Should Have Been Easier by Three*

September 14, 2018

Some Fridays are a surprise. I get to the end of the week and I’m not even mentally there yet. I still have energy and brain power. The weeks with back-to-school night in them? Yeah no. Friday is a blessing, but also it’s a good thing I will be sitting for most of the day (I’m demonstrating how to make a webpage), because I’m sorta dead on my feet right now. Too many meetings, too much jocularity with parents, not enough rest apparently, my body is sort of screaming that at the top of its lungs. OK OK. I hear you. You can sleep in tomorrow. I promise. Sunday too. I’ll be nice to you. Seriously, there’s enough sick people around that I need to promise the body something or it will succumb to some cold or sinusy thing that I really don’t want. I do have a sore throat, but that often happens after back-to-school night. Too much talking.

I came home to the boychild’s plant deconstruction. I haven’t had time to get my jungle under control for years, but this seems to be the year. We got some trees trimmed that were out of control (there’s more to come on that front, once I have a little more cash put away for the college costs), then went after the bougainvillea profusion, and now he’s on a roll with crazy-ass bushes…the trees have been dead since they did the septic field. We think we’re going to put a fence in here, just to block delivery-happy UPS guys who can’t figure out where my front door is.

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And that hole goes into a part of the backyard that hasn’t been seen by anyone but dogs and bunnies for about 5 years, maybe longer.

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Found? A dead tree, a statue of a cherub or something, a mop head…the normal stuff. Impressive work.

Meanwhile, I got home from back-to-school night after 6:30 PM. I spent over an hour on the phone with the cable company fixing modem issues, but unable to fix Tivo issues. We’re going to replace a cable and see if that helps, but if it doesn’t, then I have to go to war with Tivo, which apparently is not a good thing. Then I made the most simple dinner I could…read my book a bit…realized this piece needs to be in Houston by next Friday and I wasn’t likely to be LESS tired Friday night, so I got my butt moving, found the quilt, ironed it, labeled it, dehaired it, rolled it, packed it, and shipped it.

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That was done around 10:30 PM. It was really hard to motivate myself to do it, but I’m glad I got it out of the way. It’s ready to go out this morning, so it’s out of my hair…unlike the 7 tons of grading I need to do. It’s only 80 videos, another 90 essays, this week’s warmups, two weeks of homework (the TA can do one of them, maybe both), and I don’t remember what else. Crawling under the desk with my computer now.

There are lots of animals here at the moment. They’re tolerating each other. This is how Kitten looks when Katie is here. It’s very judgy.

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Yes, that’s a skelly hand. Why do you ask? I am a science teacher.

Boychild is trying to pet all three dogs at once. I’m trying to get them all in one photo and not blurry. I suck at my job. He does OK.

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Satchemo is still not sure about Katie. It’s Day 1. Things will chill out.

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Meanwhile, my friend Ann, who moved far away long ago, happened to be near Walla Walla, WA, where The Nature of a Stitch is going on until December, and where my Disrupted is right now! So there they both are!

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They both look awesome, and I’m so pleased that she sent photos. It looks like a great show. I wish I could see it…

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The next show I’ll be at with my work is Things That Matter opening in Chandler, AZ, in November. Oh wait, that might not be true. I’ll probably be at the opening of Futurecraft at the Boehm Gallery, Palomar College, here in San Marcos, CA. That’s in October…I’ll be at the October 13th opening. I should put that on my calendar before I forget. Yeah.

OK, survival day. Followed by a decent night’s sleep. Next week will be so much easier than this one. Seriously. And tonight, I’ll be ironing again. That will be good.

*Bush, Glycerine


Need to Be Out of Here

June 26, 2018

Well. I need caffeine delivery at my training. They are nice. They feed us lunch. They bring us snacks and extension cords that don’t have a third prong hole. There’s plenty of water. We can pee whenever we want (trust me, for teachers, that’s a major issue)…but there’s no coffee or tea and the day was long. I don’t sit for that long normally either…like unless I’m on a plane. They had us stand up a few times, but I need a long walk and more caffeine. I’m even willing to bring my own milk and tea bags, if they’ll just give us hot water.

So if you’ve never heard of National Board Certification for teachers, it’s not an easy process. In fact, it’s a monstrous pain in the ass…but doable. And I think it’s useful…not only as a way to focus on how one teaches and picks resources and handles assessment and feedback and differentiation (which is hard), but also to protect teachers from crazy administrators (they’re out there, along with the crazy teachers and the crazy parents). They talk about creating teacher leaders, which kinda cracks me up as I look around the room…there’s some crazy people like me in there, and then some high achievers (English, we’re looking at you), and some who had no idea what they were in for, but it does take all kinds. The teacher leaders I’ve dealt the best with are those who work hard, think about kids and curriculum all the time, reflect all the time, and are willing to share information. Science doesn’t attract a lot of teachers who like to follow rules, I’ve found…there were only two other science teachers there, and I’m betting one doesn’t show up at all today and the other one is only going to show up because she thinks I might be able to help her. And I might.

Anyway, today will be longer. And harder. And I need to find caffeine. Or another thermos.

What else did I get done yesterday? Not much. I watched the window fall out even more…

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Fixing it Thursday.

I sewed Pekinese stitch on three balls. THREE.

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And then I ironed. Eventually. It was late.

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The face…I ironed the teacup separately, same with the leaves…the snake, I did right on the hair. I don’t worry too much about being exactly in the right place for that. It’s not overlapping anything it needs to cover.

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The camera and the eye were separate…easier to see where the pieces need to be when I do it that way…

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Then onto the face. Cool. I like it.

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She’s really pale…which means she’ll pop on a dark background.

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I’m almost done with the ironing of the bits. I wanted to be done last night, but I got home and was tired and tried to deal with some stuff, entering a show, finding an old poem for a show…now I need to make the art to go with it, because I committed to that show. Whoops! Nah, it’s OK. I have to do two small pieces by the end of July too. I cut out some small pieces of paper to take to my training, in case I feel like drawing, but that’s hard to do with total strangers sitting next to you and watching everything you do. Plus I don’t know what to do on such small pieces. The big drawing is still sitting on the light table, waiting for me to start something…anything.

But I was in bed around midnight, because I knew I had to get up even earlier this morning…gotta fight traffic. If I get called on jury duty, it’s downtown. Talk about fighting traffic. Ugh. Not looking forward to that. I need lots of sleep over summer break…to make up for how little I sleep during the school year.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll finish ironing tonight, maybe even get it ironed to the background? I only have about 60 pieces to go, if that. And they’re big and easy…no fussy little face parts. Then I’ll have to finish quilting the other one so I can do stitch down on this. That won’t take long…but it will take SOME time. This week is so packed.

There was a video made of the Things That Matter Preview Exhibit…my quilt and I are in it…this exhibit is up at Visions Art Museum through July 8…and then the full exhibit will be in Chandler, Arizona, in November.

I don’t think I’ll be able to make that opening…pretty sure I’ll be hanging with the girlchild in Boston…but I hope I’ll see the full exhibit at some point.

OK, need to be out of here…in so many ways…


Too Much Water Damage

April 25, 2018

This week is tired. I’m pretty sure I thought yesterday was Wednesday, which would make today Thursday, but you know it’s not. Tuesday inserted itself rudely back into the week, refusing to be ignored. Damn you, Tuesday. So now it’s Wednesday and there are two more meetings today which makes it long and tiring. Plus, let’s be completely honest here, I’ve stayed up too late two nights (or more) in a row, trying to get the Wonder Under traced. That said, even going to bed late, I find it hard to fall asleep…my brain is racing, stressed, on overdrive, wants to read my book, wants to work on the quilt, wants to do anything but slow down and relax and rest and rejuvenate. Bad brain.

Yesterday’s afterschool meeting was about National Board certification…something I’ve been considering. I need to get my district to pay for it, though. I love that the only professional development that might actually be useful for me is something I have to pay for myself…all the stuff they force me to go to is mostly useless. Sigh. So it was an interesting meeting…we’ll see if I decide to do that. It might be best to wait a year, until I don’t have to work three jobs to pay for college. Being one kid down in that respect is not necessarily helpful…the boychild had more grant money, so his payment was pretty small…in fact, we haven’t paid anything this year out of pocket…it all came out of the college money we started saving when he was a baby. That was nice. Maybe the girlchild’s will be similar. Going into the 5th year of college payments is hard…there’s nothing left. (Who am I kidding? There was nothing left after the second year.)

Then I came home and soaked my very-much-not-infected (well, at the moment) foot. They still have me on antibiotics until the culture comes back…one of the wonders of diabetes…the fear of foot injuries. I was multi-tasking…reading my book (that’s due in 3 days) while soaking. Of course. And then! I’m a character in the book!

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So far, I’m kind of a lame character…but I’ll take it. Might be a true representation of the Nida character right there in the second-to-last sentence.

Then right back to this, because when I stopped Monday night, there were only about 230 pieces to go. And that’s doable in one night.

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Well, it’s probably more doable when you start earlier, because it was well after midnight when I was done. Piece 1000 is in there, but honestly, last night, there were at least 3 numbers that were used twice and at least 4 pieces that weren’t numbered, so who knows what I’m really at. Somewhere AROUND 1000.

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It took about 10 1/2 hours…not bad…almost exactly an hour per 100 pieces. I was on a roll! That’s 10 episodes of Agents of SHIELD too. I think. I must have watched something else too, because I still have quite a few episodes in there.

I spread out all the Wonder Under…it’s about 3 1/2 yards’ worth. Covers the light table and more…

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Next comes about 7 hours or so of sitting on the couch and cutting them apart. Oh yeah, I never found two numbers on the drawing…so either they were hiding completely (sometimes I number illogically) or they never existed. The human brain is a messed-up device. Too much water damage.

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Meeting this morning with the science department; after school, with any parents who want to see our sex ed program before we start teaching it. Yes! It’s almost THAT time of year. Oh boy. Seriously, they might wake up and pay attention…I’d be good with that.

If you want a copy of the catalog for the Things That Matter traveling exhibit, it’s available now on Amazon right here. All the quilt statements are in there too, which is nice. I still haven’t had a chance to read them all.

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With that, I’m going to go deal with some other things that matter…


Save Tonight and Fight the Break of Dawn*

April 23, 2018

Ahhhh. Monday. Hello. Now shut up.

Grades due tomorrow? Check. Not done. Homework you were grading in the car on the way to and from your fiber group meeting yesterday? Check. Not done. The 17 things on your to-do list from the weekend? Check. Not done. Like any of them, I think. Well, not true…I did the school-related stuff, I made it to the grocery store…so there’s food. The laundry got done somehow by 11:45 PM, so there are clean clothes. So I guess, yes, I am in survival mode. What’s new? Less than 2 months of school to go…it is not the sanest time of year.

Proof: between my co-teacher and I yesterday..

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So this afternoon, I need to finish grading one assignment, finish the makeup tests, input it all, and then decide the effort and participation grades for each kid. Fun stuff. It’s only a progress report, though, so it’s not the end of the world…which is apparent to me by the remarkably small number of kids who tried to turn in late work. Hmmm.

So I did trace Wonder Under on Saturday before heading out to the Visions opening of Things That Matter, where I met some very interesting artists (not all of us made it into this photo, unfortunately). Me, Sandra Lauterbach, Martha Ressler, Bonnie Jo Smith, Sandra Poteet, and Lin Schiffner.

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I also really enjoyed talking to Alice Beasley, whose work for this show is highly political and amusing, and Dawn Williams Boyd, whose work caught my eye right away. I think she challenged me to make a room-size quilt. Because? Oh, and apparently I own one of Bonnie’s pieces (totally spaced on that) from a SAQA auction.

There’s a catalog for this show, currently available at Visions, and hopefully other places soon. Not all of the artists in this traveling show were accepted into this exhibit, so it would be nice to see the full show when it opens in November in Chandler, Arizona…some truly beautiful work.

My piece is hanging next to Susan Else’s amazing piece about gun violence.

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That’s a gun barrel with a classroom inside it. Amazing.

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I really sucked at taking photos at the exhibit, but you should go see it and buy the catalog anyway…it’s what will help us ship our work all over the country.

From the opening, I headed to a friend’s bonfire for dinner…a beach sunset eventually showed up.

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And then to a stranger’s house to watch the band. They removed a door and that back wall to get room for the show. My guy is staring at me…I’m probably doing something weird, like photographing the band.

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Sunday was a fiber meeting, and then attempted surgery on my foot. I stepped on a bougainvillea thorn…I was wearing shoes at the time. I think. Maybe I wasn’t. Anyway, that was Saturday or maybe even Friday, but it was hurting Sunday.

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Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful…it was already swollen by then (it didn’t hurt until Sunday, I swear). I’ve slathered it with cream…even soaked it in vinegar last night. Imagine me tracing Wonder Under with my foot planted in a pot full of vinegar for an hour. It’s still in there, but it doesn’t hurt as much. All the other home remedies involve my making some gooey paste, slathering it on there, and covering it with a bandage for 24 hours. Except it’s the bottom of my foot and I stand all day. Hmmm. So there’s that. I guess if it gets worse, I’ll head over to Urgent Care for a more qualified guy with a headlamp.

Meanwhile, the low-level cold is still fucking over my sinuses. This thing is evil.

What is it about cats lying all over our stuff?

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So yeah, I traced some more Wonder Under yesterday. I have about 5 1/2 hours in, and I’m in the 400s…

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Not even halfway. I have two figures traced…one more to go and then the whole fireplace, which has quite a few pieces in it.

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I’ll try to do more tonight, but I have to finish grades first. And before that, I have to get to school and do something. I wish I knew what that something was, but you saw that text. I THINK I’ve done everything I need for today…but I’m honestly not sure. I guess, as usual, I will find all that out the hard way.

*Eagle-Eye Cherry, Save Tonight


I Got My Head Done When I Was Young*

April 21, 2018

Well here’s a Saturday that is just WIIIIDE open. Until 3:30, when I have to leave for the next 9 or 10 hours and somehow wear/bring/change into appropriate clothing for three different style and weather-exposure events. I seriously can’t even get my head around that. What do I wear to an art opening, then a bonfire, and finally a house party I’m crashing? Jeans and a black t-shirt seems appropriate for all? Maybe? Addition of some warming attire that can be shed, because as a woman of a particular age, I heat up too much inside? Yeah. I’m thinking. So there’s that.

And I had this plan to go to the gym this morning, to get back into that routine, but I got this email last night that says that it’s KIDS DAY at the gym. Oh holy hell…lots of free games and kid stuff…there will be 700 people there, no way in hell. Sigh. I suck at life sometimes. I do have grades to do…they’re due Tuesday. I’m taking one assignment with me to the meeting tomorrow, so I left that one. I graded one and a half last night. I’m sitting here now, about to do all the makeup work, thus frustrating those kids who will wait until Sunday night. There’s one other paper assignment I need to get done, but very few kids did it (it was a makeup test). So there’s all that.

What do I really want to do? Stand here.

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For like the next 4 hours. Seriously. I’m hoping to do some of that today anyway, since I started really late last night, due to the grading. I haven’t gotten very far…about piece 180, I think. I stopped last night around midnight because I was going to be good and go to sleep (I didn’t). Although this is probably one of the most boring phases of the quilt for those watching me, it’s one of the relaxing parts of the quilt for me. OK. Wait. Most of them are meditative in one way or another. I think that’s those artistic brain waves. I welcome them.

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But just tracing around things that are already thought out (mostly, because I have to decide what goes under and needs an overlap and what doesn’t. OK. That’s actually a lot of thinking, but it’s very focused thinking.).

So this guy was hanging out and precipitated a discussion of the differences between lizards and geckos and whether or not the ridges on the tail were one for every time he lost it (he obviously has a new tiny tail there).

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I could not figure this out online. I suspect not. But I thought it would be cool if that were so…like the rings of a tree or the rattles on a rattlesnake.

I finished the intriguing book I was reading this week, Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich.

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I started reading Erdrich when I was in college as part of my comparative literature degree. I have a bunch of her books from those years, and then as I’ve noticed books coming out, I read more. This one was totally not what I expected, and I loved it. I mean, I’ve always loved her semi-fantastical family woven into Native stories, but this one went sci fi, and that’s almost always a good thing for me. I was able to ignore most of the science questions (I still have lots!) simply because hell, we really don’t understand a lot about all that extra DNA. The only disappointment for me was that there was a letdown at the end of the book (not giving story away)…I wanted more, of course, and maybe that will come or maybe that’s just it. I didn’t see a connection to The Handmaid’s Tale while I was reading, but I guess I can see it now, just in that there’s a reproduction problem (which we know will probably happen) and because of that, shit happens. I’m waiting for the dystopian novel that takes that story and has women taking over because of it, but I don’t know if that’s happened yet. Interesting idea of how paranoid our society might become if women can’t pop babies out on demand (we can’t now either, but there’s enough doing it that it doesn’t seem to be a problem).

ANYWAY…on to the next book. I love reading. Have I told you I love reading? In fact, it’s hard to look at tonight with three THREE social events without thinking, I wonder if I can just bring my book with me? Um. Probably not.

Simba needed loves last night. He got them.

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Although he looks somewhat perturbed by it in this photo.

OK…finish the makeup grades, then get thee to the light table. Eventually make a decision about clothing and get the hell out of here. I do have some free passes to the Visions opening tonight…I keep forgetting about that. If you want one, email me and I’ll meet you out front? I know, that means (a) you want to go, (b) you live in the San Diego area, (c) you’re not already a member, and (d) you read all the way down here to see this in time. Sorry. I suck. Just remembered. I think I’ll take them with me and just hand them out to passersby or something. More eyeballs! I’m actually really looking forward to seeing this piece hanging…

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Not Less Than…part of the Things That Matter exhibit opening tonight at Visions, and then traveling to a variety of places that I should know off the top of my head! Whoops. Working on it. Check the Current Shows page. I’ll get it updated next. I swear.

*Blur, Song 2


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


Not Lesser Than

October 31, 2017

Happy Candy Day to those who celebrate it. Being a teacher today is not always the easiest thing in the world. Actually, tomorrow is worse for candy and trash. Fridays for Halloween are always best. They have the whole weekend to eat all their candy and get tired of it before coming back to school.

That said, we get to dress up…not much this year, but a little. I had an idea but then lost my roll. Oh well. It’s also the last day of the month, which means it’s almost November…that’s crazy. October is usually one of the longest months of the year, but I feel like I took a breath and it’s gone. I guess the plus is that I have some vacation days coming up, so more artmaking! Yay. Looking forward to that.

So I graded last night…I’ve been super efficient lately, so that’s nice. It feels better than being really behind.

We have a sick kitty, so there was some time last night trying to assess what her issue is and how emergency-like it is. I’m still not sure. I know the vet closes early today, so I’ll have to go tomorrow. Sigh. She’s not a happy kitty, but I can’t really say what’s wrong. And they’ll ask about her eating and peeing, and this is the cat I never see eating or peeing. She’s very secretive. Strangely, I thought she was only 10 years old, but when I was checking my records, she’s actually 12…going on 13. Yikes. So I freaked out about that for a while, because I haven’t had a lot of cats live past 13. It’s like finding out your parents were 90 years old when you were sure they were only 60. Whoops. I’m a space cadet. Anyway, lots of pets for Midnight and hopefully we’ll figure out what’s bugging her and it will be simple…after $500 of blood tests, because you know that’s how it goes.

My ex exercised the puppy yesterday afternoon, so he was asleep on my shoulder while I was worrying some of that out last night.

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I did some more on the left…fly stitches…

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Trying to make a shape that can be enclosed in a crazy quilt in some way. Not sure how I’m going to do that. I don’t have to know until January 1.

When my brain eventually started to behave, I grabbed the enlargements I made after school. I did one set at 250% and then realized how big the main head would be and sized it down to 200%.

Then I cut and pasted them together…they actually fit pretty well for once. I’m not even sure why sometimes it’s better than others. It could literally just be the copier I picked…or it could be some other variable. But here’s 200%…

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The group I’m making this for is called Things That Matter…and I’m focusing on women’s issues again for this one. It needs to be at least 60″ wide, so I added paper on all sides to make the head not quite in the center. There’s more below her than above her.

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I knew I wanted a nursing baby, so I penciled that in. I don’t always draw directly with Sharpie. At this size, there’s a lot of pencil that happens.

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Then I inked in some of the basic shapes.

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I’m just getting started. That was about an hour last night of drawing. I’m still letting the sides and upper area (above the shoulders) percolate. There are a lot of things in my head. As always. I’m tired of all the attacks on women in the last years, especially this year. It’s exhausting. I even had a student tell me that men work harder than women. This is a kid who is majorly failing. A boy. He said women can’t be scientists because they don’t work hard enough. I love it when a 12-year-old is sexist like that. Then I had to explain sexism, because they thought I said sexy. Whoa. No 12-year-old is sexy…sorry. Not to adults. Unless there’s something wrong with them. So that was a fun moment.

Sometimes I wonder if I have any effect on some of those boys whose cultures tell them women are lesser than. LESSER THAN. Hmnnn. That’s a place to go for a title maybe. We’ll see. Meanwhile I continue to try to brainwash them while they’re young. Respect all people, male, female, or other. No judgement on what is better. There is no better or smarter. There are those who work hard and those who work average and those who don’t work hard and those who try but can’t work hard and those who don’t try, but even they often have so many things in their heads from home and family that they honestly can’t be engaged at school. But they all have potential. And a place in our world.

Not lesser than.