I Feel Summer Creepin’ in*

June 16, 2017

I do have to be at school today…my room is a disaster and my co-teacher’s room is even worse, because we piled up all the new equipment and materials in there by unit, so we could try to organize it today. And plan a bit. We’ll see how that goes. My left eye is still twitching like a bitch (not enough sleep yet) and I have no voice again. But that school year is done. Out. On the ground. It wasn’t an easy one. With no state curriculum, we planned from scratch…and now we have to go back and fix it all.

I got home yesterday and the bank had shut down all my accounts again. It took a short while this time to get it all worked out, but I think the problem was Western Union, which we used to get money to the girlchild, because she needed cash for a car and her bank has no branch locally. But the bank has been remarkably unforthcoming and unhelpful. I finally got access to all the old statements (not sure what the issue was really) by filling out a Gallup poll about my experience that the bank sent me. Hello businesses…just saying sorry goes a long way, but it doesn’t fix stupid practices.

Usually after school is out, it takes me at least a week to be really efficient. We only get 8 weeks, which I realize sounds amazing to y’all, but I just got an email about the professional development I have to do…so if I do that before the year starts, that’s 7 weeks. Plus I’m working for the next two weeks, so that’s 5 weeks. I use this time to catch up on all the stuff I can’t do during the school year, because school sucks up holidays and weekends like a dehydrated puppy. Technically, including weekends, I have 55 days before I have to be back. It does not sound like enough. I know people with other jobs are completely jealous, but just come do my job for a couple of weeks and tell me how you feel about it then. Because it is different. I know that because I did your type of job for the first 13 years…and then I freelanced for a while…and now I’m a teacher AND a freelancer. Ugh.

There are days I wake up or go to bed wishing I could just be an artist full time. I know I can’t…I can’t afford it, obviously. But it would be sooo nice to be able to make art every day without all the other stuff. So the three breaks I get each year? I really try to carve out huge swathes of art time in them so I don’t go crazy. I figure if I’m going to work a job that beats you up so badly, I should be able to have the rest of the time for me.

Yeah. Mostly the first week I’m braindead though.

So I got home and the Threads of Resistance catalog was here with my two quilts and statements…really nicely done.

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These two quilts were made right after one another…I think that’s how the tree ended up in both.

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For those keeping track, I think there are 8 or 9 penises (penii?) between the two quilts. I will not be at the opening for this, because it’s the same day as my Visions opening…

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But maybe I’ll get to see it somewhere. Who knows?

So my mom has been amazing and has booked an Airbnb space for the boychild’s college graduation, which yes, is almost a year away.

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Ithaca is tiny…there’s not a lot of options. It will be my parents, the girlchild, me, and my ex, so it had to be big enough to sleep all of us. Now he has to graduate. (He will.)

It was my quilt class night, so I took all the blocks for the Don’t Shut Up community quilt I’m working on…so I could use Susan’s skills and ingenuity to deal with some of these crazy blocks. The wonders of dealing with quilt blocks from non-quilters…

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We tore some apart, sewed some together, and tried to trim others. Fun stuff. You’ll be seeing more of this over the next two weeks. I have a seam ripper injury from last night though…

I finally pulled this out…did two lengths of thread for the last two nights…on the left side again. A yellowish thread with French knots and lazy daisies in the cretan stitch, and then a pinky-purple thread that turned into green…I did lazy daisies and then some French knots around the other yellow stitches.

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Then I sat there on the couch for a long time, trying to be motivated to do anything. I finally got up and traced.

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I’m almost done. Another hour? At most. Lots of big sweeping sky pieces that use up large pieces of Wonder Under. Seriously, I think there are only 40 pieces left to trace. I’m glad I had this prepped and ready to go, because even though I should really be working on other stuff, I can’t get my head around any of it right now. I will HAVE to pretty damn soon, but I’m OK with yesterday and today being lost days for art and copyediting. Saturday though? Saturday I gotta get my act together and be a freelancer.

Midnight expresses her feelings about that. And being hot.

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Sweet fat kitty. OK. Going to school…but no kids makes that easier. I’m wearing my Ms. Marvel t-shirt on the off chance superpowers might help me today.

*Tom Petty, Mary Jane’s Last Dance


Only Gonna Get What You Give Away*

June 13, 2017

I think I could just close my eyes and sleep right here at the desk. I think I slept last night (OK, I know I didn’t the night before…I guess it all catches up with you at some point). I don’t feel awake. Quick, get that first cup of tea down the gullet. The eye is gonna twitch until sometime in July. You know that. It happens almost every year. Especially with what I’ve got going.

The plus? Awards are all done and printed for today’s award ceremony. Only one more day of actual teaching, and it’s only three periods. Anyone can survive that. I hate starting the day feeling like I need a nap though. Brain doesn’t want to stop just because it’s midnight…I have to fight it to sleep. Then waking up is immensely painful.

I finished a bunch of stressful work stuff last night and some art management stuff…I have a quilt that needs to be in Massachusetts by July 1 that is currently in Kentucky. So I had to try to figure out the easiest way to get it there, and it wasn’t by shipping it back to California. OK. Figured that out. Then headed out of the office to this piece…which I use to try to ease my brain into NOT working. I did a variety of stitches, fly and French knots mostly, on the left side, in the cretan stitch on the far left…filler stitching really.

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There will be no sitting on the couch without animals. This one is particularly annoying at the moment, between the cone and the bad-smelling stuff because she really needs a bath and hasn’t been able to have one because of the healing foot. Plus I can’t persuade the two males to do it.

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So then I practiced for summer vacation. Of course, mostly I stared at the paper because I was really tired and totally braindead.

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But there’s a start of something there.

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I think it took an hour just to do that. And there’s a random line off that arm that needs to be gone. I’ll have to see if I can make something out of it.

I’m not entirely sure what the something is, but it’s pen on paper pulling shit out of my brain, and that’s all I can ask for some days.

The Threads of Resistance catalog is available on Amazon…I have two quilts in the show (one of them is currently in Kentucky in Fantastic Fibers)…one is detailed in the 2nd row, left side on the front cover…

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Then one is on the back, 3rd row, third from the left. Yup. That’s a penis. And a uterus. Equal time…

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Not that it happens in real time, right?

OK, well I have to go in early and get some stuff done. Ugh. Have to put away all the stuff that can’t be locked up. Thank you district for wanting to have all the beginning-of-year stuff at our school…adds three hours to my packing up and another three to my unpacking in August. It would be nice to just be able to leave it and trust the teachers not to steal crap, but we can’t do that…especially with all the science materials. Oh well. Three more days with kids.

*Sara Bareilles, Bottle It Up


Sturdy Up Your Heart*

May 20, 2017

I’m frozen again. It’s 95 degrees out there. But my brain. Frozen. Too many things on the list. Dogs have been to the vet…one is now coneless and fancy free…the other is on more meds, a bloody abscess cleaned out, and still a conehead. Fun stuff. The washing machine died (again…it died last August too) last night while trying to finish up the boychild’s bedding. I really don’t have the time to deal with that right this second. Maybe tomorrow afternoon? I just don’t know. This might be an online thing. Trying to decide if it’s worth trying to fix again (I never actually fixed it last time…gave Sears the money to fix it and then spent 4 months trying to get the money back because they said my husband let them in the house and they fixed it. Interesting. I have no husband. Or male who lives here at the moment.) or whether I should just accept that the last 9 months of forcing it to work, even though it was apparently unfixable, was better than I thought I would get. Write that shit off. Because buying major appliances when I have no paycheck during the summer seems like a good plan? Fuuuuck.

Deep breaths. The list is long. I will get through bits and pieces of it, a little at a time.

There’s the nervous conehead at the vet. She gets all freaked out.

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And on the way home, she wouldn’t shift over to give the puppy some room…

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Don’t squish your baby brother.

I’m typing now with this one lying on the caps lock. I keep shoving her over.

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I did do some stitching last night…two nights’ worth on the stitch-a-day…it’s about all I did. I was so exhausted. I’m better today. Got over 8 hours of mostly OK sleep. I really needed it.

I stitched a (dammit…just forgot the name of it) feather stitch in blue and then straight stitches in the purple vine, and then put in a few French knots and a stem stitch under the eyeball to finish the thread. Then I did a pink lazy daisy in the feather stitch and straight stitches off the purple vine.

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Filling space. Plus trying to relax. Then I graded for a while. I’m so incredibly behind, it’s not even funny. Trying to catch up. Frantically.

I did work on this at gaming…

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I did the frog and started the grass…plus the symbol on the tree. Still debating going back and adding bullions to the outside of the tree. Then this one is done. Not taking it with me to Ohio.

It’s funny, I’ll be frantically stitching while gaming, trying to keep myself calm (not) and awake (that works). Stress levels are a little insane at the moment.

I woke to good (but a little scary) news this morning. Both the pieces I entered into Threads of Resistance got in.

This is Absolutely Nothing, originally in an exhibit called Women at War

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And this is Work in Progress, from the exhibit Expressions of Equality.

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These were made one after the other…hence the tree showing up in both…I wasn’t done with that imagery apparently. Much like the bathtubs I keep doing.

So yeah, I didn’t have time to make new work for this show, but I do often roll in those topics anyway. There was a climate change one I wanted to enter, but it was like 2″ too big. It’s all good.

So why is it a little scary? Well. So. A few of my quilts have upset people’s sensibilities. And these two have about 10 penises between the two of them, plus yes, full-on nudity, and one is NOT very nice about how I feel about the way women are treated in society.

So. I guess we prep for the media storm this time…because some of these venues could be an issue. The plus is I know the group that organized this show has my back. Most of them have supported me in the past with personal messages or posts online. So I’m feeling OK about opening some eyes, or getting those heads nodding up and down in agreement. And I know the Mancusos will just invite the press in…still think I should get a kickback on their ticket sales if I make the news again.

The show opens July 15 in Lowell, Massachusetts, at the New England Quilt Museum. And then it travels through 2018. Or longer. So check it out.

Now I gotta get through this to-do list or I’m gonna go crazy.

*The Beautiful Girls, La Mar


Let’s Put Our Heads Together and Start a New Country Up*

May 15, 2017

Well whatever crazy internet thing that was going on has dissipated. My blog hits are back down to normal. Hello normal! Nice to see you too! I often forget there are people out there reading this (hello boychild! I know where you got that photo you sent to the girlchild!). Mothers’ Day. Sheesh…some holiday taken over by the media folks that messes with my head. It’s hard to have them so far away…and looking at pictures of them, trying to decide what to post, well that doesn’t help. Oh well. Moving on…I did get a long FaceTime call with the girlchild at my parents’ house…

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Wherein she tried to explain the chaos of her living and working situation for the next two-three weeks. She still has one final to finish. Then at least two jobs. And living out of a suitcase for a while.

Here’s the photo I found, from 2004…both their hairs are completely different now. OK, well, hers is similar, minus the dorky barrettes. Ages 7 and 8 about…

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And the girlchild posted this…I am just not going to explain it.

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Just to say, well, the kitchen is still a mess and I have a cow costume in case you ever need to borrow one. (And that’s not my wine.)

Yesterday, I found time to weed for a while…the rains this year have kicked my landscaping butt. I was watched by this bunny for all the time it took me to fill one of those big recycling bins. Yes. One.

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That was about a third of the front yard. I didn’t even try to pick the grasslike stuff. I’m gonna weed whack that part. Sorry bunny (he lives under that deck).

In the house isn’t much better. Kitten jumped up to dust this with her paws. Right? That’s what she’s doing up there? Sigh.

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I had three days to catch up on this. I did finish the hand with one of the days, filling in with stem stitch and doing some cross stitches over the seed stitches below. Then I finished the bush to the right of the hand…only half the leaves were done. Then I did some blue fly and lazy daisy stitches in the pink below the bush.

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Back to filling in empty spaces. Still haven’t hit the halfway mark. Embroidery is relaxing though.

Then I retraced some of the pieces (old Wonder Under sucks…which is why Saturday found me at JoAnns with my 50% off coupon buying a new bolt of the stuff), cut them out, and sorted them. Only three bins.

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So easy peasy. Ironing tonight? One would hope. There’s some cleaning that needs to go on in here, the studio. In fact, that’s often the only thing that gets cleaned…the areas where I make art…the entryway floor so I can lay out quilts…etc. Oh well. I do my best.

Also, one of the shows I entered (notifications haven’t gone out yet), Threads of Resistance, posted all the entered work, because it’s an important exhibit even if all the pieces can’t be in the show. You can see the work here. There’s a ton of work, so there will be a ton of rejections…but the work is all out there for viewing. I’m interested to see how what they pick might differ from what I would pick…how to show all the possibilities of resistance with a clear, consistent show that doesn’t violate copyright. That’s a hard one.

OK…working my butt off today and then coming home to be an artist. Oh wait. I’m always an artist. Obviously not a gardener or a housecleaner. I suck at both.

*REM, Cuyahoga


Your Ignorance Is Showing

February 9, 2017

It’s after midnight. I’m not gonna finish writing this tonight. But it’s in my head, and I straight-up know I won’t go to sleep until it’s out. Simply put, I’m in a mood…I’m pissed off at all the political crap that’s bombarding us on a regular basis. The stupid decisions that aren’t seeing the big picture, the world view. I’m irritated by having to deal with a president who is only barely more mature than the majority of my students. I want to bitch slap all the…well, shit, most of them are Republicans, so I’ll start there…who want to get rid of human rights and instead promote racist and sexist propaganda. Who think it’s OK to put people in charge who don’t understand science, whether it’s climate change or homosexuality, mostly I think because reality scares them. Who want to destroy the environment so they can make money. Dammit I remember Los Angeles in the 70s and not being able to take a deep breath. Who think China made up climate change. Who think the Department of Education is only for rich white people. We don’t need to educate poor people, right? What the hell? I keep thinking, “Your ignorance is showing.” Did I tell you my meditation app has an SOS setting? For when you need 2 minutes of meditative thought because a bunch of men are refusing to listen to an intelligent, educated, ELECTED woman read a letter about human rights…that men were allowed to read later. I’m boggled by that…absolutely boggled. I listened to a mom tonight almost in tears about her worries that her daughter’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan, for those with learning disabilities) would be scrapped by the incoming Education Secretary. Well yeah, because that shit is going by the wayside…along with a million educators’ jobs. And 8000+ EPA jobs. (Who are we making great again? The great unemployed masses?) And the dumbass ignorant rants from my state senator about immigration issues. And others who think a wall will stop the drug trade (wow. really?), let alone that Mexico will pay for it. Or those who think vouchers will be good…why? Because they’re rich white people. And that’s who vouchers benefit. If you don’t have money, your school choices are what you can walk to…they can’t just up and move to La Jolla. DeVos’ assertions about school ratings are so damn IGNORANT that you just want to invite her, as another teacher said, to come stay in my house, in my reality, come to my school and sit through a week, AT LEAST, of my classes. I’m not a shitty teacher because I teach in a Title 1 school…I’m in a Title 1 school because they need me there. Try, just try, to understand the social background of my students and realize that some of them are just glad to come somewhere that feels safe and has food on a regular basis.

And this doesn’t even touch what happens when the stupid decisions and dumbassery start a war. Because that’s looming.

I know for most, I am preaching to the choir. And many of you are feeling as torn apart and stressed by this as I am, and it’s not because I’m a fucking snowflake…it’s because idiots are damaging the world I live in…for me and for those I care for. So I will keep yelling until the pendulum swings back (fast please), because this is not acceptable. And the country I live in allows for protest…it was built on it. So if my rant offends you, so be it. This snowflake (I am so NOT a snowflake) doesn’t really care if you’re offended. I want to know WHY you’re offended, simply so I can probably say, again, “Your ignorance is showing.”

Meanwhile, protest art exhibits and concerts are proliferating, which I think is great. I love listening to the whiners, the ones who think we shouldn’t make MEAN art or PROTEST art because they had to suffer through the last president so why don’t we just shut up. Yeah. They can bite me. “Your ignorance is showing.” I’m making art. I really need this quilt done so I can make 17 more. Like now.

OK. Now I’m going to bed. I’ll write the rest tomorrow…

So I didn’t finish last night, but writing that helped me sleep. I had book club last night, and near the end, when we were done with the book and a few of us were just chatting, which turned into that up above, there was this guy at the bar, maybe 30 years old, and all of a sudden he yells out something like Fuck De Vos! or something, and then apologizes, and then lays out a very well-designed plan for taking care of all this chaos…something about using the government to become a trained assassin and learning how to change his identity with their help and then going out there and “taking care of” anyone who was an issue…sigh. I think there’s a movie about that. At the time, we’re all joking about that as a solution, but we’ve all thought about it, because there doesn’t seem to be a calm rational way to change what’s happening. But sitting around and waiting for the ninja warrior to take out key players in the chaos is probably not a good or healthy plan.

So I’m choosing the art resistance mode…here’s a call for entries for one of the resistance shows popping up…

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I already have work for this one. So if you follow me for my cool quilts, hopefully you realize that most of them have a message, and it’s about women’s rights usually, although sometimes it’s just about being female…which apparently now is a lesser thing again, making me clearly remember being told multiple times that I was imagining a conspiracy against women a few years back. Imagine, My Ass. Your ignorance is showing…and in that case, it was a liberal…but still a rich white male. And if they say it doesn’t exist, honey, well then you KNOW it doesn’t exist, right? My ass. Did I say My Ass?

I came home, and you know, I worked an almost-11-hour day yesterday for school alone, plus an earthquake/fire drill and then a fire NOT drill…so I stitched. Not very much…the lighter-colored fly and lazy daisy stitches on the right. Not sure why. It just happened.

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I’m actually not sure there will be enough space on this for 12 months of stitching. I think I decided 12″ square was enough…We’ll see. That’s 39 days of stitching there…326 to go?

And then it was 11 PM, so I came in and quilted for an hour. I got the skull done…

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And the ribcage on the outside of the arm, plus part of the arm.

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I was hoping to finish that whole section, but it was late. So I wrote the screed above and went to bed, although it was probably 1 AM by then. And I’m up early again today for yet another official meeting, possibly one where I’m told to make nice with another employee…but I don’t know that anyone can make me do that at the moment. If you’re in the school system and not serving my students? Because? Then I’m not really interested in making nice.

I’m looking forward to coming home tonight and finishing the outlining at least. There’s not much left. I really need this to be done…not because I have a deadline (I do), but because there’s so much else that needs making and saying and yelling and drawing, and I’m going to keep saying it until it doesn’t need to be said any more. I don’t actually believe that will be in my lifetime, dammit, but I’m still not going to give up.