To Take Away the You*

January 21, 2018

I was marching yesterday…hence no post. Up too early. Left early. All that stuff.

I made my sign Friday night…

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Two sides. Last year, I knew it was going to rain and I left everything too late, so I just printed out a sign and taped it so it wouldn’t run too much…

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This year, I even managed a stick.

The rest of Friday night was pretty laid back. I was exhausted by the end of the week. Apparently, so was the puppy. Girlchild was trying to read her textbook (supposed to be done by the time she arrives in Madagascar), but really was binge-watching SVU.

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I did some grading…one whole assignment in two days. I know part of my lack of efficiency is because she’s leaving. It’s stressful to send your kid that far away. I am barely used to the 3000-mile distance. This is so far. And we know communication will be difficult. No daily texting. No FaceTiming whenever she’s stressed or wants to talk. It will be hard. For her…and me…

Simba also finds it stressful. He wants to sit on her (or someone) constantly.

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But she came along for the march…

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It was a pretty day, although pretty damn cold (for Southern California) in the beginning…

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And we did actually get a tiny bit of rain…

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And they always take too long to get us walking. This sweatshirt design was pretty awesome.

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37,000 people marched (apparently) in San Diego…more than last year. The president seems confused by our purpose.

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Honestly, sometimes I think we’re confused by our purpose. Well. I’m not. I want equal rights for everyone. I want those who are hurt by racist and sexist policies and behaviors to have a voice and rights. There’s a lot of things I want. Accessible and cheap healthcare for everyone. Consequences for discrimination. More support for the groups who need it…my students…the refugees, those stuck in poverty and affected by jailed family members and disability and familial deportations and the fear of deportation and drugs and gangs and all that shit. The threat of being sent back to where they came from…Yo! White folks who threaten this! YOU GO BACK. Seriously. How uneducated are you to think you were here first? SIGH. Oh my. Seriously.

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Anyway…we marched. We yell. I make art. I write. I teach. I hope. Sometimes I laugh.

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Oh yeah. I vote. Every damn time. All these women vote.

So two problems to solve: how to encourage people to vote, and to vote thinking about everyone on the planet and not just themselves. To vote with empathy. Then how to talk to the white women who voted for Trump…who thought that was a solution to whatever they are missing or whatever they need. I have a hard time with that…I just don’t understand. Especially those at my job who voted that way…because how can you work at my school and not have empathy for those you work with? I don’t know how to have a conversation about that. What are you trying to protect? Sigh. Big sigh.

After that, I graded some more and then went to the Visions opening…beautiful quilts by Jane Sassaman and Betty Busby…totally worth seeing those. Then dinner and a drawing in their receipt book.

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Then came home, finished Stranger Things, and tried to go to bed. Unfortunately, my stomach rebelled. Food poisoning? Who knows. I’m OK this morning. Finally got a decent amount of sleep. Still have a million things to grade, to do, to clean. And up super early in the morning to drive the girlchild to the airport. Then I count the days until she’s back, even though I know it will be an awesome trip.

*Ingrid Michaelson, Sort Of

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I Don’t Care ‘Cause I’m Not There*

January 19, 2018

When I first sat down at the computer this morning, feet freezing off (really should remember socks or slippers in the morning), nice hot cup of tea, stomach grumbling about everything, I thought I had done nothing yesterday. NOTHING. Because I had no pictures, for one, but because I also remember falling asleep on the couch, curled up next to the cat, who was also curled up asleep. Apparently that was cute. There’s photographic evidence (you won’t see it here). And then getting up and going to bed.

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That was at almost midnight though.

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Then I thought, well you didn’t get any art done last night. And that’s not true. I came home and got my clothes on for the gym, but the girlchild was still here, and she won’t be here much longer, plus the dog needed her meds and I didn’t want to feed her dinner early, so I didn’t even leave for the gym until 6:30 PM or so. And then came home and made dinner and read my book even more (it’s good…what can I say?) and THEN eventually fell asleep on the couch.

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So no PHYSICAL art…but being an artist who shows her work means you have to do paperwork and computer stuff, so I did do that. I entered a show that I probably won’t get into (that’s OK…it happens all the time). I organized my calendar and my piles of paper related to that, so that all the rejections go into the huge pile over THERE, and all the shows I’ve been in where the quilts are back here go in a smaller pile over THERE (who am I kidding…they’re all in one big confused pile), and then I have a smaller, more organized pile of stuff that’s upcoming and stuff that’s out. And then I could see deadlines…deadlines I’d forgotten about. Hmmm. Some of them are calling to me (it’s OK, most of them are for the fall…there’s time). So I did all that management stuff.

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And then I came up with an idea for my Women’s March poster…because I’m doing that tomorrow morning…but I didn’t actually DO it. That’s also OK. I can do it tonight. It won’t take long. Although I asked my dad for a stick, and it hasn’t appeared. Huh. Hmm.

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Anyway, so it was a semi-productive day. Saturday will inevitably be very unproductive. At some point, I will have to stop being so tired and nonfunctional and get my act together. Maybe. I mean, you can’t make me. (Stubborn much?)

Meanwhile…I did have pictures from yesterday. We made Oobleck for our classes yesterday and then made them explore it (OK, not much forcing of touching the gooey stuff needed to happen)…and then explain what state of matter it was. Yeah. That was good. Messy, yes; exhausting, yes. But good. I’m kinda getting used to this teaching chemistry stuff…although we put a project into the chemistry unit that has life science in it…because we miss it. It’s relevant too. So there.

*New Order, True Faith


I Really Do Feel It*

January 18, 2018

Hooray for short work weeks…I can’t get my brain back into school yet. I haven’t been bringing any grading home…which will eventually bite me in the butt. I answered one parent email last night…so that was responsible of me. I even forwarded it to the other teachers. That said, we stayed after school yesterday for more than an hour making Oobleck for our kids to figure out today…that is so NOT my hand. I let my coteacher do the mixing and I did the cleanup.

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We may totally regret doing this by the end of today, but we’re hoping not. It’s cool stuff…most of our students know about and have even made slime, but this is different. Anyway, wish us luck. (maybe pray for us…) So I feel like I did do extra work yesterday…just not at home.

The Golden Retriever had a broken tooth pulled yesterday. I had no idea how HUGE the roots were.

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About 2/3 of that was in her gum. It’s her fault for breaking her teeth…she eats rocks. Well…chews on them. Anyway, she was significantly drugged last night, but seems OK this morning. She’s a good girl…takes her meds and soggy food without complaint. The pain meds might be helping with that.

The girlchild and I had some errands for after and her dinner plans for us were stymied by the time it takes to soak farro, so we tried out the new location of City Tacos in La Mesa…good stuff! Although not cheap…here’s the veggie versions for the girlchild…

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And the meat ones for me…although the veggie ones looked good too…

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Then a trip to the 99-cent store for school stuff, plus the grocery store so she could make my students some cupcakes. By the time we got home, it was 7:30 and I was too tired to do anything but just sit at the table for a while. Apparently Simba was tired too…

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They’re both soaking up all the last minutes together. I get it. Boychild made it back to New York yesterday, with only minor delays. For once! Despite all the weather stories and cancellations. Impressive. I miss that kid.

I eventually got up and started the stitch down on this. I didn’t finish…

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I probably could have, but I had some serious concentration issues. So I eventually gave up and sat on the couch with my book and a glass of wine and a whiny cat. I read until I thought I could fall asleep and then I did.

I’m in a mood. Missing one kid, worrying about the other one, 64 days and probably 10 staff meetings to Spring Break. I hate staff meetings. I think I really just need to get back into my school routine. Next week.

Tonight? Grade some stuff. Maybe go to the gym (that would help…plus I can read my book there). Do some art stuff, even if it’s just hand sewing on bindings while watching some TV. That’s not a bad way to end the day. Not every day has to be amazingly efficient. Some are just days.

*Pretty Lights, Finally Moving


But Here’s a Little Feedback*

January 14, 2018

Aargh. Some days are like running in oatmeal. Sludge days. I did eventually get all the makeup work graded and input. Yay! One thing done. Miraculous. I went to two openings…more on those tomorrow, because I don’t feel like writing about it now. Watched Wonder Woman and was not impressed…worse than that…irritated. Sigh. The portrayal of women in movies, books, TV shows. So annoying. I hope I don’t add to that. I hope I’m a different voice. Maybe not. Hard to say.

I feel out of sorts with the whole world today. Hard to feel that way as I’m looking out at trees that have decided Spring is coming. I really should go walk something today…even if it’s just myself and my headphones. If I’m irritated by blue skies and trees, there’s something wrong there.

Girlchild finally got a backpack…that’s not really the rain shield…it’s a pocket.

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Now to figure out how to fit everything she needs to take in that thing. Ha! Yeah right.

Makeup grading included this. If only I knew what he meant…

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Either he was in Israel or he wasn’t real or I really just don’t know what he was trying to tell me.

I finished the second SJSA block. The last one is back to clumpy glue…

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But I’m on time, I think, so that’s good.

This morning, Satchemo would claw at my toes every time I stopped petting him…

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Sheesh.

So I cut the head off. It bugged me.

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There it is. Still bugging me.

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Better. It’s not much different, but different enough to make me happy.

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I’ve put more time into the drawing…I’m going to be done today. Which is good. And then hopefully approval or minor changes? And then into the doing part…which is where I like to be.

All day yesterday, nuclear bomb drawings in my head after Hawaii’s oops. Terrifying oops. This is the world we live in. It’s not a very pretty one at the moment. OK. So I’m trying to get consensus right now on a grocery list, and even that is too hard for everyone. I’m considering handing everyone a $20 bill and walking away. Deal with yo’selves now. When you’re the mom, you’re the one in charge all the time. I would love to NOT be in charge. Sure, we can blow off grocery shopping until 8 PM, but then you said you’d cook for your grandparents, and when is that going to happen? I don’t know either. My eyelids are both twitching.

Gonna go draw some more…draw some space and stars and a happy sun and an alien craft, because you can’t draw space without aliens. Damn. Maybe I’ll put an alien in too. OK, that’s probably too much. But a happy alien? Might be OK.

I might eat some ice cream for lunch too. Because.

*Patrick Sweany, Them Shoes


God Forbid You Ever Had to Wake Up to Hear the News*

January 13, 2018

January 2018. Thinking about politics and shithole nations (oh man. Racist much? Does he not know that in general, Norwegians don’t wanna move here? Are people that clueless about race and socioeconomics and why people immigrate?) and upcoming taxes (is there any point in saving receipts for deductions any more?) and the upcoming 1 year anniversary of the women’s march. How to change my pussy hat up to make it more intersectional. It did have a vulva on it last year. Yeah, I’m marching again. Same group of three that did the science march too. We’re still here. We’re still pissed off. We’re still being marginalized, less so as a white woman than as a woman of color or a nonbinary or a trans woman or all the other permutations. But still listening to white male politicians tell us our place is not at the table. I actually had a conversation with my 7th graders this last week about white privilege and male privilege. There’s a piece of my art brain that’s bulging with ideas about this, but needing to know exactly what I’m saying and am I saying it out of privilege? Or what? I can’t tell other people’s stories. Although I often tell a general story; not all my art is personal narrative. So there’s that. Brain is stirring all these ideas around.

Shithole nations…seriously. I’m so offended by my own race at the moment. Honestly, the vast majority of my white friends are just as offended, but there’s a few acquaintances who are missing some connections. I’m sure there’s a few who never voice their opinions, but think it. Sigh.

I’m exhausted this morning. I have a spike embedded in my forehead above my left eye (I just had to close my eye to try to figure out if it was my left or right eye…I’ve never been good at left and right). The day is warm and I have 7 thousand things that need doing. Now there’s a vise squeezing my temples…and my neck is frozen in place. When is the next chiropractor visit? I’m thinking it’s a long way out.

And yet, here’s Kitten. She really is better at life than I am.

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My gradebook calls. I have shit to do in there. I did some last night when I got home from work, before I went to gaming. I think there are 39 emails left.

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Late work. I’ll get there. Really, Calli, I’ll get there. I was awakened this morning by the squealing of the girlchild, who is now asleep again. Ugh. Then Calli crying. I know girlchild let the dogs out to pee, but they want food at some point. So I did that. And once I’m up, I’m up. I don’t go back to sleep. I know the boychild is up, because he came in with Simba, but the other two dead bodies are still snoring away, wrapped up in blanket cocoons. Must be nice.

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No, I’m not bitter at all. Laughing. I get to sleep in tomorrow, when the dogs are all gone. And so are the kids (not that the boychild is noisy…he’s not).

A herd of balloons. Don’t even ask. It’s my prep room at work.

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Gaming. That’s a lot of stress and fatigue I’m collecting over there. I worked on the tree the whole time. If I don’t stitch, I fall asleep. I gave up the comfy chair so the two guys with fucked up ribs and backs could be comfortable. Sigh. I guess I’m never comfortable sitting at a table anyway. True. I’m not.

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It’s still not done…needs brown things around and in it. But that’s a nice trellis stitch hole in the tree, isn’t it? I think so.

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I have a huge list of stuff I wanna do this weekend. I love that I have these three days after the first week of school. I might almost feel human by the end of it.

I’m going to finish the drawing I’ve been working on, I’m going to sew bindings on those two little quilts I had lying around, I’m going to do the stitch down on the other quilt top and hopefully get it sandwiched for quilting. I’m going to set up my composters. It’s possible I’m going to fire my pool guy for never showing up and find a new one (that’s a pain in the ass). I’m going to some art openings. I’m going to read and exercise and eat decent food and get some sleep (maybe…that one I can’t guarantee).

But right now, I’m going to get more tea in me and take some meds for the headache. It’s probably weather related, but I certainly don’t need to carry it around with me.

*Everlast, What’s It Like


I Know You Better Than You Fake It to See*

January 12, 2018

It’s Friday. Maybe you’ve noticed. Short weeks aren’t necessarily easier weeks (and the only short part was the part with the kids in it). And I’ve been blowing off schoolwork all week, so I’ll actually have to grade something this weekend. It’s three days. I guess I can do that.

My students are trying to figure out the difference between solids, liquids, and gases. Yesterday, I sat and listened to one class argue about whether liquids were wet or not…I like to just let them go sometimes. And this is where they went.

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I love that stuff. Chemistry is not my favorite subject to teach…I’m a life science person. But the new standards mean I don’t teach much of that. Chemistry is good for labs though and for making them question everything they know. Today we’ll continue with that. Fun stuff.

Still doing herringbone. Closer to done.

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So I enlarged the drawing I’ve been working on…I did it at 200% and 250%, because I wasn’t sure how big to make it. I generally do the larger, but I need to stay within a cost constraint on this one, so bigger becomes a time and cost issue. So I taped the 200% enlargement together, because it looked doable. Sometimes the pieces are way too small. I added space on the top and will need to add a little on the left side to center it…but even with that, I’m still looking at an image size of about 35″ x 43″…which is right where I want to be. So that’s good. Lots of water in the bottom of the piece…

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I still think I’m replacing that head. We’ll see. It’s not quite right.

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I have cut off and replaced heads more than once in the past.

I have to admit that I didn’t get much done last night. I was tired and did some cleaning, put the wrapping paper away, which meant reorganizing the whole damn closet (not a 5-minute project). And I tried to go to bed a little earlier. So I could have done more drawing, but more standing? Probably not. Long day. Another bunch of errands after school. Too much.

So when I went to bed, Kitten was on Calli’s bed. And Calli is too scared to lie down with her.

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Mommy. That thing has sharp points. So Calli lies down on the floor. Now I know Kitten will end up curled in bed next to me, so I tell Calli that. Sad face Calli.

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Kitten looks over at her even. She wouldn’t mind sharing the bed, but Calli won’t do it.

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Big Golden Retriever scared of a chubby little cat. Funny stuff.

So weekend plans: art openings and maybe the Star Wars movie and some gaming tonight and some sewing stuff down and finishing the drawing and maybe getting started on that quilt and hanging out with the kids and probably desperate crazy shopping for the girlchild’s trip. And grading. It’s a good thing I have three days, eh?

*Smashing Pumpkins, 1979


She’s Got a Carburetor Tied to the Moon*

January 11, 2018

Ah patience…I have so little of it at the moment. Probably related to sleep too. Each night it’s easier to fall asleep and stay there…mostly from exhaustion, I think. Better than the insomnia of earlier this week…or the crazy nightmares. Although watching Stranger Things and Fortitude before bed might not be the best choices. They definitely show up in the night.

Yesterday’s professional development could have been done on our own…seriously. Did not need help with that. Annoying. Plus I spent 20 minutes on our spy program (we can watch what the kids are doing on their computers) trying to get one class back on task. The class that had a guest teacher in there. A teacher who was supposed to be keeping them on task, off games and YouTube videos. So we’re gonna have a discussion today of job skills. How is what you did yesterday with the guest teacher in here gonna look on your resume? How will you explain your behavior to your boss? We’ll see how that goes. Sigh. Double sigh. Don’t pull me out of my class for stuff I can do on my own. I’m still irritated by the conversations we were having. I think people who aren’t in the classroom have no idea what some of us talk about all the time to our students.

ANYWAY. It’s not a shocker that certain parts of my job annoy me. I loved Tuesday when kids were first googling things like plasma and chemical reaction. I had interest then. Hopefully that will continue through all the labs etc. Enough for them to question what’s happening and try to figure out answers to problems.

I’m back in a routine of coming home, petting all the furry things, reading for a bit if there’s time (I’m trying to make time. I like to read.) or racing to exercise. Then dinner, whether I’m the cook or recipient…a bit of stitching after eating…and then art of some sort. I realize I will soon have to do some actual schoolwork during that time. I’m avoiding it this week. Seriously avoiding it. For as long as possible.

Routines are good for some things…they’re how I get art made almost every night. My brain is trained for that after-dinner thought…what am I gonna work on tonight? Now because I’m getting a little more tired every night, that gets harder as the week goes on. Last night, I was zoning out way too much…I didn’t start art until pretty late. But I started.

I did work on this after dinner…finished Want and started that giant J.

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More subtle herringbone. This one is so much easier to sew. I wish I’d started with it…I wouldn’t have procrastinated so much.

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I had couch companions…

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That kept changing…that one really wanted to be ON me, but 20 minutes of gentle persuasion put him over there. After he scared off all the dogs. Smallest animal in the house. Mostly benign, unless you’re prepping food in the kitchen. Then he’s like a food-seeking missile. Annoying.

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More slow drawing. I’m at the need-to-enlarge stage. Guess I’ll toss it in the car and see if I can find time for that after school.

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I’m having fun with the background I think. The non-human parts. There will be more…not a lot more…but a bit on either side, I think, and more up top. Enough to fit in a quote and some space stuff. Have you seen the new pictures of Jupiter? Pretty awesome stuff. Maybe this needs a Jupiter. A new discovery of something that’s been there all along. Definitely a sun and some stars. Yes, it’s a quilt about a kid who had scoliosis surgery, about all the metal in her spine now…but it’s also just about being in the world, being a part of it. The mom made a comment to me early on about how 100 years ago, her daughter would probably have been in a wheelchair…and this surgery allows her to do more of what she wants. Plus she got taller! I should figure out how to add that. I would love to get taller all of a sudden. I’d probably bump into things even more than I already do. Anyway…I wanted there to be a lot of joy in existence in this piece. Not heavy…but joy. Trying to get there. I’m actually considering redoing the head on the right. We’ll see. It’s bugging me, so I will probably have to do that.

Anyway, I can’t do that until I go to school for an early meeting today and then get through all the discovery stuff in classes and who knows what else is on my to-do list. I’m back to 4 or 5 reminder lists and calendars to make sure everything gets done daily. I just typed “enlarge dwg” on my calendar and it autocorrected to “enlarge dog”. I don’t need to enlarge the freakin’ dog. Then the kids come back tonight, although I won’t see them until tomorrow. Hopefully they had fun. One leaves next week and one the following week. I do miss them this week, even though the stress levels go up and at least one is cranky on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s me!

OK, early meeting. Prep for lab. School brain in place. Art brain go sit in a corner and ruminate for a while. You can come out later.

*Beck, The New Pollution