Like a Human

I think I need to leave in like half an hour. Oh my. Mornings. Kick my butt.

Hey, so I called yesterday about the sewing machine and made an appointment to bring it in, and made sure they had a cord for the other machine, so I could see if it was really having stupid needle-freezing issues or if it was the fact I was borrowing a cord from a recliner chair to test it. But just to check and make sure, I tried it again. And you know what? It freakin’ worked. I don’t know why. It’s an asshole is why. So I quilted yesterday. In between driving around a lot, because you can never get everything you need at one store, which is why Amazon makes so much money. I hate driving around and doing errands. But it sometimes needs to happen because you need it NOW and you don’t want to contribute to the crazy shipping of everything all over the world.

I only quilted for a little while in the afternoon, because it was the Man’s birthday and we had this 2-hour tour of the bay that was expiring today. So we went…this is the outside of the harbor bathroom. Very exciting. I have no idea what all of it spells out.

I’m assuming it looks different at night with the lights shining through some of the letters.

There’s a bunch of Groupons for these tours all the time. As San Diego County residents, we often forget to hang out in our own city…although I’ve done pretty well with that.

Coronado Bridge…

I went on this trip (on a different boat) last summer and thought the man would enjoy it. He did.

San Diego Cityscape…

It was a nice day for it…not too hot and not too cold…

Seagull above us…it flew alongside us and then managed to land up there.

Impressive skillz.

Wildlife…

This one waved…

More sea birds…

I really don’t go down to the water enough. It’s too far, I guess.

We ate dinner downtown and passed this positive message for the new birth year…

Oh yeah. Good times. His real birthday present is in about two weeks. And there are no baby goats. Too bad.

When we got home, I quilted. I did offer to hang out and watch a movie with him, but he had to go to work today and he was too tired for a whole movie. Maybe tonight.

Like I said, the machine magically fixed itself. I love that stuff.

I really don’t. I like things to make sense. Machines anyway. I realize they probably do on some level, but it’s like machine fairy level. You know? Tech fairies. Magical beasts who fix tech when you turn it off, swear at it, and walk the fuck away.

This thing isn’t that complicated. I quilted for about 2 1/2 hours yesterday and got the whole bottom part done…

All that’s left is everything above the shoulders, which isn’t that much outlining, and all the background.

I’d really like to finish today. I’m not sure if I can, though. The annual boob-squeezing is in less than an hour (shit, I need to get ready to leave), and then I’m hanging out this afternoon in a coffee shop with Susan, who had the balls to move to freakin’ Portland, which is a million miles away. No sewing machines in coffee shops. I’ll have to bring hand work and pretend to be a well-behaved seamstress. First I have to try to get the old lady dog to eat some foods. OK. And brush my teeth. Like a human.

Stupid Machines

I’m so busy lately that I haven’t been writing regularly. Plus I’m getting on average about 2 more hours of sleep a night. I should stockpile those for the school year. I’m a slow mover in the morning on a good day. During the summer, I hit molasses mode. This is not a good thing for next week, when I have a conference with 7 AM meetings (do they hate me?) and a class that starts at 9 AM but on the other side of town (ah morning traffic woes). It’ll be fine. I’ll survive both. With caffeine.

This week has a bunch of stuff going on too…trying to get all those silly annual or semi-annual appointments out of the way. Check my teeth, cut my hairs, squash my boobs.

Anyway, Saturday’s axe-throwing event was successful…

No one lost a limb or even a finger. And we all enjoyed it.

Calli made it back from the vet. X-rays showed nothing. We’re assuming it’s more arthritic stuff, so she’s on even more meds, including anti-nausea pills because she wasn’t eating.

This morning, she ate most of a bowl of dog food, but mostly out of our hands. Blech to the dog saliva, but if it gets her to eat, OK. She’s on a lot of sedatives and pain meds, but she is walking better in the last two days. She will put some weight on the back leg, so that’s promising. She’s done this before with a front leg, but she seems less stable losing a back leg. The reality is that she’s getting old, and moving is not as easy as it used to be. Hopefully we’ll continue to see improvement this week. Because it sucks. Simba is confused about why Calli gets to eat anywhere in the house. He’ll survive. He’s young.

We have bunnies at my house. Here’s one who was not scared when I opened the window…

I don’t think I’ve ever put a bunny in a quilt. Maybe now is the time.

Speaking of quilts…well, hang on. Yesterday, my school team met at the beach for a BBQ/hang out/team-building session that went pretty well…certainly there was enough food for all.

Egret…

That’s a bird I have put in a quilt. Unless it was a heron. It might have been a heron. See, even after my science co-teacher explained the difference, I still can’t remember.

I stitched for a while. It’s relaxing.

More progress on her…but it’s slow. I need to draw a couple more this week so I can take them to the conference and stitch them. I’ll have to decide whether to make them on dark or light. Maybe I should do a gray. Hmmm. I don’t have gray fabric. Do I need an excuse to buy fabric? Well, I will still need a binding fabric sometime…although so here’s the deal. I came home from the BBQ and exercised and tried to get my to-do list organized, and then I was going to quilt. But then my machine really was being an asshole…seriously, I checked all the settings, but the feed dogs won’t stay down. I can quilt in a straight line, but when I try to free-motion, the thread keeps breaking because the tension is wrong. It did this once before, like a year ago…and it was just in for its annual cleaning, so I’m a bit annoyed. I’ll call the machine guy in a bit, once I’m awake and showered…

So because I’m persistent (really, I am), I pulled the old machine out. It should work, if I can figure out how to thread it (it’s been a while). But then I can’t find the power cord. Seriously? Was that the cord that was lying around the office and I finally (I think) threw it out? Fuck me. Seriously. The boychild had a cord, but we aren’t sure it’s ideal…but I tried it…

My old 1+ quilts quite nicely…until the needle freezes. And then breaks the thread…

It only did that 5 times before I quit. So I don’t know if that’s related to using a cord not made for this machine, or if it’s something wrong with the machine. My plan? Call about getting the other one fixed, sooner rather than later (he’s usually booked like 6 weeks out, but this is an emergency and sometimes he’ll do those), ask about getting a new cord for the old machine, then see if it still has the needle stoppage problem, and maybe fix that too. More things on the to-do list. AND…it meant I couldn’t quilt last night for very long. Which was very frustrating. I need to get this one done.

Anyway, so I didn’t have a choice. I finally sat down with my sketchbook and did something as a start for the next deadline…

It’s not great…but it’s a start. I can do something with this. I’ll probably draw the other side and then redraw it better. I don’t like the hair and head. Or more. I don’t know. It’s too much like the Bill Nye quilt too. I need to do some brainstorming with words before I do this again. I just didn’t have the brain space last night. I was expecting to be meditatively quilting…not wracking my brain for ideas. Stupid machines. Plus when I haven’t drawn for a while, I need to do more to get loose. Let it flow.

Simba agrees. He’s sitting on the couch next to me while I’m on the stationary bike…

It was the closest he could get to me. Poor baby. Not enough attention.

OK, shower, call sewing machine fixit guy, it’s the man’s birthday, so we’re going on a boat and doing stuff. I need dog and cat food too. Busy day. AGAIN. Stop and brainstorm for the the drawing, because it looks like I might be doing that tonight instead of quilting. Sigh. It’s fine. I just was on a roll. I don’t like starting new pieces while I’m still finishing the old one. And I need to post my Patreon video! Oh yeah. Go do that.

Brain on break. Messy thing.

I Reach Out from the Inside*

Some worry this morning for the big dog…she won’t put weight on her back left leg all of a sudden…

Same side as the lump removal, so that’s a concern. She’s off to the vet in about an hour…hopefully it’s an easy thing, like muscles…she’s had muscle and arthritis issues before. Good thoughts, baby girl.

She was fine yesterday afternoon when I was pinbasting…her biggest worry was that I kicked her off her favorite floor to lie on…so I could clean it and baste the quilt…

Cone head.

Oh yeah, I finished stitch down yesterday…maybe 3 1/2 hours total.

Pinned…ready for quilting.

I was going to start that today, but I got sidetracked by many things, including the dog.

Yesterday, I was totally sidetracked by all these…

I’m just putting them here…

So hopefully a year from now and a bit…

I can rejoice in his loss…

And we thought Palin and Quayle were idiots.

Sometimes I truly love the internet’s ability to take on stupidity in a humorous way.

We gamed last night…two different games. I did OK on the first one, but killed three characters in the last one. Impressive.

I did not win. It’s all good. I’m OK with dying. And losing. Well, here. In a board game.

Today? I might die. We’re trying axe-throwing. Plus I have a meeting. Plus I’m tired. Plus I’m worried about the dog. I’m not sure I should be allowed to throw an axe honestly. I suspect not a lot of art is happening today. Hopefully that will be different tomorrow.

*Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes

I’m at the Carpark, the Airport, the Baggage Carousel*

Oh yeah. Nonfunctional brain day. Woo! I mean, the phone keeps ringing and I finally answered one of them and it’s people at work. I feel for them. The Friday after a holiday and before a weekend…not a hard work day, I think for some…but hard to go in and think. I just don’t have the brain power right now for anything. Which is too bad, because I’ve got stuff to do. I’ve ALWAYS got stuff to do. This title makes it sound like I’m traveling. Only mentally! Still here in San Diego for another week…

I did label and pack a quilt up yesterday and I need to drop it at UPS today. That will not be hard. Although it’s across the street from a quilt store I never go to, and I went there just a few days ago because I was dropping the rug shampooer and it called to me. It was in the same parking lot, and my brain impulse control was apparently off, so I went in. Ostensibly for Machingers (don’t ask…Google if you need to), but they don’t carry them any more. Oh yeah. I got them online last time. I try to get one new pair a year, because they get really dirty. I should probably just try washing them and see if that does it. Sometimes the rubbery part just rubs off, so that’s a whole ‘nother issue. Definitely need to replace them then.

SEE. My BRAIN is offline. Ramble city.

And I finally figured out why the damn machine wasn’t working right…because I didn’t have all the settings changed correctly. I forgot about the free-motion foot, and that fucks with tension. So I fixed that and now it’s mostly working.

I got most of the bottom half of the quilt done…it won’t take much time to get the rest done. That’s my goal for today…finish that, clean the floor where I pinbaste, and then pinbaste it. Ready for quilting tomorrow.

I spent a good chunk of yesterday staring at this stage…

I watched the whole band before the one I came to see, and then stitched until it was too dark (I actually have a mistake on this bit that I then had to pull out). See that kid sulking to the left? So much kid drama going on at this place.

The band I came to see (well, rode in the truck with all the equipment and 4 of the guys) was great, got lots of people dancing…including me…

But at this stage, it was just the kids…

About halfway through, you could turn around and watch the fireworks at three different locations…and eventually a fourth that started late.

That’s kinda cool, although you can’t hear the booms. Good for dogs, but I like the booms.

I guess I was listening to these guys…

I don’t know what he’s singing there…but that’s my guy on the right…

Here’s the lead singer…

They’re fun to watch and dance to…

I did get a good chunk of this done…almost all the green. Moving up into the mountains.

See the two spots to the right of the arm? I was eating cherries (and here’s where it’s not a good idea for me to stitch on white like EVER) and one of the seeds dropped and popped across the hoop. Spit is the best for removing food stains. Maybe. I guess I’ll wash it when I’m done and if the stains don’t come out, figure out what will get stitched over them. Improvise!

The last of these photos are the marbled fabrics I bought off my friends Dean and Linda Moran at Marbled Fabrics on Etsy.

I don’t know if they’re still selling (they’re still there online anyway)…

Dean is in hospice care now, but he packed my order up and sent them…I’m looking forward to using these in future quilts.

I commissioned some fabrics off them about a million years ago (seriously, when I first started quilting) and still have bits and pieces of them. That’s the one thing about the method I use…I don’t use a lot of big pieces…so it’s hard to run out of fabrics. And yet I keep buying more!

OK, so today is ship a quilt, finish stitching down, pinbaste, and then there’s gaming tonight. I can work on the embroidery, depending on what we’re actually doing at gaming. Board games require a bit more concentration than RPG…at least for me. It’s been ages since we gamed…should be interesting. Happy upcoming weekend for all those who are working. For those of us who are attempting to be on break, happy whatever the fuck day it is!

*Squeeze, Tempted

The Fourth…

Is today about friends and family? Or is it about patriotism (that word leaves a bad taste in my mouth…too many people use it as an excuse to call people out for something they think is wrong, or as a reason not to question what’s going on around us, or as an excuse for acting like assholes toward those who are not the same)? Is it about the flag? I hope not, because we do horrible things with our flag. If respect for the flag is so important, why is it on everything we wear? Sorry, wandered off for a minute to see if you could get a flag emblazoned on a condom. I think the answer is yes. It’s also possible that I’m being hacked right now by an indie condom company. It’s probably not the first time.

I certainly think today should be about friends and family, but also about all those families that our government has seen fit to separate, those who asked for asylum and didn’t really get it. I’m pretty sure 99.9999% of those fat white guys in charge come from immigrant families to get here, and we need to remember that today. This country exists because we were escaping for our religious freedom (and even then, we were mostly assholes who took over and kicked someone else’s ass to live here…not a positive note). We need to remember that patriotism includes the part where we question the stupid shit our government is doing…think Hitler, think Handmaid’s Tale, think every damn dystopian novel you’ve ever read or seen in a movie. The American Way is to question that shit and rebel when necessary. Yell more. Fight more. It’s sad that my National Park admission dollars are currently being used to allow a president to jack off inappropriate messages of division and hate to a country that shouldn’t be built on that. It’s true that we’ve made massive mistakes in the past toward people of color, toward women, toward cultures or individuals that were different than the rest of us (and yet NOT) and somehow posed a threat toward our “way of life” (I don’t even know what that means)…so own it, do what we can about it, call people out, yes even today, at those family/friend gatherings. Support those who don’t have the resources to support themselves.

Because she said so…

So much for patriotism today. Enjoy yourselves. I’ve got plans…they aren’t perfect, but they’ll do. I will not be wearing a flag, though. Or even red, white, and blue.

Yesterday I did a lot of work. The plus is the driveway is ready to be sealed (mostly…needs sweeping closer to the real time) and the rugs are clean. I’m happy about that. I didn’t do a bunch of other things. Some of it was time spent on this big dummy…

Who does not like fireworks and requires consoling for hours afterwards. So I hugged her and combed her tangled fluffy butt fur and played her 80s music so she couldn’t hear the fireworks banging as much as when the music was off. Eventually she calmed down enough to lie down and I could do things.

Before all that, I did manage some of this…

Slow progress. Getting closer to done with the blues in the ocean though. I will probably take this to the celebration tonight. There’s a lot of down time for me. The man is playing at Campland tonight…not my favorite place. But I like being outside to watch them play and then being able to see all the fireworks. That’s cool. So I’ll stitch until they start playing…

I finally got in to the office to work on this…

And then the machine and the thread were not playing nicely together…

It was an incredibly frustrating and annoying thing…I’m staring at it this morning and hoping it behaves, because I wanted to be done with stitching last night, and I’ve barely started. I’ve ripped stitches four times now, rethreading and resetting everything and trying every possible setup, and finally walked away from it. So I’ll get some stuff done this morning and then try again.

This was last night, after I gave up…a blurry picture in the dark of two coned dogs and a cat.

May the fourth be a pleasant time, but may it also be a day of freedom for those who really need it. I’m suspecting it’s not those who are celebrating it.

For me, may it be a day to finish stitching and cross some other things off the to-do list. It was ugly this week. I’d like some space in my calendar, please.

Everything Looks Perfect from Far Away*

In summer, I lose routine. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, with school routines being so much a part of daily life. It’s good to have some freeform days where you don’t know exactly what minute it is and how many more minutes until you’re allowed to pee. It’s OK to let time just sort of wander…well, unless you have appointments, in which case, you should have some idea of time. I’m not in that freeform place yet. I had a quilt to be picked up in a 2-hour time frame. I had an eye doctor appointment at a specific time. My rug shampoo machine needs to be back by a certain time or I’ll get charged more. So time is a little fucked at the moment. It’s better than when I’m in school, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am efficient. In fact, I’m really not. My calendar is chock full of things I’m supposed to be doing, and I keep stopping to finish reading my book. Or resize pictures. Or pee a dog. Or heat up a cup of tea…lots of that.

Late at night, I finally get some space in my head and I just sit and read or think about what I’m drawing next or how to finish something. Or how to be more efficient. I’m using my free time, my brain space, to think about how to be more efficient. And then I go to bed too late and get up too early and feel tired all day. Not ideal. Working on that.

It’s OK. This is where I am right now. I have about 17 school things clamoring to be done as well, as a result of our two days of planning, and I’m afraid I’ll forget about them if I don’t do them soon. School brain…SHHHHH.

The dogs are both recovering well…

Although he got a donut (instead of a cone) because he was chewing on the leg that had the IV. I took it off last night…we’re watching the leg for now. The other one hasn’t tried to lick anything, but she’s definitely got a cone on. Because stitches. So there’s that.

Yesterday was crazy chaos of working, shopping, then renting a rug shampoo thing and cleaning carpets that might never have been cleaned. The plus is the big black spot in the hallway is now gone. That makes me happy. My carpet is still from the 1980s and falling apart, but it’s clean, dammit. I kept putting it off because I thought I’d be replacing it, but I can’t deal with that right now…so clean is better.

I did do some of this after dinner…

It’s not fast. I worry that I will run out of thread on these…the more complicated ones. So I’m watching that pretty closely. If someone buys a kit, I don’t want them to run out of a color if they want it to look like my sample.

Then I ironed eventually…all I had left was the face, and then to iron it to the background…

Tonight I will start the stitchdown, which shouldn’t take long…and then I can sandwich and pinbaste tomorrow, hopefully. I do have other stuff going on tomorrow, like half the country (maybe more). I will have no tanks and nothing I do will take away money from the National Parks, though, so you don’t have to hate me for it.

This Desert Daughter is part of a series…Earth Daughter was the first one. I want to draw a bunch for different ecosystems. We’ll see how long that takes me…

These works below were up in the In Between Gallery space that exists in Bread & Salt between the Athenaeum Art Center gallery space and the Print Studio that is also there. I didn’t see anyone’s name attached to them…and I just spent ten minutes on both websites and Facebook trying to find any information. If you figure out who the artist is, please tell me. I’m going to keep trying to figure it out.

They look like paper collages or prints that then have stitching over them…

They’re not straight, which I also like…

I really want to be doing some different stuff this summer. Maybe this is a place to start? Draw on fabric, add fabric or paper, then just stitch? I could maybe do that.

Anyway…I love seeing new things and thinking about how they affect my work. Or how I look at my work.

OK, on to today, which is more than half over, and I need to get going on the next set of tasks…outta here!

*The Postal Service, Such Great Heights

There’s an Army on the Dance Floor*

Ah, the morning started out with everyone doing their thing and taking their meds and all was good until I checked email. Sigh. Some people. Frustrate the crap out of me. And I need to not get angry at or irritated with them, and just think, hey, do I ever pull that negative crap? So knock it off. To me. I can’t control them. I can just thank them over and over again for something that should have been relatively simple to manage. In fact, I’ve managed most of it. I’ve done the thing I’m asking them to do, and it’s not as big of a deal as they’re making it out to be. But that’s them. (I think I’m going to have to go meditate this one out.).

Speaking of meditation, I’m always trying to get back to the daily practice. Hell, I’m trying to get back to the daily practice of a lot of things, and failing miserably this summer…but I got this the other night…

Totally why I meditate, sure, but look at the minutes I’ve meditated…and that’s just with this app. That doesn’t count the shit I do in my head on a regular basis. That’s almost 106 hours…that doesn’t sound as impressive. Neither does 4 1/2 days. I’ve spent 4 1/2 days of my life meditating. Well. Anyway. ‘Tis the summer of meditation apparently. When I remember.

In good news, this quilt, Not Less Than, is going to Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL, for the 22nd International Open, from August 9-31.

And I finally washed and photographed this piece, the last of the first 6 Earth Mothers…

You can find a pattern or kit for her on the Global Artisans page. I’m currently working on Earth Mother number 7. I need to draw 5 more.

See the hawk? He was loud.

That’s actually my neighbors tree. But he was loud. Did I mention loud?

So I started ironing the current quilt together on Sunday night. Night time seems made for ironing when it’s warm out.

I am recording some of this for my Patreon in July. If you think you’d like to watch me work, then sign up for the Patreon. For only $2 a month, you could see me twice a month.

I actually drew this a few years ago, so even though I recently traveled to all these rock monuments, this had already been done. And I made up those rocks in the drawing. I didn’t make up the plants. That’s a Joshua tree on her arm.

And those cacti on her breast are gonna need some embroidered spikes. Lots of them.

Kitten is continuing in the tradition of all cats in here by depositing her fur in this, the most hairy of all the drawers, the big green drawer. It’s not the only green drawer, but it is the biggest.

I’m constantly having to dehair fabric.

This is how far I got Sunday night, staying up way too late. There’s a rattlesnake and more cactus. Some of it will look much better with outlining.

I have Wonder Under release paper tucked under the body in three different locations because stuff needs to go behind the body. It only took me 25 years to realize that was an effective option. Duh.

Yesterday morning…this is not really love. It is a pushy cat and a fairly tolerant dog.

He looks nervous.

He should be. We took both dogs to the vet yesterday. The little one needed a tooth cleaning, and apparently two extractions. No one told me the little asshole’s breed was prone to teeth issues. And the big one is lumpy. She had two lumps removed.

And another biopsied last week. It’s benign. She’s just lumpy. All of us old folks get lumpy. With her cone on, she can’t reach her food bowl. So we improvised…

After dropping the dogs at the vet, my co-teacher and I covered this table with crap and worked for 6 1/2 hours on curriculum planning…

Six of them were paid. We’re going back for three more today, unpaid. Because it needs to be done. Welcome to the world of a teacher. After picking up the dogs, I ironed some more…this is pretty…

It will look better with outlining…

That cactus doesn’t really belong on her face…I just needed to iron it separately before putting it on the piece. There’s also a scorpion. All better with outlining.

I kind of like the cactus in her face actually.

Ah no, it belongs on her shoulder. I also did the clouds, rain, and lightning, although the clouds are hard to see without the dark background. All that’s left is the face.

I stayed up too late again, and I need to leave in 6 minutes. I think. I should brush my teeth and find my copy of The Martian. And City of Ember. Plus find my computer. And get out of here.

Hopefully I’ll finish ironing tonight, then stitch down tomorrow, pinbaste? Quilting? Almost done. Shit. I haven’t drawn the next one yet. Aargh. Don’t even ask me about my to-do list.

*The Psychedelic Furs, Love My Way