All the Things…

Today we take the whole grade bowling. I’m realizing next year, I will be on two grade levels and I don’t even know how that will work. I don’t know how anything will work. It will be my first year dealing with graduation too. Ugh. Not a fan. Today we just go bowling though. All our concerns about taking some of these kids out and about are noted. We have lists and plans and backup plans and in the end, it’s just more survival. I’ve come home from school the last two days so exhausted that I just read my book for about an hour before doing anything.

I’ve finished two books in the last 5 days and am on a third. All the same author. More importantly, mostly the same WORLD. Not this one. Fantasy. Not always pretty fantasy, but certainly easier to deal with than reality. Reality is my classroom and trying to get everything put away. Not pretty at all.

I did finish grades on Monday; stayed at school until they were done. Had some issues with a couple of kids in the end, but whatever. We’re done now and one issue is documented to hell and back because I know that mom. (Thanks, mom, for making my job harder and enabling your kid to half-ass it.) But they’re done! Woohoo! That’s a moment right there.

I have been dragging myself off the couch to work on the art quilt…started picking dirt fabrics on Monday night…

Here’s the setup…quilt drawing hanging precariously from clothespins so I can see all the pieces with numbers.

Iron them down and rough cut the section out…

I didn’t get them all ironed down before bedtime.

Then I stare at it for a while and pick the next batch of colors…last night, I finished the dirt, picked some rocks, and a volcano. Damn, though…I just realized I missed some of the volcano pieces. It’s OK. I’ll fix that tonight.

That’s why I hold onto all the fabrics used in the quilt until it’s all put together…in case I need to find one orange fabric in my stash…this narrows it down to just the oranges used in this quilt.

It’s a slow start. I’m really tired and not ironing particularly fast. The next three days won’t be a lot different. But it’s a great stage of the quilt to be working on…the fabric choosing is one of my favorite parts.

These baby birds (they are big babies now) have been screeching their little heads off, but as soon as I come out, they shut up quick and freeze…

They must be close to fledging.

So Cal Mama is going to the 38th Annual New Legacies: Contemporary Art Quilts at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, opening July 9 through September 10.

Check her out.

OK, 4 hours of bowling stuff, then 2 hours of kids in the classroom with movies and me cleaning up. Then exercise class, which might kill me at that point, based on my energy levels after school the last 2 days. Nap? No, gotta cook dinner, read my book, iron more stuff. Then graduation tomorrow, which means being locked in our rooms for 3 hours with the same group of kids (please don’t come please don’t come). Clean up, party, exhaustion. All the things. That’s where we’re at. Meanwhile, the Man is having health issues and is heading to a clinic. Hopefully an easy fix and back on trail, but we don’t know. Hoping though.

Dropped Off…

Hey. It’s the third to last week of school. There are 12 days left. I persuade myself I can do 12 days until the alarm goes off in the morning, and then I wonder DEEPLY about my choice of profession and the pandemic and how few social skills these kids have. Teaching sex ed is usually a pretty easy end of the year, but this year…man…so many inappropriate behaviors. It’s exhausting. I’ve been wearing a mic for weeks, trying to save my voice and it’s still crap by the time I get through the day. Sore throat, rough. Ugh. Most days, I’m not even really sure what day it actually is. I forgot (again) about my before-school duty yesterday because Tuesday? After a weekend? Yeah, no brain power. I remembered after school because I looked at my calendar and actually READ it. I have four places, maybe five that remind me of things, and I still forget.

The pro is that I graded two full assignments in the car on the way up to Ridgecrest. I have three real assignments left to grade. I just need to power through, and then I can decide which of these silly worksheets we do that I actually care about. Oh yeah, and then 16 projects for the kids whose parents opted them out. That’ll take me a bit. Just a bit. They’re trying to hand them in now, and I skim through, thinking (stupidly), “did you read the instructions?”. My high-level kids are still working on them. The lower kids are “WE’RE DONE!” My ass you are. Go back. Anyway. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s a pro.

So Sunday, we drove through the endless, windy, dusty desert to get to Ridgecrest.

It’s seriously a drive I have done way too many times, with at least a few in my near future. Tired of it. But the Man drove up because he knew I had to drive back. So that was nice.

Hotel room was OK, not huge, weird bathroom configuration, but was remodeled relatively recently. Can’t really recommend Ridgecrest for anything. It’s hot and dry and dusty and food choices are mostly fast and furious. We watched two movies, both not very memorable. I stitched and drew.

And read a little. Finished a book…it was short…

That is the last of the flower types. I finished one and a half of them…only three and a half to go. I could have stitched on the road from Ridgecrest to Kennedy Meadows, but mentally couldn’t. Plus at some point it was mountain road, so that’s not a thing for me. Look Straight Out the Window. That’s me. But I’m close to done on this.

At Kennedy Meadows, the Man tried to buy this year’s bandana, but she wouldn’t sell him one (strange excuse about not having very many…weird sales concept there), he saw a friend (and got a bandana from him instead) who worked where he worked for a couple weeks, and then we drove to the campground, where a PCTA person lectured about snow and bears. For a really long time. My plan was to hike out with him for a little way, and then head back all the way home. It was a good plan.

Expect skinnier the next time you see him…well at least with me.

It was warmish and elevation (6500′) was definitely a factor in breathing. Going from sea level up in one day is problematic.

Officially in the Sierras…

We hiked about 2 miles to the bridge over the river and he refilled his water. The plus to not being in the desert section is that there is plenty of water.

And that’s where we said goodbye…for at least 3, probably 4 weeks. Hopefully will meet him somewhere.

It’s never easy sending him off…

I worry about him. I stress about having to do all the things at home. It’s not fun dealing with kid behaviors all day and coming home to no one to talk to. The boychild is here half the time. The cats are demanding. And I hate having to cook all the time. It’s hard to communicate with the Man…sometimes his messages overlap with mine (there’s no cell service; he’s using his Garmin) or he’s messaging all day while I’m teaching, and then when I have time to message back, he’s going to sleep (it’s still daylight, y’all). So it’s hard. But he wants to finish it and I hope he can. I know his knee was painful the first day, better the second day, but elevation is pretty crazy and it’s all up for the next four weeks. With an occasional down. Plus snow and passes and all that stuff.

It is beautiful though. Blue skies, trees, new wildflowers…

Well, some are new. We have these in San Diego too.

From the campground, I drove all the way home…about 5 1/2 hours total with two pee stops. I hate that drive. Really do. Ugh.

I didn’t do much of anything Monday night except eat dinner (thanks to the boychild), make lunches for the week, and make sure I was ready to go. Last night, I finally found the energy to trace some Wonder Under, but I’d realized that I had all this bad shit in the outer part of the quilt, and COVID wasn’t lurking in there. So I had to draw that damn thing in…again…

Almost 1100 pieces now. Then I traced for a while (after exercise, making dinner, deciding not to enter a show, eating dinner, grading one class worth of one assignment, and doing all the cat things, oh yeah, and watering everything)…

So only a whopping 40 minutes in the end. Hopefully more tonight. Getting close to the end. Ready to just sit on the couch and cut shit out. Also Nova would like me to do that so she can shed all over me and knead my belly. Luna massages my shoulders for me (with her claws and all her weight pushing in)…trying to figure out how to get her to do that one spot on my back that hurts. She does not take direction well though.

OK. Gotta go. Shit. It’s late. Ugh. Puberty today and something else. Can’t remember. Ah yes. Menstruation and sperm production. Sounds like a day.

Booster Brain

My plan was to catch up on blogwriting on Saturday/Sunday, but I got my second COVID booster and ended up with booster brain. Fell asleep for a while. Also went to a meeting, which was 5+ hours, so that was some of it. I’ll get there. Just not probably today, since I go back to school and I’ve probably forgotten all the things. Certainly the dog has forgotten our morning routine. I’ve had to chase him down a few times to get him to come back, stop wandering off, get in the house.

I’m incredibly unready to go back. I’m still exhausted…camping does not lend to easy sleep for me. I did appreciate the time when all I could do was draw, hike, read, or stitch. But, and I knew this would happen, I have come back to all the things I haven’t done, plus a car issue on top of all that. Deep breaths. Count the days of school that are left. Don’t panic.

One of the things I did on the trip was finish the last two of Sue Spargo’s March Homegrown blocks…one of them has a rewrite on the part of my life…

Funny that almost exactly a year ago, I posted the four blocks from April that had all been appliqued down, ready for the embroidery. I don’t do these fast, y’all. I did finish the first block from April as well…it’ll show up in one of the blogposts, once I finish resizing all the photos.

I finally managed to sit down at the sewing machine for stitchdown. I had this idea that Friday before I flew to Boston I would be stitching, and probably Thursday as well, and then when I got home on Monday after, I’d spend time then stitching, maybe finishing on Tuesday as we packed and shopped for camping. None of that happened. The deadline for the show I was making this for will pass without it being finished, which is fine. It’s still a worthy quilt and will find a home somewhere in some show. So Saturday night, I finally got my brain where it needed to be and sat down at the machine…

About 2 hours in, the free motion foot broke. This is the second one I’ve broken. Understand that in the previous 10 years of quilting with this foot on my old machine, I think I broke one. I’ve now broken two in 5 months. Two quilts. So I googled it, and yes, this foot is an issue. So I tried one of the other free motion feet…

It works, but even though it’s see-through, I’m having a hard time seeing where I’m going if I’m going backwards. So it’s been a pain, but I’m doing it. I also ordered about 4 different feet that should work in my machine, plus 2 of the foot that breaks, because it’s a design fault…and it’s still easier than trying to use this other one. Frustrating though. Something the new machine does causes breakage? Yes, it’s installed correctly. It’s just a weak point in the foot. Anyway, I’ve done all of the body and below the head…just need to finish the sky tonight, then piece a backing and pinbaste it. Not sure I’ll get all that done tonight, but we’ll see.

I need to grade about a million things too. Trying not to think too hard about that. I took a pile with me to the meeting yesterday, but was so spaced out from the booster that I couldn’t even look at them. Not sure I can today either. The spaciness is gone…the mindset of ‘can’t deal’ is not.

I did a lot of reading over the last two weeks…this is from Kingdoms, which I haven’t finished yet, but had a lovely description of women in history.

“Expensive cows.” Yup. Interesting book. I read a lot more when the Man is gone…read through dinner and every other meal (OK, I always read through every other meal, except at work).

The cats miss him. Apparently they missed me too. I interrupted this clandestine meeting of sisters last night.

I believe it was about geckos on the windows. Can’t be sure though. They might be planning a coup.

OK, going to work. Going to be efficient and not cloudy brained. When I can leave (after being forced to watch a staff v student basketball game outside, wait, where’s the sunscreen?), I will come home and see what I am capable of…blogging? Stitchdown? Nap on the couch? Grading? In that order. Thirty-eight days of school left.

What If I Run Out?

I came home Monday night, still on Boston time. Sort of. Yesterday, we shopped and packed, and today we’re leaving on California time. Sort of. I’m still up too early and tired and hungry at the wrong times. If at all (hunger…always tired). I’ve got 9 maybe 10 days of mostly nature in front of me. There’s some art and one house stay, but mostly nature. Mostly have showers and toilets, but maybe not on one night. I might come home on my own; I might bring the Man back with me. So many possibilities (no, I’m not leaving him by the side of the road…he might have a job). I have a couple, maybe three books loaded up to read, some stitching, a sketchbook, and probably more shirts than I need. I have more pants than the Man. IDK how he does it, but I can’t wear one pair of pants for ten days. Not happening.

Here’s hoping for some sleep, some hiking, and some relaxation. Keep the weather nice and the neighboring campsites nicer. Or empty. I’m good with empty. The campsite we’re supposed to be in tonight had 21/35 campsites empty yesterday. I’m good with that. Suspect they won’t all be that empty, but that’s OK. I bought a new camp chair to lounge in. I made rice krispies treats (that’s my camping treat). I get to see some art quilts on the way up. It sounds good, yeah? I hope it is.

Monday, I blogged from here…

The couch in the girlchild’s bedroom. I left for the airport from there and flew home, graded most of one assignment because the video screens in our row on the plane were broken. Sucked. I wanted to see the second half of the movie I started watching on the way out. Oh well.

On Monday, we got to announce (finally) that we got into Quilt Visions…

I’m excited. And so glad the jurors Sheila Frampton Cooper, Lisa Walton, and Petra Fallaux chose the abortion rights quilt, My Body. My Choice.

It’s one of those quilts that might never get into a show. Politics y’all. Difficult topics.

So I thank them for being brave. I appreciate the opportunity to show the hard quilts. I know some people aren’t going to like it. I’m hoping we can have a conversation.

Also, this.

I waver between this level of confrontation and wanting to converse to hopefully give people a different view. I think I know what they will say about their side of it, but maybe I’m wrong. I’m wrong a lot.

I read a bunch the last few days…this is from Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. The cat amused me.

I really liked that book. Also about a pandemic. Maybe should stop reading dystopian futures.

Because the pandemic. Yeah. I tested negative when I got home on Monday. I have no symptoms, either from my daughter’s cold or exposure before I went on break. Knock on wood that it stays that way. Guess I’m not ready to give up masks at school yet.

I was hoping to get some stitchdown done the Friday I left and/or yesterday around packing, but I just didn’t have the energy. I have to concede defeat. I will not meet the deadline. It’s OK. It’s still a beautiful quilt and will find a home, an exhibition, somewhere to be seen. Most of them do. Yes, some of them don’t. Those always perturb me. Sometimes it’s obvious why…they’re a little TOO quirky and strange. Sometimes I have no idea why.

Last night, we watched the first episode of a series. I wondered why the Man chose that, since the probability of his being gone until sometime in late July/early August is pretty high. Ah well. It wasn’t that compelling. I stitched stuff down because it was brainless. Kitten hung out with me because she missed me.

I missed her too.

I need to keep track of how much embroidery I do while camping. I am currently panicking that 5 blocks of embroidery is not enough. Is that crazy? It might be. I feel like I finished one on the last trip. OK, so to keep track, I have two blocks of the four March blocks embroidered, so I’m taking two with me, plus three or four from April. Should I pack May? Is that crazy? I don’t know. I just don’t know. WHAT IF I RUN OUT?!

Crafty people understand. OK, we leave in 35 minutes. I need to go pack the food and get the hell out of here. See you on the web. I have internet in three days? Maybe?

What Color?

Still watching news of war abroad. Still wondering what Putin is thinking. I spend entirely too much time wondering what other people are thinking, not in a “I wonder what they are thinking” kinda way, but a “W.T.F. are they thinking???!!!” kinda way. I should work on that. Also, war quilt in my head. I am back to wondering when I will ever be sitting here thinking, “OMG, I can’t think of anything traumatic or troubling to put on a quilt. I should make a pretty landscape!” Not dissing the landscape people; y’all bring us peace and beauty when we need it. Actually, the quilt I’m working on IS a landscape…and it’s not about politics or war or climate change or any of that. It’s just about the desert landscape. So that’s a thing. The last quilt was hard on me. This one is too, but in a different “what freakin’ color is a cholla tree” kinda way.

So yeah, I’m in the 700s. Finally I can definitively say I am halfway. 18 hours in too. Did some yucca and some cactus on Monday night…

Then last night was the cholla tree and something else that I don’t remember…

Agave…and some grasses. This is super slow. But I’m halfway up one arm. So I’m getting there. I keep discovering more green fabrics that are useful in this quilt. You don’t want all the greens to be the same. I don’t anyway.

I am grading every night too…and last night, I made it to the gym, mostly to read my book (it’s a good one! John Scalsi’s Lock Out…really enjoying it.), but I’m also icing the right shoulder, dealing with tendonitis I think of the rotator cuff. That is painful. Hopefully it will get better if I let it rest and just do everything one-armed. Thus probably damaging the other shoulder. Aach. Getting old. At least my tendons are.

I have made the plan (again, for IDK how many years) to participate (as best I can) in #igquiltfest2022 and #marchmeetthemaker2022. They don’t match up, so that makes it exciting, yeah? Plus a lot of the maker stuff…I don’t really sell myself. I sell quilts, but not as a real business. I did have a conversation with a friend last night about trying to set it up as a hobby for last year and this year…made some money, could deduct some expenses. We’ll see. It might take more brain power than I can handle. A lot of the Quiltfest stuff doesn’t apply because I make art quilts…every one is scrappy, I don’t have favorite tips, blah blah blah. We’ll see how it goes. I might not have a ton of mental space for it. But it’s why I took a picture with the drawing for the most recent quilt. I think I’m gonna put a river in her face. Maybe.

Anyway, slow process at the moment, but I get an hour a night. Grading this weekend will slow down the art, then the copyediting, and then maybe I’ll get a break? Maybe? Hopefully?

Ugh. OK, well more labs at school today. Survived yesterday, only two table groups were totally incapable of listening. Wait. No. Three groups. Sigh. One more class group on that set of labs today, then the rest of the week is demos and watching and reading and writing. They fight the last two. It’s kinda torturous. I have kids who are capable and care and get it done, and they’re just sitting there with nothing to do, and I wish I had the energy to create and set up (and eventually clean up) an extra fun chemistry thing for them to do, but I don’t have that energy. I’ll pop it into the calendar for next year, although I’m hoping the block schedule will go away so I won’t have to deal with it. Ha! The district wants it; I don’t. It’s too long, 79 minutes. MY brain goes into cognitive overload. It’s good for art; occasionally good for science, mostly not.

And more owl video…

Sometimes there’s like 60 videos of bugs flying around, but sometimes it’s owls…so cool. I’m excited. Can you tell? Yeah. I know.

OK, lab setup, grading, more ironing. Repeat. Think good strong thoughts for Ukraine, fuel and ammo shortages for Russia. Plus bad karma. Don’t attack neighboring countries. Bad Russia.

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.