I Should Draw That…

It’s been a frustrating day so far. It’s a holiday too…I should be jumping with Teacher Joy, a day off to catch up on my grading. Woo hoo. Yeah, it’s a day off. I appreciate that. I appreciate all of them. Things I need right now though: a massage person who can fix my neck and upper back. I have a name, but I just haven’t followed through. A diabetes nurse who will actually call me when I’m available to talk and will answer my questions. For instance, if my diabetes was out of control last week, why is it suddenly under control this week? Because they ran blood tests and realized it was in control last week, except when it was super low that one night, which they think is something I did, but I went through their list, and I didn’t. My fault? Well, my body’s fault. Sigh. I had an appointment (I thought) this morning, but I got there and they’re like, “Nah, it’s tomorrow.” I’m like “Nah, I wouldn’t have scheduled it for a work day.” So I know the nurse screwed up and she came in and talked to me and tried to reschedule, and I said, it’s cool, that’s a physical, it can wait, I’ll schedule for whenever, but someone needs to answer the diabetes questions like NOW. Of course, the diabetes nurse had disappeared from the office and hasn’t called me yet, so hopefully she will later today or tomorrow…when I’m teaching and can’t answer the phone. I’m not impressed by how Sharp manages its diabetics. There’s no information, no guidelines, no support, or if there is, it’s not on my schedule. I am OK with email or phone calls…I don’t need to be in your office for you to explain how to manage all this…I just want some answers and some guidance. Anyway, the diabetes is FINE (explains last week’s crash, eh?) and I’m to reduce insulin (good news). So I’ll do that.

Oh yeah, and here’s info that I could have diagnosed myself…I’m officially in menopause (really? the lack of periods wasn’t a clue?). The doctor asked last week when the last period was…

Well. So Satan is in charge of my periods. I guess I can delete that app now (I thought I had). It’s nice to be official though. I guess. I mean, I already knew that. I am a crone! Woo hoo! OK, lots of people already thought that but whatever.

Anyway, so I wanted to hike on Saturday, but the man had a different plan in mind. It’s his day off too, so I let him direct the day to here…

That’s different flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the background…all the local wineries have some gimmick besides the wine for some reason. I really liked their current Chardonnay, picked after the Fallbrook fire last year (?), so a smoky taste.

And then here…

Their shtick was chocolate, not my thing, but beautiful country out there. A nice drive…

Not quite a hike, but time together anyway. After all that and some food, we headed out to Visions Art Museum for their current opening…Ruth McDowell’s use of fabrics, especially big, bright, and crazy prints, has always fascinated me…

That piece is huge, as is this one…

Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of the labels. Well, I did, but they’re far away and pixelated. So there’s that. I did really appreciate this one for its simplicity…

It’s like an anti-McDowell quilt…except not. It’s smaller and way less busy…and more importantly (?), I can read the label. This is Goldfinches. I really enjoyed her work. I also enjoy that they relaxed the no-photo rule in there, because lots of you can’t go see this show, or maybe now that you know it’s there, you’ll make an effort to go see it? I don’t know. It’s nice. I liked it.

I did some drawing…I really wanted to just sit and stare at the landscape on Saturday afternoon (and maybe Sunday as well) with a glass of wine and draw, but wine tasting rooms aren’t really conducive to that, so by the time I drew, I was tired and didn’t get very far…

It’s obviously not done…and I still find the pussy hat problematic. It’s definitely a symbol, but I realize some groups object to it. Anyway, still working on the daughters.

I traced on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights…

It’s slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

I’m in the 300s, I’ve mostly filled one yard and am well on the way to filling the second one. That’s about 5 1/2 hours…not super fast this time. I’ve done almost all of the background stuff, so next on to the body. My goal this week is to finish tracing this and start prepping the fancy paper I bought for the book I’m going to build/draw. If I’m smart, I’ll make a prototype first. It’s debatable if I’m that smart…that shit takes time I don’t usually have.

The kittens have reached the destructive age of 4 1/2 months, where there is a lot of rampaging and moving things away from them or hiding them completely. Like your hair. Or strings on your clothing. Or your toes…

We have temporarily renamed them Lunatic and Novocaine. It works.

Calli was all up in my business last night when I was grading makeup work…

She has a cracked tooth, but it hasn’t slowed her down. She still chews on sticks and bones and eats just fine. No worries…they’ll take it out tomorrow. Meanwhile, I wish these sweet students of mine would follow instructions. Tell me WHAT YOU CHANGED. Because “I fixed my packet” isn’t good enough if I don’t know what you fixed and you didn’t write in a different color like I asked. I can’t tell you how frustrating grading the makeup work was. And I’m not done. Because it’s a clusterfuck. Sigh. It’s OK.

I have the rest of the day. I can make it good. We’re gonna walk dogs, I’m going to trace stuff; my lunches for the week are prepped (although I forgot yesterday and then was up at 1 AM finishing up, because I needed the crockpot for today’s dinner too). My brain. Is fuzz. I should draw that.

It's the Time and Effort That Count…

I’m not marching for women today. I didn’t even realize. Or I did and my brain was overwhelmed. It feels wrong not to be marching, because I still really care about this shit and realize that if we relax about the crap that’s going on, more of the bad crap will happen. And I don’t want that. Remembering a previous relationship where I got mansplained that it was all in my head (so easy for rich white boys to say). So I’m going to draw something…I’ve been doing lots of Earth Mothers during the years and started an Earth Daughter series (that only has two quilts in it, but there’s time for more). I had a plan to draw a few more of these for some upcoming shows that are paranoid about nudity…since the Daughters are usually just chest and up, it’s easier to hide the things that freak people out. Yes, that is a cactus…it just happens to be where nipples are. Can you see my snarky smile? So I had a list of Daughters I was planning to draw and just hadn’t gotten to yet. This morning in the shower, I came up with some more political ones…and even now, the Feminist Daughter will have two versions…with and without nudity. Is this violating how I normally make art? Well…yes and no. I’m aware of what I’m doing and of the power of getting my political/environmental work out there in a variety of venues without the nudity getting it thrown out. I might still get thrown out for politics, but then, realistically, I can’t put that stuff anywhere with stupid restrictions anyway.

Anyway, I’ll be drawing today. Drawing for women…harder to draw for everyone. I guess I pick my battles. Can I draw for everyone? Not really. I try to be more open to other issues or genders or modes of sexuality, but it’s not always obvious in what I draw.

I’m tired. I’m just gonna leave that there.

Kitten cleaning…curled up next to me while I was grading last night. Always grading…

They are related, that’s for sure. And sweet as hell.

I traced for about 2 hours…

I wasn’t very efficient. I was tired and spacey and lost two pieces for a while (didn’t really lose them…just couldn’t find them for a while…that’s a numbering issue).

I’ve mostly filled one yard and started a second one. I’m in the 200s. Hopefully I wrote that down somewhere.

Part of my tired is the puppy…barking at all the coyotes last night until probably 3 AM…and then a minor blood sugar issue around then. I was reading a chapter and eating popcorn at 3, and then finally got to sleep.

Man, I wish I were a cat…

They sleep so well. I suck so bad at sleep.

This is the tap root of the tree the boychild pulled out of a deep hole in the backyard. He’s been digging at it for at least a month, probably longer.

The tree is a volunteer/weed of sorts. Really invasive. We’ll use the hole for something that will block our view of the neighbor’s house. We have plans for planting we can finally start to implement…the trees are trimmed, solar is done and collecting precious sunlight, got the front yard marked for gas/electric and phone lines (which were in a confusing place). We have one lime tree from a friend who moved, and then are planning on a lemon and an avocado, some fencing, and some more plantings that will beautify, block overnight lighting from the neighbors, and keep UPS and Amazon from dumping packages at the wrong door. Big plans!

Still lots of cat interactions happening, all good. Makes us all happy.

OK, I have a ton of grading this weekend, doctor stuff, drawing, tracing, depressing TV (Chernobyl…good but hard to watch), hopefully some outdoors time, some art, who knows what else. Take care of the body, the mind, and Art Brain, but keep the day job from being overwhelming by tackling it and making boundaries around it. Almost a resolution there, but it’s where I’m always at, so not really.

I have two pieces in a show opening today in Ojai, California…the opening starts in 17 minutes. Whoops. No, I’m not there. It was too far. I couldn’t deal with it this weekend.

But it will be there until the end of February…debating my drive home from a trip in February that COULD go here…but it probably wouldn’t be open that day, so that would be silly. Never mind. Anyway, check it out. Beatrice Wood is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11-5 PM. Now I’m going to grab my sketchbook and go hang out at a winery or two with the man. Necessary stuff for relationships…time. Wine and art are good too, but it’s the time and effort that count.

Rampaging Cat Butts…

I’ve definitely used a significant amount of energy points this week. Labs with slogging bins of sand and water in and out of the classroom two days running, all day. Exercise twice this week on top of that. All the regular walking that comes with being at school. Today the kids research…I’m looking forward to some just-standing time. Maybe. I mean probably I’ll be in a chair at some table where kids can’t deal, but…it’ll be a chair and not running circles around the classroom.

I now have 17 bins of wet sand that need to dry, and it’s raining today. Cold and wet is not conducive to the sand-drying process…I do the weirdest shit for my job. I guess they’ll sit on the counter for a while. Evaporation is slow in a classroom. Hairdryer duty for a kid who needs a job? Anyway.

After the afternoon meeting I had signed up for, I was able to get out in time to kamikaze to the lab to get all my blood sucked out of me (it felt that way) to try to figure out what happened with my blood sugar the other night. I haven’t had any issues since then, except with my paranoia that it might happen again. Home to a few moments with the dogs until they left, and then the house was quiet and I was staring at my computer and stuff to grade. Like always. A short burst of productive time, interspersed with kitten shenanigans…blurry cats are the best cats…

Oh yes, that is a flying leap. We keep boxes for cat play.

They do like to play.

I was getting ready for pilates and got this weird thing going on with the three cats and the dog bed.

When the dogs are gone, there is a lot more interaction and play among the three of them.

But when I got back from class, things had settled down. Yes, that is my work bag.

Yes all the makeup work I need to grade is in there. Sit on, young ladies! Sit on! Can’t work. Kittens in the way.

And then they played some more…old lady got involved.

See Nova hiding by the table?

All that distraction makes it hard to concentrate. Actually, I’m pretty good at ignoring other things and still working. Years of practice. But they are fun to watch.

I started tracing the new quilt around 10 PM…

Maybe later. Yeah. Close to 11. I had finished grading one period of the hellacious assignment…only two to go. Ugh. And then piles of makeup work. It’ll get done. That’s what 3-day weekends are for, right? Double-ugh. They are also for artmaking…

I traced for about an hour. I can’t say how far I got, because I did through piece 84, and then I did all the car headlights, which were not in numerical order, but it made more sense to trace them all together so they could be cut out and ironed together, seeing as how they’re small, and there’s no point in making them all different colors of yellow or white. I’ll do the same with the exhaust pipes and clouds, but then the cars will be all different. That said, each car body is three pieces, and two will be the same color, so they can be traced and ironed together. That saves me time in the long run. I only cut them separately once, when they are on fabric. On Wonder Under, they stay together.

That probably only makes sense to me. And only barely, because I don’t even have one cup of tea in me. OK, buy donuts for the class that won last month, clean classroom, set up for the next assignment, hang out a little after school, come home and try to grade stuff (or nap, whichever seems more efficient). I need to iron and clean up the newest quilt for the photographer tomorrow. I’ve got work to do over the weekend and my doc is making me come in on Monday, where we will discuss her comment about my needing to eat balanced meals. (um. No duh. Stop assuming I’m not.) And maybe I’ll get some sleep. Hard to say with the rampaging kitten butts around here. Definitely going to be tracing more Wonder Under…maybe even finishing it up this weekend. It’s nice not to have someone else’s deadline running me at the moment. Although there is one I need to consider. Sigh. But not now! Now I need to go to work at the day job.

Trust Yourself…

So this is my day off. I did sleep in. With a pillow over my head. Because some people not getting the day off, plus dogs and cat and trash trucks. Not really sleeping, but trying to make up for two relatively early mornings. When you wake up early and your brain goes into overdrive, panicking about all the shit you gotta get done. Yeah. That.

The crockpot is going in 7 minutes. I prepped it already. I showered. I need to…hang on…do laundry. OK. That was 4 minutes. I got the laundry, started it in the washer, filled the dog water bowl, and started the crockpot 3 minutes early. Because it’s stupid to get up again. I’m watching the leaves fall outside. Because it’s Fall. Except it’s supposed to be like 85 degrees tomorrow, so Fall. Yeah. In Southern California.

I’m waiting for my hair to dry, and then I need to go to the grocery store and the pet store, and I really really really need to finish grading. I graded yesterday for a few hours and finished a bunch of stuff, but there’s one really heinous thing I have to do today. And another one I might just toss. Hmm. Don’t tell. It’s just a homework assignment. Nobody’s grade will change because of it. Not just one assignment.

Anyway. Those things are all going through my head, plus the fact that no one in the house wants to deal with Friday’s dinner, least of all me, so I guess we just won’t eat. That’s what I did last night. Long story.

OK, the weekend. I taught a fiber class for the Mingei Museum. Not a lot of people, but it went well…here was the original setup with some background fabrics and some samples I had done already.

I had instructions, just in case. The plus with not many people is being able to work a little bit with everyone. This girl did an awesome solar system.

This guy was amazing.

He did that guy and then built him a mountain.

There were adults in the class (and honestly, I wasn’t expecting kids…)

But everyone brought some creativity.

I gave her a link to a stitch website…I hope she adds some.

I love that someone took this background fabric and ran with it.

Good eye for color.

Here was Julie’s…

It was nice of her to show up…she knows what she’s doing and has a stash, so she took it home and finished it…

Awesome!

I spent the rest of Saturday mostly braindead. I graded a little. We went out to dinner. And I traced until I was done.

Gradebooks. So red.

Oh yeah, I did some embroidery on this one at the class…

And I made this one as a sample…

It needs more stitching.

I love that I used all that Wonder Under for just one long skinny piece.

It took 10 hours to trace everything…

Here’s all 4 full yards and about another 1/3 of a yard…not huge.

Now I need to cut all those apart.

This week is probably a good one for that. I’ll be tired. I’m already tired.

There’s the pile. Kitten was very high energy in between naps.

I’m listening to a podcast about differentiation for students, but it’s super vague. Science is always hard for this. I can’t really differentiate labs easily, not and have them get the same learning.

Yeah. Sleeping hard. I’m jealous.

So Sunday, we had signed up for a food tour of North Park, one of my Christmas presents from last year to the man. It started in a beer and cheese shop…this beer name amused me.

Not enough to drink it. We had great cheese…

and then pretzels and cheese (with kombucha for me…)

Off to an Italian pizza place and a burger place…apparently I stopped taking photographs in between…oh wait, here’s the pizza place…

Good stuff.

There was a little talk of history.

We’ve been on a couple of these. They’re fun. Interesting.

It was just a coincidence that I had been to more than half of the places we went to (it wasn’t my Christmas gift…). There’s so many things wrong with this…

We came back and I didn’t eat dinner, because the timing of the 3 hours of eating constantly didn’t work with my body. Oh well. I think I ate cereal at midnight because my blood sugar was having issues…and it was low this morning. I suck at weekends and managing food.

OK, so I graded a lot last night and then cut one yard out, plus those other two small pieces.

I stayed up too late. All weekend. It’s quiet late at night.

I’m tired today. Really tired. I’ve been really tired for a couple of weeks. Maybe decades. Hmm. I’m looking forward to a week off from school. Ironically, I’ll have a major project to grade over that week, so I’ll be working. Oh well.

Today, I need to finish grading and run all those errands. I need to prep for the week, mentally at least. Too many meetings. I’m trying to fit in exercise regularly. I’d like to spend some time drawing and reading and maybe even sleeping. Not sure those are options. This is the rundown teacher going into the holidays. The podcast is ending well…”you are one teacher…trust yourself to know when enough is enough.”

Let’s Go Be NOT Irritated

Ten days of school until break. Less than ten until I NEED a break. I get Monday off, but I already know it will be full of grading. I’m so far behind. I did manage a few reassessments last night. I finally could get my head around them. My co-teacher showed me how to see the old comments. That was a revelation. I’m not sure why it wasn’t a revelation before, but hey…I don’t always click on all the little icons at the top to see what they do. I probably should do more of that. In my spare time. CLICK ON MORE THINGS. I’ll get there. I swear I will.

Yesterday was good (but short) on the planning side. The in-class with the counselor side? Oh fuck me. Serious chaos. Not a level of chaos I’ll do with 36 kids in the room. Not this crew. Anyway. It’s done (you have to do it again, two more times. Don’t think about that.). Today will be painful…for the kids and for me. Because they have to turn stuff in and that is like tearing off toenails for them. The kids with a pile of crap in their backpack that is all disorganized and crumpled…do I help them? Do I toss them into the fire? I did record a video with all the pages in order. You’d think they’d use that. I already know where my frustration levels will be by the end of the day. I’m putting my chill hop YouTube station on and maybe grading some stuff. I’m going to keep a big, slightly scary smile on my face all day. I’m going to nod knowingly and shake my head at appropriate times. I’m going to take deep breaths. I might wave at kids. I might grab the rolling chair and just hang out. I’m not going to take their crazy on myself.

Oh yeah. OK. I can do this. It’s a nice thought anyway. A goal. Something to aim for.

After school yesterday, I kamikazed across town to the Rose Gallery, on the campus of Francis Parker School, which is chi chi and bougie and oh-so-not like my school. Three friends of mine had art in this cool show, Words Imagined, where they picked words and then made art to go with it. I love these…

The artists are Peggy Wiedemann, Don Weeke, Polly Jacobs Giacchina, and Johanna Hansen.

Their work is all different and fascinating.

So many weird little things to see. It’s cool that it’s at a school and the kids will be interacting with the work.

Then I kamikazed (much slower due to rush-hour traffic) back home, ate some food, wrote some instructions for tomorrow’s class I’m guiding (not really teaching am I?), and went to my first ever full-length Pilates class. The pro is that I’m stronger than I think I am. The con is the core is not. It’s all good. I will get there.

Back home, dinner after 9 PM. Hmmm. Planning sucked there. Oh well. I did eat. And then I graded, and then I traced.

Kitten watches me with one partial eye…

Oh wait, somewhere in all that, in between the bits and pieces, I cleared a space for them to check my attic…

Here’s the resultant mess that I will have to deal with…

Sigh. Whatever.

Finally tracing. Fifty one minutes…

Yes, I went to bed late. I have one more person to trace and the center, and that’s it…plus the space cat. So that’s about 200 pieces. I could do it tonight, but suspect I will be panicking about grades and the class I’m not teaching tomorrow. Why did I sign up for this? New experiences. OK. Let’s go be NOT irritated. I can do this.

My Long-Lost Used to Be’s*

I don’t know why I agreed to teach a quilt class on Saturday. It’s drop in. How do you know how much stuff to bring? All of it? Assume 20 people are showing up? What if you run out of materials? How many copies do I make? Do I need another iron? Do I HAVE another iron? Seriously, I kill those things. What if I forget the scissors? I’m not even really sure what I’m teaching. WTF was I thinking? It’s funny, because I can manage 165 12-year-olds through 12 stations of chemistry labs and not freak out (well, there’s some stress there), but this sounds like the end of the world at the moment.

IT’LL BE FINE. It will. It has to be. I should get my shit together though. It’s all in my head. Some of it needs to be on paper, a good chunk needs to be organized and put into some sort of containers. I need to figure out how to get it to the classroom.

I think I need more time. Because I found out yesterday that I have to get access to my attic for a site review for installing solar. And my attic access is awful.

It’s above all that. Up there.

So all that has to come out, and then I have to take out the top shelf as well. It’s a bitch. All this when I need to do some prep for a fabric thing, which should be taking place in here as well. Tonight is when I’ll have to pull everything down. Tonight after an art opening and pilates. Uh huh. OK. Oh yeah. Wait. That’s a song.

You can see how my brain is working right now.

I need a list of things to bring to class. I need something to hand people with instructions or something. I need to organize everything.

I also need to finish grades. They’re due Tuesday. Ha. Ha. I did some of that yesterday…

This is not a picture of what I graded. It’s a picture of Kitten judging me for not petting her more while I was grading. And the essay regrades just give me a headache. So I’m listening to The Style Council and Paul Weller this morning. Tryna channel some 80s Brit pop in my soul. School today? I’m not teaching. I’m meeting and filling out some form, but mostly planning with my homie, and then I have to sit through two periods of a counselor teaching social-emotional learning with two of my better classes. That will be after my first two classes have burned down the building.

Yeah. Uh huh. OK. My ever-changing moods are mostly panic and anxiety and stress. Hence pilates. And the gym! I went there yesterday and finished one book and started another. I’m not reading enough at the moment. Or exercising enough. Or relaxing at all. Whoops!

The boychild and his dad (my ex) were recently in Boston to visit the girlchild…not sure when I can pull that off AND not freeze my feet off…but I got this photo out of the trip…

Art museum trip. Nothing’s changed. He always took them to the museums when they were little. This is one I didn’t go to when I was there. Anyway, so last night at 11:30 PM, I was leaving the airport’s cell phone lot to pick them up…so it was a late night and I didn’t get much done. To be specific, I traced this bird…

Yup. That’s it. Not quite as far as I wanted to be. Tonight might be more of the same. And I think dinner will be chips and hummus. Maybe a pear. In between school and art opening. Oh wait, this opening always has good food…but I can’t eat too much, because pilates. Let’s get that core taken care of…

This morning’s view of the table.

Slow progress. But it’s progress.

*Paul Weller, Uh Huh Oh Yeah

Pillow Fort?

My 52-year-old brain sometimes just wants to wander off and be 12 again. Not really 12, because then I’d have to get my mom to drive me places and I wouldn’t be able to drink, but I’d have more time to make art and read books and possibly even sleep and I’d stress out less about money and the to-do list and how to get people to get along and my job and who’s going to go buy more toilet paper (that last one? It’s me. I’m the one who’s going to go buy more toilet paper). I don’t want all the drama of middle-school existence. Ironic that, since I do have to deal with that every day, but at least it’s not ME who is in trouble or has to go to tutoring or didn’t finish their homework or whose friends are bugging her. Or worse.

This week is kicking my ass. It’s only Wednesday morning. UGH.

I did make scones last night for the next 8 breakfasts. That’s nice. They taste good. I had to go buy more butter to do it, because I didn’t realize we had so little in the fridge (my fault…should’ve checked on Sunday. I checked everything else), but for once, the store wasn’t crazy at 5 PM. So that was nice.

I graded nothing. Tutoring just takes everything out of me. I’m done with school when I get done with tutoring. I can’t. I just can’t. I walk in the door at home and I just need to pee and eat (oh body, you are a delight) and then sometimes I just want to cry because I still have to cook dinner and do other stuff and I am just done. It’s not just walking around…it’s being ON the whole day. I gave a makeup quiz during lunch too, so it was ON for too many hours. Way too many hours. Makes me want to build a pillow fort.

I made an animal fort instead…one at my feet…

Another one on the other foot…

The cat was behind me, then on the desk, then to the left.

Eventually I decided to trace. This is yard 3.

I got through most of the second to last figure. Not all the way. It was late, I was tired, my brain is just sucky right now.

Figure 3 needs the other arm and a head. Then I have one figure left and the stuff in the middle and a few things in the sky. I really should be doing some other things, but I don’t feel like it…grading for one. Sigh. I’ll get there. Today I will be trying to get kids to write an essay again. It’s not even really long…just 7 sentences. You’d think I was trying to torture them with they way they react. It’s exhausting.

Positive attitude ahead. I have some paper stuff I can work on. I can move from table to table and check in while working on the paper stuff. Maybe it will work. It works in my later classes…my morning classes are just a challenge. Tomorrow I don’t have to be in my morning classes…I should consider that a gift, I guess. We’ll see. (Comes back to room on fire…)