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

You’re Stumbling a Little*

February 15, 2018

Good morning blue skies. It’s nice to see you, even though I (sort of) appreciated the rain. It wasn’t quite enough. And it didn’t have to be while I was trying to be outside every time. That part made me laugh. I’m leaving the union meeting and some sweet young obviously dissolvable thing just stopped when she saw the rain, looked heavenward, and sighed heavily. I assumed she had a car in the parking lot, like I did, but maybe she had to walk 2 miles home. That would suck. Me? I just walked out to the car, wiped off my glasses, and drove home.

So first of all, today is my mom’s birthday…so here’s a picture for her of a Madagascar sunset from the girlchild…I think I paid $40 for that picture (or for the app that retrieved it from her camera…long story…totally worth it)…

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May she have a delightful birthday. May Dad take her out to dinner. I already made her cake.

Yesterday’s lab…one version of it.

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Lab days are tiring. One more this week, I think, and then one big one next week too. Then done with that for a while. Wait. No we’re not. We have 7 days of labs coming up in a row. (Bangs head on desk for a while. It will be fine. It will.).

Came home after short meeting and graded stuff while puppy was cute.

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And then the two of the furry beasts slept for a bit until I got up to do other things…

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I’m so behind on grading. I was almost caught up last week. It’s such a fleeting feeling.

I came in here and entered another show, plus did some other computer stuff. Never-ending computer stuff. So it was about 11 PM when I finally got my focus on the fabric…flesh tones!

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So easy to pick this time. Not sure why. I did toss some blue into the mix…just a tiny bit in here…

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Makes it fun. Plus links back to all the blue around the figures. The people on this one are pretty small, compared to some of my figures, so it didn’t take long to get all the flesh ironed down and into the box to be cut out.

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I thought I might be doing that today, the cutting, or at least starting it, but quilt class was canceled again for sickness. So I guess I will be ironing and grading tonight…and going to the gym if I can force myself. Honestly? Probably not. Maybe tomorrow night. I’m exhausted already. Up early for another meeting. But I should be able to finish ironing tonight. That would be good.

Here’s all I have left to do…mostly bones and hearts and veins and a tree and all the metal bits. I do have to decide about the back opening. I was going with the flesh tones, but I kind of want to echo the skies, the spacey bits. So I’m still thinking about it…less reality (open cavities and all)…more fantasy. She’s filled with SPACE!

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Which reminds me of the misconception an awful lot of my male students have, which is that we all come from sperm. Yes, folks, it’s the 1600s again and we don’t realize the female is a significant part of the reproduction process. It’s gonna be a fun sex ed unit this year! Seriously. These kids needs some educating.

Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far…it’s a lot! But more to come…some greens and reds…not a lot of those yet.

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And if you really want to see THIS quilt…it will be at the Visions Art Museum April 21-July 8 as part of the Things That Matter exhibit…which is cool.

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Because I get to go to the opening. We’re hoping this show will travel all over, so stay tuned.

OK, meeting time and then get through the day without losing my brains. That’s a whole ‘nother drawing, isn’t it? Oh yeah, I did hear from the girlchild finally last night (she’s been incommunicado since Sunday night)…and she had an awesome time with her lemur trip, although the village they stayed in/near had never seen white people before. She said there was a lot of staring…interesting experience for sure. I’m glad she’s having a really good time in Madagascar, learning lots, even though the language stuff is hard. I think this is the kind of stuff that makes us who we are in the world…and I’m glad she’s doing it.

*Massive Attack, Teardrop

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 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

Well, You Don’t Know Me, But I Know You*

January 10, 2018

I think the puppy must be about to burst. He’s been refusing to pee since the rain started. On Monday. I carry him out and even put him under a tree, but no. He’s wide-eyed, trying to escape back to dry parts (aka the house). I think he must be voiding himself somewhere unknown, like while I wasn’t watching, he’s learned how to use the toilet and is just badmouthing me in his head as I put on his leash and try to persuade him out into the bushes. Luckily, the rain is supposed to stop today. It’s not like we didn’t need it…we just didn’t need it in such large amounts in a short period of time, as the mudslides north of here attest. Timing is everything.

So really, Simba’s problems are minor in the bigger picture. He’ll poop somewhere, sometime. That part is guaranteed.

Yesterday was the first day back with students. They were pretty zoned out by the end of the day. So were the teachers. We started a new unit, so I got to draw and color with them. It was probably all any of us could handle.

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I had tutorial after school, so I had exactly zero brain by the time I fought the weather home. I read for a bit even…the book club book for February is kinda big, so I started early for once. I don’t always make it to book club, but I always read the book.

Then I made dinner and did the stitching I usually do afterwards…just a little a night. This is a closeup of what I finished the night before…

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And last night. Not sure I have the right variegated thread for the last word. Maybe I’ll go balls out with a teal or pink. Who knows.

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Then I really wanted to finish ironing this smaller piece that’s been rolling around my art spaces for months now.

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It only took another hour or so…ironed everything down…

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Pulled a leftover piece of background I had lying around (that’s the plus with doing smaller pieces)…and ironed the whole thing down. Easy peasy.

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Now she’s ready to be stitched down…sometime later this week? Maybe.

Then back to the drawing board. A little slower last night…brainpower reduced by day job.

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Land…water…there’s going to be space above, but I need to enlarge the whole thing to do that…or maybe just copy the top and tape it to the next page? But with this one, I think I need to see the whole thing. We’ll see. More tonight. The work day will be shorter…so that should help. We have to sit through some professional development (again), so that’s annoying.

Anyway. I see progress, even if it’s small.

All the animals are missing my kids…who are visiting cousins in Seattle. They are so in my face this morning too, because they had company yesterday, but today, will be left again all day. I feel bad for them…wish I could take them to school, but that can’t happen…too many kids with allergies. Plus Calli would pee on them in her excitement. And Simba might bite someone, because he’s an antisocial dick sometimes. And the cats are pretty unpredictable with humans.

OK. This headache and I need to go to school now.

*Laurie Anderson, O Superman

She’s a Bad Mama Jama*

October 13, 2017

Well. Some days one’s plans do not follow one’s plan. It is what it is. I’m grateful that I’m not in the middle of hurricane wreckage or fire danger. Although I keep looking at the sky for some evidence of fire…must be training after the last two big fires down here. There are so many disasters at the moment that it’s hard to know what to support, where to send whatever it is one can send. I did just add wildfires to the next quilt list of ideas. Certainly the amount of plant growth we had in the last year because of all the rain might have been a factor in how out of control these fires were. Although if these were human-set fires, that’s a whole ‘nother level of crazy with which I can’t deal. Humans are pretty fucked-up creatures.

So with all the fuckedupedness swirling around in my brain (that IS a word), I left school yesterday to buy binding fabric for this quilt. It didn’t take long to find one that worked…and a few others, because I like fabric. You might have noticed.

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The bottom one is the binding. The top one is sloths. I have no need for sloth fabric. Except sloths. Yes. So that explains a small portion of my stash. And now that I have the orange fabrics home, I think I already have the top one. Sigh.

So I was supposed to come home, eat, and go to the gym, and that all fell to hell at some point. So I graded shit for about 3 hours…well, and dealt with union stuff. I’m pretty sure there was something else I was supposed to do, but whatever. Sometimes that’s just the way shit works out. I think I figured I’d rather grade all that stuff LAST night than tonight. Although I will probably still grade tonight. The never-ending spew of assignments that need attention. The plus is that when I personally counsel kids, they turn shit in. The minus is the spew of emails and stuff that needs 7 clicks to access instead of 1 because it was late.

Anyway, this happened around 10 PM…I hate trimming quilts. It’s a pain in the ass. Some part of me just wants to hack haphazardly at the edges and come what may. And then the ordered part of my brain that wants the focus on the image, not the edges, comes in with the rotary cutter, kneels down on the floor at 10 PM, and carefully cuts, straightens, and measures until it’s square. Not square in shape, but sides perpendicular and square edges.

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She’s about 62 x 67″ I think now, finished. The plan tonight is to get the binding on. And email the photographer? I know I want to ink this one too. We’ll see how far I get tonight…I might have another plan that keeps me from getting far on this.

So this year at school…we did a lot of planning last year. This year, we’re tweaking stuff. That means supplementing some of last year’s stuff so we can make sure kids understand the concepts. We were lucky to get a big chunk of money last year for materials and equipment…and we’re making sure we use it. So today, we’ll be doing a demo with some elements, showing the kids some of the physical and chemical changes that can happen to certain types of elements.

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And we made a video (well, my coteacher is putting all the clips together into a video) so the kids who were absent can watch what happened…so the workload is still pretty hefty at the moment. In fact, the next unit barely exists, because we didn’t need to teach it to last year’s kids…they got it in 6th grade. So we need to make that happen somehow. I can’t say it’s easier than last year…well, maybe it is, but it’s still pretty time-consuming. I can tell you that dropping acid on metal is fun and so is hitting charcoal with a hammer. I do have a strange job some days. From personal counseling of about 50 kids to hammering elements.

OK. Thinking good (although mostly useless) thoughts about Northern California…and Puerto Rico (because the president won’t)…and everyone who is losing health insurance and Las Vegas, damn the gun people, and anyone else who is staring at their news feed like I am and wondering why. At least it’s Friday. Peace out my loves. But first, this might help…

*Carl Carlton, She’s a Bad Mama Jama