I Can’t Control My Brain*

June 17, 2017

Lost voice has upgraded into sore throat and lost gravelly voice. Well luckily I have no need to talk for the next 55 days.

IMG_5436 small

OK. Maybe the girlchild will want me to talk when she comes home. Hard to say. Sure that’s on there because I’m looking forward to seeing her…but also because all of my quilts that are currently NOT in exhibits are lying on her bed. And she’ll probably want them to move by then. So that’s a deadline.

I got to school yesterday just after 9 AM. These are in our school garden, managed by one of the teachers…the garden looks great.

IMG_5403 small

This is my co-teacher’s room…her homeroom was useful and helped her organize all the new materials we got this year by unit. (My homeroom was singularly not useful, but that’s OK…they’re not my homeroom any more.) Our plan was to catalog all of the new materials and old and organize them in cupboards or the prep room by unit, thus saving us headaches and heartaches next year. She’s sitting at Unit 1…my computer is at Unit 2.

IMG_5406 small

That took a long time. And then there was cleaning up our rooms and trying to decide what to do with a huge pile of old and mostly useless chemicals dumped on us by 8th grade.

The custodial staff stacked my desks and tables in this pleasingly symmetrical formation. Women did this…not men. Just so you know.

IMG_5408 small

My room as I checked out. Pitiful really. I don’t usually take everything off the walls, but we have been teaching all new standards, so I needed to redo from scratch, now that I know what we teach. Plus we’re going to do it by unit…so if you go back and look at the picture of my colleague’s room, she has fabric rectangles up for each unit.

IMG_5412 small

I do not have that yet. Hello, Ikea. Later, people. Boychild did help with the take down and clearing out of some stuff I’ve had in here for 8+ years, so that was nice. He might even be around to help me set up…he’s tall and works hard and fast. Useful. If you need someone who’s tall and works hard and fast, let me know…he needs a summer job still.

We were there for over 6 hours, sweaty, tired, exhausted. There were about 10 times when I just wanted to quit, and we didn’t even do the last thing we needed to do. But we had to be out of there at a certain time. I got home and showered and the boychild and I went and got Indian food for dinner. And then I tried to function. I filled in the space around Prosper with a woven stitch and some other stitches, the space between the “e” and the “r”.

IMG_5422 small

Then because I was trying to finish watching something in here on the computer, I worked on this guy…Palestrina knots all the way around. It seems like a pain in the butt until you get into it, and then it’s easy. I don’t know why Palestrina knots terrify me so much. I’ve done a million of them now.

IMG_5425 small

And then I finished tracing this one…5 1/2 hours total. There’s some huge and long pieces on the two pieces of Wonder Under on the left.

IMG_5426 small

Honestly don’t know when I really have time to cut them out. I should be doing so many other things. No really. Not kidding.

Puppy and boychild joined me for a bit…

IMG_5432 small

He likes to be ON people. Except it’s hot here. Ugh.

IMG_5435 small

Soon after this, the big dog started vomiting. Which continued for a while. I’ve cleaned up a lot of vomit this morning. I could do without that.

So summer. Hallelujah. Need to make like 3 quilts. Seriously. And copyedit lots. And clean, toss, and organize lots. It’s frightening actually how much needs to be done. Right now, I’m still just taking it a day (hour?) at a time, trying to get some rest and find my brain. We’ll see how that goes.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun


I Feel Summer Creepin’ in*

June 16, 2017

I do have to be at school today…my room is a disaster and my co-teacher’s room is even worse, because we piled up all the new equipment and materials in there by unit, so we could try to organize it today. And plan a bit. We’ll see how that goes. My left eye is still twitching like a bitch (not enough sleep yet) and I have no voice again. But that school year is done. Out. On the ground. It wasn’t an easy one. With no state curriculum, we planned from scratch…and now we have to go back and fix it all.

I got home yesterday and the bank had shut down all my accounts again. It took a short while this time to get it all worked out, but I think the problem was Western Union, which we used to get money to the girlchild, because she needed cash for a car and her bank has no branch locally. But the bank has been remarkably unforthcoming and unhelpful. I finally got access to all the old statements (not sure what the issue was really) by filling out a Gallup poll about my experience that the bank sent me. Hello businesses…just saying sorry goes a long way, but it doesn’t fix stupid practices.

Usually after school is out, it takes me at least a week to be really efficient. We only get 8 weeks, which I realize sounds amazing to y’all, but I just got an email about the professional development I have to do…so if I do that before the year starts, that’s 7 weeks. Plus I’m working for the next two weeks, so that’s 5 weeks. I use this time to catch up on all the stuff I can’t do during the school year, because school sucks up holidays and weekends like a dehydrated puppy. Technically, including weekends, I have 55 days before I have to be back. It does not sound like enough. I know people with other jobs are completely jealous, but just come do my job for a couple of weeks and tell me how you feel about it then. Because it is different. I know that because I did your type of job for the first 13 years…and then I freelanced for a while…and now I’m a teacher AND a freelancer. Ugh.

There are days I wake up or go to bed wishing I could just be an artist full time. I know I can’t…I can’t afford it, obviously. But it would be sooo nice to be able to make art every day without all the other stuff. So the three breaks I get each year? I really try to carve out huge swathes of art time in them so I don’t go crazy. I figure if I’m going to work a job that beats you up so badly, I should be able to have the rest of the time for me.

Yeah. Mostly the first week I’m braindead though.

So I got home and the Threads of Resistance catalog was here with my two quilts and statements…really nicely done.

IMG_5390 small

These two quilts were made right after one another…I think that’s how the tree ended up in both.

IMG_5391 small

For those keeping track, I think there are 8 or 9 penises (penii?) between the two quilts. I will not be at the opening for this, because it’s the same day as my Visions opening…

IMG_5392 small

But maybe I’ll get to see it somewhere. Who knows?

So my mom has been amazing and has booked an Airbnb space for the boychild’s college graduation, which yes, is almost a year away.

IMG_5395 small

Ithaca is tiny…there’s not a lot of options. It will be my parents, the girlchild, me, and my ex, so it had to be big enough to sleep all of us. Now he has to graduate. (He will.)

It was my quilt class night, so I took all the blocks for the Don’t Shut Up community quilt I’m working on…so I could use Susan’s skills and ingenuity to deal with some of these crazy blocks. The wonders of dealing with quilt blocks from non-quilters…

IMG_5396 small

We tore some apart, sewed some together, and tried to trim others. Fun stuff. You’ll be seeing more of this over the next two weeks. I have a seam ripper injury from last night though…

I finally pulled this out…did two lengths of thread for the last two nights…on the left side again. A yellowish thread with French knots and lazy daisies in the cretan stitch, and then a pinky-purple thread that turned into green…I did lazy daisies and then some French knots around the other yellow stitches.

IMG_5397 small

Then I sat there on the couch for a long time, trying to be motivated to do anything. I finally got up and traced.

IMG_5399 small

I’m almost done. Another hour? At most. Lots of big sweeping sky pieces that use up large pieces of Wonder Under. Seriously, I think there are only 40 pieces left to trace. I’m glad I had this prepped and ready to go, because even though I should really be working on other stuff, I can’t get my head around any of it right now. I will HAVE to pretty damn soon, but I’m OK with yesterday and today being lost days for art and copyediting. Saturday though? Saturday I gotta get my act together and be a freelancer.

Midnight expresses her feelings about that. And being hot.

IMG_5400 small

Sweet fat kitty. OK. Going to school…but no kids makes that easier. I’m wearing my Ms. Marvel t-shirt on the off chance superpowers might help me today.

*Tom Petty, Mary Jane’s Last Dance


There’s Not a Line Here That Goes with Anything*

June 15, 2017

Today I am dressed like a ninja. Don’t get freaked out. I’m just wearing all black, which I actually do fairly often. BUT…today is the last day of school, I have the same kids for 3 1/2 hours, and I woke up this morning with my voice completely gone.

Oh yeah. Laugh your ass off. I did. Silently. More like my chest moved in a laughlike manner.

So yesterday we took the 7th grade bowling (this is so NOT like taking the skinheads bowling, if you’re old and hip enough to remember that song)…

IMG_5377 small

There you are…

We have this newish washing machine, and every time I accidentally brush up against it, it turns on and sings a little tune, at which point I tell it to fuck off. I’ve done it twice already this morning.

So after the field trip, we have this lame thing where we end up with kids sitting in our classrooms for almost 2 hours until they can go home. I’ve always thought this was idiotic, much like moving the field trip from the last day of school so kids can experience graduation, one of the most boring events of anyone’s life, is idiotic. But we do it. The first hour was horrendous. So the second hour, I laid down some rules, and it was fine. The field trip was fine…well, as always, exhausting…but definitely better than last year or the year before. All those are good things.

I’m apprehensive about this morning though. Seriously so.

I had a union meeting after…so an exhausting day followed by a meeting. The last one of the year is sometimes in a bar with free food and one adult beverage. Yup. We earned it.

These were clouds painted on the ceiling. I quite like them. Might incorporate them into something.

IMG_5379 small

Came home and went to book club, because I really liked the book and wanted to see what others thought…the book we were assigned was The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, but it was good enough (once I got through the letters part, which I didn’t like) that I read the sequel, Stiletto, which I actually think is way better.

The-Rook-Dan-OMalley-380x285

I immediately went looking for Book 3, but there’s no mention of it yet. The Rook was his first book…so maybe this is it. I hope not. He certainly set it up for a continuing series. Amazing world-building in these two books. Plus the dichotomy between supernatural powers (however weird-ass they might be) and bio-engineered powers. Although I’m still trying to figure out the reality of the main character in the first book…is she a new person or was her brain just wiped? I need that explained.

I came home and tried to get my head around the upcoming art entries…having gotten another email about another show coming up for one of the groups I’m in. For some, I can use existing stuff, assuming it comes home in time…but I need to potentially make 5 quilts before the end of the year. Ha! OK. I’m getting my head around that.

Then I traced stuff for a while.

IMG_5386 small

I didn’t have the brainpower to draw by then. Boychild and I talked about music too. And graduation…how to get everyone there. I think we might be camping out for a few days. Yeah, and there was a FaceTime event between me, my SIL, the girlchild, and the boychild…involving three phones and an iPad. Very impressive tech skills.

OK. So today has a social event after school plus quilt class…and I have to go in tomorrow to clean up all the chemicals that 8th grade dumped on us. But otherwise, I’ve almost survived my 14th full school year. Awesome sauce.

*Camper Van Beethoven, Take the Skinheads Bowling


Let It Run All over Me*

June 12, 2017

Busy weekend, working and music and art opening…I did manage some of that down time…which was a good thing. I didn’t disappear the to-do list though. It still lurks, reminding me that summer vacation is a misnomer…that teachers pick up all the pieces in summer that they’ve been dropping all year long. At least I might be able to sleep in an hour or two. At least I won’t have to deal with 12-year-olds for 8 weeks. I might get more free time. I’ll certainly have more time for exercise, especially hiking. I’m looking forward to that.

But first we survive the last week of school. And that is not a small thing, for teachers or students.

So first of all, I have three pieces hanging at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts through June 24, part of the SAQA Untethered Thread exhibit…yes, I had three with no nudity (although the larger one is called NakedMan).

IMG_5286 small

You should check out the show…there are some very nice pieces in it.

IMG_5162 small

Then we headed over to the parentals for dinner…it’s been a while. Yes, Calli is still a conehead. Her foot troubles have been a pain. She’s a good dog. Just keeps conking us with the cone.

IMG_5304 small

She uses it to scoop up balls while playing fetch though.

 

IMG_5311 small

I did a bunch of grading this weekend…I’m basically done. I have a few more things that need to go in, but then that’s it. I need to do all the comments too. Ugh. Hate that.

I finished the one piece of trellis stitch that I hadn’t done on Friday.

IMG_5316 small

I did three nights on here…two on Sunday morning and one on Sunday night. Let’s see if I can remember what: the herringbone and cretan lines on the left, plus the fishy lazy daisies on the right.

IMG_5317 small

Now I’ll embellish off of them.

My parents’ dog is here for one night. We offer a special service. We will remove one dog’s worth of hair from your dog if you let them stay here. Yes, that’s right…one dog’s worth of hair.

IMG_5323 small

Such a deal. This dog sheds weird. The boychild did that. He wasn’t sure when to stop (before the dog has no hair?).

Then I decided I had earned art time. I traced for an hour or so…

IMG_5325 small

I did all the tiny tree parts, basically…from piece 71 to piece 176.

IMG_5326 small

I’m not sure how much I can really justify working on this in the next three weeks…unfortunately, it’s not on the to-do list. It will be, but probably after July 1. I think that’s when my vacation really starts. I hope.

*Van Morrison, And It Stoned Me


Push That, Push That, Push That to the Floor*

June 9, 2017

Well it seems like my summer break isn’t starting until July. I picked up a copyediting job…with a rush on it. Good news? Money. Pay college. Honestly, try to pay for the summer too. Bad news? Well, now it’s gotta get shoved into the two weeks after school gets out, which already has three quilts that need quilting for the art show I’m helping curate, plus jury duty, plus I’m sure I don’t even remember all the other shit I’m supposed to be doing. Finishing up for the solo show and delivering all that (need to work on one part of that tonight…maybe see if I can get all the paperwork done). Plus I wanted to make a coloring book for that show of my drawings. Hoping to still be able to pull that off.

Unfortunately, my assistants either roll over to have their bellies rubbed or roll their eyes at me.

Where are the post-it notes. I need to write things on them. Somehow that helps. Chipping away at the crazy to-do list a little at a time. FIVE days of school left. All the awards are at the printer. Grades are closer to done (not done though). My classroom is a disaster. My house is a disaster. I took 5 minutes and gathered shit to be tossed off the kitchen counter. And then I tossed it. Well. I recycled it, because I try to be environmentally responsible.

I do try to leave the house for something besides my job sometimes. This is my stitching group…since I was pregnant with the girlchild, who turns 20 in August (really. Holy Moly). My friend Julie has been working on this uterus pattern from Knot by Gran’ma for me…we both bought the pattern, but it turns out there is no way in hell I would be able to make this…I’m just not talented (or experienced) enough. Luckily Julie likes to do weird shit like this for me. (I have a zombie fairy doll and a Frida Kahlo fairy doll from her.) So last night was the finishing touch…here’s a side view as we tried to decide how to photograph her.

IMG_5217 small

On the ledge behind the chairs at the Starbucks inside the Mira Mesa Barnes & Noble…in case you want to replicate this look. I LOVE IT. Seriously. Love.

IMG_5219 small

Almost as much as I love the uterus I built. And the girlchild around it. (Yes, I should dust…I didn’t realize until I saw this photo).

IMG_5222 small

Freakin’ awesome pattern and hard work by Julie (she had to say her personal mantra many times in constructing this). Much appreciated.

Then I did the blue-green cretan stitch on the far left. I still need to fill in some, but wanted to spread out as well.

IMG_5223 small

I should remember to take a shot of the full piece of fabric so you can see that I will probably run out of room by December.

I worked on this at the meeting. That’s trellis stitch in a psychotic rayon thread…it’s fussy shit man. I love that in two hours, all I really got done where knotted Italian stitches on the tree and the whipped stitch outline on it. Time-consuming shit.

IMG_5224 small

Speaking of time-consuming shit, I did start tracing Wonder Under on the climate piece. I did all of it until I got to the fussy tree trunk. Then I went to bed.

IMG_5226 small

Like an hour late. I really need to have more sleep, but I was incredibly stressed by the increasing to-do list and couldn’t fall asleep anyway, so whoo! Yeah! It’s Friday! And I’m currently teaching sexually transmitted diseases! Yah!

My lord. The plus is that the teeth are no longer grinding (no, I don’t really know why), but both eyes are starting to twitch. I’m going to get a better night of sleep tonight. Really. I am. And then finish EVERYTHING. I’m going to finish it all. Yup. I am. Just don’t fucking bug me while I’m trying to do that, OK?

Oh yeah, I forgot. I was desperate for something cookie-like last night and we had a box mix of gingerbread that said you could do this that or the other and make cookies out of it. It wanted me to roll them out and use cookie cutters (who the fuck do you think I am? Is it fucking Christmas?)…well so I made hockey pucks.

IMG_5221 small

They taste about as good as they look. Sigh. Left them for the boychild.

*REM, Radio Free Europe


Lost Myself and I Am Nowhere to Be Found*

May 16, 2017

There are times when my night-owl tendencies can be detrimental (and yeah, I already know I’m going to die early because I can’t sleep enough)…for instance, when I decide to start ironing after 11 PM and it’s a small quilt and I can pick almost all the flesh fabrics in an hour or so, but then they all need to be ironed to the fabric, and it’s almost 1 AM, and I have to get up and go to work the next day…even better, I have to get up and go to work and have duty before and after school in the rain, plus tutorial, AND it’s the first day of teaching sex ed, so I have to impart the seriousness of school rules and how much trouble you will get in if you Skeet Skeet to the girl across the room (if you don’t know what that means, please, it’s OK, don’t feel bad) or yell out about your peepee (seriously happened) in the middle of class. I really need a full night’s sleep for that shit.

Oh well.

It’s all in the name of art.

I went to the gym. I cooked a dinner that said it should take 20 minutes and it took an hour (I think recipes should have to answer for their inaccurate timing shit). I persuaded the girlchild not to fail a class and finish her essay instead of going to a party (OK, I think she actually persuaded herself…I have no highfalutin ideas of my ability to persuade that child to do anything). I dealt with some paperwork here and there. Oh yeah, I had to bathe a dog’s butt (no, you don’t wanna know). And then I ironed.

So this quilt has one human figure and then five hands. So they each needed a stretch of flesh colors. I often try to pick all the flesh in one go…it’s just easier…

IMG_4627 small

And this is a small quilt, so first of all, it won’t take long to do that, but also, the whole quilt is flesh. Almost. There’s only like 15 pieces that aren’t flesh. OK. Maybe 25. But not a lot.

I started actually ironing at 12:20, because it’s really dangerous to leave all those little bits of Wonder Under lying out on the fabrics with cats in the house. I like never do that.

But I had no choice…there is no way I could have stayed up another hour, and that’s what it would have taken. So I stacked plastic bins on top of all of it and I’ll have to be really careful tonight when I take them off so they don’t fly all over.

The drawing is hanging up so I can see it. With an unfinished unplanned random head top hanging next to it.

IMG_4626 small

And the last episode of Supernatural on Netflix…with Kitten watching. Not.

IMG_4624 small

Most complicated thing to consider: what to watch next? Until the next season pops up.

Anyway, I’ll finish ironing tonight. After surviving all the stuff on the list. Yes, I’m tired. I should remember that tonight. Plus don’t plan to cook new stuff for the first time on the night you go to the gym. And start ironing earlier. And and and. Sometimes dealing with art brain is like dealing with a 2-year-old.

*Sia, Breathe Me


Let’s Put Our Heads Together and Start a New Country Up*

May 15, 2017

Well whatever crazy internet thing that was going on has dissipated. My blog hits are back down to normal. Hello normal! Nice to see you too! I often forget there are people out there reading this (hello boychild! I know where you got that photo you sent to the girlchild!). Mothers’ Day. Sheesh…some holiday taken over by the media folks that messes with my head. It’s hard to have them so far away…and looking at pictures of them, trying to decide what to post, well that doesn’t help. Oh well. Moving on…I did get a long FaceTime call with the girlchild at my parents’ house…

IMG_4613 small

Wherein she tried to explain the chaos of her living and working situation for the next two-three weeks. She still has one final to finish. Then at least two jobs. And living out of a suitcase for a while.

Here’s the photo I found, from 2004…both their hairs are completely different now. OK, well, hers is similar, minus the dorky barrettes. Ages 7 and 8 about…

kids May 04 Rev

And the girlchild posted this…I am just not going to explain it.

IMG_4611

Just to say, well, the kitchen is still a mess and I have a cow costume in case you ever need to borrow one. (And that’s not my wine.)

Yesterday, I found time to weed for a while…the rains this year have kicked my landscaping butt. I was watched by this bunny for all the time it took me to fill one of those big recycling bins. Yes. One.

IMG_4610 small

That was about a third of the front yard. I didn’t even try to pick the grasslike stuff. I’m gonna weed whack that part. Sorry bunny (he lives under that deck).

In the house isn’t much better. Kitten jumped up to dust this with her paws. Right? That’s what she’s doing up there? Sigh.

IMG_4604 small

I had three days to catch up on this. I did finish the hand with one of the days, filling in with stem stitch and doing some cross stitches over the seed stitches below. Then I finished the bush to the right of the hand…only half the leaves were done. Then I did some blue fly and lazy daisy stitches in the pink below the bush.

IMG_4616 small

Back to filling in empty spaces. Still haven’t hit the halfway mark. Embroidery is relaxing though.

Then I retraced some of the pieces (old Wonder Under sucks…which is why Saturday found me at JoAnns with my 50% off coupon buying a new bolt of the stuff), cut them out, and sorted them. Only three bins.

IMG_4618 small

So easy peasy. Ironing tonight? One would hope. There’s some cleaning that needs to go on in here, the studio. In fact, that’s often the only thing that gets cleaned…the areas where I make art…the entryway floor so I can lay out quilts…etc. Oh well. I do my best.

Also, one of the shows I entered (notifications haven’t gone out yet), Threads of Resistance, posted all the entered work, because it’s an important exhibit even if all the pieces can’t be in the show. You can see the work here. There’s a ton of work, so there will be a ton of rejections…but the work is all out there for viewing. I’m interested to see how what they pick might differ from what I would pick…how to show all the possibilities of resistance with a clear, consistent show that doesn’t violate copyright. That’s a hard one.

OK…working my butt off today and then coming home to be an artist. Oh wait. I’m always an artist. Obviously not a gardener or a housecleaner. I suck at both.

*REM, Cuyahoga