I Feel Your Whisper Across the Sea*

July 19, 2017

I’m back! I know, you didn’t barely notice I was gone. It’s OK. I wasn’t getting much done. Well. That’s not true. I did manage to cut out all the Wonder Under for two quilts BEFORE I paddled a canoe a million miles, thus trashing both hands for a day. But it was for a good cause. And it wasn’t a million miles either.

So. You know I only put pictures on the blog so I can remember what I did…here’s a great shot of the boat trip…IMG_6255 small

And more puppy sleeping. He got pretty tired out up in the mountains. It’s gonna really suck for him when the kids leave…

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I did walk the two dogs on my own even. Shocking. Calli is doing much better…we’re weaning her off her arthritis meds. I’m hoping to be back to my regular dog-walking schedule by the time school starts…

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Which is Way Too Fucking Soon. I swear. More about that later.

I finished this, which is block 10. I sewed it to block 9 yesterday. More about those later too.

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This was my starting set of tiles in Scrabble. I did use both the Q and the Z, but there’s still some drama over my use of the word zed. Whatever. Scrabble accepted it.

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I didn’t win at Clue or Scrabble, but I was much closer at Scrabble. Mostly because of the word quips.

There was a lot of sleepiness.

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But here’s one quilt completely cut out of Wonder Under on Sunday night and I did another Monday night. Pretty good. Yes, I had already started both of them. Minor issue.

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After the bed disaster of Sunday night, I chose the couch (and this view) for Monday night. Much more comfortable. Well. Until dog incursion.

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I didn’t get into the kayak, but the others did. I canoed. Here’s girlchild, waiting on us to get the canoe in the water…

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And boychild the day before…

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I like the open kayaks better, but this one is easy to control…way easier than that paddleboard (at least standing). See! Evidence I was up! It didn’t last long.

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Oh well…no photos of my falling, unfortunately.

Simba likes the shade of Grandpa.

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The weather was good, a little warm and sunburnt, but that’s my fault for not successfully sunscreening myself. Some people were smart and wore hats. I should be that smart.

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Nah. He’s not spoiled.

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I did this every night…mostly on the right side. Not sure I could tell you what I did. French knots? Some other stuff?

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I drove home yesterday and was enthusiastically greeted by cats. I’m trying to prep the next month of blocks for the Folk Tails quilt (Sue Spargo). It’s one of those things I work on when I can’t work on my own stuff.

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But then I decided to sort Wonder Under pieces for the Long Skinny…with or without Midnight’s help. Because it has 1320 pieces, I need a box for each 100 pieces (that’s 14 boxes. Yes. I math.). Most of them are numbered already on a small piece of tape, but I often am using boxes for something else, so sometimes I have to renumber them. Fourteen boxes is easy to find…it’s when I go up to twenty that I have issues.

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No, I don’t own stock in Rubbermaid. Anyway, here they are all laid out. I had to keep pushing Midnight over. I was watching King Charles III, which was interesting. A prediction of how it might go if Charles becomes king when the Queen dies. The verse from the original play is in this adaptation, which makes it reminiscent of Shakespeare in many ways. I was intrigued.

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So then I started sorting. It took over an hour to sort them all. Some idiot (me) made a lot of really tiny pieces.

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There they are all sorted, now ready to be ironed onto fabric, which hopefully starts today. Realistically? Tonight.

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I have one piece with no number (bottom right), but I’ll figure it out. And I have to choose a background fabric. And finish organizing a bit in here. I was cleaning out DVDs and I need to finish that. Maybe 20 minutes? It’s not the only thing on my list for the day unfortunately. Because I’m freaking out about school, trying to prep for the first week or so, plus the first unit. I can’t remember what we did at the end. I know we copied stuff. I just don’t remember what. Sigh. My co-teacher was organized and did it already. But I had way too much other copyediting and art work the first three weeks after school got out. I’m still trying to get caught up on that.

So once it was all sorted, my brain was in stresslord overdrive (like a time lord, but Nida Powers version…and yes, they can all be female dammit). So I kept sewing things down. That’s my applique thread stash. It’s funny how long ago I bought all those…when I was doing hand applique all the time. So sometime about 27 years ago. Or so. Impressive that they last that long. I don’t use a lot of it any more, but the stash continues. I don’t buy more of it…not even sure where I could get it anymore, since that shop shut down.

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Online, I guess. So here’s what’s done. Well. There’s one unembroidered block in there because it’s sewn to a finished block. So only 8 blocks are done. Let’s see. This is not how they fit together either. Blocks 4 and 5 are on the top left. Under them are blocks 9 and 10. To the right are blocks 20 and 21? I think? Then the bottom row is blocks 1, 2, and 25? I think? So I need to embroider block 5…it’s part of May, which is what I’m sewing together now. Blocks 14 and 15 are the elephants and tree blocks above. They go under 9 and 10.

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But I haven’t sewn the April blocks together yet. I don’t really know why I did them out of order. Maybe because of the 4/5 combo. Whatever. This will take forever, and I’m OK with that. It’s a place to let my head be when the rest is too much. Plus it keeps me awake when I would otherwise try to catch up on all my missed sleep. And I enjoy the embroidery part. I have a wool quilt I designed that may never get made, but I think it’s all cut out even. Huh. I should think about that. In my spare time.

OK. I’m going to get going on something…SOMETHING that I can check off the to-do list. I literally finished NOTHING yesterday. Oh. Wait the sorting. But I didn’t put that on the list. Duh. Seriously, a to-do list with things you can cross off is such a useful practice. It’s incredibly motivating.

*Jason Mraz, Lucky


You Need Something Warm to Embrace*

June 28, 2017

Well all my problems are solved. I have $12.5 million dollars coming from some guy in the Netherlands who’s managing some dead guy’s estate. Of course, he had no living relatives, so I’m obviously the best choice for getting all the money.

Sigh. Morning email check is always a bust. Do you know how hard it is to fall asleep with 22 mosquito bites in unreachable places? Don’t eat outside, I guess…but it was way too hot Monday night to eat inside. Now we pay the price. Here’s Kitten demonstrating what cats do when it’s hot…they get LONGER and FLATTER.

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I can’t do either of those things.

So the good news is that I’ve made it all the way through the book I’m copyediting…one time. Well, more than one time, because I did a bunch of global changes that needed doing. But I only need one more clear read through before I can shove it off my plate (and get paid the rest). That’s a plus.

The other good news is that all of the community quilts are now pinbasted. Today is quilting day. Seriously. When I’m done with this, I’m going to shower and eat and then quilt until I die. And bind until I die. I want this shit done. Gone. Fini. Here’s the two I pinbasted last night…

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My block is in this one.

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My plan is to make it into it’s own small quilt when it comes back. We’ll see. Or I’ll make it again. Whichever.

I branched out with chain stitch last night…on the right…

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And then the girlchild posted this yesterday…

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I do miss her.

So this is one of the reasons I haven’t been able to work on this drawing (well, honestly, it was more a matter of brain power). So I moved the damn cat. Multiple times. She was not happy about it.

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And I worked on the legs…trying to remember to keep it simple, because this is not getting enlarged any more.

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I forgot I wanted a third landmass, so I added that. I briefly considered covering the bit of leg I’d already drawn, but then I didn’t. So this is how drawing decisions are made. Whoops! Forgot that. Damn. Well it will have to do.

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Not sure why one foot is so much bigger. Oh well. It is what it is. I’m not really a perfectionist.

I tossed it on the ground for a different view…

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Still have some leg bits to do, plus the stuff under the feet. But it’s almost done.

Here we are by section…

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I keep adding things up here.

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Even up here…although the top is mostly done. I’m still a bit bothered by the top left. Thinking about it.

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Why are UFOs the only thing that pop into my mind?

So I’ve put in about 2 1/2 hours of drawing once it was enlarged. Honestly, a lot of that is just staring at it and pushing the cat around.

I also had a great idea for the piece I started with the gun in it. So I need to enlarge just the guy and the gun (I started drawing more on there but it sucked). Maybe today? I have a list of errands growing again. Hate errands.

So does Kitten. She avoids them like the plague.

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Then again, she avoids a lot of things, like the grocery store and school and work and cleaning and all that. Speaking of work, we had a flurry of texts going back and forth yesterday as school released the schedule for our first day back, lots of useless professional development. Oops. I’m not supposed to be so cynical, except, Hey You Bastards…I haven’t started my vacay yet. Could you leave off reminding me that I have to go back for a bit? Really?

Yeah. I’m good. I did draw yesterday. That helped. I have to remember that shit when the other shit is getting me down.

*Gnarls Barkley, Smiley Faces


I Can’t Control My Brain*

June 17, 2017

Lost voice has upgraded into sore throat and lost gravelly voice. Well luckily I have no need to talk for the next 55 days.

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OK. Maybe the girlchild will want me to talk when she comes home. Hard to say. Sure that’s on there because I’m looking forward to seeing her…but also because all of my quilts that are currently NOT in exhibits are lying on her bed. And she’ll probably want them to move by then. So that’s a deadline.

I got to school yesterday just after 9 AM. These are in our school garden, managed by one of the teachers…the garden looks great.

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This is my co-teacher’s room…her homeroom was useful and helped her organize all the new materials we got this year by unit. (My homeroom was singularly not useful, but that’s OK…they’re not my homeroom any more.) Our plan was to catalog all of the new materials and old and organize them in cupboards or the prep room by unit, thus saving us headaches and heartaches next year. She’s sitting at Unit 1…my computer is at Unit 2.

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That took a long time. And then there was cleaning up our rooms and trying to decide what to do with a huge pile of old and mostly useless chemicals dumped on us by 8th grade.

The custodial staff stacked my desks and tables in this pleasingly symmetrical formation. Women did this…not men. Just so you know.

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My room as I checked out. Pitiful really. I don’t usually take everything off the walls, but we have been teaching all new standards, so I needed to redo from scratch, now that I know what we teach. Plus we’re going to do it by unit…so if you go back and look at the picture of my colleague’s room, she has fabric rectangles up for each unit.

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I do not have that yet. Hello, Ikea. Later, people. Boychild did help with the take down and clearing out of some stuff I’ve had in here for 8+ years, so that was nice. He might even be around to help me set up…he’s tall and works hard and fast. Useful. If you need someone who’s tall and works hard and fast, let me know…he needs a summer job still.

We were there for over 6 hours, sweaty, tired, exhausted. There were about 10 times when I just wanted to quit, and we didn’t even do the last thing we needed to do. But we had to be out of there at a certain time. I got home and showered and the boychild and I went and got Indian food for dinner. And then I tried to function. I filled in the space around Prosper with a woven stitch and some other stitches, the space between the “e” and the “r”.

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Then because I was trying to finish watching something in here on the computer, I worked on this guy…Palestrina knots all the way around. It seems like a pain in the butt until you get into it, and then it’s easy. I don’t know why Palestrina knots terrify me so much. I’ve done a million of them now.

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And then I finished tracing this one…5 1/2 hours total. There’s some huge and long pieces on the two pieces of Wonder Under on the left.

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Honestly don’t know when I really have time to cut them out. I should be doing so many other things. No really. Not kidding.

Puppy and boychild joined me for a bit…

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He likes to be ON people. Except it’s hot here. Ugh.

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Soon after this, the big dog started vomiting. Which continued for a while. I’ve cleaned up a lot of vomit this morning. I could do without that.

So summer. Hallelujah. Need to make like 3 quilts. Seriously. And copyedit lots. And clean, toss, and organize lots. It’s frightening actually how much needs to be done. Right now, I’m still just taking it a day (hour?) at a time, trying to get some rest and find my brain. We’ll see how that goes.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun


I Feel Summer Creepin’ in*

June 16, 2017

I do have to be at school today…my room is a disaster and my co-teacher’s room is even worse, because we piled up all the new equipment and materials in there by unit, so we could try to organize it today. And plan a bit. We’ll see how that goes. My left eye is still twitching like a bitch (not enough sleep yet) and I have no voice again. But that school year is done. Out. On the ground. It wasn’t an easy one. With no state curriculum, we planned from scratch…and now we have to go back and fix it all.

I got home yesterday and the bank had shut down all my accounts again. It took a short while this time to get it all worked out, but I think the problem was Western Union, which we used to get money to the girlchild, because she needed cash for a car and her bank has no branch locally. But the bank has been remarkably unforthcoming and unhelpful. I finally got access to all the old statements (not sure what the issue was really) by filling out a Gallup poll about my experience that the bank sent me. Hello businesses…just saying sorry goes a long way, but it doesn’t fix stupid practices.

Usually after school is out, it takes me at least a week to be really efficient. We only get 8 weeks, which I realize sounds amazing to y’all, but I just got an email about the professional development I have to do…so if I do that before the year starts, that’s 7 weeks. Plus I’m working for the next two weeks, so that’s 5 weeks. I use this time to catch up on all the stuff I can’t do during the school year, because school sucks up holidays and weekends like a dehydrated puppy. Technically, including weekends, I have 55 days before I have to be back. It does not sound like enough. I know people with other jobs are completely jealous, but just come do my job for a couple of weeks and tell me how you feel about it then. Because it is different. I know that because I did your type of job for the first 13 years…and then I freelanced for a while…and now I’m a teacher AND a freelancer. Ugh.

There are days I wake up or go to bed wishing I could just be an artist full time. I know I can’t…I can’t afford it, obviously. But it would be sooo nice to be able to make art every day without all the other stuff. So the three breaks I get each year? I really try to carve out huge swathes of art time in them so I don’t go crazy. I figure if I’m going to work a job that beats you up so badly, I should be able to have the rest of the time for me.

Yeah. Mostly the first week I’m braindead though.

So I got home and the Threads of Resistance catalog was here with my two quilts and statements…really nicely done.

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These two quilts were made right after one another…I think that’s how the tree ended up in both.

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For those keeping track, I think there are 8 or 9 penises (penii?) between the two quilts. I will not be at the opening for this, because it’s the same day as my Visions opening…

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But maybe I’ll get to see it somewhere. Who knows?

So my mom has been amazing and has booked an Airbnb space for the boychild’s college graduation, which yes, is almost a year away.

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Ithaca is tiny…there’s not a lot of options. It will be my parents, the girlchild, me, and my ex, so it had to be big enough to sleep all of us. Now he has to graduate. (He will.)

It was my quilt class night, so I took all the blocks for the Don’t Shut Up community quilt I’m working on…so I could use Susan’s skills and ingenuity to deal with some of these crazy blocks. The wonders of dealing with quilt blocks from non-quilters…

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We tore some apart, sewed some together, and tried to trim others. Fun stuff. You’ll be seeing more of this over the next two weeks. I have a seam ripper injury from last night though…

I finally pulled this out…did two lengths of thread for the last two nights…on the left side again. A yellowish thread with French knots and lazy daisies in the cretan stitch, and then a pinky-purple thread that turned into green…I did lazy daisies and then some French knots around the other yellow stitches.

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Then I sat there on the couch for a long time, trying to be motivated to do anything. I finally got up and traced.

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I’m almost done. Another hour? At most. Lots of big sweeping sky pieces that use up large pieces of Wonder Under. Seriously, I think there are only 40 pieces left to trace. I’m glad I had this prepped and ready to go, because even though I should really be working on other stuff, I can’t get my head around any of it right now. I will HAVE to pretty damn soon, but I’m OK with yesterday and today being lost days for art and copyediting. Saturday though? Saturday I gotta get my act together and be a freelancer.

Midnight expresses her feelings about that. And being hot.

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Sweet fat kitty. OK. Going to school…but no kids makes that easier. I’m wearing my Ms. Marvel t-shirt on the off chance superpowers might help me today.

*Tom Petty, Mary Jane’s Last Dance


There’s Not a Line Here That Goes with Anything*

June 15, 2017

Today I am dressed like a ninja. Don’t get freaked out. I’m just wearing all black, which I actually do fairly often. BUT…today is the last day of school, I have the same kids for 3 1/2 hours, and I woke up this morning with my voice completely gone.

Oh yeah. Laugh your ass off. I did. Silently. More like my chest moved in a laughlike manner.

So yesterday we took the 7th grade bowling (this is so NOT like taking the skinheads bowling, if you’re old and hip enough to remember that song)…

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There you are…

We have this newish washing machine, and every time I accidentally brush up against it, it turns on and sings a little tune, at which point I tell it to fuck off. I’ve done it twice already this morning.

So after the field trip, we have this lame thing where we end up with kids sitting in our classrooms for almost 2 hours until they can go home. I’ve always thought this was idiotic, much like moving the field trip from the last day of school so kids can experience graduation, one of the most boring events of anyone’s life, is idiotic. But we do it. The first hour was horrendous. So the second hour, I laid down some rules, and it was fine. The field trip was fine…well, as always, exhausting…but definitely better than last year or the year before. All those are good things.

I’m apprehensive about this morning though. Seriously so.

I had a union meeting after…so an exhausting day followed by a meeting. The last one of the year is sometimes in a bar with free food and one adult beverage. Yup. We earned it.

These were clouds painted on the ceiling. I quite like them. Might incorporate them into something.

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Came home and went to book club, because I really liked the book and wanted to see what others thought…the book we were assigned was The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, but it was good enough (once I got through the letters part, which I didn’t like) that I read the sequel, Stiletto, which I actually think is way better.

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I immediately went looking for Book 3, but there’s no mention of it yet. The Rook was his first book…so maybe this is it. I hope not. He certainly set it up for a continuing series. Amazing world-building in these two books. Plus the dichotomy between supernatural powers (however weird-ass they might be) and bio-engineered powers. Although I’m still trying to figure out the reality of the main character in the first book…is she a new person or was her brain just wiped? I need that explained.

I came home and tried to get my head around the upcoming art entries…having gotten another email about another show coming up for one of the groups I’m in. For some, I can use existing stuff, assuming it comes home in time…but I need to potentially make 5 quilts before the end of the year. Ha! OK. I’m getting my head around that.

Then I traced stuff for a while.

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I didn’t have the brainpower to draw by then. Boychild and I talked about music too. And graduation…how to get everyone there. I think we might be camping out for a few days. Yeah, and there was a FaceTime event between me, my SIL, the girlchild, and the boychild…involving three phones and an iPad. Very impressive tech skills.

OK. So today has a social event after school plus quilt class…and I have to go in tomorrow to clean up all the chemicals that 8th grade dumped on us. But otherwise, I’ve almost survived my 14th full school year. Awesome sauce.

*Camper Van Beethoven, Take the Skinheads Bowling


Take Only What You Need from It*

June 14, 2017

It’s funny…I spent a few hours last night trying to destress with drawing, because when I mentally went through everything I needed to do, I couldn’t DO any of them. I was too stressed. Mentally. So I drew. And then as I went to bed, the to-do list slammed back in and made me feel bad for not doing any of it (I actually DID do two of the things on there…but they were pretty low-key). Thanks brain. Appreciate it. In survival mode. Please respect.

Grades are done. Awards are done. Too much drama. Seriously done with it. Today is the field trip. Long day today…union meeting afterwards. Ugh. My classroom is a disaster. The prep room is even worse. Not our fault.

Anyway. It will all be done soon and then I can move on to the to-do list. The copyediting job. The quilts for the show. My own show. It will all work out. Somehow. Got a hike on the calendar already. It’s gonna be OK.

Stars on the top.

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I was trying to get my head around all the upcoming shows again…because another one got added and I’m not sure I can process the theme. But whatever. I’ll figure it out. Kitten was very helpful.

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Really, she was…chirpy cat noises and head butts. It’s a good thing. I have pets for a reason. Well. And they keep needing to be rescued. So I do that.

So I started that one drawing yesterday. It might have made sense to continue on that one. It certainly needs to get done. But then I’m looking at that art list, trying to decide how to handle the shows, whether I have stuff that I can use already or not. And I’m watching some total teen drama show, because I can’t handle much else. And this new drawing pops into my head (actually more than what’s below pops into my head…it’s not done). Just like that. Grab sketchbook, start with the landmass.

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It’s for a show that doesn’t allow nudity, so I’m working with that. Another troubled earth mother I guess. There’s more to come. She might have a whole body…or she might not. I haven’t decided. I have some room at the bottom of the paper. Then I’ll enlarge to as big as I can (it’s a small space)…and then keep drawing down.

Ironically, we’re not teaching climate change next year…but conservation will still pop up. And it’s hard to get this shit out of my head, even if I’m not teaching it.

I feel much better having that all out of my head, and having one of those shows on the list now decided. Yes, I still have to finish the drawing…but this was an awesome, significant start. That was good. Really good. My to-do list brain can shut up.

*MGMT, Kids


Only Gonna Get What You Give Away*

June 13, 2017

I think I could just close my eyes and sleep right here at the desk. I think I slept last night (OK, I know I didn’t the night before…I guess it all catches up with you at some point). I don’t feel awake. Quick, get that first cup of tea down the gullet. The eye is gonna twitch until sometime in July. You know that. It happens almost every year. Especially with what I’ve got going.

The plus? Awards are all done and printed for today’s award ceremony. Only one more day of actual teaching, and it’s only three periods. Anyone can survive that. I hate starting the day feeling like I need a nap though. Brain doesn’t want to stop just because it’s midnight…I have to fight it to sleep. Then waking up is immensely painful.

I finished a bunch of stressful work stuff last night and some art management stuff…I have a quilt that needs to be in Massachusetts by July 1 that is currently in Kentucky. So I had to try to figure out the easiest way to get it there, and it wasn’t by shipping it back to California. OK. Figured that out. Then headed out of the office to this piece…which I use to try to ease my brain into NOT working. I did a variety of stitches, fly and French knots mostly, on the left side, in the cretan stitch on the far left…filler stitching really.

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There will be no sitting on the couch without animals. This one is particularly annoying at the moment, between the cone and the bad-smelling stuff because she really needs a bath and hasn’t been able to have one because of the healing foot. Plus I can’t persuade the two males to do it.

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So then I practiced for summer vacation. Of course, mostly I stared at the paper because I was really tired and totally braindead.

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But there’s a start of something there.

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I think it took an hour just to do that. And there’s a random line off that arm that needs to be gone. I’ll have to see if I can make something out of it.

I’m not entirely sure what the something is, but it’s pen on paper pulling shit out of my brain, and that’s all I can ask for some days.

The Threads of Resistance catalog is available on Amazon…I have two quilts in the show (one of them is currently in Kentucky in Fantastic Fibers)…one is detailed in the 2nd row, left side on the front cover…

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Then one is on the back, 3rd row, third from the left. Yup. That’s a penis. And a uterus. Equal time…

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Not that it happens in real time, right?

OK, well I have to go in early and get some stuff done. Ugh. Have to put away all the stuff that can’t be locked up. Thank you district for wanting to have all the beginning-of-year stuff at our school…adds three hours to my packing up and another three to my unpacking in August. It would be nice to just be able to leave it and trust the teachers not to steal crap, but we can’t do that…especially with all the science materials. Oh well. Three more days with kids.

*Sara Bareilles, Bottle It Up