Sexy Metal…

The alarm went off. In my dream, I was measuring out spaces for desks, but someone had moved my classroom outside, on cobblestones outside some very old (read, not found in California) building. There were sea lions nearby and a million places for kids to disappear into and a billion things for them to be distracted by, plus they were all coming from different places and we had to find room for all their luggage. Teacher dreams, man. Oh yeah, the desks had to be 6 feet apart, but ALL the school was outside, so I could only have this square of cobblestones and all the desks had to fit in that space. Ironically, I never had to do this last year, because I was in the hell they call Zoom classes, where all the desks are far apart or nonexistent and all the children are distracted.

So many levels of weirdass trauma with this pandemic.

Anyway, my weekend was busy, but I did finish all my progress report grades, although sometimes I wonder what I’m teaching and whether I’m effective or not…

Sixth metal? I’m hoping. Although I still don’t know what he’s talking about. Welcome to my world. The assignment I thought was so easy last week was apparently more confusing than I thought. Ah well. So be it. One of the wonders of teaching a school that is 90% or more English language learners.

So what else went on? Well, I traced a lot…over three hours on Saturday night…

We went to a friend’s birthday party early in the evening, and then the man watched his show and I listened to mine. When I’m tracing, I really need something that is mostly listening, not much watching.

No closed captioning, no foreign language, no action without words. Last night, I only got a little over an hour in…more like normal.

I am a quarter of the way through, but as I was tracing last night, I found a whole section I hadn’t numbered, so now, instead of 1329 pieces, I think there are 1372. Stay tuned for more brain farts.

This weekend was also the start of the Surface Design Association online conference, which I signed up for, and happily listened (and watched) to many artists talk about their work, one while driving to pilates, another while finishing grades, and one while prepping lunches. I miss most of it this week, because it’s all during school hours, but they will be recorded. And Saturday morning will be another batch of webinars I can listen to in real time. Not ideal, but doable. When I wasn’t grading or cooking, I was doing the brainless stuff I can handle at the moment…tracing stuff for blocks of the month, which keep me occupied when I don’t have the strength or energy to stand and trace.

That’s all freezer paper for a block of the month on mushrooms. I’m fully a year behind and totally OK with that. It’s a time filler. I don’t make art every hour of the day. My brain needs a break from ALL the things. Hence working on this in the evenings…

Still not done with the 3rd version of the flowers. Time-fucking-consuming. But relaxing as well. Do this stitch over and over again on 4 flowers. Then do the next stitch.

I also worked on this a little bit…a different part of my brain.

Look at the pile of fabrics provided. What do you see? How do they all go together? She needs an eye and IDK what else. More flowers. Perhaps that is a hat and not hair, and she still needs hair. A bird on her head maybe. I think they’re all facing one direction though. We’ll see. This one is different than the other ones…an entire scene instead of just a woman. Interesting.

I didn’t go to Road to California, but one of my quilts did…the left one in that block of five.

I also had a meeting of one of my art groups (on Zoom). I miss that group in person, but it was a really long meeting too. We juried new members in, so I had spent time earlier in the weekend reviewing their work and their statements and taking notes. Usually we jury just from work, but it was nice to hear them talk about their practice. Definitely a plus.

I have another art meeting (on Zoom) on Wednesday. Busy week. Long week. We’re back to 5 days of school finally. I’m just so tired all the time. I go to bed earlier than I used to, per doctor’s orders, but I don’t seem to sleep well…probably because I’m rearranging desks on cobblestones. YES, I know it sounds like rearranging chairs on the Titanic. Fully Fucking Aware of that. It’s fine. This week in science is demos and labs and rock stars. It all makes sense. Art is oil pastels. Hearing that I might have to continue to teach an elective next year…I wish I had one that was less labor- and brain-intensive. Art is hard. Teaching art is harder. I’m not sure I’m cut out for it. It’s not like teaching anything is particularly easy, but there’s this sense of talent/skill that plays in art and I just don’t have the energy for dealing with fixed mindset and art for only one period. If I didn’t have to do science as well? Maybe. We have an art teacher though and I don’t want to be her. Anyway. I get no choices on these things.

Yeah. That. You can’t tell that’s what I’m thinking because my mask is on. OK. Gotta go to school with pennies and magnets (lab!) and hopefully grade a bunch of things about balloons that don’t talk about sexy metals, and then meet with my team about field trips (what??? Finally!), and then come home and do more of that tracing thing. Plus bingewatch that show I’m listening to, because it disappears on January 31 and that isn’t that far away. Plus get enough sleep and exercise. Got it.

Exploding Blueberries

There’s a blood bath in my breakfast bowl. I forgot what happens to blueberries when you nuke them. Do people still say that? Nuke them? Would my students know what I meant? It seems really old school. Anyway, the berries exploded. I wonder what the inside of the microwave looks like. I’m not looking.

Well I have an extra week on the copyediting. I did finish the last section (minus the hellacious bibliography) last night. I need to do the second and third readthroughs on that, but that won’t be until Friday, I think. Then put the whole mess back together. Do you think I can persuade him to write the next one so it needs copyediting in June instead of August? There are two more, at least. We’ll see.

Hey! I’m going to be sitting the SAQA booth at the San Diego Quilt Show Saturday morning. Exciting stuff. I don’t usually go to this quilt show, because they won’t actually let me show my own work in it. Plus it’s very traditional. At least when I used to go, it was. Who knows.

I was reading the Surface Design Association’s email last night, and clicked on the link to see the website for the Beyond the Surface exhibition. I did get into that show, but was happily surprised to see part of my quilt in the page header.

That’s my baby :-). Serious smile when I saw it.

It’s good, because I’m not making much right now. Not until Sunday probably. I did draw last night, though. I need to do a Patreon drawing, and that’s a good excuse to make myself draw…so after eating, while still watching the very disturbing Black Mirror episode and mourning all the stuff that was on my Tivo extender drive thingie that just died (sigh), I drew with the puppy’s assist…

I think he’s getting a belly rub there. Not from me…so he’s really not assisting at all, except by being cute.

I have a 2-1/2-hour meeting after school today, so hopefully I’ll have the brainpower to finish it. I actually got much further than that.

After dinner, I went in to copyedit though…two hours of that…

Kitten and Pandora assist on that one. It was pretty easy reading, though. The Bibliography is next and it’ll be hard. Formatting. Alphabetizing. I guess it’s easy in that I don’t have to read much for sense…just catch all the commas and semicolons.

I’m ALMOST DONE. Oh hallelujah. I do like to copyedit. I just don’t like to do 17 things at once. Eventually Kitten went to the green fabric drawer (it has green fabrics in it. I’m aware the drawer is not green) and Calli came in to keep me company.

I always have some furry beast with me. Her hair is coming back slowly from her surgery. I just realized both dogs have a rectangle of shaved side. I wonder if they’re cooler this summer because of it? Can’t ask them. Because they’re dogs.

These guys don’t really like each other. But they did not fight this morning. That’s a plus.

Kitten tried to play hide and seek and playful paws around the corner, and Satch was completely clueless. Sigh.

OK, teach all day, then 2 1/2 hours of science training (training. ha. You mean we sit and listen to you tell us why your stuff is so awesome that you can’t give us editable files and then say some shit about copyright which is so unhelpful in a school setting. And we mutter to each other about how annoying you are as a publisher.). Then dinner, which I hope I’m not cooking, but someone just realized they have a dental appointment, so who knows. I’m rolling with it. I can explode some more blueberries for dinner maybe. Finish that drawing! Collapse somewhere soft that is bedlike. Do it again.

Into the Fray!

Aargh. Mornings. Monday mornings. Monday mornings the first day after break. Monday mornings the first day after break when the sweet asshole of a cute dog that you have barked until after 2 AM at the coyotes who were singing all over the neighborhood. That last part. I can handle one late night a week and recover successfully (the wonder of being old? I used to be able to do multiple nights in a row), but the first night of the work week? On the first week back? I might be functionally useless by Friday. (Might be…ha!)

Well, it’s OK. This week is all planned out. Hopefully I even copied everything back in December that I need this week. I know I ordered the lab materials. It’ll be fine. Really. (stares off into space. ugh.)

I do like teaching. I especially like teaching science, despite my degrees being in Literature and Art. I even like teaching middle schoolers…they are an interesting mix between maturity and weepy snot. A challenge! I like challenges. They keep me moving, going, progressing. But the daily grind and the build up of stress and the worry about the kids and the to-do list that comes from teaching and the district and all the other crap we have to do? I could do without that. That is what makes me look at the calendar and think, when do I get a break? Well, there’s a 3-day weekend coming up, so there’s that. But grades are due before that.

Anyway, I’ve got art to make! Well, and some of what I want to be making is just process-driven. I bought these small square dyed moons, 18 of them in two batches, from Jude Hill of Spirit Cloth

just because I liked them. But then what to do with them? I really want some of my stuff this year to just be about stitching, by hand. And I’m not worried about what this will be, but it will be something for me. So I cut blocks out of 4 or 5 fabrics and paired moons (and one star) with them, and then let them percolate. And last night, I cut some paper to the size of the finished block and drew some things…

These are all people, but there will be other things. I was going to fuse, but I think I’m going to hand applique instead. I like the look of hand applique. I just can’t ever make quilts like that because I will never ever finish them. You’ll see one of those hand appliqued art quilts from god knows when showing up this year. It’s in the pile of to-do. So this was Sunday’s project, but maybe I will choose fabrics and cut some freezer paper patterns for them tonight. There are 14 more moons. Some will just be moons I think. We’ll see.

I like not knowing.

I graded yesterday. I put away ALL of my clothes (hasn’t happened since summer, scarily enough. They lived in hampers…). I packed up a sold quilt to ship it off. I made lunches, but not breakfasts, because those are harder for me to stomach. And I drew…the 23rd drawing of Winter Break…

Yeah, it’s weird. So what? I like weird. I like just drawing. Amusingly, even though that’s the last drawing of Winter Break, I have at least 3 hours of a staff meeting today, and what is in my bag? You got it…one of the small sketchbooks. So there. I’ve had about 4 hours of sleep. I’m gonna need something to keep me from screaming. (I hate staff meetings.)

I cut things out for a little while.

Not long enough. The pile of stuff that’s cut out is now bigger than the pile that’s not, but I should have been DONE! OK, there are good reasons why I’m not, but there’s a deadline on this one too, although it’s pretty loose. I could miss it and the world would not end.

Here’s one of my pieces that got into the Surface Design Association Exhibition in Print…titled Family Matters. My piece is And Then There Was One, from when I first sent both kids off to college.

Look guys! You’re naked in print! I know. My children are severely annoyed by me on a regular basis. Interestingly, the boy’s interests moved away from law, but the girlchild still cooks. I didn’t know then that she would be into environmental science or that he would have done all these government/philosophy classes. Things change. My hair still isn’t gray either.

Here’s the magazine cover…

with an intriguing piece, Untitled American Family, by Hale Ekinci, who has some interesting work on her website.

With that, I’m shoving my computer and my sketchbook into a bag with my lunch and some snacks, and about half my brain. Into the fray! We go!