Always Had a Fear of Being Typical*

So. So many things in my head for the last long weekend until May. I want to get EVERYTHING done PLUS go see art and music and eat and hike and all that stuff. So Many Things. So many things that I don’t know where to start. There’s definitely schoolwork to be done. Tons of it. I did a little last night…more to come. I need to do some every day, basically. An assignment a day would be good. More than one would be better. Eyes wide. Shit. End of trimester looms.

Art. There’s always art to be done. I know I want to be done with the quilting this weekend…

Figure 5 got done last night, except for her left wing and a cloudy bit on her left arm.

It took about 2 hours to get that much done.

I had help.

If you call lying around on the floor and depositing hair on the chair help. Also my sweater collection on the chair is interesting. I don’t know if I get warm because of the lights or because I’m wrestling this giant-ass beast of a quilt around to get it quilted, but whatever sweater I’m wearing just ends up discarded on that chair until I pick them all up and put them away.

I have the sun left to outline (won’t take long) and then I’m quilting the background, which will be a rancid pain in the ass. I’m not sure how long that will take…at least a couple of hours. There’s not a lot of big open space, like the last one, but there are a lot of fussy little bits in between all the faces.

You can see where I stopped…at midnight thirty. I was tired. I’m still tired. I stayed up too late this week. Trying to settle my head.

Kitten approves.

So I want to finish the quilting before Monday and then go buy binding fabric…trim this beast and get a binding on it. Move the fuck on to the next one. I did go copy and enlarge the original drawing that I’ve been fucking with…so I can trace the outline of the head and then do what I want. I try to draw smaller first, so when I enlarge, it’s not crazy tiny pieces. But that’s just not working for me. So fuck it. Let’s do this thing.

On top of that, I just started a thing where I might be doing some drawings that can be hand-embroidered, partnering with someone who sells this stuff at all the shows. So that’s a thing. If it happens and it’s cool, maybe y’all will like that. Although apparently I need to hide some penises in the drawings. I find penises are hard to hide, personally. They tend to just be Out There. But hey. We’ll see. Some drawings this weekend, then. And next week. Crazy idea, really, but I’m intrigued by the possibilities. It’s a different mindset for looking at what I do. But not an impossible one. I know what the old guy who lives here will say…something about why do I take on more stuff when I’m already overwhelmed? Because it’s an interesting idea that could turn into some income. Or just be cool…hard to say.

Speaking of cool, you rarely see my coworkers…here’s my science coworker-in-crime. Why this picture? When we order stuff using our own money and need reimbursement, the district wants to see pictures of the things we ordered with the invoice…I guess to prove we bought it? And didn’t return it?

So we’re constantly taking photos of the innards of boxes. She was helping…yes we bought that many plastic beakers. We use this shit. And they were very reasonably priced. Hopefully they’ll reimburse.

I also want to walk the dogs this weekend. I want to go to the gym too. And read my book! No small list.

*Imagine Dragons, Whatever It Takes

Love’s What I Got; Don’t Start a Riot*

Happy V Day y’all. May love pour down on you from the most unexpected places. And for those of you like me who teach through this candy-fueled holiday, I wish you luck. I’d also like to thank the administrator who thought telling kids on a broadcast announcement in 7th period that they couldn’t bring balloons and gifts and candy to class was a good idea. I realize they were desperate, once they realized what today was going to be, but that was a discussion I didn’t need to have in the middle of demonstrating exothermic and endothermic reactions (the reaction in class, by the way, was decidedly exothermic). Oh yeah, and it’s a rain day, so kids are already psychotic. Dear parents, when your child comes home sopping wet and you wonder if we let them stand out in the rain, well yes…yes we do, because your child is taller than I am and with all the rain we’ve had this year (for Southern California, this is a deluge), we’re tired of yelling at them to get out of the rain. They just go out and stand in it, staring up, gobsmacked at the experience. So we let them have it. And if they get sick because of it, well really, you should do more to increase their immune system. Like feed them good food and make sure they don’t play video games until 2 AM. Yeah, like THAT’S an easy thing to do. It’s OK. I parented two of them. Who knows what damage I did. Certainly there were times they came home sopping wet and I wondered why.

But love…let’s feel the love. Me? I felt the love of a Golden Retriever at 5:30 AM when she thought she wanted to pee but then saw the weather. We’ll be going out tonight (not me and the dog…just to be clear…but me and that guy who lives here), unlike most V-days…because my guy got band practice moved off of Thursday night. So that’s love for you.

I got puppy love last night too…grading while watching TV with a puppy companion.

And then the big girl, who apparently now associates rain with thunder, even when there isn’t any, and is anxious constantly.

She eventually settled down next to me as well.

I entered a show before that. I’ve got two more to do in the next few days, one before tomorrow, but I was hoping to hear back from something else first…just to be sure what was available. I guess I could send an email about that. Aargh.

I started quilting late, around 10:30 PM.

I was really tired at the start, but this stuff invigorates me. Art brain wakes up and wants to party. Slowly. With a stabby needle and bad lighting. I thought, well, can I really get Figure 4 done? It’s a big head. She has lots of snakes for hair.

Well, Kathy, the answer is yes, yes you can.

Figure 4. In all her glory. Just Figure 5 and the sun left for outlining, and then the messy background. That will be complicated. But I’m seeing a finish line. I’m thinking I’ll be buying binding fabric soon…like Saturday or Sunday. I’m excited about that.

I really do like this quilt…it’s just been hard to get lots of time on it, and so it’s dragging on. This is one of the enjoyable stages, though…quilting is meditative. It’s peaceful. Well, mostly…unless there’s a lot of thread breakages. I’ve been lucky. My machine probably needs to go in again for service, though. I should make an appointment for when I’m traveling on Spring Break. That would be smart.

OK, well we have another inch of rain coming in today. I managed to get one dog to void outside in a slightly dry moment. The other one is a dumbass and will probably explode soon. I swept the pavement outside the back door twice in the last 12 hours, moving the water that used to drain away. I should remind the boychild to do it later. Ah shit, there’s the rain again. Sigh.

Oh, and Parkland…the high-school shooting a year ago. Let no dumbass make it a stupid gun anniversary. Let’s have a moment of silence and anti-gun legislation and not thoughts and prayers in remembrance. Or worse, a shoot-out somewhere.

*Sublime, What I Got

More and More Complicated

I am functional at the moment. My eyes are open. I’m showered and fully clothed. I even have apples and oatmeal in front of me, ready to eat. The cats are fed. My lunch is packed and in the fridge. My brain, however, is hovering on naptime. Serious naptime. You know that feeling when you’ve been on a plane for like 10 hours and you feel totally squished and too upright and twitchy and all you want to do is LIE DOWN. With a pillow. On your side. That’s kinda how I feel right now. Which is really unfortunate, because I have to go to work and then a union meeting afterwards, so that’s like hours of Not Lying Down and No Pillow. Ugh. No fun.

Last night, I graded a bunch of things, and I ended up with half a TV show I wanted to finish watching before going off to quilt, so I tried to redraw this again.

Nope. Sometimes I start over and over again until I get it right. It’s still the nose…and the mouth. The eyes are better. One time I started about 5 times until I got the first eye right. I really needed a better pen too. This one was old and dragged on the paper. It needs to flow, run wild, move like water across the page. Double nope. It didn’t. So I’ll try again.

Finally off to the quilting…

The Figure 3 head has a bunch of pollution-type stuff going on.

Previously, Kitten had whacked me…hard…three holes in my hand. Not sure why.

So she sat over there and refused to look at me. Calico cats are definitely clear about “You’re doing it wrong.” Although I was trying to get the computer mouse and not doing anything to her at all. So there’s that.

Cat done. Head done…

That’s a big head. I did start this Big Head series way way back. I had a few quilts that were just head and shoulders, but huge. I had less detail in my quilts back then. I seem to be getting more and more complicated. In so many ways!

So my new thing is to stop quilting and then my brain is wired so I have been organizing the photos on my computers, moving them into appropriate folders. I have stuff going back to 2014 that is not organized. There was some shit going on then that made it hard to look at certain months of photos, but I figure I’m well past that dumbassery now. But then I can’t stop organizing. There needs to be a logical stopping point and it’s usually doing an entire month, but that’s a lot. So I went to bed too late (AND I didn’t even finish the month). Plus sometimes it’s hard to figure out which quilt I’m working on if it’s just Wonder Under or pieces of fabric. So then my brain is engaged again and that’s not a good thing. Sigh.

Right now I really want to go back to bed. And then draw. Neither is happening. Oh well. They will eventually.

Please Ignore My Vacant Stares*

The most awesome news ever is that I finished grading the science units. They were weighing on me. I still have 6 assignments to get through, but they don’t require as much brain power. On these, I had to look up stuff constantly to see if kids were just making it up, like does nickel rust? Not really, guys. It’s so much easier to write random stuff than to look it up and research it. Right? The other awesome news is how quickly I got through the medical exam yesterday…the hardest part was finding a vein big enough for their silly needle, and they had a solution for that. I forgot to do a couple of errands this weekend, and I have a bunch more I came up with for the week, but it was a pretty successful 3-day weekend. I’ve said before that all teachers would benefit from that extra day, but since we’re going to go back to school with the sweet hellions who ALSO got an extra day and that means they will act like unneutered werewolves for the next three days, maybe four (shit, V-day is in there, sugar high and lovey-dovey drama, love middle school, really, I do), we really do pay the price for the time off.

I didn’t get as much art done as I would’ve liked, but there’s progress. I’m good with that. I need to see progress.

Calli’s just glad there was someone home with her.

And she had her toy. She’s lying on the floor next to me right now. I’m noticing how much she follows me around and lies down wherever I am. That’s nice.

The little gray cat did a little of that yesterday too. I think this was when I decided I wanted to finish my book, because it was due yesterday and I could have put the iPad in airplane mode, or I could’ve finished my book.

I finished the book. I’m liking this series…the Indranan Wars series by K.B. Wagers. Book club is reading book 1 for this month, but I just finished book 2, and book 3 is in the queue.

I was in charge of dinner last night, and our produce box got these awesome purple Brussels sprouts.

They don’t taste any different, but they’re nice to look at.

Eventually I made it into the office to quilt. I managed to finish the torso of Figure 3…

As well as her other hand, and then I also did the arm of Figure 4 and all the stuff around it (mostly weather-related)…

I wanted to finish the face of Figure 3, but that would have been past midnight, and I was already short sleep from yesterday, so I decided to go to bed…before midnight! I know, crazy. But probably the best choice for the week. I was tired. I’ll finish the head of Figure 3 tonight and maybe be able to move onto Figure 4. It would be nice to be done outlining by Friday night, then finish the quilting this weekend (the background is gonna take a while…look at all those bits and pieces), buy a binding, and get it on. Then start the drawing for the next one, before I start panicking. I don’t think the next one can be very big anyway. A max of 30″ wide? That’s nothing. I can’t remember if there’s a height restriction. Anyway. I’m getting there. I really love this piece…I just don’t love how long it’s taking me to get it done.

Kitten is having a similar reaction.

OK, off to school and tutoring and the chiropractor and Costco. Long day. I’ve got a weird rash that I’m hoping is some random thing instead of a reaction to the contrast from yesterday. I love how my body breaks out in the most random rashes. In the future, my body will be able to diagnose that right away because of some chip in my brain, and the response will be better than hydrocortisone and Benadryl (can’t take THAT while teaching).

*Violent Femmes, Promise

I Love to Feel the Rain on My Face*

I got up early this morning to eat before fasting. Crazy really, but that’s what I have to do if I want to be able to drive to this appointment and back. Now I feel totally nauseous, unfortunately, because in about 30 minutes, I have to start drinking 32 ounces of water. Vomitous. Totally. It will all be fine. Hopefully whatever is upsetting my stomach will resolve in 30 minutes. And then I will be fully hydrated for the rest of the day (note: will need to pee many times). The guy from the radiology office called on Saturday to confirm the appointment and that I knew the instructions. He said I could pee at any time, no need to hold it, but I’m driving that whole time really…so probably not peeing while driving. I’ve heard it’s possible, but probably unsafe. Or damp. Depending on your technique.

So with that, I haven’t had enough sleep, because I stayed up late quilting and then managing some art entries, because 1 AM seems like the best time to do that. Yeah. Not a particularly smart move. But a move nonetheless.

Yesterday was a mishmash of errands and school stuff, although I haven’t gotten all of that done for tomorrow, so it’s still on my list. The never-ending list. I am down to just one class’ worth of science units, hallelujah. These things have been weighing me down for 2 weeks and I’m almost there. Good thing, because grades are due in about 3 1/2 weeks and I didn’t want to be doing these at the last minute. They are harder than normal, due to the project that was tacked on at the end. Those should always be separate. My goal is to finish today…the class I need to do is large, but hopefully mostly coherent. The incoherent ones take longer to grade.

So I started quilting around 10 PM…

And I got a pretty good chunk done in a little over 2 hours…

All of Figure 1 is done…

All of Figure 2 is also done…including all the things attached to her (bird, nest, tree, vine).

And the super long arm of Figure 3 is also done.

So that’s about half of the outlining I think? Maybe a little less…but I’ve done about half of the top arm of Figure 5 as well. And the background quilting is going to be bitchy on this thing, because it’s everywhere and not attached. So that will take time…lots of stops and starts. Or starts and stops. However that goes. So I won’t be done tonight, but I’m hoping to put in another 2 hours tonight. But first, 32 ounces of water and whatever else I’m going to have to drink (bleck) and then scan and pee a lot and drive some more and whatever. Do some schoolwork, hopefully walk the dogs, maybe finish some other tasks. Nap? I’d like to, but I don’t think it fits in my schedule. This is what I get for doing nothing of note on Saturday. Oh well.

Kitten says here’s my butt.

Mostly she’s pissed because someone stopped petting her. Oh well to that too. I’m taking my book with me. Hopefully I can read a bit while waiting for whatever they’ll be doing. Anyway. 6 minutes to water consumption. Still nauseous. Good times.

*The Alarm, Rain in the Summertime

Thanks for Showing Me Your Swiss Army Knife*

My cat freaks me out. I’m sitting here, typing at (staring at?) the computer, and she’s sitting there watching me, and then all of a sudden, she snaps her head up toward the ceiling and is STARING, like there’s a demon punching through the ceiling, so I stop (immediately) what I’m doing and stare at whatever space of bumpy ceiling SHE is staring at…and I see nothing. All the hairs on the back of my neck are up, but…ghost? Bug? She’s just fucking with me? I just don’t know.

Yeah, like WTF is that, cat?

Right now, there’s a dog under my feet, trying to catch the cereal I drop. I do drop cereal. He’s not stupid. It’s a smart place to be. Not a very fulfilling life, if you ask me, but he does ask for (and get) lots of pets.

I’ve made this pattern of getting the hell off school campus at least once a week to take the dogs out. It’s so much easier when we get more daylight (I think we’re past 5:15 PM for sunset at this point, so that helps)…I’m glad we chose (well, I chose) this hike yesterday, because there was lots of water still. Straight in front of us is the path…underwater.

It’s OK…it doesn’t take much to go around it.

There was water everywhere…

Friday we had like 3/4s of an inch…plus more on Saturday and Monday. That’s a lot for us.

It was chilly here yesterday…in fact, I think it was warmer where the girlchild is in Boston than it was here.

Nice clear skies though…we were pushing sunset, as always.

We saw one baby coyote, giant ears, rushing toward a hiding spot. And the vernal pool was full.

Just a few weeks ago, it was totally empty. Or at least only a damp spot. Ah nature.

Then back to the house and a million tasks, including a dinner made by moi. I was surprisingly efficient (although I didn’t spell either of those two words correctly the first time…I’m tired.). I spent some time dealing with emails and a list of possible pieces for my upcoming solo show in Pittsburgh. Looking forward to that…and this guy, still needing pets.

Never-ending mopey furball. He’s sweet. When he’s not barking his mad little head off.

Oh yeah, I also set fire to a lot of things in science today…

There was a lot of squealing for that.

Well it’s finally time for quilting this beast. It won’t be fast or easy, but it’s fun.

I didn’t get very far…I only had about an hour and a bit. First I had to fight the thread a little bit. As always. Every time, the machine has to be set up slightly differently to work right. It’s a guessing game. Plus this thing is huge, so it has to be manhandled to quilt it. Anyway, I guess you know what I’ll be doing with the next 20 hours of my free time. I do need to get it done though. The next one doesn’t exist on paper yet and it’ll be due sooner than I like…and the one after it is soonish too, and I’ll be on Spring Break for part of it, freezing my ass off in some campsite.

I’m looking forward to that actually.

So I got Figure 1’s bottom half done, and part of the hand that crosses her from Figure 5…

And then I wandered over into Figure 2…

There was some logic to how I did the stitchdown, and I seem to be following that order for the quilting. I should think about quilting all the in-between spaces as I do the outlining…maybe admit now that I will be using the same color? Or not. Decisions.

Right now, the decision is to get my act together and go to work. And be a productive member of society. Or at least get some grading done. That would be good.

*Laurie Anderson, Let X=X

I Finished…Something.

It’s Saturday. Y’all probably already know this, but I keep having to tell myself what day it is because I conveniently forget when on break. It’s a nice thing to get to that point, except when you have to be somewhere at a particular time and people want you to be there ON time and with all your crap so they can leave with you. So I’m watching the clock and probably need to get my act in gear soon.

In awesomely good news, I finished the Project Paint thing yesterday…in fact, it’s all I finished, although I left the house twice for things I had to do, and in both cases almost got creamed by another vehicle who was driving idiotically in my lane when previously they had NOT been in my lane, so it kinda makes me think I shouldn’t leave the house like ever. Not happening, of course, but it’s what my core brain is saying. Don’t leave! People drive badly! Just stay home! It’s nicer here anyway!

OK, brain, I hear you. Still not happening.

I started with ironing bits together…this is the easy stuff…

These are part of the strips for top and bottom.

I wanted a relationship between the people and the place they live…the bigger place.

And that one monkey made it underground.

Plus a rocket into the sky.

It’s so fast to do these little pieces…

Then I put each one onto a background…

So I could piece things. Here’s where I admit that I suck at measuring and piecing. One reason why I’m not a traditional quilter. The second one being that I hate all that repetition.

I pieced the top, adding a canvas square in there for my collaborator to paint something on.

He says he’s more abstract normally. So he can go sky abstract here if he wants. Or whatever.

And here’s the bottom strip getting stitched down, with another canvas square in the ground…for ground abstract.

We’ll see what he does with these.

This part made me nervous, the stitchdown on the actual canvas, so I tried it out on a scratch piece first.

Seemed to work. So I went for it…

Slow and steady.

I did all of it…with no problems…there’s the back…

OK then. Now piece it all together…strip on top and bottom…

I was thinking about how I didn’t want to bind it, but I needed to finish the edges and figure out how to hang it. I need it to be able to go back to the original guy so he can finish painting, but I won’t get it back before it goes in the show.

So I put wide-enough strips on that I could use it to finish the edges.

Then I made the backing. The rules are that I can’t use a piece of fabric that’s bigger than 6″ square, because they might be able to use it as a disguise.

I’m not arguing with the prison system, but I feel like once you sew them together, they are still a really bad and ugly disguise. Bleck.

Batting, backing, oh I skipped the whole thing where I quilted around each box and then inside the fabric stuff, but I tried the quilting on the paper and decided it would be a clusterfuck.

So I left the center piece unquilted. I pinned the extra around the back and then put two sleeves on, top and bottom, for hanging.

And then sewed the whole thing down…

And stitched the sleeves down. Done. A day early. I still need to do a write up before I leave this morning, but it’s getting delivered today. Whoo! Off my plate! I’ll see it again in May. We’ll see what he does with my crazy. Me? Outside my box. It’s good to do that sometimes.

Speaking of crazy. This dog.

She’s such a weird sleeper.

I finished that other stuff around 9:30 PM after working on it a goodly chunk of the day. Then I drew this…

Cool. I like the idea. Might run further with this someday.

And then I cut stuff out for a little while.

Still way behind where I wanted to be. Oh well. And I’ve graded nothing for two days. Probably need to do some schoolwork. School starts Monday. Ugh. So not ready. Never ready.

And there’s this. The second installment in the weird mailing I got a few weeks ago about an imaginary relative…now bringing in time travel and artifacts and my duty as the descendant of this relative.

I still don’t know who set this up, but it’s cool…we got all the letter snippets into some order and will wait patiently for the next installment. Don’t ruin it! I know it’s a gift thing and I am appreciating the mystery. Plus looking forward to time travel.

OK. Shower, food, pack stuff up to take with me to meeting, long drive to and from meeting, long meeting, need more time before Monday, but maybe it’ll all be OK anyway. Don’t even ask about my blood sugar. It’s a disaster. I am, as always, a work in progress.