Before We Get Too Old*

It’s Friday before a 3-day weekend. Today I teach about puberty…an exciting time in our lives that we’re eternally glad has ended. We had two days of testing, which is exhausting for our kids, but tiring for us as well.

I feel what she’s feeling. And this one…

Well, that’s a skill that will help her in her future (don’t worry…she was done with the test by then). We have a week off before the next batch…so that’s a good thing. Meanwhile, I’m trying (but apparently not very hard) to get grading done. And so many other things done. Nothing is done.

My co-teacher and I mapped out the plan for next year. We’re still piloting new curriculum, which fucks everything up. But we have a rough idea now, which makes me feel better. This will be our 4th year of trying to revise for NGSS, and it’s hard. Not the content part…but the flow and the curriculum…

We think pretty damn hard about what we teach…sometimes probably too hard. Anyway, this thing will come out again. And get revised. And made electronic. Not yet.

After school, my chiropractor told me he’s not accepting my insurance any more, because they suck. So I can pay more and go less often, or go find the 4th chiropractor in as many years. Sigh. I can’t deal with that right now. Put on to-do list. Moving on. Came home and exercised. It seemed to be the right thing to do.

Then I edited the 2nd Patreon video…it went up this morning. I am doing two a month…I might do a short third video, another public one, for the beginning of June, to try to persuade more people to be patrons. I started the drawing for the patrons as well…but didn’t finish it. I had the idea while driving to the chiropractor. It’s going well. It should be done by the end of the weekend, easily.

Then I stitched for a little while…

And after I cleaned the dishes and sat back down, I started cutting. I wanted to finish last night, but I’ve been so tired…I went to bed early instead.

The top box is all that’s left to cut out. Tonight I’ll finish and hopefully sort the pieces. Then I can start ironing…probably not tonight though. I won’t be able to show the ironing process yet…it’ll have to wait until July. Although I will probably record some of it for the Patreon…since it’s private, it doesn’t have the same rules of not showing things.

I’m really looking forward to putting it together, but on here, I guess you’ll be watching me embroider and draw. I’ll try to do more of that. Or there will just be lots of pictures of the furry beasts.

That one looks cranky.

*Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars

There’s Always Time Until There’s Not

Apparently Pinterest thinks I like bread and cheap date ideas. I’m not sure what to think about that. I mean, I do like bread. It’s true. But I don’t think I’ve searched for cheap date ideas. We’re pretty good at coming up with those on our own. Some not so cheap. I’m sure Pinterest has some sort of formula for trying to engage with me. It mostly fails…because it just gives me “pins that are like yours”…well, there’s only so many recipes for that one thing I wanted that one actually needs. So fail.

I am still jet-lagged or tired from life in general or I went into this trip exhausted…why did I think I would get LESS exhausted? Yeah. This weekend is looking pretty sweet. The sleeping part anyway, which I still suck at…I went to bed early last night and then couldn’t fall asleep anyway, despite the exhaustion on the couch. I should have napped there…like father, like daughter? I think he sleeps in chairs more than in beds.

I had all this stuff I was going to do after school yesterday, but I got poured on leaving school (without a jacket, because it’s May in Southern California for goddsake why is it still raining?), so I went home and changed into pajamas instead. It’ll all happen today, I guess. We have another day of testing today. Yesterday was OK. Long. Tiring I guess. I’m trying to get stuff graded and put away. My co-teacher and I tackled the prep room and got it mostly handled. My room is still an issue, but there’s time for that. Of course, there’s always time until there’s not.

The rainbow later in the evening from my house.

It was bright and beautiful.

I came home and cleaned and labeled and ironed and packed up a quilt for a show opening June 8, Indoor/Outdoor at the Athenaeum Arts Center in Barrio Logan. It’s a cool space and looks to be a very interesting show.

Then I dealt with email and online stuff, graded some stuff, talked to the SIL, embroidered a little on the new one…

Which is probably the strangest of the 6…and then cut stuff out for a while.

There is progress, but I’m not done. I want to be done by Friday, so I can start ironing together.

I say I don’t know what I’m going to work on after this, and that’s true, but I have some smaller drawings that are ready to go, all enlarged and numbered and begging to be quilts. So that’s probably the best way to go. And then I’ll have some mental space to draw an abortion quilt. Because I think that’s next. I like to pick really popular topics that everyone can get behind. Rolls eyes. I pick what pisses me off the most. Or makes me cry the most. Or worry the most. Or all of the above.

So there’s that.

I have some pictures from the trip that didn’t make it into the blog before, because WordPress on the iPad is a cranky bitch, that’s why. (Much like me? I heard that. I own that.) We had breakfast at a nice little place with an outside-by-the-river seating area, and this was my tea. That cup fascinated everyone. That is not a cheap cup.

But it is fascinating.

This is the house we stayed in. I just realized they had solar. Huh. I didn’t see the front much.

I did hang out in the backyard…

In fact, I did a drawing MOSTLY out there and documented it (sort of) in a series of videos that will be the next Patreon video…here’s the drawing itself…

So I talk about my sketchbook and how I decide what to draw and all that. It’s about 4 or 5 short videos that I will edit into one. Hopefully tonight. I’m really hoping the jetlag backs off a bit by tonight.

A picture from moving the girlchild’s stuff…this is the lovely elevator that only things can go in…

And these are Canadian geese and babies from Walden Pond.

I realize if you live back east, you see these guys all the time. I don’t. They are very cool. Plus babies. And the water reflections are fascinating too. Yeah. Art brain is whining about wanting to draw. She’ll get to do that this weekend, if not sooner. My patrons will also be getting a drawing from me by the end of the month. Which is like next week.

OK, so another day of testing and at least getting to have lunch from off campus and to hang out with the teachers I never see because we don’t have the same lunch, but the first 4 hours are a pain and you’re not able to pee until an adult shows up to cover your class (somewhat awkward). I don’t know what the hand signal for that is…but seriously. I’m looking forward to summer for many reasons, but mostly for being able to pee when I want to. The wondrous world of teaching…

Tonight? Work on video, finish cutting stuff out. Or get closer to it anyway.

Don’t Tread on Me…

My show is up in Pittsburgh! I’m still hoping to get there to see it, if that’s possible. There are 6 pieces and it’s called Elemental Fiber

It’s in the Society for Contemporary Craft’s satellite space in the BNY Mellon Center at 500 Grant St, Pittsburgh.

It’s an interesting space…open to the public in the Lobby of the Steel Plaza T-Station at Oliver Street and Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh. The glass also makes it hard to photograph, but I really appreciate their sending me these.

It’s hard to send work off, especially multiple pieces.

It looks good. You should go see it.

I didn’t apply for this show…they contacted me after I didn’t get into another show. Hey, I’ll take this.

I have 6 quilts in the exhibit. I’m not making any comments about the Strip District there. Hmmm. Anyway, if you happen to be in town for Fiberart International…check it out.

I taught the first day of sex ed yesterday…it was pretty chill…mostly looking at what friendship looks like and how you can tell the difference between liking and loving…a difficult concept for many adults. Like that first rush of feeling you have when you are thinking you are falling in love with someone…that’s very different than the love you feel when you have to go through hard shit and you do it together. Or they’re going through hard shit and you are there for them. I think that love is way more important, but I’m not 12. Or an adult who acts 12…most of the time. Teaching middle school means you can access your 12-year-old self quite easily…you see it reflected back at you about 150 times. But in general, in relationships, I don’t do 12.

Tuesdays are long because I do tutoring after school, and then I went shopping for snacks for our state testing days. We asked the principal this year if he could fund the snacks (such a change from the principal who wouldn’t let us have any food or drink, not even gum, because he was afraid they’d get stains on the test booklets)…but there isn’t enough money to do that and pay for the stuff we have to pay for…so every teacher funds that out of their own pocket. There’s no way kids can work that hard for 3 1/2 hours without sustenance. So we feed them.

And then I practiced video editing while cooking dinner…I got my first real Patreon video done and posted. I show the stage I’m at in the quilt and explain a little bit about how I pick fabrics and why everything is organized the way it is. I am still not an awesome video editor, but I’m getting better. It was easier this time. I still watched the instructions video about 3 more times. I’m using Lightworks, which is cool and has a lot of things you can do without a Pro version, but I can’t say it’s very intuitive for a non-video-editing person.

I’ll be doing two videos a month…one kind of a how-to/background of what I do, and one Who Knows What video. I’m thinking art exhibits I go to, or maybe even part of a hike, or watching me draw, or I don’t know. Stuff that fuels the art. I also am writing over there, and people at the $5/month level will get a drawing emailed to them each month. They can stitch it up, make a small quilt (if they’re crazy), color it in, or just stare at it. It’s going to take a little effort to get me on a routine with this, but I’m pretty sure it will get easier with time. It’s nice to make things for people who are helping me make more art.

I did stitch a little after dinner…

I did the arm things…and started the knee things. I’m hoping I have enough green for the rug. I need another bobbin. I should ask about that. I need to prep a new embroidery design for the trip to Boston. I also need to think about packing. Yup.

But last night, I ironed instead…

I have everything almost to the high 600s ironed. I could finish tonight. I think. I’m going to try anyway. This quilt is a little fussy for ironing…there’s lots of little tiny things happening that take some color analysis. Like 12 different blues in one section. Some have to go together and some most definitely shouldn’t. So there’s a lot of staring into space at fabrics. I’m good at that.

Someone sent me this…

Totally feeling it.

Stupid Scissor Rules

Well. That was a weekend. I’m so glad I planned it though. I remember thinking, ah, no, you’re going to Boston the following weekend, it’s May, which is always a clusterfuck, LA is a pain in the ass, you’ll have to get somewhere to stay, blah blah blah, all the things you say when you’re trying to talk yourself out of something you really want to do. But I didn’t. Amanda Palmer was great. Amazing. A performance more than a concert, but riveting. Even though I knew some of the story, I hadn’t heard it from her, and that made a difference.

We drove up to LA, found our hotel, which was within walking distance of the venue, and hung out for a bit…

Hanging out looks like this after driving up to LA. Then headed out to get dinner early, because…well…so I joined Patreon originally to support Amanda Palmer. I had been reading her blog and she talked about it and I checked it out and went HEY. This is a thing. This is how we as a society support musicians and artists the way they want to be supported. This is how we back their projects and encourage them to do new things, better things, things that may not be very commercial, but are very much what we want to see. So I joined. And one of the things about her Patreon is she wants to hear from us and see us, so she sets up a photo shoot before every show. Ours was here…

And we needed to be there by 5:45. So we ate early…at Mikkeller…

Which has great art…

So we were at that park, waiting for AFP to show up and the security for the park? the buildings around the park? kicked us out. Because we were gathering on the walkways. They left the homeless guy on the lawn, but a bunch of liberal, semi-strange-looking people is definitely a danger to humanity.

Amanda showed up and talked to us…

Which was cool. There are many needy people who are fans. She is good to them, very patient. Much more patient than I would be.

I wish we’d had more time to walk around and photograph art around the area, but really, after the photo, we went back to the hotel for about half an hour and then headed to the venue…

The Ace Hotel is an old theater that’s been converted/adapted.

The inside is completely amazing…totally over the top…this was taken after we all left…

Our seats were in the lower balcony to the right. It was good.

She talked a lot, played a bunch of songs, there was definitely ukulele…it was emotional, sometimes painful, and funny on top of all of it. An amazing show. Four hours plus of amazing. It must be exhausting to do the show. I wanted the needy people to be quiet, but they never are. She handled them well. There are times to respond and times to ignore. I was worried the man would be bored, because he wasn’t really an AFP fan in the beginning, hadn’t heard anything since the Dresden Dolls, but she talked a lot about music and being an artist, and I think that dragged him in. He liked it. I loved it…it was a very personal experience, despite the hundreds of people and not being able to get through the bathroom line. It was worth the 5 hours of driving and getting not so much sleep and going to an iHop on Mother’s Day (oh hey, mistake) and not getting much work done and all that.

I did a drawing, but I don’t have the energy (or time for that matter) to get up and photograph it (find it first). I’ll do it later.

Yeah. Cool. Totally worth the trip.

I came home, rushed through all the errands, graded 96 emails worth of makeup work (ha!), came in here, and started ironing.

I was supposed to record the last bit for my Patreon video, but I forgot. So tired. So I’ll do that tonight. I wrote it in the calendar. After dog walking. It’s on the list.

I am nowhere near where I wanted to be with this quilt. I cut out nothing on the way to or from LA, because I did all the driving. I was too tired in the hotel. I’m about halfway through the 400s after last night, but that’s still about halfway…no, probably less than that. So I’ll have to decide if I want to bring it to Boston and cut stuff out. I can’t cut on the plane (stupid scissor rules). I could cut at three different graduation ceremonies though. Ah? Thinking about it. I have traveled with stuff to cut out before.

Anyway. It’s a busy week. I’m going to get done whatever I can. I’d like to be done with the ironing, but I can’t guarantee that. I can only try.

And oh hey…next weekend, we’ll be here…

to see the girlchild graduate. She matches the trees and the flowers.

It’ll Be Fine…

Want to watch my video explaining why you should be a patron of the Nida Arts Conglomerate? Here it is. Oh wait. I’m not a conglomerate. But I am a Nida. Watch on…

It’s highly possible that I shouldn’t record videos at 9 PM after going to the gym while waiting for dinner to cook. But realistically, when ELSE am I going to record a video. And hey! Then I edited it! Well. I did, but I didn’t do much to it. Mostly I fucked up a bunch of times and don’t really know what I’m doing (I’m using Lightworks and I watched one 7-minute video and should probably watch a lot more). I’m hoping for more experience with that in the future, which is guaranteed. Really. It is. Here’s the link to the Patreon in case you want to see other stuff.

Patreon sends me an email every day telling me all their success stories. I’m not really worried about being such a huge success that I need to quit my day job. I’d just like to quit the second and/or third job…as I debate when to open my copyediting account back up for the summer. Ugh. So that’s basically what I talk about…why give money to artists? Well, if you like their work and you’d like them to continue to make it, you can buy their work, you can buy products made from their work (embroidery patterns, posters, whatever), and you can support them on Patreon or GoFundMe or Kickstarter or whatever. One of my goals is to get enough money coming in that I can make a coloring book. What about a calendar…I could do that too, but that’s something I need time for…and time is a commodity.

Yesterday, I spent time at the gym. It was nice. I missed it. I got to read my book (which I need to be done reading by Wednesday, for book club). I came home and made dinner, and after that and editing the video, I ironed. I stayed up too late. I admit it. Sigh. My brain was running too fast…one of the hazards of working out late. But I’m not a morning person. I don’t gym in the AM. But I ironed a whole section…that I can’t show you…

I can however show you incredibly vague closeups. Even though I won’t be done ironing this weekend, I will be able to take some of these pieces with me to Los Angeles to cut out, I think. Don’t get excited. I’m not promising anything. I’m driving up to see a concert, sleep, and then drive back. Super quick trip.

It will fuck up the weekend schedule, though. And the man has a show tonight. I’m exhausted at the moment, but will somehow find the energy to go to the show.

So last night, I was done ironing…I didn’t want to start a whole new section and think about it as a whole and all that, so I sat down to watch the rest of the episode of Russian Doll that I was watching…and I can’t just sit and watch things, so I embroidered.

This is another thing I can work on in the car. I love that I pick dark colors, so that all the animal hairs in the house will show up on them. I spend so much time picking hairs off things. Sigh. I do like this red/orange/yellow variegated thread though. It has a nice flow of color. I need to trace the next stuff on this, so I can keep going. All the details. The rest of her hair. Her eyeballs!

Next weekend, I’ll be getting up at ungodly hours due to being back East. Looking forward to that version of lack of sleep. I hope the girlchild is ready for all of us to arrive. This is how far I got before my adult brain started yelling about how late it was.

Looking good. More to go. OK, so a lab at school today, a show tonight with three bands…hoping to go straight to bed after that and then I’ll do 700 things tomorrow. While driving to LA. It’ll be fine. You watch.

Balance Shmalance.

This month is a little crazy. There’s a bunch of travel, and I don’t really usually travel much. Sometimes to LA for exhibits, one trip during Spring Break, the occasional run to Lake Arrowhead for a few days…that’s it. This month is Boston for the girlchild’s graduation AND a trip to LA to see Amanda Palmer. Looking forward to both, but there’s some prep that’s gotta happen…school prep especially, because I don’t wanna come back to hellishness. I mean, I might come back to that anyway, but balance…balance is this thing I’m always trying to get to and am always so far away from.

I just got a phone call that reminded me I’m not the only one stressed all to hell and back. If you know a teacher, give them a hug. Or a coffee. Or a glass of wine…whatever seems appropriate for that moment.

So I started this weekend with a crazy to-do list and I got a bunch of it done, but never all of it. NEVER. I graded some, I did some school prep, I went to an opening, I wandered around my own block with my neighbors, I raided a friend’s classroom…

So here’s my Patreon page…link is in the sidebar…

I’m working on the first video for it. Need to figure out what editor to use for that. Learning curve!

Then I washed and ironed these guys…

Need to send the official photos over…

Oh yeah, and in my house, if you leave fabric out at all for any period of time…this is what happens…

Cat incursion. Sigh. This was the next morning.

Went to this opening. Will hopefully have a post up later this week on this exhibit.

It’s an interesting show…

Sunday morning, I went to the classroom of a teacher friend who is retiring, and I stole a bunch of books.

Well, she gave them to me…

Along with a bunch of other stuff. I’m terrified to retire because of my classroom. I don’t want to clean it out.

This was on the deck yesterday. What? That cat thinks he’s a dog.

Simba is the only one questioning it. We don’t usually let cats out because of coyotes, but this cat…thinks he’s a dog. He also likes the outside. If we build a catio, it will be because of him.

Calli turned 10 this weekend. The bald patch on her nose has all of a sudden made her look way older.

She also sprained a leg yesterday and is limping around like a…well, an old lady.

After making dinner and grading stuff, I finally headed into the office to start ironing this quilt onto fabric.

I can’t show you much of this. It’s for a show entry and I’m not supposed to show it until jurying is done. So extreme and vague closeups it is! Oh yeah, fabrics…

That light blue one still had Midnight’s fur ALL over it…it came from her favorite drawer. Made me sad to clean it off. She’s only been dead for a year and a half, right? Sheesh. I miss that cat.

I didn’t finish the first 100 pieces. I was distracted. I had a hard time focusing. Hopefully tonight will be better.

Although I already stayed up too late last night. My art brain told me it was OK. Ha! Dumb. ‘Twas not. Too late it was. Today I feel it. OK, ready for school. Then dogs. Then working…school and then art. I can do it all! Balance shmalance.