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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Maybe next we should graduate to wine labels.

This vehicle parked at the art meeting.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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…

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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*

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*

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*

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