Wonky Is Good

September 29, 2018

I dream of quiet mornings with no itchy dogs, no squawky cats, no groaning puppy (that’s the noise he makes when he wants out of the crate. If you’re anti-crate, feel free to sleep with him in your house for a while and realize what he does if he’s NOT crated. I’ve never had to crate a dog every night past real-live puppyhood.). I dream of sleeping until I naturally wake up, that means NOT my bladder or someone else in the house or a neighbor or one of those damn furry creatures who mostly I love and care for and pet and cut big tangly bits out of their butt fur and wash their putrid infected belly bits (hmmm…was this a good choice?). This morning? Not an option. So I’m awake but cranky about it. What’s new? I have a shitload to get done this weekend, not the least of which are blood tests before my doctor flips her lid (I told her all along it would be today…IDK why she didn’t believe me.). Also prepping and delivering two quilts to Palomar College, opening in two weeks…that’s first on my list after writing this and showering and eating. Then blood letting (need to drink a ton of water first and I’m not awake enough to do that). Then come back here and keep grading until the cows come home. I’d really like to iron my quilt together too. Going to figure out where that fits.

Yesterday was Picture Day at school. My co-teacher and I like to go all out. She brought the dry ice and the tiara, I brought the unicorn head thingie.

IDK why anyone lets us out of our classrooms. Or lets kids into them.

I made kids measure rocks all day. On Monday, we’ll measure blocks. They can only measure things that rhyme. It’ll be socks next.

Then off to the last session of Warhammer, after 2 years or so. None of us died. Only two mutated and one was reversed and the other one wasn’t so bad. I went insane from corruption…no biggie…I’m still alive, running my dwarven mushroom farm underground, back in the dwarf kingdom, managing some kingly engineering department. Where I should be.

Yes, I stitched. I was really tired. If I didn’t stitch, I would fall asleep. We’ll game again in 2019. We’ll do some fun stuff on and off until then, I’m sure. Managing a game around the schedules of 6 busy adults is not easy, but it’s one of the few regular social things I do these days. I work too much.

I have lots of drawings in my head right now about the Kavanaugh crap. I don’t want someone that angry in the Supreme Court. But reading a few high-school friends’ commentary about whether to believe Ford or not…it must be nice to be a white man and be able to make those decisions with zero understanding of what it feels like on the other side. I guess a lot of us are feeling a little battered at the moment. Speaking of battered, I’ve got these two male students who are talking to me, who are connecting, who are still driving me nuts with their work ethic, but they’re talking. So we chat about life and their weekends (both playing Fortnite) and their moms and it’s a step in the right direction. Because they have shit in their heads that keep them from working…I have a lot of faith in a 12-year-old’s ability to move past that and be awesome.

Here’s progress…working on the road, which is just a hell of a lot of stitching…

I like how wonky it is. I guess this one is my new post-dinner focus for a while…which is good, because without gaming, I don’t know when I’d work on it otherwise. There’s no shortage of wooly blocks of the month in my house. I really like the feeling of stitching and embroidering through wool. It’s very relaxing. I might need some of that today. Although I think it won’t happen.

OK, on to the next step to get my tired butt in gear…


Head-Swallowing.

September 21, 2018

I keep drawing heads swallowing smaller heads. It’s actually even a notation in my weekly journal, constantly on the to-do list…”draw more heads smaller” is what it says. And yet I keep drawing them the same, not fitting more than one or two on the page (probably a function of page size…I should totally go full size). I’m not sure what it means. People always want me to explain my work, and when they realize that I was really tired last night and I made the mistake of having a glass of wine with dinner instead of waiting until really late, and so I almost fell asleep on the couch at 9:30 PM, like a normal person, but then I realized what was going on and got up and got my act together and did something artistic, and somehow that turned into being awake enough to draw another head-swallowing moment, well they give me that look that makes me wonder how crazy I really am. I’m sure it’s some psychological thing where I feel like my job and life are swallowing what I really want to be doing or something like that. Not so difficult to figure out.

I’m not really crazy. Just a bit. Just praying here to the internet/computer gods that I can keep the connection long enough to post this. New computer card arrives today. Let’s hope it solves the problem. Here’s the drawing, not done.

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I don’t know where it’s going. I just wanted to draw. So I did. That’s a little less than an hour’s worth of pen on paper. It felt nice. I should do more of it.

It’s really only because I couldn’t get the internet to function at all, so I couldn’t grade anything. Frustrating. I need to grade stuff.

I did have quilt class last night. I finished outlining the blue flowers, sewed the rhino horns with split stitch…harder than you might think over wool…and then palestrina knots for the bird’s legs.

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It never looks like much for 2 hours of work. There will be more of it at gaming tonight. I’m on the July blocks now. I think.

In between the class and the drawing, I did sort the fabrics for the next quilt, so I can start ironing this weekend. Here’s in process…

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And done. Very exciting stuff.

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This is not a hugely complicated quilt, so it didn’t take long. If I weren’t so tired (why am I so tired???), I would’ve started ironing it together, but that would’ve meant standing up. I didn’t do a lot of standing or walking yesterday…I was in a training, which meant my classroom went to hell in a handbasket. I love trainings. Actually, we planned for most of it, so that was good, because we needed to do that. We need to do more, of course, always more, but we’re closer than we were.

So this weekend is full of grading and hopefully ironing. And sleeping in tomorrow. I really like to sleep in. I’m such a shitty sleeper, it’s kind of ironic that I get up in the morning and I’m already thinking about when I might be able to put the pillow over my head and ignore the alarm clock.

I’m not even trying to play music right now. It would break the computer. It means I have to come up with a title with no support system. Hmmm.


New Year, New Crew

August 29, 2018

Oh yes. I finished a quilt. It still needs some ironing and certainly the cat hair needs removal. That’s on task for tonight. The other one I finished a while ago needs the same, but also needs ink. Then they both go to the photographer on Friday. I think I’m entering 5 shows in the next week. Crazy that. I already had two on the books, waiting to hear. I need to figure out total hours on the last two quilts too. Also going to do that this week. None of these tasks are particularly picture-heavy though. I like posting pictures. So I guess I’ll work on what else is visually interesting (besides the dying cyst on my toe…it was on purpose, but it’s still ugly) for a few days.

I need to start drawing (or redrawing) the next quilt, but I will have to finish ironing etc first. Probably not tonight. I did one art entry last night…figured I would do one a night, except I think I have to call on one of them. That’s actually one of the reasons I haven’t entered that show in a while. Phone calls take time during the work day. I often don’t have that time. Today, for instance, I have my homeroom class for more than 3 hours, I miss my prep period, I can’t pee that whole time, and I have to keep them engaged and not off task without computers. I am not looking forward to it. I’m also not in a good mood, which doesn’t help. It never does, eh? And this afternoon is the dentist, and I already know there’s a problem. Blood sugar is frustrating as well…I’m waiting on results of yesterday’s test results…hoping there’s positive progress, so I don’t have to worry about more stuff.

All that. Swirling in my head.

But I finished a quilt! A big one! One I’ve been processing mentally for like 6 years. That’s a plus. Here were the last two hours or so…cat butt…quilt…now I have a poked hole in my right middle finger from the needle. Because I forgot the thimble sticky pads. Or I was just too lazy to rummage through the box to my right and find them. Sigh.

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It’s not a small quilt…about 54×80″. The next one will be much smaller. It has to be, for the space. I’m drawing a response to a poem I wrote many years ago…a short poem. I used to write more poetry, but honestly, I’m not very good at it. And it’s not that this one is particularly good either…it just elicits a visual response (or 17) from me, so that works.

Speaking of visual responses…one of my students decorated her page on Safety…definitely went above and beyond. My kind of kid…

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I love this. In the first week, I find out who the artists are, who the kids with impulse control are, who the kids that like to answer everything are (whether they’re right or not, or even on topic), who the kids that can’t sit down for 5 minutes are, who the babies of the family are, who should not be in the same class together, who may never smile or speak (I worry about some of those), who is going to fight to turn classwork in, who isn’t listening to directions, who doesn’t understand directions, who needs way more support than I can ever provide, who has way more in their head than how to get through 7th grade.

New year, new crew.


Great Combination

June 9, 2018

What I’m supposed to be doing right now is finishing my grades for the 2017-2018 school year. You know, the last grades, the final hurrah, the penultimate (penultimate? Or ultimate? There’s some rule about that, but I can’t be bothered to think about it right now) the penultimate no goddammit, it IS ultimate, but I need a bigger better word for that…supreme? Eh. Anyway. It’s the last grades of the year. Until next September, when we do all this over again.

It’s OK…I’ll finish them eventually. But right now, I’m more obsessed with WordPress’ autosave thing not working and having to constantly tell me about its fucked-up self. Surely there’s a fix for that? IDK what…but annoying much guys? Yeah.

So I’m definitely sick now. Thought I beat it, but it’s back with a snotty vengeance. Plus sleep. Man I need sleep. I want a nap right now. But no. I am awake, it is the right time to be awake, I’ve had one cup of tea, I should be functional.

Yesterday, I made no art. I’d like to make some today, but who really knows if that will be possible. The book I’m trying to finish (and keep out of the hands of the e-library) is all I did yesterday and this morning. I’m a third of the way through it…but really, I need to be grading shit. Seriously…even this is a waste of time right now.

So. Artsy photo of one of my last lessons (nice font, eh?0…

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Came home to Katie and a hummingbird…really need to get spot of dust out of phone. Damn Apple for refusing to do that (“we can replace the camera.” “the camera is new.” “oh. well. then. LIVE WITH DUST.”).

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Katie has now gone on to live with my parents like normal. Good thing…the cats can freely wander again.

Boychild checked in from North Dakota. I didn’t know North Dakota could look like this.

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I went to gaming and worked on a mamba…

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Not the dance. While gaming. We’ve been meeting less often…too many other things going on in a variety of lives.

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I got the mamba done…still need to do the wild dog.

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I finished this block, although the instructions say something about some symbol near the hut, and it’s nowhere to be found in the instructions. Huh. Oh well.

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That shit happens.

Anyway. Today, I’m expecting lots of staring at a computer (only two assignments left to grade, but then inputting a million things and finalizing the other shit)…maybe some hand embroidery while watching a movie…not sure if I’ll be able to handle anything else…it all depends on how long all the finalizing the other shit takes. But then I’ll be done with that until next school year, which is always a lovely feeling. The last 4 days of school still suck, because now you don’t even have grades to hold over their heads, but at least I’ll be able to come home each day and just chill. Mostly.

Until then…grades. Snotty nose. Spacey head. Great combination.


Tomorrow Might Be Good for Something*

May 4, 2018

I have my Star Wars shirt on for school. Wait. No I don’t. I have somebody else’s Star Wars shirt on for school (mine is not necessarily appropriate for school, so I borrowed). May the Fourth be with you. I’m prepared for being a hella bitch today in class to keep kids on task. I’m going to engage my inner General Leia. I will only have to do that in two periods…the other three have figured out that they need to work and are doing so. Then we have a talent show at the end of the day. I have no stage talent at all, so I will be in charge of standing over kids and using sign language and my piercing glare to get them to behave (strangely, it works). I’m already cranky and tired, like almost every teacher at my school…it makes you wonder how we survive the last 29 days. I’m never really sure how we do it. With spit and alcohol and an occasional donut. But we do it. State testing starts next week, so the world gets a little wonky for a few days. I think there’s only two kids in my homeroom that might drive me bonkers for 3 1/2 hours of testing. Wait. No. There’s three. Maybe four. Fuuuck. It’s OK. I’ll feed them and use that piercing glare again and more sign language. It’s doable.

I had my monthly stitching meeting last night, but I am feeling a need to get this quilt done ASAP, so I cut things out instead of stitching…

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I got a good chunk of the pieces done…and then I came home and ironed more…although I was tired, and that doesn’t ever help. I finished ironing down the heart-shaped box and started on the hearth.

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Picking the fabrics for that was harder than I expected. The grays of the fireplace are going to be a pain in the butt. I guess the plus is that once I figure out what four fabrics I’m using (stones, shaded stones, grout, shaded grout), I will just have to pile the pieces up and get them ironed. That first part though, picking them? That sounds really exhausting to me at the moment. I bought one gray I thought would work, but now I’m looking at it and I’m not so sure. I guess at some point I will just make a decision about it. It never seems to be as crucial once I get the quilt ironed together…it’s more like, why did I worry so much about that one piece? I guess that is in my nature.

When I was done with decisionmaking, I hung out for a while. There was a cat for a while in there too…

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But the other cat is nervous about hanging out…so she was still in my office. With an ancient art quilt.

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Girlchild was traveling around. She sent me a lemur…

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I still have most of the last 300 pieces to iron down. I have 9 1/2 hours into the ironing, so I underestimated how much time I would spend staring at bins of grays…because mostly that’s what I’ve been doing. I keep thinking there must be another drawer of them somewhere. I have a fabric I want to use and I can’t find it. I’m not sure if it’s in the grays or the blacks…it runs right in between…but I just can’t find it and it’s one of my favorites. Yup. I have favorites.

Anyway, I’m not busy this weekend (yay!). I have gaming tonight, so I’m not expecting much out of myself after that and school…but maybe? And then tomorrow, after taking limpy dog to the vet, I’m hoping to iron. Like until I’m done maybe. And then I do need to grade stuff, but that’s always a thing. Ugh. Maybe that can wait until Sunday. It’s nice to have an unplanned weekend, because the next three are kind of a mess. What’s new? Yeah. At least I can still make art around all that.

*Matchbox 20, Unwell


Grading and Weeds…

April 14, 2018

I got a good night’s sleep last night after an hour of drawing (yes, only an hour…you can thank my day job for that). It was delightful. Except when one of my neighbors was slamming car doors at 1 AM and the puppy decided he needed to protect us from that.

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Seriously, this dog is the biggest (sweetest) asshole there is. I finally got up and sprayed him with the water bottle (No BARK) and he grumbled for a while, let out a few rebellious yips to show I’m not the boss of him, and then went to sleep. Until 3 AM or so when he did it again. Yup. I’ve got control of that beast.

Yeah, I graded last night. I came home and finished the other big assignment that I was supposed to finish over break. I still have more to do, and progress report grades have to be done in about a week, so I’m trying to be on top of it all. LAST PROGRESS REPORT OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. Yeah. That’s good. I like that. I had to really force myself to grade the last period. I wanted to put it off so bad. But no.

So while we were driving around last week, in the middle of the night (well, no, at 3:11 AM when someone in the hotel room next to us was banging on the door and yelling LET ME IN over and over again), I got this amazing idea for a drawing that related to time (one of the topics I need to hit in an upcoming quilt…I have two dueling deadlines of course). I sketched it briefly and described it (the picture is still indelibly inscribed on my brain, so that’s enough), but now I need to get it out of the head and onto the paper. I tried earlier this week and failed, but I will try again. But when I started trying to draw it, I realized it was going to be huge and massive and I like to do at least one really big quilt a year, usually in the summer, but the deadline for what I was trying to do is early June. So then I thought about this other drawing that I started ages ago and needs finishing and would also work (and would be much smaller and doable in the next two months), so I had sort of decided to pull that one out and finish it for that show, and then draw the other one for summer (although there are two other deadlines I’m interested in for early fall, so there’s that as well. Aaugh.). All that decisionmaking, though, made me give up on trying to do that drawing first, so I started this one.

This one is kind of about me as an artist, starting way back, although not TOO way back, because I don’t remember everything, but just thinking back to what influenced me, what kinds of art I’ve made, what’s made me the artist I am…so that’s this. There is, of course, no guarantee ever that it will get into the show for which I make it…that doesn’t bother me at all. It’s an idea that spoke to me and I’m drawing it. All good.

So when I finished grading, I did some more stuff on the one arm in the air, worked on her hair, added lungs and then worked on the other arm, which lead to upper thighs and a uterus (you knew that was coming, yeah?).

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Obviously there’s some stuff that needs to happen in the middle. That’s still whirling around in my head, although a gingko tree is in there somewhere. I used to be a screenprinter; hence the squeegee.

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I did photography when I was younger…but also sewed. I learned to sew when I was 8. I might have embroidered before that. Thread, fabric…all part of me forever. Art also a part of me forever.

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I’m driving to LA today and talking and taking down a show, so I’m not only missing the March for Science (dammit), but also not getting a lot done today in the art world. The show was supposed to be up for another 3 weeks, so I’m more than a little irritated that we have to do takedown today, but whatever. Some people in the art world are flakes…we all know that.

This popped up in my email as being from 9 years ago (I think actually the book I made from these is 9 years old…some of the pictures may be older). It’s my kids and my brother’s kids…all so tiny and cute.

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And smiling! Mostly. Kinda weird. And no, I still haven’t heard from the girlchild. She’s either walking back from that village tomorrow or Monday, so hopefully she’ll reappear. I know she has to check in with her local advisor every two days, and if there were a problem, he would have contacted us, so that’s what keeps me from freaking out. Mostly. Mom brains. They’re so annoying.

Other annoying things: Apple’s new update to iCloud now does not allow me to select multiple pictures. Their solution says to use iCloud on my PC, except it still thinks I have a corrupt database and wants me to sign out of it. That bug has been around for months with no solution. Buggy as hell. iMessage is also still buggy as hell, and that’s on an Apple device. And then one of my local school board members (one I did NOT vote for) is pro arming teachers…unfortunately, I think it’s another two years before we can vote him out. Sigh. Stupid stuff.

So driving to LA…gonna pray to the traffic goddess for no accidents or stupidity (ha!)…hoping for good attendance at the talk and an easy takedown. Tomorrow? Not much to look forward to…grading and weeds. That’s about it.


All That

December 31, 2017

Ah, December 31, the last day of the year, the day you evaluate everything that happened in the last 365 days (hint: you only remember the super ups and downs mostly) and try to make resolutions for the next 365 days. Is it a leap year? Nope. Then I don’t have to come up with a plan for one more day. Oh good.

As a teacher, I usually make my resolutions in June (I am NEVER doing that again, stuff like that) or August (That would be a GREAT idea, but if it’s not, then it just quietly slides back into the mud or I angst about it for a while before it slides). I resolve to keep trying to make art every day, to keep trying to balance my job and my personal life, to keep the house less chaotic. I will fail horrifically at the last two and soldier on with the first. So there we are. I’d like to try to meditate every day again, but I made that resolution back in August and have sucked mightily at it every day since then. I would also like to exercise more…more dog walks, more hikes, and more gym visits. Maybe that’s the only thing I need to keep in my head…it is probably the most important at the moment.

I’m going to make a list of stuff that needs doing around the house…then maybe some of them will happen. My house is seriously in need of repair, after 15 years post-divorce with no spare cash to fix stuff, let alone remodel. I made it through the living room area, but there are other spaces that need help, and maybe this is the year we start that. I guess last year’s great accomplishment was cleaning out the garage…that was 20 years of accumulation. Thanks to the boychild for that assist. Maybe I should aim for this summer being the great studio/office redo…pull the wallpaper and the peeling flooring, which means pulling My Fabric Stash outta here, and then redoing all of it. New window would be nice. Certainly a cleaner space. Not sure it’s doable, but it’s certainly something I can put on the list, maybe price out what flooring would cost for one of the smallest rooms in the house. Next on the list? A bathroom. Or three. A kitchen. See, those are all big expenditures. Not happening with college still on the to-pay list.

But the brain, it thinks about things to change. Actually making change is hardest. As always.

Some things never change. Dog hugs.

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Yesterday, we went to a basic falconry class that was a Christmas present…it was very cool, not just to see the birds up close, but to learn about how they’re trained…and that they can fly away at any time when hunting.

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Beautiful birds…the one above is a falcon; below is a Harris hawk.

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It was a beautiful day, nice location. I’ll hopefully have photos of my experience sometime soon.

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Afterward, there was food and drink…this ice pattern was the closest we got to winter here in sunny Southern California. Where climate change continues to affect us, right?

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I came home and had some time before the next event…realized I was 4 days behind on this and did some filling in at the top to make it less bumpy.

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Tonight will be the last stitch on it.

Then out to see the band, at a campground on the bay. Strange venue, with the band inside this building with the ice cream store, but all the chairs outside. So I sat out there and listened and drew…not surprising to see this after watching them up close.

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I’ve always drawn birds, but rarely look at photos of them. They’re all fantasy birds. These guys had such long feathered legs and a square stance. I put him in this drawing…

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And then drew this after a long, drawn-out and semi-torturous text thread with the kids about dinner tonight, which the parental units rejected in the end. Whatever…

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I’m kind of annoyed with the whole world at the moment. Probably need to get out and about and get some shit done for that to change.

I came home to a cat who wanted to be up close and personal. Not a lap cat. A chest cat. My chin resting on you cat.

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Too close. Can’t stitch. Pushed him off and worked on the blocks from the Social Justice Sewing Academy. Sewing through glue sucks. But I got more done. So that’s a plus.

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I’m not ready to look 2018 in the eye yet. I’m having a hard time getting too excited about it. Maybe that’s why people make resolutions? I don’t know. Like close out the year and write it off, have gratitude for the good things, resolve to change the bad things. Then it’s a tool for change. OK. Well. I’m still gonna have an idiot as President. I’m still gonna be making art about it. I’m working on some other stuff, positive stuff. I made some changes in 2017…I’ll make some changes in 2018. You’ll see them here. Have a good New Year’s Eve tonight…stay safe and warm as needed. Think I’m gonna read my book and go for a walk and stitch some. Cross some shit off a list. Pet some animals. Maybe play a game. Drink some tea. Eat a decent meal or two. Maybe draw. That. All that.