I Stitched a Few Miles…

My blood sugar crashing woke me up at 5 AM. Not a normal occurrence. I need to be better about eating on the weekends. I forget. I’m not in the mood. There’s no plan. I’m pretty sure I said this sometime in the last 4 weeks. And then didn’t do it. Sigh. Part of it was that I was busy trying to get this quilt done. I’m still busy trying to get this quilt done. I’m going to be busy with it all week. I did manage to stitch a few miles this weekend, that’s for sure.

I got up Saturday morning and did a bunch of stuff I already wrote about, and then I started the stitch down again in the early afternoon…

I had done about 2 1/2 hours the night before and I was on a roll…

It’s not like this is hard. As long as the sewing machine behaves (sometimes an issue), this is easy. I put on some loud music, I try to remember to stand up occasionally, I forget to eat…and I stitch. At 4 hours and 51 minutes, I was done.

The back is always intriguing. I actually look at the back to find what I missed. I found one, but not the other…I found that one last night while quilting.

Then I went through the stash to find something for the backing. This is a batik on the front, and I used the whole width from selvedge to selvedge, so I knew I’d have to use another batik on the back, unless I wanted to piece it (I did not)…because batiks run about 44″ wide and regular fabrics are usually only 40-41″ wide. I didn’t want to lose the 3″. So I grabbed something that might work as a background, but was being conscripted to backing today.

I ironed it nice and flat. I’d already washed the batting, so I cut that, ironed the top, and laid it all out on the floor I’d already cleaned in the morning (I had a busy morning).

Looking good. Get down on the floor and start pinbasting. Look at the clock…the Visions opening has started, but you’re still OK on time.

Pinbasting doesn’t usually take very long…

Less than an hour. Put on something besides shorts, put a bra on (aargh, society, fuck you), head out to Visions for the opening of Interpretations. Talked to some interesting people, checked out the art, don’t have time now for resizing photos and looking up people’s websites, just know there was some interesting art there. And people!

I knew there was no food in the house (that I wanted), so I headed over to Liberty Public Market, had a glass of wine, and read my book while I contemplated the chaos inside and my food options.

Also stopped at Comikaze and got a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale, graphic novel style. Looking forward to reading that.

Then decided on crepes (I always decide on that…not sure why…because they’re a rarity in my world and I like them?)…waited for them to be cooked, and drove them home to continue reading. I finished the book. So I took about a 3-hour break from the quilt existence. The man was playing a show I couldn’t go to, so this was my one break all day.

Back to the grind…the quilting…

And that’s what I did, more music blaring, for the next 2 1/2 hours…quilted a little Torrey Pines cliffs…

Some water and a whale…

I was on a roll…a mule deer…

Somewhere around the river, the man showed up and I actually looked at a clock…after midnight. Ah. OK. Time to stop.

So Saturday was close to 6 hours of quiltmaking. Now that’s a day. But I didn’t get any schoolwork done, and that’s an issue. Yes. Well.

Sundays are always really busy, and this one was no exception. I did do schoolwork and I also went to the grocery store and the fabric store for binding fabric, plus made some lunch and breakfast stuff and a cake for my dad who just turned 79, which is awesome. So it was late before I started this…

I graded a little at the parentals’ house before dinner, but was panicking. And listening to a podcast about the Panic Monster. I quilted for an hour and then took a break, went on the bike and graded a few essays while riding, then went back to quilting.

I hate grading sometimes. And the quilt wins timewise at the moment. Hopefully I can get more of both done today. I’d really like to finish the quilting tonight…

I did 2 1/2 hours last night, so that’s almost 5 hours so far. Probably another 2 1/2 hours just of outlining left…

I have the whole torso, most of one arm and all of another, plus Anza Borrego and her head. Then I have to quilt the background. Hmm. Plus a 2-hour staff meeting and I’m cooking dinner tonight. Sounds problematic. OK, finish the outlining tonight. Finish the background tomorrow night and trim it, cut the binding. Maybe put the binding on? Shit. Time. When the hell am I going to grade anything? I guess it’s a good thing I have absolutely no evening plans this week. I did record some different videos for my Patreon this weekend…a bunch of me singing along to music as I quilt (not so interesting) and then a short treatise on materials and why you should wash your Machingers more often than I do. It’s not hard. I just buy new ones.

The Dog Ate My To-Do List

I got to sleep in. It was glorious. Well, the old-lady dog needed to pee at 8, so I did that, and then went back to sleep for an hour. Lovely. More please. But I have work to do as well…so up and at ’em! I had a brainstorm about a thing we need to do for science last night as I was brushing my teeth, so I ran in here and wrote it on a post-it note and then fell asleep thinking about it, so of course, woke up and made it more of a thing than it was on a post-it, while texting another teacher friend about a kid and all the kids and how we get to a (tired, honestly) point of just reacting and we have to step back and reflect, which is what teachers do all the time, but this year, it’s just exhausting and nonstop. So without weekends and breaks and promising yourself to go home and NOT work and trips to the gym or a hike or whatever it is that floats your boat, we’d all go nuts. Although I promised my students I’d finish grading all the makeup work AND the essay thing this weekend. Which might have been a mistake, because I have a quilt to do.

I got up, I made my lists…which is funny, because Calli got left alone for a while yesterday while the boychild went to get approved to hike (broken toe fixed! mostly!), and she decided to take it out on my listmaking strategies…

The dog ate my to-do list. It’s OK. It was the old notebook. Most of the useful stuff had been transferred over into a new one. I do like HAVING them, though. I don’t know why. Just because. Documentation of the crazy. She was anxious.

I’m supposed to be keeping track of my actual work hours this week for school…I’m dividing it up into planning, prep, teaching, grading, duty, and meetings. We’ll see how it goes. The plan is to reduce some of it and get that time back for me and what I want to do. It’s impossible to track the thinking time unfortunately. There’s a lot of that going on.

When I got home, what I really needed was a walk. And the boychild can do that now, so we grabbed the dogs and went…

We’re getting close to Daylight Savings, when doing this will be much harder. I hate that. So I’m trying to use time now…

The dogs are a little out of shape. I might be too…a week of being sick and not working out at all seems to have had an effect. I’m still stuffed up a little and not fully healthy. But I’m mostly better.

I did grade a little last night. I also read a little. But mostly I stitched shit down. When I felt tired, I got up and heated up my tea. Then I came back and stitched some more.

I can’t say this part is particularly exciting…but it’s a little meditative. You’re just moving the fabric under the needle and trying to decide where to go next in a logical manner.

I actually planned to try to finish all the bottom section…and I did do that and more before midnight hit.

Including the butterflies…

So today, I’ve already paid all the bills, scanned the contract I needed to email, transferred some of my retirement funds to different funds, did a little bit of planning for school, dumped the batting into a pile of hot soapy water in the bathtub, and am listening to the weekly podcast for how to get more fucking efficient in my work day, while I type this blog. I’m also eating my breakfast while I type. Because I need to finish stitch down, take a shower, clean the tile floors, sandwich the quilt, and start actually quilting. Because the photographer wants it by next Saturday (oh dear. OK. Yikes.) It’s a good thing I have no need to sleep, right? OK. I’m going to get on that now. Move the batting. Start stitching. Shower. I’m gonna get this done.

Motivational Shit…

It’s always cool when the whole quilt comes together. It’s definitely worth the tired feeling. I never see it all colored in until this point, and that’s crazy, sure, but also kinda cool. I did have a meeting after school yesterday…science curriculum…in which we decided to just go rogue. Like after a year plus of trying to pick the best curriculum for our kids, we can’t find anything (honestly, I don’t think we’ve looked at everything, but we can’t get people to agree on anything right now, and we’re down to almost no people, so whatever), the district wants us to design our own, but I don’t trust the people who actually want to do it to do it right or well enough for my kids (but oh yes, I guess I will be reviewing it, so that crazy sweetheart who says she’s got a Master’s degree in writing CERs? Well yeah, honey, I’m the one who will using your stuff. I don’t trust her at all. Nope. I don’t.). So there’s that.

I came home and input one assignment into our grade program and then graded exactly three essays before I was done. I’m going to spend a few weeks tracking my school work hours. The group I’m in also wants me to track my energy, the stuff that sucks it away (um, staff meetings, parent meetings, duty outside, grading essays) and gives me more (the gym, hiking, art). I know today that we need to set up for Monday’s lab, so we don’t have to worry about it later. I think there’s other shit we need to do too, but my brain isn’t working right now. I’m still fighting this cold. It’s not helping.

Anyway, after inputting that assignment, I headed into the office, because my quilt friend who moved to Portland wanted to video chat and I wanted to finish ironing.

That’s actually her taking a picture of me in my studio. At some point, the girlchild was FaceTiming (so she could see the dogs) as well, which is a little crazy. While talking, I ironed all the things from yesterday onto the body, as well as a few other cacti I had to put together…

This thing is not small…that’s for sure…

Then I ironed a few monarchs from this summer. The recording I’m listening to this morning is talking about work having a greater meaning, which can help you keep working even when you’re tired. Huh. Yeah. That. I am heavily motivated by my art.

That feeling I get when a piece gets all ironed together or quilted and photographed, that’s an amazing feeling. So much of the process is really boring to watch (and sometimes to do; cutting stuff out, I’m talking to you) and people don’t respond much, and I feel like I’m showing yet another pile of Wonder Under scraps or many traced pieces…but then I get it to this stage and it’s so much more exciting and motivating to come in here and MAKE.

The monarchs get a home and then a snake wanders over…

At this point, I was ready to put the whole thing together, so I took a break, got some tea, and then got ready for the big part.

Oh yeah. That’s good. I ironed it a little tight on the left, but it’ll be fine.

It’s better than OK. It’s awesome. OK, so tonight, I start the stitch down. Someone asked how I’m going to quilt it…um, fast? Yeah. Fast. Can I do the stitch down on Friday and Saturday and then sandwich it? That’s the plan. I have batting (have to order it online ahead of time now), but it needs washing. I’m sure I have enough fabric around here for a pieced backing. I also need to grade stuff, go to the gym, and head over to the Visions Museum opening at some point…but this is a good place to be.

Apparently everyone agrees with me…and some sort of truce has been made by these two.

She just wants pets. And a toy.

She’s a nervous old lady sometimes.

And someone left him on a chair. He doesn’t really know how to get OFF the chair, so he sits there and stares at me until I help him.

That pitiful look. Today is Friday. I can do a Friday…and maybe I can sleep in a bit tomorrow morning (first time in a while) and then get a lot of motivational shit done.

One Thing at a Time…

Writing is hard, y’all. OK. Not for me. The words spill out of me like drool, honestly. But that’s practice. I wrote my first blog post in 2004. Even writing essays in high school and college, I just sat down and let it pour out. I’d do one readthrough and that was it. Done. And that was back in the day of typewriters and that weird white tape you’d type over to cover up whatever you’d mistyped. I can’t remember why I used that over liquid paper. Because you didn’t have to wait for it to dry? It wasn’t as lumpy? There’s a fine line between coverage and lumpy. MY ANALYSIS OF LIQUID PAPER. Exciting stuff. But often frustrating. But writing? Writing this every day lets my brain just spill all this crap out, plus I make plans for the day and the rest of the week and projects, holding myself accountable for shit. It’s probably how I can get so much done, even when it feels like I’m getting NOTHING done. Do I want to be sitting here the next morning thinking WTF I did nothing? Well that happens sometimes and it’s OK when it does. But making art makes me feel better as a person about the other stuff, so I want to be damn sure I’m doing it. Lots of it. Tell my students it gets easier when they practice? Uh. They don’t want to practice. They get frustrated. Sometimes I wonder why I work so hard at their writing in science, and then I remember how you keep the really high level science jobs. You write. You communicate in words. You document your shit. Sigh. They have to write so much on the state tests and some of their writing is so difficult to read. So no, I didn’t grade any of the other written assignments last night. That stuff just hurts.

Meanwhile, I’m up early for another parent meeting. Maybe this one will actually show up. I’m not sure if I should email the one who didn’t show up yesterday and make some comment about how I have to get up early and get to school early and set up my classroom early to prepare for their being here, and even go pee early so I know I get to pee before school starts, but their lame-ass behavior, like if it’s an emergency and you couldn’t make it, then call or email, but don’t just blow me off. Annoying. So many of those this year. And then they never reschedule. The kids react to it too…they’re all worried about the meeting and then when the parent doesn’t show, then what does that tell them? Sigh. Ugh. Parenting is hard too, but you still gotta do it.

Lecture aside. For now. I won’t have a voice for it in class. I gave a quiz yesterday. I graded it last night. All of them. 160 or so. Good stuff. Still behind on grading other stuff, but I’ll get there. While I was grading, Kitten kept sitting on all the papers…so I turned on Cat TV for her.

Not that it stopped her from sitting on all the papers…she did watch the birds though.

I graded until about 9:30 and then started ironing…I hit the tiny pieces stage…

Her thighs have a lot of nature on them…these California poppies and the bees we’re trying to keep alive out here.

Plus a Joshua tree, a turkey vulture, and some cactus.

I wanted to get further last night, but these are tiny fussy things. I got about half of the 600s ironed…maybe a little more than that. I have another couple cactus to iron and then the monarchs…speaking of fussy. A rattlesnake, a bunch of toes, legs…and then that’s it. I have a science meeting after school today, though. I wanted to be ironing to the background tonight and I’m having to revise my plan. I suspect I’ll be lucky to get to that. So I’ll hope I get it all ironed together tonight…I’m still on track, still OK. Mostly. Still tired. Still got too much work to do. Still wondering what I’m working on next. Still don’t know what to get my dad for his birthday. All the things in my head. Plus I want to read my book. And be healthy enough to go to the gym. Ugh. One thing at a time…well…unless I can do two.

Plans. They Work.

Ugh. I’m tired this morning. Neck hurts. Muscle? Or headache that comes with this cold? Or the trying to second-guess everything that will happen today in class. Lockdown drill with some challenging folks. I’m going to pre-meditate. Like meditate beforehand. Except I also have a parent meeting. Aack. Too much. I have book club tonight and I don’t think I’m going to go. I’m not in the mood to drive all the way across town and be outside. I like the people. I’m already tired. I’ve got chills this morning. NOt good. I’d rather stay home and rest a bit, iron some more. I already have a school meeting for two hours tomorrow after school. And another parent meeting. I just need some rest. And some Motrin for the neck/head thing. Then I’m going to meet with this parent and explain that it’s the kid who has to figure his shit out, and then I’m going to give a quiz, which is gonna freak everyone out, and then maybe after all that, I can come home and take a nap or read my book on the couch for a little bit before grading some and then ironing some.

Last night was the SAQA Local Connection meeting…with this crazy mural again.

I stitched for a while. I forgot to take a picture. We only had 4 show up. Not sure what this means for the future. We’re taking a break until January because of the holidays. I’m still working on a monthly stitching group, I guess. Maybe I’ll just hang out at a Starbucks and see who wants to hang out with me.

Kitten does…as long as it’s at home and no other beasts are around.

I get it, Kitten, I do. I graded a little when I got home. Not a lot…just a little.

Then I ironed…got the rest of the torso done…

This giant thing keeps trying to slip off the ironing board. Fabric is surprisingly heavy.

I got down to the uterus and then it was going to get very complicated, plus it was almost midnight. So that’s bedtime. I almost finished the 500s…so that’s just 300 or so pieces to go…mostly tiny little detail pieces though. So time-consuming. But maybe I’ll finish tonight? Probably not. Probably tomorrow. Iron it to the background. Stitch down. I got this. Just emailed the photographer. He’ll give me a hard deadline. Then I’ll see if I can pull it off. Plans. They work, people, they work.

I Stormed…

I am Edward Koch from South Carolina usa . I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to I and my wife’s anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on some of your works which i found quite impressive and intriguing.

So I get these types of emails all the time, total scams. I usually don’t waste time on answering, but I did appreciate that he STORMED on some of my works. I also STORM on them. No really. I kinda do. Anyway. I’m guessing no money will be made from Mr. Koch from South Carolina.

3 AM barking from the pup. Ugh. Still fighting this cold. Double ugh.

So I have another writing assignment I’m grading. The last one took over 9 hours to get through, and only about 110 kids actually turned it in. I’m trying to do this one in batches, but not batch sizes that kill me. I was trying to finish one class last night, but I’d done a couple of fairly frustrating ones, and then I got to this one…

This is where my brain said, no, stop, you can’t, you don’t even know what to write in response because none of it matches up to anything you gave them. Well, we did do a lab called Growing Air and the smiling thing is a balloon I drew a smiley face on so they could see if it grew or not and we did talk about solids and liquids, but that was the other assignment. So I took a deep breath, remembered that this child has a significant understanding problem (maybe we should do something about that, but I don’t know where to start? Well, I do…), wrote her a solid response and invited her to tutoring. And then I quit for the night. Because I couldn’t. Not any more.

So I ironed. I STORMED the ironing.

Honestly, I spent the first 20 minutes trying to figure out how to iron stuff on this huge piece without the rest of it falling off the ironing board. Problematic.

I made it to the body! Always iron the eyes together separately and then place them on the face, so as to not have crooked eyes.

I ironed the head separately from the landscape…it was just easier…

And then fit it and the background into the existing stuff…

You can see where the arm belongs between the foreground pieces…I got one arm done and a goodly chunk of the other arm, plus part of the torso.

I wanted to finish lungs and heart, but knew it was already midnight and I’m fighting illness, plus I had to be up a little early for a parent meeting…only 3 of them this week. Ugh. Tonight is the SAQA meeting…I can’t take this with me, but I’ll find something to work on. Then I’ll come home and iron some more. I might finish grading that one class of assignments. Maybe at tutoring? I don’t know. It’s hard to concentrate there and I am trying to help kids do stuff too, so it’s not really a great place to work. All the newer teachers will be at some meeting, so I’m not even sure who will be there with me. Awkward. Oh well. Taking my sick self to work. Happy about the progress on here…hope it continues. I think I hit halfway last night? There’s a lot of details in the body…so that will slow me down a bit, but my current goal is to be ironed together by Friday and then stitch down Saturday, sandwich and quilt starting Sunday. I’m tight on time really. Always.

Handed to a Resident…

So last night, I’m sitting there watching part of a movie and part of something I’m grading (very exciting, both of them) and my phone tells me a package has been delivered. In some ways I love this, and in some, ugh. Too much. But the link says the package “was handed to a resident.” Really. Hmm. I look around the room. Not me. Not the guy on the couch next to me. Not the boychild in his room. Not a single dog has barked (this in itself is strange). I check the front door…nothing. OK, we have this weird other door that people sometimes try to use as a front door, mostly because I need to build a fence…there used to be trees blocking access and they had to be taken out for the septic system redo. Anyway, out my bedroom door, there’s the package. Delivered to a bunny maybe? Because no one else was out there. Interesting. Good thing the sprinklers had finished. I guess the plus is that we actually found it. I do appreciate the drivers who photograph the package where they left it…sometimes it helps me find it. Otherwise, I might be wandering around in the dark, wondering where they thought was an appropriate place rather than just walking up the steps to the actual front door.

The weekend in review. Sigh. Yeah. Well. I walked the dogs on Friday…I’ll be glad when the boychild’s toe is healed enough for him to come along. There were no coyotes…

but there were two people with loose dogs. I hate those people. I don’t care if your dog is friendly. Mine aren’t. Put your damn uber-friendly (one of them was a pitbull dammit) on a leash. For the coyotes’ sake and mine.

I did seem to tire them out, which was the plan. Me too…

I graded a bunch and went to bed early. The week kicked my butt. Then got up early and drove up to LA to see a sick relative…

Going up wasn’t bad. Coming back was sort of hellacious. I made it back eventually. Smelled the fire up there. Ah, memories of growing up in LA.

Saturday night was some art, some food, and then collapse. Super tired. And then up most of the night with what turns out to be a cold. Hoping I didn’t get my relative sick too…I thought I was just tired Friday and Saturday. Apparently I was coming down with the Ick that everyone else has. I got up early on Sunday and graded. I wasn’t sleeping anyway.

Kitten hung out with me on the couch. No dogs. She likes it.

Sunday, I napped, I worked, I grocery shopped, I laundered, I prepped lunches and breakfasts and then cooked dinner. Did I say I napped? Yeah. I did. And then I ironed for 2 1/2 hours.

Added a bird to the seashore…ironed the Torrey Pines’ cliffs…

Another bird…

A deer…

Well, it will be a deer, once its face gets where it should be. So this is where I’m at…well, a little past this. My ocean is definitely wider than the ironing board…kind of a pain, actually.

I did manage to iron the hills/mountains to the right and then a sun and cloud.

Deer in place…

So I got most of the way through the surrounding landscape…just a hill in Anza Borrego to go. Then the flesh. All the 200s are ironed down…almost. I’m running out of time. As always. I will figure it out. I always do.

Today I feel like crap. Mostly crap. I have meds. I have tea. I will want a nap during one of the two staff meetings. Maybe I will just do that.