. I could use more ginger in my ninja though. Seriously. I like ginger.

Ironing didn’t start until almost 11 PM. But it was pretty easy in the end. An eyeball, a gun, this cloud of letters. A coupla tattoos. The male figure’s hair.

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Shit. I shoulda counted these. I always count them. Damn. Hang on a second…101 fabrics…

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This is not an uber-colorful quilt. I think it’ll be toned down a bit from some of my others. Some of that is the background color, but also I didn’t add a bunch of bright color. We’ll see what that looks like next week when I start putting it all together.

But before I do that, here’s tonight’s work…cut out that whole boxful of pieces.

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Lots of big pieces on this one. I did that on purpose. The next one won’t be as lucky. I’m actually looking forward to starting the next one. I’m really unsure of this one…plus it’s a difficult topic anyway. Not that the next one is easy, but it seems easier for me to manage…maybe the science aspect is so clear to me. Who knows.

*David Gray, Ain’t No Love


Impossible to Ignore*

September 12, 2017

I fought dizzy and cold clammy sweats all day, but managed to make art last night, at least for a while. It feels good. I missed it. It gives me focus.

I had already picked and laid out the flesh fabrics for the male figure before I got sick, so it was very easy to jump in and start assigning pieces to colors…

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In fact, I got mostly through the last half of the 600s and most of the 700s with those…the pile on the number 1 fabric was quite large.

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Although I say that, and it still took only a third of the piece of fabric…so a third of a half yard, since that’s what I usually buy.

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I try to fit them as well as possible to not waste fabric, but sometimes you just have little bits and pieces all over.

This is all I have left to iron down…his tattoos, a gun, and the cloud above his head. His hair. His eye. I’m not sure what those little pieces are in the middle. His lips.

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Not much. Not-sick me would have finished last night. I quit right around 11: 15 and tried to go to sleep (ah ha ha…too many things in my head for that…upcoming stressful meeting, student stuff, deadlines, people, a quiz, a show I didn’t get into and why, the next science unit, deadlines, cleaning stuff, did I say deadlines?). So no sleep for me. Well. I’m sure I slept at some point.

The box is full…almost time to start cutting shit out.

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Here’s all the fabrics so far…two runs of flesh tones for two bodies.

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Lots of red and gray.

Anyway, work calls. It always does. I’m still fighting the cold sweats and a voice that’s not quite right. Not sure what to do but keep going. Looking forward to finishing the ironing today though. It’s about time.

*The Cranberries, Dreams

I Wanna Be Sedated*

September 8, 2017

Oh yeah. That’s a cold. Bam. Some kid’s germs. Ugh.

Honestly, I came home from school last night, after Back-to-School Night, and I fell asleep on the couch. Like an old person. Cuz sometimes I am an old person. I woke up to dark and no desire for dinner (I never did eat dinner) and a need for another cup of tea, because I’d made one but now it was cold. My kids will tell you that I constantly heat up my tea…I could put it in one of those things that keeps it warm, and at work I do, but at home, there’s something comforting about the ritual of heating the tea, of 60 seconds passing and my reading a page of my book while it does. It tastes better in ceramics than in metal too.

Today I will try to keep myself upright and not use my voice too much, because there’s not much of it to use. I can’t stay home…it’s a lab day and no substitute teacher can handle a lab day. Plus it’s only a cold. We don’t waste sub days with a mere cold. Even pneumonia isn’t a reason to stay home. Gastrointestinal flu? Well yeah, we stay home for that. We don’t have enough subs either. And none of them want to teach science. Gee, I wonder why? I will have to wander the classroom during the lab today though…measurement is still a skill they are learning.

Here I was for a bit after waking up, tea heated, needy animals.

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Then I got up and ironed. I should have graded things, but I couldn’t face it. I will pay for that this weekend. Here’s a bunch of numbers and alphabet things…

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Here’s the baby lizard I rescued before Kitten found it.

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It was very cute.

I finished the blackboard behind the female figure and then picked the run of flesh tones for the second figure, the male.

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A slightly different run of colors. I don’t want them to be the same. But he’s still a white guy. Because they usually are.

I didn’t add a lot of colors in yesterday’s ironing…a few greens but mostly white and beige tones.

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At that point, it was about 11:30, I knew I had to be up early for a meeting this morning, and I didn’t feel well. So I didn’t start ironing the next figure, because once you start, you can’t stop until you’re done. And this is what faced me…

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Plus a whole ‘nother box or two of pieces to get through everything that’s happening on this guy. Much better to consider that tonight or even better, maybe tomorrow. We’ll see. Sick is not helpful in this case.

Here’s a boxful of pieces…

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I’m expecting to be able to start cutting them out on Sunday. Hopefully. If I get through the grading. Sometimes you just have to put your head down and get it done. Sometimes you just have to go to bed! We’ll see where I end up tonight.

*The Ramones, I Wanna Be Sedated

Words Make My Mouth Exercise*

September 7, 2017

I think all the surrounding coughing and sniffling is finally gonna take me down. On Back-to-School Night no less…ironic that. I’m feeling the throat pain, the spacey, the beginnings of something. I don’t get sick that often any more…also ironic, because I work in a middle school AND the diabetes is supposed to affect my immune system. Ah well…maybe this weekend will be all about sleep and cold medicine…if I make it there. Trying to explain to a non-teacher what Back-to-School Night is like…after teaching 100-plus 12-years-olds how NOT to kill each other with a triple beam balance, I’m going to talk to 50 or so parents and try to remember what their kid is like in class, and I only have an hour…GO! Yeah. Well. It’s a marathon day…let’s just put it at that and hope it ends well. I do know it’s harder than any day I ever did working in corporate world. Some people find field trips more difficult…they are tiring, yes, but I enjoy field trips…getting out of the classroom with the kids is a plus. I’d like to do more of those.

Anyway. I made it to the gym yesterday and then cooked dinner and then graded stuff…so it was a very late start on the art stuff.

This guy turned 2 yesterday…

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He was kinda playful and demanding for a bit.

This guy is venturing out more…but trying not to be so aggressive, so that’s a good thing. Adjustment is slow for all…

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I swear I scooped this Tuesday after school, and then came home yesterday to this. I’d swept too.

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Sigh. The trees have decided it’s Fall. Fall all over the place.

I ironed for less than an hour last night, but I did finish all the 400s…well, most of them. This is what I’ve used so far.

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Yesterday I ironed the weird arm in the middle…mostly grays. The box is filling up quickly.

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So I’ve reached the halfway point on the ironing. I don’t think I’ll be done until Saturday. I actually have some time on this one before the deadline, but I still want to get it done quickly…some of that is because I’m not sure about it and some of that are the other deadlines behind it. I’ll find out on September 20 if I have to make a new piece for a show I was already juried into (sigh. no comment.). I’m looking forward to coming home tonight and doing something with this…at least dinner is mostly made already (did that last night) and I don’t feel like I have to grade anything if I’ve been at school for 10 hours straight. Just saying.

*Violent Femmes, Add It Up

Like Spun Glass in Sore Eyes*

September 6, 2017

I’m kinda losing track of things at the moment…sitting here looking out the office window where the leaves keep falling (because it’s Fall? Not yet in Southern California…we’ll hit 100 again before the month is out, for sure), wondering how some days go so quickly I can’t even breathe, don’t even see them slip past. Yesterday was like that…zip! And it was gone. There are pros and cons to that of course…some parts of the day were unbearably long. Lunch is never long enough, nor prep long enough to get it all done. Sleep is never freaking long enough for anything.

It’s something to do with September, I think…even without kids’ back-to-school nights and packets full of paperwork and new soccer seasons, this month impresses on me some level of urgency. I wish it would stop so I could just watch the leaves fall and wonder why they do that when it still looks and feels like summer. Look! There goes another one. It’s not even yellow. Green leaves falling. Stress from last week’s heat? Perhaps. It’s still a marker of time in my brain. FALL.

I did some of this last night, lower left corner again, some chain stitch in some color I can’t remember…a green with a pink in it, I think.

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Even Pandora is playing all wistful mopey music.

Still not sure about this quilt. But it continues. Last night, I got lungs, hair, octopus tentacles, and bullets ironed down.

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I lost one of the octopus tentacles, so I redrew it…and then found it in the next box. I usually check, but this time I didn’t. Mistake. I also figured out where the unnumbered piece belonged. I had traced it but forgotten to write a number on it. That time I had gone through the next three boxes looking for it…and then glanced at the table, where the lonely unnumbered pieces go. And there it was…409…in all its glory. It was the right shape.

Leaves falling 5 and 6 at a time. There’s no wind…just leaves dropping straight down, twirling a bit as they plummet to the ground. I won’t sweep or rake them up…I let them decay where they are. Well, except for the 700 leaves that fell in the pool over the weekend. I tried getting most of those out yesterday.

It’s funny, I try to find an hour or so a day to make art…some days, like yesterday, I’m over 2 hours in and trying to negotiate a later bedtime with my brain so I can keep going, until the mom brain reminds me what it’s like to teach 7th graders metrics and measurement on not-enough sleep (oh yeah. bad.). So I’m 8 hours into the ironing and hoping more will happen tonight, but also I need to deal with the 720 emails from students yesterday and last night (it’s OK…they’re making up work because I explained yesterday how to fix those Not-A’s) and food and the gym is on my to-do list. So I can read my book. OK, also because I need to go to the gym. I do actually like the gym. I just like artmaking more.

With that, I need to book out of here early to deal with stuff…but I did get through all of the 300s and into the 400s, but not very far. I’m doing the weird arm in the middle and then starting on the other figure in the quilt. I’m not quite halfway, but I’m close. That’s something.

*Elliott Smith, Coming Up Roses

Pulling Your Puzzles Apart*

September 5, 2017

It’s funny…I thought I would have all this time yesterday to iron, but grading took forever, plus we walked the dogs in the much cooler weather. Yeah. This dog…

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The clouds were low and it was in the 70s…a huge change from 109 on Saturday.

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There’s an endangered bird species or two who live here…it’s nice that someone makes their homes decorative.

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We tried a new way back, one we won’t try again, because it goes past a variety of sewage treatment areas.

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Plus at some point it’s just a paved road. Not my first choice, although this piece of equipment was pretty.

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I graded for a couple of hours after that, then cooked dinner and did something on this. Hmmm. French knots in the bottom left, in a variegated thread this time.

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And because we were trying to finish watching the first episode of Ozark and I can’t just sit and watch TV, I kept sewing parts down for the next month’s worth of Folk Tails.

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I think I made eyeballs too.

Finally to the ironing! I finished ironing down all the pieces of flesh from the day before.

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Which probably took close to an hour. And then I started on all those pieces that weren’t flesh but were in the body…there were a ton of pieces in the heart this time, and many more arteries/veins…so the reds were more extensive than normal.

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I don’t feel like I got much done really…just the eyeballs and one tattoo and the bloody stuff. I still have parts of the face, the lungs, the octopus tentacles coming off her hand, and another tattoo.

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I started the bullet trails through her head, but didn’t get to the bullets. They’re lined up on the bottom. Anyway. I’m almost 6 hours into the ironing and I still haven’t gotten to the 400s…some of them are in the hair too. So I guess that will be tonight. I hope. I suspect 15 hours for the ironing is a good estimate…although I hope it will be less. Maybe by the end of the week? This is a tough week…back-to-school night will kick my ass. We’ll see.

Here’s the pile of pieces that are ironed plus the fabrics before I organized them…

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I’m trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour (ha!), which just means midnight instead of 1 AM. So I’ve been watching the clock and making myself stop.

Here’s what I’ve used so far in fabrics…the flesh run on the left at the back of the box…and a ton of reds.

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I have to remember that I have tutorial today after school, so exhaustion will be high. But I don’t have to cook dinner tonight…so that’s exciting. No really, it is.

*Coldplay, The Scientist

From the Mess to the Masses*

September 4, 2017

Three days off is always so nice. The weekend is so rushed when it’s shoved into two days…mostly because teachers need so much weekend time just to prep for the next week, unfortunately. I really enjoy being able to stretch work out a bit with that third day, although I’m sure if I always had three days off, I’d manage to fill them up and feel the same day-before stress I usually get on a Sunday. Too much to do in too little time.

The weather also cooled off considerably, so my brain is back. We got a little rain and it’s about 20-30 degrees lower in temperature. It’s like we’re human again.

I am trying to persuade Kitten to stay in the office for a little while, even with the interloper in the house…it worked for a bit.

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There were treats involved. Who uses an ironing board base as a pillow? Cats are weird.

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Speaking of weird…I almost bought this just for the raccoon. Yes, that’s a Disney princess behind him.

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Majorly weird. And not cheap.

So when we got back from the store (must have food), I started folding and putting away fabric, both from Saturday’s run to get a background fabric (the brownish gray or grayish brown)…the green is for the chalkboard behind her. And some other stuff that leaped into my hands.

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Then I found and sorted by color all the fabrics from the last quilt…

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And put it all away so I could start the next one.

And then I graded for a while. See this stuff? They all do this. Inhabit me with their tails. Plus that’s the gradebook he’s lying on. AND he looks pissed off that I might want to do these things near him.

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Trust me, Satchemo, I feel the same way about grading. But you’re not helping. I need to do more of it today.

Then I hung the drawing…big but mostly square. I’m still not sure how I feel about this one. I mean, I’m making it. We’ll see.

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I tell you that so you don’t think I’m always totally confident about what I’m doing…that there are times when I’m not sure it’s going to turn out well or at all. And I keep doing it.

I just have to hope it works. I started out in the earth, so browns…

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But I quickly got into the flesh run for the first figure in the quilt. She used a run of 7 fabrics, although that brown was only used for one thing. I laid out all the flesh pieces last night…

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Here are all the pieces that are part of the first figure but aren’t flesh…so a lot of artery/heart pieces, some lungs, eyeballs, and I don’t remember what else.

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I’ll get to those today. It means I was almost to the 400s, but I haven’t done all of them. I don’t know what that means in terms of how far I am. I’ve got more to do, for sure. I spent almost 4 hours ironing yesterday and finally had to force myself to stop to go to bed.

She has words on her neck.

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I still have the three lightest fabrics of flesh to iron down…that was 1 AM. There’s a lot in the box…honestly, I need to pull a bigger box for the pieces.

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It’s already full. Ahhhh. I love this part; I really do. That and ironing it together.

OK, today. Well grading, of course. And a dog walk for sure…now that it’s cooler. And then ironing. Lots of ironing. Yay.

*Phoenix, Lizstomania