Fabric of a Nation…

Hello. It’s a holiday for me. Hence my writing at a weird hour. It’s been a weird day. For one thing, we left on a short road trip Saturday morning and got back yesterday afternoon, so today I’ve been trying to do all the things I would’ve done yesterday and the day before, and I’m running out of time. Which is pretty standard for my weekends, unfortunately. I needed some significant brain power for one thing though, so I did most of that first. I’m not done, but I’m on a roll, and I think that will help in the long run.

Meanwhile, why the road trip? Two art opportunities: Fabric of a Nation is at the Skirball Cultural Center through March 12, and it’s been on my list since it opened in Boston. So that was my original plan. Then figured I might as well make a weekend of it and do a loop past the Cheech in Riverside, since I hadn’t been there since it had opened. Both incredible shows. Lots of color. Lots of amazing imagery. I’m going to try to put it on here, but there’s a lot (and there’s more photos I took, but I don’t have the time to do all of them, so I picked the best of the bunch).

So this was my first Bisa Butler piece in person, I think. I’ve seen photos and videos, but it’s never the same as closeup.

This is To God and Truth

Her use of patterned fabric is amazing.

There’s no such thing as ‘too busy’.

This was a detail from an old applique quilt that had some racist blocks on it. This is Scenes of American Life by Mrs. Cecil White.

I always wonder if she meant to be racist, or was completely clueless about it. Or if it was commentary (unlikely; the quilt is from the 1920s). There’s so little known about some of these. Her technique is pretty fascinating for the time. Too bad parts of it are questionable in subject matter.

This crazy quilt was kind of amazing. It’s by Celestine Bacheller.

Fascinating. Most crazy quilts might have one center pictorial block, and then regular pieced crazy quilt blocks around. I’ve never seen one like this.

Carolyn Mazloomi’s graphic Strange Fruit II was even more emotional in person than in photos.

Just black and white. No way to shy away from the topic.

A detail from the Harriet Powers’ quilt…

I always think I take more (and better) pictures than I actually do. I remember seeing pictures of this one when I started quilting in the 90s. It was mind-boggling then in its simplicity. Still is.

And this one, Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Kisasi Ramsess.

Amazing use of color, again, and patterned fabrics that don’t seem to belong together and yet do.

We spent the night in Pasadena, near where I grew up. I worked on one of the Sue Spargo blocks in the car and while watching a strange movie…

And I did iron on Friday night…

Wings and a strange cat. Not this one…

Although she is pretty strange. And toothless. Or light on teeth, anyway.

There were signs at the Skirball as part of another art project by Chloë Bass called Wayfinding, up through September.

Lots of thought-provoking stuff. Do you laugh or…?

Hard to say. We walked around Pasadena a bit looking for art (all closed up), found some food and drink.

Drew something weird.

Then the next morning, drove through my old neighborhood and said hi to the house I mostly grew up in…

Cool house. Interesting what they cut down and what they leave. It was a nice place to grow up in, the house anyway. Some of the town was not so nice, but that’s another story.

OK, I have work to do, so all the Cheech photos will have to wait until later. I did iron yesterday night though…these were all the fabrics I used on one kind of weird steampunk butterfly.

I’m a little more than halfway through the 1200s now. Getting close to done.

I do need to go back to work now, though…need to grade some stuff and do some more planning, make sure I’m ready for tomorrow (don’t FEEL ready, and there’s a staff meeting in the morning, which is different). This week, I will hopefully be very efficient (unlike last week) and finish all the things, plus get done with the ironing on this thing so I can start cutting them out. Everything is taking a lot of time. I’m glad I took two days off and did some ME stuff, but I knew I’d pay for it today and the rest of the week, so there’s that. It’s nice to have the extra day, though, to catch up. Won’t see that for another 38 days. To be very specific.

Problematic…

I have once again, for the millionth or so time, made it to Friday. I would like to congratulate you, as well, for making it, although I know for some of you, Friday is just another day and not the last day in a school week that has already kicked the shit out of you and there’s probably more to come today that you don’t know about. Yet. Then I get a blessed 3-day weekend. There are things planned on the weekend, unfortunately, because I have two books to finish and a brain to mend (and possibly a body as well), plus three thousand things to grade and another four to lesson plan.

There are 49 days until Spring Break. In case you were wondering.

I made it to stitching meeting last night…I was only home, between helping to break up a fight and cleaning up a ton of lab stuff with my co-teacher, for about 20 minutes: peed and fed the dog and then got back in the car and drove north to hang out with my stitching friends. Which is always good. Our Google-search term of the month was ‘spray cheese’, something I don’t think I’ve ever had. Because apparently the Super Bowl is this weekend (did not realize). Also we solved the problem of the cats pulling down all my shirts in the closet; I just need to implement it. And everyone is making beautiful things, and I can’t show you what I was doing, because Sue Spargo hasn’t published it yet, but basically I’m doing the applique on the wool blocks and then giving them to my mom to embroider (she gets to keep the quilt once it’s done). Her birthday is next week and I’m supposed to have three more done, and that isn’t happening, but maybe one? We’ll see.

Wednesday night was sort of chaotic: got home late from the union meeting, then read for (probably too long) a while to settle my brain, then cooked late, ate late, then worked for a bit on school stuff, trying to fix the things (always fixing the things), and then went in to iron and realized I needed to enter a show or I wouldn’t have time to enter it at all, so I did that and THEN started ironing.

Which is why I only got about 41 minutes in.

I did the metal work on the leg and breasts. I did not get to the arm/hand, because it was in a different box and was a million pieces and I needed to go to bed. So I ironed something else small. An electrical plug and socket? Is that what you call the thing it plugs into? I think I call both of those plugs. That’s problematic. And probably wrong. Ah well. Don’t have the brainpower this morning to correct that shit.

Then last night, I had stitching until 8 PM, then picked up dinner for me and the Man, who worked late and was exhausted as well, then we hung out and ate for a bit, then I (guess what) did more work (answering an email from petulance) and THEN got up and ironed for another 41 minutes. I lied. Last night was 44 minutes.

Doesn’t look much different, does it? I ironed a uterus, quite a pretty one, blue and pink and red. And I don’t remember what else…oh yeah, a tattoo of a yin/yang symbol. Not much. Damn this is slow. Day job. Fucking day job. I’m still doing bits and pieces of what’s on the flesh in the torso and legs areas, but I’m close to done. And then I’ll be in the 600s box, although I’ve done some of the 700-900s already. I think the face was in the 1200s. And I still haven’t made a decision about the coloring of the extra arms, so that’s problematic. I think one wants to be teal, but I started looking for a run of light to dark teal last night, and that might be harder than I would like. We’ll see. I wanted bright and I might need to go dull. There might be an argument for dull as well, since that’s someone else’s arm and/or a 3D-printed arm and maybe teal is not as good as a gray blue that reminds one of dead things.

Still thinking that through. In case you were thinking I just randomly pick colors without thinking deeply about them.

These are the last two cover pages for science…

I’ve actually had a hard time getting these done this year; not enough time to draw and color them in class, so they just never get finished. This got further along than the last 7th-grade unit though. That’s a plus. Mostly because a bunch of the squawkers were absent and the rest were chill and working.

Fun stuff. Needs color.

Today I need to finish grading the roller coasters so we can pull them apart for next year (need to reuse the bases). Some are already falling down, but I did get video. I’ll have to process that this weekend maybe. I need to rethink forcing them to label things for next year. Not sure how I’ll roll that. But I should put the notes about it in the lesson-plan calendar, because otherwise I will fully forget about it.

Today’s a pretty chill day in both science classes…well, elephant’s toothpaste in 7th grade, but just notes and a weird video in 8th grade. Need some chill after the last four days of chaos (mostly outside the classroom, but it reverberates inside). Also taught my 4th period the word ‘hellacious’. I’ve found it very useful over my lifetime. Want to pass that wisdom on to the young ones.

With any luck, I’ll get a ton of stuff done at school today, then come home and read for a while and iron for a while, and then figure out how to do the work this weekend AND do some relaxing and sleeping so I can get through the next week. One week at a time? We might be there. One day at a time sometimes. It’s wearing…on all of us.

Become One with the Slow…

Friday the 13th. In a middle school. Wait, what’s the damn moon doing right now…OK…we’re just waning gibbous. That should help. Yeah. Usually I enjoy a good Friday the 13th, but this week has been rough for everyone. I’m tired, the kids are tired. I thought yesterday went OK, but then I got an email. Sigh. Well I’ll hopefully deal with that today, with admin support, plus I don’t think I have a lot of grading for this week, because we just started a bunch of things (although I’m still playing catchup with stuff from December). I spent an hour yesterday dealing with late work for all but one class. I still need to do redoes. Where I let kids fix their work. So they learn from it. Even though it’s torture for me to try to regrade these, looking at what they wrote originally, what comments I left, what does the rubric from December or November say, and how did they change it. Ugh. Hate it, but it’s necessary.

Glad it’s Friday.

I’ve done a little tracing the last two nights…honestly, not even getting an hour in each night. Starting too late, trying to get back in the habit of going to bed earlier. I started training myself back on the 10:30 bedtime last week, but mostly failed at it. Ah well. Soon the exhaustion will help. Hopefully.

The first 150 pieces are mostly big dirt pieces with some smaller stuff interspersed. Big rock pieces take longer to trace because they’re big. And sometimes complicated. So it seems really slow.

I have to become one with the slow. I had to cut a second piece of Wonder Under because the weird shapes wouldn’t fit between all the other weird shapes and they’re all big. It’s OK…when I get to the little pieces, they will all fit between all the big pieces. It’s a puzzle.

I’m only 2 hours in…more this weekend, I hope. It’s supposed to rain most of the weekend. I’m hoping for big chunks of tracing time while listening to weird TV. Although I need to have a crown replaced, my neighbors are having some sort of dessert and drinks gathering, two animals need to go to the vet, we’re having dinner with the parentals…see, the days just get filled up.

Ah, complicated. This is the complicated I like.

Last night was my monthly in-person stitching meeting. Fun stuff.

Fun little house. Fun stitching. We spent time oohing and aahing at each other’s projects, complaining about work, looking up the pronunciation and etymology of syncytial, and talking about books. All worthwhile. This is still Sue Spargo’s Homegrown. I’ll be working on it all year probably. Easily.

Um. I am both of these. Except I don’t delete emails after reading them. I might need them again. I delete a LOT of them, but not all of them. And 12 tabs is nowhere near enough. On this computer, which I don’t use for work as much as I used to, there are 23 tabs open. You can imagine that the work computer is much worse. It is. I organize my Flair pens by what I use them for: writing on docs in class (dark so it’s easy to see on the doc cam), light and bright for grading (make it cheery!), ugly colors I will never use but will never throw out (because that’s anathema). But I also have an entire drawer, another box, and random other locations where pens go to die. Or live free lives, depending on how you look at it.

I think my right eye stopped twitching for maybe 2 days over break. It’s back.

Here’s Luna being sweet.

She didn’t even whack me after I petted her…she just reached out like she was GOING to whack me.

OK. School. Get classroom ready for today. Teach centripetal force and momentum (a little bit), give a quiz, get kids learning about the history of roller coasters, then pivot to atoms and matter, finish up the elements exploration lab that should have been done yesterday, make kids read an article even though they don’t know how to read (pretty sure we have a recording of one of us reading it) and watch a video where they have to pay enough attention to answer the questions. On a Friday. The first Friday back after break. That’s two grade levels there…I’m not teaching the same classes both roller coaster physics AND atoms and matter. Just to be clear.

Stand at a traffic light for 15 minutes, ready to call 911 if a kid crosses at breakneck speed while staring at their phone because some parent was in a hurry to turn the corner without looking for kids…around a school. Go home and spread some wildflower seeds for the upcoming rain deluge, PUT MY PAJAMAS ON, take my bra off, read a book? Drink some tea? Maybe grade some stuff that’s easy. Maybe plan something that’s easy. Maybe not. Maybe stare at cat videos for 45 minutes. Then make dinner (who thought THAT was a good idea). Then trace a bunch of dirt. More dirt. Lots more dirt. Things in the dirt. Dirt. Love me some dirt.

Sidetracked…

Quick! Write the blog before you get sidetracked by that email that came in about a show, plus the name of that hedgehog your therapist recommended you look up, and the fact that your tea is already cold…again. Plus try not to think about grading, because even though you bribed yourself all day yesterday, you didn’t FINISH (of course not) and you need to FINISH. Plus yeah. So many things. Is this headache your neck and you need to schedule the chiropractor (probably)? Did you answer that email about the DNA extraction kits (maybe)? Did you finish planning the roller coaster unit (fuck no)? OK. Well. Nope. Got distracted about a folder on Google Drive.

My daughter was diagnosed as ADD years ago. Sometimes I wonder about me. But also on the spectrum? Or just antisocial? (Me, not the daughter) Or is it just that I’m old (not really, if you look at the spectrum, the OTHER spectrum, of age) and people annoy the shit out of me? Maybe that.

OK. I checked the folder on Google Drive. I can move on with my life.

It’s quiet here, except for the dog barking. And the kids next door shooting off their nerf guns. Popopopopopopopop. I’m not on that side of the house, or I’d turn music on to drown that shit out. Boychild and the Man have gone back to work. I just work here. I’ll be at school Thursday and Friday to rewrite a stupid curriculum that I have no choice about, but at least I’m getting paid for those 10 hours. Ugh. Today, I need to finish grading that thing from yesterday and one more thing, finish the roller coaster planning (both unpaid), get my retinas scanned (like you do), go to Pilates, cook dinner (new recipe, might kill me), get the dog to go out and pee even though it’s wet out, finish another book (I finished the one that was due, but this one, I’m at 94% and honestly, the ONLY thing I want to do today is finish that book dammit), work on the quilt that’s on the machine, work on a donation quilt, work on a quilt that I’m helping a friend do, and draw the next piece. Short list, eh? There’s some other stuff I need to do, but I don’t feel like driving to REI or finding the leaf blower (probably not here) or moving gravel. So there.

Sleep and read, man. That’s where I’m at. Unfortunate.

So the current quilt…is still in the drawing stage and probably will be for the rest of this week. Because I’m having a lot of fun letting my brain just wander around with this biopunk/steampunk/cyberpunk, channeling Margaret Atwood and other weird shit that’s in my head because science teacher brain.

I started inking Monday night…

I really got into it. I sat on the couch for about an hour, spacing out, watching cat videos, and then got up and did this.

I had penciled stuff in, but I always change it a little when I use ink. I moved the entire butterfly up a bit.

The post-its have notes about stuff I want to think about or put into the drawing, and then in the middle of the night, I have ideas and I type them into my phone for the next time I’m drawing…

There’s more penciled in above and below…not slacking on the details in this one. So I’m going to keep going. It’s not political (yet. Or is it?).

I’m also still quilting this, although to be honest, not working consistently on it.

Two columns done, three to go, plus borders. It doesn’t take long; I just have a lot of other shit going on right now. You might have noticed.

Grading…

This was my view for 4 hours yesterday…probably another 4 today, if I can pull that off. Ugh.

Boychild made his own birthday cake…raspberry frosting was quite tasty…

It was chocolate on the inside, so I didn’t get a taste of it, but the rest of the fam did when they came by for presents.

We have a very similar picture from last year (watching the boychild open stuff). Mom petting the dog.

Where’s MY cake?

From the book I finished, which was better than I was expecting:

My milkweed is not only still blooming, but has caterpillars!

I would have thought it was too cold for them, but there are three of them…

I need to plant more seeds because these plants are at their leggy ends…

As you can see.

Plus now my deck has fungus…

I really need to replace these top boards. In my spare time. Ugh. Maybe summer.

OK. More tea (or heat this cup up for the fourth time). Read my book. (C’mon, it’s still break). Eat lunch. Grade some stuff. Then let them scan the eye (means I have to put pants and a bra back on. Ugh). Then more grading and some exercise. More tea. Break is coming to an end. Need to enjoy it as much as possible.

Not So Single-Minded…

Hello 2023. And Happy New Year to those who make a mental shift about now for that reason. We made a nice warm dinner, played a wordy game for a while (until someone got tired of losing), and then I mentally flailed while watching Serpent Queen until 11:57 PM, when we searched for a fake ball drop that happened 3 hours earlier, kissed, and went to bed. It rained all night.

The mental flail was more about what to work on…this is why I don’t like a lot of down time between art projects. It makes me uncomfortable to just SIT and not do anything. That said, I have a book I need to finish by Wednesday at 7:09 PM. I think I’m going to make it, but I had to stop reading the one I was almost done with and focus on this one, which I wasn’t expecting much of, but it is proving more interesting than I thought. I joined a new book club with my friends in the old one, this one focused on mysteries. Hoping for some more recommendations. Hoping to read more, actually. It’s been hard to fit that in once school is in. Too much visual stimulation, reading-like, for school. Not very interesting stuff most of the time. But I managed 55 (almost 56) books last year…not bad…could be better.

So I made a goal to do better in 2023. Things I care about right now: reading, art, travel, my family, my friends. My job is pushing it this year. I obviously care about it because I don’t blow it off. I just think it is taking more than it should from me. Yeah.

Anyway, what else has been going on? Well you know that drawing I started the other day? I rolled it up and put it away. I have two deadlines I’m looking at that are pretty far out, but I find both of them interesting, so I had picked one, the one I’ve been thinking about for months, but then when I got to the paper, I felt like I didn’t know enough to draw it yet. I do have a rough sketch on that paper and I’m not giving up on it; it’s just that the other one started talking to me. Mostly during this hike we did on New Year’s Eve (trying to avoid the rain and the people who like to hike on the first day of the year, by hiking on the last day of the year instead).

Hollenbeck Canyon out past Jamul…

It was nice and cool…well, actually cold and rainy at times…

Totally great for letting your brain wander around…

My knee behaved fine…I’ve been doing physical therapy and trying to exercise enough. I find it’s hard to get out of the pajamas right now. Easier when it’s cold and wet to just stay on the couch and not do anything.

But I feel worse after that. So this is better. I think today is officially the last day of break when I have nothing that I have to do on my calendar. Which sucks. Lots of work and medical stuff over the rest of the week, with a little art stuff sprinkled in. I guess I have to think about work. Don’t want to. As usual.

ANYWAY, back to the drawing, I had done some research (I like to research stuff) and came up with some things tickling my brain, mostly Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy (my goodness, how DO you spell that…ah, one more capital letter). And some other stuff. Anyway, I cut out a piece of paper, walked away from it, and then started drawing.

So far, I’m all in pencil.

Yeah, I need to put the Xmas stuff away. Didn’t want to pull the boxes out yesterday with all the rain and wet. Maybe today.

So I will probably start some ink tonight, then some more pencil. Today is the boychild’s birthday. He is getting old enough that it makes ME feel old. Until it doesn’t. Because I’m not that old. Anyway, I don’t think any of that will stop me from drawing tonight, but I do want to get to a stage of this piece that is easier to do with less energy before school starts, because I know I will HAVE less energy when school starts, both mentally and physically. I’m having to full-on STEEL myself for going back (you can do it, one day at a time, you will get through it). Maybe that is always the case, but it seems worse right now. Certainly I feel in giant flail mode.

I have been slowly trying to stitch my way around this giant-ass quilt…

And I finished the April Homegrown blocks (Sue Spargo) finally…moving on to May now.

That sun in the lower right block took a goodly chunk of time on New Year’s Eve. And thread!

Oh yeah, more of the piñata show at the Mingei…

Not what you would expect from a piñata show…

Definitely worth going though…

Just think of it more as papier-mache sculpture. Plus the Mingei has other funky craft work all over the place…

Gotta love a giant Earth covered in beads.

Nova would. If she were allowed to.

Instead, she loved me.

Right up there in your face.

OK. I dreamed (nightmared?) about not having a shower last night. I’m not sure why, but it made me really want one this morning. I have a quilt to quilt, a drawing to draw, and a lot of work to work. I’m hoping to do some of all of it. Also need to pack up a fabric donation box or two, plus cut up more blocks for a donation quilt. I’m liking deadlines that are a long ways out so I don’t have to be so single-minded about making, although it freaks me out when I don’t have something to be single-minded about. I also need to read another third of my book so I finish it before it’s due (I figured a third a day would work). And enjoy the last day of break before the have-tos really kick in. Seems doable.

The List of Things I Feel Like Doing

Yeah I’m about 10 hours off on my normal writing time. I meant to write this morning before I left, but then I had to deal with doctor stuff and then I just plain old ran out of time. I think I read my book for a while too instead getting on with things. Hey, it’s break. I’m allowed.

So the year is almost over. I like reviewing previous year-almost-over posts to see what I was thinking. Last year’s thought was stop having expectations of years. It’s funny…no not funny, strange…but I already know that the next 6 months will be hard jobwise, so I’m just trying to center a reality in that. Balance, my ass. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions in January…I’m a teacher. We do them in August. So accept some of the shit and try to rein it in, pepper it with things I want to do: some art exhibits, some camping, a music show, maybe a trip or two. Then hope to Goddess that the 2023-2024 school year is better than this one.

I just looked at my calendar in here…stopped crossing days off on the 22nd. Good plan.

So since Wednesday, I had some friend time, two friends visiting, separately, so I parsed some time out of my incredibly busy (book-reading) schedule for them. Yeah, I know. Actually, I worked on school stuff for a good chunk of Thursday afternoon, got 8 days of school planned out for real, minus the daily warmups. That was good. I had done a chunk of it already, but needed to figure out this one 3-day assignment and then how everything else fit in. So that felt good. I also did a bunch of doctor things and breakfast with the one friend, down here from Seattle…here’s the only photo I got, in the elevator (I tell you, this is the year of shitty documentation as far as people go)…

There are two other people in the weird elevator with me. Today? I took no pictures of people today, only piñatas. I always forget. Ah well.

OK. So I finished that little quilt…which got named Christmas Lights ’93 (after the year it was drawn)…

I got the binding and sleeves sewn on Wednesday, I think. Then got the binding sewn Wednesday night…

And finished the sleeves last night…

In case you’re saying to yourself, oh hey, I bet that was quick (it was, compared to most of my pieces)…guess how long it took? C’mon. Guess.

Nine hours and 5 minutes. Yeah. Not bad. It’s not huge though either…15″ wide x 13″ high.

The next one will be bigger. I cut paper at about 44″ wide and 54″ high…dunno if that will work, but it seemed like big enough to do what I want but not absolutely massive like some.

So far, it’s a bunch of really light, vague pencil sketches and some totally appropriate post-its (thanks to the SIL for those). It’s possible that I should start a different drawing first, but at the moment, this one is speaking to me. We’ll see. I have two deadlines I’m looking at, and both of them are far enough out that I should be able to do them both, but last year, I thought I would be done with the desert quilt in April, and that so didn’t happen, not even close.

I was freaked out by my finished quilt list for 2022 yesterday, thought I had only finished 5 quilts in the whole year, although 4 were large. Usually I can pull off 6 or more though. Then I remembered I hadn’t put the other one on the list, so 6 it is. Whew. By the skin of my teeth with a tiny finish in the last week. Two finished in December and one in November. It’s been a rough year for artmaking. Sucks.

I did get two back from the photographer today…this is Same As It Ever Was

She’s 57” w x 71” h. Took me from July to November to finish her. Ugh to school for that.

Then this one, which has a tentative name or two, so you’ll just have to wait until I post her into the gallery for a real title…

She’s 35.5 w x 43.5 h and was finished last week. Her fake title for the last month was Vomit…so I need something better than that. No suggestions please. I’ll get there. Some of them, like Same, have names from the very beginning. A small few get titles while I’m working, and most of them just need to percolate in my head for a day or two before it comes to me. This one might be more than a day or two. Give it time.

I also wanted to get this quilt quilted…it’s been pinbasted for over a year, I think. This is a Sue Spargo block-of-the-month pattern that I have always called Bird Crazy, but I know that’s not the real name.

I stitched most of these birds at the girlchild’s soccer games in high school. It got sewn together and then there were 90 balls that had to be sewn on…I think that was at the beginning of COVID? I could be wrong. OK, so I finished embroidering the last of 30 birds in July of 2016. This is the 2013 BOM (I like the embroidery, not the finishing). Oh yeah, and there are 96 balls. Anyway. So this is a 10-year finish? Maybe.

I’ve quilted 7 of the blocks so far. It’s not hard, but I have to be a little creative with figuring out what to do on each block. Keep it simple but not? So that should be done next week hopefully. A few a day. Although none today. So far. It’s relaxing to quilt. Meditative, I’ve said it before. Also to embroider. And draw. Bird DANCE it’s called.

I thought I was done with this block (and hence all of the April blocks), but no, there is a giant trellis stitch sun…

Something you have to stitch all in one go. So not right now. This is also Sue Spargo. It is called Homegrown and might be the 2019 quilt? Maybe? I have another one done and ready for pinbasting, but quilting it will be a mess. Probably this one will be too…so much stitching on them. Maybe just lots of stuff in the skies. I prefer the embroidery parts of these to the finishing parts.

I have two pieces that will be in this show at the Cannon Gallery in Carlsbad.

The opening is January 7 from 2-4 PM. One piece has never been in a show, so that’s cool. I will be at the opening.

We made it to the piñata exhibit at the Mingei today. Very cool.

Totally recommend. I love the Mingei…and hadn’t seen the new and improved version. It’s nice.

Also love that I live somewhere that people don’t ban books. Because that’s stupid.

Also going to go add all the banned books to my reading list, those I haven’t already read (which is an awful lot of them). Also Texas? Florida? Fuck you. Grow the fuck up. Let kids read. You’re not solving problems. And the states with 1-10 bans? I’m curious what those are. Is it 1-10 books? Or 1-10 schools banning books? Not sure. Probably the former. What’s the point of banning so few books? One could ask what’s the point of banning ANY books.

OK. So. It’s New Years Eve Eve and the Man and I are doing date night tonight, because tomorrow night is not a time we want to be out and about, between the celebratory crazy shit and the rain that’s headed our way. It’s been cold and drippy all day today, which is good for the plants and the part of my brain that wants to hole up and read, so hopefully more of that tomorrow, plus quilting and drawing and probably (honestly) some schoolwork. Just because it needs to get done and it’s easier to do in small chunks than big honking ones.

I need to make a collage of this year’s finished pieces too. Tomorrow. Today? More tea and then a discussion of food. Then something off the list of things I feel like doing. Also that crazy landscape that created itself in my head in the car today. That. Totally.

Really Slowly

Hello Christmas Eve! Actually tomorrow is our Christmas Eve. Or something. This year is too confusing.

I had this plan to be drawing every day during break. Not happening. No brain power for it. I get through a few errands and then need to lie down for a while. I am improving, but it’s slow and torturous. What is this thing? The same cold that everyone else has that’s wiped out the cold medicine section at my grocery store. I finally found more of the stuff that lets me sleep through the night without coughing, so that’s a plus. The rest is more about…well…rest. I need lots of it apparently. So the to-do list languishes. Or gets done really slowly. The physical stuff will have to wait until I have some energy back.

I’m doing a little art stuff every day, not hours of it like I would like to. Ah well. The little piece got ironed to fabrics over 24 hours…

There’s not a lot to it, but I wasn’t feeling well, so I did most of it Thursday night…

And then finished it on Friday night…

Only 33 fabrics…some of which were only used for one piece. Then I cut them all out…

With the idea of ironing them together this afternoon, but I did a bunch of other things (made sourdough starter pancakes to freeze, for the first time since August, wrapped the last of the Xmas stuff, graded two assignments, tried to make sense of another one, showered…that was exhausting)…and now I need a nap. We have one family gathering this evening and I’m already tired. I’m also still short on milk and couldn’t find eggnog, although I can make that from scratch if I have to…I’ve done it before. Probably my body is adamantly telling me what I need (as I half fall asleep here in the chair). Should maybe listen. Just 20 minutes for a snooze, eh?

You can see how the drawing isn’t happening. No energy to clean either; that has to happen tomorrow. We got skunked the other night and half the rooms still reek of it. Luckily Southern California has blessed us with lovely weather (sorry y’all) and the windows are open to dispel the smell.

I Zoomed with friends on Thursday night and made a fence and some veggies…

Do I fix the lumpy carrot or let it be its realistic lumpy self? Who knows.

Simba loves everyone being home…

Although the boychild is back at work until Monday and the girlchild was gone all yesterday, which is why I got his loving attention.

Kitten wasn’t having any of it…

She does RBF well.

This morning, Simba got one of his favorite people on the couch…

He was communing with his other doggie friends, passing the word along in boofy paragraphs.

OK. I can lie down and read for a while. Then go find some milk and maybe eggnog. We are food shopping tomorrow like nutcakes. It’s OK. I wrangled meat yesterday from a big guy who was sure I wanted it all cut up (I didn’t) and then winked at me at the end. Ugh. I don’t know whether to laugh my old chubby ass off at that or be creeped out (or both, which is where I’m at right now). Then off to the Man’s fam for a gathering that will be all noise and color and bright, like holidays are, which sometimes my brain appreciates. I’m hoping to get there in the next 3 hours. Until then, hello couch, hello book, hello pajamas. And hoping everyone gets some time to do what they want with whomever they want, furry beast or otherwise.

Fake Words…

My lord how is it only Wednesday. Also, brain, let me sleep. If I wake up to pee, it is not because I want to do a deep dive on how to plan the next unit. I really just wanted to pee and be asleep, honestly, as soon as I get back into bed, maybe sooner. Sleepwalking to pee seems OK to me, as long as I’m in the right place during and after.

Today is egg drop for three classes, something tsunami-related for two classes (and trying to get my last period of the day on track is hell on wheels…11 were absent Monday, 5 on Friday, and if you didn’t do Friday’s stuff, you can’t do Monday’s stuff, and if you didn’t do Monday’s stuff, you couldn’t do yesterday’s stuff, blah blah blah that class makes me want to quit 3 out of 5 days a week). Yeah. That. Friday was actually delightful because without those kids, the class was normal. NORMAL. Yesterday it was like wild animals had infiltrated the school.

Sigh. Three more days. I will still have to work a ton over break to try to get ahead in January (and February? Maybe?), but I won’t have to deal with the kids or the daily bullshit. Speaking of shit, I almost said it in class yesterday (it happens; even teachers slip), but corrected to ‘shinole’…pronounced ‘shi-know-lay’. IDK where this comes from, but it worked. The two I was working with (just edited myself out of a wide variety of nouns there) started yelling “She SWORE!” and I’m like, “I said ‘shinole’. What swear word is that?” Apparently I should be using the word ‘shinola’, which does mean shit. Imma stick with the fake word.

I came home early and went to the gym. I needed to. It’s kind of crazy how many Tuesdays I come home and need to go to the gym. I’m glad to have that. Then I cooked dinner and did some more applique for this secret project I’m doing, and then ironed the rest of the pieces down on the current quilt.

Here’s what I did Monday night…

Almost done…closeup of the Earth head…

Lots of details that need a stitching line. There’s some chaos here.

Then last night, the vomit…

Glad I picked black instead of green…

I ironed each of the little things together, then put the vomit down and put them all on top. At that point, it was almost 10:30, my arbitrary stop point, but I was fairly sure it would iron down quickly, so I just did it.

It needs a steam ironing, but otherwise, I’m ready for stitchdown. Also I’m tired. It only took a few more minutes to get it done though. And now I’m braindead. Maybe if I get more tea in me. Probably not though. We’ll see.

I forgot I did this Sunday night…although I messed up the fence.

It’ll be fine. I’m just needleweaving wider posts than were called for. It’s not the end of the world.

One of my students made this cat sculpture for me…

With tiny mousies…

She’s very creative. Sells them to other students. Also gave me two stickers yesterday…science-y ones. I appreciate her.

OK. Some crazy crap…shinole…going on today. I have a union meeting after school and then a book club zoom after that. Not sure when I will have time to do anything. But hopefully more ironing tonight. I need to put a label on another quilt, so I’m going to do that first, because it has to be delivered to a show this week. Thank goodness for friends who pick up art for me, because I couldn’t figure out when I was picking up from one show, and someone agreed to do it for me. Good stuff.

Revived by an In ‘n’ Out Burger…

I need to find a way to turn off WordPress’ suggestions for what to write about. They’re annoying. Why do I write? To document. I’m a historian kind of person. I like to be able to go back and see what the previous years were like. Plus it makes me make work every night. I know what works. So I do it. Even when I’m tired. Actually the pro of being absolutely exhausted when I get home from work is that I fall asleep quickly (for once) and HARD. It’s the only time I sleep well. So I’ve slept well (although never enough) for the last two nights anyway. Got my X-ray of the knee yesterday…although I guess I don’t want them to find arthritis. The knee is finally starting to improve, which is good. It’s been rough getting up the stairs into the house. Problematic for the future. Need to design a winch for the front deck so I can get up when I’m really old (or finally need knee surgery).

Ugh. Well, it’s Friday. Finally. The first part of the week is slow and sloggy. Then it speeds up and it’s Friday. Cool beans. There aren’t actual beans in this post, in case you’re wondering.

I’ve been ironing this thing together…it’s not hard so far, because the fussy stuff is in the body, and I did the whole background first…starting on Wednesday night…

Then last night, after my stitching meeting…I didn’t think I’d have the energy, I was so tired on the drive home, but apparently one can be revived by an In ‘n’ Out burger (that’s my theory anyway), and I managed about 42 minutes of ironing to get to here…

Sky and landscape are done…now on to the body etc. That’s the fussy little stuff. Looking forward to it.

I stitched with friends in a Barnes and Noble Starbucks, like we do once a month. Got the roof done in a little less than 2 hours. It’s fancy. Looks cool though.

This is Sue Spargo’s block of the month Homegrown. It’s fun. This block will have a vegetable garden at some point…at the rate I’m going, sometime in 2023, obviously. I’m hoping to get a couple (three?) of my finished Spargo quilts quilted over Winter Break. We’ll see, because I need to finish that other quilt and get it photographed before the first of January, so that could be an issue. Time! It’s fleeting.

Driving up to Mira Mesa and back was tiring…but I’m glad I got to hang with my people…we like words and weird stuff and grammar…and of course stitching. Or things with yarn/thread/paper. Branching out definitely. I’ll remember to photograph my gifted ornaments at some point…because they are both cool.

Kitten has been bringing me things all week…she used to do it all the time and then stopped, but now is getting a little obsessive. I gave her a piece of wool, hoping she’d stop raiding my stitching boxes (she didn’t, so I had to find lids for all of them)…

She also brings me my napkin from the couch (I use fabric napkins and I don’t eat at the table…so there’s often one on the couch where I sit…yeah, that’s weird, but it’s how I roll) and an occasional dog toy (the dinosaur). It makes her so happy…she talks the entire time she’s carrying it. She’s old but seems happy.

I didn’t take this burrito Simba picture…

He was at the other house. Apparently he was cold (it has been cold at night, in the low 40s/high 30s…which yes, I realize isn’t THAT cold, but it is for us). He comes back to us tonight and will hopefully be quiet and happily ensconced in the down comforter that is now on the bed, thank goodness; I’ve been cold at night.

School has been OK the last few days…a few people being out helps. We’re doing hard things in 8th grade (ugh) and easier fun things in 7th grade (the hard stuff will be next week). I’m planning a lot, best I can, but also feeling overwhelmed by details. Too many details. Anyway. At least I know I can iron tonight. And maybe do some planning. And maybe tomorrow can have less (or even no) school in it. My weekend posts from last year did not have school on Saturdays. Ah. Well. This year, I am not so lucky. May the knee continue to recover. May the flu stay the fuck away. And COVID while we’re at it. May my prep period be effective. May the kids who make things difficult have a good day or stay home (seriously, yes, I said that). Happy Friday y’all.

Until Nature.

Bless a 3-day weekend. Although I made stress for myself by deciding to go camping. My knee is cranky as shit, it’s gonna be cold as shit. And then I was like…there’s no wifi. You can sit in your chair in front of a fire, all bundled up, and read your fucking book. Or draw. Or stitch. In nature. Like fuck the rest of it. If I don’t attain an amazing hike because my knee is being an old lady, IT’S OK. I have three books on my iPad. THREE. Like what more do I need? (secretly puts an actual paper book in her bag, just in case). CAN’T do work. Yes. YES it will be stressful Sunday when I realize how much I need to do, but it was going to be stressful anyway. So yeah.

That said, I’m stressed this morning trying to get it all done. Tried to pack last night, Luna said no.

NOT NOW LADY. I WANNA BE IN YOUR BAG.

OK then. No packy. Pack later. Also signed up for an exercise class this morning. It made sense at the time. I thought I would have all day to do schoolwork, but no. Exercise is good though. It will be fine. And the cat has to go to the vet. And I still need to PACK. OK. Shhhh.

I finished the quilt Wednesday night, by the way. I have not calculated hours yet, but it’s a lot. I started drawing it in July? I think. Yes. July 23. Finished November 9. Fuck me. Insane year. Here’s the unofficial, standing on the fireplace hearth picture…

They don’t always have names right away, but this has been Same As It Ever Was since the very beginning. My old-white-lady educated self was horrified (still is horrified) by Roe V Wade falling, and then the following climate change policy dumbassery perpetrated by the not-my-Supreme Court, but really, if you’re young, of color, trans, LGBTQ in any way, poor, anything the old white guys don’t see as A-OK, then nothing has really changed. You still don’t have equal rights. Which sucks. And will continue to suck for a while, although the midterm elections were heartening. Hopeful. Not locally, unfortunately, but in general, trying to think positively and not go down the rabbithole of holy shit, when do I buy my own island and move there with my friends and family. Some of them. Yeah that.

I went out stitching with friends last night…finished the block on the left finally and started the one on the right…Sue Spargo’s Homegrown.

Perfect for when I can’t think straight.

Which I couldn’t. Rough day at work. Really, three out of the four this week were rough. Frustrating. Kinda done with this year. Only 23 weeks to go.

I’m reading a wonderful book though…almost done…Cloud Cuckoo Land by IDK, go Google it, oh wait, I guess I’ll do that for you, Anthony Doerr. It’s lovely, time-spanning, core story, nice thoughts even though also hard thoughts. Damn those, but they are good nonetheless. Mind-boggling at times. Yelling NOOOO in your head at times. Love that.

Yeah. Read it. I really can’t wait to sit on a chair in a campsite and finish it. That’s later today. But now? Now I need to pack, exercise, transport cat, pack some more, plan some school, blah blah blah. Until Nature. Thanks to veterans for what you’ve done, although my political nature isn’t a fan of some of it (and don’t tell me you’re protecting my freedoms…because you haven’t done that here…but that’s all a problematic conversation that we can have another day)…today, take some time, remember a veteran, enjoy the day in their honor.