I Couldn’t Hide from the Thunder in a Sky Full of Song*

I didn’t really disappear over the weekend. I just worked a lot. On everything. There’s significant progress, but I don’t feel relaxed. I’ll get there. I have most of my taxes done, except for one large task that I’m about halfway through doing. Teacher expenses. Pain in the ass to collect. But I need every penny. I got through grading all the makeup work, although as soon as I input everything, the kid emails started. Because they don’t believe it will be graded until it’s graded. So then they email me and tell me how they’re gonna fix things tonight, and I’m like, well, that sucks to be you for progress reports, because I’m done grading makeup work until next weekend, sweet thang.

Then we started trying to figure out our trip, beyond the panicked moving of one place to stay…mucho debate about the next place, because it’s cold. And snow. Or sleet. But definitely cold. And ice. And we are from sunny Southern California and do not do either of these things well. We knew we both wanted hiking pants anyway, and we had our REI dividends plus a coupon, so we headed out. And bought some warm stuff too. Plus went to my parents and found the sleeping bags and the tent we used two years ago (rain flap!)…and of course, we set up the tent in the living room, to see if the air mattress would even fit, because it never went in this tent…

And it does fit…so does the cat…

But it’s pretty tight…mostly because when it’s inflated, it’s pretty tall, and the sides of the tent go in, and it would be an issue with rain. Or sleet. Or maybe even snow…I don’t know, because I don’t think I’ve ever camped in snow. That’s probably not true. But I’ve blocked it out if I did, and now I’m old and the snow thing is really throwing me.

I was OK with the tent, but the man was not and went online and got something we could put two coolers, a fan, a chair, and a television into (not really, something about a guy in Louisiana and a storm, but the tent was fine). So that’s managed. Mostly. We need clothing that ranges from 72 degrees down to 20 degrees. Fun stuff. At the moment, the man is looking forward to this trip and I’m a little apprehensive. I’ll be fine. Just not right now. Right now, I have too much on my plate. I was trying to get shit done yesterday and he kept coming in to show me maps and pictures and other stuff, and I’m like, this is more than a week away I’m panicking about stuff for tonight please ok fine just say it and then I’ll make a noise that sounds like I get it and then I can work on what I’m working on which is due before we leave. Deep breaths.

I tried quilting Saturday before my art meeting (where I got more things to do), but the machine was being a cranky nasty bitch. There were a few of these…

And a whole ton of broken thread. I switched the needles, the position of the spool, rethreaded about a million times, put the sewing goo on the thread. Sigh. I came back and quilted some more at night, and it still refused to behave. It wasn’t until Sunday that I figured out that it wasn’t on the right setting for the foot I was using. I don’t know why it wasn’t…it was the last thing I did. I think? Whatever.

After that, she worked like a dream. Mostly.

Sunday, I pulled it off the machine, even though it wasn’t done, and went and bought the binding fabric, because I knew I wouldn’t have time later this week. Like today.

And then I came home and did more grading and cook prep and taxes and organizing and grocery shopping and I don’t even remember what else.

After dinner, I quilted. And quilted…

And somewhere around midnight, I finished quilting…

Almost 6 hours. Did you know that not last week, but the week before, I did 20 hours of artmaking? While working? I think that was the week I was sick too. My weeks have been nuts. But she’s quilted. Tonight I can get the binding on. I might even finish early. I have to deliver two to the photographer. I should email him. I said I would. OK, done. Emailed.

And then the next one needs to get drawn, but you won’t see that one. You might see these getting done…

Although not until this binding is done. I have six to do. That’s a lot. I might let friends do some of them, once I’ve done one. We’ll see.

I miss this kid. She hasn’t sent me a photo for her graduation announcements. I’m thinking of using this one.

She’s a Leo, in case you were wondering. She really is a Leo too. I’m a Pisces, but sort of atypical. I live with a Capricorn and a Cancer. I’m not counting the dogs and cats. OK, well, I’m going to continue to pray to the no-snow gods and to try to finish shit and exercise and read my book and not panic too much and keep my cool with the kids who are gonna tell me It’s Not Fair for whatever reason. Did I mention grading All the Things? Gonna do that too. Oooohhhhmmmm.

*Florence + the Machine, Sky Full of Song

Bring Your Etch-a-Sketch to Work*

I’m gonna start writing this at 12:02 AM on Tuesday. Why? Because this song…

I listened to Amanda Palmer tonight on Live From Here, the new version of Prairie Home Companion…here’s the link. Love this song. Makes me laugh. And cry. I’m so excited that I will be seeing Amanda sing in LA in May. I finally persuaded a male attachment to come with me.

So that was last night. I stayed up too late, but I finished quilting. That’s a big yahoo on that.

First we walked the dogs though…it’s been a while since we’ve been to this spot..

It was wet and muddy and stream-filled. Well. Not filled, but we went across at least two of them, one of them three times. Apparently the rain finally caught up with the creek and filled it to the edges…

Sometimes over the edges…the flowers are all starting to bloom…

Thinking about a trip to the desert for the bloom this year…

It was a really beautiful evening for a hike. It’s finally daylight a bit later, so we could go further…here’s one stream, which is actually where the trail normally is…

Calli has no problems or qualms about wading through streams. Simba is not as good. Definitely more water than usual…

Which is good.

Especially for the plants…we stopped here…I was kinda done with wandering through mud at that point.

Plus it was heading toward dusk…

So we headed back to see what the bridge looked like…

They’d fixed the smaller bridge…the rain had pushed it off its bank and into a smaller creek.

I don’t think the big bridge is going anywhere, but that’s a lot of water for here.

The dogs are good sports…

Tons of flowers everywhere.

I love ending a work day like this. Wish I could do it more often. Yes, I graded too…got one assignment done. And then my principal emailed about this professional development thing we have to do, and they totally screwed up next week. Sigh. I set test and due dates. Wonderful. I’ll figure that out later today. Last night I couldn’t handle it. I can’t be mad at him…his wife just had their second kid. I can be annoyed though that we have to do the PD at all.

While I was waiting for boychild to make dinner, I drew a bit…still working on possible embroidery designs.

Might be too much.

Post-dinner TV time with the man, Simba curled up behind him.

The two of them had a coyote scare last night, very close to the prime peeing spot. Scary. Dumbass puppy thought he would go kill the coyote. He does not realize he would be a tasty treat.

I finally went in to quilt at about 10:30 PM…with the goal of finishing.

Which after about an hour and 15 minutes, I did.

With 19 hours and 21 minutes total into the quilting. Crazy shit. Hopefully tonight I will clean the floor, trim the quilt, and put a binding on it. At least, that’s the plan. I’m also going to the gym, so we’ll see how that goes. Right now, I’m tired, but I also want this thing done. It’s taking too long. My brain is done with it.

So. Off to school. Difficult teaching day ahead I think…concept-wise at least. I thought yesterday would be low-maintenance and it totally wasn’t. So there’s that. I also need to prep for a messy lab. Good stuff.

*Amanda Palmer, Ukulele Anthem

Now I Know How Joan of Arc Felt*

I’m fighting a sore throat. I suspect I’m losing. So many people around me were sick last week. I don’t get sick very often. Hopefully it will be low-key and not hellacious. I only have two labs and a field trip this week. No biggie. It’s never easy to be a teacher and be sick. Staying home and doing sub plans and then coming back to the disaster they have wrought is hell…and so is being in the classroom when you don’t feel well. Anyway…let’s hope a lot of hot tea helps.

I just checked my time app and I’ve been quilting this beast for over 18 hours. I had to take a break for a bit there…couldn’t handle it for a few days. But now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I just want it done. I put in about another hour and a half last night…

Made it all the way around the 3rd side…there was more of it than I had thought…and around the corner, which was a vast expanse of blue…

Dark blue fabric. Dark blue thread. Night time. It’s not easy. So I’m close to halfway around the last side, but I have to do that blue bit going into the image, where the clouds are and the cat and the rattlesnake’s tail. And then I can’t remember how much of the sun I got around at the beginning. Hopefully a lot, because then I’ll really be almost done. On to trimming and binding.

I can’t get much done most nights right now because I’m trying to get through all the grading. Grades are due in about a week and I ended up with 139 emails from kids trying to turn late stuff in. They’re STILL trying, but I’m ignoring it. The deadline was midnight Friday. If I have time, I’ll do the stuff after the deadline, but mostly I don’t. I finished two full assignments this weekend, so that feels good. Don’t even ask how many I have left…it’s a lot. More than I would like. I also need to write a study guide before Thursday and check the test and make sure it’s still relevant. Try to see if there’s a better way to GIVE the test so I don’t have to grade as much of it by hand. I suspect not. We don’t give a lot of tests as it is…so I think this was the best option we had.

I was at quilt class on Thursday and my teacher (who no longer teaches me anything…) is moving this year, so she’s cleaning out her school classroom and her home. I ended up with science supplies and these fabrics…

I think I was even with her when she bought them. I’ll enjoy using them…

Dog pictures…I always have so many of these.

Calli keeps trying to eat Satchemo’s cardboard scratching toy. I had to yell at her twice this morning. It’s not a snack, dammit.

Kitten’s eye is much better, although she still needs drops.

She’s not particularly friendly about the drops. Speaking of friendly, Simba wants morning pets.

And possibly my breakfast.

OK, well, after a cup of tea, my throat is somewhat better. The new diabetes med I’m on seems to make me pee about 78 times a day. I’m a little frightened about that for school. Some people say it gets better after a few days, so we’ll see. It’s not really sustainable if I have to pee every hour at school. I just don’t have the ability to do that.

And here’s my philosophical moment. I think I got my city (county?) back. If you’ve been here long enough, you know I went through a bad breakup a bunch of years ago. It was completely out of the blue and threw me for a loop. And as part of that, I felt like I lost some parts of my city…there were places I couldn’t go to because I felt like they were tainted by the relationship or even that I was afraid that I would run into him and I didn’t want to deal with that. Sometimes I just wouldn’t go to certain events. I realize that’s not the healthiest thing in the world, and certainly, being paranoid every time you go into Trader Joe’s sucks, but it’s where my brain ended up…and that was a lot healthier than it had been. Anyway, I found out last week that he moved. He gave me the city back. I’m sure that’s not why he moved, but it’s weird how I feel about it. Better: I got my city back. For sure he didn’t give me anything. It was ages ago and I didn’t even realize I was still carrying it around, although the last time I went to the Indian restaurant we used to always go to, I felt it…looking around to be sure he wasn’t there. The guy who works there used to ask about him, but he’s stopped…which is good, because that was a hard one. But now he’s gone. He doesn’t inhabit this space at all, and that is a wondrous and expansive thing. Seriously, I feel like I can stretch my arms out and take in the whole county now. I guess it helps to know he moved down here to be with me, so this was not his space to begin with…and I had this definite voice in my head that was yelling at him to leave quite a few times when I thought “you can’t go to that. He’ll be there.” So my screwed-up mind aside, it’s a good thing. I’ll keep working on the screwed-up mind thing. It’s been a work in progress my entire life. Certainly the last 10 years it’s been a challenge LOL.

With that, I need to take my sick self to school (somewhere he never went…) and attempt to be a competent educator. We’ll see how that goes. More tea please.

*The Smiths, Bigmouth Strikes Again

Come Doused in Mud*

Good morning Sunday. I don’t usually write on Sunday. I consider it my day off. But I didn’t write Saturday, because I got up late and then had to get out of here for a social event. No way! I know. It’s crazy.

But honestly, I didn’t get anything done on Friday after school except some work and going to see the man’s band play. After that, sleep. Sleep. And sleep. All the sleep I didn’t do during the week.

So instead, yesterday morning, I picked up my birthday friend and dragged her, with her art degree in painting, and we went to a bar to paint someone else’s vision.

Except, if you know us at all, you know we won’t be listening to the teacher. Much.

So you can see the teacher on the left and her sample on the right. And what she’s telling the students to do.

Neither of us understood the stripey thing, so we kinda blew that off.

You can’t make us. Laurette’s is on the left; mine is on the right. Then we did consider other options besides the tree…like a dinosaur. I was going to do the silhouette of a woman, but this is going in my prep room at school, so kids will see it.

Notice the glass of wine in the left hand. That might be the only way to do this shit.

Not bad. Certainly it was relaxing and amusing to hang out. Although I’m pretty sure she needed a nap afterwards. That’s how we know we’re old. We can’t drink in the middle of the day without a nap.

We were at Twisted Taps…and there’s a Gloria Muriel mural on the left. I feel like I recognize the other two artists as well…but can’t remember their names.

OK, thank you Google. Erin Yoshi did the giraffe…and Amandalynn did the butterfly piece. Very cool.

On the way home, I saw one of the neighborhood goats.

Good way to control all those weeds.

I eventually quilted for about an hour. I’m most of the way through the 3rd side, with a little incursion into the design.

Probably there’s another two hours to go on this…at least. I’d like to get it done tonight. We’ll see. I’ve got a ton of schoolwork to get through first.

Then we went out to a small opening in a garage…this is Cindy Zimmerman and her distinctive pieces…they are all saints.

Good little show. Then dinner and trying to stay awake. I quit trying and gave my body what it needed. Sleep! Bless it. OK, off to work on many things.

*Nirvana, Come As You Are

They Spun a Web for Me*

I made this breakfast casserole on Monday to encourage me to eat something useful in the morning, and I keep thinking, oh, it’s so easy, and it tastes good, it’s just eggs, sausage, and spinach, and this morning, I’m sitting here eating it, and it’s not often that I eat the same thing without getting tired of it, and I’m thinking, it’s because it’s so simple, but no. It’s because of the cheese. I forgot about the cheese. Cheese is wonderful. I love cheese. I don’t know how tasty this would be without it. Probably still OK, and next time, I might add more spinach or put some other veggie in it, but the cheese is staying. Well. That is my morning ode to cheese. It might be the most meaningful thing I say today.

Yesterday, I managed to teach an entire lab about photosynthesis with kids going outside to gather plant material, even in the rain, even though the sun disappeared after 2nd period. Let’s just say I made two fake suns in the back of the room. Good to know we have enough lamps and lightbulbs (I found them! They were in a “logical” place.) to pretend to be the sun for 10 minutes. I remember last year, standing in Home Depot, trying to figure out what type of lightbulb would work, since you can’t buy regular incandescent bulbs any more. These are halogens and they pretend to be the sun pretty well. For a short time. I couldn’t grow crops in my room with them or anything.

Then I spent two hours at a curriculum meeting, before deciding that going home for 5 minutes and then driving in the rain out to book club, which is a pain in the ass for parking, was not gonna happen. I was sad, but exhausted. I came home and ate the boychild’s food instead and then did some stuff and things, like you do, and maybe I have everything for today that I need? But you just never know. I’m up early this morning to take my car in, hoping it’s just spark plugs and not something else stupid. I’m lucky to have one friend who lives around the corner from the shop and will drive me to school after I drop the car off.

Kitten has a goopy eye. It’s not this one.

She wouldn’t face me. She’s mad at me. She has to have drops three times a day, and it’s not fun for anyone really, but we’re trying to make her feel better, which might be the only reason she doesn’t flat out kill us when we do it. Boychild just uses leather gloves. I bully it out and hold her and pet her and talk sweet somethings into her ear as she growls and squirms. And then she glares at me for an hour. Truly fun cats are. Eight more days of it. Whoo!

Puppy is a good sleeper.

He likes to curl up next to you, or even better, on your leg, half perched, and then zonks out. It’s sweet. Except then you can’t move because you feel guilty for disturbing him.

I did quilt last night for about an hour and a half.

Otherwise I was pretty brain dead. I’m actually really impressed I got that much done. I finished one whole LOOOOONG side, almost. It took that long because the thread broke about 7 times and I had to replace at least one bobbin, and there were a few incursions into the figures where I had missed stitching the background before. In fact, looking at this picture, I may have some armpits to fill in. Not sure.

So I have two more long sides, one with a significant divot into the figures that probably qualifies as almost another side. If the thread doesn’t break, which doesn’t seem likely, I might finish in 3 hours. That’s longer than I thought. I have tonight and a little bit of tomorrow night. My weekend is a little crazy. I have at least 75 emails from kids about makeup work, which is good…I’d rather have them turning it in and hopefully bringing their grades up, but it’s a pain on my end to get through all of that checking of the late work. I wish they would figure out they have work missing throughout the trimester, but it seems like they only do it when I hand them a little slip of paper with the assignments listed on it. Sigh.

Another thing I’ll be working on tonight is a few designs for embroidery…like for sale. We’ll see if this works out, but if it does, it’ll be a way people can interact with my work for much cheaper and without having to be near a show. It will look different too, but I’m interested in what that might turn out to be. Anyway. I have some ideas and we’ll see how they go.

Meanwhile, Kitten is offended by the computer mouse and the Sharpie lying next to it. I’m afraid when I start mousing, she’s gonna whack me. I probably deserve it for the eye drops.

*Coldplay, Trouble

Walk ‘Til You Run*

So here’s the trade-off. I went to bed early, before midnight even, because I knew I had to be up early today for a parent meeting. Hard to do on the first day of the week. But that meant that (a) I got no art done last night and (b) I couldn’t sleep well. Seems I have to be exhausted to sleep through. The coyotes didn’t help. Neither did the puppy’s response to coyotes. Shocking that. But I’m not sure I feel any more rested than if I’d stayed up another hour or so. Oh well. I tried. I was tired when I went to bed…it just didn’t translate into sleep when I made it into bed unfortunately…meditative breathing and all.

I did manage to get the binding fabric (s?) for the quilt under the machine, even if I didn’t get any quilting done. I lied…I quilted for about 12 minutes until the thread broke…I was going to go until the bobbin thread ran out, so I could take the quilt with me to the store to pick the binding, but then it broke, so that was an easy decision. I have most of three more sides to do. Two are pretty easy…the third has a huge chunk into the design, so it will take a while. I’ll get it done.

I can never buy just one. I think I already have the blue on the right. Awkward.

So it’s one of the two bottom blues. I like the one underneath, but I’m not sure if it will be too much color change for the binding. So I got the top one too. I can use it for sleeves. The sleeves on this thing are pretty huge. So I’ll finish quilting sometime this week. It just keeps taking longer and longer to get done. And I need to get the other one(s) started.

The best part of yesterday was the dog walk…hike…longness that tired them out.

It was a beautiful day, although chilly…

I really wished I lived in an oak grove. They’re so beautiful. I’d just stand outside and stare at them all day.

This is Crestridge Ecological Reserve…

It’s not too far from us…farther than we usually go on a weekday, but we were there at 2 PM or so.

A benefit of having the day off. The clouds looked ominous at times, in places…

But there was no sign of rain until we headed home…

Which is a good thing, because at some point, we were hiking through stream beds that were still damp and squishy from the last storm.

Usually we walk the dogs for about 3 miles…this was longer, a little over 4.

And we took a different way back, so that was cool.

Definitely greener than usual. We’re over 12 inches of rain this year.

That’s a lot for us.

Fire danger in summer will be bad.

We did tire them out though.

Tired me out too…probably why I didn’t get much done except grading last night. I’m really trying to get caught up. I don’t want to spend every waking moment grading, really.

Anyway. Off to work, long day. Hopefully I’ll have some energy at the end to quilt and/or draw. I like progress. It’s funny that I had the whole day off and didn’t get any art done…except buying fabric. Oh well. I seem to be more efficient when my day is full of stuff I have to do.

*U2, The Unforgettable Fire

And All the Papers Lied Tonight*

Hmm. Cold weather (for us…remember my blood is thinner than you icy folk). Rain clouds still looming. So my weekend so far has been very focused with bursts of art. Mostly because I stayed up until 2:30 AM last night…well, wasn’t it technically this morning? Because Art Brain was drawing and I didn’t know how to get her to stop. I didn’t have work as an excuse to go to bed. Probably why I feel a bit groggy this morning. Because someone still got up at 6 to go to work and I definitely heard that. Ugh. That’s tomorrow morning. I will go to bed earlier tonight! Art Brain? You listening? I’m not kidding. We need to go to bed early tonight. Seriously.

Yeah. So. Saturday I quilted some…like 2 hours’ worth…nah, only an hour…

But I started on all the fussy little bits in between heads. What a pain in the butt.

Then we went to an art/music thing called A Ship in the Woods…it was a bit of a drive, weather cold, plus a shuttle service to get us in…it’s a house up in the Escondido area with a huge yard and a lot of art stuff filtered around. A band was playing inside. There was art inside as well. Mostly I just wanted to see what it was like, but I had also seen a piece by one of the artists, Kyle Ranson, so I was interested in that…this was on the outside of the house, made up of smaller pieces of wood.


Another one inside…

And outside…those are ceiling fan blades…

Makes you want to redo your house so your neighbors run screaming in the other direction, don’t it?

It’s a nice space. I’d go back when it’s warmer. And there was more performance or outdoor stuff going on. Like summer maybe. We’ll see.

Yesterday dawned with pretty blue skies and big fluffy white clouds, with a cat sitting in a box. Yeah. There’s art stuff in there. She doesn’t give a fuck. She’s sitting in it anyway.

Chaos reigns. The skies eventually grayed up and dropped down upon us.

So I went back to quilting…the VAST EXPANSE of crap around the edges.

I did at least 2 hours yesterday. Or only 2 hours…depending on how you look at it. I’ve made it around the whole sun and down one side. There’s a significant amount of quilting left. At least another couple of hours, I think. I’ll be working on that today, and also going to buy binding fabric.

I graded in the afternoon and evening…late into the night, trying to get caught up…while watching a documentary about feminism.

From that, I started drawing. Because I wasn’t ready for bed…I was watching the last 15 minutes of the doc, because I’d finished grading. On Friday, I had copied the first drawing that I’ve been trying to redo for days, enlarging it 200 and 250%, to give me a choice.

I wasn’t sure which would work best.

I thought I would just tape it together and then go to bed.

By the way, 250% was the better choice. So I knew I wanted the core of this drawing, but it needed some major changes. I was going to leave it until today, but Art Brain took over. Yes, it was already past midnight at this point.

I said, I’ll just trace some bits and THEN go to bed…

I don’t know why I listen to Art Brain when she’s like that. I traced some more, but then opened up the other sketchbook so I could see the other fails…and pull from them as well.

One of the things I wanted was the shoulders above the ground…

Art Brain on a roll…

It’s not done…but I did finally take a break on it.

The ground is next…and the hair…and whatever is above her head. I don’t know what that is yet. Maybe that’s tonight…but not that late. Not if I have to teach tomorrow.

Today is more grading…a dog hike…some fabric purchasing. Laundry. I need clean clothes for sure. And I don’t know what else…I should shower first…

*The Psychedelic Furs, The Ghost in You