Peace and Quiet

Well. It’s Monday morning and I’m still in my pajamas (I couldn’t do that over the weekend; had places I had to be)…I need to do this at least once over break or it doesn’t feel like time off. I did grade stuff on Sunday and will do more today, just because it has to be done and I’d rather get it over with than have it looming over me at the end of break. No matter what I do, something will be left until the last minute and the Sunday before we go back will be panicky, but I can do my best now to make it better. Future self will appreciate it.

I also did a bunch of art stuff, so I’m feeling OK at the moment. The yard is scaring me with its overabundance of shit growing out of control and needing maintenance, but I feel like that’s an annual thing and this year is just a bit worse because we’ve had so much rain. The weeds, man, there are weeds for DAYS. But I have four days before we leave to go camping, so that’s time that needs to be utilized wisely. So far in the last three days, I have sent a few emails out for something I’m thinking about, the Man and I planned food and made lists for camping, I made it to one exercise class and one meeting…I’m doing amazing! Oh yeah, finished a book and started another one. I am feeling a little panicky actually because my to-do list is a bit overwhelming. But I think it’s a lot of little things that can be banged out quickly. I hope.

So the quilt pieces got sorted on Friday night (I was really tired)…

That was after going out and listening to a friend’s dad’s band and playing some meme game…

Yeah, that’s me reading the cards. So it’s no wonder I was tired when I got home…we also stopped for food on the way home…

I don’t often go out on Friday nights…too tired. This time, it was the first Friday night of Spring Break, so it felt doable. Last year, I got on a plane and flew overnight to see the girlchild…who got a new job yesterday! She’s coming back to the West Coast, so that is lovely. And hopefully this job will be better. It feels like everyone around me is getting new bosses in the next few months…including me. Change…is good sometimes.

Saturday, my quilt guild had their 3rd birthday party (yes, we started right when COVID started). The birthday cupcakes had an issue with spelling…

I worked on this while sitting there…

Wait, I have video…

I’ve been working on this since 2020, I think. It is not fast stitching, but it’s meditative.

So after that, I ironed the newest quilt together…got a chunk done before dinner…

Then came back after dinner and did more…

And on Sunday, got the main figure done…

And started working on the doctor’s lab coat…

There are a lot of pieces in this coat. Today, hopefully I’ll finish the ironing and get it ironed to the background so I can start stitchdown. My goal for the week is to finish stitchdown and get it pinbasted by the time we leave for Arizona. I think I can do that…until I start thinking about all the other things that need doing. Yeah! Woo!

New puppy Annie (Anwen) at my ex’s house…Simba is still not enamored of puppy behaviors.

That is HIS pillow. Poor puppy. She’s adorable.

OK. Boychild says I have lots of yardwork to do. My to-do list has a lot of art and house stuff on it, as well as yard stuff. I think I need to take a shower and get out of pajamas, unfortunately. Although I think I’m going to do one school thing first. I finished 2/3s of something yesterday and I’d like to get the last third done. Then start checking shit off the list. But also read and pee when I want (teacher dreams!) and eat when I’m hungry and not as fast as I can. And take deep relaxing calming breaths because I can. Thank you, Spring Break, for giving me some peace and quiet.

Solid Dream State…

I woke up from a solid dream state (better than most of the night), deeply ensconced in a dream in a country I’ve never been to, hanging out with a person I only know online (and I don’t think we’ve ever actually even had an online conversation), a quilt person, nonetheless. And I’m thinking, why isn’t my brain solving all the issues that were keeping me from sleeping? School, yard, house, money, etc. Although I guess technically, maybe that was my brain’s solution: send her on a vacation far far away.

Nicely done, brain, nicely done.

I know some people are already on Spring Break. We’re not. We’re so incredibly not. We WANT to be, but no, not yet. Five more days. After last week, it feels like five days is five too many, but the universe disagrees and wants us to forge on. We’re too tired to teach, too tired to plan or clean (that needs to happen before Spring Break too…we clean so they can clean our floors, which didn’t get done in December either). Too tired to grade, although my plan is to do as much as possible so I have as little as possible over break. Ha! It’s actually impossible. It’ll be fine. Really. My to-do list is already bigger than the number of days I have off, and since we’re going camping for some of those days, you know how that will work.

Ah well. In other gigantic news, I spent 6 hours on Saturday and managed to get my taxes from YOU OWE A LOT to WE OWE YOU SOME NOT A LOT BUT BETTER THAN NOTHING. That was a relief. Now to figure out how to pay property taxes. Minor issue. I’d like to come out of all of this with some money in savings to get through the summer. Unfortunately, I don’t see having enough to go to Quilt National in May, but I figured that was a long shot anyway.

I also finished ironing all the pieces down for the second quilt in progress…ironically, because I had entered 5 pieces in another show and the curator said they were definitely taking one of the new ones, and then they didn’t. Hmmm. So the new one, which probably would work for this other show where the curator is clueless and needs stuff from the last year, is now available. If I’d known that a month ago, I probably wouldn’t have started this one, because there is ANOTHER one I want to make for a show, and I’m running out of time. AARGH. Well. There we are. My plan is to finish this one by the end of Spring Break, if not earlier, start drawing the other one, then iron the one that was already started and get it done, so I can get the other one done before the deadline. MAGIC! Oh wait. Day job. Fuck.

Anyway, Friday night, I got within 100 pieces of done…

That was after taking a bunch of 8th graders to the Midway…let’s see, planes, military, not my thing. It was OK. I had a good group (very quiet and docile) and one very excited kid to be on planes…

I was glad to not be teaching for a while, although I had to come back and deal with 7th grade.

Who didn’t earn a movie. Actually, I gave them Bill Nye. But normally I’d do something fun, and that didn’t happen. It’s OK…11 were absent in 6th period, so this was a better choice.

Saturday was all taxes until after dinner. Oh wait, no it wasn’t. I hemmed the Man’s pants for a show…

My favorite: polyester AND zippers. Fun stuff. It was a private show, so I couldn’t go, but I needed to do taxes anyway.

Then I finished up the ironing…

A total of 8 hours and 40 minutes of that, plus 118 fabrics.

Lots of flesh colors on the right. So many people in this thing, and I made one of them blue, but there were still a lot.

I started trimming on Saturday night…

And kept going last night…

After doing school stuff for about 7 hours. Fun! I have a lot of letters to cut out, but that’s OK. It’s like a meditative puzzle at this point. I’m hoping to be done with the cutting before the weekend, then iron it together, iron it down, stitch it down, pinbaste…all before we leave to go camping. It’s a short trip this year…the Man doesn’t have a lot of days off, and we have a concert to come back for.

On my lap Saturday night…staring into the corner of the ceiling, where aliens wait to drop on my head…

Invisible aliens, except to cats.

The freesias I planted last year that were eaten by bunnies are finally up.

They got enough rain this year, apparently. We’re well over our normal rainfall. Although I’m done with rain. The universe is NOT done…more Wednesday. Ugh.

OK. So today after school, I have to watch a bunch of basketball games instead of a staff meeting (I have work to do, y’all). Then I can read my book, grade more stuff, and cut more stuff out. A day at a time is how we survive this week. Today is an activity in 7th grade that hopefully they can handle. In 8th grade, we are finishing the stuff we should have finished last week, but the app was being a butthead, so I had to give them extra time. I have a big lab on Wednesday. Then IDK what by the time we get to Friday. I’m probably not the only teacher that is IDK what by Friday this week, so I’m OK with that. I’ll figure it out by then. Meanwhile, books, exercise, and art save the day!

Might Be Damp

I’m watching the weather today because it’s supposed to start pissing down rain sometimes later today and I have duty at the stoplight after school. Might be damp. Then tomorrow, as it’s in the middle of 2″ of rain in 24 hours (which doesn’t happen here…that might be our annual rainfall some years), I will be picking up two quilts. Can’t park anywhere close to the pickup location, so that should be fun too. At least none of it is during rush hour traffic. I have multiple art pickups and dropoffs in the next few weeks, which is a good (but annoying and stressful) problem to have. One tomorrow, one, next Thursday (moved that one by a week), then another one…not sure when. I saw an email and promptly forgot about it. Problematic.

I am not at QuiltCon…which sucks, but also, I still get to see all the pictures. There’s some stuff I’d love to see up close. Ah well. The next QuiltCon on the West Coast isn’t until 2025. That said, one of my guild friends posted this…

That’s mine on the right…although the name is wrong. I emailed the lecturer and she responded right away. Frank Klein does own the other one, so it wasn’t a huge deal. It’s just that quilt has an awesome name: The Goddess of Never-Ending Chaos, which is kinda how it’s felt since I made it in 2016. Or maybe the goddess of increasing chaos at this point. Or unsustainable chaos.

It’s Friday. Hallelujah for that. If only I can get my head around the next batch of things while finishing up trimester 2 grades. It’s a lot to ask, especially with no more 3-day weekends. Tomorrow is all art pickup and socializing with friends we haven’t seen…well, I haven’t seen them before COVID I think. Pretty sure. So that’s crazy. But then I just have Sunday to catch up on everything. Yikes!

Be Efficient. Be Be Efficient.

I keep thinking I’ll be done with the ironing and then I’m not. Here’s Wednesday night…

Eyeball tree and IDK what else.

It’s a huge stash of fabrics I’ve got in this quilt…

And every night I add some more, because I don’t QUITE have the right shade of brown or gray or whatever.

Last night…I did an arm, a glove, and a basket, and some barcodes, but got stymied by the eggs the barcodes were on.

I wanted to do more, but my brain was done. I worked a lot yesterday, got a lot done, walked kids through the beginning of sound (I know more about sound than I thought I did…let’s hope the same thing happens with space, but I suspect not, because I never ever had space in school and I’ve never taught it either) and then the other grade, I got more and more frustrated with the inability to just focus for 20 whole minutes. Write me…shit, I didn’t even ask for sentences. I’m not sure what the deal was. I know that by the time I got to 6th period, I wasn’t letting them leave without finishing the assignment, so I made it their ticket out the door. You don’t leave until you’ve typed these four things in. On topic. The kids who are on top of it totally were done and ready on time. The kids who want the answers handed to them, who whine about everything, who spend the entire period trying to figure out how to throw something or clap loudly without being caught or just not DO anything at all, they were flabbergasted. What? You can’t keep me (I can). I don’t know what to do (I explained it three times). You’re gonna make me stay? (yes). The last kid was maybe 5 minutes late out of class, because you know what? With the threat of having to stay until he finished, he figured his shit out. Learned helplessness. Plus post-COVID stuff. Plus a batch of really immature kids (probably also COVID-related…no social skills learned during a pandemic, as we’ve seen nationwide). There was more after school that was halfway between laughable and WTF, and then I went to physical therapy and came home to a Zoom meeting, with about 12 minutes in between. That was enjoyable, but I can’t show you what I worked on, because it hasn’t been published yet.

Ironing started at 9:36 PM. I don’t have a lot left, but I keep saying that. Hopefully tonight. I’m frustrated by my days…which lean heavily into my nights.

Meanwhile, Hi, Kitten, but also, that mug in the background?

I painted that with a friend before she moved to Seattle, and it has a crack in it. It was working fine last night, but this morning decided it was done being a mug and wanted to be a small fountain.

It makes me sad. Yes, I can make a new one, but IDK when (not anytime soon). I don’t NEED a new one. I have plenty of mugs. I just really like all the naked people on it. Although the one I replaced it with also has a naked person on it. So yeah.

And I forgot to post this the other day…the owls are back in the nesting box!

This is exciting. But also means I can’t trim that tree for a while. Oh well, can’t afford to do it anyway. Birds are more important.

I still have Cheech photos…

This has no color, but the wires and phone/electric lines plus the background just fascinated me…

This is Roberto Gutierrez‘ piece Untitled (at least, I think that’s what it is…three labels and three pieces of art…making some assumptions here).

And this is It’s a Brown World After All by Eloy Torrez, who is quite a portrait painter.

That’s Cheech Marin himself, in case you don’t recognize him.

OK, I’ll do more later…gotta go to school again. Labs today in both grades, what am I, nuts? Didn’t plan that well. Who am I kidding…I can’t plan at that level this year. I’m in survival mode.

Damn ducks. School. Duty hopefully not in the rain. Set up classroom for next week. Come home and collapse. Um. I mean make a healthy dinner and make good choices and get some work done in preparation for not doing any tomorrow for a WHOLE day and then finish ironing and get a good night’s sleep. Ha! We’ll see.


Didn’t sleep well last night…wind was blowing. Some weirdo winter storm out here, bringing snow (hopefully not to us) and rain and wind (obviously, from last night). I don’t sleep well through storms. Even rain wakes me up. Plus three animals in the bed who all wanted to be touching me (or on me) and then school brain, which needs to shut the fuck up when I’m not actually there or working on school stuff. Seriously, just be quiet so I can have a life. Yesterday was stressful. Lots of strange and not-so-strange things going on. I did come home and finish some stuff I’ve been trying to get done for next week, though, so that was good. Then I can plan the next unit, which will be fast and furious. Reminds me of some of my students.

Preparing for more of the crappy bits today. Hoping for some moments of clarity, where kids explain the things and I can see they’ve been thinking. That’s mostly 8th grade at the moment. A small portion of 7th grade, but mostly not. I think the crazy outweighs the thinking in there unfortunately. Wish me luck with all of that today…I’m already tired. Also, today’s self wishes yesterday’s self had gone to pick up the cat meds, because today’s self remembered she is cooking dinner and the meat needs to marinate for an hour. Uh huh. Well. Yesterday’s self just wanted to put pajamas on and read her book for an hour before starting to work again, so that’s where we’re at.

Maybe today’s self will just NOT work after school (not sure I can afford to do that at the moment). Maybe she will just iron after dinner. Because I have maybe 200 pieces left. It’s close. 26 hours in! Yikes. Crazy.

Here’s Monday night…

Here’s Tuesday night.

I actually pulled all of the pieces out of the box looking for one (which I never found) because I was trying to match something. Gave up on it. It’s not that important.

Lots of fabrics. Lots of colors. I keep adding more. I have a little left to do on her head, plus another arm, two birds, and some giant eggs. Then I’m done and can cut things out for a week or three. Hopefully not three. I’d like to finish another smaller one in there somewhere. Probably not happening. It might, though. We’ll see.

Sleepy Simba last night…

Finally stopped barking.

So on the weekend, after the Skirball and a night in Pasadena, we drove to Riverside to go to the Cheech. The exhibit was of work Cheech had collected over the years. Fascinating, lots of color, artists I didn’t know about, even though I grew up in Los Angeles and got an art degree in Orange County. We didn’t see a lot of local art (we should have) or art from people of color or even art by women…the art history book we used had no women in it at all, but my professor added some stuff. No internet back then, so it was hard to find anything out. Even my Frida Kahlo class was more about Diego Rivera than Frida herself. Truly annoying.

So let’s see how many of these I can add to this post before I have to go to work for a parent meeting.

This is a woodcut, which is pretty amazing. It’s also big. Bietenaladxi naa (Remember Me) by César García Gutiérrez.

When I can find artists’ websites, I’ll link them. Beautiful detail of the skeleton.

These pieces were actually part of a different exhibition in the front of the Cheech, but they caught my eye. This is Rebuilding by Priestly Henry.

This was a fun little piece…

This is the piece that made me want to come to the Cheech…Frank Romero’s Arrest of the Paleteros.

Huge and beautiful. You can follow him on Instagram. Here’s a detail…

It’s not just beautiful; it’s political, about arresting the street vendors in LA.

OK, that’s all I can do today. More next time. I will get through them all. I love the use of color in all of these pieces (well, even when I get to the black and white ones).

I’m not ready for today. The weather is whack. My brain is whack. School is whack. But there’s ironing at the end of it all.

Fabric of a Nation…

Hello. It’s a holiday for me. Hence my writing at a weird hour. It’s been a weird day. For one thing, we left on a short road trip Saturday morning and got back yesterday afternoon, so today I’ve been trying to do all the things I would’ve done yesterday and the day before, and I’m running out of time. Which is pretty standard for my weekends, unfortunately. I needed some significant brain power for one thing though, so I did most of that first. I’m not done, but I’m on a roll, and I think that will help in the long run.

Meanwhile, why the road trip? Two art opportunities: Fabric of a Nation is at the Skirball Cultural Center through March 12, and it’s been on my list since it opened in Boston. So that was my original plan. Then figured I might as well make a weekend of it and do a loop past the Cheech in Riverside, since I hadn’t been there since it had opened. Both incredible shows. Lots of color. Lots of amazing imagery. I’m going to try to put it on here, but there’s a lot (and there’s more photos I took, but I don’t have the time to do all of them, so I picked the best of the bunch).

So this was my first Bisa Butler piece in person, I think. I’ve seen photos and videos, but it’s never the same as closeup.

This is To God and Truth

Her use of patterned fabric is amazing.

There’s no such thing as ‘too busy’.

This was a detail from an old applique quilt that had some racist blocks on it. This is Scenes of American Life by Mrs. Cecil White.

I always wonder if she meant to be racist, or was completely clueless about it. Or if it was commentary (unlikely; the quilt is from the 1920s). There’s so little known about some of these. Her technique is pretty fascinating for the time. Too bad parts of it are questionable in subject matter.

This crazy quilt was kind of amazing. It’s by Celestine Bacheller.

Fascinating. Most crazy quilts might have one center pictorial block, and then regular pieced crazy quilt blocks around. I’ve never seen one like this.

Carolyn Mazloomi’s graphic Strange Fruit II was even more emotional in person than in photos.

Just black and white. No way to shy away from the topic.

A detail from the Harriet Powers’ quilt…

I always think I take more (and better) pictures than I actually do. I remember seeing pictures of this one when I started quilting in the 90s. It was mind-boggling then in its simplicity. Still is.

And this one, Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Kisasi Ramsess.

Amazing use of color, again, and patterned fabrics that don’t seem to belong together and yet do.

We spent the night in Pasadena, near where I grew up. I worked on one of the Sue Spargo blocks in the car and while watching a strange movie…

And I did iron on Friday night…

Wings and a strange cat. Not this one…

Although she is pretty strange. And toothless. Or light on teeth, anyway.

There were signs at the Skirball as part of another art project by Chloë Bass called Wayfinding, up through September.

Lots of thought-provoking stuff. Do you laugh or…?

Hard to say. We walked around Pasadena a bit looking for art (all closed up), found some food and drink.

Drew something weird.

Then the next morning, drove through my old neighborhood and said hi to the house I mostly grew up in…

Cool house. Interesting what they cut down and what they leave. It was a nice place to grow up in, the house anyway. Some of the town was not so nice, but that’s another story.

OK, I have work to do, so all the Cheech photos will have to wait until later. I did iron yesterday night though…these were all the fabrics I used on one kind of weird steampunk butterfly.

I’m a little more than halfway through the 1200s now. Getting close to done.

I do need to go back to work now, though…need to grade some stuff and do some more planning, make sure I’m ready for tomorrow (don’t FEEL ready, and there’s a staff meeting in the morning, which is different). This week, I will hopefully be very efficient (unlike last week) and finish all the things, plus get done with the ironing on this thing so I can start cutting them out. Everything is taking a lot of time. I’m glad I took two days off and did some ME stuff, but I knew I’d pay for it today and the rest of the week, so there’s that. It’s nice to have the extra day, though, to catch up. Won’t see that for another 38 days. To be very specific.

Totally Deserved

Hmmm…sliding into Friday like…oh no, not sliding. I’ve been sprinting for it since Tuesday morning! Yesterday I was at work at 8 AM, by the skin of my toes, and left at 5:30 PM, but came home and after reading for 30 minutes (yes, I set a timer and then finished the chapter I was on when it went off), I started working again (it’s that bad) and finished around 9:15 PM. DO NOT RECOMMEND. ZERO STARS. Ignored the three snotty emails from a parent about something that didn’t happen. I’ll deal with that today. I think I answered ALMOST all of the other emails. Maybe. My science co-teacher and I flipflopped a project yesterday, starting today. Like we’re bonkers, but it makes sense, and we might have figured it out sooner if we were allowed to meet with all our brain cells present (not this week). So I fixed all that, copied a bunch of stuff for that and 8th grade, then came home and created Tuesday’s assignment for 8th grade (still need to copy that), plus graded an academic assignment for three classes. Ate leftovers, sat on the couch for almost 4 hours doing all this crap. I have a desk setup, but it was freezing last night, and we can’t even put the heat on until 6:30 because it’s been costing so much. So a thick sweatshirt, hood up, cats around, get it done.

Some of this stress is because we’re going to be gone for most of two days for art stuff, so I’m trying to get caught up (ha! never happen) before we go. Plus I’ve got some art pickups and deliveries coming up, have to get ready for those, and the trimester ends soon, so I’m just full-on, straight-up panicking, where’s the cookies, losing my mind. Still deep in the depths of planning activities about light waves, haven’t even considered the space unit, never taught that shit before, not sure how it’s gonna roll. At least with light, there’s labs and simulations. Space? We’re just gonna watch Star Trek and give them a test. Klingon or Vulcan? And why? Good answer.

Looking forward to the art-stuff trip though. Deep breaths. Almost there.

I have been ironing every night, despite the chaos. I will not give up on making art because my day job is untenable, unsustainable, unbearable. In the last two nights, I’ve gotten through about 200 pieces, ironing a pigoon (Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake) and all its requisite stuff, including goggles (if you were a pigoon, you’d want goggles too. Don’t lie). And an ‘easy’ button. One hundred years in the future, they won’t know what an ‘easy’ button is. I’m OK with that. I’m in the 1100s. And almost 22 hours of ironing. If you’re wondering. I started on January 30th. Not a fast process. Even with 3-day weekends that are sucked up by the day job.

So here’s last night’s progress…

That box keeps getting more and more full. I’ll be trimming over the weekend, at least a little. I think. I’m debating. It’s a pain to travel with stuff to cut. So maybe I’ll just take embroidery (easier in the car) and…well…I know I’ll be doing most of the driving, because the Man gets stressed out in LA, and I don’t. He can drive through Riverside. I’m also taking my book and my school computer. Maybe. On the school stuff. It’s either do some while I’m gone or spend all day Monday doing it. Forty-two days until Spring Break. One hundred and eighteen until summer. I need to get one smaller quilt and another larger one done in that timeframe. Ha! At the rate I’m going? This year sucks.

I’m blessed to have the team I have at work. I can’t imagine how hellacious this would be without them. One of my former teammates (still on the 7th-grade team) called last night because she hadn’t seen me at work for days. Love that. I do miss having lunch with her. She brings stuff for taste tests. Anything to distract us from the stupid. You can’t imagine how happy donuts make us. Sad but true.

This year. Yup.

Apparently I am a meme.

I have a rule that I don’t answer school emails at night for exactly this reason. Sometimes I don’t answer them until my science co-teacher is in the room and can talk me down off the message I was going to send.

It’s fine. Really. I vent because it makes me better able to be calm and productive in the classroom. I’m getting through it. Sometimes I even enjoy it. Sometimes a kid gives me an amazing answer or I see progress with a kid who hasn’t been doing it or I make a connection that wasn’t there before. Sometimes I don’t.

I went to make toast this morning…

The part of my brain that is overwhelmed and wanted toast for breakfast was very sad about this…until it saw that most of the loaf was not so holey. The part of my brain that is creative tells me that I can cook an egg in this for breakfast tomorrow and it will be very nice. So that’s how I get through it all.

To school. Teach magnetic fields, start talking about MRIs. Like you do. Prep stuff for next week. Send stuff to Print Shop for copying. Then teach reptiles and incubators…ironic since I just ironed one the other night. Not ironic. Just normal. Then duty at the crosswalk at the light. Exciting. Set up classroom for next Tuesday, clean up some of the chaos, come home, read my damn book for a while. Work. Pack. Iron some more. Then enjoy some art this weekend. Totally deserved.

But Still I Iron…

Hola. This morning, I added four things to my calendar notifications that need to be done today, all of which kept me up at some point last night. I am thankful for technology, which hopefully I will pay more attention to than I do post-it notes. Actually, I do pretty well with post-its as long as I don’t move them or lose them, or there aren’t too many of them. Which is always the case. Let’s hope I remember my pilates gear this week, because last week, I forgot it and had to kamikaze home to change before class. Which was fine last week, because I had more time than I do tonight. Let’s hope the walking trip to the nearest high school is nothing like the last walking trip I was on with kids, which was before I ever started teaching and was with 5th graders, who I was sure were going to push someone into the street and get them killed. I’m sort of convinced that 8th graders are more chill than 5th graders, but not all of them. I’m supposed to wear a hat, but the only one I have says “Bite Me” and has a picture of a mosquito on it. I’m not really a hat person. I realize someone who just got treated for precancerous skin cells and had a biopsy taken (not the first one) should be more hat-conscious, and I do have a hiking hat. I guess I could take that one. Ugh. This whole ‘being an 8th-grade teacher’ existence is weird and I don’t know if I like it. They are a different animal…some in good ways, but yesterday, wow, some in bad ways. I guess those who don’t graduate…it’s on them at this point. Probably about the time I write them off is when they will be begging me for extra credit, which I don’t do. Ah well. I can’t do anything about that right now. Right now I’m panicking about finishing this unit and starting the next one and then the next one. I’m so behind on planning it’s freaking me out.

But still I iron.

This was Monday night, when I ironed an incubator full of weird creatures.

And a flask for other weird creatures.

Then last night, I did her metal heart and most of the metal arm…

I had to dig through the already ironed pieces to find the right fabric for the fingernails and one piece of the chest that didn’t get ironed before, because I couldn’t find the piece at the time, so everything is mixed up, but the stuff on top is mostly the stuff I did. I almost finished the 900s and I’ve ironed some of the 1000s and 1200s already, so I’m over a thousand done! Well over halfway. Still, with only 100 pieces getting done a night, I won’t be done before we go to Los Angeles. That’s OK. I’ll be close.

A shit ton of fabrics are being used in this piece. So many colors. I can’t quite visualize it at the moment, because you see the fabrics, but some are going to be big pieces and some little, so you don’t quite get the mix. I know the figure is very pink and the land she’s sitting on is very green. So that will be vibrant. There’s a lot of color to come, for sure. Looking forward to it.

It’s my mom’s 82nd birthday today. One of my calendar notes is to call her later…it’s a super busy day, so that’s why I need a calendar reminder. Otherwise, I will get to 10 PM and have no idea how I got there. That’s how most days go. We had dinner and celebrated on Sunday, but I hope she has a nice relaxing day doing whatever she wants, which is hopefully how most people’s days are at 82. Did I take a picture with her on Sunday? Nope. Totally forgot. Like always.

The Man bought me a Vday gift. We keep saying we don’t do Vday and then he does. This is cute though.

I feel like Ruth BG approves. And certainly there’s a sugar skull next to it from one of my co-teachers, so it’s in the theme of things I like to stare at while working at home. Another co-teacher gave me a gnome yesterday, and I’m very happy about it too. I think about when I die, how many of these little things I will have and I hear my kids complaining about having to DO something with all of it, but they should know that those things made me happy while I was working and that was worthwhile. Remind me of that when I have to clean out my parents’ house, yeah?

OK, parent meeting, then walk to high school with the whole 8th grade, then force 7th graders to think academically. Fun stuff. Oh, and I need to find that stupid fireworks video we used to show. Seriously. More videos, less me talking. Then pilates after school and book club for a book I didn’t really like except for two moments. Ah well, I need to chalk that up to this author. She’s not a bad author; she’s just not an author I like. So there’s that. And I’ve read at least three or four of her books, so I know. Then ironing! At last.

Happy Foreseeable Future

I am very lucky to have today off. Well. Luck. I will still be working. I’ve worked the last two days; why not continue? I’m sick as well, a minor cold at least, but enough to make the working harder than I’d like. Mostly Saturday. I fell asleep on the couch, which is a perfectly healthy thing to do, even when you’re not sick. I need to grade a couple of higher-level thinking things today, plus plan more for the rest of the unit, because I feel like I’m really far behind and can’t get my head around any of it. As usual. Ugh.

So let’s think about things I do have control over (or do I?)…ironing! I’ve managed that despite the cold, although this weekend has reminded me that in the past, I could’ve ironed ALL weekend and done fuck-all with school because it didn’t take up this much of my life. So there’s that.

Friday night’s ironing…

I ironed a small green fishboy. And an embedded phone…in a leg.

Then Saturday night…

We did not go out. I wasn’t feeling great. I don’t remember what I ironed at all. There’s a bunch of little details going on all over this thing.

Sunday night I remember!

The incubator with everything in it and attached to it. I had to recut three pieces out of Wonder Under because I had numbered really badly with the overlapping tubes from the uterus to the incubator, but it’s OK. It’s done now. Some of this is just difficult to figure out in terms of what colors and how to portray what I want to show. But all that is good for me. It would be easier if I didn’t have to also figure out what to do with the light waves portion of the current unit and then next unit about space, which I haven’t even looked at. Yeah. Freaking out about some of that for sure.

So much better to think about what I’m ironing next, which is a flask (glass) with liquid in it, always problematic…reflections and all. Ironically…just like what I need to teach next. Yeah. OK.

I’d really like to be done with the ironing this week. We’re going to LA/Riverside next weekend and I’d like to be cutting things out (much more transportable)…although I have enough to cut out that it doesn’t matter if I’m done or not…I have plenty to take with me. It’s more a matter of needing to finish this one so I can move on to the next two.

I lost this piece. Then found it. Then lost it again, spent 10 minutes looking for it, couldn’t find it, decided it didn’t matter, then found it again.

It’s fucking tiny. In the scheme of this quilt, it doesn’t really matter, but the fact that it’s reappeared more than once means it does matter. So I know exactly where it is right now and will be ironing it down to something immediately before it gets lost again.

Simba guarding my leg…

Kitten rubbing her head all over things I’m grading…

She was doing the same thing a year ago. A year ago, I went to QuiltCon, which is not happening this year, because it is much further away (Atlanta). Too bad. I’m still debating Quilt National…it’s a long way, a pain to get to, expensive (the biggest issue), and during the school year. Near testing. Ugh.

These guys are friends again.

It’s nice when they’re friendly. Sometimes they’re not and it sucks. It’s mostly Luna having issues. Nova is pretty chill.

This is one of my students. She’s an English-language learner, but it turns out a lot of them don’t know what Dry January is…

Which is a good problem to have, I guess. Not sure if I should just ignore this and move on, or…?

Yeah that. Explains middle school appropriately.

OK, well the car is at the shop for an oil change and some other crap that may or may not need to be done, the boychild is officially laid off for at least three months (CalFire is weird), I have a shit ton of work to do (nothing changing there), I have a dermatology appointment so they can tell me I should’ve worn more sunscreen as a child (there wasn’t really sunscreen when I was a kid…it was SPF10 and lasted 5 minutes for a paleface like me). And I’ll be ironing later tonight. Again. For the happy foreseeable future.


I have once again, for the millionth or so time, made it to Friday. I would like to congratulate you, as well, for making it, although I know for some of you, Friday is just another day and not the last day in a school week that has already kicked the shit out of you and there’s probably more to come today that you don’t know about. Yet. Then I get a blessed 3-day weekend. There are things planned on the weekend, unfortunately, because I have two books to finish and a brain to mend (and possibly a body as well), plus three thousand things to grade and another four to lesson plan.

There are 49 days until Spring Break. In case you were wondering.

I made it to stitching meeting last night…I was only home, between helping to break up a fight and cleaning up a ton of lab stuff with my co-teacher, for about 20 minutes: peed and fed the dog and then got back in the car and drove north to hang out with my stitching friends. Which is always good. Our Google-search term of the month was ‘spray cheese’, something I don’t think I’ve ever had. Because apparently the Super Bowl is this weekend (did not realize). Also we solved the problem of the cats pulling down all my shirts in the closet; I just need to implement it. And everyone is making beautiful things, and I can’t show you what I was doing, because Sue Spargo hasn’t published it yet, but basically I’m doing the applique on the wool blocks and then giving them to my mom to embroider (she gets to keep the quilt once it’s done). Her birthday is next week and I’m supposed to have three more done, and that isn’t happening, but maybe one? We’ll see.

Wednesday night was sort of chaotic: got home late from the union meeting, then read for (probably too long) a while to settle my brain, then cooked late, ate late, then worked for a bit on school stuff, trying to fix the things (always fixing the things), and then went in to iron and realized I needed to enter a show or I wouldn’t have time to enter it at all, so I did that and THEN started ironing.

Which is why I only got about 41 minutes in.

I did the metal work on the leg and breasts. I did not get to the arm/hand, because it was in a different box and was a million pieces and I needed to go to bed. So I ironed something else small. An electrical plug and socket? Is that what you call the thing it plugs into? I think I call both of those plugs. That’s problematic. And probably wrong. Ah well. Don’t have the brainpower this morning to correct that shit.

Then last night, I had stitching until 8 PM, then picked up dinner for me and the Man, who worked late and was exhausted as well, then we hung out and ate for a bit, then I (guess what) did more work (answering an email from petulance) and THEN got up and ironed for another 41 minutes. I lied. Last night was 44 minutes.

Doesn’t look much different, does it? I ironed a uterus, quite a pretty one, blue and pink and red. And I don’t remember what else…oh yeah, a tattoo of a yin/yang symbol. Not much. Damn this is slow. Day job. Fucking day job. I’m still doing bits and pieces of what’s on the flesh in the torso and legs areas, but I’m close to done. And then I’ll be in the 600s box, although I’ve done some of the 700-900s already. I think the face was in the 1200s. And I still haven’t made a decision about the coloring of the extra arms, so that’s problematic. I think one wants to be teal, but I started looking for a run of light to dark teal last night, and that might be harder than I would like. We’ll see. I wanted bright and I might need to go dull. There might be an argument for dull as well, since that’s someone else’s arm and/or a 3D-printed arm and maybe teal is not as good as a gray blue that reminds one of dead things.

Still thinking that through. In case you were thinking I just randomly pick colors without thinking deeply about them.

These are the last two cover pages for science…

I’ve actually had a hard time getting these done this year; not enough time to draw and color them in class, so they just never get finished. This got further along than the last 7th-grade unit though. That’s a plus. Mostly because a bunch of the squawkers were absent and the rest were chill and working.

Fun stuff. Needs color.

Today I need to finish grading the roller coasters so we can pull them apart for next year (need to reuse the bases). Some are already falling down, but I did get video. I’ll have to process that this weekend maybe. I need to rethink forcing them to label things for next year. Not sure how I’ll roll that. But I should put the notes about it in the lesson-plan calendar, because otherwise I will fully forget about it.

Today’s a pretty chill day in both science classes…well, elephant’s toothpaste in 7th grade, but just notes and a weird video in 8th grade. Need some chill after the last four days of chaos (mostly outside the classroom, but it reverberates inside). Also taught my 4th period the word ‘hellacious’. I’ve found it very useful over my lifetime. Want to pass that wisdom on to the young ones.

With any luck, I’ll get a ton of stuff done at school today, then come home and read for a while and iron for a while, and then figure out how to do the work this weekend AND do some relaxing and sleeping so I can get through the next week. One week at a time? We might be there. One day at a time sometimes. It’s wearing…on all of us.

120 Pounds of Baking Soda…

Erg. Huh. Really. No. I really can’t. I’m in a week that should have been easier than last week but is proving not to be. Maybe it’s all the chemistry labs we’re doing (I have 120 pounds of baking soda in my car right now). Maybe it’s the roller coaster stuff on top of the chemistry, or trying to plan a light unit when I literally have no time in the day to find the brainpower to do so. It’s hard to say. I do know, and can say, that I am back in that overwhelmed place. I get out of it for a day or two, feel like I have a handle on things, and then it all blows up.

Solution? Exercise regularly. Remember to eat and take meds. Sleep. I slept all the way through last night, which is how I know I’m exhausted already even though it’s only Wednesday. And last, but certainly not least, make the art. That’s how I close the day. Hopefully for an hour…last night, it was 48 minutes. I started late. I was making seating charts for today’s 8th-grade seat switches, plus trying to figure out the revise of the wave unit. The other teacher is a week ahead of me, so he’s telling me what to change on the fly and I’m doing it. Best I can. I think I still need to punch holes in the table of contents for the new unit when I get to school, and put papers out. Didn’t have time yesterday. They moved my physical therapy appointment so that fucked all the timing up. Plus I had to go buy materials for 7th-grade demos because Amazon fucked that delivery up. At some point, I made it home, and the Man was cooking dinner, singing, and dancing (because he’d had time to relax, have a beer, watch some videos) and I was so exhausted.

Anyway. I started ironing flesh on Monday night…

I wanted bright. And bright it is. Overly pink. Usually I try to pull all the flesh pieces in one go and iron them all at once, but I have flesh in boxes 300-500 and 700-1300. So I pulled a goodly chunk (up to the neck) and ironed those, and then last night, did the arms and head. Lots of her body has metal instead of flesh, so it didn’t take as long as it normally would with a figure that large.

That was Monday’s pile…and then this is Tuesday’s pile…

Definitely bigger, even though I only added those 7 flesh fabrics. I still need to do all the stuff that’s on and around the flesh…some of which is here…

Those are hair, teeth, arteries, metal bits, embedded phones, the little creatures she’s holding, pubic hair, etc. I didn’t pull them all out of the bins because there wasn’t room. Besides, in the 1300 box, there were only 2 pieces that were flesh. The rest is all electronic or whatever. There’s also two extra arms that I need to deal with…I’m not sure how. I think they should be different colors. At first, I thought they would be flesh-colored, just a different shade of it to stand out, and I may still do that. Like where would you get spare arms in the future? Dead bodies? Or would we synthesize them (probably 3D print them, yeah?), and if so, wouldn’t we make them different colors? That would be much more fun. So that’s rolling around in my brain for tonight or the next night.

This is a fun quilt to design and make. It’s hard, because I have some dark angry stuff I want to deal with too…cop killings and beatings and political bullshit and trans rights because I just finished a book and I’m just irritable about all of that. But I know it’s also OK to make a quilt that isn’t about all that. I also know that some people never get to stop thinking and worrying about that shit and that sucks. It’s Black History Month, if you haven’t been paying attention. The Man and I finished watching Kindred (in small chunks…it’s hard to watch), and now I’m reading it, and wondering how this amazing author (Octavia Butler) grew up in my childhood neighborhood and I never knew about her until I was an adult. That all the books they gave us to read were all male white authors, our mostly female white teachers handing those to us. I had more variety in college, because I took classes about more diverse literature, feminist and queer and people of color were writing too, no duh, why didn’t we see any of it when we were younger? When it would have made a bigger difference? So many of those kids I went to school with didn’t read a thing after they left high school. The 1619 Project is next. Take advantage of the offerings this month–book lists and movies and documentaries–and open up your mind. Add to the to-read and to-watch lists. Make time for that.

OK. Now I need to go to a meeting I forgot about (didn’t click the YES button on the calendar invite…I think whatever device I was on was having issues), get my classroom ready for the day, clear one lab and prep another, plus 17 thousand other things I haven’t remembered yet (hopefully they’re all written down somewhere), plus deal with an email that just popped up confirming my eye appointment (what? I don’t have an eye appointment), then union meeting after school where I have to sit too close to people (I have issues with that; like being on the edges), and then cook dinner. Guess my state of mind after all that!. Yeah. I suspect I’ll be curled up mentally into a tiny ball. And then making art.