Elephants and Memes

It’s hard to find the time and energy to make art every day. I know I feel better when I do, but sometimes, things conspire against me. I did not make art yesterday, first time in a long time. I did go to book club and enjoyed the discussion. I loved the book…The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander…

Elephants…radiation…how can you go wrong? My book club is sci fi and fantasy, though, so at first, I was like…wait…did I get the wrong book? It’s not really either…just alternative history, which I guess is sort of fantasy? But not really. Anyway, it’s short, so I might just read it again, and then I’ll probably read Radium Girls just for the fun of it. After I read the YA version of The Martian and the actual book (not the graphic novel) of City of Ember, so we can teach them next year. My co-teacher and I just wrote a proposal to get our team paid for planning cross-curricular units based on the two books. Looking forward to it! Hope it works out.

Anyway, before I ever left for book club, I was sitting on the couch grading…

Grades are due Monday. I’m close to caught up…except for the makeup work. I figure that’s Friday and Saturday. It’ll get done, but I’m not sure how much ELSE will get done. I have a team breakfast this morning and I’m supposed to bring cookies tomorrow morning for the office staff. Today is a clusterfuck of time…pick up quilt from photographer, stitching meeting, make cookies while grading? Or something. I’m already tired. I forgot to sign certificates. I need to remember where I hid the medals. It will all be fine. Eventually it’s all done and you walk out of your classroom into the summer. Kitten was helping me deal with email here…

I think I was putting my Patreon link on my Linked In. Long story, because I don’t really use Linked In. But people do. This weekend, I need to work on the next video for my Patreon. I have a couple of videos of my working on the last drawing, but I want to record the simplified one as well. And I have video of tracing Wonder Under. And the amazing video of me mopping. Very exciting stuff. It is actually. Exciting to me anyway…possibly less so to Kitten…

The assignment I was grading included the kids trying to make a meme about school…

I actually was amused by a few of them. Mostly they just copied from the internet, but a few kids actually used a meme generator or made a meme of their own.

I’m somewhat amused and/or irritated by the kids still trying to turn in late work. All of it was due last Friday. I’m just watching it trickle in and thinking, WTF were you thinking? It’s true I think that a lot with this age group, but especially at the end of the year. You can see why I make so much art…it’s literally a balm to the crazy. A salve for the insanity. A peaceful space in the overwhelming chaos that is my day job. Exactly.

I made my own meme last night after the man came back from his night with the guys and guiltily admitted…

Like holy crap, Batman. What were you thinking? Sigh. He knew he was in trouble already when he said it. I don’t even have time to watch movies right now.

It’s fine. I’m not dying over it. (cough Avengers Endgame cough) I’m really looking forward to having the time to think a little more clearly, plan better, get my hair cut, pee without having to time it, read a freakin’ book! without worrying about whether I can “waste” that time, Sleep IN (hell, sleep at all, because that’s been an issue all week…sleeping like shit right now, hence exhaustion). I was so tired last night that I called Tinder Timber…which I actually think is a much better name for it.

OK. Gotta go feed kids. And then manage the questions about deep throating. And do other things. I will be stitching later though. That’s a plus.

Ducking and Weaving…

I’ve reached that time of the school year when I can’t sleep at night. Especially Sunday nights. Or it’s the damn hot flashes, because they’re back with a vengeance. Could just be that it’s been warm lately. Hard to say. Seems to be stress on some level though. I do all the things you’re supposed to do to alleviate that, but it’s not even enough right now. The quilt got done in time; that was good. I’m not done with grading, but I got a chunk of stuff done this weekend…not a big chunk, but a chunk. I do have a ton of meetings this week, so that will make getting more done a challenge, but it’s a challenge I’ll have to meet. No choice for that.

Even the puppy is cranky right now.

We’ll get over it. In about 9 school days.

So the opening of Indoor/Outdoor was Saturday night. Here’s my favorite wall…with Asa Kvissberg’s Girl in a Suit I, II, and III, my Bigger in the Outside, Helen Redman’s Monster Mama, Moya Devine’s Summer and Rootbeer and Snake Charmer, and Cindy Zimmerman’s Oklahoma Girl in California World…all the colors and shapes seemed to rock together.

I’ll post the rest of the show later this week. It runs through July 2 at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan. My shirt matched my quilt…not on purpose.

This is Phil, waxing poetic about a stick.

Selfie with my art and a stick. At least we amuse each other.

That cleaning thing. This table. It’s driving me nuts. But I don’t have time to deal with it. This is me trying to calendar the week.

I think I got it sort of under control. Ha! Never say that. The universe hears you and comes after you.

This succulent has never bloomed. This year, it did. And wildly.

There will be more!

Too many dogs. We had a morning respite and then they were all back and in my personal space.

I like dogs. It’s OK. Except when it’s hot. It’s not super hot here, but I seem to be running up the temperatures with my own body. Ugh.

I drew this thing that stuck in my head the other day.

I’m going to draw a simpler version of it for an embroidery pattern, I think. MUCH simpler.

Sleepy cat.

I didn’t sleep well. Ugh. It’ll be fine. I’m just going to be tired until late June. Then maybe I won’t be. We’ll see.

Someone I know visited my show in Pittsburgh and took this picture to show me the subway station…so all these people walk past them every day.

I hope some of them stop and look.

I got the first email from a student this morning begging for extra credit. Ye who did not do your missing work? Oh hellz no.

OK week. You can’t get me. I’m ducking and weaving.

Letting Them Choose…

I’m getting antsy for the end of the school year. I need it. There’s only 9 days left with kids and I have a thousand things to do, but I can feel it now, tickling at my brain. And you know what’s it’s saying? CLEAN. You need to CLEAN. Seriously, brain, WTF. I don’t have much time for cleaning and getting rid of stuff during the school year, it’s true. Other things get priority. So the kitchen table is a freakish disaster. So is the desk near my light table. The office is OK at the moment. I did a purge over Spring Break, but it always needs work. I bought an organizer last summer to help with that. Ha. Laughing. Because it’s still empty and there are piles around it. Uh huh. Oh yeah. One more time. Cleaning is not my favorite. But too many piles bug me. So I’ll have to.

I have to reign my brain in, remind it that there is a ton of grading left and I need to get a bunch of other stuff done and I still need to fix the sink. Sigh. OK. I HEAR YOU. I also want to get a chaise lounge on the deck and lie out there with the birds and the sun and the dogs and just draw, dammit. A lounge chair and a little table. I have both somewhere. I need a pad for the chair. And ROOM for the chair. I can do this. And plants everywhere. I dream of lounging!

First…grades. Grade, woman. You need to grade.

Good news…I spent 4 hours last night trying NOT to fall asleep (I was so tired) and hand-sewing the binding on. Normally it wouldn’t have taken that long, but I was really tired.

I hate all my hand-sewing needles. I broke my needle threader, so I need a new one. These holes are too freakin’ small. The larger-holed needles are too thick and don’t slide through easily. Ugh.

But I finished. It goes to the photographer today. A week early! I rock.

I bought all these when I bought the binding.

I can’t just buy one. It’s impossible. I never do. I try to think about what I need, what I lacked in the last one, when I buy stuff. For the sleeves, I used up that really dark blue on the bottom…it was from the background of some other quilt. I didn’t have enough of the backing or the background on this quilt for the sleeves. I do try to use stuff up. It’s always my goal.

Tonight is the opening of Indoor/Outdoor at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan…my piece Bigger in the Outside will be there…

I’m looking forward to the show. First I have to find food to take with me though. The Barrio Art Crawl is happening this weekend too, and there’s a trolley you can ride around the area to get to each of the shows. I’ll probably have to hang out with the exhibit, but it sounds like a good opportunity to see what Barrio Logan brings to the art world. I’ve certainly spent a lot more time down there since the artists left downtown and Hillcrest areas due to landlords upping the rent. Seems like they’re doing that in Barrio Logan now too, with a couple of art spaces closing due to increasing rents. We bring in the peeps and then y’all decide it’s a good place to be and up the rent and kick out all the art spaces. Seems stupid. Annoying. Capitalism needs the arts…some day maybe it will figure that out.

But for now, we’re still able to exhibit down there, so come down! There will be another opening of the Swedish contingent of this show at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park on the 23rd from 2-4 PM. And there’s a printmaking workshop, Patchwork Made of Graphic Art, to be led by one of the Swedish artists, Cecilia Uhlin, Thursday, June 20, from 1-5 PM. I’m still teaching that day.

I’ve been refraining from signing up for art workshops. My brain wants feeding, apparently. But does it need it? At $1000 for the workshop, plane ticket, place to stay, food? Nah. Probably not. But I signed up for one local workshop in July. One is good. I want to branch out this summer, try some new ways of making. Just because. I think it’s good to stretch. I also want to make a big quilt about abortion. But before I do that, I’m making a smaller piece. My Patreon community will be picking which one of five I’ll be doing. I’ll know by Sunday night. Here’s some detail shots of what they’re deciding…

Basically I can’t decide which one to do next. My brain is fuzz.

If you want to help decide, be a patron. Only $1 a month would let you see this post and video. The link is here.

I could do any of them.

That one is backwards. I don’t even know how.

Yes, I have this many things lying around, waiting to be made. So it’s kind of cool to not know what’s coming next.

I entered another show last night…and there’s some others coming up. I probably should look at that to see if I’m interested. Although I think I want a break from prescribed themes. I want to just make my stuff. So I’m going to do that.

Anyway, I’ve got errands and I need food and I need to get this quilt ready to go. Here’s Calli getting brushed last night.

She’s not sure she likes it. They all have knots and extra fur and ticks and just crap in their furbodies. So we’ve been dealing with it. Makes me want to shave my head. The ticks especially. OK. Need to get going. Enjoy your weekend! I’m going to enjoy at least part of mine.

The Life I Left Behind Me Is a Cold Room*

Yesterday was a really long day, but it’s interesting…I felt much more relaxed about it than usual, because we had a nice leisurely lunch…one of the pluses of the testing days is that we can go get lunch and then eat it together and hang out, instead of rushing to pee and eat and get ready for the next class in about 25 minutes. So going from an 8 AM meeting to the end of a 6 PM meeting was doable. Although that later meeting had some weird shenanigans. You know there are some people where I spend way too much time trying to figure out their motives and probably I should just hope they get fired, because that would make more sense. But besides that, it was a fairly productive day. I mean, I could have graded more things during testing, but I was focused on clean up, so I sorted a pile of the paper cash we use for kid awards. I did some other things too, but mostly clean up instead of grading. I will always be behind on grading, until I’m not, because the school year is over. So that’s a thing.

When I was leaving the district office after the last meeting, I wanted to walk. I have my parents’ dog here right now, and she is a needy beast. The boychild had already left with the other two dogs, so it was just going to be me and Katie, which is fine. I leashed her up, and we went out, and there were two incidents with dogs off leash. I don’t care how awesome your dog is…unless you have control over it, please don’t let it off leash. Mine is leashed for a reason…she’s an asshole on walks. Better than she used to be, but she’s aggressive. So she’s leashed. Sigh.

Because we both needed a walk. There were tiny baby bunnies frozen everywhere.

Blurry because it was a ways away, but frozen!

It was late…I didn’t leave until 6:20 or so. But the sun goes down later than it used to. This is a walk I do from the house, so it’s really just wild areas in between housing. It seems safer when it’s closer to dusk…less likely to run into a coyote.

Right after this picture was when I realized a pit bull was stalking us. I yelled. He/she left. Good one.

So I made it home and the pug who attacked earlier was inside this time (sigh). I made dinner and the girlchild called and then I was reading email and saw this picture…

This was pulled from video…that’s a bobcat. On the street behind us. Where I was just walking Katie. Nice. Well, we don’t hear about bobcat attacks much around here. Mountain lion and coyote, sure…and I’ve seen two bobcats since I’ve lived here, but not near the house. Well. Nature finds a way to survive. Always.

Anyway. Then I trimmed the quilt…

I hate quilting more than I need to…this was a fussy size. I hate it when things have to be an exact size. I’m always sure I’m going to fuck it up.

So I measured about a million times. I sewed on the binding and sleeves…just need to sew it all down by hand. Tonight probably. And finish the Patreon video, so I’ll know what to work on next. Because I’m going right into the next one. This stuff is stress release at the moment as well as artmaking. First, though, there’s dropping off the car for some brake work and teaching unplanned pregnancies and not having a relaxing long lunch and probably grading some stuff. I’m looking forward to the weekend…I will get a lot done and sleep in and have an opening with one of my pieces. All good.

This song has been stuck in my head since last night…I’m not sure why, but just gonna let it roll.

*Sarah McLachlan, Sweet Surrender

Come and Open Up Your Folding Chair Next to Me*

I am so close to done. With a quilt. Not school. That’s why I stayed up late (again). I finished the quilting last night. I can’t show it to you yet. But it looks cool. Tonight I’ll trim it and put the binding on. I’m emailing the photographer…right…now. OK. That’s done. Now I have to finish it. I love forced motivation. OK, I really do want it done, because I want to work on something I can SHOW you.

Plus, I’m looking forward to having my Patreon pick the next one. I edited the video together last night and just need to add some titles or something. Every time I do this, I learn something new about video editing. This time, it was how to rotate the video. I still need to figure out how to fill the screen with it, but that’s tonight maybe. Well, let’s be honest…I have math testing again today, and this time, I get back the hellion who’s been gone the last three days of testing, and then I have science curriculum training for 2 1/2 hours after school. Which currently sounds semi-torturous, but maybe I’ll feel better about it at the time. Unlikely.

Last night, I had a union meeting. I was filling out a lease application to co-sign for the girlchild at the same time, and wondering yet again at when I might be able to stop paying for my kids. I think the answer is a long time from now. As I’m staring at the hole in my kitchen counter and trying to figure out how to fix it long term. No stress. So the house needs work. I literally cannot deal with that right now. Remove old grout, caulk between the sink and the counter, find tiles that will fit, trim them to really fit, adhere, and grout. Not happening until June 21st. Well. I can do some of that before then, but it needs to dry out, and that’s not happening either.

I’m going to try to finish the Patreon thing tonight…but it will probably be tomorrow night, posting Saturday morning. So that’s a little behind my self-imposed schedule, but the reality right now is that school is kicking my butt.

And then there’s these guys…

That’s Katie…my parent’s dog. They’re in Seattle at my nephew’s middle school graduation. Calli is never really sure about Katie. In this photo, Katie is yowling. Really that’s the only way to explain it. She sings. In dog. She’s very excited when new people come home. Or go to the mailbox and come back. Or get up in the morning.

She’s a good guard dog, although very nervous.

Will you come back? Will you? We always do, Katie. We always do.

I am totally holding dog treats in my hand here.

Because otherwise, they’re throwing their doggie bodies all over the place. This makes them pay attention.

OK, there’s 11 days of school left. I will be done with grading at some point (I did a bunch of that yesterday too). I will have my sanity back at some point (it usually takes a week or two after school gets out). Today will not be that day. At all. But I have an early meeting today, so let’s start with that and get on with the rest of it.

*Regina Spektor, Folding Chair

And Then It Got Better…

Well. When your stress levels are high? Organize your photo files. Seriously. Your brain will start to shut down and refuse to stay awake. It’ll be like, this is the most boringest thing EVER. Which explains why my photo files are NOT organized. Like from 2014 on. It’s patchy. The J months are a mess. I mean, I organize every day I download stuff, which is pretty often because of this blog. But then they stay in those daily folders. I prefer to have all the photos of a quilt together, all the animal pix together, etc. But then when I’m looking at a photo of a box of trimmed quilt pieces from 2014, I have no freakin’ idea which quilt it is sometimes. So then I’m staring at the quilts I finished that year and trying to figure out which one I was working on in June 2014. Pain In The Ass. Then again 2014 was kind of a fucked up year. And then it got better.

That’s my mantra for the last 13 days of the school day: And Then It Got Better.

Staff meeting. Shorter than usual. Slightly stressful to think about some of the stuff for next year. Back to no food or peeing for 3-plus hours in the morning. Not ideal. Sigh. Although my co-teacher has to run across campus twice in that time, so I guess at least I don’t have that. It will all be fine. It’s a long way away. (Not really) The plus is that the meeting got done early, so I could kamikaze to the quilt store and buy binding. It’s in the dryer, so I don’t have a picture. I remembered to turn the dryer on at 12:30 AM. Electricity is cheaper then anyway. I hate our new electricity usage plan. The times I’m home and awake are the most expensive. It totally fucks over anyone with a standard day job. It’s not even cheaper on the weekends. So I’m constantly doing laundry at 9 PM at night. And I can’t cook dinner except during those hours.

So I got binding fabric…because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go until Friday, and even that might be questionable. I did quilt last night…although I had 17 thousand things to do first. As always. I hooped this one…

She’s going to travel with the store for a while. You can get her pattern (and others) at Global Artisans…rumor has it that kits are also available. I’m designing 6 more over the summer.

Oh yeah, before I ever did that, I walked dogs…and myself…and the boychild.

The weather was a lot cooler than I had expected…

This dove…just sitting there.

The plants are still crazy tall…

But not tall enough to hide the two guys getting naked in the brush. Um. Guys. There’s poison oak down there. Hmmm.

Well. We tired her out.

That was while I was quilting. I only have one section left to quilt and then the background…not much. I should be able to finish tonight. Then trim and bind. This week! The next three days are full of school work though…four different meetings before and after school. Ugh. (And then it got better)

Here’s the quilt waiting for me…

Morning light on the backing. First I’m going to go teach the remainder of the pregnancy stuff, plus do tutoring. Then I’ll get the rest done. Last night, both eyes were twitching. Too much. Too much. Breathe in and out. Deeply. Slowly. Shit. I don’t have a plan for homeroom. Fuck. OK. Off this and onto the job stuff.

Because I’ve Forgotten…

I was so ready to be in bed by midnight last night, and then the girlchild texted that she heard someone in her house. She’s subletting and she’s been the only person there for the last week or so. There are supposed to be other people in there this summer, but she wasn’t expecting them this early or at 3 AM. So she’s freaking out, and now I’m freaking out. I almost called the cops for her, but some frantic texting later finds that it really is the kid who is supposed to show up 4 days from now. Oh good. Sigh. So that made my brain hit overdrive. The plus is that I got my laundry folded in the meantime, during said texting. She was worried that she would call the cops and it would sound crazy. I tried to tell her there’s nothing crazy about a woman by herself in a house hearing a noise at 3 in the morning. Hell, I called the sheriff on a raccoon. To my credit, it was a freakishly huge raccoon and it was making people sounds. Long story. Plus I had three dogs going bazonkers at the time. I’ve spent a large part of my adult life living alone, and I get what she’s saying. It’s why I like dogs. Anyway, I’m glad she now has a housemate, although an incommunicative one apparently.

I took on a copyediting job for “August sometime”. It’s an author I’ve worked with before, so I’m pretty clear on what the tasks will be, but the timing is not ideal. Early August? OK. Late August? Yikes. But I need the money to pay off the kids’ college portion for which I am responsible. And I’d rather have that done sooner than later. As it is, I’m supposed to be paying some of the boychild’s off, and I haven’t had the money. Maybe once I get into the summer and see how much cash I have, I can pay off part of it. Most of it will come from the sale of an art quilt the end of the summer. Unless some other disaster happens that I don’t know about. I need to sell my car this summer too, which is going to mean a loan for a newer one. Fun stuff.

So where am I at on the quilt? Not as far as I’d liked. It is what it is…yesterday was inordinately busy.

I’m about halfway through the outlining. It’s not taking long, but I haven’t had long either. I needed to finish grading an assignment last night so I could calculate awards and input grades and get stuff out of my hair. So I did that. I went to a bonfire in the middle of all that where we burned the question box cards from the sex ed unit…it was a little early for this year’s cards, but my co-teacher had all her cards from last year. We read them out loud and it’s amusing.

I did quilt eventually…it was just almost 11 PM.

Even though I’m not done, I pulled it off the machine because I need binding fabric and this week is a clusterfuck for getting out of work at a reasonable time. The store closes at 5 and that isn’t going to happen on Tuesday-Thursday. There is supposed to be a 2-hour staff meeting today, but I’m hoping he releases us early, so I can kamikaze over to the quilt shop. I’m pretty sure I can finish the quilting well before Friday, and that’s the next available time to go to the quilt store. If not, there’s a store closer to me that is open until 5:30, but they don’t have as many fabrics…it’ll do if it has to, but I prefer the other place.

In other news, I have a random water leak under the sink that I can’t locate. It might be the tea kettle leaking, so I replaced that. It might be the garbage disposal or a pipe, but I haven’t been able to locate the actual leak. I can’t really call a plumber if it’s just water dripping past the sink because the tile is all gone. I don’t really know what to do about that. I replaced it all once, but couldn’t get it to stay permanently…it’s a very wet part of the kitchen and eventually everything decayed away again. I can’t really afford to replace it all…but maybe I will just have to do that, even though my whole kitchen is a 1977-era disaster and needs major work. I’ve been piecemeal replacing things for years…the oven is on its last legs. The microwave is at ankle height. It’s just a shit storm. I figure once I get college paid off, I can start on the house. Anyway. Maybe I need to just learn how to make a concrete counter from some DIY YouTube video and that’ll be the solution. Who knows. My summer is already a mess.

Here’s a cat though…

She was watching me quilt. This is why there are two chairs in my office. One for me and one for a cat. Sometimes. Sometimes she wants to be in the same chair I’m in.

And here’s a sleepy puppy. Who is not a puppy at all. He’ll be 3? in September. I think he’s 3.

His adorable face is what keeps us from killing him when he barks at 3 AM. Which he’s been better at lately.

Anyway, today I start videos about pregnancy (fun stuff), then we have testing for two days, and then I teach about birth control. In my personal world, I need to put together my first Patreon video for June (it’s in parts right now), plus do some drawing, and finish this quilt. I’m sure there are other things on my calendar that I’ve forgotten about right now (post office, sharps disposal, library book, exercise, dog walking, grading)…but hopefully I’ll remember them before too late. If you asked me to do something and I didn’t, feel free to remind me. Because I’ve forgotten.