Of That You Can Be Sure…

So I’m running with exhaustion right now…mental and physical. But it’s weird, because last night, I easily could have gone to sleep at 11 PM. I was completely done. But I didn’t want to go another night without making any art. So I said, I’ll just trace for 30 minutes…and within about 5 minutes of starting, I began to wake up. The tiredness just sloughed off and I’m thinking I can go for another hour (not a good plan). I ended up tracing for 45 minutes and then made myself go to bed before midnight, because I know today will be tiring and my blood sugar will be off (we have a production in the afternoon, so my lunch is way too early). But I could have gone for another hour…easily.

I did about 90 pieces…I’m at about 316. No. I AM at 316. So another 200 and a bit to go. I could do that tonight, if I didn’t have grading to do. That’s all I’m doing this weekend I think. I have a social thing and I think a family thing, but then grading. Until I die. Or my computer dies. Something. It’ll be fine. I figure I’ll be ready to iron stuff down in perfect timing with the end of the school year, which is nice, because that’s what I’ll need. I also need to make a summer to-do list, because there’s some major stuff that needs fixing. Sigh. I love tasks like that when I don’t have a paycheck coming in.

I’m glad I got up and traced. It makes me feel better. I’m still tired and cranky and feel like I’ve failed at dealing with that one kid who’s driven me nuts all year, but I have to be OK with that. There’s always one. I didn’t kill him. That’s a plus.

In really good news (I don’t know why, because I’m about to design 6 more and then stitch them), I finished the last of the models for the embroidery patterns! A miracle…

Look at all that dog/cat fur! It needs washing, dehairing, and a proper photo. But otherwise, it’s good. I need to put an embroidery page on my website too. SUMMER. So many things for the summer. I’m afraid of the to-do list. I do already have an idea for the first of the next 6 patterns. If you want to purchase any of the patterns (and I think kits should be available soon), they are at the Global Artisans shop. If you do stitch one of them up, I’d love to see it. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to HIDE a penis in one of the next 6. I don’t usually hide them. They’re usually right out there, easy to find. Kind of like in real life.

Deep breaths. I can see the end of the school year right over there. As I’m finishing up teaching STDs today and turning to HIV…we’re almost done! We finished two proposals for working on school stuff over the summer, though, plus I’ll be at three different conferences about how to change up schools. The work never stops…and I should get paid for most of that for once. But there will be plenty of artmaking…of that you can be sure.

Shine Until Tomorrow*

One of my long-time stitchy friends is moving to Portland this month. It’s OK. That’s where her grandkid is and she’s retiring from teaching (well, at least technically…who knows what the future brings), so it all makes sense. I’ve been quilting with her on and off since I was 23. She is in fact the woman you can blame for my knowing how to quilt at all, although my mom is who you blame for knowing how to sew and having some sort of fabric addiction. That started when I was much younger.

In losing her to Portland, I also lose one of my monthly social meetings…so I’ve been working on options. It looks like SAQA in San Diego may start to rev up a bit, and I even found a meeting space here in El Cajon that we could use if people are interested in meeting. I might even go check out La Mesa, because people get freaked out by my town. It’s safe, people. It’s safe. So I’m kind of looking forward to that, although I don’t know how long it will take to get everything moving. And I hope no one annoying comes to the local meetings. Maybe I’m the annoying one, who knows. Change is never easy, but I guess all the crazy that’s happened to me over the years has helped me deal with some of it. Although I’m gonna miss my friend like crazy, I’m still going to try to find a quilt community that I sort of fit into somewhere besides online.

Last night was the last official meeting of the group, but she’ll be back for a bit in July to pack more boxes and move more stuff. I don’t envy her that. At the meeting, I worked on the last of the printed embroidery patterns that I need to do for now…

It’s almost done…just a little bit at the bottom. Then I need to design 6 more.

I didn’t grade yesterday, but I was at tutoring. That was tiring. After I had dinner last night (super late), I started tracing…

I only got an hour in…I’m tired…

But I’m almost halfway at this point. That’s the wonder of doing a quilt that doesn’t have a lot of pieces.

So sometime this week it should get traced. Although I really need to grade stuff too. Crazy meeting schedule this week. It’s messing with my ability to get that done. Tonight is book club and it’s a million miles away…but I’m going. So there. I read the book. I need a break. Ugh. Long drive. I’m getting old?

OK, I need to get to work and get going on the day. More STDs today…always fun. The school year is winding down. I’m winding up to get some art done. That part is exciting…as always.

*The Beatles, Let It Be

Restless As the Wildest Way*

I think at this point that my brain is so addled that I need to be exhausted to sleep. Or I’m so into making the new quilt that I can’t sleep because I’d rather be doing that? Certainly it’s more relaxing than grading. I finished three assignments yesterday…one had been in process for a few days…it was just taking me a while. I so want to be done.

It was really warm here yesterday, with some clocking in at 99 degrees and some at 104. Either way, too warm. I left school and didn’t think we’d be walking dogs, but it was cooler at the house…which is only 2 1/2 miles from school. There was a breeze and clouds were kicking in, so we dragged them out (with water).

It wasn’t too bad out there…although this plant seems like it’s reacting to the heat…

Look at those weird seed pods…and it’s a spiky son of a bitch.

There was some other little yellow-flowered thing that was stinging through our pants. Not this one…a weedier-looking plant with vicious spikes.

Nature is beautiful but painful. Good lesson.

We’re seeing ticks all over the place. Well…on the dogs and on the man.

The boychild and I have avoided them somehow.

After grading, I set up for the next quilt. Oh yeah! Desert Daughter won the vote on my Patreon…that’s this one…

She’s got 542 pieces…she’s not tiny, but she’s not huge. I actually drew this two years ago, not after the last trip, although there’s definitely some reminders of that trip here. I’m not making her for anything in particular…I just wanted to do a small filler piece before I do a big piece for the summer. It seemed like a fair reward to let my Patreon folks pick it for me.

So I started tracing last night just before 10 PM…

I recorded a bit of it for a future Patreon video. Satchemo did not help…

He was distinctly in the way. Here at least he stopped trying to lie ON the Wonder Under…

I’ve been entering a bunch of shows lately…hoping to get in to some of them. There are never any guarantees, that’s for sure. This one will fit somewhere. It actually has no nudity in it…

Wait, neither does the last one. A trend? Ah fuck no. It just worked out that way.

I’ve started mentally making my summer to-do list. So far, it is all about cleaning spaces that are out of control, planting things, and making art. Seems like a worthy plan. It’s funny, because I’ve signed up for this school committee that will keep me in conferences all summer. Sigh. It’s OK. It’s two days here and there…it won’t kill me. It’s better than jury duty for the whole month of July…so far, they’ve left me alone on that one. Give them time, though. I’m sure they’ll find me again.

OK, early meeting. Finally made it almost through birth control options in class…moving on to STDs…fun stuff. Eight more days…hopefully I’ll find sleep more easily as the week goes on…

*Crooked Still, Undone in Sorrow

Balance Shmalance.

This month is a little crazy. There’s a bunch of travel, and I don’t really usually travel much. Sometimes to LA for exhibits, one trip during Spring Break, the occasional run to Lake Arrowhead for a few days…that’s it. This month is Boston for the girlchild’s graduation AND a trip to LA to see Amanda Palmer. Looking forward to both, but there’s some prep that’s gotta happen…school prep especially, because I don’t wanna come back to hellishness. I mean, I might come back to that anyway, but balance…balance is this thing I’m always trying to get to and am always so far away from.

I just got a phone call that reminded me I’m not the only one stressed all to hell and back. If you know a teacher, give them a hug. Or a coffee. Or a glass of wine…whatever seems appropriate for that moment.

So I started this weekend with a crazy to-do list and I got a bunch of it done, but never all of it. NEVER. I graded some, I did some school prep, I went to an opening, I wandered around my own block with my neighbors, I raided a friend’s classroom…

So here’s my Patreon page…link is in the sidebar…

I’m working on the first video for it. Need to figure out what editor to use for that. Learning curve!

Then I washed and ironed these guys…

Need to send the official photos over…

Oh yeah, and in my house, if you leave fabric out at all for any period of time…this is what happens…

Cat incursion. Sigh. This was the next morning.

Went to this opening. Will hopefully have a post up later this week on this exhibit.

It’s an interesting show…

Sunday morning, I went to the classroom of a teacher friend who is retiring, and I stole a bunch of books.

Well, she gave them to me…

Along with a bunch of other stuff. I’m terrified to retire because of my classroom. I don’t want to clean it out.

This was on the deck yesterday. What? That cat thinks he’s a dog.

Simba is the only one questioning it. We don’t usually let cats out because of coyotes, but this cat…thinks he’s a dog. He also likes the outside. If we build a catio, it will be because of him.

Calli turned 10 this weekend. The bald patch on her nose has all of a sudden made her look way older.

She also sprained a leg yesterday and is limping around like a…well, an old lady.

After making dinner and grading stuff, I finally headed into the office to start ironing this quilt onto fabric.

I can’t show you much of this. It’s for a show entry and I’m not supposed to show it until jurying is done. So extreme and vague closeups it is! Oh yeah, fabrics…

That light blue one still had Midnight’s fur ALL over it…it came from her favorite drawer. Made me sad to clean it off. She’s only been dead for a year and a half, right? Sheesh. I miss that cat.

I didn’t finish the first 100 pieces. I was distracted. I had a hard time focusing. Hopefully tonight will be better.

Although I already stayed up too late last night. My art brain told me it was OK. Ha! Dumb. ‘Twas not. Too late it was. Today I feel it. OK, ready for school. Then dogs. Then working…school and then art. I can do it all! Balance shmalance.

Collaborate. Future.

So two things in my head this morning (besides why can’t the animals shut up in the morning and allow me to sleep when I obviously stayed up way too late last night doing art stuff)…collaboration and my not-so-successful experience of that, and how to retire sometime 20 years or more from now (because how will I ever be able to afford that).

Collaboration is in my head because I have an opening tonight for a collaborative attempt that did in fact end up making a successful piece, but I guess for me, it’s still not the collaboration I’m looking for. And then I think about how irritated I get with people, and maybe collaboration is a mistake. This project was not a mistake…it’s an awesome idea, and I hope my partner enjoyed his part in the project. A few friends of mine work with Project Paint, a rehab program for inmates in Donovan Correctional Facility. I picked a word (relationships), and was paired with an inmate. He started a painting based on that word, and then wrote me some reflections about his start…and then I was supposed to work from there. That is always the hard part, isn’t it? I stared at it for a while…

And then I decided how to add to it. I had been told to use fabric if I wanted to, because at the beginning, I was saying, hey, I don’t paint, and that was OK. So I sewed right onto that canvas, and then added some stuff above and below, plus some squares for the inmate to add to…

I even hid a barrel monkey down in the ground. Then I made a quilt out of it, so it would be able to hang, and sent it back to my inmate partner. He added to it, but I haven’t seen a written explanation of what he added, which has made it hard to respond again. So I guess I just didn’t.

I’m glad he gave him eyes and a shirt…the show Inside/Outside opens tonight at Art Produce, 6-8 PM.

So I guess I need something different for collaboration. Then again, this project wasn’t about me…it was about the inmate artist. So I hope he got something good out of it. I will keep finding ways to collaborate, and maybe one of them will spark something bigger in me. I’m looking forward to seeing the other work produced as well. And I would totally do it again. I guess I am always open to these weird collaborative attempts.

The second thing on my mind is my future. I have a friend retiring from teaching this year and I’ve been watching her figure this out, knowing that I am years away from doing this. But not a ton of years. At least 10, probably. But certainly, I think money will still be tight, because going through a divorce and putting kids through college has not exactly helped me save for retirement. I’ve done the required stuff; I even have funds from when I was self-employed, but I get screwed by having both paid fully into Social Security and having a state teachers’ fund. I won’t see everything I paid into it and I won’t be able to get enough years in as a teacher, because I started too late. Which sucks, but is. So I need to probably keep working even when I’m done being a teacher. As it is, every summer scares the crap out of me because I never have enough money going in to get me through a very expensive season with no paycheck. I have to time my school credit-card purchases for the next school year so that I will have actually been paid when the bill is due. I often work other jobs (mostly copyediting) on the side during the summer to try to pay the bills. It’s stressful and I don’t like it. I start staring at the bank balance during Spring Break, and sometimes I live on my tax return for that 8 weeks, but this year, that tax return is not only significantly smaller (sigh), but also I turned around and handed it over to my street basically to redo our entire road. Expensive. It’s been about 12 years since we last did it, and a new house being built at the bottom totally trashed one portion of it. So it’s an unexpected expense, but that’s the way it always is. Every year.

So I keep looking for ways to make money that don’t take the huge amount of time that my art does. Although I love making my art. I love taking the time for it. But I also have a bunch of college loans to help pay over the next (ouch IDK how many) few years, and I need extra cash. I need to keep my head above water. I have a week’s worth of paid teacher stuff this summer, and then 7 weeks with no money coming in. OK. I can do this. I do it every year.

So obviously, I started doing the embroidery patterns, which wasn’t really on my radar until I was asked to do them. Cool idea. I want to do a coloring book…I’m hoping to work on that this summer. I say that every year though, so I need to actually DO it this year. And then I finally started a Patreon account. I wrote it all up last summer, planned it even earlier than that, but finally pushed it out this weekend, because they’re changing the pricing structure, and I wanted to be on the earlier version. So it’s out there. Link in the side bar. But I should put one here too…hang on…here it is. It’s hard to ask people for money, to ask them to fork cash out for the crazy shit you do, but there it is. A monthly charge and you get some Kathy. Check it out. I won’t judge you for not signing up…or for signing up. I’m kinda looking forward to doing some different things for the Patreon than what I’ve been doing (adding videos!), so maybe that will leak over onto the blog…who knows?

I also started a Society6 account for wall art and posters…although the girlchild wants a cutting board with a uterus on it (disturbing), so look for that eventually. Yes, I only have one thing up there right now. Another summer project. Feel free to look through my gallery and suggest what you think you might want. I’d appreciate the input. It doesn’t make me much money, but it gets my art out there on people’s walls, so I’m OK with that for now. I don’t have the time, patience, energy, or money to do it myself, but maybe that’s a future thing too.

So here’s last night though…I cooked and graded and then…I sorted Wonder Under…

It didn’t take long…

About 40 minutes…lots of tiny pieces, and then I love it when the fusible separates from the paper.

I don’t really. But I’ll deal with it.

I had help, as always…

Really not helpful guys. You’re the ones who woke me up this morning.

Ugh. Tired. After sorting, I wasn’t ready to go to bed, or ready to come in here and clean so I could start ironing. Not a thing at close to midnight. So I embroidered a little on the third pattern.

I need to wash the other two today and iron them and make a nice picture. Yeah.

I’m doing all the pink/purple first because I think I might run out. I didn’t trace everything either. Because it just rubs off. So that’s OK. Hopefully I’ll get this one done this week. Hopefully I’ll get all the Wonder Under ironed to fabric this week too (that’s the plan). My weekend is busy. I’m looking forward to a weekend sometime in the future where I don’t wake up Saturday morning with a rock in my gut because there’s too fucking much to do. It won’t be any time in the next month. It’s not this weekend, that’s for sure. With that in mind, I need to go get ingredients for an appetizer thing for today, then make that app. Then do something on the to-do list, if not two or three things, before I have to be social. Ugh. OK. I can do it. You might see me doing it even.

Don’t Look Down…

So the day before we got to the Grand Canyon, the third person in a month fell to their death. I have to say that at no point in time have I thought to myself, Wow, dying on my vacation would be the best thing ever. The thing is, all of them were preventable. Stay on the damn path. No photo on the edge is worth dying for. Don’t get me wrong, the Canyon is damn beautiful, but scary as hell.

We left Tuba City early, because we wanted to avoid the Spring Break crowds as much as possible. We didn’t realize that there was a time change in there. Navajo Nation ignores Arizona time. So it was an hour earlier when we got to the Canyon.

That didn’t hurt us in the long run.

6 AM on the rim.

Our dads would be so proud of us for getting up so damn early for a National Park.

The park needs maintenance. I’m not a fan of graffiti, but this isn’t a bad plan.

We drove the east rim and stopped at all the viewpoints. Not a lot of people. Saw these deer.

We love deer.

We picked up a shuttle in town and planned to hit the west side of the rim…and there were the elk. Right in the village.

Hi guys.

Haven’t seen that flower before.

The canyon was pretty chilly, in the 30s, when we started, but it warmed up.

We did a little bit of the Rim Trail.

We weren’t really prepared for more of it.

The sun is coming up. It’s still early.

Whatever I thought I remembered from my childhood and early adulthood, it doesn’t match up to seeing it again.

HOLY SHIT THAT’S DEEP.

And huge

Sorta mind-boggling.

And intensely beautiful.

It was definitely worth the day trip, and we’ll need to go back.

I’m willing to hike in, but something has to bring me back out. And not in summer. Too hot.

We saw this little girl multiple times on the shuttle. As we drove past amazing vistas, she had her nose in a book. I know that kid. Seriously. I was that kid. And she’s reading one of the Warriors series.

Just like my kids did. Dad kept trying to get her to look out the window. She’d look up, peer around, and then go back to the book.

So we get back to the visitor center around lunch time. We’re looking for bathrooms, a T-shirt, etc. Little kids running around and screaming, people everywhere. And we’d had this continuing conversation about turkey vultures or condors. We saw a condor in Zion, and then I look up, and amidst all the noise and people, there’s two of them (no I never got them in a photo together). You can see their tags. They’re condors. In the wild.

Shitty picture, I know. But I stood there and tears came to my eyes because that’s what we’re working toward. Despite stupid people and the government trying to drill for oil in National Monuments and other stupid crap because we need to keep our huge SUVs and you can’t take away my plastic water bottle. There it is. A pair of fucking condors in the wild.

Yeah. That was cool. No one but us looking up.

So we ate lunch and decided to leave the rest of the Grand Canyon experience for another trip. I think we’d like to camp and maybe hike the rest of the rim and who knows what else. As we’re leaving, we’re noticing these huge piles of dead wood and branches in the forest on both sides of the road.

You can see a couple of them in this picture. They’re everywhere. Miles of them. Because Arizona apparently raked the woods. You’ll only get that if you’re from California, maybe, after Trump blamed our most recent horrific fires on not raking the woods.

Yesterday, I went to quilt class, and then came home and finished cutting all these out.

I did it while editing a long science lab video for my students. Lots of wait time while video portions saved. So I cut and waited. Tonight, I’ll sort and start ironing. Hopefully. I’m really tired, so we’ll see how that goes.

Going to the Canyon

We left Arches and drove through more beautiful rocks to get near the Grand Canyon in the next day…lovely Tuba City, to be specific. We knew we wanted to come in the East entrance, and do it early, so this made the most sense. The other thing we knew we wanted was a damn shower. So there was that.

We ended up driving through Monument Valley…we didn’t have time to go in and do the drive (always leave stuff for the next trip). But you can see some of them from the road that goes through…

It’s beautiful country…

That storm kind of chased us across the state, but without any real rain until we got to our hotel.

So making a plan to go back…

As it was, I think we stopped at almost every scenic overlook…

But didn’t buy anything.

Driving through reservations is always interesting. I taught near a reservation for a few years. It’s a different way of life, not always by choice. It’s interesting that we both thought Monument Valley was a national park, but it’s reservation-owned. So that’s a good thing. We white folks have taken so much away from the Native Americans.

The majority of what we drove through was Navajo Nation.

We illegally transported alcohol through…whoops. I’m impressed that they’ve taken this step toward managing alcohol abuse on the reservation. It’s drastic, but hopefully it works.

We finally made it to the hotel…and the most amazing thing in the world…a shower.

Too many hot hikes with no washing…this was a good thing.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to finish up. Another early meeting, though, so who knows.

Yesterday, we managed to get all the quilts shipped to where they were supposed to be going. Now they just need to GET there. That’s always the stressful part.

Meanwhile, after work, we walked the dogs…back to the routine! In the two weeks since we’d been there, the mustard had grown like…well…a weed. A lot of it was taller than me.

Certainly the path was harder to find.

Still new flowers popping up. We had a little rain this week.

The grasses are higher than I’ve ever seen them.

These grasses have purple heads of grain on them…

Tons of fire danger. Lots of foxtails to go in doggie feets.

Poison oak (not above) encroaching on the trail.

Flowers in abundance.

Ah, the boychild making the puppy run…

Calli and I are like nope. Not doing it.

This guy. Dude. Get off the path. Are you coming or going? Is the spike on your head end or butt end?

So many caterpillars this year…plus I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this hawk before…or one just like it who hung out on the same piece of wire.

It was a nice walk. Although then I came back and pulled things out of the fur between Calli’s toes (mostly not from the walk). Those curly things are a bitch to get out.

She was a very good girl and didn’t bite me.

OK, so I scratched her belly too.

I graded some stuff, and then settled down to try to get through more of the Wonder Under. Puppy helped.

Not so much.

I have that one piece on the top right of the second yard to do, and then a third yard. I have quilt class tonight, so I’ll try to get done there…if I can. Then sort them etc. I have a plan. I always have a plan.

I got into another show that will be local here in San Diego…it’s called Indoor/Outdoor (way too similar to Inside/Outside, whose opening is this Saturday). It will be at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan, The opening is June 8, probably 6-8 (I don’t have an exact time yet). There will be a coinciding exhibition with our Swedish compatriots at the San Diego Art Institute…we did a show with this group in San Diego and Sweden previously. So more about that later.

For now, off to school to an early meeting, then labs all day long…cool ones, though. Hopefully it will all work.