Not Today

May 12, 2018

I have been looking forward to this weekend. No real events…just something tonight. No things I really HAVE to do, except work on these two quilts…which I should probably get going on. I slept in (but went to bed really late too). I need a swathe of unplanned time to just sit around in my pajamas and drink tea and maybe do what I want. Think what I want. Not really though. That’s what weekends SHOULD be…but I’m stressing out about school and getting stuff done and whether or not to give kids more time to finish something when I can’t really afford to give them that time. Because I need to grade it. Aargh.

Anyway. I don’t know who let all that shit in, because I was trying to keep it out. Deep breaths. Sip the tea.

I worked on both projects last night. I also wasted chunks of time doing hell I dunno what. Seriously. I really don’t know.

A student gave me a rose for teacher appreciation week (his mom made him)…I don’t pick yellow usually, but it’s pretty.

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I traced Wonder Under for about an hour while my show was finishing up…I’m in the 300s? I think? All the way up both legs and now starting to do the stuff around that.

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Then I moved into the studio and worked on ironing the second figure. He’s got legs…

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And I did his hands (one hand is literally just the tips of his fingers)…

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That hand was complicated. I like it though…and the arm attached to it.

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I numbered the fleshy bits before the box he’s holding, so I guess I’ll iron all the body parts and then the box and then insert the box? Not sure. That was midnight last night and I was tired, so I quit…and then stayed up too late anyway. It happens.

Today I am braindead. So I’m going to eat, shower, drink more tea, and then start ironing I think. I have an event tonight, but I should be able to get a chunk done this afternoon. Kinda looking forward to it. Then tomorrow I can make a decision about whether to extend kids’ time or grade stuff or whatever. Not today.


It Could Happen

May 10, 2018

I really need to work on this thing where I sleep through the night. It’s like having a baby around…except it’s my brain or the dog or who knows what. Exercise seems to help, but I don’t always have the time or energy for it…like if I walk in the door at almost 6 PM and I’ve been working that whole time, except for a nice leisurely lunch with my coworkers because it’s teacher appreciation week and the only kids who appreciate me are last-year’s kids (I’m OK with that…we’re probably pretty annoying right now…by this time last year, they won’t still be annoyed by us)…well then I THOUGHT about the gym, but a wave of exhaustion hit me as I walked up the stairs to the front door. So I didn’t. I will later this week. I’ll just do it on a day when I get home before dinnertime.

I think mostly the sleep thing is stress. I have other signs: the twitching eyelid, the canker sore I always get, the tight jaw…yup. That’s stress. I’m trying. I really am. So last night, after getting some stuff done like rejecting one proofreading job because the timeline was too tight for someone who works during the day, dealing with beneficiaries on my life insurance (yo kids! It’s you! plus how did they spell my brother’s name wrong? It’s the same as mine!), and some other email stuff…I decided to start tracing the next quilt. Yup. I don’t hardly ever, as far back as I can remember, work on two at a time…except when I’m working on one and the deadline on the other is more important. Then I might set the less-important one aside to work on the more priority piece. But I’m doing these pretty much simultaneously. Mostly because I had a Netflix video that I knew my video-watching partner wasn’t going to like, and he was gone, so I could watch it while tracing, but not while ironing (two different rooms, only one has a DVD player. I wrote VCR. I mean, it has that too, but we don’t use it any more).

I traced for almost 3 hours. Meditative.

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I didn’t get super far…all the stuff in the bottom, ready to start on her feet. Maybe 150 pieces or so. Not sure why it took so long, but it did. My brain fighting the process. I’m still working on not bringing any work home…on getting stuff done at school and at meetings, so I don’t have to bring it home. Not sure that will last, but I’m trying.

I got a phone call this morning at 6:30 AM from a duct-cleaning place. Every other day or so there’s another message from one of them. That and the phone researchers…one called last night at 8:45 PM. Annoying…not sure how to get off those lists.

Early meeting today…hopefully I’ll wake up and find my brain by the time I get to school. It could happen.


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…


It’s Much Too Late to Find*

April 24, 2018

Apparently the girlchild and I are simultaneously on antibiotics for infected leg/foot wounds. Impressive. Except mine was a tiny little bougainvillea thorn and hers is a whopping scab from a hiking fall with a 70-pound backpack that didn’t help her Not fall. And hers is in a third-world country that hosts some nasty-ass infectious bugs. Although they cultured my tiny wound…so maybe I have something fun too. FUN.

My afterschool experience: Yup, that sucker was tiny, but my body had already mounted significant pus protection against it. Plus it hurt like a bitch.

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It was deep enough that my science co-teacher rescinded her offer to dig it out with one of the rusty school scalpels (we would have put a new blade in, no worries).

Meanwhile, 11,000 miles away…some serious pus…

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Blech. The mosquito bite on top of the knee looks lovely.

So I actually left school early to go to Urgent Care. We were supposed to have a staff meeting, but because grades were due, he gave us the time to do that instead. So I texted him and told him where I would be grading (and I did…free wifi..score!). But I wasn’t done when I got home…took me another 2 hours or so, maybe 3? Yeah, more like 3, to finish up grades around 9:20 PM or so. Hallelujah. (This is not the first time I have graded in Urgent Care.)

Then I bid on a copyediting job, since I won’t be able to do anything during July without constantly panicking about jury duty (SIGH). So it makes sense to take jobs on now? With school? Whatever. This one has a long deadline. Plus it might lead to more work, who knows. I don’t really WANT more work…but I still have a year of college to pay for with one kid, plus loans that need to be paid off for the other (with his help, after he gets an awesome job at BevMo).

And then I traced some more. I’m well past the 50% mark now…in the high 600s. I found two more unnumbered pieces (I am a space cadet)…so we’re at 1003? I think? No, there was one the night before…1004. I have two yards mostly filled…and I started on the third.

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There are a lot of small pieces, even though I tried not to do that with the stuff I added to the original drawing.. I’m almost done with the third figure, so all that’s left is the fireplace and everything on it…cat, log pile, fire, logs, I said logs, the shit on the mantle. Not a small amount of stuff, but maybe I could finish tonight? Probably not though…

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What day is it? Tuesday? OK, so finish tracing by tomorrow and start cutting out…I need to see if I have a background piece that will work for this…no, I don’t (remember conversation about fireplace and wood floor contrast)…so I should plan a quilt store trip at some point…can’t iron down without a background to compare fabrics to. Cool. A plan. Background purchased this weekend. Ironing to fabrics sometime next week? I forget sometimes how close this deadline is. I may not make it. Oh well, it will still be a cool quilt.

*Human League, Don’t You Want Me


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


I Don’t Ever Wanna Feel Like I Did That Day*

April 20, 2018

Yeah, I’m up early. I was already awake…trying to remind myself in my sleep to wear my anti-gun-violence T-shirt today for Columbine. Things we remember: Reagan being shot, Columbine, 9/11. Fun stuff. Right eye is twitching. Yesterday was calmer. Today will be frenetic, because things are due to the teacher and you didn’t tell us! I did. You aren’t giving us enough time! Yes I am. Next week will be a little more chill. But we’ll be talking about what war does to a country, to a national park, to be specific, and that’s walking a fine line sometimes. Too many of my students have direct experience with guns and bombs falling. I think about that and I’m glad I grew up in sunny Southern California, where the only guns are in the workplace and at school. Whoops! No seriously, my growing-up time was also pretty chill. Same stupid drama you always see in middle and high school, but also dances and parades and homework and ditching school and dressing up for Halloween and all that stuff. No war, except the cold one. No weapons, except the nuclear ones.

The quilt I’m working on now isn’t about guns or even women’s rights or climate change or anything else political. It’s personal. I need a little mental space to work on it…it’s easier to see each piece as this particular shape than to try to tag it on social media with what’s important. What’s important? Across the board, how we treat people. All people…whether we’re trying to work with them in a group or teach them or love them or be with them or just stand in line with them in the grocery store. Or like that guy who was trying to drive up my ass the other day because he wanted to pass the truck in the other lane and he was in the wrong lane and I wasn’t going fast enough for him, so all I could see was the grill of his pickup truck and his middle finger thrusting at me in my rearview mirror. Really? I was doing 67 mph in an only lane that was exiting that freeway. Not fast enough. I wonder about his life that he thought that was an appropriate move. I hate that those guys sit in my chest and make all the feels.

I graded more yesterday. I’m trying to get caught up. It’s frustrating though, because then some kid emails me, completely confused about what I graded, but he never turned it in. So that’s a zero, sweetheart. I can’t (won’t) grade what you don’t turn in.

I had quilt class last night, which is just the two of us most times now…which is fine. I didn’t want to haul all the stuff to trace Wonder Under, so I just took the box of things that need sewing down. I forgot half my thread, but this is my quilt teacher, so she has that stuff. We like never run out of thread…the spools last seven thousand years when you’re doing applique…it’s such short strands. Even all the bindings I’ve sewn down…I think only the black and the dark blue thread are anywhere near empty…and they’re still NOT empty. When I die, it will be spools of thread and art exhibit announcements…and the FABRIC that drive my children bonkers. I’m OK with that. Maybe by then, I’ll be a mural painter and it will be my spray paint collection in the garage instead.

I got the lion’s body down, the two rectangles in the background, the body of whatever that gray animal is, and now I’m working on the tree. Still lots to do. Not even sure where the wool thread is for that blue hut.

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This is Mind the Gap, a show I will never see in person, unfortunately, due to the stupid hours. It closes today, I think…pick up is next week. Good friends drive down and photograph the show for you. Mine is on the right…there’s more pictures, but I didn’t have the energy to download them all yesterday. I partnered with James Watts, whose kokeshi doll is being stared down by my angry earth mother.

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I’ll post more later for that. I swear.

Then after dinner and grades, I started tracing the new quilt. At 1000 pieces (and it’s 1001…I just found one I missed), it’s going to be a while…

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There are some big rug pieces in there that take up lots of space on the first yard of Wonder Under. There are three figures on this quilt…so there will be lots of flesh tones. The fireplace is gray stone. Something to think about. The background will have two colors: floor and wall. How will I get the contrast I usually love? Well I need to consider that. Red wall? Dark brown wood floor? Dark gray stones in the fireplace? We’ll see. Complicated for sure. It’ll be at least 10 hours of tracing, probably more like 12. So I won’t be done with that until the end of next week probably. Good to have goals.

Time is tight. 39 days. Will I be making the other one also? What…am I nuts? Sigh. Yes. Yes I am. It may not be possible. I may have to reconsider. I may have to work harder.

This was at school. I have no idea why.

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Early meeting today. Long day today. But there’s a weekend and that’s a good thing.

*Red Hot Chili Peppers, Under the Bridge