2020…May It Be Full of Art…

It was a good New Year’s Day…I never got out of my pajamas…the only thing better would have been a hike, and we have that planned for tomorrow.

Today is the boychild’s birthday…

Wow. That hair. He’s much taller now, hair is longer. Pretty sure he started those bangs the girlchild has…after some revisions by mom. He makes better decisions now. Or at least asks first. He’ll spend some time with dogs and maybe kittens, relaxing. May 2020 be awesome for him, whatever that means.

We hiked with the dogs on Tuesday (yes, I am losing track of days). Simba needed a carry assist at some point…we thought he might have something in his paw, but it might have just been a pulled muscle.

We took them out 4 miles to try to tire the boy out…the boy dog, that is. He’s been in bark mode. Plus we think he misses the girlchild. It was a gorgeous day for a hike…

I love the outside. Plus there was lots of water to look at and stomp through…

Check out that tongue. We definitely tired her out…almost enough to ignore the fireworks on NYE.

I quilted a little bit every day…like one person’s worth…

It was a goal I could handle. Finish one person. Then you get a break.

It stayed that way, one a day, until yesterday…

Yesterday, I finished the requisite person and then had the background staring at me…

I stopped for dinner and then finished quilting the whole thing…

It only took 3 1/2 hours…

So Kitten/kitten play has been happening…a little…

Mostly around corners and under quilts…

There was no hissing here…just play bopping. And this was after Nova went after Kitten’s tail, which was swishing around quite temptingly.

I did my daily drawings…this one from NYE was a little strange…

Here’s the first drawing of 2020…

I always feel like this is such a good practice, drawing every day, but the reality of my days during school are less conducive to this. Unfortunately. I’ve tried instituting a drawing a week, like Friday night, but time is so limited when I’m teaching that I sacrifice the drawing time to actual artmaking instead.

Nova on my sketchbooks…

Not the best footing.

OK, I have two quilts to deliver, a binding fabric to buy (no, I don’t have enough of anything to use for binding), and pilates class…plus grading. I did one period of the UGH assignments (it’s really two assignments put together) yesterday. It took about 2 1/2 hours, but I wasn’t really paying attention well and I will get faster. Or not. I don’t know. Four more periods of those to go…really need to do one a day. Plus decide what art I’m making next. Oh yeah, recap of 2019…only 6 quilts, but 1 was huge…

All of them have been or are going to be in shows, which is cool. Two are traveling for at least a year. One won an award. All good. I feel like making work from my head is a good place right now. Although 4 of these were made for specific themes. My favorite, Swallow Me Whole, was not though. It was a thing in my head that needed to get out. So start 2020 with one of those, one I choose, no theme, just Nida.

Plus I did these last year…

These were a new thing…not sure how successful it was, but it was an interesting experience. I would stitch more of my drawings, but they take so much time, it’s hard to make it a profitable thing. Not that I make art for that…but maybe I’ll design a few for traveling/camping. They were good for that. You can find patterns and kits for these at Global Artisans

2020…may it be full of art and time for that shit.

How to Make It Better…

So many people already saying Happy New Year…I guess that’s legit for Australia, but all you Americans just need to wait a bit. Europe too. Chillax. We’ve got the rest of 2019 to survive.

Speaking of Australia…all the fires and the animals and the people and the crazy fire weather, which doesn’t make the news here hardly at all…my heart goes out to you. Hoping there’s a resolution soon and people can rest easy…although the future weather/drought issues there will still be a problem. I didn’t realize there was such a huge coal industry there. It’s so hard to balance the needs of the world in general in terms of slowing climate change while also making sure people still have jobs and food and homes. It’s a huge mind shift…one that America doesn’t seem to understand either. Our core job needs to be taking care of people…not making money. So many politicians are ignorant (willfully or ?) of the science behind what’s happening and how we humans are making it worse.

Also on my mind…attacks on Jewish people…I hate my current government (because it’s not just the President any more) for encouraging this environment where people are emboldened to attack anyone who is different than they are. Have we learned nothing over the years? I read a friend’s comment about how we are raised to respect others’ opinions, but she was clear in that we don’t have to respect racist or hate-based opinions. I don’t hate you because you are racist…I don’t understand you. I hate your actions toward others. I hate your speech toward others. You are human and so obviously frightened of what is different or what you perceive as taking away from your rights (such an ignorant and limited view of the world). You don’t have the right to hurt someone else because of that…even if the President says you do. This last year has been hard to watch. So much anger and wrongness.

So that’s where I’m ending 2019. Sometimes when I’m drawing or making quilts, I think “this piece of art isn’t going to fix the government or racism or climate change or hate or anything else…” and I get disheartened about what I’m making. It’s not enough. I’m using materials that are causing more pollution, I’m using electricity, my privilege allows me to create art because I’m not trying to find food for my children or clean water…I don’t have tons of money to donate to worthy causes or tons of time to volunteer in worthy places. I try to educate my students about things when I can…there are times when I can’t be political because I teach in a public school…but I can be scientific. I make art because it helps me stay sane. It’s a drive I can’t turn off. I have been trying to be more thoughtful about fabric use in the last year or so…using up weird pieces that have been around for a while. I don’t have a solution for the world right now…I just know large parts of it are messed up and need fixing.

Tomorrow will be all about Happy New Year and looking forward. Today I’m in reflection mode. Ironically, I’m doing this program to help me reduce my school work hours, and they had suggested making monthly goals for school and other stuff, and I don’t know why that sounded like a good idea, but I set up the spread in my journal (which I do use daily…the journal anyway)…

And then. Well. Realized I’m not good at setting monthly goals. I set weekly ones, even daily ones, and ones that stretch out the length of a unit of teaching science (the next one is volcanoes and earthquakes, I think). Also ones that stretch out for the length of a quilt. Sometimes for summer or winter break. Not this break so much…but this isn’t working for me. I can’t get my head around it. OK then. I think I do OK on goals in general, so I’m just going to write this up as Tried, but Didn’t Work.

I did quilt for a while yesterday, the 2nd figure. I’ll do more today, I hope…though my original goal to be quilted by now so I could trim and bind today?

Not happening. So this will be the first quilt of 2020.

I’m still grading almost every day. I prefer doing a little at a time to spending entire days working on it.

This kitten is not at all helpful. Neither is the pup.

I did finish this assignment completely, and stayed up way too late doing another one, but now all that’s left is the three hellacious assignments. I’m just going to bully through one period a day, maybe more if it makes sense. Take a day off when it makes sense. Get through as much as I can. I have 12 days before I go back, and ideally I’ll be done. Which means more than one a day, I think. Sigh. OK. Good to know.

It’s also OK to do some of it when I get back from break. No matter what I was grading, there was always a companion…

These two eventually got off my lap…with some assistance from me.

Although Nova apparently thinks she is cuter than her sister, and should be in all the photos…

Eventually she sat on Luna. It’s nice having siblings…they are amusing.

I did my daily drawing…

This type of imagery shows up often. I was tired. Couldn’t think of what to draw.

This is one of the shows my work is going to be in, coming up in January…

That’s one of my two pieces…the art center is in Ojai, California. I don’t know if I’m going to the opening…it’s a long way for one day. Thinking about it.

OK, time to stop thinking and start doing. I need to put away the Christmas stuff, pack up some boxes to ship, walk the dogs, grade some shit, quilt another person, and IDK what else. Draw. But it’s New Year’s Eve, so I’ll get time for that while having to watch crazy TV. Ugh. I’m not a fan of all the NYE television, and I don’t need to go out and party. I do need to think about how to make 2020 better. Not for me…for others.

Can't Be Bothered…

I hiked yesterday. I didn’t write because I hiked, so I was up early and then I came back and was exhausted. Plus I don’t know what day it is anymore. Neither does anyone else, so it’s all good.

Girlchild spent a lot of time spoiling dogs…

They love when she’s home…

Which is good for her too…

Although she put this one in timeout for barking too much…

Legit.

We had one family gaming night…

With kitten involvement…they were fascinated…

With laps and dice and little pieces everywhere…

I didn’t win. I really never win. It’s a good thing I don’t care about winning.

Girlchild left this morning. I’m trying to figure out when to go visit her in Boston. Maybe Spring?

Lots of kitten cuteness. I have no family pictures…just kitten pictures.

Lame. I know.

This morning, my cat (Kitten) ventured out and maybe attempted play with kittens…

Maybe. Hard to say. Yes, there’s a kitten up her butt.

It’s progress. We hope.

Yesterday’s hike was at Santa Ysabel Preserve West, out off the 78…there was ice in a puddle and a tiny bit of snow by the path…

It was beautiful…there were lots of cows…and the Coast to Crest Trail book is as always completely wrong about every hike I’ve done in there…

The mileage was right…just under 6 miles…

I’m just not sure how they calculate loss/gain of elevation, because they said 300 feet and I should have checked AllTrails instead, because I would have brought my poles for the mud alone and this beast of a hill…

Down was worse than up for me. The man will never hike this trail again. Only 1174 feet of gain. Or loss. Doesn’t really matter to your knees.

Snow on the nearish mountains…

Beautiful panoramas…and more cows…

Mama is staring at us quite intently. We did persuade her to go stand by her babies…the original trail went between mom and the calves. Not a great plan.

We visited our favorite dive bar on the way back for sustenance…and then collapsed for the rest of the day.

I quilted a little bit on Friday. Super slow progress…

I just have too much to do. I finished grading 4/5 of the larger assignments.

I’m hoping to quilt more today. I’m also hoping someone besides me will take the initiative on the grocery list/cooking plan today, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening. Basically, I don’t think we would go to the store if I didn’t plan it.

Sigh.

I have videos to compile for my Patreon today, plus a drawing to scan and clean up. But hopefully more quilting too.

This was Friday’s drawing…tech on my mind? Much?

And then last night’s…I started with kittens asleep over there…at some point, one headed for me.

It’s hard to draw with a kitten in your face.

But there it is. Join my Patreon for $5/month and you’ll get a high-res copy of the drawing for coloring or staring at or whatever. Just don’t sell it. One a month. Such a deal. At some point, I’ll make a coloring book, but not yet. Need funding.

The Patreon video this month is about my motivation to get stuff done at the moment. It’s lacking. So I’ll do some pondering and then figure my shit out. As always. Until then, maybe it’s sandwiches every night. Can’t be bothered. Welcome to the new year!

Like I Have Control Over That Shit.

I would like to thank my principal’s kid for his fever that canceled my morning meeting. No really. I mean, I hope the sweet boy is OK and all, but I needed sleep more than I needed another early meeting. Note to self. Fewer meetings. Like I have control over that shit. Seriously need to figure people out and their need to make useless meetings or add people to my meetings who aren’t going to add to the conversation or set meetings up and then not show the fuck up. Wasted time is like the worst thing in the world to me. Don’t make me do it! That said, I’ll show up to almost any kid meeting, hoping against hope that THIS will be the one that gets them to see the light (them being the kid, the parent, or someone who might be able to move the helping process along, hello counselors and psychs and all those other people who get in the way of our helping the kids who need it due to stupid governmental crap). I’m an eternal optimist, despite the cynicism you see and hear daily from me. I believe in people choosing good over evil…in doing the best things…despite seeing stupid shit day after day. Sigh. I’m preparing my mind for two lab days in a row. Wait until next week. Ha! Yeah. It’ll be fine.

I came home early last night and went to the gym. It was my night to cook, but I thought this shit through…the crockpot was going all day. Easy and awesome foods and plans. I tried using the iPad at the gym to grade these essays, but it doesn’t work like it does on the computer, so in 25 minutes on the bike, I managed two essays. Not great. And you know what? When I came home and was sitting there watching some weird Russian robot show (I don’t know why we keep watching this…the dialogue is awful and the lips are moving and nothing else is and the bots themselves…my lord.), I did NOT go get my computer and continue to grade essays. Yes, it means I’m behind. I’m always behind. Whatever. 20 minutes of grading after dinner wasn’t going to solve THAT shit.

Then I came in here and it took an hour to cut bindings and sleeves and sew them onto the quilt…

Same stuff as the background. I bought just enough to do the sleeves. Note to self…when your quilt is WIDER than it is TALL, your sleeves will be really long. Ugh. I have to sew all those down. Damn. Well. You learn something new every time you do this. Yeah, this cat is blurry. I kept trying to take pictures of her rubbing her head and body all over this quilt (sheesh), and she was moving too much. The Instagram one is the only non-blurry one.

Then I spent another 2 hours pinning everything and starting to stitch all the rest by hand. I got all the way down one long side and one short side, so that’s half of the outside part, but I still need to do the sleeves. Hang on…this is math. There are 380″ total inches of hand sewing and I did about 113 of them last night. That means I have a shitload left to do. No really. I don’t need to do that math. I’ll be fine. No gym tonight. No having to cut things out or sew them by machine or pin them, so another 3 hours and I should be done? Hopefully? I do need to do some inking on it, plus iron and dehair it…probably can’t deliver tomorrow, but definitely Saturday. Whew. Woo! OK. What am I doing next? For my sanity, I cannot have down time on the art stuff. It keeps me going. Seriously.

Meanwhile, school. No meetings today. A blessing. Don’t ask about tomorrow.

Do It Better…

My brain is significantly nonfunctional. Unfortunately. Because job and all. Plus morning meetings just suck. I’m sure it will be fine. I currently feel like I might still be asleep. I even went to bed early to try to make up for the early rise, but no. Not less tired or more awake. I’m just not a morning person. My brain is literally crying out for a sleep-in right now. No, brain. We don’t get that until maybe Saturday…not Sunday though. Sigh. OK. Some time in November! There we are. Is it November yet? Close.

The weather’s wacky again here in Southern California…it must be that weird burst of October summer we get most years…Santa Ana’s? Maybe. The old dog is increasingly more reactive to weather as she ages…now wind upsets her because it often comes before rain and her ultimate fear, thunder. There will be none of that this week, except for the wind, and she will freak out and be needy and we’ll pet her and it won’t help. Poor thing.

I’m in a daily routine…I come home from school and grade stuff…it was a 10-hour day yesterday. I’m not sure this thing where I keep track of it is making me feel better…but I’m doing it anyway…collecting data. Today maybe won’t be as bad…well, except for this early-morning meeting. Ugh. Grading is just such a time suck. There’s no solution I’ve found for it yet. Nonstop time suck. I was doing OK at the beginning of the year, but it’s the stuff we use for assessment that takes forever. Anyway…and makeup work. That’s killing me at the moment. I can’t even get to it. I only graded until we were done watching our dinner TV show though…then did a few things that needed doing.

Then off to the quilting. Which I took no pictures of…mostly because the thread broke approximately 28 times. I don’t know why. But it was all on the righthand side of the quilt. I booked it through the top section and then all of a sudden, every 6 inches or so, SHRED. WTF. I used the thread conditioner I have. I slowed the fuck down (OK, it’s true I was driving Nascar with the machine when I could). I thought about changing the needle, but I had just done that right before quilting. Anyway. Eventually it behaved and I made it all the way around…almost 9 hours of quilting. Not bad. When did I start? Saturday night? Yeah. Quick.

Then the trimming…

Sometimes this is a real pain in the ass, but last night, it was easy peasy. One side had to be recut, retrimmed to make the measurements work. And then I was done. It’s about 70″ w and 43″ h. I don’t usually do long and wide, but the image called for it. And she looks good! She needs a little ink (don’t we all) and a binding for sure. I have three nights for that! Maybe. We’ll see. I think the photographer would like it earlier rather than later, but I also know that all that binding will take a while. Plus holes in my finger unless I remember to use those sticky thimble things that I always forget I have until the hole is well established. Ouch.

Kitten agrees.

She was quite happily ensconced on the couch while I graded. Well, she tried to lie on the computer (why do they do that? It can’t be comfortable) and then she followed me to the office for the stitching time. All good.

OK, binding on tonight, start stitching it down. Hopefully I’m going to the gym as well…really need it. My back is tweaked. Plus blood sugar always needs it. Maybe I’ll figure out how to grade this current assignment there. We’ll see if the iPad can handle the weird add-ons I’m using. Early meeting tomorrow too, so I’ll be in bed early again. My brain is like YAASSSS. Bed. Sleep. Sheesh. If you like sleep so much, why don’t you DO IT BETTER?

GUTTER

Hi. I’m Kathy. I’m a bit of a workaholic. I seriously don’t know how to relax, especially with a bunch of grading that’s late and a quilt that’s due. The man was asking about my Saturday plans, and I kinda went off, because Saturday is DAYS from now and I have SO MUCH to do before then that my right eye is twitching. Or maybe it’s my left. Or they’re alternating. Did you know there’s something called TwitchCon? And it has nothing to do with my eyelids’ propensity to denote my stress levels.

12 hours plus on school yesterday. I am tracking actual hours this week for the program I’m on. Why? So I can cut some of those hours. I’m not sure how that will work, but I’m getting there. By hell or high water. Or I’ll die trying. OK, shouldn’t offer that as an option. This job will take it all out of you. I remember the guy who planned to retire from teaching, had to go out 3 months early on medical, was dead by the end of summer. Cautionary tale!

Anyway, I quit because I was reading this one essay and I’m thinking, whoa, this sounds familiar and then read a phrase about convection being a substance (WTF?) and went, holy fuck, Batman, I’ve read this before. Sweet little dumbasses. They must think we’re idiots. OK, sometimes we don’t catch this shit just due to time etc, but seriously, write something as lame as that and I will FIND YOU and award you the zero you deserve, you and your little friend. Yes, because Google Docs tells me who edited it when. Haven’t decided what to do about it yet. Drawing and quartering seems a bit much (though tempting). Making them rewrite during tutoring sounds fun. Not really. But I’ll probably do it.

Today is some practice with equipment that will hopefully help them with a lab tomorrow and the next day. Then we go into days of labs, which after yesterday’s incidents with “I don’t know how to shut up long enough to hear instructions,” might be an issue. Anyway. My day job…can suck the brains out of my head and spit them out in a what do you call that thing by the side of the road, next to the curb, damn, there goes my brain. I’ll let it ruminate and hopefully I’ll remember what it’s called. THE GUTTER! Sheesh. Google will be saving my forgetful ass until I die. The gutter.

So it was around 9:30 PM when I started panic quilting. Really it’s all a run to the finish now.

I had both arms, the Anza Borrego section, the entire torso (trees, heart, lungs), and the head to do.

In the last week, I’ve worked on this quilt for more than 18 hours. Yesterday, I only got in 2 hours and 12 minutes. They were good ones though.

Because I finished all the outlining, which was my goal…

And then I started quilting the background, of which there is not much…and I got about a quarter of the way around, maybe a little more. So that’s tonight…and hopefully trim it and maybe cut and start stitching the binding? We’ll see. It depends on how long the quilting takes. And on my sanity after tutoring. I really should grade more things, but I don’t know if I’ll have the fortitude. How come I can remember FORTITUDE but not GUTTER. My brain is like a fucked-up sieve.

Oh yeah, while I was watering last night and dealing with my composter, I saw this guy…

I thought their season was done, but apparently not. He looks well fed.

OK, off to the day job, where I will remember the word GUTTER and try not to use a triple-beam balance in a way it was not intended to be used. Seriously, though, why does it make sense to weigh your hand on a TBB without cutting it off? Because otherwise, you’re not weighing anything. Now you know why I’m a middle-school science teacher and not a kindergarten teacher.

I Stitched a Few Miles…

My blood sugar crashing woke me up at 5 AM. Not a normal occurrence. I need to be better about eating on the weekends. I forget. I’m not in the mood. There’s no plan. I’m pretty sure I said this sometime in the last 4 weeks. And then didn’t do it. Sigh. Part of it was that I was busy trying to get this quilt done. I’m still busy trying to get this quilt done. I’m going to be busy with it all week. I did manage to stitch a few miles this weekend, that’s for sure.

I got up Saturday morning and did a bunch of stuff I already wrote about, and then I started the stitch down again in the early afternoon…

I had done about 2 1/2 hours the night before and I was on a roll…

It’s not like this is hard. As long as the sewing machine behaves (sometimes an issue), this is easy. I put on some loud music, I try to remember to stand up occasionally, I forget to eat…and I stitch. At 4 hours and 51 minutes, I was done.

The back is always intriguing. I actually look at the back to find what I missed. I found one, but not the other…I found that one last night while quilting.

Then I went through the stash to find something for the backing. This is a batik on the front, and I used the whole width from selvedge to selvedge, so I knew I’d have to use another batik on the back, unless I wanted to piece it (I did not)…because batiks run about 44″ wide and regular fabrics are usually only 40-41″ wide. I didn’t want to lose the 3″. So I grabbed something that might work as a background, but was being conscripted to backing today.

I ironed it nice and flat. I’d already washed the batting, so I cut that, ironed the top, and laid it all out on the floor I’d already cleaned in the morning (I had a busy morning).

Looking good. Get down on the floor and start pinbasting. Look at the clock…the Visions opening has started, but you’re still OK on time.

Pinbasting doesn’t usually take very long…

Less than an hour. Put on something besides shorts, put a bra on (aargh, society, fuck you), head out to Visions for the opening of Interpretations. Talked to some interesting people, checked out the art, don’t have time now for resizing photos and looking up people’s websites, just know there was some interesting art there. And people!

I knew there was no food in the house (that I wanted), so I headed over to Liberty Public Market, had a glass of wine, and read my book while I contemplated the chaos inside and my food options.

Also stopped at Comikaze and got a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale, graphic novel style. Looking forward to reading that.

Then decided on crepes (I always decide on that…not sure why…because they’re a rarity in my world and I like them?)…waited for them to be cooked, and drove them home to continue reading. I finished the book. So I took about a 3-hour break from the quilt existence. The man was playing a show I couldn’t go to, so this was my one break all day.

Back to the grind…the quilting…

And that’s what I did, more music blaring, for the next 2 1/2 hours…quilted a little Torrey Pines cliffs…

Some water and a whale…

I was on a roll…a mule deer…

Somewhere around the river, the man showed up and I actually looked at a clock…after midnight. Ah. OK. Time to stop.

So Saturday was close to 6 hours of quiltmaking. Now that’s a day. But I didn’t get any schoolwork done, and that’s an issue. Yes. Well.

Sundays are always really busy, and this one was no exception. I did do schoolwork and I also went to the grocery store and the fabric store for binding fabric, plus made some lunch and breakfast stuff and a cake for my dad who just turned 79, which is awesome. So it was late before I started this…

I graded a little at the parentals’ house before dinner, but was panicking. And listening to a podcast about the Panic Monster. I quilted for an hour and then took a break, went on the bike and graded a few essays while riding, then went back to quilting.

I hate grading sometimes. And the quilt wins timewise at the moment. Hopefully I can get more of both done today. I’d really like to finish the quilting tonight…

I did 2 1/2 hours last night, so that’s almost 5 hours so far. Probably another 2 1/2 hours just of outlining left…

I have the whole torso, most of one arm and all of another, plus Anza Borrego and her head. Then I have to quilt the background. Hmm. Plus a 2-hour staff meeting and I’m cooking dinner tonight. Sounds problematic. OK, finish the outlining tonight. Finish the background tomorrow night and trim it, cut the binding. Maybe put the binding on? Shit. Time. When the hell am I going to grade anything? I guess it’s a good thing I have absolutely no evening plans this week. I did record some different videos for my Patreon this weekend…a bunch of me singing along to music as I quilt (not so interesting) and then a short treatise on materials and why you should wash your Machingers more often than I do. It’s not hard. I just buy new ones.