Portrait of a Cat…in My Way…

‘Tis painfully morning. The old lady dog woke me up just as I was falling asleep, adamant that she needed to pee THIS time (unlike at midnight, when she refused to do anything but smell whatever that thing is over there in the dirt that has fascinated both dogs). I take her out. She’s scared. She goes to the top of the slope and sits down. Nope. Not doing it. Does she need water? I try that. It’s like having a baby. WTF does she want? I don’t know. She goes back to bed, so do I, inserting myself between cat and human. Dude, it’s 100 degrees in here, you furry beast…why are you curled up next to me, flicking your tail at me. Deep breaths. Meditating myself into…almost sleep, as the dog comes back, go lie down, no, insistent this time. Fucking a. I’m up. I’m walking her out. This time she means it and goes over to pee, after trying to sniff Very Exciting Patch in the Dirt yet again. I think all that happened before 2 AM. I’m not sure. I just know I feel groggy this morning. That should go well.

It is supposed to be cooler again today…so yesterday’s 100 degrees in the grocery store parking lot? Hopefully not happening again. Well. Until it happens again. Two of the three things I was supposed to grade this weekend are done. The third is half done, completed at the gym in the morning. I was hoping to do a bunch during meal prep, but it turns out that meal prep was pretty labor intensive, so no go. I think I watched three videos after getting 30 or so done at the gym. Oh well. 34 to go. It could be worse. I could have one from every kid. At some point, they’re going to realize that their grade is based on what they turn in, and they’ll start turning work in. Or not. There seems to be a disconnect there. Maybe that should be a warmup question…where does your grade come from? The sky. God. You give me a grade based on how much you like me. Giant Ass Sigh.

Frustration aside. I made it through the Wonder Under this weekend. I wanted to be done tracing Saturday night, but at midnight, I still had 50 pieces to go and I knew I wanted to be up early to go to the gym, so that didn’t happen.

I spent a lot of Saturday, like 3 hours, tracing…some even during daylight.

Saturday night we went to a bunch of art stuff down in Barrio Logan, but afterwards, I traced some more…Kitten was being decidedly unhelpful.

The plus of the glass top is that I can gently shove her to one side…she slides easily. Sometimes she gets pissed off and whacks me, but mostly I think the glass is cool (the lightbulbs are LED, so no heat, thank god…because it was warm) and she enjoys being in my way and flicking her tail into what I’m drawing.

Sunday was busy, lots to do, dinner at the parentals…but I finally got around to tracing again around 8 or 9 PM. Cat came back…

The 50 pieces took under half an hour to trace. So maybe I could have done them the night before, but I was tired. Total tracing time was 13 hours and 18 minutes. It was not a quick one.

There were maybe 15 pieces that weren’t numbered, but everything else went smoothly for once. That’s a plus.

Don’t worry, I had dogs as well…open sliding glass door with air coming in…Calli is lying right in front of the fan. It was warm.

I always lay the Wonder Under out to see how much there is…7 yards…

There’s a lot of bigger pieces…so they take up more space.

I started cutting stuff out for a little over an hour…that’s about one yard done.

Only 6 to go. Kitten is guarding them.

I have a bunch of pictures from the full moon exhibit at La Bodega, but no time to post them today. I did buy this print of a piece that was in the women’s exhibit there back in March? I think?

I really liked the piece when I saw it then. Of course, there’s no name on the print except for Joni…hang on…Joni Nunez. I can’t get the damn tilde to work on WordPress. Stupid. No idea where they’ve hidden the special characters dingaling in the newer version. Google is not helping. ANYWAY. I need to go to school. So full moon art pictures later. All week probably at the rate I’m going.

Darlin’, Now There’s Mutiny…*

So it’s Saturday finally. Some weeks, man…some weeks. I have too much to do, of course, but a lot of the to-do list, I did the first step and I’m waiting on someone else. I love waiting. No really. Ha! I’m listening to a podcast about small-group instruction (aka stations or centers). We use these all the time in science, just because it’s the only way to run labs sometimes without spending a million dollars on materials, but we’ve realized with the sizes of our classes that 6 stations isn’t going to do it this year…we’ll need at least 7. Eight would be better. That means coming up with new shit. I love huge classes. Sigh. Also, they are mostly incapable of actually completing work on their own in groups right now, which is going to make the next unit interesting. We are totally not ready for me to be able to focus on one group while the rest work independently. Not unless I’m allowed to use duct tape. Honestly, that’s only about 5-6 kids per nonfunctional class. I’m getting there. Working on them…constantly.

First I need to pack up and deliver two quilts for a show that will be at Liberty Station through January. The openings are every first Friday, so the first one will be October 4…I think it’s 5-8 PM. Then I need to enter another show. Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, I need to go to the gym. I also need to grade two assignments and prep a couple things for next week. I’d really like to get all the tracing done too, but that’s a harder task. I did trace last night…but before that, we went to our local artwalk…these cat heads were cool…

Garden Dream by Carlos Castrejon.

A prize winner! Nora Clemens, Fish on My Mind.

I also liked these pieces by Laura Lehman…

Interesting how the arms are all pushing out…

Definitely cool work…

I also liked the work by Kenda Francis, although there were a lot of people in that space, so I couldn’t get in there to photograph easily…

I also liked these lifesize sculptures by Sara Duvall

Hard to get photos through the glass…and this one included my legs…

Which actually looks cool the way it worked out. Totally unplanned.

I was pretty tired after all that, but I knew I wanted to work. First, saving yet another baby lizard from the house. We are Lizard Central.

He was so little.

Tracing can be difficult with cat butts involved.

Did I tell you it got warm again? Back into the 90s. I think it’s supposed to be 99 degrees today. Ugh.

I eventually traced around her until she left.

Asking for attention…

Really, she just needed to pee. She doesn’t really ask. She just stares at you.

This is my usual view…television on and sorta watching but mostly listening. Cat in the way.

Giant-ass light table in my living room. I traced for a couple of hours and made it to the late 500s. Progress! I’m in the body at this point, so all the background and foreground are traced. I really do just have the lower torso and legs left. I finished the ribs and redwoods.

Right there is where I stopped. It wasn’t midnight yet, but I was tired. And I knew I had shit to do today. So I think I have about 300 pieces left or so. I have found about 10 pieces that weren’t numbered, and a few where I split pieces because it didn’t make sense to stretch a piece out underneath everything as I had originally numbered them. So a bunch of a’s, b’s, and c’s. Nothing like last time though…no missed numbers and no double numbers.

I saw this when I got up…that’s my piece, Beyond the Concrete, currently in France with the traveling Quilt National 2017 exhibit. I love seeing them all staring at it.

She’ll be coming home after this, I think…although she’s so old, I’m not sure I can put her into any other shows. This QN group didn’t travel as much as the previous one, unfortunately. Oh well.

Oh yeah…this…

I’m the chick in charge of this. Scary! Wait, no, it’ll be fine. It’s really just a hang out. Come by if you are around.

OK, shower, pack quilts, deliver. Then moving on through the tasks. I have no idea what I’m doing tonight, but it’s probably more art. And air conditioning hopefully.

*The Family, Mutiny

Good Times…

Hmmmm. Friday the 13th. Full moon tomorrow. All teachers know what I mean. Today could be interesting. It’s been a long week. The weekend won’t be long enough to recover fully. Then again, it only is when it’s got three days, because we usually work for one of the two days. I’ve got 68 videos to watch…all less than 90 seconds (that feels longer than you would think). I’ve got some art to drop off. I’ve got some art to look at. Monday, I’ll have a new non-leaking kitchen faucet. These are all good things. Well, except for the videos. That’s somewhat painful, to be honest. I know, I bring it on myself.

We are 3 1/2 weeks into school. It feels like longer. I still don’t know everybody’s name. I have these three girls who all look similar (they don’t really) and I’m still trying to tell them apart in my head. They are very different. I’m not sure why my brain can’t get a hold on this name stuff. Today, I walk around doing name stuff. In my head. It’ll be good. Watching the videos will help too.

I got home after the first school day this week where I didn’t have a 2-hour meeting, talked to the plumber, and then went to the gym. Finished my book. Remember reading The Lottery in middle school or high school? That awful story? My book club read another book (We Have Always Lived in the Castle) by Shirley Jackson, the author. Guess what? She’s always disturbing. I guess I have to read The Haunting of Hill House next.

Anyway, I came back after working out, ate some dinner, and then started tracing again. I’m about 7 hours in…

It’s boring as hell for you to look at, I know. But it’s so incredibly mellow and meditative for me. I like this stage for that peace. Then again, a lot of the quiltmaking is like that. The ironing, the cutting, the tracing. The quilting even, although it’s louder. The repetitive motion of the shoulders and arms…it’s really nice. Anyway. I’m in the high 300s…so not even halfway. I don’t think I’ll get much done tonight…I’m exhausted and we’re going out to an art thing tonight. My goal is tomorrow, around art delivery and hopefully another trip to the gym. We’ll see.

These guys…

They were waiting on the boychild to take them to the other house. The little one went batshit when the plumber showed up.

OK, plan for the day: survive it. Stay calm and focused. Get the shit done that needs doing. Enjoy some art. Then trace a little and collapse into bed. Literally collapse I think. Good times.

From Where, I Do Not Know…

Another long day. I’m hoping for a normal-shaped day today with a trip to the gym at the end of it. Luckily, I have nothing to grade yet…that’ll be this weekend. A bunch of videos to watch…that’s about it. School. It’s always a struggle in September. I’m really feeling overwhelmed. It’ll get better. It always does. But not today. Not right now anyway. I was so prepared when I left school yesterday, until I realized I’d left behind the two things I needed for the meeting I was going to next. Ah well. So be it. It’s fine. It’ll get done.

Deep breaths. Maybe a run around the block.

I got home late. Another 2-hour meeting. I was tired. I laid down. I stared at things. Someone fed me (best part of the day, maybe).

I revived. It happens. I stitched after dinner…I’m not sure why I keep stitching on this. I’m still not sure I like it. It may not matter.

I did email them yesterday and haven’t heard back. We’ll see. I’m not totally invested in this venture. This one is less cluttered.

I have one other I haven’t stitched on. Then maybe I’ll do something else after dinner. Something I actually want to work on. Sigh.

Oh yeah, so school. I can’t get anything done. I drew the cover page like two weeks ago…

No time to color it. Usually I can sit down with the kids in each class, moving around the room, and get it done. Not so in these classes. So it’s not done. At all. Sigh. I should do that. I should mail it to my daughter and have HER do it. Or my niece. Could happen.

Anyway. I started tracing early last night. I managed to find energy to stand, from where, I do not know.

I traced for about 2 1/2 hours or so. I’m a little over 5 hours in with about a 1/3 traced. So I guess I have 10 more hours to go. That’s gonna take a little longer than I thought. The plus is that I lost one event on Saturday, so I can trace for a while…maybe even while listening to the videos I have to grade? Maybe? But gym tonight and plans tomorrow night…so maybe I won’t be done until Monday. Yikes. Time is always tight. I work best with a hellacious deadline apparently.

Parse It Out Later…

Ah dazed and confused in the morning. Too much school yesterday. Back-to-school Night first, then came home and sent a bunch of stuff to our district print shop, because I realized yesterday that I needed stuff for next week (oh yikes), plus then remembered I’d taken all these kid videos yesterday so the kids who were absent could figure out the answers, so I processed all of them into a video and posted that. Then it was 10:30 PM. We had tried to watch a movie that’s been sitting by the TV for the entire summer, and then the DVD died. Right then and there. Second one this year. To our credit, they were both old. We both got our money out of them. Oh wait, I didn’t pay for mine. High five. New one is on the way, but meanwhile, we still haven’t seen more than 20 minutes or so of the movie.

Shockingly, after that long of a work day, I still wasn’t tired enough for bed. My body would go there, but my brain wouldn’t be ready. That’s why the art every night. It calms the brain. It’s meditation. It shuts up the school stuff and the life crap and lets my working brain relax. Especially this stuff, the tracing stuff.

Actually, I also watered plants last night. Another meditative act. Plus caring for things that don’t talk back. Hmmm.

As I was loading these photos, I realized what day it was today. Still makes me sad. I made a quilt block for one of the first responders who died in NYC. He had 5 children. I put 5 white birds on his block.

I think this might be a baby caterpillar…

It’s certainly weird looking. I rescued a baby lizard from the kitchen last night. Actually, first it tried to run up my leg and I squealed and it got away behind a bookcase, but later I went back in to heat up my tea, and it was trying to get in the storage container cupboard (probably because it heard I couldn’t find all the lids and it wanted to help), so I rehomed it outside. Where it will figure out a way to come back inside and be on my ceiling, like the other day, or maybe on the floor and a cat will eat it. Circle of life here folks.

I got beets in my produce box and finally cooked them up…aren’t they pretty?

They were also tasty. But more carbs. My diabetic life is frustrating sometimes.

After all that work shit I did (thank you work brain for not shutting up), I wanted to trace for a while…so I did.

It’s going very slowly. I’m not sure why. Large and complicated pieces mostly so far. I’m still in the water/land section below the earth mother.

I’ve mostly filled up one yard and started a second one. The big pieces aren’t fitting together well. I think I spend more time staring at where the pieces might fit so I don’t waste Wonder Under…

Which is silly. I don’t waste much.

I’m only at piece 136 or so.

I got going eventually and then time passed and I looked at the clock. Fuck. It was already 12:12 AM. So yeah. I’m a little tired this morning. But I was going to be anyway. The plus is that I mostly fell directly asleep (I’m never as fast as the man. I always have to do SOME deep breathing and adjustment of the body parts. He’s like one deep breath and OUT. Jealous of that.).

Tonight is a union meeting (more work!). I don’t even have anything to grade during the meeting. Seriously, we’ve pulled a lot of things in terms of grading. I’m going to enjoy that extra time. When I see it. I’m not seeing it yet. I do have a list of things to do today during prep…because I spent time with the calendar last night. 7th-period prep is hard for thinking. I’m not an afternoon thinker. I’m a late-night thinker. Sometimes I can handle early-morning thinking, but it’s a jumble. Parse it out later. OK. Gotta go. To the workplace. The one I feel like I just left.

Why Do We Care?

Imagine asking a classroom full of 7th graders this question. Then telling them they’re not allowed to say they don’t. Most of them were up to the challenge of figuring out why they SHOULD care. Some were shallow and just said because of their grade. But some dug deeper. Good conversations.

Then later, I see this…

We’re teaching the states of matter. Here’s why they care…so they can fuck with TSA. I’m betting she didn’t win this one though. The government isn’t great with science.

It was a frustrating day. Reteaching what classroom discussion looks like. Why we don’t all yell at once. Why yelling stupid shit is not productive. I’m behind in the teaching content part because there’s so much behavior teaching. We’ll get there. We just didn’t get there yesterday. By the end of the school day, I was more than a little frustrated with what was showing up in my inbox. They added two kids to one of my biggest classes, making it a potential issue when we’re doing labs. And then fucked with our schedule. We’ll make it work, but there’s no reason why we couldn’t have known about this hiccup a month ago. That’s the frustrating stuff.

So after a 2-hour staff meeting that was mostly a waste of time (I thought), I needed to be outside, moving. So we walked the dogs…

It was our first test of Calli on a full-length hike since late June, because of her hips and leg. She did awesome…

They’re staring at the boychild. I’m not interesting.

There’s still blooming flowers, despite the very little rain…just one day a week ago.

Desert flowers like their sporadic water.

I did a little on this. Tonight I will send the email…I think.

I found out I got two pieces into a show that will be in Liberty Station through January. There’s a first Friday opening every month, starting in October. That might be painful for me. Fridays are tiring. But I got into a show!

Today will be tiring…Back-to-School Night. Ugh. Not my favorite event.

I did start tracing, but only got about an hour in. Maybe I’ll be finished by Saturday? I doubt it, but it’s something to aim for.

If I get an hour in tonight, that will be a plus. OK, off to keep kids from doing stupid shit with water and balloons. I know, it sounds problematic. Welcome to my world.

Making Art, Ignoring the Rest…

Well if you ignore most of the stuff on the to-do list, you get a lot of art done. Six and a half hours worth of it. Am I done with ironing? You’d think I would be…but no. Because I found more mistakes. I seriously don’t know where my brain was when I numbered this, and that messed up my tracing…because I trace by number, and I didn’t realize there was another double-numbered section, so I missed tracing about 20 pieces. It’s OK…I figured it out yesterday during that six and half hours!

So I set up my smaller light box and wandered back to it a couple of times, traced the missing pieces, then cut those bits out, and then put them in the pile of to-be-ironed pieces. What a pain.

I did manage to get well past the fucked-up sections though…while watching/listening to the mandated videos I have to get through for school. I get tested on bloodborne pathogens, sexual harassment, mandated reporter duties, and integrated pest management.

Three hours’ worth. Fun stuff. But it’s done. That’s worth it.

These guys…

Mom is ironing. We must sleep. It was hot.

The big girl went in the pool…

She uses the pool the most…supervised, of course, and she can’t swim as well with the back legs any more.

After dinner, there was more of this…seriously down to the last line…a word and a half, plus signing it and dating the speech itself.


More sky ironing. Cat has moved. Sky is dark. I’m still listening to work crap at this point.

I’m not really good at listening, honestly. I space out. But I’ve seen the same stuff over and over again and know most of the answers already. I’m not good with Audible books or podcasts though. I totally zone out when people are talking to me. Just so you know.

Nighttime…she’s still sleeping…old lady.

She’s a good girl. She did move in between, I swear.

So I’m at almost 13 hours of ironing. Sigh. So slow.

I’m much closer to done though…less than 100 pieces, I think…

Just need to finish some of the body parts and the hair, and then decide what to do with the pieces around the edges. Should they all be one color? Should they be different values of one color? Should they be all different colors? I don’t know. Maybe black and white, but then what do you do in the middle? Alternate or find a fabric that is both (that’s not hard…my black and white stash is massive). Anyway. That’ll be a decision for later today hopefully. First I’m going to the gym. Tonight I have a birthday party and a show…so that should be cool…but not really artsy. I was trying to come up with a drawing for the last embroidery last night while I was attempting to fall asleep (a really bad time to be thinking about such things). I think I came up with one, but I need to actually draw it too. OK. Outta here.