I Don’t Ever Wanna Feel Like I Did That Day*

April 20, 2018

Yeah, I’m up early. I was already awake…trying to remind myself in my sleep to wear my anti-gun-violence T-shirt today for Columbine. Things we remember: Reagan being shot, Columbine, 9/11. Fun stuff. Right eye is twitching. Yesterday was calmer. Today will be frenetic, because things are due to the teacher and you didn’t tell us! I did. You aren’t giving us enough time! Yes I am. Next week will be a little more chill. But we’ll be talking about what war does to a country, to a national park, to be specific, and that’s walking a fine line sometimes. Too many of my students have direct experience with guns and bombs falling. I think about that and I’m glad I grew up in sunny Southern California, where the only guns are in the workplace and at school. Whoops! No seriously, my growing-up time was also pretty chill. Same stupid drama you always see in middle and high school, but also dances and parades and homework and ditching school and dressing up for Halloween and all that stuff. No war, except the cold one. No weapons, except the nuclear ones.

The quilt I’m working on now isn’t about guns or even women’s rights or climate change or anything else political. It’s personal. I need a little mental space to work on it…it’s easier to see each piece as this particular shape than to try to tag it on social media with what’s important. What’s important? Across the board, how we treat people. All people…whether we’re trying to work with them in a group or teach them or love them or be with them or just stand in line with them in the grocery store. Or like that guy who was trying to drive up my ass the other day because he wanted to pass the truck in the other lane and he was in the wrong lane and I wasn’t going fast enough for him, so all I could see was the grill of his pickup truck and his middle finger thrusting at me in my rearview mirror. Really? I was doing 67 mph in an only lane that was exiting that freeway. Not fast enough. I wonder about his life that he thought that was an appropriate move. I hate that those guys sit in my chest and make all the feels.

I graded more yesterday. I’m trying to get caught up. It’s frustrating though, because then some kid emails me, completely confused about what I graded, but he never turned it in. So that’s a zero, sweetheart. I can’t (won’t) grade what you don’t turn in.

I had quilt class last night, which is just the two of us most times now…which is fine. I didn’t want to haul all the stuff to trace Wonder Under, so I just took the box of things that need sewing down. I forgot half my thread, but this is my quilt teacher, so she has that stuff. We like never run out of thread…the spools last seven thousand years when you’re doing applique…it’s such short strands. Even all the bindings I’ve sewn down…I think only the black and the dark blue thread are anywhere near empty…and they’re still NOT empty. When I die, it will be spools of thread and art exhibit announcements…and the FABRIC that drive my children bonkers. I’m OK with that. Maybe by then, I’ll be a mural painter and it will be my spray paint collection in the garage instead.

I got the lion’s body down, the two rectangles in the background, the body of whatever that gray animal is, and now I’m working on the tree. Still lots to do. Not even sure where the wool thread is for that blue hut.

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This is Mind the Gap, a show I will never see in person, unfortunately, due to the stupid hours. It closes today, I think…pick up is next week. Good friends drive down and photograph the show for you. Mine is on the right…there’s more pictures, but I didn’t have the energy to download them all yesterday. I partnered with James Watts, whose kokeshi doll is being stared down by my angry earth mother.

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I’ll post more later for that. I swear.

Then after dinner and grades, I started tracing the new quilt. At 1000 pieces (and it’s 1001…I just found one I missed), it’s going to be a while…

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There are some big rug pieces in there that take up lots of space on the first yard of Wonder Under. There are three figures on this quilt…so there will be lots of flesh tones. The fireplace is gray stone. Something to think about. The background will have two colors: floor and wall. How will I get the contrast I usually love? Well I need to consider that. Red wall? Dark brown wood floor? Dark gray stones in the fireplace? We’ll see. Complicated for sure. It’ll be at least 10 hours of tracing, probably more like 12. So I won’t be done with that until the end of next week probably. Good to have goals.

Time is tight. 39 days. Will I be making the other one also? What…am I nuts? Sigh. Yes. Yes I am. It may not be possible. I may have to reconsider. I may have to work harder.

This was at school. I have no idea why.

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Early meeting today. Long day today. But there’s a weekend and that’s a good thing.

*Red Hot Chili Peppers, Under the Bridge


I’ve Got Nostalgic Pavements*

April 11, 2018

Sometimes there’s a moment and it reminds you of a space in the past that was so incredibly different, a moment that should have been the same or similar, and you have a choice: be thankful that the current moment is not like that at all, or worry that all moments will be like that eventually. My brain is a worrier. I spend a lot of time telling that core part of it that those moments aren’t inevitable, that they are the choices of others, sure, and you have no control over those, but that there is a different person in each of those moments, and it’s better to believe (hope?) that this person is better at moments than the last one…or the one before. I think humans are great at hope…it’s what keeps most of us going.

Including that student from yesterday at tutoring who was telling me his plans to play American football and I’m thinking about his grades and, straight up, his size (sure, he’s gonna grow, but maybe not enough), but I’m not going to tell him nope, that’s not your future. I pull out my phone and show him a picture of a former student with not-great grades but an amazing drive and attitude and I tell him about his full college scholarship and his current amazing GPA and maybe just maybe plant some drive or motivation in there, because he has the hope, the hope of a 12-year-old, and I’m not getting in the way of that, and he asks, then can I come back and show you what I did? And I’m like, well hell yeah, I hope you do. I hope you all do.

My car is back. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. It’s funny though…because they want me to bring her in for an oil change every 3000 miles, and I barely remember to check the little sticky thing in the car. I don’t even know when 3000 miles might be. I mean I did 2500 miles last week (whoops, with not enough oil, although THAT light never came on)…but during the school year, I have no idea when that is. And when you’re talking to someone who lives, breathes, drinks cars on a daily basis, it’s hard to explain to them how low the car’s fluids are on your priority list. I mean, I can’t even get the floors and the bathrooms clean at the moment. I swept around the pool last night, but didn’t have time (I was grading) to scoop it all up into the composting trashcan. There’s Too Much to Do. In fact, I stopped typing this for 5 minutes to send a school-related email that I should have sent two days ago. I’m sometimes surprised that my brain can hold onto some of the threads tangled up in there.

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Calli agrees.

Anyway, one more assignment is graded. One more thing to check off the list. That’s a plus. Gotta keep doing those.

I finally got done with that assignment around 9 or 9:30 last night…then spent some time trying to center myself. But almost falling asleep at the same time. Fighting that sleep instinct is the crazy part of my existence. This week I am so tired. And I’m hot-flashing constantly…although that might have been my air conditioning not working at school. OK, no, it’s hot flashes…thought they were mostly done, but apparently not.

And then it was 11 PM and normal people go to bed if they have to get up at 6-something the next morning. But I hate going to bed without some art being made, so I managed to wake up enough…because that drawing had been muttering inside my head all day. So it’s rude not to listen. Get up and grab a pen and do something.

I stared at the paper for a while. I’m not ready to draw the thighs, even though it’s weird to start at the bottom and then jump to the top. It’s weird, but I did it anyway. I’m trying to think about who I was as an artist when I was a kid, when I was in high school and college. It was harder then. I didn’t do it every day. There were many other things to do and I wasn’t always inspired. I love that the inspiration is such a deep well now.

So the head…and the cat…

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And I put roots in…

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Hopefully more tonight, although this evening is a clusterfuck.

I sat on the couch for a moment to finish my thoughts…Simba was happy to be with a human…

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There’s some art stuff coming up in the next few days…the opening of Art That Cuts at Mesa College is Thursday night from 5-7 PM. I’m planning on being there. I have one piece in the show…

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Then Saturday, I have two events…I unfortunately will only be at one. The one I won’t be at is the closing reception of Mind the Gap at Southwestern College on Saturday from 1-3 PM…I’ll finally see the show next week after school one day.

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I’ll be at the artist talk for California Fibers’ Surface and Structure, at the Branch Gallery, Saturday at 2 PM. The show is coming down after the talk, so it’s your last chance to see it. I hope you come by.

See? Busy week in art. Oh yeah, and Fantastic Fibers opened last week I think? Or is it this week. It’s the 14th…right. So that’s in Paducah, KY, at the Yeiser Center, and you should go see that from 5-7 PM. It’s not just quilts, so that is also cool.

Meanwhile, all I know about the girlchild is that she had to walk to the next village (12-15 miles?) and I haven’t heard from her since…it’s possible that I won’t hear from her until she gets back next week. Hopefully all is well and she’s doing interesting things. Crap. Gotta go to work! I love when time just flips by like that.

*Kate Nash, Mouthwash