Generalized Panic

I am trying to type this as a cat repeatedly walks in front of the computer monitor, sniffs at my breakfast, and finally lies down on the mouse…foot on the keyboard, tail flicking at me. ‘Tis the cleaning hour and I am in her way. She’s whacked me once already for trying to handle the mouse. Let’s see how far I can get before I need to mouse something. Sweet thing. Not. 

Plans for the weekend? Grading shit. Prepping for school. Tracing Wonder Under. Baking cookies. Trying to finish the holiday shopping. Laundry. Groceries. Generalized panic. If I alphabetize them and go in order, I get to bake first. Then panic. Seems reasonable.

No really, I’ll start with grading because it hurts and I should get it over with, like pulling the bandaid off. Then I’ll give myself a break and do some tracing. Then there’s a holiday dinner tonight, so I should figure out what the hell I’m going to wear, because I  might need to wash something black for that.

Yesterday, the kid at school who’s been driving me bonkers and says everyone hates me and I’m a horrible teacher…well, I helped him get his sticky ball off the ceiling and didn’t kill him in the process, and he hugged me. And then came by later and fist bumped me. Because just when you think you can dislike them and write them off in your head, they remind you that they act like assholes because there’s shit going on in their lives that they can’t control and you can help them with that…maybe…so yeah. Dammit. 

So I came home last night with the goal of game night at the house…something different than sitting on the couch and watching television or whatever…so Settlers of Catan with the three of us (and all the animals)…

Two of us had played before, but it was a long time ago. Boychild won (of course). We’ll play again though. 

This was the sky when I got home…

Probably the sunset western view was even better, but I can’t see that from my house.

I saw this on the drive home and was all excited about a snow leopard table until I realized they probably weren’t attached. 

Sad really.

Dogs while gaming…this is Calli when there are no big booms from the sky. 

Poor dog…Thursday night was hard for her.

Simba is kind of a dork. Please scratch my belly.

My belly is waiting for YOU.

Had to save him from that…I think Calli stayed on that couch the whole time we played the game…

I finished sewing all the bits on this…the last of the September blocks? I think? 

There’s a loose monkey that goes somewhere after some of it is sewn together. Same with another hut, I think. 

Then I traced, but only for about an hour. I did some grading last night too. 

I’m barely in the 600s…not even halfway through. I’ve got about 7 1/2 hours into the tracing so far. In the last 7 days, I’ve worked on this quilt for 10 1/2 hours. Good to know. 

I have a couple other projects coming up, one of which will fit into this one’s time space, which is fine, because it will be Winter Break by then. I’m working with a prison inmate on a piece…I picked a word (relationships) and he is making a collage/painting that is related to that and is writing me about that, and then I will get that and add to it. I can use fabric or whatever I want (I’m probably using fabric). And then I will send it back to him and he can continue it or whatever. It’s a prison art program called Project Paint. Anyway, I have no idea what I’ll be getting…but it should be interesting, and you will see it here. The original artist can donate the work to Project Paint and they can sell it to fund more materials for the program. So there’s that. 

But before I can do any of that, I need to grade some stuff…so that first. 

Infiltrating Through*

So I knew I wasn’t going to get any art done last night. I had to go get my quilt from the photographer, so I can enter the show today…so here’s the quilt that will hopefully have a name by the time I get home tonight…

It’s about 44×60″. It took 82 hours and 40 minutes to complete, with about half of that in the last week.

It’s about climate change and how we humans negatively affect the universe we live in. Seriously. It’s the universe. We suck.

Although apparently the Humboldt squid will benefit from acid waters and warm oceans. So we’ll have more and bigger of them…I predict all the horror movies of the future will be squids and floods.

Certainly the oceans and wildlife will be affected…they already are.

Bleached coral, dead fish, pollutants in the water as well…we don’t just stop at carbon dioxide and emissions…we forget about how all that affects what we can’t see.

Humans are pretty selfish animals.

You want me to bring politics into it? Stop letting ignorant people make decisions about science…science that it takes many years to study and understand.

Ah yes, and then there’s the plastic trash. Don’t get me started. Take responsibility for your shit, folks. All your shit.

So of course, there’s never a guarantee that anything I make will get into a show. I don’t mind that as much…it will go somewhere, yeah? They always do. And we’re on to the next one. I did finally have an entire quilt draw itself in my head last night. It’s not the next one. It’s not even the next next one. It’s the next next next one, and I won’t be able to show it to you. At all. That’s going to be hard. You know me, I’m constantly posting pictures of everything I’m working on. So yeah, the next three deadlines are now on the table…I have work through June cut out for me. Not actually cut out of fabric though…that would be awesome. 

I did have my stitching meeting last night. This and my general exhaustion from having to be up early every single morning this week meant I got no art done last night. I also didn’t drag my sketchbook out for copying, because we got like an inch and a half of rain (that’s more than our annual since July, by far) yesterday, and I don’t want a wet sketchbook. I’m enlarging today after school. It’s on my calendar. Then I can draw the rest of Head 4 and all of Head 5, which doesn’t exist yet. Then number and start tracing and all that all over again. It’s like I never stop. (I never stop. That’s the tip of the day. Never stop.)

So I worked on these guys for a few hours last night at my stitching meeting instead…

I finished the tree above the giraffe and starting stitching the flowers that are supposed to be on that block. That’s the second block for August…the third is the one to the right of it. 

Then once I was home and my cohort had taken his tired overworked self to bed, I did NOT go to bed, because I was still awake…but I couldn’t deal with real art stuff, so I started sewing stuff down for the October blocks. 

I didn’t get very far…just a veggie patch and part of a hut. The rest is pinned down. I have another block for this month that’s already stitched down…it’s part of the section with the September blocks, all ready for embroidery. After October, I think I have to put the whole thing together, finish all the bits of the road that are wandering about and not connected, and then stitch grass all over the entire quilt. That’s gonna take a while. Then borders. 

Meanwhile, real art tonight. Plus exhaustion. Tomorrow is Christmas shopping at pop-up artsy shops and then an opening. I should grade some shit in there too. I really want to sleep in, but my cohort will be up at 4 AM…I’m less worried about that. I can re-sleep after that. His cat though…man, he’s going to get locked in a bathroom if he’s an asshole tomorrow morning. Seriously. 

OK, but I still gotta get through today…trying to figure out the tail end of this part of the unit, plus feed a bunch of kids, and probably do my duty standing around, guarding the bike rack. Important job. You wish you could do it. (Please come do it for me.)

*Jem, Come on Closer

Just Don’t Make Me Plan It

You know, I’ve been divorced for a really long time, and they do tell you that if there’s kids, the issues around a divorce will last well beyond the child years…especially around the holidays and special events. There’s too much negotiation and emotional detritus, and then add new relationships into the mix and it just gets messy as hell. It’s at this time of year when I often think about semi-normal families and how it must be so much easier. I know…it’s not…half my issue is that I’m the only one who manages most of it and I’m currently voted most likely to run away and hide in a cave for the week around Christmas. I don’t want to be the only one dealing with gifts (thanks to the boychild last night for trying to help with that). I don’t want to be the in-between person for all communication. I don’t want to be the shopper, the manager, the organizer, the bank. Food is complicated, family is complicated, timing is complicated. Can I just show up somewhere with a big plate of cookies and sit by the fire and stitch? Watch, it’ll be 90 degrees on Christmas Day. But join me! Just don’t make me plan it.

I keep trying to figure out how to delegate out the household crap so I don’t have to be in charge. There’s something there. Damn, I even manage all the animals. Even though I get told all the time that they’re not mine. 

Somewhat done right now with all of it. A really long work day (where the parent didn’t even show up for the early morning meeting, thanks very much) yesterday didn’t help. Plus I hate what I’m teaching at the moment. Yup. I said it. Stupid pilot. It sucks. 

So I need to find my next art project quickly, not because of deadlines, but because of my sanity…always a difficult thing for teachers during this stretch that runs from Thanksgiving Break to Winter Break. Kids are done, we’re done, everyone’s done! 

Anyway, so I went through some of the shows that are coming up and decided (sort of) which ones I would deal with. It looks like I should try to make a larger piece in the next few months or so, but before I decided that, I had pulled some of the smaller drawings I’ve had lying around for a bit. These want to be quilts, but I haven’t had time to make any of them. They’re all enlarged and numbered and ready to go. 

I haven’t made a decision yet. I might need to go through the sketchbooks or even draw something new. I can’t decide. 

I worked on this for a while, because it required no brainwork…finished this block.

Although I did the hut roof wrong. It’s fine. It’s just different. Not really wrong. The flower bugs me too…it’s not big enough. I think I’m going to add some petals to it.

Then I worked on the tree for a little bit…

Obviously didn’t finish it…

Shared the couch with these two snoring fuzzballs.

It must be cold. 

Best quote from Bosch

That’s two nights with no sleep. Fun stuff. Going to school for another parent meeting…hopefully they’ll show. Then my quilt goes to the photographer…hallelujah. That’s a good thing. Maybe my mood will improve too. Hopefully. Sometimes school is a welcome distraction from all the other crap.

To Arizona and Back Again…

We’re back. Quick trip. More driving than anything else, I think. It was worth it…I wanted to see the whole Things That Matter exhibit in one place…although now I think I might be able to see it in St. George as well! On the way to Zion for Spring Break anyway. We’ll see.

So I had some pieces left to cut…my plan was to cut in the car, so I set this up…double-boxed. I’ve done this before. It’s a little crazy, but it works.

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Arizona is so flat. This might even be the flat part of California.

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Cutting while not driving…

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We try to do 2-hour shifts…after that, you need a break. This section was pretty, through the Sonoran Desert National Monument. It was the short way around Phoenix to get to Chandler. We never went into Phoenix.

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So we went to see the official opening of the entire exhibit of Things That Matter, an exhibit I was invited to be in last year. The preview exhibition, which didn’t include all the work, was at Visions Art Museum in Spring. I really thought I had done a good job of taking photos at that exhibit, but it turns out I didn’t take hardly any…and this trip was no different. Honestly, my phone camera sucks for this stuff, and the sun was going down and causing issues with lighting. So go see the exhibit or get the catalog on Amazon. Because I suck.

But here is Virginia Spiegel’s Boundary Waters 90 on the left and Pamela Blotner’s Miss Pustelschwein Regrets, a fascinating piece.

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Deidre AdamsConnections and Susan T. Avila’s Time to Relax, which needs a front view to see the words.

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My piece Not Less Than, with Rachel MeginnesDon’t Tell Me It’s Raining, then Catherine Kleeman’s Clean Water and Linda Colsh’s And the Deep River Ran On, on the other wall.

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Paula Chung’s PTSD: Betrayal…amazing stitching in this piece.

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Betty Busby’s Let Your Light Shine

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And another view of my piece that includes Susan Else’s amazing and terrifying When? on gun violence in schools, and Alice Beasley’s very cool From Russia With Love.

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Obligatory photo with my piece…

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Elena StokesHorizon XII-Peace and Quiet

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And another Blotner piece, this with Elizabeth AddisonHanuman’s Journey.

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Please remind me if I go to the St. George installation to take WAY BETTER PHOTOS. Sheesh. And all the pieces. Seriously.

So then we ate and went back to the room and I finished cutting out the quilt pieces. California, Massachusetts, California, Arizona. Impressive.

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It took 13 1/2 hours total. Kind of long.

Back in the room, interesting accent wall, especially this bit, which is totally out of reach, even if you’re standing on the bed.

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But don’t hang anything on it with a coat hanger. Warning noted.

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I drew…this is a baby start for something that’s in my head and is much bigger and fancier. Or more detailed anyway.

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I haven’t been drawing much lately. Need to work on that.

The next morning, after a solid American breakfast, we drove back.

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There was crankiness. Sigh. 10 hours of driving does that. I finished the owl’s eyes though! And the giraffe, but I forgot to photograph him. I still need to finish the hut for that block to be done.

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Now that I’m home and ready to work on the quilt that has to be done in like 7 days, the wool stitching is not really a priority. So yesterday afternoon, I sorted all the pieces…

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Less than an hour for that…

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And then I started ironing…a snake before dinner…

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Then the landscaping starts…hard to do because the water goes over and under the feet, and the water is in the 0-100s box and the feet are in the 400s box, so there was searching and I lost a toe so I had to recut it.

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Then a couple of birds went together…

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And the background behind them…

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Here’s where I’m at so far, with about 150 pieces ironed…well, more because of the toes.

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There’s a hill behind the legs, or two hills really, that have to be done, and another bird in the sky. My goal today is first to bang out the 17 errands I need to do, and then iron until the cows come home. Except also go to the gym, make dinner, and grade at least one assignment. Not a small list. But I’m glad to be ironing. It would be good if I were done with ironing sometime tomorrow and then stitching down. I think I need to be quilting by Wednesday. Seriously. You think I’m joking. I’m not. But first, groceries. There’s no food here. Can’t sustain artistic focus without food.

More Adventure, Less Grading

A friend texted me last night and reminded me that I hadn’t updated some of the pages on my website for a LONG while…for the Recent Work? Since March? So I fixed that. Hey! I made art this year! I had forgotten. I guess this school year is really kicking my butt. Not sure why. And then I updated the Current Shows page as well, although it doesn’t look like Quilt National did a lot of traveling this time around. I’m actually expecting some of my stuff to be heading home soon. And then a couple head out to a new home, which is always nice.

So we’re leaving this morning for Chandler, Arizona, where the Things That Matter exhibit will open in its entirety. I don’t usually drive 5+ hours for an opening, but I really want to see it, plus it’s doable, and I have 9 days off of school (although not 9 days off of working for school, nope, not that, I made a list of what needs to be graded and planned and fainted dead to the floor…in my head, anyway). That’s also 9 days to finish a quilt that is not even halfway done, I think. Hysterical laughter ensues. At the least, there’s a good 30 hours left in it…but I think it’s more. So yes, I am taking the tail end of it with me to cut out in the car. If I drive half the time, that gives me 5 hours of cutting time, at least. That should do it. I hope. Come home Sunday and sort the pieces, then start ironing its ass together.

But here’s Not Less Than, which will be in Arizona for a while.

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More specifically, it will be at the Chandler Center for the Arts, Visions Gallery, Chandler, AZ, from November 8-Jan 6, 2019. Then it will travel to the St. George Art Museum, St. George, UT, March 23 – July 6, 2019. I might be in Utah while it’s there too…I just realized. Huh.

I did cut things out for a while last night. This was fun…

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It WAS actually. I’ve done just over 11 hours of cutting. This is not a quick quilt. But I only have the stuff in the bottom left box to do. It’s not a huge amount…it’s not a small amount either, but I think I can get it done. I need to get it done.

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So it’s going in the car.

Then when I was in Boston, I did a little embroidery, all on the plane though. So I guess NOT in Boston, but on the way there and back. Oh wait, I also did some at a soccer game. It’s easy to do while watching videos…keeps my hands busy. But I had finished all of this block except the owl and the hut, because the owl apparently needed eyes and I had forgotten to put them on, so last night, I made eyes and put them on. Now I can embroider them and the beak.

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Now he looks weird because of the no-beak. I didn’t have the hut instructions, because they were from a different month, but it turns out, I had those instructions shoved in my bag because it’s the road instructions as well, and they get used every month from here on out. So silly me.

My dog view. Not my beer.

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This one is adorable when he’s not barking at random shit.

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Anyway. I have a drawing in my head that wants out, so I have a sketchbook, although it’s the small one and I suspect the drawing is large, but I can do a smaller version of it. I have my book, because one should always have a book (or 7) while traveling. I have my bullet journal/calendar thing, because my head is swirling through to-do lists and I can’t handle not writing shit down, I have my embroidery, my quilt being cut out (traveling to yet another state), and hopefully clothes and meds and maybe some food or soap. Leaving in 23 minutes. I should eat. Ready for adventure! There should be more of that in life. Less grading.


I’m back. Ready for school? Well, no. But I’m going anyway. My blood sugar is trying to figure out what time zone I’m in. It’s massively confused. I fed it, hoping that would help. Really I should be wide awake right now, being three hours ahead, but I’m still recovering from traveling, I think. Why sitting on a plane is exhausting? No one knows. Actually, there are probably multiple scientific studies about it. None I have time to read right now!

I miss the girlchild already. I guess it’s easier when I don’t see her all the time to forget that I miss her. But I do. She’ll be home for a little while over Winter Break…but that’s always a crazy time of year. Then I’ll see her at graduation. Then who knows when…

So there’s that. My cat was very happy to see me…slept with me all night. Haven’t seen the dogs yet…that’ll be later today. I suspect the man who lives here also missed me…

So three days of school before a short break. I can handle that, right? I hope so.

So Monday, girlchild had classes almost all day, so I headed into Boston to go to the Gardner Museum…it had a small weaving exhibit, which included this piece by El Anatsui, and some other cool work as well.

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I didn’t really know what to expect from the palace side of the museum. I only knew it because of the art that had been stolen. It was interesting…

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I walked along the water for a bit afterwards. Honestly, it was a bit chilly out.

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So I drove to Cambridge to this fabric/yarn/maker place. It was cool…

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I didn’t buy much…just a few fabrics that caught my eye and a small embroidery pattern.

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Life in a college apartment is always loud, it seems. Mine was not so…although the year I spent in Britain was a bit. I shared a floor with all guys, though, and they don’t impulse-cook like women do. I cut out quilt pieces while they made pumpkin vegan (were they?) chocolate chip cookies.

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Tuesday, girlchild sacrificed two classes to take me to the New England Quilt Museum, where I got to see Salley Mavor’s work for the first time in person…plus Susan Carlson, who came to my guild, and a SAQA show. So that was cool.

We were both tired and it was pouring rain. So we went back to the apartment and I cut out pieces while she watched a French movie for class.

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I would sit at the window and watch squirrels all day if I lived there.

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Getting on the plane was a piece of cake…no line anywhere. And the plane was almost empty. I had a whole row and more. And when the in-flight entertainment wouldn’t work, they comped me internet, so I watched Stardust on Netflix while stitching. This was after reading most of a book.

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I was missing the eyes on the owl (whoops) and the hut instructions were in Block 3, which I didn’t have (I hate it when she does that), so then I worked on the giraffe…

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So I need to find this guy some eyes so I can finish him, and then find the Block 3 instructions so I can finish the hut.

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Preferably before Saturday, when we drive to Arizona for an opening. I should be able to handle that.

So. School. Cutting more pieces out…hopefully getting them done and sorted before we leave Saturday, so I can iron a whole quilt together next week, AND quilt it and bind it (sounds impossible from here). But first kids. Yeah.

All Good Things Are Wild and Free*

Including Walden Pond on Veterans Day. Yes, I am still here in sunny Massachusetts. It’s OK…it won’t be sunny for long. And sunny means cold. Although pouring down rain is probably also cold in my perspective, being from sunny Southern California.

We went to Walden Pond yesterday, which was cool…although it’s a pretty big body of water for a pond in my mind. Like Thoreau, dude, this is a small lake…so now I’m wondering where the line is between a pond and a lake, and then I’m realizing I just taught landforms at school and I really should know the difference.

Meditative girlchild (or something else…possibly just tired)…

This was near the foundation of the tiny little house he lived in for 2 years. No way dude. Could not have done that.

Apparently all the fall color fell down about 4 days ago, but there was still some here.

Fall is remarkably pretty. Leaves and all.

There’s a replica of the tiny house. Seriously claustrophobic. Sure, you have nature outside and all, but in the middle of winter, I want a couch to loll about on and room for a big dog or two.

I guess they put the replica up by the visitor center so everyone can see it…rather than having to walk almost halfway around the pond. It probably doesn’t take long to walk around the pond. It’s only 1.7 miles. We might have gone that far. Hard to say. We went out and back.

After that, we watched the Brandeis men play soccer…’twas cold. I stitched. Just like in the old days. Sitting on bleachers, wrapped up in fleece, warm boots on, freezing my hands off. I gave up on stitching in the last 10 minutes…because my fingers were no longer working.

It was 33 degrees or so. And then I watched indoor soccer and stitched, although this is definitely a picture of the girlchild half dead on the floor while other people play soccer.

It was much warmer in there. And I can’t really explain this.

Otherwise, I’ve been grading some stuff on and off, reading a lot, hanging out, and trying not to think too hard about school…which is somewhat easy, because when I come back, I only have 3 days of teaching before break. Awesome stuff.