‘Cause There’s Beauty in the Breakdown*

November 7, 2018

You’d think after a day off, I’d be all rested and stuff, but apparently not eating for the first 6 hours plus of the day throws my body off. It’s still complaining. It will get over it. I did manage 4 hours of ironing and a dog walk in between all the work stuff I did…I wrote sub plans for the two days I’ll be in Boston, I graded half of the videos I needed to watch, I set up at least one post for today, and I finished next week’s warmups (which I have to remember to post while I’m gone). A lot of remembering will need to happen while I’m gone. If I’m smart, I’m going to calendar that shit so I don’t forget. I can schedule things on Google Classroom, but only one class at a time, which is a pain. I might do that anyway, though, because I don’t trust the remembering part of my brain to do it on time. That would be disastrous. The sub would hate me.

So the ultrasound seemed to be a lot of Hold Your Breath and the nice radiology lady wishing my ribs were not where they actually were. I’m only a little bruised this morning. It’ll be fine. I figure they’ll try calling me at work tomorrow and we’ll play phone tag all day, and I won’t get a hold of the doctor until I’m boarding a plane. So there we are. The blood tests have ruled out some of the scarier diagnoses so far, so I’m still betting on an alien. It hurts in exactly the same place it did when I was really pregnant with the girlchild and she was using my organs as soccer balls. (No, I’m not pregnant. That’s not happening. But aliens might.). Anyway. Waiting sucks. As you all know.

So ironing…fitting the flesh pieces together. There isn’t much of this fabric left.

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Then after the ultrasound and FOOD and water, we took the dogs out. It gets dark so early…

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Where the sun is…that’s where Calli and the boychild are…beating me up the hill.

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Calli’s tongue hanging out all over the place…

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So we’re on the way back and there’s this hawk facing away from us, but I start talking to us and it turns its head all the way around to look at us. Piercingly. Thinking WTF is that woman doing.

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Talking to you. That’s what I’m doing. Pretty bird. I don’t think I knew they could do that with their heads, although it makes sense.

I came back, did some work stuff, alphabetized purple and white pieces of paper so I could grade that section of the National Park Project more easily. Then made it back in here for another 2 hours of ironing. I finished all the innards (mostly) before the ultrasound…so then I started on the water plumes that are all over. Mostly I just did the water bits though. There were lots of them…

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This is all the stuff that’s IN the water or ON the water (oil slick etc.) that I haven’t done. That’s tonight, I’m hoping, although it’s a lot to do in one night. Lots of fussy little details.

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Plastic bottles and bags and fish nets and fishing boats and I think there’s a Humboldt squid in there as well. So that’s not a small amount of things that are left. I know I laid out all the pieces through number 991. I know I ironed down all the way through the 700s, and then a goodly chunk of the 800s and 900s were water, so they’re done. That leaves maybe 100 pieces? So maybe I can do it tonight.

Here’s the chaotic pile of stuff I worked on yesterday, plus everything that’s ready to be cut out.

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Then I organized. Much better. Deep breath. I can find stuff again. More color now. You can almost see my left brain fighting with my right brain over this stuff. My left brain wants to go back and organize better by color. My right brain says there’s no point, because we’re going to pull a lot of them back out tonight and mess it up again.

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Hi Kitten. You’re in my chair.

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Like she cares.

Simba is with the boychild, at the ex’s house, so Satchemo was free to sleep in Simba’s bed. The crate is open…I try to remember to check for Satch before I put Simba in there at night…

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Apparently it’s the best bed ever.

OK, high-maintenance school stuff today, waiting on results, tired already. Need to pack, need to finish prep for being gone, need to finish ironing.

*Frou Frou, Let Go


Anchored Down in Anchorage*

October 23, 2018

Have you noticed that mornings are darker? Yes, winter, and yes, daylight savings time is coming (or NOT daylight savings time…I’m never really sure when we are in REAL time and when we are in FAKE time or what any of that means). So it’s harder for me to wake up in the dark and it’s harder to not trip over the dogs on the stroll down the hallway to the place where all the pet foods are (I have a train of furry beasts in the morning). It’s not a stroll…they are rushing toward the food bowls as if it’s the end of the world…except for Calli, who stops to scratch. Her skin is awful right now. Lots of medicated baths.

Sometimes (because I live in Southern California) I have to stop and think explicitly about what season it is. Although I’ve started wearing a sweater to school every morning, so it’s not early Fall or late Spring. I know, shut up. I got that. I like my weather mostly.

Yesterday afternoon was delightful for walking. The poison oak knows it is Fall…all of a sudden, it’s changing color rapidly. There’s poison oak in my newest quilt.

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It was sunny in the morning, but the afternoon was lovely and cloudy and a bit chill, but not really. There’s wind out here.

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I always wish I knew more about the rocks and formations around my home. Strange rock outcroppings abound.

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We went all the way out to the water bridge. It’s old. It’s protected.

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It’s somewhat dangerous looking. The mountain lion signs are still up.

The dogs got tired. Really, that’s the purpose…plus me getting exercise. Perhaps getting out into nature.

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Calli was certainly tired out.

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I ate. I graded. And then I traced the last 170 or so pieces.

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Grading seems a never-ending thing. I’m getting close to caught up, if I ignore the major unit being turned in on Thursday, plus a comic strip, and then another project due the following Monday. Because I’m crazy. But we were smart enough not to assign any additional homework for two weeks. Because then we’d have to grade it.

I finished tracing just before midnight (I started late). It took almost 12 hours and ended up being about 5 yards of Wonder Under.

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Usually it takes me an hour to cut out one yard…so that’s the next two or three nights, I think. Depending on other stuff. So ironing to fabric by the weekend? It means I need to go buy background fabric. Or look at what’s in my stash and see if there’s enough of anything that will work.

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On to the next phase of this one. Getting close to the fun phase. It’s not that tracing Wonder Under isn’t fun…it’s meditative trying to fit all the pieces in while tracing. But sometimes it’s boring or tiring, depending on how much standing I’ve been doing. Progress is good though. I need to finish this one in a little over a month, which I can easily do, except there’s some traveling in there too…so that’s a constraint. Anyway…it’s going to be an awesome quilt even if I don’t finish it within the deadline. So there’s that.

*Michelle Shocked, Anchorage


Brain Fuzz

October 9, 2018

I’m not finding any words in my head this morning. Part of it is that it’s early and I’m not functional yet. Another part is that my brain is drawing things out, testing out ideas, and that uses up a big chunk of available brainspace…apparently the part that comes up with words and coherent thoughts is a part of that. So I chug another large mouthful of tea, hoping my brain reappears sometime soon. Apparently the part that spells is here, because it’s correcting all the finger mistakes I’m making due to tiredness.

I have this one assignment that I’m having a hard time grading…it’s very draining and time-consuming, but there’s this one kid who keeps bugging me about when I’m going to grade it…it’s not like it will make or break him. I have to write a bunch of corrections when I grade them, so that’s why I avoid it. I’ll do it…it’s just taking me a while to get through it. I should just set a goal of a class worth of that every night until I’m done. I SHOULD. Or maybe just grade his so he’ll stop bugging me.

Walked the dogs. We haven’t been to this part for a while. There were signs up about a mountain lion sighting.

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Great. Well. Yeah, we hiked anyway.

I cooked dinner…and then worked on the binding for about 2 1/2 hours…

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While watching Dr. Who, amongst other things. Hooray for the female doctor. I still need to sew the sleeves on and then contact the photographer. Almost done.

Simba has been really cranky lately.

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Don’t know why.

I drew after that. The plan is to enlarge it today after school.

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Because I need to see the whole available space before I can do the rest. Makes sense. Maybe I can have some of my brain back once I’ve finished drawing. I will draw tonight, but I don’t think I’ll finish…but that’s OK. If I finish drawing by the weekend and start tracing, I should be OK. This one can’t be huge…big, but not huge. It would be nice to have my brain back before the weekend though.

OK, brain fuzz. Sheesh.


Make Good Choices

October 2, 2018

I’ve spent at least an hour in my head trying to figure out when to set up my classroom for tomorrow’s test. I need some of the materials on the desks for today, I have tutoring after school, and then chiropractor right after that. I guess it’s tomorrow morning. But that was the 4 AM brain. Like shut up, 4 AM brain. I could’ve figured that out today some time. I didn’t need to waste sleep time on that. Make good choices, man. Make good choices.

Speaking of good choices, I raced home from work and grabbed the dogs and the boychild and headed out. We have the outside edge of a tropical storm, was a hurricane, hanging around, making it muggy as shit and only 3 drops of rain are allowed to fall, which is crazy stupid. But the clouds look nice.

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We took yet another weird trail. Boychild doesn’t like to do the same path every time. He blames Simba. Maybe the dogs don’t either. They want different smells. Interestingly, if we’d done our normal path, we would have passed the coyote we saw later as well.

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Instead, we kamikazed up this hill…and picked up part of a different trail…

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But there he was, at the junction of the trail we’re normally on. I say he, like I did with the lizard, but maybe they’re both female. We just don’t know.

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It’s closer than I like being to them (I’m sure they’re closer than that on a regular basis, but somehow it’s better when you can’t see them watching you)…especially with the snack we call Simba. It’s easier when I’m not alone though. He stopped and stared at us a lot. I waved and yelled hi.

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Like you do. Hey Julie…does this belong out in the wild? There was more than one of them…the stem at back probably was the tall version before the flowers died. Lily-like.

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Probably doesn’t belong, but who knows. I’ve seen stranger things out there.

I came home and was tired…we did more than we usually do, and I think I was already done in before I started. Lab days with water! Take your life into your own hands. Boychild cooked dinner…’twas good. Then I should have graded some, but I was too tired. Eventually I found the energy to come in here and start quilting…

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But it took a long time to get the tension right, for some reason. I broke the thread like 4 times, re-threaded every time, changed out the needle, swore a bit, and finally got it functional…

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After fighting with it for so long, I didn’t have much patience or energy for continuing to fight the quilt around the machine. I know I got in a little more than an hour though, so that’s progress.

My trusty quilting companions…

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There was a cat in there too. And when I went into the other room, I had 4 out of the 5 with me…2 on the couch next to me. You cannot be alone in this house, not even in the bathroom.

Today is going to be a long day, but I’m hoping to get back in here and quilt some more. It’s honestly not very big, so it shouldn’t take very long. I’m not sure if I have thread for the background though. I should check that. Not right now, though. Right now, I need to get ready for work. Demo day…no down time. Fun stuff.


Just One More Peaceful Day*

September 20, 2018

I haven’t had time to draw in a while. I used to draw a lot more. I’d like to draw more. One I think I do draw is cover pages for science. I also draw when I have a specific piece or exhibit in mind. In science, every unit has a cover page that’s about the upcoming topic. It gives the kids a chance to sort of check out the subject matter, google a bunch of stuff about whatever we’re studying, and start to use some vocabulary words. For me, it’s a chance to draw and color for a good portion of the day. I even sit at their tables with them and color (I usually pick the most disruptive table, so there is a purpose to my madness). Yesterday was such a day…the beginning of Unit 2. I also got a bunch of grading done, so I don’t feel bad about taking a break to hang out and draw.

So the next unit is earth science…

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I illustrated some of the vocab words…and then I got to color.

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It just took 5 tries to get that picture to load. Internet, wifi, computer, whatever it really is, I’m about to scream. So many struggles. I know, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just frustrating.

When I got home from school, after hanging out at Michael’s and trying to find things that would fit in a graduated cylinder (don’t ask…it’s the life of a science teacher)…we took all three dogs out for a long tiring walk.

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At no point in time did my legs get excited about this walk. I was excited. I was breathing in the air…looking at the landscape, taking in the outdoor existence. All good. But my legs were like lumps of wood that I dragged along on the trip. Also, the puppy was like that. Uphill was torture for him. Apparently he spent 4 hours racing around in the morning and he was tired.

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So we made him more tired. All of them really, because then Calli basically collapsed at my feet for the next 4 hours. Right there. Not moving. So I cut stuff out for about 4 hours too.

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I just refused to do any schoolwork. Looking back on it, that was lame. But I did it. It’s done. It is what it is. Moving on.

At several points, I almost quit cutting because it’s not the most exciting thing in the world to do and sometimes those pieces are a pain in the butt to cut out. All the little tiny flesh pieces, for example, kind of drive me nuts. Yes, I know I drew them, but that doesn’t mean I like cutting them out. Not every part of the process is fun and games.

Anyway, I got down to this…

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And I’m looking at the clock, knowing I would have to be up a bit early this morning, and I’m thinking, ah, what the heck. Just finish tomorrow. Except I already know I have a meeting and probably really will have to grade something and I really should just do it. Well, you know me. I did just do it.

Here’s the whole quilt, ready to be ironed together. That’s about 8 hours of cutting…

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It doesn’t look like much. I don’t know if I’ll be able to start tonight…maybe a little bit? I have a meeting and I need to grade some stuff. It does feel like the grading never ends. In fact, I’m going to do some now. Before work. I think. And then hopefully I can get this ironed together by early next week. That’s the plan anyway.

*Staind, It’s Been Awhile


Mysteries of Our Disguise Revolve*

September 17, 2018

We each have our method for dealing with stress…mine was hiking for 5 1/2 miles on Saturday evening. I was going to be waiting around for the social stuff to happen anyway. I had worked all day, either on school or art. I need more exercise. I wanted to see how far I could get…I could have gone farther, but in the end, it was good that I turned around when I did…the timing was better.

I do this hike all the time with the dogs…we go about a mile and a half out and then come back.

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Scarily, that is a coyote, completely ignoring my presence, about 20 feet from the path. Where I usually walk the dogs.

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Boychild says only one adult fatality from coyotes. Thanks kid. Appreciate it.

OK, well then. I was hiking late afternoon, trying to beat the heat…it was warm.

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Here’s the weird bridge that’s not really a bridge.

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It’s California. There’s always cactus.

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It took like 20 minutes for my incredibly slow computer internet to load these photos. But here are the birds that I haven’t looked up yet (heron? egret?) that I saw at the turnaround point…the point where I realized I’d been out for an hour and needed to turn back if I was going to get any dinner.

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The birds were totally worth it.

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It was a nice hike. Yes, I always worry about hiking alone. I told two people where I was going. I told one of them to call the police if I wasn’t back by 7.

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It was an awesome hike. Didn’t affect my blood sugar at all, unfortunately. My body is confused.

Before all that, I did do some ironing. I left this chaotic pile of fabrics…

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With only these pieces left to iron on Saturday (it didn’t happen)…

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And the to-be-cut pile like this…

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Oh yeah, so I painted this birdhouse about a million years ago when one of the big fires was trashing San Diego County…it has flames and a dead tree. Boychild finally nailed it to a tree.

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Hey! Remember these? Never going to get done at this rate. I have 10 left. I got 2 done last night. Sad, really.

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And then after grading a good chunk of the day (I think I worked for about 10 hours this weekend on school stuff), I finally went in and finished ironing the fabric for this quilt.

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There’s about 8 1/2 hours of ironing in here, plus 93 colors. I like lots of fabrics, apparently.

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And here’s the pile that now needs to be cut out. I finished the new season of Call the Midwife, plus at least two YA movies that made me cry. Hell, Call the Midwife made me cry. I think I cried on the hike too. Obviously some shit in my head that needs to get out somehow.

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So then I headed out to the living room, the couch, with dogs, to cut out pieces…I didn’t get very far, but it’s a start. Happy that…

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Tried to pick something to watch that wouldn’t make me cry. I don’t really do comedy. So killing it is! Watching The Sinner…don’t tell me it will make me cry. I don’t wanna know.

More tonight. By then, I’ll know if I’m copyediting 102 hours over the next 5 weeks or not. Stress!

*Portishead, Sour Times


With All These Things That I’ve Done*

September 11, 2018

I just completely freaked out because I was checking all my art exhibit entries for the last few weeks, looking to see what notification would be next, and I noticed a double entry. That’s incredibly unprofessional. My stomach dropped. I never do that shit (OK I accidentally did it once a million years ago when the kids were small and I was newly divorced, but luckily, I only got into one of the shows I double entered…which is how the odds go anyway, usually even lower odds than that, honestly). But it’s OK. One of them is only in print, so I don’t send the piece anywhere. Deep breaths. Panic over.

I did get into the Power of Women show that will be at IQF Houston, so that’s good, since I made the piece for that show…not that I wouldn’t have been able to show it elsewhere, though. God knows I do that often enough…here’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

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Lots going on in there. Wish I could go to Houston with her, but I’ll be in Boston the following weekend and Chandler, Arizona, the weekend after. Seems like enough travel. Plus Houston is pretty expensive. So she’ll travel without me, like most of them do.

Meanwhile, I’m looking at some of the people who friended me on Facebook recently. I do actually scroll through their feeds and make a decision, like if there’s nothing there, I assume they’re a bot or a Russian spy, so I don’t accept. And if their politics are out there, well and truly not gonna get along with mine, I don’t accept. I’m not always sure why they’re friending me, except maybe to get me to like their store or their quilting or whatever, but then you’re posting pictures of guns and kneejerk Trumpisms, and I’m like, I don’t want to see that on my feed, plus you’re gonna hate my vulvas, so why are you clicking friend again? Such a complicated world.

Anyway, that’s two shows that have notified in the last week, and both were acceptances. Good odds so far, but it’s guaranteed they won’t all be.

I had a long work day yesterday, and all I wanted to do when I got home was walk the furry beasts, so we grabbed them and ran. Well, only a little running, just to see how tired the little one was after 2 1/2 miles.

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It was a lovely temperature. We went down this hill we never go down, but then we had to go up it as well. Funny, the picture does not convey the real upness of this hill at all.

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Then I made dinner and did some stuff to get my printer to work again, which involved a cable, because our internet is super bad at the moment, or maybe it’s just mine on the computer, but the (previously wireless but now wired) printer was refusing to work. And I needed it to work. So it was late when I started ironing.

Cherries…I started with cherries…

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And then I did the rest of the fruit bowl, plus ironed the dirt from yesterday.

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I didn’t get far. I was tired. I didn’t sleep well the night before, plus I walked a lot. So that makes it hard to want to stand and pick out fabrics for a long time late at night. Here’s the rest of the 100s, laid out, ready for me to iron tonight.

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I get into the fleshy bits pretty early on in this quilt. She has a lot of decoration on her, so I have to decide if that will be in flesh color or different colors…probably the latter. This is not a political statement quilt…just a reaction to a poem I wrote years ago. It’s a nice break from the last quilt, which was difficult and in my head in a much different way. Last year at this time, I was doing the gun quilt. That was really difficult.

Anyway, art…make it often and in spite of all the other crap.

*The Killers, All These Things That I’ve Done