I Feel the Chemicals Kickin’ in*

I left school yesterday and went to an art opening instead of straight home. It was a good choice, even though I’d walked so much during class, dragging trays of sand and water back and forth from the classroom like some sort of crazy piece of construction equipment (couldn’t the robotics class make me something that would do this?). And tutoring where this one girl I was trying to help with the most confusing math website ever, and I would ask her questions and she would say “No English” but she knew enough to tell me she speaks Pashto. OK. I can’t do that. I tried German and Spanish and she looked sadder and sadder, and I stared at the math website, trying to figure out what it wanted, but it made no freakin’ sense. Teacher fail.

Today is another, different lab, this one with crayons and hot water (could be a mistake…nah, it worked pretty well last year). We’re frantically trying to plan the project that starts next week. I feel buried and overwhelmed. Still. Ugh.

So the art opening was at Grossmont College and is up until Oct 26, and includes two artists I like, Cheryl Tall, whose piece here is Casa de Manos

IMG_8233 small

I never made it back into the room with her work to take more pictures…you’ll have to go check it out. Very impressive.

And then Gloria Muriel…whose mural art has been on here before. But this is a tiny little watercolor drawing. This is Deer Memory.

IMG_8238 small

A much larger piece, Woke Up From a Mayan Dream

IMG_8241 small

And Florentina, which is smallish and beautiful.

IMG_8243 small

Despite my exhaustion, it was a good stop to make. Home to an empty house (well, there were cats and Katie)…I graded stuff for a while. And then started numbering this thing. I took a break in the middle to check in with the musical guy who lives here (he eventually showed up after practice)…but then finished up before bed. I wanted to be under 1000 pieces, just for my own sanity (there is a deadline on this thing), and I was.

IMG_8246 small

991 pieces. Unless I fucked up somewhere and double-numbered something or skipped a whole bunch or just didn’t number it…all of which I do on a regular basis, so I don’t know why I set such importance on that number. But 991 pieces it is. It sounds more doable than 1001. Just barely. It’s a place from which I can estimate time.

I’m also hoping that I numbered it more logically than usual. I did all of the background and then the body and then the swirls of water. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

IMG_8247 small

I did try not to overembellish things…keep it simple. Well, for me. I didn’t need to put all the lines in the turtle. I didn’t need to put more lines in the hillside. A bush can be just one color. I can simplify flowers. Then I do the deer’s eyes and that all goes to hell in a handbasket.

She’s not huge…about 38″ wide by 60″ high? Something like that.

IMG_8248 small

Anyway, I can start tracing Wonder Under tonight. Then there’s probably 10-12 hours of tracing to do. Maybe by the end of the weekend? Hard to say. Depends on the next few days…

Oh yeah, I got my staff ID yesterday. Mine is better than yours.

IMG_8230 small

Really the best part is when I have to use it to get a teacher discount and I pull this out (or any of the last three) and the cashier tries not to show their hilarious dismay. Yup. That’s the best part.

OK, let’s do this day.

*Neon Trees, Animal

Control Is Not Convinced*

Trying to shut off teacher brain long enough to write…it’s trying to figure out a problem for today. It’s like listening to my students argue. Geez, just shut up a moment. We’ll be fine if you be a little bit quiet. Or not.

I have a meeting after school today and I’m trying to decide what assignment I can grade at the meeting. It has to be low maintenance or I can’t hear the meeting at the same time. I take notes to send to my people, so I have to be able to hear. Which means my teacher brain can’t be distracted by other shit. So not complicated, but needs to get done. Hmmm. I have until the end of the school day to figure that out. That’s not even the problem that was distracting me. That one woke me up at 2 AM and niggled. I hate niggling.

You know how you say yes to something and then you wonder why you said yes, why you decided this made sense, and you know why, but all of a sudden it’s a pain in the ass and you don’t want yes to be the right answer any more. It still is the right answer, but yes now means something the size of a football stadium and before it was much smaller. Like hold-in-your-hand smaller.

Anyway. That’s my brain at the moment. Highly distracted. I try to bring it back into the art world each night. Some nights I am more successful than others.

I did not finish the binding last night. I graded until almost 10:30 PM and then I wanted to tape the full-size drawing together, so that’s what I did. It took me 30 minutes to stand up to do that, but it’s OK…I eventually got there.

Here’s my weird-ass collection of pictures from yesterday…from the redacted poem we did in class yesterday…

IMG_7851 small

About layers of the Earth, not pizza.

To the parking lot on the way out of school…two crows and their very dead friend, the gopher. They were picking at him when I drove up.

IMG_7867 small

Weird.

To cutting and pasting the enlarged drawing together…I did 200%. And then added paper on all 4 sides so I could see the whole space.

IMG_7875 small

Much easier to visualize now. Although I won’t probably get to it tonight…got a union meeting AND book club, and book club is many many miles away and somewhat complicated tonight. Ugh. I’m not really up for complicated and far away, unfortunately. We’ll see how I feel after the meeting. Actually, I shouldn’t give myself that out…because I won’t go if I base it on how tired I am after the meeting. It’s a new location and it’s different so I’m weirded out by that. I guess. Ugh. More caffeine. Go to work. Think later.

*Peter Schilling, Major Tom (Coming Home)

I Need Coherence…Not Gravel

I don’t usually write on Sunday, but I feel like I actually achieved things yesterday, so writing about that makes me feel better. Hey! I achieved things yesterday! OK, that’s it…I’m done. Not really.

I did grade a lot yesterday, lots of school-related stuff got done…for instance, we’re doing this landform project and we have these cards we are going to use, and for some reason, we decided coloring them seemed like a good idea, so we started the teacher’s aide on that, but she was taking forever, so then we tried to speed-color them on Friday and failed miserably, plus apparently I don’t know how to color, ironically, so I brought the rest of them home and speed-speed-colored them yesterday, so I can deliver them to print shop Monday morning to be laminated. For Wednesday.

IMG_7800 small

Don’t ask why we do this shit to ourselves. It just happens.

Then I had an art meeting, and art meetings always include food and wine, and this was the wine I had. I love the label. It kind of reminds me of the coloring I was doing.

IMG_7805 small

Maybe next we should graduate to wine labels.

This vehicle parked at the art meeting.

IMG_7806 small

These are my people.

Came home and graded more stuff…Simba doesn’t lie like this naturally. I’m pretty sure the boychild was pulling things out of his fur and then just left him there.

IMG_7810 small

That tail is a disaster. He won’t let us comb it, so I just cut knots out when I remember.

So I graded until 9 PM or so and then I was done with that assignment, so I went in and finished quilting…it was about another hour and a half…lots of thread breaking, or it would have been less. Quilting in between the tree branches was kind of a pain.

IMG_7814 small

It took a little over 6 hours to quilt her. Then I swept the floor and laid her out to be trimmed.

IMG_7815 small

It took a couple of tries to get it right, but there she is, all ready for binding.

IMG_7816 small

That should happen tonight, I suspect, or maybe this afternoon if I am really organized (I don’t feel organized at the moment). Oh yeah, and we walked the dogs in there somewhere too. After art meeting with wine and food and before dinner.

This was Friday night, when the boychild kicked all the animals out of his personal space, so they invaded mine.

IMG_7795 small

Well, except for Kitten. She doesn’t like the others. Sometimes I don’t blame her. And I bathed the Golden as well. Busy day, really. Today will be another…more grading, groceries, school stuff, and hopefully some quilt stuff at the end. I need to start getting my act in gear on the next drawing. It’s rolling around in my head like a destructive boulder that keeps losing small bits. I need coherence…not gravel.

Planet Earth

I dunno what I did, but now I can’t even get on the internet on the computer, so I’m writing this on the iPad…it’s fine, although my pointer finger gets tired. I have a tiny keyboard for it somewhere, but that requires even more thought than trying to find the network security key, which is NOT the same as a password, despite the similar feel to the words.

It’s going to be short today anyway. I have an early meeting plus a packet to make for a kid who’ll be gone for over a week (sigh…so frustrating…parents just want a packet, but that means I have to find or make stuff to replace hands-on curriculum…at least this parent gave us a heads up. The other kid asked for work yesterday for the next week. No chance.).

Last night, I blew off everything and went to see Rachel Ignotofsky talk about her new book, Planet Earth.

She previously published Women in Science and Women in Sports, plus her Etsy site has all the prints and T-shirts I want. I am refraining from buying everything.

She’s fun and creative and perky and loves talking to kids, and her next book is Women in Art! I’m excited…plus the new book is all about ecosystems and biodiversity and saving the world, which I can totally get behind. And she merges art and science in an engaging and beautiful and fascinating way.

I think I just went all fangirl. I had her sign both my books. And then I came home and found out I got into Quilt + Resist at Woman Made Gallery…a gallery I’ve been trying to get into since I was an adult artmaker. Rooted in America is heading out again, this time to Chicago. Good news, that.

And I also got into the Surface Design Association Exhibition in Print, so it’s been a good week for notifications. I don’t know which one will be in the magazine. But I’m looking forward to finding that out.

Well hopefully when I get home, the computer will connect to things. Tonight I work on grades and art. Last night was cool and inspiring…now back to work.

Just One More Peaceful Day*

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…

IMG_7505 small

I illustrated some of the vocab words…and then I got to color.

IMG_7522 small

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.

IMG_7532 small

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.

IMG_7534 small

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.

IMG_7537 small

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…

IMG_7538 small

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…

IMG_7539 small

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*

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.

IMG_7117 small

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.

IMG_7123 small

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…

IMG_7124 small

Looked at the size, since there are limits…

IMG_7125 small

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

IMG_7126 small

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

IMG_7128 small

So I started.

IMG_7129 small

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*

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.

IMG_4879 small

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.

IMG_4880 small

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

IMG_4881 small

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.

IMG_4874 small

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