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…)

Meditating with Wonder Under

It’s Tuesday morning, in case you haven’t noticed. I made the big old lady dog come in here and lie next to me on the floor, because she’s in a mood, and when she’s in a mood, she hunts out paper things to eat and or tear apart. She especially likes pads of post-it notes, but anything will do: boxes, napkins, receipts, 20 dollar bills, books. You name it, she’s eaten it. She’s a little anxious because the boychild isn’t here, and she knows it. We got rid of the parents’ dog last night (they came back; nothing drastic), but the boychild is gone for another two days in dog brain. Well, the dog brain doesn’t know that. She just knows things are different and she doesn’t really like different. Neither does the little boy dog. I had to go chase him down in the backyard already this morning to get him to come back in. Fun stuff. Stuff I used to do every day. Stuff I will probably have to do again someday.

I know we gained an hour, but apparently I only gained the tired hour. Seriously, shouldn’t my body be happy I’m getting up later (well, no, because it’s not like I’m going to bed earlier…)? Daylight Savings time switches just mess with our brains, no matter which way they go.

Yesterday was hard work. Lots of waiting for kids to get their needs for attention out of the way. My first two classes are a challenge in that way. I stand a lot, arms crossed, eyebrows up, waiting. Eventually they settle down, like jumping beans who ran out of jump. But every time we transition, they do it again. It makes for a long couple of periods some days. Today is a lab, so it will be fine. Tomorrow is hard, so it will not. Acceptance. Mindful acceptance of chaos? Huh.

Anyway. My room is set up for the lab today, because everyone at school got to pick new furniture but us 4 science teachers. We’re good! They say. Whatever. Then I kamikazed over to the bank to figure out how to pay for solar…which is happening! I’m so excited. I finally found someone willing to design an affordable system that didn’t make me cut all my trees down. I love my trees. He was awesome. I’m hoping this is as cool as I’m feeling it is right now. I also refi’d my home loan for a shorter time period, so when I retire, I’ll be mostly paid off. I may have to refi again (god knows I’ve done it enough times) to remodel stuff, but for now, this is really cool and I’m really excited.

That did take up a chunk of the evening though. I packed a quilt to ship later this week, I tried to deal with some photos for some posts I have to do, and I graded absolutely nothing. After dinner, I actually did a tiny bit of applique…

Stuff I’ll never finish. Apparently.

Then I decided to trace stuff. Because why not?

I seriously wasn’t in the mood for anything else. It’s funny, though, because one of the reasons I stopped the previous night (well, it was late) is that I couldn’t find the next number on the drawing. Granted, I’m reading upside down and backwards, but it was seemingly invisible. Until yesterday. I’d traced the entire body, but not the head. Duh. Back to the neck, the head, the hair…then onto the next dividing space between bodies.

I’ve filled one yard and most of another yard…started a third yard, but barely.

I’m up to piece 443, which is dividing space between two bodies. I think I only have one body left? Maybe two. Yes, two. So I’m about halfway. Five and a half hours in…so a goodly chunk to go. Plus I really should be grading stuff. Ugh though. Will it make a difference? The reassessments…some of them will. The rest? I don’t know. We reviewed quizzes yesterday and they can retake today or tomorrow. Oh yeah, more shit to grade. If they improve, OK. OK. OK.

Sigh. Kitten, you feel me?

She’s like, momma, I got this. Let me just finish cleaning my armpit.

Another sighting of Bill! Bill! Bill! Hope he enjoys his travels.

You know what? I hope the real Bill gets to see it at some point. OK. Lab day. I might lose my mind in the first two classes. Hopefully not. Then tutoring. Exhausting. It’ll be fine. FINE I SAID. Looking forward to meditating with Wonder Under later.

It’s Light.

Pro: It was light when I got to get up. I woke up earlier. My brain was confused. So were the dogs. Plus the man gets up earlier than I do and that wakes me up. Con: I’m still tired. I sorta forgot about Daylight Savings and the time change because my phone did it for me. The clocks in here are still wrong. Whoops.

Saturday I talked to a solar guy…he’s the first one who didn’t say I needed to cut my trees down. He designed a system with the trees. A miracle. This might actually happen. I mean, I’ve grown this one from a tiny plant. It’s a volunteer. I love trees.

Yeah. I know. Trees can cause problems. So can people and I don’t cut them down. Well. Much.

There’s been a lot of dog sleeping going on here…

Lots of dogs too…

And lots of grading. It gets frustrating at times. Sometimes I feel like I’m just recording that they did stuff and I’m not even sure what they’re getting out of it…

Please don’t ask me what she meant by this. I really don’t know. Hopefully texture.

I don’t have any choice with quizzes and tests and projects. I have to grade them. This one amused me.

Physical change vs chemical reaction on scrambling eggs. Yeah. Sigh.

So my co-teacher and I keep searching for the solution to grades. I’m not a fan, but the kids don’t work without something to motivate them, although grades is not always a good motivator. I’m not willing to run a candy-based classroom.

Ah yes. More dogs…not my house, because that fluffy over-shedding one in the middle is not allowed on my couch.

That’s why she looks so guilty.

Meanwhile, Kitten has actually been playing.

She carried that purple mouse into the living room. Brought it right to me.

Good kitty. 6 hours of grading later. Ugh.

I did do art stuff…I went to another opening. This is in Hillcrest…

I think it’s time for another bathtub quilt. Not that my schedule fits that. Wait. A minute. Hmmm. I gots an idea.

I traced Wonder Under finally on Saturday night…see Kitten on her new perch? No fear.

Tracing is meditative. Not enough, because I’ve been grinding my teeth for a few weeks. But better than nothing. Working on that…took a pilates class for the first time yesterday. Gonna try three months. See how it goes.

Core strength would help. Plus my neck and back need it. Strangely, the only thing sore last night was my left foot. It’s better this morning.

I added a space cat to the quilt. I had a conversation with an artist’s spouse on Friday night about the cat in one of my quilts. And I realized this quilt didn’t have one. So I added one.

I guess I’m up to 872 pieces now. I traced again last night…I’m at piece 288. Not bad. I’m looking forward to some down time over Thanksgiving week to get a chunk of this done.

So far, my Thanksgiving plans include cooking my own turkey for December turkey sandwiches, getting my Real ID, going to pilates twice, going on at least one hike, and IDK what else. I guess I’ll figure that out.

Today is prep for a lab and a 2-hour staff meeting. Ugh. Well. OK. First I need to figure out what to do with all these dogs. Doing that now.

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.