First Official Title of 2019

Happy 2019…I woke up to pretty blue skies after yesterday’s cloudy rainstorm. Both Christmas and New Year’s Eve were rainy…not normal for Southern California, but a nice change. We had a quiet evening in…mostly watched a movie and some TV and a bunch of random movie trailers, just so we could see the new year in. This morning, he’s off to gaming and I’m off to Lake Arrowhead to hang with the kids. Of course, I’m not actually packed or ready to go yet, but that’s OK. I have time.

Yesterday was a lot of trying to get things done…I finally pulled out the Project Paint piece, which had been percolating in my mind, and I drew the bits to go around it. I really wanted to add some fabric strips to it…I might even quilt it, but I haven’t decided yet. Certainly I’ll need to finish the edges somehow. But I started with a photocopy of his unfinished painting…

The word is relationships and he went for kids and games and picking his nose, so I added his big sister (even though he’s older than me…I’m a big sister) and then some stuff above and below, with some canvas squares for him to continue to paint in. He says he’s more of an abstract artist, so he can do what he wants in those squares. I’m not sure how the fusible web will work on the acrylic, so that should be interesting. Or complicated. We’ll find out. I like a challenge.

Then I traced all the pieces (there’s only like 160 or so) and cut them out.

I’m hoping to iron them to fabric this morning so I can take them with me and cut them out. I have until the 6th to get this done, and I will only be home on Friday, really. It could be tight. Yikes!

I meant to take down all the Christmas stuff yesterday. I got the tree done and that was it…this was before. I didn’t want to disturb Kitten…

Then again, she keeps eating the pine needles. I also didn’t want to put the tree back outside yesterday because we have a frost advisory tonight, and I think going from inside for 2 plus weeks to outside with frost is a bad plan for transitioning a tree. So I’ll wait until I come back.

I also went and talked to the diabetes nurse and it turns out the real problem is that my insulin dose is way too low, like not even normally low. I’m kind of irritated with my doctor and the pharmacist and the nurse practitioner who managed all this, because honestly, they didn’t. The diabetes nurse, in contrast, was really helpful and gave me guidelines to follow and emailed my doctor with what I should be doing. She’ll call me back tomorrow, when the doc is back in, and hopefully we’ll be adjusting my dosage the way it should have been back in November, and I’ll be feeling better. The feeling of being OFF has been present since the first time they put me on the new meds in July, and with the switch to insulin in November, it just makes me anxious to not understand how to manage the numbers. They’ve been so random. Of course, she talked about stress, which is the hardest thing for me to manage. Ah well. Bring back the meditation. And more hiking. I’m OK with that.

Here was the view from the car on the way back…

So 2019 will bring positive change for all that. Proof is in the sky. Hallelujah.

Kitten came out and sat with us last night for a good long while…same with Satchemo. Someday we’ll have cats who get along. Probably not these two, though…unfortunately. I drew my drawing for the night. Plus cut out a bunch of stuff.

I have a project I’ll be working on later this year where I won’t be able to show ANY of it, so I may go back to this drawing every night thing just to have something to show y’all. Or maybe I’ll do some small quilts at the same time. I drew some last year and never made them. I always have these plans to make smaller things or create a coloring book or sell prints or do Patreon, but then the actual DOING of it is overwhelming and it stops me. I’m not making any resolutions about that. If it happens, it happens.

Last night’s drawing…some influence from the diabetes discussion.

Get that pancreas under control dammit.

I cut things out for about three hours…

I finally see some progress. The first person is cut out, I think (well, the fifth person, because it’s in backwards order in the box) and I’m doing the sun now. I’m taking this with me to Arrowhead, because I can hopefully get it all done. It seems daunting when I say that now. Sigh.

I always feel like there’s not enough time. Because there isn’t.

Here’s all the colors from my year on Instagram. Interesting colors…

Not sure what I think about that, but it’s interesting data. Oh yeah! I made a thing with all of last year’s quilts…I always do that.

Two tiny quilts, one really big quilt, and eight medium-sized quilts of a variety of shapes and sizes. One commission. Five have already been in shows. Not bad. Working on getting the rest seen. Lots of suns and skies and rockets and hearts and rainbows. And cats! Always with the cats. And birds.

May the new year have more of all that and some new stuff as well. Many more finishes and challenges and good health and good people. Plus quiet nights at home and rowdy nights dancing to music and some good food and hopefully good news on the political and human front. Plus less stress or better management of the stress that already exists, or just plain old getting better at ignoring it. And happiness and joy to all. Even to the assholes.

Something Small and Frail and Plastic*

Awesome news! This time around, the shingles vaccine is NOT kicking my butt like last time. I felt like crap the first night. I still have a rash on my arm. I’ve had a few bouts of fatigue and chills and headache like last time, but it’s the 2nd day after the shot and I’m not conked out on the couch. Last time, I was sick for 5 days straight and almost ended up in Urgent Care (knock on wood). This is good! You know what’s bad though? It’s only good for 5 years. I didn’t know that. That sucks. It means I have to do this again in 5 years. Ugh. That’s annoying. I guess it makes sense though. I do the flu shot every year (and I don’t get the flu…which when you teach in a middle school is kind of amazing). Honestly, I don’t even get colds very often. I had pneumonia about 4 years ago…that kicked my butt. You’d think with the small amount of sleep I get and the stress from school that I’d be sick all the time…but I’m lucky that way. Immune system kicks ass, even though it’s “compromised” by diabetes. Whatever.

So my arm is painful and itchy, but I can stand up and do stuff! I’ll take it. It’s a good thing, really, because I remembered yesterday that I need to clean the girlchild’s room before she shows up tomorrow. I store my quilts on her bed while she’s gone…it’s easier than pulling them out of storage 10 times a year. So I’m going to deal with putting them all away today. I also need to clean the studio up, because it’s time for ironing! Yay! One of my favorite parts of quiltmaking…when I get to pick the fabrics. I’m totally going to enjoy that for the next 5 days or so.

So I finished cutting stuff out in the early evening. I did some in the morning, while the windshield guy replaced my windshield. It’s a good thing he didn’t replace anything else, because obviously he’s the windshield guy. I shipped stuff to Seattle for Christmas, I went to the quilt store and got background fabric that I think I’ve used in another quilt. I really tried to get something that wasn’t dark blue, but my brain wasn’t having it. I got some other stuff too, including this one fabric with eyeballs on it that the nice woman cutting my fabric said looked like something I would use. Um. Wait. So you know who I am? Apparently yes. Weird. And then I got my hair cut shorter, hallelujah, because it was bugging me. All THAT! And some other stuff. Big pile of pieces on the left, trash on the right…wait, that’s not even the done box…because there’s still a yard of uncut Wonder Under underneath it.

That must have been before I went for the haircut etc.

So then I came back and the dogs were all needy and shit…

Because they like people and all. So then I cut out the last yard…and here’s the two official last pictures of that endeavor…a little over 10 hours of cutting. It didn’t feel that long.

So that was around 5:30 or so. Then I graded another class of that huge assignment. Three down, two to go…the two smallest, honestly. That’s a good thing.

Dear WordPress, when I add a picture, you do not need to pop yourself back to the top of the post. That is fucking annoying. It’s gotta be a bug. I thought you fixed that one. Sigh.

So then I started a drawing that popped into my head of a woman with an arm ending in a cactus.

Is this number 5? I don’t know. Yes it is. Well done. Five days in a row. Keep it up. I think there are 23? days of break?

Then I sorted the Wonder Under under the tree lights. OK it’s not a very big tree, so not really UNDER it. But next to it.

It took a little over an hour to do that. OK. Closer to an hour and a half. It doesn’t have a ton of pieces, like it’s not over 2K, but it’s still 1559 pieces. That’s not really a small quilt.

All sorted and ready for ironing.

Ah, if only the rest of the house were ready for that. Today’s list includes another period of science units, cleaning the girlchild’s room (which is mostly quilt organization and rolling, plus laundering bedding), making risotto (like you do), a phone call about an upcoming solo show (that’s exciting! More on that later), cleaning the studio so I can iron tonight, finishing any Christmas crap, and apparently going back to the grocery store for the girlchild. And another drawing. If I look at my to-do list, there might be more things, but that’s enough for now. I think I wanted to go to the nursery for a plant or something. And maybe the pet store for doggie gifts. Plus cat food. Ugh. Even on break, there’s so much to do. At least I got more sleep. And that damn shot didn’t fuck me up as badly this time. Good stuff.

*Cowboy Junkies, ‘Cause Cheap Is How I Feel

Wild Horses, We’ll Ride Them Someday*

Well Hello. I am alive. For now. My paranoia about the 2nd shingles shot notwithstanding (the boychild has been notified that if I pass out or collapse, he is to call 911, but while he’s waiting, grab my iPad, the charger, and my stitching, in case I’m in the hospital for any length of time). Yeah, my body doesn’t respond well to these crazy vaccinations. I’m hoping it’s better this time. Just in case, my to-do list for today is 10 miles long. Windshield fix is scheduled, oil change is scheduled. All good. 

Why so quiet? I survived the colonoscopy (no cancer! no polyps! Yeah because I eat all the Brussels sprouts in the world) and more importantly, the prep for it. Diabetics on no solid food…fun! Not. The plus is that I read 17 chapters of my book that’s due any day now in the middle of the night. Plus I don’t have to go back for 10 more years, and maybe by then, they’ll have figured out how to do this better. Seems unlikely though. 

So what else have I been doing? Some holiday shopping. Some drawing. Some trimming of the Wonder Under. Lots of animal cuddling.

Christmas shopping at the Liberty Station Public Market, with murals by Hugo Crosthwaite

Hey those weren’t there the last time I was there…

Nice.

I also got this clipping and a letter…which is most undoubtedly some sort of Christmas mystery thing…

No Professor Sherman Nida in this family. Yes, I Googled it. I know it’s a thing. I don’t want details. Let me experience it as if I did not know how to Google. (I stopped reading about it online as soon as I figured out it was a thing.) Exciting!

So I have this goal over Winter Break to do a drawing a day. They don’t all have to be big and fancy, but this one was, because we were watching a movie. This is the big sketchbook, 14×17″. Saturday night’s drawing. 

I’m not aiming for stuff that needs to be a quilt. I’m just drawing. I do have two big drawings I need to do over break, but I haven’t started yet, and one of them, I won’t be able to show anywhere for a while. Which is hard for me. But Imma gonna do it anyway (in the words of my students).

When I was done drawing, I cut this stuff out for an hour or two…this is two yards of Wonder Under done.

Doesn’t look like much. Trash on the left.

Sunday was no food day. I picked this piece up. So I mentioned before that I’m doing this as a collaboration with a prisoner at Donovan State Prison with Project Paint. I picked a word (relationships…trying to keep it no-nudity for the prison crew) and they started the piece on canvas paper. 

So this is the first layer, he says. He is Steve. He says this is the conscious relationship of playing the game a Barrel of Monkeys and the subconscious relationship of picking one’s nose. At the same time. Multiple relationships…hmmm. Not where I thought this was going, but the organizer matched me with Steve for a reason, she said. Uh huh. So he’s left space on the right (presumably for my part? He doesn’t know I don’t paint.). I could also add a strip or border, but nothing bigger than 6″ square, because they could use it as a disguise. Huh. OK. But a border is OK. 

My collaborator states that he “will not be held liable for any detriment, ill effect or monetary damages to [my] career as an artist by [my] collaboration with [his] project and or so called art.” Also good. No worries, Steve. We’re good. He likes out-of-the-box abstract, he says. Me not so abstract. So I have a few weeks to put my part together and then it goes back to him to finish. I think I need to go buy some canvas paper because he’s gonna need more space. I think. Letting it percolate.

Sunday afternoon’s drawing (evening?) while experiencing the first of the colonoscopy prep liquid. Blech.

This is part of another idea. You’ll probably see stuff like this again.

Our tree grew…it’s a good thing it’s bent over, because it wouldn’t fit otherwise. 

I predicted it might be too tall this year. Next year, it will need to go on the floor. I might have to plant it out after next year, but maybe a 4th year in the house? We’ll see. That was the original plan.

After the prep was fully ingested, my body calmed down enough for me to cut out two more yards of Wonder Under…

I was freezing, hence blanket. No food equals cold body. 

This is after 4 yards is cut out. Does it look any different?

Not really. What about sideways?

A little.

Maybe.

Monday, after the procedure, I tried to grade some stuff, but fell asleep for 3 hours instead. Then I got up and graded one period of the largest assignment. Start with the big stuff! The dogs were oh so helpful.

Mostly. My driver conked out at 8:30 AM. This was even earlier, I think. 

He had animal support.

After grading, I drew…faster this time. 

Combining some older ideas with a newer one that’s been rolling around in my head.

Then I started cutting out Wonder Under again. My cat never comes out, but that Christmas tree lured her out. And then she stayed! She doesn’t usually…

She’s on my right side. And the other one is on my left side…

Understand they do not like each other. They do not like to share space or humans at all. When I got up to pee, I put the box of trash between them so they wouldn’t freak out over the other’s presence. 

Strange animals.

Six yards cut out, only three to go. 

Side view? Should have taken one. I only have 3 yards left. I’ve cut out for almost 8 hours. It takes 2-3 1/2 hours to cut out two yards, so I probably have 3-4 1/2 hours left. Tonight? Maybe. I’m trying to grade one period of that huge ugly assignment every day. If I do that, I’ll be done by Friday, maybe earlier. Then finish cutting these out by tomorrow…sort tomorrow night. I need to go buy background fabric, but I’m sitting here now, waiting for a quilt to be delivered that needs a signature. Then walking the dogs. Tomorrow morning is replacing the cracked windshield…then haircut in the afternoon. I need cash for that. I need to cut some matts for Christmas gifts today, so I can ship this silly box. I set up the oil change for the car. I ordered a French press for the girlchild. Not sure if there’s coffee, but WTF. AND a drawing a day, every day. Plus hiking. Plus yard work. Plus clean house. Plus wrap shit. Plus sleep more. That’s a crazy thing. Suck at that, even on vacation. But I want to be ironing to fabric by Thursday. That sounds reasonable, yeah? Probably going to be about 20 hours of that…so I could be done by Christmas and then cutting stuff out then? Maybe? We’ll see. I love being able to see whole days of maybe getting art done. Maybe.

*The Sundays, Wild Horses

All Good

So every break I have, I make a to-do list. I used to always do them on post-it notes, then graduated to a typed list that I rarely looked at, but that had sections for art, house, work, etc. I’d print those out sometimes. Then I tried electronic to-do lists, which worked for about 6 months, but I don’t even look at them any more, although I use one to keep track of the meetings or trainings I’ve been to, because my district sometimes fucks up on those. I’m currently using a bullet journal type of listmaking, which includes the month, the week, and then some more general pages that have specifics on them…like I always seem to have an art ideas or art in progress page, and also one for Spring Break vacation trips. Although that’s usually a messy planning page and then a neater one for when we’re actually traveling that has all the reservation numbers and addresses and weird shit like that…the stuff you actually need while traveling. But since Spring Break isn’t for another 118 days, I think I can wait on that page for a bit. 

This break is no different though. I have a list of 7 assignments that need grading, the largest of which will probably take me at least 10 hours. Some of them will take a couple of hours, and at least one, maybe two, will take less than an hour.

I have a quilt to finish. I finished tracing Wonder Under on it last night, finally. Nine yards total. 21 hours and 46 minutes to trace 1559 pieces. Calli is very helpful in this process.

So I finished that after midnight, but then my brain was wired, which is funny, because it was notoriously asleep at gaming before that…

Cosmic something or other. I’ve played before but remembered absolutely nothing. It’s a good thing I don’t care a lot about winning. I’m not that good at strategy games. I just play to go out in a blaze of glory.

What else is on the to-do list? Drawing every day. Cleaning house. Some yardwork/gardening. Reconsidering Patreon again. I go back and forth on that one. Probably I’m going to try it and see how it goes. Maybe. Read ALL the books. I love to read. Exercise…hikes! Dog walks! All the things that fell off my list when the time changed and it was so dark and the school meetings were taking over my life. Ugh. Eating vegetables again…but can’t do that until Monday afternoon. Ugh. Sleep. Didn’t get enough of that last night. Was so wired, I ended up cleaning things last night so I could move the Christmas tree back in the house today. So it was about 2 AM when I went to bed. Then puppy is barking this morning, so I’ve a tiny bit more sleep than a normal school night, I have a headache and can’t take Motrin, and today is the All White Food day, which is better than tomorrow, which is All Liquid Day. It will be over soon! No more food restrictions. Looking forward to it. And the rest…drawing and relaxing and yeah, I’ll grade at some point, but not yet. But first, to cut out all that Wonder Under, which hopefully won’t take another 20-some hours. I’d like to be done soon and then ironing! I love the ironing. Get that done before Christmas…ironing by New Years? We’ll see. My plans always get fucked by reality, so accepting that is part of the process. But making a list helps. Today? Christmas shopping, a movie, some white food, reading a book. At least. All good.

Keep the Night Light on Inside*

OK, so I started tracing this quilt on December 3. That was a Monday. It’s now almost 2 weeks later (and holy hallelujah it’s a Friday) and it feels like forever that I’ve been doing this. I seriously thought I’d be done last weekend and cutting stuff out by now, but no. Apparently big pieces take a long time to trace. I’m 21 hours in. And not done. COULD I have finished last night? Yes. I could have, but I would have been really really short on sleep today instead of just really short, and that’s just a mistake going into the last day of school before break…a day that includes an assembly and a major assignment being due. I don’t want to (a) kill anyone or (b) burst out into tears. Both are a possibility. Yesterday I achieved hysterical laughter. 

I’ve done a good job of working on the quilt…about 13 1/2 hours each week, on top of my crazy job that has me sitting at the district office for hours after school. So I’m not feeling TOO bad about it. The first week back after Thanksgiving Break, I only got 7 hours in. But I wanted to be further along. I’ll get there. I guess I’m worried about the second shingles shot next week. The first one kicked my ass. I barely got up off the couch after work. Anyway, knock on wood for good results. Or nothing at all! That would be awesome. 

Anyway…I have about 50 pieces left to trace. Yes that’s it. And I have gaming tonight, so odds are I won’t be doing them tonight. Unless an anti-exhaustion miracle occurs.

I don’t know how many of these yards I have filled up at this point…like 6 or 7? Who knows. It’s a pile over there and I’ll figure it out at the end. I’m kinda scared to look at it.

Tomorrow morning, I’m going to sleep in…then finish tracing, do some Christmas shopping, wish I could eat vegetables (seriously, who thought this was a good idea…you want to clean out my intestines, but you clog them up with white food). Sleep some more. Actually, the reason I didn’t finish tracing last night is because I graded a whole assignment first, so it would be done before break…or before today, so those kids who are sitting there pretending to be done with everything would have something to do, because inevitably, they’re the ones who didn’t turn in their warmups. Here’s hoping they get the hint.

My team gets me…

Early Xmas gift. Do I wear those socks to school? If I’m wearing boots that cover them, then yes, yes I do. 

So! The pros of today are my ugly (actually, I really like it) holiday sweat(er)shirt, shorter classes due to assembly, staff breakfast that includes our team’s bagel bar (white food! I can eat it!), and the fact that I won’t have to go back there for three weeks. All good things. (The current minus is my gigantic headache and the fact that I can’t take Motrin this week either, bastard pigdogs). And once I get past the colonoscopy and the shingles shot next week, let’s hope the family stuff is chill and fun and relaxing, and if it’s not, that the food is good and the wine plentiful. And sleep, glorious sleep. May we all be blessed so.

*They Might Be Giants, Birdhouse in Your Soul

The World’s on Fire and It’s More Than I Can Handle

Dear crack in my car windshield: I don’t have time for you. Go away. Seriously, why do you have to be so needy (first-world problem, right?). The post office also…you could have knocked on the door to get that signature, but no…you dropped that slip in my mailbox so I would have to go to the post office a week before Christmas. If you wanted to see me, couldn’t it have been in November? When the lines weren’t crazy long? But no. It has to be now. And today is Pajama Day at school, so wherever I go before or after school, it’s gonna be in pajamas. I’m that person. So don’t assume when you see a person in pjs wandering around the grocery store looking for the family pack of Oreos that it’s someone who hasn’t done their laundry and is having a craving. I don’t even eat Oreos. It could be a middle-school teacher on Pajama Day. It’s PART OF MY JOB dammit to wear pajamas today. I’VE GOT SPIRIT. YES I DO.

I came home to the ex and the boychild putting up lights. Yay! I love lights.

Yeah, I might get old someday and just leave them up all year, because I can.

I had a meeting after school, but got home at a reasonable hour, so I made it to book club, which turned into a psych session and general discussion of female tropes and depression and people’s reactions to depression. ‘Twas good. Although I think I agreed to read 2 more books in a series and meet again in January. That might have been a little crazy.

My food restrictions meant I couldn’t eat there. Nothing worked. So I came home and ate white food. My gut is so tired of this. Annoying food. Calli was happy to see me.

Eventually, I was ready to trace. I really did think I might finish last night. That is SO FUNNY. I traced for almost 2 hours, but only got 100 pieces done. Sigh. 19 1/2 hours in. Still not freaking done. Only 200 to go. I wish I could say I’d finish those tonight, but I can’t guarantee that. Certainly I’ll try. I also have to figure out the windshield and the post office…since I am at work during all the hours when I could solve those two problems, I’m gonna just table them for now. I even channeled that stupid commercial with the soccer mom who can’t miss a game and the guy comes out and fixes her windshield in a parking lot, but I’m not sure I can get away with taking 32 middle-school kids out to the school parking lot while he does that..let alone on a walking trip to the post office, tempting as though that would be (can you imagine? Oh hell no.). So those will have to wait. 

SEE! I TRACED SHIT.

And yes, the kids at school were antsy as hell yesterday. But today I get to wear pajamas to school, so I’m good. Please don’t ask me about grades or Christmas presents or my to-do list for break. 

*Sarah McLachlan, World on Fire

All That She Intends*

So many things in my head right now, mostly because I think I just woke up and I’m still dreaming about making a to-do list. You know you’re in trouble when the dreaming brain is trying to help out. Plus I’m not sure eating all white food is helping. Or whatever it is that I’m eating. No fiber. Ugh. 

Anyway, so I’ve been tracing while watching (listening to?) episodes of National Geographic’s Genius series on Picasso, whose work I’ve always (shockingly, I know) loved. And yes, he’s a womanizer, and that’s not OK, but watching the stuff about his art and politics is interesting. It flips back and forth between his younger years and the ancient ones…but the most interesting is when they focus on when he thought he failed as an artist, or he thought it was great and everyone else saw failure. He was persistent, his style changed over the years, he grew. It’s unfortunate that he perpetuated the stereotype of male artist as user of women. That’s not something we really studied in my college art classes. 

I do remember being fascinated with this painting…

Yeah. It’s still fascinating. 

Yesterday, the girlchild clued me in to the fact that none of my other web pages were showing. Fixed it! Apparently just because you had them before doesn’t mean WordPress will continue them into a new theme. Annoying, but fixed. 

So three hours of tracing yesterday. After a morning meeting and tutoring after school, plus braving Costco before Christmas…I refuse to work when I get home, not on school stuff. So I went back to tracing snakes, which are a pain in the butt to trace. So many little stripey pieces. Ugh. 

And trying to figure out the overlaps. Pretty sure I did it wrong somewhere. Which snake is on top? Not even sure any more. MAYBE IT DOESN’T MATTER.

Satchemo is incredibly helpful during this process. 

I eventually kicked him off. It’s LEDs, so it’s not even warm. But he’s a cat, so he has to sit on it.

So much Wonder Under at this point. So many pieces. So many hours. I’m over 17 hours in and not done yet. See Picasso in the background?

Three hours last night. I’m in the mid-1200s. About 300 pieces to go. I have a union meeting tonight and then I’m supposed to go to book club, but I don’t know if I’m going to make it. Too tired already. I did read the book…but I’m not sure I have the energy to traipse all the way across town and be functional. I might rather trace. I so want to be done!

Anyway, we’ll see. Being social is hard for me this time of year, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. Art over social life? Sheesh. I’ll pick art every time.

*Fuel, Shimmer