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

Tell by the Way That You Switch and Walk*

September 1, 2018

I’m posting a little late today, because honestly, I didn’t do anything last night except try to finish my book because it’s overdue (I didn’t finish it yet, and now two more are at the library to pick up…the horror!) and cook dinner and import a bunch of email addresses for school and try to make sense of what my students typed in the form in the first place. Oh my. I’m not done with that mess. Although it was better than typing them all in myself.

But after a decent night’s sleep, I was ready to do some art stuff. Although then I remembered the hand stitching that I was going to do on the quilt I dropped off at the photographer’s last night. Whoops. Oh well.

Actually, here’s what I did in class yesterday…the first unit cover page for the new year.

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How to alternately scare and fascinate your students in one go! Yeah!

Then I worked on this again. More embellishment of balls. Remember how I was going to do 3 a night and be done at the end of July? Yeah I remember that too.

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Laughing hysterically at that one. I was also going to quilt that wool quilt…and honestly, I need to take my machine in. In fact, I should call about that right now. Hmmm.

OK, I called. She’s going in this week. The feed dogs refusing to stay dropped is what persuaded him. Cool.

Meanwhile, I enlarged a drawing that I originally thought needed redrawing, but now I think it just needs more. Then I taped it together this morning…

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Looked at the size, since there are limits…

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And added some to the bottom and the left (needed room for the tree’s leaves)…

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Then debated, and added some more to the top. I’ve got some drawing to do now.

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So I started.

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It needs to percolate in my head more. My nature friend Julie is currently wracking her brain for what animal I just drew. Who knows? It’s fuzzy or spiky and has naked legs and a naked tail and a pointy little nose. And it likes cherries. Who doesn’t like cherries? Well…half my household, that’s who. Or some of them only like maraschino cherries, which make me gag. So there’s that. But y’all know I totally made up that animal.

OK, the plan for today involves wineries. So that’s good. It may or may not be conducive to drawing. Hard to say. But this quilt is gonna get a significant start this long weekend, that’s for sure. I also need to clean up and pack 4 quilts and 2 boxes for the Soka show that will open in September. Yikes. That’s work. Plus deal with all those emails. Sigh.

*Violent Femmes, Gone Daddy Gone

Needlework and Seedlings*

June 1, 2018

Tired is catching up with me and passing me on the right, cutting me off so I slow down, and then speeding up to beat me to the finish line. It’s hard NOT to stay up late…I haven’t gotten more than 6 hours any night this week. Some of that is just that my brain keeps going at 900 miles an hour no matter what. Some of it is trying to get everything done. Ah stress and lack of sleep…the things my doctor keeps flipping out over…like I can control those. TEN DAYS OF SCHOOL LEFT. Yeah. That. I’m feeling much better about grades getting done, but I still have a ton left to do. Just not as big of a ton. Some of the not sleeping is that little dog barking his mad head off in the middle of the night…I don’t know what animal is out there, but it was big enough to set off the motion-sensor lights this time. Assholes. And the mockingbird is back, but this is a new one. It sounds like mockingbird-on-crack. Pillow over head. Ugh.

I am SOOOO looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning and Sunday morning. Wake me up and I kick your ass. Unless you’re a dog. Because I don’t hurt dogs. I just get irritated with them. And honestly, probably we need to do a better job of getting the little one tired at night. Next week. Next week when I don’t have to be up early every damn morning. My principal has threatened an additional meeting next week. I’m hoping he forgets. Is there a voodoo spell for principals forgetting shit?

Weirdest question in sex ed this year (I teach 7th graders about reproduction etc every year) was “Do you have to do The Sex every time you want a baby?” Um. Well. OK. Yes. And let’s explain human nature and The Sex a little bit. It must be a girl asking? Or a very scared boy?

So I came home and entered an exhibit and ate some leftovers and installed a new Tivo (yeah well, I guess I made that decision) and then sat and finished cutting out Wonder Under…6 1/2 hours total. Pretty much the same as the last one.

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I was hoping to save some time on this one…not. Then I set up to sort them, because it was only 11 PM. The big box at the bottom is all the pieces, and then each of the smaller boxes is only 100 pieces…it makes it easier when I go to iron if I’m dealing with only 100 pieces at a time. My process after a million years of doing it this way…it’s pretty efficient actually.

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Forty minutes and one glass of wine to sort all 904 (plus or minus who knows how many) pieces…

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In bed by 12:15? Not bad compared to most of this week…definitely feeling it this morning though. Tonight I can start ironing to fabric. Based on the last quilt, that took about 12 hours. Yikes. OK…I need to go faster. I can do 3 or 4 hours tonight. I know we will want to do some fun stuff tomorrow at some point…but if I can get 3 or 4 hours in tomorrow and finish up on Sunday (shee-it, when are you planning on grading shit, Nida? SHHHHHH. Quiet. I’ll figure it out. I have a plan. Maybe.). Need to be focused. Like a fucking laser.

Calli asking for some kind of attention. I think she’s got another UTI…sigh. Poor old lady. Her girl parts are kinda freaky for UTIs.

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Hopefully she’ll be going to the vet today.

OK, so I have a plan…I am so SO looking forward to being done with school so I can sit somewhere and relax with my sketchbook without feeling like I’m supposed to be doing 17 other things. I don’t know when that will happen, but hopefully soon.

*Iron & Wine, Faded from the Winter

So Better Take the Keys and Drive Forever*

May 23, 2018

So I’m set up to deliver the last quilt to the photographer on Thursday, so he can work his magic over the weekend. The deadline is next week, so I’m good. Then I’m going to fly out to see the boychild graduate. It’s a weird feeling to get to that point, not as weird as sending him off to college in the first place, but certainly feeling like OK, that’s it (except it’s not…it never is). I’m proud of him, of both my kids. They work hard. Neither is perfect, but they adult well…hopefully the next steps will work out for them, for what they want. That’s the hard part, though…looking back at my own existence. There were times when the shit was easy, and there were times when stuff was amazing, but there’s hard stuff too. Life is just that. How to get the moments of joy or even just peace out of having to work for a living and clean up cat poop and rush to the hospital and get cars fixed. All that crap. I’m trying to deal with some life insurance stuff, and honestly, I think it’s not really an issue right now, and it’s certainly not something I NEED to deal with while I’m trying to get through the end of school, but try explaining that to insurance agents. Whatever. I just don’t answer the phone (I can’t answer the phone during the day most of the time anyway). I’ll deal with it over the summer. Same with the lawyer I need to talk to. And a bunch of other stuff. It’s hard to look at your kids though and want them to have an easier time of it…it’s not something I can control…can’t even control my own life. I guess there’s a drawing or 10 hiding in that.

I woke up with a monster of a headache and realized I was running out of meds for that. Ugh. Nice start. Early meeting today and then math testing, science meeting, Apple store to try and deal with my dying battery issue. Long day. Come home, dehair and iron the newest quilt and pack it up for the photographer. Buy pain meds. Pack for the trip. Write sub plans. Watch about 5 1/2 hours of videos of students.

But meanwhile, there’s another deadline. There are always deadlines. I should find a way to get them out of my head. Although I’ve been making some amazing pieces on deadlines lately. I wonder if the frenetic need to make is related to work stress. Probably. My reaction is to come home and put my head in art-brain space. I’ve been averaging 15-20 hours a week of art since Spring Break. That’s on top of my 60-hour-a-week job. Yeah. A little nuts. But those 15-20 hours are the ones that keep me sane at this time of year.

So I had already started tracing this one a few weeks back…not sure why…just needed a break. Or I was already mentally debating quitting on the first one, because I didn’t think I could finish it. And then I finished it. So I was already in the 200s in tracing, which is good. I keep forgetting to keep track of where I stopped, but I know last night I finished the legs, did the pubic area, and then the entire abdomen area, intestines and all.

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I just started the third yard of Wonder Under. I found 8 pieces I hadn’t numbered…they’re now lettered. But I also found a skip from 370 to 380…so there’s 10 pieces that don’t exist. My brain sometimes…I made it into the 500s. I think there’s only 800 and something pieces in this, so I could finish tonight…maybe. Like I said, long day, already got the headache. But there’s a chance of finishing. I traced for 2 1/2 hours tonight. More realistically, I will probably finish tomorrow night and start cutting out, although tomorrow, I need to go to bed early, so I can get up before it makes sense, fly across the country, and see my kids.

This is what it looks like late at night when Calli wants you to get up and take her out to pee. She sits there until you do it.

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She is a good girl.

This is what I’ve been dealing with in sex ed.

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I’m still trying to figure out how Yes Means Yes is math. Either he’s a genius or he has a massive learning disorder. I actually do know which it is…I’m just still boggling over that one and the card where a kid asked me if once you had the sex to make the baby, if you wanted another baby, did you have to do the sex again.

Boggled. Absolutely boggled.

Taking my headache to school, where hopefully it will run off in terror.

*Aimee Mann, Humpty Dumpty

A Nuclear Error, but I Have No Fear*

May 22, 2018

OK, well I managed to finish the current quilt last night, fully two nights earlier than I thought. Basically everything took less time at the end than I thought it would, which is interesting, because the earlier stages seemed slower than similar quilts of that size. It’s all a crapshoot…all the time I keep track of helps me estimate, but it’s never reality. That’s sort of the lesson I get out of life…you can guess what might happen, but life does its thing no matter what.

But first, we walked the dogs…they always need the exercise. So do I. These flowers are out again…they like it damp.

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Someone left this by the trail…

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After dinner, I sewed bindings and sleeves on for about 2 1/2 hours to finish.

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There was a lot of sleeping going on around me.

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Only three of the four come out here to sit. And that little gray one wanted to be ON the quilt. I said no. Pins in your butt, cat.

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Eventually the two smaller ones left, but the big old lady was tired. And I finished the handwork.

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I knew this one needed some ink…so I added that. Although now, looking at the picture, there’s more to do on that.

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More cat butt. Cats are funny about whatever you’re working on…need to be right on it or in front of it.

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Anyway, it’s done…and now I have to realistically see (or not so realistically, honestly) if I can finish the next one in time. I sort of mapped out time…and then laughed hysterically. Anyway, my plan is to get all the Wonder Under traced this week…and maybe start cutting it out. We’ll see. I’m also supposed to be grading stuff…but we had a major issue realized Sunday night about the websites the kids did. Hopefully we can fix that today quickly (ugh) so I can grade those. Not Panicking. Not Panicking.

I have work showing in Sweden, opening this weekend, part of the Feminism Now show that’s been here in San Diego and up in Los Angeles…mine is the top left…


So if you’re in Stockholm, check it out. I’m not in Stockholm, but a few of the artists are…


One of the things we taught yesterday as part of puberty was in response to the Santa Fe, Texas, shooting. If someone says no, then you’re not entitled to keep harassing them. I also taught about incels…and talked a little about what to do if you are feeling the way that kid must have felt to shoot people because a girl wouldn’t go out with him. Or what to do if your friend is really angry like that. TELL TELL TELL. Or snitch, as my kids call it. I didn’t gender the anger, but saw this quote later…

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This world is really difficult sometimes. Especially when you’re trying to get a bunch of 12-year-olds out of vengeance mode…it’s something I’ve heard from them for the last week. If someone does something to them, like bullying, their response is to get back at them. I realize they’re still kids, but y’all need to get out of the video game and into human reality sometimes. And yeah, it’s mostly boys…a couple of girls, but mostly boys. Large disturbed sigh.

Today? Today is long. Teaching menstruation and ejaculation (oh my!) and then a science meeting and then at some point, I’ll be tracing Wonder Under. That’s a long way away though.

*The Clash, London Calling

Crawling in My Skin*

April 10, 2018

First day back to school after two weeks went just about how you would expect. Some kids still asleep. Some kids obviously got no attention for days and were so excited to be back where there were lots of people. And all the teachers. Well, we’re here. State testing is coming up…it’s when you look at the group of kids you personally will be testing with for four days and wonder how you will keep them going. I rely on cheese and crackers and juice boxes personally. Plus a lot of coloring pages. One year, I had a lot of small plastic animals that I gave out. Whatever works.

It did mean that I came home (after dropping my car at the car guy’s place, because although the check engine light had been on since Petrified Forest, it went off yesterday morning…it’s OK, it was back on by the afternoon) and I collapsed. Well. I didn’t. I played with dogs and petted needy cats and cooked dinner and THEN I collapsed. Eventually, and honestly, it took a long while, I got off my butt and did stuff. Sometimes I think knowing I will have to write the next day and own what I did (or didn’t) do is what gets me moving…which is fine. Motivation is motivation.

We started a new unit yesterday, so I drew…although honestly, I was kind of haphazard about it…

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It’s done. That’s all that matters.

When I got home, there was a lovely package from Beth, thanking me for sending her all my trashy bits from the last three quilts…these will be beautiful in my flesh stash…very subtle and wonderful texture…

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In my mail was this…which I finally opened…

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And saw my quilt! If you want to hear me talk about this, it’s this Saturday at 2 PM at the Branch Gallery in Los Angeles.

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Unfortunately, the show is closing this Saturday, not continuing into May. Long stupid story on that one. The quilt to the left is Charlotte Bird’s…

Part of my couch collapse still involves trying to sew all 96 balls on this thing. I don’t feel too bad, though, because I just saw someone posting that they had just finished this. It’s not just me!

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I’m working my way around, one color at a time. I think I have 2 1/2 colors left, not that it means anything, because I can’t remember how many colors there were in the beginning…6 or 7? I just don’t know. It’s an endless twisting around, seeing if there’s another one that’s the same color (and some of them are pretty damn similar, if you ask me). And then I get to embellish all 96 of them. We could be here for a while.

Then sitting around on the couch, staring at stupid memes and crappy news until that drove me off the couch. I have two deadlines in June…I tried drawing for one of them Sunday night, and it’s not coming together. I have another drawing started that might work for that…but that meant pulling stuff off the piano (of course…don’t you keep all your half-done drawings on your piano?), and I wasn’t in the mood. So I picked the one that has to be an exact size and cut a piece of paper for that. I stared at it for a long time. And then started sketching in the shape of a body…you can clearly see that here.

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Or not. I don’t always use pencil, but when I do, it usually requires a lot of erasing and redrawing. Honestly, it’s hard to fit something into a shape this long and narrow without a lot of erasing and redrawing. Luckily, at some point, I decided everything from the knees down was good enough. I’m not done with this section, but I have a solid start.

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I’ve been trying those white-out things that have the strip you sort of swipe on the ink. I like it because it’s not bumpy, but it doesn’t do well in this situation. It’s coming up too easily…not sticking to the paper in a decisive manner. Ugh. Back to the liquid stuff? Maybe.

Anyway, expect to see this drawing for a while. I sit there telling myself to keep it simple (ironic…the bones aren’t even in there yet), and then I give them fingernails. Tiny little fingernails. Totally unnecessary fingernails. Ah well. I’m sure there’s a good reason for that. Things I draw automatically…fingernails…kneecaps…uteri.

Meanwhile, did I grade anything yesterday? Nope. Not really. Oh well. OK, gotta go to school again. Although all I really wanna do is work on that drawing. That’s good actually…it means it’s starting to talk to me. So that in itself will drag me off the couch, even if I’m tired.

*Linkin Park, Crawling

A Spider Web Is Tangled Up with Me*

February 23, 2018

Yeah that’s a virus inhabiting my head. Dammit. I need a voice on a lab day. I need my head straight. Fuzzy and compromised. Scratchy. Sigh. OK. It’s Friday. I’m a little on the irritated side. Hopefully the lab will go well anyway. I don’t remember how we did this last year. We need warm water but not hot water and I remember 2nd period didn’t work hardly at all…and then we figured out some trick for the later periods. My co-teacher will remember. I hope. Did we use warm water? I just don’t know. Do we have enough yeast? I freakin’ hope so.

This is relevant because our classrooms don’t have hot water. We can get slightly warmed water from one faucet after letting it run for about 3 minutes, and it only lasts for a short time. It’s lame. Seriously, a science lab where we have to wash dishes regularly, and we’re not allowed to have hot water.


Don’t get me started. Again. We’re also supposed to lock up any materials that do not say non-toxic on them…so Windex. And baby wipes. And that stupid antibacterial soap. Which the district gave us during the swine flu epidemic. All those things have to stay locked up. So 12-year-olds won’t eat them.

OK. So I graded last night (again) after restarting all the internet-y things because the internet was moving like molasses…cold molasses. And then I made a relatively healthy dinner. And then I found a bunch of my bins…and sorted fabrics.

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This is not a long horrible process…it took just under an hour…

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There’s a lot of big pieces in the first 400…and then a lot of tiny body parts in the next 300.

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But I am ready to iron together tomorrow…and if I really am driving to LA on Sunday (go away virus), then I need to be uber-efficient tomorrow. Ugh. OK. I can do it.

I’m actually really looking forward to ironing. I like that part. I just need to get all the work shit and health shit to behave.

I was tired of standing after sorting those though, so I sat on the couch with Simba and worked on a binding that’s been lying around for a long time. It was what I could handle. This is the same puppy who is currently harassing me because he wants to pee out front (which requires me and a leash) rather than out back (which requires neither). It’s because it rained yesterday and last night, so everything is wet, and apparently his Pom sensibilities are offended by wet dirt. He’d like to pee and poop in the middle of the driveway instead. Yeah. Seriously, that’s what he did last night…little asshole.

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Sometimes all the demanding animals kinda drive me nuts. Calli wouldn’t pee last night because it was cold and wet, so then she woke me up early because she really needed to go. I love my animals, except when they’re idiots like this. I guess it’s good that we live somewhere that is usually pretty dry, so the rain doesn’t cause them even more issues.

Sigh. I want another 3-day weekend. And a clear head. And no sore throat. And world peace. I want that too.

*Coldplay, Trouble