My New Podcast

Not really. Don’t get excited. I don’t have time for a podcast…I’m too busy making art. Well…ha! Trying to make art. I did make a video Monday about 7 hours into an eventually 10.5-hour drive (luckily I didn’t drive the last two hours…I was done) and mentally titled it “What the Fuck Am I Doing. Where the Fuck Am I. And Why the Fuck Am I Here.” It’s a really long title for a podcast, but it seemed appropriate at the time. I’ll post the video here once it’s done processing. I actually made TWO videos (they are so lame and unprofessional, but thought process! Yes that.) and then put them together (mad skillz) and now that’s uploading. So yeah.

I think I made the video to entertain myself more than anything, which is why I write this blog…well, to document my brain in time. I do go back and reread months sometimes when I’m having a really hard time, and it reminds me that certain things cycle through life. The beginning of school is always hard. So is the end. So are the two weeks right after school get out. It’s a reset. And this one has been a kind of crazy one.

If you’ve watched the video, you don’t know what happened! The Man has had 3 weeks of elevation sickness while hiking the Sierras. It’s been beautiful but incredibly hard. So he had to make a decision, and I drove up to see him after 3+ weeks of not seeing him and to support him in his decision, either by sticking him on a bus north or driving him north or bringing him home. In the end, adulting and money issues brought him home, which sucks and is sad, but also a relief I think for both of us. It doesn’t mean he’s done. It just means he’s done for a while. It’s job time. I love him for trying over and over again to do this hard thing and for deciding it’s time to stop for now.

It has meant that I haven’t gotten much art done. Packed Sunday and tried to set up everything I needed to. Drove Monday all day. Tuesday, drove back home. I’m exhausted. Still. Plus add a friend’s daughter’s wedding on Saturday, Fathers’ Day stuff on Sunday…I haven’t had much time to focus on recovery yet.

Friday night, after checking out of school, trying to reset my neck again at the chiropractor (slightly more movement), and taking the dog to the vet, I ironed for a bit.

Watched How to Train Your Dragon…no, never had time to watch it before.

So that was after Friday night, almost 2 hours of ironing. I was tired, but ready to iron on Saturday and Sunday! So motivated. Ha!

Saturday was a lot of running around and then a wedding. And then when I got home, I started getting texts from the Man about quitting and coming to get him, and mine back saying are you sure, what about just starting further north, and it was kind of a mess. I didn’t iron at all. Sunday morning, he had processed his feelings and just wanted to see me, which had been in the plan for the next week, but this would work…I just wasn’t mentally prepared for it. So most of Sunday was trying to get stuff watered and packed and purchased and all that. I did iron for just under an hour Sunday night…not my original plan for the weekend, but whatever…

Doesn’t look a lot different…but I had ironed the cat (the fabric cat, not the real cat) and more of the legs I think. Not sure.

Monday was nothing. I wasn’t here. I thought about taking the already ironed pieces with me so I could cut them out, but it was a lot of prep for the time I thought I’d have available…and in the long run, I wouldn’t have had the energy. Monday night, I laid on the bed and read my book. That’s it. We did get home last night around 5 PM after driving a good chunk of the day…ah LA…your traffic sucks. And at some point, I’d had enough caffeine to come back in here and iron some more…

I’ve finished most of the 400s and done some of the 500s, so still not halfway. It’s slow right now. My brain is slow. I’m tired. I did about 2 hours last night and only got 100 pieces ironed. I’ve got almost 10 hours in. SO SLOW. It’s OK. It’s what I need…more time. Hard to choose things. Lots of staring. I’m hoping I can speed it up this week…get it going!

I’m supposed to be doing an artist talk kind of thing (really just hanging out by my work and working and talking to anyone who comes in) on Saturday at the Visions Museum of Textile Art

And it would be good to have stuff to cut out while waiting/standing/whatever. I’ll be there from 11-2 if you want to see the show and talk to some of the artists. This is in San Diego, California, if you don’t know…and will be Saturday June 25.

So my goal is to be all ironed down before then. Well before then. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to find my brain. Wish me luck. There have been some beautiful skies lately though…lenticular cloud at sunset.

Storm clouds last night…

I did a tiny bit of stitching on the trip down from Fresno yesterday…

Again, this is Sue Spargo’s design Homegrown…I really like stitching her stuff for relaxation, especially while traveling. That’s the Grapevine heading toward Los Angeles. I could do without driving that for a while.

This is Nova watching me water everything before I left…

I’d like to think the boychild would do all that, and he might, if he weren’t on a fire crew right now. At the border…

I can’t say having your kid fight fires is the least stressful thing in the world, but he has a brain that remembers all the things, so I think he’ll be OK. But he didn’t make it home last night…so this poor little guy is feeling all lost…

He looks super sad.

Well, one of the things on my to-do list for Sunday was to write this post. I obviously failed. And then that moved to Monday (nah, exhaustion) and Tuesday (nah, let’s just go home instead). So here we are, the first day I’ve had any semblance of brain power for writing. Now I need to take a shower, go buy some boxes, pack up a quilt, ship it, plant some things, wash the hallway for future painting, IRON FABRICS, and IDK what else. Finish my book. Check on the Man. Pet the pup. All those things. Figure out what day it is. That would help.

Post-School Brain Fog…

Ah yes. I survived another year of teaching. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and want to cry most of the time, and I was awake at 4:38 AM this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep until I typed some things in a to-do list, but I’m not sure that shit’s not just normal Nida behavior. My co-teacher and I banged out a rough plan for 8th grade science while waiting for her to get her room checked out (I had mine signed off during the meeting where the parent didn’t show up). I have two huge piles of books I need to either read, learn, memorize, or use for next year. I still need a good college textbook for space science. A little light summer read. Apparently everything I’ve learned in Star Trek and The Expanse will not be transferable. Dammit. The weather is gorgeous here, I have science meetings already planned for the next two weeks, the Man is hiking again, and I might be able to see him in two weeks. Maybe. SIGH.

Look! It’s my team! Which will change and be bigger next year…

No stress. Just more changes. Lots of them. A fuckload of them.

Giant Ass Sigh. Hello summer. I needed you. Don’t get too hot.

OK, so I have been ironing Wonder Under to fabric, mostly in an exhausted fashion. This was Wednesday night.

I ironed a cannon. And some other stuff.

Then last night, after 3 hours with the same group of kids, then a bunch of cleaning, then a school party (only one drink), and then a Zoom meeting, I ironed more. I looked completely exhausted by then. The wonder of Zoom is that you SEE YOUR FACE.

Laid out some flesh colors…they look really peachy here.

I guess they are peachy.

Usually I try to lay out the whole body at once, since it’s all the same fabrics, but it was going to be the 200s and the 300s and then the 700 and 800s and maybe beyond. I couldn’t deal with it last night. I just did the legs and the torso. And then put those fabrics in a pile for when I get up to the torso. It’ll be OK…although I only have small amounts of a couple of them…might need to substitute. That’s why I usually lay them all out at once…in case I run out of one, so I can juggle things before I start ironing down. Ah well. Juggling fabric is something I can do pretty easily. I think I’ll be fine.

Or I will be swearing at myself in a couple of days time. Well, at least some of the flesh tones are in. I’m somewhere in the 200s…or 300s…hard to say because I haven’t finished either.

Meanwhile, the Man’s local temperatures are dropping to 22 degrees tonight (it’s delightful here…I did say that). He has a pass to go over today or tomorrow that hopefully isn’t too bad. I have a friend’s daughter’s wedding to go to tomorrow…need to clean the bird shit off the car and figure out which boots I’m wearing (it’s outside in the dirt). Also need to get a short massage so the chiropractor can budge my neck, take the dog to the vet, and cook dinner. I really need a nap…that 4:38-AM thing really threw my brain.

It’ll be two weeks before my brain is really working well again anyway. Post-school fog…commence!

All the Things…

Today we take the whole grade bowling. I’m realizing next year, I will be on two grade levels and I don’t even know how that will work. I don’t know how anything will work. It will be my first year dealing with graduation too. Ugh. Not a fan. Today we just go bowling though. All our concerns about taking some of these kids out and about are noted. We have lists and plans and backup plans and in the end, it’s just more survival. I’ve come home from school the last two days so exhausted that I just read my book for about an hour before doing anything.

I’ve finished two books in the last 5 days and am on a third. All the same author. More importantly, mostly the same WORLD. Not this one. Fantasy. Not always pretty fantasy, but certainly easier to deal with than reality. Reality is my classroom and trying to get everything put away. Not pretty at all.

I did finish grades on Monday; stayed at school until they were done. Had some issues with a couple of kids in the end, but whatever. We’re done now and one issue is documented to hell and back because I know that mom. (Thanks, mom, for making my job harder and enabling your kid to half-ass it.) But they’re done! Woohoo! That’s a moment right there.

I have been dragging myself off the couch to work on the art quilt…started picking dirt fabrics on Monday night…

Here’s the setup…quilt drawing hanging precariously from clothespins so I can see all the pieces with numbers.

Iron them down and rough cut the section out…

I didn’t get them all ironed down before bedtime.

Then I stare at it for a while and pick the next batch of colors…last night, I finished the dirt, picked some rocks, and a volcano. Damn, though…I just realized I missed some of the volcano pieces. It’s OK. I’ll fix that tonight.

That’s why I hold onto all the fabrics used in the quilt until it’s all put together…in case I need to find one orange fabric in my stash…this narrows it down to just the oranges used in this quilt.

It’s a slow start. I’m really tired and not ironing particularly fast. The next three days won’t be a lot different. But it’s a great stage of the quilt to be working on…the fabric choosing is one of my favorite parts.

These baby birds (they are big babies now) have been screeching their little heads off, but as soon as I come out, they shut up quick and freeze…

They must be close to fledging.

So Cal Mama is going to the 38th Annual New Legacies: Contemporary Art Quilts at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, opening July 9 through September 10.

Check her out.

OK, 4 hours of bowling stuff, then 2 hours of kids in the classroom with movies and me cleaning up. Then exercise class, which might kill me at that point, based on my energy levels after school the last 2 days. Nap? No, gotta cook dinner, read my book, iron more stuff. Then graduation tomorrow, which means being locked in our rooms for 3 hours with the same group of kids (please don’t come please don’t come). Clean up, party, exhaustion. All the things. That’s where we’re at. Meanwhile, the Man is having health issues and is heading to a clinic. Hopefully an easy fix and back on trail, but we don’t know. Hoping though.

Rollin’ Along…

May seems to just be rollin’ along, gathering steam, about to slam head on into June. I’m good with that. I mean, trying to keep up with the rollin’ is difficult, I stumble a bit, and the grading is still not done (it rarely is), but I need this year to be done done done. Nineteen days left. Frogs are done, cat just headbutted me in my glasses, we started teaching sex ed (ahem, Human Relationships and Sexual something or other), and it all feels semi-familiar. There’s some crazy shit happening in the rest of the school, but mostly the classroom stuff is stuff I sort of remember from 2019. I mention the crazy shit only because it’s like a shitstorm raging around the classroom that I really try to ignore, but one of my co-teachers just tested positive and yeah, here we go again. I’m not even sure how many teachers are supposed to be out today but it’s a ton. So if you’re thinking we’re done? We’re not. Half the team has symptoms, but has been testing negative. I think they should just close school. Seriously, I’m half crying right now. Imagine how she’s feeling.

So. In other news, I’ve been drawing every night…sometimes only 36 minutes (damn, that’s specific), but last night, over 2 hours…because I had a stitching meeting on Zoom and needed to do something artsy. So no, I didn’t grade after school yesterday (but I planned until 4:30 so that’s enough work for the day). Only 9 hours yesterday…might be a record.

Hi Nova…

I did a little bit on Wednesday night after I got back from book club…

And then last night, I finished all the bottom parts…the portal…

I cut about 6″ off the bottom to shorten it up…

It was a little on the long side anyway.

Once I did all that, I laid it on the ground…because I think I need a few things in the sky and it’s easier to tell from further away. It looks naked up there. In the sky. Empty. Of course, she is naked.

Anyway. So that’ll be tonight, and then I can number it. See how bad it will be. I did add some tiny stuff at the end. Like you do.

Ugh. Not because of the drawing. Because of school.

Cat conference.

Oh! Speaking of conferences, I signed up for the SAQA Summit that will be here in San Diego in September. The signup time was 9 AM, the exact moment I start teaching…and the link didn’t pop up right away, so I was trying to take attendance, start the broadcast, get a bandaid for a kid, all while refreshing the page on my phone. And then it wanted a password, and I’m like, oh fuck, I hope my phone knows this, because I don’t. It did. And I got the class I wanted, which is super awesome. Yes, it means missing two days of school, but whatever. I hardly ever take time off and this is worth it. The kids will survive. Hopefully the sub will too.

Simba was making a face yesterday…

Sometimes he just looks really dorky.

Oh my. Whoops. I haven’t done all those things yet. Better get on it.

I forgot about this shell I found in the driveway…

Pretty color. OK, also better get on with going to school. Face the music. Think I will lose my prep again? Seems like it. Maybe not. I’m so tired. All I can think about right now is coming home and going to bed. I took a nap last Friday. Might do it again this Friday. We’ll see. Meanwhile, the cat is still headbutting me. And I really would just rather read my book. Yeah. Later.

Happy Stuff…

Well. Wednesday. Hi. I survived Tuesday, with 30 frogs dissected in my room. Nobody vomited. Nobody died (the frogs were already dead; invasive species frogs, so you know, helping an ecosystem somewhere). Kids were excited and interested and probably a little grossed out. Much like they will be for the rest of the year probably (we teach sex ed next). It was good, until we got the texts that one of the students had walked off with frog parts and was throwing them at other kids. Uh huh. That pretty much sums up the year. No worries; there are consequences. And cameras. The dumbassery continues! I think there are supposed to be six? teachers out from school today. No way will there be enough subs. I subbed my prep last Thursday. I seriously haven’t had a prep to myself, to actually PREP things and grade things, since before Spring Break. I need to prep something for art today and I don’t know when I will be able to do that. I won’t. Not before I actually teach art. Let’s be real. It’ll have to be tomorrow. And that’s assuming I don’t have to cover one of those six teachers today. I’m so frustrated with this school year.

I just finished the second quilt of the year. I started it in January and it took me almost 5 months to finish it. I should be able to do more things on my own time than grade and lesson plan. I am still drawing quilt number 3…although I wonder if I am doing too much? Nah. Not thinking that way. I’m doing exactly the right amount.

I keep erasing and then drawing it bigger. Not sure more detail is necessary with this one. Although then last night, even AFTER erasing and drawing it bigger…

Yeah. Got some details there. I went to sleep drawing more of it in my head. I have book club tonight, so I don’t know how much more I’ll get done today. Some hopefully.

Nova helping to hold the drawing in place.

Not really. Same with Luna trying to run under the part that’s rolled down on the floor. Not helpful cats.

The Man watches the news and programs that comment on the news, and it inflames my brain, making the drawing populate with even more angry things than what was originally in my brain. Not sure that’s a good thing, and I do put headphones in my ears sometimes to drown some of it out, but obviously not enough.

I’m not even sure about the one foot in reality. Today I have a doctor’s appointment where my doctor will once again suggest that I pick a new profession. Yeah that’s not a stressful thing. She will say my stress affects my blood sugar, which it absolutely does. But I feel like being unemployed might do that too. I’m lucky to have a good team backing me up at school, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. I see that I am getting that damn jury duty notification in my mail today. Dear US District Court: You are making it worse. Stop.

I just need a summer where I don’t have to do all the things. Well, besides learn 8th-grade science. Ha! Yeah. I want to make art all day, but that never happens. I wish it did. I remember spending 5-6 hours a day in the summer working on art. Not in the last three years though.

We all should have that freedom. Church too. And school. Honestly everywhere. We’re not at war here, like the Ukraine…we’re not fighting for our country (oh yeah, I know some crazy white people think we are, but they forget we weren’t here first either). My Google Search history includes “bullets for an AR-15”. I wish it never had to.

It’s possible I really need a vacation…one without jury duty. And honestly, without the to-do list I’ve accumulated while working nasty hours for my day job. That would be nice. All the doctor’s appointments and errands and fixing things and yardwork. Those things all need to happen someday. With some money. Ha! Don’t have that part either.

Deep breaths. It is Wednesday. I have one more class of frogs, then art, then I start sex ed. Then hopefully I get my prep period. I’m looking forward to seeing my book club friends in person. I miss them. The Man is going on another practice hike and will be gone tonight. Hopefully he will do fine and be ready for the Sierras in a week and a half. My car got fixed without major costs. That’s a plus. I have an article I need to write, but that’s a good thing…being asked to write for a magazine? Yeah. Coolio. Focus on those things and not on the annoying shit. Come home from book club and draw the happy stuff in the portal instead of the angry stuff on the outside. That’s my goal for the day. Zen and survive and chill and then meditate with my pen.

She Must Be Exactly the Right Size…

Hmmm. Lunar eclipse happened. Russia is still attacking the Ukraine. Rich white guys are still attacking women of all colors, soon to move on to white boys (and others) who don’t share their cis hetero tendencies. And those who don’t fit neatly into their idea of gender. So many books I read have a mystical, mythological element to them, and a blood moon with a lunar eclipse should have been read as some sort of major message…I’m reading it as STOP, go back, y’all are doing it wrong! Russia needs to go back to their own country. Those rich white guys need to go fishing or play golf or something…maybe work on racist extremist supremacy here (oh wait, they are, just not how I want them to) so we don’t have people killed in grocery stores while stocking up on food for the next week. Maybe we could just work on feeding those who live here and dealing with the gun issue? Instead of trying to make sure there are more kids who are starving? I don’t know. Just a thought. A big thought, sure, but a good one.

In the midst of all this, I just keep making. This drawing was originally pretty chill. I did one over Spring Break in some campground and there’s a lovely world hiding in her vagina that I was seeing as a portal to this other world. In reality, the vagina is kind of a portal, but mostly things are coming out. But I kinda think of these as earth goddesses, I draw them a lot, and certainly some people have seen the sheela na gig in this drawing. This is not the first time I’ve drawn this type of figure…it’s been in my vernacular for a good long while. So I did one Thursday night and rejected it because of the ankles. Or the angle of the arms. Or something.

And so Friday, I went back and looked at the smaller drawing from Spring Break and started a third version…

It filled the page. Without a head. I have been drawing things too big for the page since I was in 5th grade. Maybe earlier. So I decided to enlarge it before I drew any more…

Got her taped together on Saturday night, and then Sunday night, taped more around the edges so she could have elbows and eventually a head. She got a lot bigger.

But there’s the start. I’ve got some drawing to do now. Thinking of my deadlines, she might be too big, but then I am focused more on deadlines than on what I want to make. Which shouldn’t be how I make. So there we are. She must be exactly the right size.

Saturday morning, I took a Zoom class from Carolina Oneto, who was in Peru, on curves and color transparencies.

The curves are pretty easy from years of clothesmaking…although making them flat instead of curving around a shoulder is different. I didn’t realize I had enough solids to make all the color overlaps, but I did.

It went together pretty well.

So not like what I usually make, yeah? Agreed. But interesting enough in its own right.

Saturday afternoon, I walked the dog.

No one else wanted to come with me. It was hot.

But there were lots of wildflowers and it was outside…

And I needed the exercise.

A friend came to visit on Sunday and we hung out in a park for a while. That was nice. And then the weekend was mostly over. Which is how it works. I never get enough done. I graded 1 1/2 assignments, posted some stuff for school, laid awake last night at 11 PM worrying through some stuff for this week, and today I’ll try to get everything done that I didn’t do last week or over the weekend. Ha! Never happens. Never efficient enough.

Yeah this…

Which is why I can’t do jury duty for the entire month of July. I’ve already worked a full year. I need a break. Plus I have to plan for next year, which is two grades of science instead of one. Some stuff I’ve never ever taught before. Again. For the third year running. Ugh. Maybe more years than that. Also 300 hours for grading off the clock is really low.

Found a cat in a box.

This is why we can’t recycle things in a timely manner.

Ah yes, blurry night photo of blood moon eclipse.

It was cool to see in person…cooler than this photo.

OK. It’s still Monday. There’s still a multitude of wars on humanity that shouldn’t be happening. This week at school is frog dissections and the beginning of human reproduction for the first time since May 2019. With a block schedule, which might kill me. 79 minutes of direct instruction is not my idea of fun. Luckily we voted that out for next year. But this year, I have to figure out how to survive it. Microphone for the voice. Lots of drawing or coloring for the breaks? We’ll see. Human reproduction coloring books? Could be.

Get My Hand Back…

I think the quilt is done. No wait, I want to ink some of it and one of the snakes needs tiny handstitched eyeballs. Almost done. Then to the photographer.

Where he will do a better job than my throw it over the couch photo. Not hard to do better than that.

In awesome-sauce news, my car is fixed and I only had to pay a little bit. The dealers have to get money somewhere apparently. Ugh. Gotta love warranty fixes, but also wish they never had to exist.

I’m currently trying to type this with a cat sitting on one hand and headbutting my opposite shoulder. Because she is a calico, if you are too forceful with her, she will whack the crap out of you.

Got her to settle by the monitor. Kitty love. Sometimes annoying, occasionally painful. So this other drawing for one of the multitude of shows I am supposed to be entering in the next three months or so, has been in my head for almost a month…I did a predraw of it while we were camping, so last night, I tried to go for it for real.

Not totally sold on this. Might start over tonight. If it’s been a long time since I’ve drawn, sometimes I need a few tries to get my hand back under control of my brain. Plus I’ve been exhausted at night. Yesterday I had to sub during my prep period, and I’m incapable of just letting the boys at the back talk and be on their phones, so I stood back there to make sure they did their silly assignment, then forgot to eat, then it was an issue, so I’m dealing with dropping blood sugar in my next class, which is right before lunch. Ugh. Felt like crap for the rest of the day. I need a normal schedule. Ironically, yesterday we had all our classes instead of a block schedule, so that WOULD be a normal schedule…but the loss of prep really threw me off. Stress really affects my blood sugar, but routine is the savior. And I haven’t had that. So three incidences of low blood sugar in a week? Need to work on that.

Last night was my monthly stitching meeting…we didn’t meet in April in person because of many things (I was out of town), so it was nice to see everyone. I’m still working on the Sue Spargo Chirp flower border.

I’m on the 5th type of flower. It took almost two hours just to backstitch and whipstitch around two of the flowers. I did the other two when we met on Zoom a few weeks ago. Super fast. Not. Getting closer to done though.

And I drew a bird on one friend’s book of cool papers that she’s collaging and decorating.

Curious what it will say.

Anyway. It’s Friday. Friday the 13th. The kids have a pretty basic assignment to do, but that’s no guarantee of easy for me. My last science class yesterday was trying, the one before it was missing 18 kids for part of class due to test makeups (I was down to 5 actual bodies in the classroom), I have a bunch of sex ed stuff to copy, but my co-teacher already did the penises (wait, there’s a second set of penises…maybe she did those too), and a ton of grading to do. As always. I have a busy weekend, but hopefully some parts of it will be relaxing. We’ll see. Right now, though, I really do need to stand up, finish this cup of tea and make another, take my morning meds, put shoes on, and become a functional adult with a job where I’m responsible for a bunch of teenagers and pre-teens. I don’t WANT to do any of these things (except the tea parts), but I need to.