New Bird…

There’s a new bird in my yard. I haven’t seen it; just heard it. Sounds like a violin being played by a half-competent child. I’ve never heard it before…every morning, I sit in here or at the table and it screeches happily for a while. Is it Spring? Is that why we have a new bird? I don’t know. I wish I knew more about the birds who live here. We focus on the big beautiful owls and hawks, and I truly despise the mockingbird, but all the little gray brown birds…I don’t know what they all are. My neighbor above has added a bird feeder I can see from this window, and there are tons of birds hanging out around there. It makes me wonder why we never did that. Oh wait. We did. It was hard to remember to refill it and eventually it got gross and the metal corroded and we may have thrown it out. Yeah. I have too many things to do already. When the man leaves on his hike again, I have to remember the hummingbird feeders…at least they tell you. They buzz around your head angrily to remind you to fill them.

So that’s in my head this morning. The birds.

Monday night, I decided to leave the belly area and work on the sky. I did a few versions of “where do I put the sun” or “is there a sun?” or whatever, and then filled in the rest.

So the belly area is still undone…I still can’t remember what I was supposed to do in there. Last night, I went to the gym (to finish a book that really pissed me off about halfway through, but also to exercise), so I was late back, late for dinner, and then we watched a bizarre movie and I was stitching through it, nothing complicated, just the Sue Spargo Chirp quilt from a couple years ago, and I couldn’t get inspired to draw the belly.

Every flower is so freakin’ complicated. And there are four of each type. And I may never finish. Very positive thoughts about this quilt right now. So I got to here, looked at the clock, and it was bedtime. Aargh. OK. Well. Tonight is book club, so maybe I’ll finish the drawing? I don’t know. I still don’t know what’s going in that space.

I finished the flying geese…

Although I say that, and I just randomly laid these out, and obviously, I need one more? Except who knows what else will be added to this and I don’t need to decide anything right now.

I also went through the next drawer of black fabrics and made donation piles and then cut pieces for the boro-type scarf I’m making.

Sorted them a little. I’ll go through the white fabrics for the other half of the spectrum too.

Meditating last night with the little beast.

Have to focus on my breathing and not her butt cleaning. Difficult task.

OK, I have two meetings this morning. Sent notes to one. Can’t do both. Plus I teach 4 things today…advisory, science block 1, art, science block 2. I graded all the art projects yesterday. There are a lot of Fs because this group just doesn’t turn work in. Unfortunate. But I’m not waiting for them any more. We’re starting the next project. Onward! Hopefully my brain will figure out the drawing by the time I get to 9 PM, yeah? It would be nice. The new bird has gone quiet…must be naptime.

Pretty Damn Relevant…

Teacher, going back to school after Winter Break:

“Why is it so DARK out?”

“Can I unsubscribe from my district’s weekly motivating emails? Can I unsubscribe from ALL of my district’s emails?”

“I haven’t finished my BOOK.”

Now add Omicron to that mix. Yeah. Well, at least we don’t have kids today…it’s just us and our mushy brains that were panicking all weekend about how to prep for a ton of kids out and probably not having a prep period because teachers will be out and avoiding getting sick even with masks and vaccinations. Lots of us thinking all those things. There’s a pro to the getting up early…only one.

That’s it. The sky.

The quilt is almost done…

On Friday, I finished quilting, then kamikazed to the quilt store, which still closes at 3 PM and isn’t open on Sundays at all, so it’s a challenge to get there. Luckily, I wasn’t back to work yet, so I made it with 20 minutes until closing and the perfect binding leapt out of the shelves and into my arms, it was so excited to come home with me and be part of an anti-anti-abortion quilt.

On Saturday, I cleaned the floor and then went on a depressing hike, depressing due to so many things, but it was outside and a hike, and then I came home and trimmed this beast.

See? Depressing hike. OK, the land itself was not depressing. Sigh.

Then later that night, with a little wine in me, I sewed all the binding on by machine and started the hand stitching. I know some people do it all by machine or do a facing, and that’s fine…I like the meditation of the hand stitching and the binding acts as a frame to my often really busy quilts. Gives the eye somewhere to stop.

The binding is done and I’m onto the sleeves. Emailing the photographer today. That sleeve fabric is ancient…I used to have a lot of it and now I don’t.

I did start drawing the next quilt. I knew this week was gonna be hard, going back to school, so before it started, I wanted a drawing that had been started as well. This next quilt drew itself in my head about a month ago. I made a quick sketch with some notes (gee, Nida, it would be cool to see that, why yes it would. Oh well. I don’t have a photo of it. Maybe later.) and then did some research, because it needed some, and wrote down a million things. Really. A million. I could do this one from my head, but it would be better if I added in some real stuff. Or an approximation of real stuff. I started with a rough sketch of where the body was going, though…

Just one this time. I think. Hmmm. I may rethink that.

Other stupid shit I’ve been doing to try to keep from thinking about going back to school: I joined Molli Sparkles Cut It Up Quiltathon. What that really means is that I pieced a block while I was on my quilt guild’s Zoom on Saturday.

I need to rip out two of the triangles and make them go the other way. I think. It’s like an optical illusion nightmare in some ways. I like the block though. Only making one!

I also started going through the black fabric drawers (there are 4 big ones and two smaller ones)…

I’m still going through my fabric to put together some donation bags/boxes for some groups. But last year, at QuiltCon, I took a boro-style sashiko-kind-of scarf class, cut the backing, and promptly did nothing with it. Because school and time and life. But I knew I wanted to do black to white, so I started cutting swatches for that. I’m not sure about the spider. Might creep me out to have it on there. You look down and see a spider? Yeah. We’ll see.

And last, but not least, reading the last book of The Expanse series…well that’s WAY BETTER than the inspirational shit my district sent me this morning.

Pretty damn relevant, y’all. Yeah. OK. 2022. I’m here. I’m not ready, but I’m here. Gonna do the best I can.

2021…Get Out of Here…

Well hello the last day of 2021. You were supposed to be nicer. You promised. But we know how that goes, yah? I have no expectations of 2022. None. Nada. Nichts. Oh, except that I will have US District Court jury duty in July…because they wanted me to do a month-long trial in February and after sobbing to myself about lesson plans and grading, I called them and they moved it to July. I guess every three years I lose half my Summer Break to the court system. It’s seriously difficult to plan for all the doctors’ appointments and other shit I can’t do during the school year when you only have 3 weeks for that. I’m so irritated by the whole thing. BUT…I’m not doing it in February. Let’s not think about whether I’ll be able to meet the man on the trail at all in July. Seriously. Fuck.

So I am now about 2/3s of the way through my Winter Break. I have graded exactly nothing, we did finish the stupid tobacco curriculum yesterday (in case you wanna know, 5 lessons = 10 hours of work), and we planned the first week back. All good. Not great, just good. It had to happen and we were pretty damn efficient about it, but I was still awake at midnight last night thinking it needs another readthrough. There’s probably a mistake in it and I don’t wanna listen to some other teacher bitch about that, but I’m amazed at how shittily written the original curriculum was (from Stanford University, no less). I swore at Stanford a lot yesterday.

I am on my third readthrough on the book I’m copyediting, which I wanted to be done tomorrow, but then the author sent the missing bits yesterday, so yeah. I won’t be. I might be. I don’t fucking know if I will be. It depends on today. And tomorrow. And what I decide I need/want to do besides copyediting. My brain is just like gross foam on a latte that’s gone cold. Sorta sticky. Not good.

I haven’t started quilting yet, so there’s no way it will be done in 2021. That’s OK. I did crazy piece a notebook cover for my quilt guild’s 2022 challenge…

And then I embellished the front part…

I still need to do the lining and sew it so it will fit on the notebook…no worries. So yeah, totally brainless stuff. I drew last night too…

After watching the Witcher episode with that tree monster. Don’t ask me to explain what’s happening in the second season of the Witcher…I have no fucking clue.

I did finish the book that the library sucked back last night…stayed up late on Wednesday night to do it, of course, and then the library sent me ANOTHER big (but not THAT big) book I’ve been waiting for…

God, fuck copyediting and cleaning house and any NYE plans, right? Just read this. I actually went to the gym for a couple of hours and got a good start on it. I know what my brain can handle…and it’s not much.

It’s fine. My district gets three weeks for Winter Break. I can spend all next week grading shit, right? Ugh.

While I was at school, working, the Man photographed this from the house.

Missed it. Looks nice.

Yes, I am crankballs. Why do you ask?

So I finished 8 pieces in 2021…the 9th is in there too. I couldn’t get the Top Nine app to work or any of the others, so I just made my own.

I do usually do a page with all my pieces and titles…I’ll probably do that over the weekend, because most of these pieces don’t fit in a square. Much like us.

Well, the cat was happily ensconced on the chair behind me, purring away, then started scratching shit and bit me three times on the back. What the fuck. I do not believe I am bleeding. And then there was a huge spider on the floor. ALIVE. Not any more, you fucker. Fuck 2021 man. Get OUT of here. I am so done with you.

Deep breaths. I need a shower and more caffeine and some exercise. Plus some focus.

This is too close to the truth.

And if you don’t have a planning period, your lunch should be long enough.

Thanks to my co-teacher for these. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

OK. Going to go shower and then go to Costco. Probably not the best choice for today’s mood, but whatever. Also have some gravel to move. That’s exciting. We are going to a super small NYE gathering later tonight…everyone is boosted and seriously, there are only 5 of us including me and the Man…but yes, I am still nervous. Hoping my mood improves before then, but ugh. Gonna go yell at the cat a bit I think…WTF, she’s rubbing her head on my leg. She’s squawking her sorries at me. Fucking psycho. Aargh.

Leaf Pile

So here’s an example of why teachers need time off. I’m sitting here in my office, waiting for some update to run, and (wait. WordPress has finally figured out its font size issue on the fucking screen. That’s amazing. Sorry. But this IS how my brain works) I notice…AGAIN…for like the 5th time that there are plants growing in my leaf pile by the pool. My leaf pile by the pool has been there long enough for the bottom layer to decay into something approximating soil so a plant can grow in it. Yeah. Now during a normal school week, I will see that, say to myself “Self, you should clean up the leaf pile.” Self will agree, but there is never ever ever time when I am not doing school things or art things because I spend 60 hours a week on school stuff and another 10-15 hours a week on art stuff and maybe 49 hours on sleeping (or pretending to sleep because I suck at it) and I’m not going to count up hours showering, peeing, or heating up my tea AGAIN because it went cold because I lost it somewhere in the house. So cleaning up the leaf pile is not very high on the list until you give me 9 days off and I can allow for the time to sweep up the leaves and put them in a green bin or something. Maybe. Because Thanksgiving week is always sort of a clusterfuck of family and cooking, so there often is all this time on that where you can’t politely check out and go sweep up your leaf pile.

So there’s that. Plus sleep. And sanity. Seriously, we’re doing a volcano eruption lab today because we can, not because we need to, but it’s been a lot of days of reading and writing and we need some doing, and a ton of kids won’t even show up because it’s Friday before a week off, which is fine by me honestly, because I’m gonna grade your shit whether you’re here or not, but also, fewer exploding volcanoes in the classroom is a plus, but I just realized that the full moon was last night and tonight is some weird lunar eclipse, and we all know the moon affects kids’ brains and turns them into psychotic beasts (also Fridays before break do this), so I’m wondering, as a long-time teacher, what crazyass shit will be going on today. I’m actually not even apprehensive…just wondering, sitting back, meditative brain going “hey, watch THAT” and looking forward to reading my book tonight with no fucking guilt. None.

At book club, many people loved the book…and I wanted to, but I got lost in all the same character, different parallel world, different name, can’t keep track of this shit, and apparently I needed to read it all in one go. I don’t have time for that…wish I did…but most books get read in dribs and drabbles and I have to be able to hold onto those bits, and with this book, I just couldn’t. And I feel like with a good book, you can hold onto those bits. Ah sigh. It is what it is. On to the next one.

So I’m still ironing.

That was the end of the sky with the sun in it…there were other sky bits that happened the next night. Speaking of doing things in dribs and drabs…

Last night, I had a Zoom quilt meeting for a while though, so I got more done…

That’s the last flesh figure…the others will be white…like white white. Really white. I laid out the 1100s but haven’t ironed many of them. I’ve been ironing for 19 hours and 58 minutes at this point. It’s not a short process. I won’t be done tonight, that’s for sure. Hopefully sometime this weekend though…although I think I’d rather spend this weekend grading all the things so I don’t have to think about them for the next 7 days, yeah? IDK if I can pull that off though. We’ll see.

If you haven’t seen the Allied Craftsmen show at the Phes Gallery, it closes tomorrow…go check it out.

Really, instead of doing a messy lab today, we should have done this…

We often do that when we come back from field trips…our next field trip, though, I have a 6th-grade 6th period, so I will actually have to teach them. Who the fuck thought that was a good idea?

I liked this grasshopper…very decorated.

I don’t think I’ve ever drawn a grasshopper. Must be time.

So we teachers get these all the time from our local politicians…nicely printed certificates on heavy paper about how appreciated we are.

Y’all…save your money on the paper and just send us food…or gift certificates. We just recycle these. I don’t feel the love. I have a senator who has probably never stepped foot on my campus, probably doesn’t even know where my school is or what kind of kids go there. Send food. Teachers are not OK and all of these are just killing more trees than we already do…I constantly feel bad about that, but my kids need paper in their hands to write on in order to learn better. You could send us paper! There’s always a shortage. That would be helpful.

Sigh. It’s OK. Tonight I will read and sleep and probably grade some shit too, let’s be honest, and hopefully iron some fabric, and the leaf pile and I will commune with each other at some point. Happy Friday y’all…may the politicians all send you a certificate of recognition. I can send you mine! I’ll just cover up the name and write yours in Sharpie.

See All the People and Do All the Things…

Good morning on the day after fireworks. For those of you with dogs who don’t like fireworks, you are maybe a little exhausted like me, as I listened to the old lady dog pant and breathe way too fast most of the night. Her breathing is back to normal this morning, but it was a long night. She was doing OK until more fireworks at about 1 AM. I also was doing OK until then. I am way too light of a sleeper for this stuff.

Hope your 4th was enjoyable at least, although I spent a good portion of the day thinking about Native American issues (I’m reading The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich) and those who don’t feel like the flag and the pledge of allegiance are for them (I am one of those people and I’m pretty damn entitled). But I did step outside to see a few sets of fireworks…I think only half were legal, which is scary in these dry firelike conditions. You’ll appreciate my photo from the bedroom window.

Yeah. Toldja you’d appreciate it. Best fireworks photo ever. Not sure why I try to take these every year, but I do. EVERY YEAR. I’m rolling my eyes at myself.

Also, this quote…

For those who doubt my patriotism. Exactly.

So much art progress has been made. Well. Has it? I don’t know. Things are getting done. That’s a good thing.

So first of all, official photos of the Quilt National exhibit are here. I will hopefully be there in person in September for the closing ceremony. In all the videos I saw posted, I couldn’t see my quilt, which made me sad, but that’s OK. Because here it is in all its glory, thanks to the QN photographer.

I don’t have the catalog yet, so I can’t tell you who else’s pieces are in this picture…

Looking forward to seeing her in person…for the last time, probably, because she sold. But this show does travel, so maybe she will pop up near me somewhere. Hard to say. Again, you can hear me talk about her here.

So meanwhile, I have one piece on a deadline here, so it makes sense that I worked on anything BUT that piece. I finished the quilting on this 20-year-old piece last week, and Saturday, I put a binding on her.

It’s the first time in a year and a half that I could go to that quilt store without an appointment. They still have really short hours, so during the school year, Saturday would be the only day I could go, but hopefully that will change by the time it’s an issue. Yes, I often am buying backgrounds and bindings at the totally last minute.

I spent time Saturday night (with Kitten) sewing bindings on…

And finished those and the sleeves on Sunday night.

She’s about 30″ wide by 43″ high, and I started her in 2000 or 2001. It’s all hand applique. She’ll get her official photographs when I have the one with a deadline completed.

Then (because still…procrastinating the deadline project) I stitched down Desert Bunny, which has been sitting around waiting since March.

(I’m still working on a name for the other one…there are some in the running, but no decisions yet).

She’s small, so she didn’t take long.

And then I sandwiched and pinbasted her, so now she’s ready for quilting…

Which ALSO wouldn’t take long, but I’m trying to be good and work on the one with a deadline. I was supposed to be in Los Angeles for 2 1/2 days this week, but my niece is coming down this week instead of next week, so we juggled our flexible plans into LA next week….thus juggling my art plans as well…I can’t do certain parts of my art process on the road. Odds are, I won’t be working on the next quilt on the road no matter what, but I’m using that trip to motivate me to iron. Why is ironing an issue? This quilt has a lot of small pieces and it’s sometimes tedious to iron tiny pieces (you’d think I’d learn), but also ironing is hot and the light in here is hot and it’s not THAT hot here (no heat dome…yet), but my hot flashes plus fairly reasonable summer temperatures just add up to ugh. That said, here’s an hour or so of ironing done…

Tiny pieces, relatively small quilt. Crazy amount of work in this one. Ah well…the brain knows what it wants. So I’ll be working on this all week, and hopefully be done for the weekend. We’ll see.

I’ve gone back to drawing before dinner…here is Saturday night, in between starter (we hardly ever get a starter) and dinner.

Keep it simple! These are small. It’s the sketchbook that fits in my purse. I got a new purse, a smaller one, but the sketchbook doesn’t fit. Dammit.

Also, I can’t remember if I posted this…it’s Margaret Fabrizio’s Hello Kitty Meats the Dragon.

I spelled it like she did…it’s not hung up yet because I wanted to put a sleeve on it, and last night, I finally did that. I met Margaret some years back (when she was still 80-something) and we liked each other’s work. She contacted me earlier this year about trading a piece of art, and I agreed, so I sent one off to her of her choice, and I got these wonderful eyeballs (I did pick it for Hello Kitty too) back…so now she can hang on my wall.

I also was cleaning up my blogroll this weekend (like you do…once every 5 years, whether it needs it or not), and noticed that an artist I really enjoyed, Olga Norris, had passed away in 2019. I obviously have not been doing a great job of reading blogs. Every year, at the SAQA auction, I would note the Olga Norris piece and get outbid at a much higher rate than I could afford, sadly. Well, her husband is still supporting his wife’s work and posted photos of her last pieces, and offers them up for postage and donations to a charity of Olga’s choice, which is just amazing, so I will finally be proudly displaying one of her pieces here as well. It does make you think about what will happen to all your work when you die, though. I’m sure my children would love for me to have a plan.

In other news, Kitten is still missing some teeth and makes some funny faces while squawking at me.

And I finally got milkweed seeds to sprout! I started in April and apparently killed off a hundred or so of them, but now! Now I haz babies.

IDK how I will keep the bunnies out of the plants though…gonna have to think that bit through. They’ve even been eating the succulents.

And this…

Makes me want to go through all the birding books we have here…just for stupid things like that.

OK, I’m up to go to the gym, like a good person. I have an appointment at the Apple Store to try to figure out if my phone refusing to connect consistently to Wifi is a hardware issue. And then I’d like to do some more ironing together of tiny little pieces today. Tomorrow will probably involve some art stuff with the niece, which means I might actually see my work in a show IN PERSON. I know. Crazy. And hopefully I will also be able to reschedule all the stuff I already scheduled over in an attempt to see all the people and do all the things because yeah. That.

Plain Old Hanging Out

I am taking today off work. It’s the first day I’ve taken off all school year, mostly because the thought of doing it was daunting; the prep alone made me want to build a pillow fort around my school computer and torch it. But I want to see the man, and today is the day he comes off trail, so I’m trying to get some school stuff done quickly this morning, and then I’m driving to Big Bear. Long drive. It’s OK. It’s funny; I was looking at where he might be in three weeks, and if it’s Agua Dulce, it’s a shorter drive than Big Bear. Huh. Weird shit that. Anyway. We’ll see if that works. For now, I know he’s about 6 1/2 miles away from where I can pick him up, and he’s already left, but is planning on napping at the pickup point until I get there. No pressure! I still need to make 7 more posts (of 21) for what my science kids are doing tomorrow, plus warmups, plus all the art posts, and I’m fairly sure I need at least one video for art, but that’s gonna have to wait until Sunday when I get back. Everything else will have to wait until next week. Try telling that to a bunch of middle schoolers and their parents: WAIT! Yeah. It goes down well. So probably all of that is the right eye twitching…it’s been coming and going all week. It hasn’t quite settled in to stay, so that’s a good thing.

In awesome news, a piece of mine has been traveling with the For the Love of Gaia exhibit organized by Luana Rubin. She’s been finding new venues, and it will now be at the Birmingham UK Festival of Quilts at the end of July and at the New England Quilt Museum from January through April of 2022 (another good reason to visit the girlchild). My piece You Pollute Me is traveling with the exhibit.

That’s good news…exciting.

In the meantime, I’m still progressing, albeit slowly, on the current quilt. I finished picking all the fabrics and ironing all the Wonder Under down on Wednesday night.

I will admit to staying up too late, which might have contributed to the eye twitch. Oh well.

It took just over 15 hours to choose fabrics for 890 pieces, and there are 133 fabrics in this quilt. Impressive. Could be worse.

And last night, I started cutting out the pieces.

I’m totally on track…this was my plan, to be able to take this with me to Big Bear and sit on a deck and cut shit out while watching the sky change and talking to the man. Hopefully I’ll finish this weekend, and I can start ironing this thing together. I say that as the Work Brain is politely (is it polite?) knocking at the door of my Day Off Brain and saying, “Um. I know you said you were taking the day off, but have you SEEN your to-do list? I mean…”.

Yeah. I’ve seen it. I’ve also read three books in the last week, because my brain is freaking out. One of them was the first Friendship to the Max volume of Lumberjanes. I’d heard of them. I think I even got this a long time ago as a gift, and never got around to reading it. It was awesome, so awesome that I ordered the other 5 and they’re on their way to me.

Yeah. Me too. Although my three are extremely needy at the moment. Every time I sit or lie anywhere, there’s all of a sudden a cat on my leg or chest, poking tiny claws into me, or headbutting my black shirt, so it’s covered in cat hair. They do reduce my stress with all their need of petting though, so that’s a good thing.

OK, I need to post things, finish packing things, and get in the car and drive. Hopefully there will be calm photos of trees and mountains and things in my future. Strangely, the man does not want to hike with me while we are up there (unfortunate…I need exercise), but we will manage some food and jacuzzi and just plain old hanging out.

The Bones of This Nation

Ah Friday. But also rain, lots of it. I see a bit of blue sky out my window, but I don’t know if it will last. My moods are sort of mirroring the weather this week: fucking all over the map. I’m not sure why, but I bet there’s a reason. My job? Yeah some of it. Finishing a quilt? Not usually an emotional thing, but these are fucking unprecedented times. I think being immersed in a difficult and time-consuming project in a medium I love is a good thing, like a big chunky and all-encompassing book you’re reading, and it helps distract me from the other stuff that sucks or makes me anxious, and when it’s done, there’s this letdown, like WTF am I going to do now? I can’t have a single down day; I need a new project. It’s OK. In the back of my brain for days, I’ve been planning new projects. A few lighter ones and then perhaps a heavier one. It’s like my reading…I just finished reading the Indigenous People’s History of the United States, and it’s dense and heavy and often difficult to read…

Certainly some of this history better explains our fascination with our right to guns. I did love the ending though…

The bones of this nation will mend after the revolution. I can get behind that. I can get on that train. But this next book needs to be a bit lighter to help my mood.

Also, in the mood, my dad is finally coming home next week. His brain will take a year to heal. We don’t really know how he is at the moment. I just know my mom is really excited and we’re glad to have more time with him. So many things affect mood. I’ve been kind of trapped at home this week; didn’t get my mid-week walk due to emergency union meetings, so I’m antsy and irritable, more than usual. Hiking tomorrow though. Hopefully.

So I managed to do all the hand sewing on the binding in one four-hour marathon run on Wednesday…

I started in book club and finished on the couch with a variety of animals.

This is an amazingly bad, late-night picture of it…

Of course, I stayed up past midnight on a school night to finish it. It’s going to the photographer this week.

A friend liked the owl up in the tree and asked for a small quilt of it…so I traced it…

Inked it…

Traced it on Wonder Under…

And cut it out last night…

It’s ready for ironing to fabric tonight. It’s a palate cleanser…super small, super easy. And I have a smallish drawing picked out for the next one…one that caught my eye as I was reading back through my blog…I do that as a sanity check, although this last year is a doozy.

I had book club Wednesday, yesterday was full of meetings…this is my work desk view…and the Zoom window on the left is my prep room at school…

I’ll be there today, picking up materials for next week’s demo. My co-teacher is awesome and gathers everything as I panic at home. It’s not ideal. But it’s functional…

I also had a stitching meeting last night. I can’t show what I’ve been embroidering for the last few months, because it hasn’t published yet; just know you’ll see it soon enough. But I did this start of a mend…

I really love this shirt and it developed some holes on the belly area…that’s where I get all my shirt holes. I’m going to embroider/slow stitch over it and wear it anyway. Saving clothes, one shirt at a time.

It’s been chilly here and kittens have been doing lots of cute curling upness.

They are sweethearts.

I have work in this upcoming show in LA. I probably won’t get to see the show, but it’s nice to have this piece shown…show notice…

And the huge piece that will be there…One of My Kind

Those are my kids, my mom, and my grandmother…she’s the skeleton. We bury them, but they still live on in our hearts and minds and often our behaviors.

OK, today will be long and full of work, but hopefully ending in some artistic endeavors and a good night’s sleep. I hope. And hopefully a mood shift. I don’t always have control over those, but I try.

Over the Top…

Ugh. Monday, you were over the top. Remind me not to answer work emails at 3 PM…or honestly, ever. Without a 12-hour break maybe. “Dear teacher, how is my kid doing?” “I don’t know. They don’t come to class or turn anything in.” It was a day. We thought we could grade an assignment while monitoring the chat during a quiz, but the monitoring became overwhelming as the day went on, and I couldn’t concentrate enough on what I was grading…which required thought and long feedback, lots of it. Pro: I think this batch of kids is better than the last batch for writing claim-evidence-reasoning (probably because we told 6th grade they had to do some of the prep work). Con: They still need lots of work, work that is harder to do online. I have more to grade today, and an assignment that hopefully will allow that. We’ll see how that goes. Teachers can’t be ON all the time. We burn out. Yesterday was long and required a lot of energy and I don’t even think I got all the way through it. And I didn’t barely even TALK. Just typed in the chat while they took the quiz. Today is a staff meeting explaining our new schedules for the week of the 28th…which should be interesting, because I need to understand it myself so I show up for the right class at the right time. Which could be an issue. No worries! I will draw a picture to get me there. Block schedule, but online, with two subjects. OK. I got this. Three grade levels. OK. I still got this. Ask me in late October how I feel about it for realz.

Meanwhile, not much visible art has been happening. I’ve been doing research and posting on my Patreon and gathering show information, but my brain was too tired the last two nights to do anything more than that. I really really hope that changes tonight.

Our air quality is still off. Makes for beautiful sunsets and sunrises though.

Maybe they’d be just as beautiful without the smoke particles.

My most recent sourdough was also beautiful.

Lunches from this. I have become a character in Little House on the Prairie. Or something. I make my own bread. I never leave the house. Pa! Pa! OK, I left the house yesterday to pick up my sewing machine. Crucial stuff. Laura Ingalls never did that. I’ll leave the house today to walk. I need to walk. It’s been a while for a good long solo hike.

Simba thinks he’s a cat.

He barks too much to be a cat. Our hot weather popped back up for the rest of the week. Sigh. No thanks. I can do without. Just like the construction. I had to shut all the windows yesterday so I could teach over a concrete saw. Like just fucking be DONE with it! It’ll be done soon. It has to be.

Yes. My clothes are always covered with cat hair. But I’m at home, so you can’t tell.

Apparently they are very comfy.

I finished my book last night, Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. Apparently I have been saying her name wrong in my head for years. Very good. I didn’t much like the other book of hers I read, but this was good. What’s funny is that book club meets tomorrow night, and I was going to read the book for book club first, but this was so good, I didn’t. So I think it’ll be the first time I go to book club and I haven’t read the book. I might get some of it read today and tomorrow at lunch. We’ll see. It’s also supposed to be good, but I just haven’t seen anything but the cover yet.

That’s the closest I got to artmaking last night.

I made it in the office and ironed some brainless stuff and looked at this thing (the drawing, not the cat…she’s fine…it’s not her fault I can’t focus) and was too tired, looked at the clock and it was almost midnight, and I gave up. Part of my time issue was deciding to exercise at 10 PM. It needed to be done and there wasn’t time or mental space before that.

OK, wishes for today: efficient grading, some understanding of my future schedule, a successful teaching day, time for a walk, mental space for art, a calm and restorative dinner hour. Might be wishful thinking, but it’s my goal and I’m sticking to it. Better air too. That would be good.

It’s Not the Same

I think I need a nap. I could probably even take a nap, but then I probably wouldn’t get anything else done. That never feels good. School is almost out! I’m not as excited about that as I usually am. It’s not the same. We all know it’s not the same (OK, some people haven’t figured that out, but I’m talking about most of the teachers I work with…OK some of them don’t know it either), but I’m not sure when it will be something I recognize. My book club wants to meet in person next week…6 feet away from each other and outside, but in person. I think that’s OK. My team wants to do the same thing, but with alcohol involved. That’s a little harder, because it’s a restaurant and technically, none of us should be sitting together. Straw and mask? Stick straw under mask? Maybe. I took a pilates class today, the first one in three months. Oh man, my back felt so much better. I tried doing it with a mask on and couldn’t get enough air. Damn. So how do I feel about that? I don’t know yet. Balancing our personal needs with the need to stay healthy. Fuuuck. But that’s one of the things I wrote to the district in the survey they sent out: I want to stay healthy. But if I get sick with COVID because of school, and it takes longer than 2 weeks for me to test negative again, what happens with my job? We don’t have disability. I can’t get disability insurance because of my diabetes. So I’m fucked? I have a bunch of sick days I can use up, I guess. I should stop reading all those scary articles…but then I would be ignorant, and that’s not a good place to be. Note to white women who just want to quilt/sew and not think about politics: It’s not a good place to be, IgnoranceLand. Get out of it.

Um. Ma’am. This is why we need more science education. It’s not the only reason, but it’s a good one.

So. This week coming up is busy, but not like teaching for real, and definitely not like a real end-of-school-year week. Then it will hopefully be less busy for a while, to let me read and exercise and fix things and make art. Yeah. That’s what I need. Leave me alone for a while.

I ironed for a little bit last night, about an hour. I’m hoping to do more this afternoon, get Figure 2 done.

It’s not fast, because there’s a lot of pieces and it’s a big quilt. But I really enjoy this part.

We gamed earlier online…I stitch during it, even in person. It keeps my brain engaged.

This is not hard.

I also sewed a dot…above the green spool.

It wasn’t difficult…

Maybe I’ll just teach art in between all the other crap I have to teach. I actually added another bullion loop flower, the yellow one, because it looked unbalanced.

I finished my book club book, Jade City. It was OK. It seemed to focus a lot more on warring and explaining culture, which sometimes I like, but it was kind of dry. We’ll see what the rest of the group says on Wednesday.

Kitten has been invading the kittens’ space, lying in front of their food and water…

No worries…they still have access to her food and water, and they take advantage of that.

OK, I’ve exercised and eaten. I need more caffeine. I’m supposed to pull fabrics for that quilt project with templates, but I find it hard to do that. I have too much fabric to choose from. Can’t decide. Not sad about that. I’m going to iron for a while, and then water plants. I’ve done well with planting new things this year…I guess that’s a pro of being stuck at home all the time. I need to go watch some fence-building videos too, although my dad will be helping, so that should solve that problem. It’s Saturday. There are four days of school left. We are three months into a pandemic in the US, and things may shut down again sometime in the next month. Just documenting that shit, so when they re-read my blog in 2120, they’ll know that some of us were thinking about the consequences of the germ-breathers.

Easy and Brainless…

So. It’s good that we have a house with enough space for everyone to shelter in place without being on top of each other. We’re lucky to have two paychecks coming in to feed four people. And hallelujah for internet, or we might go bonkers. I mean, we might BE bonkers in a way, but we’re healthy for now and have what we need, which includes The Great Pottery Throw Down (why is that not one word instead of two?), although more exercise and less anxiety would be lovely.

Thanks also to all of you who are making masks for medical personnel. I wish I could do that. My brain is not in the mood. I feel my anxiety ramping up with the news and sometimes reading stuff and hearing stuff and when I think about making masks, just trying to figure out which pattern and what materials makes me breathe heavily, so I stop. Thinking about it. I might get there eventually. I’m sure I’m capable.

“Let’s take a minute to think about our current reality.” Huh. I’m on a work Zoom meeting. I’m stressed, but will survive. Well, we say that and then wonder if we will be one of the 2 million who doesn’t. Because we have to think about what this world will look like 6 months from now or even a year from now. My current reality…I’m doing what I need to do, which is NOT cleaning closets and organizing the kitchen. I applaud all of you who are doing that. Really. I do. I wish I could be more efficient and get more shit done, but I can’t. Seeing as how I think we’ll be doing this for the next (oh shit, count them…) 10 weeks (?), I think I might get some closets clean eventually. Last night, the boychild and I made a kamikaze and clearly essential ride to my parents’ house to dump some crap from my driveway into their dumpster. So we left the girlchild on the phone with the olds, so we could sneak in and dump. It’s all good.

I wrote all that before the school meeting, which was over an hour long, and then spent the next two hours setting up a new class online, prepping a form, and sending an email to all the kids in my new advisory class, plus their parents, if I could. Next step is to start calling them; I’ll do that tomorrow…see how many I can get with the email instead. My head is reeling a bit from the work meeting…too much to process in one go. I’ve got a headache, my neck is a mess from no chiropractor, and I’m in freakout mode. So there’s that. Hello new world!

So the last two days…time is weird, isn’t it? We had everyone home; still waiting on test results to see if the kids can go to their dad’s house or not. It’s all a crapshoot, isn’t it? Yes it is.

This is the truth…although the Stephen King book is really good (The Institute), horror and dystopian novels seem a little nuts right now.

We watched Contagion that night as a family too.

On Saturday, we walked the dogs. Hopefully that will happen today as well, because I’m going bonkers. We stopped at my ex’s house and stole lemons.

Calli loves the little bit of this walk that’s off leash…

She gets downright perky. She’ll be 11 some time in April.

These ferns are delicate and the flowers are oh so tiny.

It’s a nice walk, not quite long enough, but with a punishing hill in it. Although most of it is pretty chill.

We’ve seen these weird pods hanging from a tree and I always wanted to know what was inside them. Now I know.

Fluff. Fluff is what’s inside them.

No, I’m not willing to pick this up. But this is like life right now.

So this was about 2 1/2 miles. We can’t really do the hikes we like to do right now. The county has closed everything down. Which sucks, but we get why.

I was quilting earlier…I missed the stitch down on that one section of the building, so I stuck a pin in it until the end of that bobbin thread.

And then switched threads to stitch it down with the polyester stuff. Every time I do this, I miss something. More quilting!

I’m honestly not getting much done each day. Time is kind of a mess. Although I quilted yesterday too…

I have all the of the body done except for the top arm…and then the Earth and the stuff above that, and then I can quilt the background. It’s slow, but it’s happening. An hour a day is about what I’d be doing if I were at school every day, so I don’t feel bad.

This was during Contagion…working on the houses from Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block of the month…they’re easy and brainless to stitch down. I’m doing a lot of easy and brainless.

I thought I was done with it…turns out there’s a bird. So I’m not. Here’s the other two, still in progress.

I’m all over the map in what I’m working on. And then, Sue Spargo set out an invite for a daily stitch thing, for 90 days, called the Toned Down Sampler…she’s done these circle samplers before and I’m always fascinated by them. Each circle has a different stitch combo. I didn’t like the colors on the kit, but I have tons of leftover wool from everything I’ve done with her, so I bought a background and started cutting out circles on Saturday night.

Her kit is very logical…9 circles each of 10 colors…or maybe it’s vice versa. I don’t have more than 3 circles of any color, and some I only have one circle of that color. And I wanted brighter colors.

I have access to a punch for these, but it’s at mom’s, so that wasn’t happening. Still staying away from them. It didn’t actually take that long to cut them out. So yesterday, I pinned them all down.

Hers are in this perfect 9×10 grid. Each circle is 1/2″ away from every other. Yeah. Um. So no. I was thinking differently. I know you’re shocked by that. I had a river (of blues) in the middle, then greens on either side, then the flowers on the outside.

I actually adjusted again after this. Then pinned them all down. Stabby beast.

And last night, started stitching them down. This is the hard part, eh?

You can see how many I had stitched down as of bedtime. I did a few more today during the meeting. It calms me to stab through wool with a sharp needle. They’re whipstitched down with a similar-colored wool thread. Then the embellishment will happen…she’s posted the first one today. I’ll have to use different colors, but it should be fine.

This was last night’s dinner. I think we’ve just handed all the cooking over to the girlchild at this point.

Chili and cornbread muffin. Tasty stuff. She does a lot of puppy cuddling at night.

He doesn’t seem to mind.

Kitten eventually came out to hang with us.

This was right before bed…

We were all tired. Today has been chaotic…I want cookies (not a good choice). I should do yoga (good choice) and walk the dogs (also good) and who knows what else. We still have a lot of stuff up in the air for school, but working for my paycheck is a good idea. Whatever that looks like. Plus more easy and brainless stitching in between reading and exercising, and the occasional bit of art.