So There

April 22, 2017

I have 12 minutes before I need to get ready to leave to march for science. Funny, it wouldn’t have been my first choice 30 years ago, when I was in college. I was very much an English literature and art major before I was a science person. Some of that was teachers who told me girls don’t do this, so when I asked questions, mostly trying to figure physics out (it’s still not my strong point), they wouldn’t answer. Somehow I should have gotten all the information I needed from their dry, boring lectures or from the textbook I barely cracked.

When I got my tattoo earlier this week, the fact that I was a teacher came up and the desk guy, who looked barely out of high school, was entranced with physics, with the labs, though…not with the post-lab work…like many of my students, he likes to do and explore more than he likes to analyze afterwards in some sort of productive manner. I love science for its creativity, its persistence, its ability to fuck with us…but I also love it for how it solves problems…and not just in one way, but in millions of ways. I didn’t know back in high school that this subject was one of the best for people who are both right and left brain, who like to see order in the chaos, but are admitting the chaos is always there…who like to find answers even while making more questions.

So I march for science. I march for the Lorax. I march with Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I march with all the women who have chosen science as a career despite all the men who stood in the way. I march for my students, who love the labs, but not the work that goes with them. I march for a subject I didn’t particularly like in school, but grew to love over the years, a subject that now distinctly colors the art I make. I march even though it’s going to be hot and there will be no bathrooms. I march even though I didn’t make a sign (I have a lab coat with my name on it and an eyeball hat and a Lorax t-shirt). I march with my co-teacher, even though she’s currently marching in Texas. I march for the people who don’t believe in climate change, because they can’t see the science through the politicians.

So there.

In other news, I’m putting a binding and a sleeve on this one and trying to hang it from a wall instead of putting it on a bed…ironically, since it’s a quilt about being a quilt.

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I didn’t get much done on this one due to yesterday’s errandness…

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Puppies are bitey and old lady dogs aren’t.

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I worked on this while gaming…

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And I did three days’ worth of stuff on this, mostly down in the bottom right…Some bloue star stitches with french knots and cross stitches, then some stitches to decorate the herringbone, both straight stitches in peach and fly and lazy daisy stitches in green.

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Just trying to fill in space as I reach the 1/3-way mark. Whatever for? I do not know. But I can’t stop now.

I Tripped and Fell, and Did I Fall*

April 18, 2017

I think I write in the morning most days because it helps me wake up. Drink the tea, spill the beans, get the leftover words out of my head, make plans for the day, make sure art fits in there. Get my head around the day. Of course, it’s also still Spring Break for me…and I’m trying to catch up on almost 4 months of not enough sleep. Ugh. I honestly, right now, on Tuesday, don’t feel like I’m up to surviving the last two months of school. There’s only 38 days. And I’m gone for 2 of them. But it feels overwhelming still. Maybe that’s because we don’t have the first three weeks completely planned. Just maybe. But also because I go back and progress reports are due. I graded two easy assignments yesterday and input a bunch of stuff from the week before break. I have 7 assignments left. That’s an assignment a day (I’m ignoring the one that’s sitting in my classroom…hoping to have time to grade it when I get back).

(Just took a 10-minute break to throw a ball for Simba…he had the rips.)

This year has been stressful. But I’m close to finishing up some of the most stressful parts. So that’s good. I’m looking forward to a summer break, even if I probably have to find work for most of it. I shut down most of the copyediting stuff a month ago when I was getting lots of requests but literally had no free time in which to complete anything. I’ll be opening those up again soon…because I need work for the summer. I still don’t know if either of the kids is coming home; the flights will start being an issue pretty soon. I hope they have somewhere to sleep if I can’t get them home right away…or that they find jobs or internships where they are. I want them to come home, but understand if they don’t. The money that has to be paid out over the summer scares me a bit…even with my tax return, the summer is going to be tight. Need work. Yeah.

So yesterday I finished a bunch of stuff…I also did two days’ worth of stitching on this…the herringbone in the bottom left and then a running stitch from the left side and over the tree…I’m going to thread another color through that tonight.

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So that’s 106 days of stitching…almost a third of a way through the year. Still feels like I will probably fill this up before the end of the year.

I started watching an episode of The Americans while I was stitching and wanted to finish the episode, so I worked on the Folk Tails block…with puppy on my leg (his favorite spot) and Midnight cleaning herself down the couch.

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I forgot to take a picture of what I got done…but it wasn’t much.

I ironed in the afternoon, did the bathtub water. Then cooked dinner and did the stitching above before heading in for the flesh fabrics. I picked a run of 7 flesh colors and some other fillers. This quilt is about aging and menopause mostly…like a lot of the bathtub quilts seem to be…this is the third bathtub quilt I’ve actually made…I think there are 5 or 6 drawings.

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A shot to show you how I use fabrics that change in color sometimes…so yes, I was looking at the drawing and deciding where on the stripes each piece needed to go.

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Not exactly random I guess. I was tired when I finished ironing all the flesh colors, but it was still relatively early, so I kept going…did all the heart/blood stuff and then the fire stuff as well. So all that’s left right now is hair and lungs, mostly.

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Honestly it wouldn’t have taken much time to do it last night, but I was exhausted. I’m not sure why. Just accumulated tiredness still. Like jet lag, but school lag.

Here’s the pile of fabrics I was using by the end of the night. I find these piles happen even when I try to be all organized and keep runs of color together.

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While I’m picking, I can’t be bothered to be organized. I do that when I’m done, pile them all up in the boxes by color, although I was being lazy here…it was almost 1 AM, in my defense.

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And then I moved the ironed pieces into a larger container so they’d have room to breathe. I plan to be cutting these out by tonight…

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I’m going to have to grade something first. I’m more than a little panicked about trying to get this quilt done on time…but all I can do is keep doing until it’s done. Which makes me a bit hermitlike this week. Oh well. I’d probably do that anyway.

*R.E.M., Strange Currencies

Spray-Paint the Vegetables*

April 17, 2017

I’ve spent the last two days trying to get through all the have-to’s…well, beyond the art and the grading. I’ve sent all the things I promised to send while I was gone. I’ve filed my taxes. Finally. I even got groceries…so now I can eat. Although the thought of having to cook all my meals again was depressing. Ah well. It can’t all be perfect. Who knows how long I can survive on goldfish crackers and Brussels sprouts. I should probably plant the whole front yard with sprouts…I wonder what weather they prefer. Probably not mine.

I still have 9 assignments left to grade…the same number I’ve had for the last week. That’s next on the list…start banging through some of that. And get pieces ironed down to fabric. I started that last night…worked on it for about three hours even.

I laid out all the 200s…ironed them all down…below is everything it took to make a cell phone with charger and cord. Yeah. Kinda boggling.

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I used a lot of grays and whites…did the bathtub, a Golden Retriever, the phone etc, some pill bottles, a bra and underwear, and a faucet…a washcloth…a soap dish. I think that’s it…

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I stopped right before starting the water because it was around 12:30 AM and I was tired. I’m at about piece 375, so a little more than halfway. Ugh. So I want to be done today, but I don’t know if that’s a thing that can actually happen. I had a lot of other stuff in the last few days to do as well…but I’m running out of time…always running out of time.

While I was gone, Kitten found the blocks I’d been embroidering and apparently deposited hair on them every single day.

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Saturday night sunset…

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Yes, after going through Napa and the Santa Inez Valley, we wine-tasted in San Diego. Don’t judge.

I did some green on here Saturday night…I’m now a day behind again. The green was under Live, a buttonhole stitch, and then continued into the flowers to the left of the L, putting lazy daisy leaves in to fill the space.

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I also finished Block 4 (on the left). The instructions for Block 5 (on the right) don’t come up until April or May…and I’m only on February. I don’t know why I did them out of order like that. Because I thought it would be easier to have the blocks sewn together and all the wool stitched down before embellishing, and then I changed my mind. So January’s three blocks are done.

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The bird, warthogs, and green tree are January…then the sheep is like Block 14 or 15, but it’s one of February’s blocks.

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Then these are the other two February blocks, which had to be sewn together. I started the embroidery last night at my parents’ house…

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Easter was two different houses…and this weird party game. You write a phrase and pass the pile to the next person. They try to draw it, then put your phrase on the bottom. Then the next person looks at the picture and tries to write the phrase describing it. Then again and again. I’m amused that my “Pass the whole pile” turned into “Dodgeball with Special Ed students”…cruel surely.

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And the other one I did, “May the force be with you” devolved into a stoner dude with an obese pony. Huh. None of us should get a job in the movies I think.

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I gave my mom this for her birthday or something one year…so she stitched it and gave it back.

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Unknown year reference…I’m sure something interesting happened then. Anyway. That kinda summarizes my weekend.

Today? I gotta decide what next. I’m thinking it’s coordinate all the clocks in the house. Some are correct, but the one to the left of me is an hour fast and the one on the microwave is an hour slow. And that shit just takes up too much of my brain. Then maybe lunch (yes, late) and debating grades vs dog walk vs tattoo. Yeah well. Can’t say I’m thinking straight yet.

*Beck, Loser

Looking Up…

April 15, 2017

So we made it back, alive and still a bit muddy (one load of laundry is done; the tent and rain cover are out on the deck, waiting for me to have the energy and help to clean it out), still a bit exhausted. Driving through Los Angeles can do that to you. Ahhh, traffic, I miss you not.

It’s the first time I’ve taken a week’s vacation without the fam in about a million years. Being a mom and a financially strangled one at best doesn’t allow for such things, so it was much appreciated. And there will be more, once we do the math and see how bad the money actually was, and then try to focus on future travel plans. There was lots of WOW said; even if you’ve seen them before, the redwoods elicit WOW.

So then I have about 50 pictures of the trees, looking up…

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Because that’s what you do…

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(That was the one non-rainy day on our trip…the day we chose to hike around…)

I’ll have to write a post later this week about the trip, I think. Too many pictures for a Saturday-morning brain.

I did draw each night…well, minus one…

Certainly what I was experiencing ended up in the drawings. The first night, we had set up the campsite and cooked under a lean-to tarp, and sat there listening to the rain for hours. We’d made it to the visitor center and read about local animals and plants, and seen a beetle and lots of ferns and trees.

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That beetle on her cheek was on my sketchbook for a while…I saw his big brother in the bathroom for the next three days. Just hanging out…on the toilet paper rolls…waiting…for something.

We hiked the whole next day, with on and off rain…but a lot of sun. We cooked tacos that night, and tried to get the fire started. I think it lasted a whopping 20 minutes before the rain kicked up again. We had moved the tent by then.

I don’t think this one is done, but I was tired.

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At least one hand is facing the wrong way…or both are left hands…or something.

The last night, we had very little rain (after rain on and off all day, mostly on), but lots of high winds, which is a little nerve-wracking in a forest that really only loses trees to wind and the occasional flood.

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I skipped the next night…but the last night, food was on my mind apparently. And misplaced arms. They’re just wrong, all wrong.

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As part of the last day’s drive, we stopped at the California Fibers’ exhibit at The Blackboard Gallery in Camarillo, California, where two of my pieces are currently hanging through early May. This is Give Me Time

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As always, I love having my photo taken and can’t figure out what to do with my hands.

And here I am with Holding It All In, which is a big quilt…

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I’ll be writing a California Fibers’ post about the show, with details, later this week. I’ll link it here. It’s a nice show…in an interesting space.

I did keep up with these once a day stitches, albeit barely. I did some green lazy daisy leaves on the right with that curly line I added earlier in the week, with the pinky lazy daisy flowers (that’s three days right there)…then a feather fern stitch thing next to the tree trunk (hard to see here) and some star-shaped flowers in red/burgundy with straight stitch green leaves to the right of the feather, under the bird…finishing the thread off with some French knots (or colonial knots, who knows) down the side there.

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I didn’t actually do much stitching (or reading) on the trip. I finally pulled this out the last day for in-the-car stitching (mostly I can’t stitch with curvy roads…or while I’m driving)…finished the tree trunk, which I’d started at the campsite until I couldn’t see in the dark any more, then finished the flower center and started the bird. I think the bird is all that’s left, and then I’ll be done with this one. Maybe tonight. Not sure what my plans look like yet.

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I know they include cleaning and drying these, the second load of laundry, finishing my taxes…

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Working on the current quilt, which has to be done in a week, a ton of grading, some emails/contracts/headshots (ugh) to be sent out, and I don’t even know what else. Trying to get my head around all of it…which I will…eventually…maybe not today. Still looking up…even though the trees are gone…but here, at home, the furry beasts are all around. Both cats slept with me last night (strange), although I did not appreciate Midnight’s hairball extraction in the middle of the night (guess the duvet cover needed washing) or Calli’s early morning plea to pee. And the house reeks of skunk…fun stuff. No one cleaned while I was gone (another wonder of living alone). But I’m glad to be here, in my own bed, surrounded by annoying beasts, where I can make a proper cup of tea whenever I want dammit. (still wanna travel more though)

Oh Please Stay*

April 3, 2017

Crazy weekend. Just absolutely buried in work and barely finished anything. Whole lot of wishful thinking. I had 8 assignments to grade. Now I have 7. OK, that’s an LOL moment. It’s not like I didn’t do anything. I now have new tires, I have the paper I need for a class assignment on Thursday, there’s enough cat food for the next few weeks, I made lunches for the week, and I have a room full of camping equipment…amusingly, for only 3 nights of camping, but with an injection of rain to the mix, so that makes life more complicated. I remember why I planned to leave on the first day of break, instead of giving myself a day to get acclimated and packed, but right now, it just seems like crazy.

Hopefully I’ll get more organized as the week goes on.

The weeds on my property are taking over the world, although this is a very nice picture because of the flowers, and you can’t really tell that all the greenery behind them is weed city.

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I have this goal of filling my two greenery trashcans with weeds every week, so I’ll be done in 2019 or so, but I can’t even manage that some weeks. I did do it yesterday though. Fought the stingy plants (I had gloves, but needed long sleeves and it was too hot for that). I’m unlikely to get another two trashcans filled before I leave. Oh well.

The boychild is hiking over HIS break…he sent me maps, and being his mom, yesterday I printed them out and tried to map out where he would be each night. Like I know what any of this looks like.

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It makes me feel better anyway.

Two nights of stitching on this…the orange that is in the center of the flowers at the top-ish right, then continues in straight stitches around the cretan stitch. Then the flowers in dark red on the right near the bottom. One unfinished…ran out of thread.

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Then I did all those damn bullion knots on Saturday night.

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So the one goal I absolutely wanted to reach over the weekend was cutting all the Wonder Under out. I was FaceTiming the girlchild last night and cutting stuff out when I thought, I wonder when the financial aid deadline is? And I’m not in charge of hers, and I can’t fill out MY part until her dad fills HIS part out, and he had just finished…I only knew because girlchild forwarded me the part she got and asked about it. I thought I had a while. Turns out I didn’t. Crap. So I dropped everything and came in here and finished my part. At about 1 AM. Yeah. Well. I didn’t even know he was done until Friday…so it’s not like I procrastinated a lot. We’ll see.

Hence the unfinishedness of the cutting out, dammit. Sigh.

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I have this week and the week after next basically to get this quilt done. Crikey. I know. Well. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I missed the opening of the new California Fibers’ show, Time, which opened at the Blackboard Gallery, at Studio Channel Islands. I’ll make it to the show next Friday…it was just too far to go this last weekend.

This is co-artist in the show Lynne Hodgman, closely inspecting my work Holding It All In during installation.

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And the cover picture from the Studio Channel Islands Facebook page…with my work, Linda Anderson’s quilt in the background, and Ashley Blalock’s crocheted piece on the left.

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It looks like an awesome space. I do have another piece in the show as well.

Anyway, now I’m late for school as well. Auspicious start to the week. Late to everything. Sigh. Two-hour staff meeting as well.

*STRFKR, Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second

Lookin’ Back and the Sky Is Burning*

April 1, 2017

Well it’s a beautiful April morning in Southern California…not too hot, a little breezy, nice blue skies. A contrast to the girlchild’s snow today…and who knows what the boychild is seeing, because he’s backpacking for a week over Spring Break. So yes. Yes. I will be worrying about him from now until he texts me that he’s home late next week. Parenting is fun y’all. He’s either doing 93 miles or 118. Makes me feel like an underachiever, for sure. I’m looking at some 5-mile hikes on my trip, maybe. We’ll see. Maybe a bike ride. Then again, I don’t need to worry about carrying my own food and water. I have a car. And a credit card. I’ll be fine. Maybe a bit damp, but fine.

Today though. Today is stress city. Gotta get it all done. But my brain is headachey fuzz. Sleep is just a mess. Plus I went to bed late because I was trying to get Wonder Under cut out. Yeah. That’s my fault. I know. But that was the end of the day.

The old lady, Calli, resting in the long grass. This explains all the crap I have to pick out of her fur after she’s been at the ex’s house. She’s on arthritis meds and is doing better.

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She likes a few squirts of salmon oil on her food as well. Blech. But if it helps…I’m OK with that.

I came home from work after a clusterfuck of a day…not the kids (although some are not fully present mentally, for sure), but adults who can’t adult. And having to work with them anyway. So that’s always fun. I will have to spend part of my weekend looking up more science stuff to buy, but that’s not hard…just time-consuming. When I got home, Pandora was playing. I always stop it when I leave, plus it will stop eventually because it gets butthurt that I’m not listening. Kitten had this sort of shocked look on her face, so I suspect she started it. Apparently she was in the mood for The Smiths.

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Makes sense. Cats are moody bitches.

Later, I saw this beer. And it reminded me of how I draw.

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Although much simpler. I do like the jelly beans on the shirt though, and the zigzaggy tongue. Gonna have to appropriate that.

Off to gaming, where I probably almost died because I was hanging with one of the characters that I don’t usually hang with, because my protector couldn’t make it over the wall. And he doesn’t care if he dies in the game. Maybe I don’t either. I’d just inhabit another crazy female dwarven engineer. There were beating hearts in a chest and a smell of rotting flesh, but we made it out alive. I stitch while we play because it’s Friday night and I’m tired and if I stitch, I don’t fall asleep. It’s weird, that, because I’m fairly sure I’m still tired, but the stitching keeps enough of my brain activated that I stay awake. It’s fucking effective.

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That damn tree has 6 tiny bullion knots around every brown spot. I’ve counted the number of spots three times and got a different answer every time, so I’m going to pick 31 spots. 31 x 6 = 186 bullions just on that fucking tree. I’m really good at bullions now. Expect to see me working on those for a while.

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Although I did get a bunch done last night. We were playing for a long time though. And I finished the couching around the tree as well. Plus they mansplained hot flashes for me. And that was funny. So funny I had a hot flash.

Then I came home and it was late and I was tired, so in typical Kathy fashion, I made a plan to keep working…I cut out another yard of Wonder Under…so that’s only 1 1/2 yards to go. I can do that today (can I?). I will do that today. Somehow.

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While I was cutting shit out, there was an earthquake that perhaps only 5 of us in San Diego felt…I personally thought a truck had slammed into my house, and the dog and cat near me were both minorly perturbed by it. Damn, it was small…


For what I felt. Not damn, I wish it were bigger. I’m OK with NOT feeling big earthquakes after growing up in LA. I just finished teaching about earthquakes too…I wonder if my students felt it.

So this is Simba when it’s daylight. He likes this window because he can see ALL the things.

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Anyway, my weekend post-it note is full of crap to do. First I need more tea and to give up and take meds for the headache, then eat something because my stomach is growling, and then beat the crap out of this list, to the best of my ability. Yuck. Hopefully tonight will have some good food, good company, and maybe some sketchbook time. I need that. I think I missed a deadline too…dammit. Oh well. Moving on. I really really need Spring Break.

*Beck, Go It Alone

When You Gonna Wake Up and Fight*

March 23, 2017

Hey. So. When art brain is on a roll, it’s hard to shut her ass down. Last night, 12:35 AM (let’s remember I have to get up at 6:30 to get to school on time), I’m staring at the current quilt, thinking…wtf. I need to finish this. I need to finish it now. I can do that. Look at clock. Fuck. Dammit. Aargh. So yeah, I COULD finish it, but bedtime would probably have been closer to 1:30. On a non-school night, no problem. Sometimes having so many school nights just sucks. I can’t just head in an hour later and make it up in the evening. Even calling sick is so much of a pain in the ass that I rarely do it. Get a sub. Make sub plans. Figure out how to get the sub plans to school (once showed up, barely walking, still in pjs, feverish, barely post-vomitous, just to dump three pieces of paper on my counter and then drive back home to crawl back into bed). Yeah. Not easy.

Anyway. So. I did NOT finish. Because I am a responsible adult. Mostly. Really.

I did come home and walk dogs…which was a problem because Calli demanded to go. I wasn’t going to take her because she’s still limpy, but she really really wanted to go. So we limped. She’s going back to the vet Friday. If it’s arthritis, then she needs something else.

Julie! Here’s a bigger shot of that weird plant you couldn’t identify before. It’s not a yard plant…out in the middle of all the wild areas. Multiple plants…

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Spiky balls. And the flowers are red on top, but the lower ones are yellow. Freaky.

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This is Simba when he wants to go outside but doesn’t yet realize it’s raining.

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He hates water.

I have had some issues with dinner lately. I just don’t feel like eating anything. And then nothing I have sounds good. I wanted pie last night. I settled for French toast and Brussels sprouts. Why? They are both foreign? European dinner?

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It was actually pretty good. Needed sausage. But my store hasn’t had any for a long time. Things to hide in your freezer for weird-ass nights like last night.

I graded…see, I made puppy tired. Midnight’s look is amusing.

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Then I added another twig branch thing in the bottom right. Another brown thread.

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And then while watching the end of the episode of The Magicians (notice that Midnight is now sitting next to me…puppy’s foot is still over there), I worked on this, the fourth (not fourth) block of Folk Tails…couching threads forever on this one, which is nothing when you consider that each of those brown spots is going to be surrounded by tiny bullion knots. Pray for me.

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Finally into the quilting room. Kitten moves over, mostly, and I quilt the background…

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I think the quilting took about 4 1/2 hours. But it’s done…

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And then I trimmed it…

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And I found a binding and cut it and the sleeves…

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And that’s when I had that conversation with art brain about the importance of sleep. It doesn’t care. If it were summer break, I would have stayed up. Hell, if it were Friday night, I probably would have stayed up. Wednesday though? Aack. Nope. Too much to deal with at school to do that. Need some reserves to deal with the annoyances.

With that, I have a parent meeting this morning…quilt class tonight, but I won’t have time to put the binding on before I go…which does suck, but it’s not like I didn’t try. Sure I could have NOT exercised…but I needed to do that. So. Priorities I guess. Next quilt is ready to go though.

*Shinedown, Sound of Madness