You Put the Load Right on Me*

November 13, 2017

‘Twas a productive weekend…I finished grading 2 or 3 assignments, didn’t finish a bunch of other stuff, hiked a mountain, cut out a ton of Wonder Under, and replaced the headlight in my car (with help). That was an achievement.

We started late…the goal? Clevenger Canyon South, apparently 4.3 miles (a fact we questioned multiple times), on a day that was supposed to be cooler than it felt. The wonder of San Diego is the temperature can be quite warm in the mountains, even in November.

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We climbed a lot in the first mile…and if you’d told me I was hiking to that rock (and beyond) that you can see on the ridge, I might have given up. But no. We kept going…

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Looking back here on the trail we’d been on before going down into the canyon, where it was obvious one of the fires had gone through here (2007)…

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So this little guy…I just about stepped on him. He never rattled…he never even moved. I noticed him, yelled snake, moved my foot further along than I had been planning, all in a matter of seconds. Yes, I realize we’re lucky he didn’t strike…because that’s a baby rattler and he wouldn’t have known to only dump some of his venom in my calf. It would have been an interesting hike, I guess…

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From further up, the canyon is down where the green is, although there was still no water.

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Evidence of burn even on the rocks…

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Looking to the north…

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And to the south…actually, my car is way way down there…

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This was our goal: two metal chairs bolted to a boulder.

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And a view to die for. Well. Not die. But we were glad to get there…

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It ended up being 4.65 miles, mostly up for the first 1.7 miles.

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And the way down was super fast. Yes…we were to the left of that rock most of the way to the far left peak. We didn’t do the last 0.2 miles to that peak. We had the view already.

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Poles were helpful on the way down. The snake was gone on the way down.

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More evidence of burn…

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And then this was delightful…just remember that what looks like a scary dive bar on the outside houses a lovely bar with cool refreshing drinks and snacks on the inside…

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Then last night, I did some feather stitching on this, above the righthand eye.

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And I cut out a bunch of this…while watching a show in Icelandic. I think I’m semi-fluent now…

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I think this was actually the night before…

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There’s more of that in a bit, but these photos are from the Threads of Resistance exhibit, which made it to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Minneapolis, Minnesota over the weekend. As always, I’m behind the sign…

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And the curtain…

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I kinda wish they wouldn’t hang the signs on the quilts…

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But I’m in good company back there…

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So I’m a woman of a certain age…who knows if and when I will ever have another period (NOT complaining), but the app updated and now it ignores perimenopause completely. I find this highly amusing.

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And kind of a metaphor for women of my age (ignored). Whatever.

I graded more videos yesterday…at 3 minutes per kid, it takes a while, so I poured a hot cup of tea and grabbed my stitching, so I could listen better. It worked.

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I got the hippo done and part of the sun…

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For some reason, this month’s stuff is taking forever to stitch down.

Puppy was tired…but he wanted to be near me and my Wonder Under…

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Sometimes more near than others.

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I did about 5 hours of cutting out yesterday and 2 the night before, so I have a hefty chunk done…ahead of schedule.

Speaking of schedules, I need to get my butt outta here and to work. More progress tonight, I’m sure.

*The Band, The Weight

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I Used to Live Alone Before I Knew You*

November 6, 2017

Well progress has happened. I blew off school for most of yesterday…and did art instead. I also ran more errands and dealt with my increasingly disastrous shoe issue (they all die at once apparently), and I cooked stuff for lunches and visited the parental units, but mostly I made art all day because that’s what my head could do. Grades are due Tuesday, but I’m far enough along that I think I can easily finish tonight. That’s the plan anyway.

So I drew for about two hours…added some tools, a UFO, and a sun and comet…like you do. When I put the final version together, I think I’m going to move the comet down and away from the sun a bit…but I don’t need to worry about that now.

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On the other side, a rocket and the moon…

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I’m totally leaving the rocket there.

Above, I added more stuff and things…science, a pocket watch, the dollar we don’t get paid…

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A screwdriver and more science stuff…

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But the top wasn’t pulling together, so I added the banner…yes I was watching Einstein while doing this, and he’s kind of a dick toward women (then again, many were, right? Not excusing it…).

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Then we went to the parentals for dinner and I saw this picture again. Well that’s amusing. We actually got the boychild to smile.

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My parents won a family portrait, so we were all in it. It’s a little frightening.

While I was there, I sewed down the snake and started on the hippo.

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Then we came back and I numbered the drawing. I was hoping for the 800s, but knew it was way too big for that (it’s about 60 x 70″)…but 1348 isn’t bad. Really…it’s not.

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That’s totally doable. I’m really liking this one…

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I already marked the salt as knots…French knots instead of fabric dots. Makes more sense. Although there are small pieces in this thing, I didn’t need to make more.

Because of Daylight Savings, I had what felt like an extra hour, so I kept going for a while and did about an hour of tracing…

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I got one side of the landscape traced, into piece 82 or so. Then I went to bed early and couldn’t sleep. Too many things in my head for that. Sunday nights suck for teachers…it’s so hard to clear your brain of the week so you can get enough sleep to get through it.

Anyway, the plan is to finish tracing Wonder Under this week and get all of it cut out hopefully by Monday, so I can alternate copyediting with fabric-choosing. I have some Thanksgiving stuff I have to do, but I’m hoping to have a good chunk of the week to do what I need to get done…I don’t have endless amounts of time to make this quilt, so I need to be on task. As always. OK now to face the week…

*Rufus Wainwright, Hallelujah


A Cat Would Be Nice

November 5, 2017

Well hello. I am still supremely sad about Midnight. I’m trying to do all the stuff I’m supposed to do, like grades and errands and finding obscure lightbulbs (don’t even ask), but it sucks sucks sucks. She hung out in my office all the time, and now she’s not here, so it’s hard to be in here…

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Her fur is still on everything, because she laid on everything. She’ll be in every quilt from now until I die. And beyond probably. Aargh. Dammit world, why?

It’s hard to be out in the living room too, because she was out there too…

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Thursday night before she got sick, monopolizing my sketchbook. She seemed fine then. So it’s gonna take me a while I guess. The hardest ones are when you get no warning. You spend months medicating a cat and taking it to the vet and giving it subcutaneous fluids and it’s almost a relief for everyone, including the cat, when it’s done. I’m sure that’s true for people as well. For 5 years, my grandma had 6 months to live. We were somewhat ready when it actually happened.

So I’ve been keeping busy, because there’s just too much shit to do to NOT be busy.

Friday night was gaming…I sewed these blocks together and then worked on the bottom left block. That guinea hen needs feet, but apparently I need to sew something to the bottom of it for that to happen. I need to finish the flowers on that block and then the monkey has a bunch of stitching, and then I can move onto the sheep.

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I did two nights on this (actually I did three, but the second picture is crap). I’m mostly trying to fill in on the left side now.

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Then I was trying to get the rest of the June block organized, since I’ll need it soon enough. I wanted to keep all the blocks separate, because it’s easier to embroider a single block than a conglomerate, but that doesn’t work with the road and overlapping shit, so I gave up and sewed all this together. June is the three blocks that still have pins in them. So I’m still sewing wool down for those. Obviously.

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All that happened on Saturday afternoon, when I was done with grades (well, for the day) and I had run errands and I had very little brain power.

Then we went to an art opening in the roof area of a hotel in Little Italy…great views, shitty parking. But it was a good base for hanging out in the evening, and a friend of mine was in the show, so it was a good excuse for it.

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I was lame and didn’t take any photos of my friend’s work, Kim Kane Niehans, but you can go look at her website and know that she does beautiful work.

So this show is associated with 1805 Gallery, which does artist residencies in this tiny studio, all glass, on the street level in Little Italy, here in San Diego. The goal is to interact with the community, so artists deal with that in different ways. I was not consistent about taking photos, but I liked this work by Chantal Wnuk…very expressive.

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And these pieces by Lauren Siry, the organizer/gallery curator/owner.

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A view of the entire space…very cool…5th floor on a gorgeous San Diego night.

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Then dinner down the street at Queensland Public House…

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And home for some episodes of Orville and drawing…I added Kitten into the quilt. She stars in lots of them.

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Still trying to persuade her to come sit out with me in the living room. I know I complain about them sitting on the light table, but I like their presence…just not their effect on the drawing.

Then I started adding more hands…an apron…80 cents to a man’s dollar (still trying to figure out how to show that), a uterus…

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On the other side, I went for birth control…because that’s gonna get more expensive, harder to get, which equals more babies that people can’t feed and maybe don’t even want. Sex is a biological urge, but women aren’t supposed to have it? Men can, and we’ll even fund the drugs for them to have it longer and harder than their bodies will allow, but women, we’re supposed to be prim and proper and fuck you, seriously?

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I’m pretty irritated with politicians and white men and a huge swath of the voting public at the moment.

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I’m just filling in spaces at the moment, trying to visualize what the final drawing will look like. I’m close, very close. I just need some time with my head and some tea and a cat would be nice. Sigh.


It’s Too Late to Say You’re Sorry*

October 22, 2017

Ugh. Well I’m sick again. This school year is kicking my butt. Too much work, can’t stay well…I usually get sick like once a year. It’s only October and it’s my second viral incursion. Damn immune system needs to get in gear. Makes it hard to stay caught up. Or whatever that means.

The gun quilt is at the photographer’s…will be picked up later this week. I was trying to get fabrics ironed for a small climate change quilt I started in June, just for fun…

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I’m not done. I did a little bit yesterday afternoon after grading shit, running errands, and trying to get other stuff done.

Friday night at gaming, I finished Block 15 (bottom right) on Folk Tales (I always call it Folk Tails because of all the animals).

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Block 15 is part of May, but I haven’t done April yet…so I started on that.

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There are three blocks for April, and I have a lot of embroidery to do on them. Expect to see them rolling around for a while.

Then I realized I hadn’t touched this in days. I did 4 day’s worth around the eyeball…a bunch of filler stitches.

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However interesting and challenging it’s been to work on this, and whatever bullheadedness it takes to keep working on it every day for a year, I probably won’t sustain it beyond December 31. It was an interesting experiment. No idea what I’ll do with it…maybe make it the center of a small crazy quilt in all black backgrounds. Who knows? Because I need more projects.

I emailed the woman in charge of the project I’m supposed to be working on next to see if I could change my focus. Much as climate change worries me and however many ideas about it are clamoring for my artistic attention, women’s rights are weighing much more heavily on me right now…and a new drawing for this project popped into my head last night on the way back from the Visions Art Museum opening for Interpretations. It had absolutely nothing to do with the art I saw there…but it’s in my head now. I wanted to start drawing last night, but after about 9:30, I felt like absolute crap and was in bed before 10:30. See, that’s how you know I’m sick. I can’t do anything.

Today is a fiber-related meeting…long drive and interactions with humans. I’m not always up for that. Right now I’m tired and not feeling at my best, stressed about the grading that needs to get done, worried about getting this quilt started so I can get going on it. Probably need to go take more meds. Drink more tea. Maybe nap. Who knows. No time for napping. Shit needs to get done.

*Malcolm McLaren, About Her


It’s Not a Miracle We Needed*

October 20, 2017

Better. A little more focus. I appreciate that. My brain allowing some space for artmaking, even if it isn’t the most challenging part of the process.

First I made time to hang out with friends…I took this to keep sewing down wool for the next month…

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My parents’ dog is visiting, so when I got home, I hadn’t seen one of the cats for a while. They don’t like the dog, because she’s a little too interested in them. I finally found her in a cubbyhole in my office…

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I didn’t get far on the wool piece…but the hyena(?) just needs eyeballs. I think I might need to sew something together to do the sun…

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It’s not a priority at the moment.

The next part of the quilt I was ironing down, after some fish and stuff, was the tree that makes up the majority of her lower torso. It’s intertwining roots, and it was fun to draw, but not as fun to trace, and pretty mind-boggling to pick fabrics for…

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But I did it. That puts me at about piece 175. Super slow on this…but just trying to give myself the space to draw sometime soon. I will finish picking fabrics…but I could draw at the same time. If I had the mental space. It really is too much school stress weighing on me.

I’ll get there. Here’s everything ironed so far…lots of tree parts…

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Funny, I really think of this quilt as bright, but brown is never really bright.

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Anyway. It’s progress. It’s something.

*Phoenix, 1901


You’re Just the Gravel on the Road*

October 17, 2017

Between quilts, there’s usually a few days, sometimes a week, of downtime, of braindeadness, of not being able to take on the next piece because my brain is still in the last one. Sometimes I have the next one right there and I’m able to jump right into it. This seems to work best when the drawing is already done. Certain parts of artmaking take more brain presence than others: drawing, picking fabrics…that might be it! Amusing. Mostly I’m a worker bee completing the task set to me, more than an artist in creation mode. I don’t mind that though. It’s meditative…it’s part of the process.

So I finished a quilt on Sunday night. I came home last night and ironed it and dehaired it for the photographer…it goes today. I have the next one started. Currently it looks like this…

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Except bigger…that’s from July 3. Yes, that long ago. I have a page in my notebook with a list of things that need to go into this quilt and I’m not sure how all that is going to happen or whether I might just have to start over (it happens), so I’m just letting it all ferment in my head for a day or too. I don’t want to start and not get it right. The last quilt…I felt really unsure about it until it went together in fabric. Then I could see it. I want to feel better about this one. It’s not about making them fast because of a theme…it’s about making them true to me. Which I do…but sometimes it’s harder than others.

I couldn’t deal with that drawing last night…so I found other ways to be creative. This is where it’s good to have some things lying around. I have some hobby sewing I do…you see it here pretty often. There’s this one…I’ve been working on it for 5-10 minutes a day since Jan 1.

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I added two nights’ worth of fern stitch in the bottom right.

Then there’s this one…the bird quilt. I spent quite a bit of time last night spacing out, watching Dark Matter and trying to get this green stem stitched down. Didn’t finish.

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And then this one…I traced the Wonder Under back in June. It’s small, less than 400 pieces. I needed something to do last night, so I sorted the pieces into 100s.

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I don’t know if I’ll pick fabrics tonight or if I’ll have the brainpower to draw the next one.

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But it’s ready to go. I do have a countdown on the next one…it has to be done and photographed in 75 days. I thought I had a ton of time on this last one, and it really stretched me…it was 14 days early, but I had a similar chunk of time, starting August 15 or so, and this next one will be more complicated. It sounds like a ton of time, but it’s not. The holidays are in there…pro: more time to create…con: more not-art shit you gotta do. So I can’t really take time out to make a whole new quilt before I start that one. But I might be able to allow myself two days to pick fabrics before I start drawing. Maybe. I’ll think about it.

Seriously, I’m harder on myself with artmaking (well, and with school) than anyone else could be. I didn’t grade last night. I should have. Oh well.

This morning’s sky. I like being able to see the sunrises…except I don’t like being up early. As the days get shorter, this is good though. Another three weeks of sunrises and then Daylight Savings Time…

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And I lose them again for a while.

*Tom Waits, Day after Tomorrow


I Wanna Shut the Door and Open Up My Mind*

October 6, 2017

So the only way I know the kids are alive is when they text me. That’s fine…but I can tell the girlchild is buried in schoolwork because all I see of her are her Likes on Instagram. And the boychild will respond to pictures of potential coyote poop and junk mail. I guess the girlchild liked the cute ferret video. I think. I guess all that is good…they responded when I asked about flying them home. It’s just been a real quiet week…

My students are doing a superhero project…some are worried about the drawing part. I don’t know why. Here’s what I drew for them.

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They’re obsessed with the perfect body superheroes. I’m like…why? Dorky kid superheroes!

I made apple crisp this week…because I knew I’d need it. Comfort food. Apple crisp for breakfast is perfectly acceptable. No it’s not. But it’s what’s for breakfast today.

I started quilting last night…late…I had my stitching meeting first. I didn’t get much done…head and tail tufts on the elephant, and then the start of turkey work (guided by Julie, I started making them much tighter) on these, which are apparently cattails. Or is it catails. No. That looks wrong.

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I didn’t even photograph the head and tail tufts. It’s gonna be a rough day. Brain appears to be offline.

Midnight was incredibly interested in the quilting.

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So interested that she left 5 minutes later. I didn’t quilt a lot…just the dirt. I was tired. It was late. Manhandling a quilt at 11 PM after a long day is not easy. Plus I had a tweaked spot in my right hand. Not sure from what…turkey work? Pulling the needle? The gym? It still hurts this morning, although not as much. Inside the hand…probably more stupid arthritis. I have arthritis in one of my feet. Sigh. Old age.

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My weekend is kind of laid out for me: about 5 errands, not desperate mostly. Lots of quilting. Lots of grading.

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Yup. Très exciting. This thing will not quilt fast, that’s for sure. I did already buy the thread for the background quilting. Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a bad weekend, except for all the grading. I expected to get more done in class this week with the kids working on an independent project, but they haven’t been very independent. That’s unfortunate. I will need to bust my butt a little bit this weekend instead.

But first I need to get through Friday at school. Ugh. I’m really not in the mood. More loud music needed.

*Linkin Park, Runaway