There’s an Army on the Dance Floor*

Ah, the morning started out with everyone doing their thing and taking their meds and all was good until I checked email. Sigh. Some people. Frustrate the crap out of me. And I need to not get angry at or irritated with them, and just think, hey, do I ever pull that negative crap? So knock it off. To me. I can’t control them. I can just thank them over and over again for something that should have been relatively simple to manage. In fact, I’ve managed most of it. I’ve done the thing I’m asking them to do, and it’s not as big of a deal as they’re making it out to be. But that’s them. (I think I’m going to have to go meditate this one out.).

Speaking of meditation, I’m always trying to get back to the daily practice. Hell, I’m trying to get back to the daily practice of a lot of things, and failing miserably this summer…but I got this the other night…

Totally why I meditate, sure, but look at the minutes I’ve meditated…and that’s just with this app. That doesn’t count the shit I do in my head on a regular basis. That’s almost 106 hours…that doesn’t sound as impressive. Neither does 4 1/2 days. I’ve spent 4 1/2 days of my life meditating. Well. Anyway. ‘Tis the summer of meditation apparently. When I remember.

In good news, this quilt, Not Less Than, is going to Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL, for the 22nd International Open, from August 9-31.

And I finally washed and photographed this piece, the last of the first 6 Earth Mothers…

You can find a pattern or kit for her on the Global Artisans page. I’m currently working on Earth Mother number 7. I need to draw 5 more.

See the hawk? He was loud.

That’s actually my neighbors tree. But he was loud. Did I mention loud?

So I started ironing the current quilt together on Sunday night. Night time seems made for ironing when it’s warm out.

I am recording some of this for my Patreon in July. If you think you’d like to watch me work, then sign up for the Patreon. For only $2 a month, you could see me twice a month.

I actually drew this a few years ago, so even though I recently traveled to all these rock monuments, this had already been done. And I made up those rocks in the drawing. I didn’t make up the plants. That’s a Joshua tree on her arm.

And those cacti on her breast are gonna need some embroidered spikes. Lots of them.

Kitten is continuing in the tradition of all cats in here by depositing her fur in this, the most hairy of all the drawers, the big green drawer. It’s not the only green drawer, but it is the biggest.

I’m constantly having to dehair fabric.

This is how far I got Sunday night, staying up way too late. There’s a rattlesnake and more cactus. Some of it will look much better with outlining.

I have Wonder Under release paper tucked under the body in three different locations because stuff needs to go behind the body. It only took me 25 years to realize that was an effective option. Duh.

Yesterday morning…this is not really love. It is a pushy cat and a fairly tolerant dog.

He looks nervous.

He should be. We took both dogs to the vet yesterday. The little one needed a tooth cleaning, and apparently two extractions. No one told me the little asshole’s breed was prone to teeth issues. And the big one is lumpy. She had two lumps removed.

And another biopsied last week. It’s benign. She’s just lumpy. All of us old folks get lumpy. With her cone on, she can’t reach her food bowl. So we improvised…

After dropping the dogs at the vet, my co-teacher and I covered this table with crap and worked for 6 1/2 hours on curriculum planning…

Six of them were paid. We’re going back for three more today, unpaid. Because it needs to be done. Welcome to the world of a teacher. After picking up the dogs, I ironed some more…this is pretty…

It will look better with outlining…

That cactus doesn’t really belong on her face…I just needed to iron it separately before putting it on the piece. There’s also a scorpion. All better with outlining.

I kind of like the cactus in her face actually.

Ah no, it belongs on her shoulder. I also did the clouds, rain, and lightning, although the clouds are hard to see without the dark background. All that’s left is the face.

I stayed up too late again, and I need to leave in 6 minutes. I think. I should brush my teeth and find my copy of The Martian. And City of Ember. Plus find my computer. And get out of here.

Hopefully I’ll finish ironing tonight, then stitch down tomorrow, pinbaste? Quilting? Almost done. Shit. I haven’t drawn the next one yet. Aargh. Don’t even ask me about my to-do list.

*The Psychedelic Furs, Love My Way

Managing All the Things*

OK. So meditation helps (duh). I managed to stop working last night around 12:15 AM and then meditated (it was hard…my brain was all over the map and trying to fly into space) for 20 minutes. I didn’t fall asleep immediately, but I did much better than I have been. So there’s hope. Still working on it.

Girlchild is worried that her room is not going to get clean by the time she gets home. And she should be! Because I have a ton of stuff shoved in there. But it will get done. Sometime. Mostly it’s sewing stuff that I don’t know how to store or process. I started back in June and then it was HARD. So I quit. Really mature of me. So that’s on the list. So is mailing stuff that needs to get out of here, trimming that damn bougainvillea, finishing this quilt, copyediting, and regular exercise. I had my blood tested yesterday (double poke, thanks to a phlebotomist who was scared of my tiny veins) and my A1C is not better with the new meds, so my doc freaked out, but I read that it takes 6-7 weeks for the meds to kick in…and I’ve only been taking them for 3 weeks because it took me so long to get to the damn educator to show me how to use them. So I think her freak-out is unwarranted, but it means more appointments and panicking, which honestly doesn’t help ME sleep. So there’s that. I’ll talk her down off the ceiling on Monday.

The to-do list grows overnight.

But where am I on the quilt? Yay! Progress to the next step! Hallelujah! This is what a cat looks like when I iron it, by the way…in fact, it’s THAT cat…the one in the very back of the picture.

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She’s in so many of my quilts. We thought we lost her yesterday…it took 30 minutes to find her new hiding place. She made a cave in my office. In fabric. With a Rubbermaid box as her roof. She got out a few years ago and disappeared for about 24 hours…completely freaked me out and depressed me. So even the boychild was walking around with a flashlight to find her. This morning? She brought me a wool sock. Usually she comes when she’s called and yesterday she didn’t. So I’m glad that turned out OK.

So then, after 27 hours of ironing things down (oh yeah), I had to organize them. I always have to organize them.

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There are 192 fabrics (that’s a lot for me) in this quilt. There they all are. The flesh tones run through the pinks and peaches into the browns. The hair runs through the browns into the blacks and then the reds.

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It’s a huge pile of stuff to be cut out. But I want it done this week. So if I look back at other quilts to try to estimate time, it’s hard to find a comparable piece, because it took A LOT of hours to iron to fabric because of all the different runs I had to do of flesh colors, but I don’t think it’s any different for cutting…so I’m guessing 15 hours. And I did 3 last night…

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The last big quilt took only 19 hours to iron but 17 hours to cut out. I just looked back though and it only had 1350 pieces…so maybe I need to up my hours. Damn. OK. So let’s say 20 hours…17 to go.

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Yikes! Things to be cut out on the left, trash on the top right, cut-out pieces on the bottom right. I have two meetings tomorrow, so plenty of cutting out can be done at those. I am starting the copyediting today, but I need to eat and take meds and I was gonna go to the gym, damn. Life just ups in your face sometimes. It’s August and officially I can think about school now. Like I haven’t been thinking about school all summer. I fucking sucked at removing school from my brain this summer. Oh well…on to managing all the things. Oh yeah, supposed to think positively…I AM THOUGH. I finished a task. A BIG TASK. Done. Awesome. On to the next.

So Many Choices

My brain is a little garbled this morning. I’m hoping that’s not a problem. I was so bloody efficient yesterday, enlarging the drawing last night…I started with 200%, but the head was huge, so I backed it down to 150%. That looked reasonable. I didn’t have time to tape it together, but that’s OK. I’m supposed to be working on 17 other quilts before that one anyway. I made it to my stitching meeting, where mostly I read an article in New Yorker and chatted. I sewed a few stitches. I made it home with dinner…always a plus. I’m tired of eating the same thing this week. Brain freeze on the same food every day. Sometimes I don’t care at all and some days it just drives me crazy. Suppose it depends on what I’m eating…more of the quinoa chicken bowls. They’re good. Takes a ton of time to make those though. That’s the problem. Not sure I have the time this weekend.

And then too many choices. I wanted to start picking fabrics, but I was just too tired to make that happen. I thought about taping the drawing and starting to draw the rest, but that tired thing again. So I came in here and quilted…

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All the outlining is done and I’m quilting orange in the background. Or red. Maybe it’s red-orange thread. See the backing fabric? Green robots? Leftovers from a baby quilt from a few years back. I count my years at this school in history teachers, because we can’t keep them more than a year, it seems. My old history teacher’s wife and my new history teacher’s wife were each having a baby, within about 2 weeks of each other. So they each got one. I never met either wife, I think. Weird, huh? Whatever. I pass on the quilty goodness.

I don’t actually make that many baby quilts. I’ve made like 6 of them. And then for a while, I made these little landscapes for wedding and Christmas presents. I’ve probably made about 20 of those. I actually have one of them back from my ex-MIL after her death. And then I’ve made about 90 art quilts. Which is crazy. Seriously crazy. Assuming I have another 30+ good quilting years left in me? I could fill the damn house. Maybe it’s better if I make fewer big quilts rather than lots of smaller quilts. Huh.

And I should probably give up on the Etsy site. It’s not like I’m regularly gonna make more little safe quilts for that…or even unsafe ones. And there’s no sales. So shut that down I guess. Or go look at the timing and calendar when to shut it down.

So I didn’t get much done, but I did get some. It’s all I can do some days. Some. A little. A bit. OK, I think I actually quilted for an hour and a half. It was like meditation at the end of the day, and I actually fell asleep at a reasonable time last night (mostly because I think I’m about to hit a wall of mental and physical exhaustion after this week). I’m feeling good about all of it. Finish these two quilts and start picking fabrics for the next one. Relax a bit with the art. Stop trying to make a deadline where one doesn’t exist. You have enough choices…you can handle fabric or draw or quilt…so many choices.

So many choices. Meditating with art.

Settling In…

There was a crazy tornado mood that swept through me yesterday…up and down and turned all around and settled somewhere in the middle by nighttime, which I guess is better than where I started. It’s strange to sit there and watch the hormones blow through, feel what they do to your brain and body, all the while watching the video you’re showing to your students about PMS and nodding your head quite vigorously along with the goofy chick who’s on there (Lilly Singh, aka iiSuperwomanii…gotta love her…and my students do). When the mood was finally gone, I had finished grading the last major project (still have other stuff though), dinner was made and eaten, and I’d watched two more episodes of Elementary, another version of Sherlock.

It was officially time to sew. So I did.

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I stitched stuff down for over two hours and got a goodly portion of it done. I’m hoping to do some more this morning before I have to leave for prom preparations, but we’ll see. It means getting my butt out of this chair and into the shower (waiting for the hot water to return, since girlchild probably just used it all). Today’s kinda weird, but I’m looking forward to some relaxing time in the evening at least…trying to ignore the 17 thousand things I’m supposed to be doing as well. Shhh. Quiet. I know you’re there. That’s what I have list apps for. You’re not going anywhere. The true deadlines? Crap. There’s one I forgot about. Hold on…OK. I paid the $2.70 the boychild owed school. Really. I am not kidding. I don’t even know what he could have charged for that little…probably printing something. But I DID IT. Seriously considering how long I would have to work at my job to earn $2.70 so I can compare it to the amount of time it took me to pay that bill.

I am yes…still…a bit cranky. But I can blame that on school and all the pressures of the end of the year. I continue to be pleased by Kitten’s new explorations of the house, even as I deeply miss Babygirl’s squawky presence.

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She really enjoys Voyager. She said. Actually, she used to hang out in the studio/office with me all the time. It was her special space until Babygirl commandeered it, so it’s nice to see her back in here. She climbed around in all the holes and spaces, which have probably changed around a bit in the last 2 1/2 years, and then she settled down on a big pile of fabric, happy as a clam…

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Which did make me happy too. Which is good, because I think all the prom stuff today might kick my ass. I have to keep my cool for quite a few hours no matter what, and then I will collapse on the floor and draw something really angry and explosive and painful, and I will be fine. Maybe. Until then, know that the 18 months I spent doing meditation Every Single Day (which I really should start doing again…really) has definitely come in handy this year, with students, adults, and my own children. And probably my own brain as well. Yup. Should maybe start meditating right this second. (some days, you just survive.)

Must Draw.

I have all this art-related stuff going on, all these deadlines I’ve been managing really since summer, and my life is different, in that I don’t have the same situation that seemed to encourage more drawing…so I realized that some of the tense growliness that is existing in the back part of my head…it’s because I haven’t been drawing enough. Drawing literally seems to pull these big black wormy nasty bits out of my mind and plop them down on paper, and it works like meditation. I should be doing it EVERY DAY. OK, so that’s not going to happen, because I already have lots of stupid stuff I have to do every day, like eat, sleep, work, meditate, exercise, and poop. Maybe some more things too. But I do like this idea of setting time aside (damn, I need to find more time somewhere…in Clash of Clans, you can buy gems…in my life, I need to be able to buy hours) to draw. Of making a date with myself to draw.

So I picked Friday nights. And it’s not like I spent a lot of introspective time considering options and debating pros and cons of small drawings every other day or one large drawing or when do I consistently have time. I was sitting on the couch on Friday night, alone because the girlchild was watching a soccer game at UCSD. Or SDSU. I’m not sure which. And I had finished grading one section of the 700 things I need to grade this weekend, because fucking progress reports are due. Hate progress reports. Go Look at the Online Gradebook, parents! It’s all there! Anyway. My personal issues aside (I don’t really hate progress reports…I just hate doing them). And I thought, I feel squirmy in my skin. I’m exhausted from the week (it’s been a doozy!). I don’t want to be responsible and grade more stuff. I wanna. I wanna. What do I wanna? I wanna draw.

So I did. For like 2 hours.

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And there she is. Meditation Pose 1. Implying there might be more (maybe not, and then when I die and someone does my retrospective catalog, y’all can discuss why I stopped with one). By the way, I don’t meditate in anything approaching this pose (or in the nude, for that matter), because my knees would protest that position. I’m all about comfortable meditation poses, because then I can focus on the brain instead of my aging body.

There’s a lot going on in this drawing, which I really like. And I’m going to try really hard to keep doing something on Friday nights, because I’m usually braindead on Fridays anyway and really shouldn’t be allowed to do anything that requires brain power at all, and the brain power I use for drawing comes from an entirely different source (THE source, I think), but I say that, and I already know next Friday will be an issue because of an art opening. Oh well. I can try. I can put it on the calendar. It would be more than I’m doing now. The last big drawing I did was the end of July (although I then continued it in September or late August, so it’s not like I’m not drawing…it’s just not so freeform). I feel like when I’m 90, I will still be rearranging my busy schedule to try to fit everything in.

Did I have TIME to draw? Fuck no. Like I said, grades are due and I haven’t finished this yet…

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Fucker. I cut for over an hour last night, but it’s still a ways away from being finished. It doesn’t look like much…

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but it takes time to cut all those pieces out. So I will find that time today…hopefully. Around the gym and soccer and grades. Because these are the things that make me feel better. Not the things where I have bills to pay and people to manage and papers to correct and rooms to clean. That shit just sucks. And although you have to be adult and responsible and DO some of that shit, it shouldn’t be all you do.

By the way, Babygirl just stepped on my mouse and deleted half a paragraph, and is now lying with her tail on the keyboard and her butt completely obscuring the mouse, with a surprised, yet petulant look every time I touch the mouse. “You’re touching my butt.” “Get your butt off my mouse.” Damn cats.

OK, gym. Food. Work. Art. Soccer. Not in that order. Taking care of oneself takes so much damn energy.

Maintain, Dammit. Maintain.

Deep breaths. Keep thinking of the positives. I finished ironing last night (it was 2 in the morning). It took 14 hours and 14 minutes to pick all those fabrics, about 3 hours more than I had predicted. At one point, all I had left were these…

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and I considered stopping, because it was freakin’ late and I was tired and I’ve been fighting a hormone/weather headache on and off for 4 days and it was back (it’s back now too…making me think stress is the third arm of it, the part whacking at my brain right now). But I thought…fuck. I’m ALMOST FUCKING DONE. Just do it. If that doesn’t tell you more about who and how I am, I don’t know what will.

Cutting out tree parts is a pain in the ass, because they take a huge piece of fabric and don’t fit together well. It’s time-consuming…

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and hard to find big enough pieces of fabric in my stash. But I did it. Ninety-four fabrics later…

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There they all are. Heavy on the grays, strangely. So I sort of met my deadline on that and now need to cut them all out by Tuesday. Ha! I might need to revise that.

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I’ve started, sure, but I am so freakin’ buried in schoolwork right now. Trying to tread water, keep head up and breathing. Deep breaths. Meditating every day at the moment, which yes, I should be doing anyway, but the fabric choosing was taking care of that mindset until Friday. Friday things started to implode in my head. I’m overwhelmed. I need to step back and make my lists and deal with one day at a time. I can’t lump it all together and try to deal with it all at once. I can’t even go Big Picture at the moment.

I’m 37 hours into this quilt. Cutting out should take a while. Apparently on a similarly sized quilt, it took 13 hours to iron and 15 to trim the fabrics. If that’s realistic and I have 13 hours to go, I’m not going to get anywhere near finished until next weekend. Then I’ll start ironing. Maybe that’s my goal: to be ready to iron sometime next weekend. (Kathryn: no hiking, reduce social events as much as possible? Fuck.) I’m really busting my butt on this and at work and it’s starting to show. I’m really incredibly tense (chiropractor this week!) and I have no mental release really. I’m so deep into the have-to list that I cannot get focus. This week is ugly too. They all are. Who am I kidding?

Anyway. College stuff is paid. Boychild still doesn’t have a job. Girlchild is currently waiting for me to come help her paint her parking spot (she’s a senior), but I have to go grocery shopping first. I remembered to buy dog food yesterday, but forgot the cat food. Midnight broke into the food cupboard in protest and ripped open the other cat food bag, the one she doesn’t like. I regularly have to duct tape holes in cat food bags because of her. I still have one class of tests to grade and I have 5 kids who don’t really read or write English who honestly need a curriculum at about a kindergarten level, but with 7th grade content. I haven’t fully planned this week’s lesson yet, and I’m about to blow off any connection to technology, just to save my sanity.

But I finished the God-Damned Fucking Ironing.

I am the crazy-haired woman all in black who is standing in the middle of the produce section at the grocery store in meditation pose, eyes closed, deep breathing. You should just walk around me. Maybe give me a hug while you do it.

Fabric Meditation

Well, so now we know that the mental state in which Kathy is most content is while she is picking fabric out for her art quilts. I can live in that state and push all the stupid crap and stress and depression and did I mention stupid crap? I can push it all out the door, slam the door on its face, and keep that damn door closed as long as I’m working and for a good period of time afterward. It is unfortunate that not ALL the stages of artmaking are so effective at calming my overactive mind. It really is a form of meditation. I’ve actually blown off meditation the last two nights and it’s been fine, because I spent 3 hours meditating with fabric each night.

I’m not really sure what to do with that information now, but…

So I met my goal for once! A miracle! Let’s not consider that I expect to be done with ironing AND cutting out in 9 days. And I’m days behind in grading. Priorities! I actually did a lot of yardwork yesterday before I ever started ironing. I started on Saturday night, in the almost dark, by sweeping around the pool, trying to clean up the crap from the storm last week, and then trying to clear the path to the upper yard, because Katie (mom has recorrected my spelling…apparently my dad doesn’t know how to spell his dog’s name…I’m sure Katie doesn’t give a freak. She’s just happy. HAPPY.) is scared of my yard in the dark, and ended up peeing on the path instead of heading for the plantlife. So Sunday, I went out in actual daylight…it was a gorgeous day, not too hot, perfect fall weather here (which will disintegrate into hot again this week), and it was nice to be out there cleaning up and trimming things. Yo Dad…I filled all 6 trashcans that they’ll pick up and I have two more ready for next week! So probably 2 hours were spent checking things off the list and making it easier to look around the house and not be dismayed by how it is falling apart.

Did I grade? Fuck no, I did not grade. Hanging head in shame. Sigh. Teaching. It really is not an easy job. Certainly not if you want a life.

But the girlchild was gone to a birthday party last night, so I had dinner in the oven and I started looking at fabrics for the two birds in this quilt. I used to do simple birds, less than 20 pieces. These suckers are over 70 pieces each.

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with a run of 7 colors to do it properly. So I was trying to decide for almost 20 hours…do I go for realistic bird colors or out-there? Or parrot? Or raven (not good on a dark background)? Or what? I finally decided to start with the browns, because I want the main figures to pop more, and there is brown in the tree that will echo down the side into the birds. I actually stand there and stare at the drawing and go through the color ranges visually in my head, coloring it all in my head as I stare at it.

I had out one of the smaller bins of browns that I use (this is the smallest bin by far), because it has most of my newer fabrics in it, and I laid out the range on the right…

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Browns are another difficult color to get a range in…some are very gray, some very red, some have that orange/yellow tint. The last two purplish-brown colors were the tailfeathers.

Once I had all those, though, I had to decide what to do with the decorative parts of the bird, and that’s when the color forced itself in…

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Ayep. This bird is not fucking demure. Anyway, I had all the Wonder Pieces laid out behind and laid out all the bird pieces for both birds before I ironed…

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It took a while. And then the next part was the fleshy bits. There are two figures in the quilt and I tried really hard to keep them relatively simple, compared to some of my figures…mostly because I realize I am going to run out of time if I don’t stay realistic on this piece in terms of details.

Anyway, I spent a good hour (after 11 PM) laying out human figure pieces, focusing only on the flesh colors, pushing all the other stuff (heart, lungs, pubic hair and the like) out of the way for later. I had the flesh colors laid out and was putting all the pieces on top of them for ironing, when I realized there was no way I was going to finish last night. I might be able to lay them all out if I stayed up until 1, but that kinda kicked my ass last week, and I’m trying to be better. And then it would take me at least an hour to iron them all down. But I didn’t want the cat to be able to jump up and dislodge pieces after I’d spent so long figuring out what went where, and even an errant breeze would be an issue at the moment, so I put each color in a bin with all its pieces…

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So I can finish it up tonight. I don’t know how many pieces I got done last night, because none of these are ironed and I was pulling pieces from the bins numbered 300-700 for the flesh colors, but leaving a bunch behind for later, and I still have to get the male’s neck and head out of the 800 bin. And I think some of his fingers are still on the table. So yeah. Maybe by tonight, I will have everything through the 800s ironed down, although it seems like a lot…I am on a roll, though.

I guessed about 12 hours for ironing down to fabric and I’ve hit the halfway mark. I’ll know better after tonight how close I am to my original estimate. Progress! Progress is good. And I really like the mindstate I’m in when I iron. It’s peaceful. I’m mostly content.

I had both dogs in here, underfoot, at one point…

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But mostly I just get one. This one is a little crazy.

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Someone spiked her punch I think.

An article on the Fence/Barda exhibit is here…it’s nice to get some publicity up in LA for one of our shows; she surely read my blogpost on the FIG website, which is also good. Too bad they didn’t link to us.

This is a DALeast video of painting a whale on a wall.

I love how he is so nonchalant with his painted lines. They are so simple up close, but make such a complicated image from far away. I did spend a little time this weekend reading on the couch and reading art blogs for inspiration and peaceful thinking. Gotta take care of ALL the parts of the brain, best I can.

Peace Through Scissoring…

Hid myself in the gym yesterday. Nice and cold. Reading my book. Peaceful. Achieving something useful.

I came back home and tried to finish tracing Wonder Under, but the girlchild needed more water before her game, so I packed up and headed out into the sweltering heat earlier than I wanted…only 100 pieces done. Like it’s cooler in my house (it’s not. It’s the 7th pit of hell here.).

I spent the time before the game writing…this story I’m writing has a mind of its own. I read the last paragraph I’d written and didn’t remember writing it. Trance writing apparently. And the story is writing itself in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I’ll have to figure out if that section really belongs. But for now, I’m going to keep writing. Sex scene and all. My goodness. Who knew?

Soccer in 100-degree heat…it doesn’t look so bad in photos…it’s not like the flames of hell are on the field.

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The girlchild made two goals and they won the game…4 bottles of water later. I even left her my water. A mother’s sacrifices…never appreciated.

I left the game early for the Fence/Barda opening at Art Produce in North Park, so I missed the end…

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The opening was nice, lots of people and interactions above and through the fence. Here are my two birds outside the bathroom.

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My friends showed up and hung out…we ate and had a good time. Thanks y’all. I do appreciate you.

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Things have changed a lot since we originally installed, but I think it works. The American and Mexican sides of the fence are definitely different: one very formal and one very loosey goosey. Strangely, the installation process was flipped…we (the Americanskis) were very methodical in installation, even though things moved around. The Mexican contingent is still delivering pieces, somewhat due to border and vehicle issues, but their side is very formally presented, while ours flows and hangs and moves.

There’s my house on the right…and the birds I helped hang in the windows.

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You couldn’t walk in and find the Kathy Nida piece. There were no uteri, no boobs. It’s not like that.

Anyway, so it was a good opening. There are more events associated with this exhibit and another opening. I’ll post as we figure that shit out.

Once I got back, I was determined to finish tracing pieces, no matter how late, no matter how much wine I had ingested. I finished up around 11:30 PM. It took 11 hours and 38 minutes to trace all the pieces, about 1080 total.

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Today it’s over 100 degrees again, and I keep looking out at the clouds, hoping they will bring rain.

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They didn’t, but hopefully temps should drop tomorrow. It’s still in the 80s and it’s 10 PM. Ugh.

I’ll start cutting Wonder Under out today…tonight…right now, I’m dealing with school stuff, designing an online assignment on food and another on zombies. I graded a bunch of things using the iPad, which was nice, because I could watch PBS on the computer and grade on the iPad, although it would be nice to have some sort of a notes function in Edmodo to use while I’m grading things on Google Docs. Maybe a rubric I could click on or something. Wish I were technological enough to design the stuff teachers actually need. Maybe it’s all in Google Classroom and I just don’t know it yet.

Anyway. I’ve meditated and it’s time to Wonder Under…although I don’t think I’ll be done by Tuesday night. Oh well. That’s because I worked on other things.

Like I sewed the binding on the LAST of the bird quilts. Well, I thought it was the last of the bird quilts, but apparently someone else wants another owl.Sep 14 14 067 small

Yeah, but do they want a WHITE owl or a PURPLE owl, or an owl of an entirely different color? And can they wait until December? Because I really really need them to be able to wait that long. Rainbow Fucking Owl.

I finished Owl 2, Bird 15 today. It actually still needs a label…

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But assuming she still wants it, it’s a goner as of Thursday. I might do cats next. Not for a while though. I’ve got stuff on my plate.

I spent only an hour cutting things out…

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They were a pain in the butt. I was tired. It was hot. Damn, it still IS hot. And although I definitely should be asleep, I’m not. Because. That’s the way I roll. Badly and with limited rest. My goal? To finish the Wonder Under trimming in the next two nights (could be an issue) and start ironing fabrics Wednesday night, so I have something to cut out on Thursday night at quilt class. If not? Maybe I’ll trace one of the smaller quilts I need to work on as well.

But there’s progress. The progress gives me some peace. I feel it in my chest, like someone took a deep breath and gave me all that oxygen. Like there’s something in my head that feels the scissors tracing around the edge of each piece, analyzing how each piece should be cut out, with the minimum of Wonder Under and fabric waste, but not so much time and energy on the cutting out that it borders on the crazy. I did meditate tonight: once with the Headspace app and the nice British man, and once with scissors and Wonder Under, a careful trimming of the good from the bad, a metaphor for how to live, to cut out the shit, the crap that was thrown at you, the bullshit that people make up in order to excuse their bad behavior. Yeah. So I cut that. And tomorrow I will cut more.

Wonder Under meditation. I should charge admission.


Double Fuck No

Note to self: trying to meditate while your daughter is texting you at 10:30 at night is somewhat counterproductive. Especially when you want to pay attention to the texts, because you haven’t talked to anyone for 6 1/2 hours at that point and there’s another probably 10 hours before you WILL talk to someone that is not short, furry, and coughing up a furball. I actually had text conversations with BOTH kids last night, as boychild needed me to find things in his room (gaack) to shove in the box I’m shipping to him. I think all I will be doing all year is shipping boxes places. Mostly to New York.

Before I wax on about shipping (because that was part of the unplanned activities for last night), I did finally finish two more birds…the second of the eyeball birds…

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And the second HeyBird

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Both are currently spoken for…if that changes, you will see it here. I need to put labels on them tonight and find sticks (OK, dowels, but it’s more fun to think of me wandering the yard looking for an appropriate stick, isn’t it?).

So did I get the binding on that house quilt from the previous night? Fuck no. Did I do any drawing? Double fuck no. Am I running around putting fires out? Hell yes. I really love the beginning of the school year. It’s always like this. (I really hate it). Thank god for leftovers in the fridge, because I can’t handle food on top of all this crap.

Anyway, I managed to come home from school, which included two unknown parent meetings, unknown because I did not check my box in the mailroom after I had my prep on Friday, and instead of emailing me meeting times, the translator put pieces of paper in my box. So analog. So none of us knew about the meetings. So that was fun. So then I carried the incredibly awkwardly sized (it’s almost as tall as I am) box of digital piano, which only weighed 36.8 pounds (I was guessing much more) to the car and then to UPS, where they helped me weigh the bastard and ship its ass to Ithaca, where it can live for 4 years at least and then will hopefully be someone else’s problem, not mine. Then I came home and was a very good girl and went to the gym (mostly just so I could read my book, which is good, but depressing, and maybe a little rambly, kinda like me, honestly), then made dinner (cooking it mostly on preheat, which is a problem if you don’t like burnt food) and started packing the second of the boychild’s boxes, which contains such essentials as soccer shoes, Oreos, an alarm clock, a can of salsa, and the manual to his piano. I was texting him at the time, and he had me spend probably 45 minutes in his room looking for a piano music book and a still-elusive hand-sized piece of black microfiber cloth. I know not what for. Or for that matter, where the fucketh. All his laundry is now folded and put away or piled on his bed, though. And his trash is all picked up. So that’s a plus.

I knew I had two more quilts to ship this week, so I was debating whether to do that or sew bindings, and I thought I should at least look up the shipping date on one and email the chick in charge on the other, because I didn’t get the shipping instructions.

Holey Whoops, Batman. It was supposed to be there Monday. Well, first of all, my bad, because they did email us an updated date and I totally spaced out and didn’t change my calendar reminder. It had popped up, but was still telling me mid-September. But second of all, who the fuck picks the MONDAY of a 3-day weekend for their due date? And curators should be sending reminders. Yes, I know we’re adults, but I feel like curators are better off communicating MORE rather than less (and yes, I’ve been a curator, so I’m not being a bitch about this, and yes, I know they don’t get paid, but they do get the experience on their resume, and that’s worth something).

Anyway, I had already pulled the quilt. I just hadn’t ironed, dehaired, and packed it up. So guess what I did? Yup.

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So I’m going to UPS this morning. I was going this afternoon, but it is suddenly a tad more urgent…and expensive. Stupid brain. It really doesn’t play nice. So I feel really lame and stupid about that. But it’s done. And I handled it.

And yes, AFTER all that I meditated. Damn straight I did. And then I sat down and sewed the bindings on the eyeball bird. I need to finish the sleeve tonight and put labels on those two for Thursday’s delivery. So maybe TONIGHT, after book club (bwa ha ha, like I do anything constructive after book club), I will sew bindings on the big quilt and draw. It could happen. The fact that I’m not sleeping well at all, that I keep waking up like a loud noise knocked me out of a deep sleep, with adrenaline pumping so hard I can’t go back to sleep…that’s not going to hinder my progress on those tasks, is it?

Don’t fuck with me people…I gots stuff to do. No more last-minute crap. I need to get it done.

Meditate the Fuck through It

Yup. I think that is my mantra for the new school year, which officially starts in 13 days. Don’t count team meetings and getting the room set up and prep days and professional development. Because if you count all that shit, I started yesterday. It’s a matter of looking at everything they want me to do (“they” being an amalgamate of all the people who want me to do all the things) and deciding what pieces are actually possible to do and how much of the doing I will do. And where is the line, the balance, between being a fucking awesome teacher and getting institutionalized for overwork. You take a little piece at a time. You pick one thing, maybe two, that can be different. You don’t rewrite everything. You don’t become an entirely different teacher. You do a little at a time and remember that working yourself into the ground doesn’t help anyone.

There’s been a lot of deep breathing the last two days. I’m OK. My meditation app now includes short, 2-minute refresher meditation blips…passing period is 4 minutes long, so I could meditate in between each class. You laugh, but I did that last year on way too many days. Close the door behind the last kid, gather up the journals, take a handful of deep breaths, wipe tears from eyes, open the door for the next class full of kids. It’s not the best way to live, but when you are in survival mode, that is what you do. Last year, I survived. My counselor has decided that this year, I will have a fulfilling school year. She promises me this. She calls me on my negativity. I call myself on it, but I’m not as good at it. In fact, I mostly suck at it. The parts of my brain argue with each other and there is rarely agreement. My daughter calls me on it too. I guess that’s a good thing. It’s hard to be positive when there have been so many disappointing developments, so many high expectations just completely trashed by someone else. That said, I manage it with art rejections. I’ve been rejected from a ton of shows this year. I can’t get into anything, apparently. Do I stop making art? Do I question my purpose in continuing to make art? Not really. Briefly, and then the art brain tells me to fuck off and ignore all those losers who reject my work. It will get in eventually. I won’t stop making it. I wish I had that confidence in the rest of my life, in my job, my love life, my relationships with people. Why can’t the art brain get all hot and heavy with those parts of me? Where does her attitude come from? How can it just be in part of me and not in all the parts?

All philosophical questions for the middle of the night. Remember how I was going to be done quilting on Tuesday? Yeah. Well. Fuck that. I’m still quilting. I’m 15 hours in now…

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So maybe 20 hours was an accurate guess. I have about 1/3 of the quilting around the outside of the image done, maybe a little less than that. I didn’t have a lot of quilting time today. School. Other stuff. So I’m doing a stipple to fill in the background…dark blue thread on dark blue fabric at night. In bad lighting. And the thread was doing really well for a good long time, and then it started breaking. Bastard.

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So I gots a little frusterated in the last hour or so. There was swearing and yelling and growling and application of oily crap that keeps the thread from breaking.

This is the backing…

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I have most of one long side, all of the top and about half of another long side to do…hopefully done tomorrow. Why do I even predict things like that? I already know how busy tomorrow is. Saturday is busy too. Sunday? Sunday is wide open. Next week. Sigh. I always want to have more done than I do. Always dissatisfied with my progress. High expectations and not meeting them. But it’s a good thing to have high expectations with the artmaking. I’m more realistic with the outcomes. I don’t often chastise myself for not meeting them…I just revise. Again…lessons to apply to the rest of life?

Stitching with friends tonight…still working on the never-ending Christmas stocking…

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I post these pictures to prove that I’m actually doing SOMETHING…something besides endlessly stitching around and around in dark blue thread.

This quilt will be done soon. I want to get the binding either Saturday or Sunday, get it stitched on next week. Call the photographer. Move on to the next project(s). I need to build a fabric house, complete 5 birds, and get the gender equality drawing done. I think my brain will be less panicky if I can make headway on that in the next week. Plus school. And clear out all the stuff in my bedroom that belongs in the living room. If I move it out, I think I’ll be more likely to deal with it. If I work on just one positive thing achieved each day (hung a piece of art, finished one step in the next quilt, crossed one thing off the list), I think it will all feel better. This is partially why I’m doing the GISHWHES thing…it’s goofy stuff (we shot a rock album cover last night, and tonight I added the band name and album title and submitted it), but it’s fun and I am actually getting these silly tasks done. It puts my brain in a different place. I need my brain to be in a different place. I need it to stop going over and over what I did wrong, when in reality, I didn’t do anything wrong. I just wasn’t psychic. Again. There’s a drawing in there somewhere. At least one. I need to find time for that too. The drawing is part of processing the bad shit out of me. The drawing is a way to vomit it up and get it out, like a hairball. Poison in the brain. Disgusting on the carpet.

Sigh. One of the projects that needs to be done before the end of the month is a floating house, and I have all the materials (coathangers, wire, organza, tulle) and I was thinking about what the house meant and how to build and decorate it, and all of a sudden, I thought: worry dolls. I need worry dolls. Kathy York’s quilts reminded me of them. So I’m hanging worry dolls off this house, but I think I’m also going to write some of my worries down, either on tags tied to the dolls, or maybe just right on the house itself, on the bits hanging off of it. Write down the worries, have them pulled down, weighed down, by the dolls. Because that is what worry feels like, extreme financial worry, worry for sending the boychild off to college, worry about my own job, worry about finishing stuff on time, worry about the girlchild applying to college, worry about my future, worry about so many things. Maybe if I tie all that to the floating house, I won’t have to carry them around myself.

You can see why I need the meditation.