Space for My Self…

I have two days of summer left. Then hours of training and prep and then we teach. We teach a lot. Not ready. Never ready. I think I could finally be in my classroom tomorrow. Maybe. But that would mean spending the last day of summer in there, and that seems like a bad plan mentally. Some wonder why I keep doing a job that causes so much stress; I probably don’t write enough about the amazing stuff, the thinking and learning and aha moments that happen in the classroom. The kids…the ones you get to, not the ones that drive you bonkers (although sometimes those end up being the same kids). Also, I hate to be bored, and it’s hard to be bored in this job, unless you’re in a staff meeting or professional development…sad, but true that those are mostly boring. I got through all four hours of online training. Also boring. Very repetitive and some of the questions are badly written. But it’s done. This week is two days of sex-ed training (yeah, really) and one day of district-wide meeting (ugh, lots of rah rah and whatever they think is important…last year was a hotel owner trying to tell us how to treat our customers…kind of irrelevant, but they hammered it all year, so I guess they thought it was important). I don’t mind an inspirational speaker…sometimes they are…I worry about the additional focus/work they want to throw at us. I don’t have it in me. My fault for working a goodly chunk of the summer…I had to, to pay the bills.

Anyway. It’s a start. Stop worrying about it and just do it. Find space for my self in between the work. That’s always the biggest challenge.

It’s been hot here, so quiltmaking has required a fan. I finished tracing the Wonder Under on Friday…

No help from Kitten there. Eight yards of Wonder Under approximately…

Almost 19 hours of tracing. Then I went to watch the Man play a show at the park…

Lots of little kids dancing, which is always funny to watch…

I drew a little…

I think there’s another drawing too. Didn’t take a picture of it.

Then Saturday, I started cutting out the Wonder Under…

I started at my quilt guild meeting, then came home and sat myself down with a fan blowing directly on me and started cutting. Bingewatching too.

The Man and I took a break; we’re dining out at fast-food restaurants until he gets a job (this was a particularly expensive fast-food place, if you ask me), but there was a lovely sunset going on…

Not sure I’d go back for the food though. It was OK, but expensive.

I cut a lot over the weekend…in fact, I cut all of it out in 9 hours and 20 minutes.

Later today, I’ll sort it into boxes by 100s, clean my office so I have room to start ironing, and then start picking fabrics. My goal is to have it all picked this week and hopefully start cutting. It should be about 18-20 hours to pick fabrics, so having three days of training and meetings is not particularly helpful. I hate sitting through meetings without something to do with my hands. It helps me think…but teacher trainers tend to think we’re not paying attention if we’re drawing or stitching or knitting or whatever. Which is idiotic. But hey, whatever. So I’ll need to get all that done AROUND the training stuff. PLUS get my room set up. Ha! There’s not much time for that next week. We have two days to prep, which would be enough if I didn’t have multiple meetings and an orientation (that’s new) that I have to attend. So probably I will need to go in over the weekend. Unpaid. We’ll see.

I’m also trying to finish the proofreading; I finished one readthrough and a check for headings, so now I’m on the second readthrough, which should be faster. I want it done before we go back to school. I’m motivated.

I got the photos back for the most recent piece, titled The Way Out

And found out last night it will be at the PHES Gallery as part of the Feminist Image Group’s exhibit Portals, opening September 11. The opening will be 2-5 PM on the 11th; hope to see you there. (51 ¼” w x 80 ½” h, $5997)

It’s nice to make something for a show and have it get in. So often, it doesn’t, which is fine…then I still have a piece I can show elsewhere. But it’s nice when it works.

Lots of cat action…best use of the exercise bike at the moment…

Kitten turned 14 last Thursday. She goes to the vet today for more tests. We have a definite gastro issue, but hopefully can just medicate. Been trying to keep her on food she doesn’t really like with a baby appetite.

I’m not sure the heat helps. She sleeps a lot. But she still races around sometimes like the kittens (who are going to be three this September and are definitely not kittens any more).

Nova begging for pets.

Her sister doesn’t like her any more for some reason. Sigh. Ah well. They all know how to get attention from us.

In barn owl news, the babies are gone…totally all of a sudden. On Thursday night, they were squawking out there all night like normal, and then Friday night, there was nothing. Saturday night, we heard a few screeches, but adult sounds, not the babies. Same with last night. I read online that the parents often chase them out, especially mom, when they are old enough to get food on their own. I’m hoping that’s what happened and not that a neighbor got annoyed and did something. It’s so weird…having seen and heard them so many nights to suddenly have them gone. I’m kind of verklempt. The last videos we have look like the adult checking inside the owl box (which I never saw the kidlets go in and out of) and swooping around. The night before, kids doing all the things.

OK, maybe a lot verklempt. Miss those annoying squawkers. In November or December, we’ll pull the box down and clean it out. Then hope for someone to come back next year…they should.

Right now, I’m locked in my office with Kitten and Simba while the Man does some online interviews. It’s warm in here and I need breakfast and a shower. Plus some proofreading time. I may just wait until he gets through all his stuff. I think there’s a phone interview after this. Stressful for all of us. Well, except Kitten. She’s sleeping through it all. So proofread…then clean in here. Then sort all the Wonder Under, pick a background fabric, and start ironing. Somewhere in there, go to the vet, plus make dinner. Not bad for a summer day.

Almost Traced…

Currently I’m eating breakfast, in a virtual science conference (Science Is Cool), drinking tea, waiting for the boychild to tell me when to go get gas and pick him up. I’m mostly awake, thanks to dog shenanigans. The little black and white cat that I’ve seen around the house was in the front entryway (outside) this morning, and Simba lost his mind. I’ve thought about trying to catch the cat, because it’s around a lot and we have coyotes, but IDK if it’s actually homeless or just wandering and very lucky that it hasn’t been eaten yet. Also can’t put food and traps out for that cat unless I’m willing to catch all the other animals out there, including whatever it is that’s eating tomatoes off my plant.

I traced for about 4 hours yesterday, and am now almost done. Which is good.

I had a Zoom meeting for about 2 hours of that after a school meeting that probably just increased my anxiety about this coming year. Ah well. So yes, I traced during Zoom.

Because there are some really big pieces in this piece, I’m having to use some big chunks of Wonder Under…

I don’t know how many yet…I’ve got about 150 pieces left to trace, and then I can count the yards.

I traced all those hours without taking any photos. I was focused on getting done. Staying up too late. Gotta get myself trained back on 10:30 bedtime and 6:30 wakeup. Ugh. My brain doesn’t like that, but it’s what it needs for school.

The girlchild left on Wednesday, but I got the requisite kid-plus-grandparents picture before that happened.

Boychild is probably in the county…was supposed to be home yesterday, but there were vehicular issues, so he’s coming in soon. I need to go get gas so I can actually pick him up. I’m also still proofreading; I made it through the first read, and then a second read for chapter titles and numbers. Gotta go all the way through for at least one more full read, maybe two. We’ll see.

Simba’s face when he can’t figure out why the boychild’s car is here and he isn’t.

Girlchild took a good picture of him before she left…

So much happier.

I found this praying mantis in the yard…

So cool. What else is cool? Kansas. Kansas is cool.

And with the huge-ass conference my district has planned for next Friday (2500 attendees), I throw this out there…

I spent 90 minutes last night doing Active Shooter Training…I got an 80% on the pretest (I feel like that should opt me out for the training, but whatever)…

It was their specific titles for things that kept me from 100%. It’s done now. I still have another hour or so of bloodborne pathogens, cybersecurity, integrated pest management, and mandated reporter training. I always try to have it done before school starts, which means yes, I am working before the year starts. I do actually have to do these trainings outside of work hours. I don’t get paid for those hours, but if I don’t do them, my pay gets docked. So that’s fun.

Anyway, so more caffeine. Take meds. Go get the boychild. Finish tracing. Proofread more. Go watch the Man’s band play tonight, hopefully with a sketchbook. Sleep more. Do the rest of the stupid trainings (they’re mostly the same every year; can’t pretest out, can’t skip ahead and take the posttest). Keep watching this conference (that’s cool, actually; currently talking about how to increase eyeballs on women in science so girls know they can do that). By tonight, hopefully I’ll be cutting out Wonder Under and moving on to the next step. And Simba will be sleeping in another bed, which will be good for both of us. I have less than a week before I have to be back at school. Not fun. But also, I’ll get a paycheck at the end of this month, finally. That will help. Right now though? Going to get the boychild.

More Magic

I’m not finishing this early today. Also WTF is up with the font, WordPress. It’s TINY. IDK if it will be TINY when it publishes, but it’s tiny while I’m typing. I just changed it, but it still looks wrong. I love it when tech stuff changes without any warning. I’m sure it’s on a blogpost somewhere, but I don’t have time to read those. I’m too busy reading fantasy fiction. Let’s be real…that fantasy stuff is what’s keeping me alive this summer. Real Life: hard, currently too warm, too many chores, not enough relaxation. Fantasy Life: Other people are doing the hard things, but they also are awesome at the things they do most of the time and the world is full of magic. I think I need more magic.

The girlchild leaves today. The boychild might be back tomorrow. Too bad they missed each other.

So I’m proofreading a fiction book at the moment. I don’t usually proofread. This is strange because the copyeditor was inconsistent with some stuff and I guess that means I have work to do, but also, it feels like I am reading another book (because I am). I will have to read it at least two more times though, so it probably won’t seem fun anymore. Which is OK, because I don’t usually get paid to read fiction. Maybe I should? I don’t know. Anyway, so I’m working every day, even though it’s break. Ah well. Need the money.

I’ve been pushing to get things done, though. On Monday, Mom and I finally finished the quilting on the bed quilt…

Yes, it’s rolled up. It needs to be trimmed (still thinking about how and where to do that) and bound. I was such a smart bunny in 2008 and bought enough of one fabric for the binding (thought I might have to piece it, but no). I’m gonna get to that next. Maybe tomorrow. We’ll see.

My other super goal is another art quilt done by the end of August. Might be totally impossible, due to the day job. But I’m trying. I’ve been tracing Wonder Under a lot…

That head is one giant piece covered in words. My biggest issue was running out of Wonder Under. I went to the local JoAnn (no S makes no Sense) and they were completely out, so I ordered online, but there were no shipping estimates (spoiled by Amazon, y’all). And I was sitting there yesterday, convinced I would run out, so I drove a long way to the next closest one, which was supposed to have 49 yards, according to the app. They were oh-so pleasant (not) but I eventually found 7 1/2 yards there and bought it, just to find out today that the full bolt should arrive today. Sigh. It’s fine.

I traced through 495 on Monday night…

Then started earlier last night (AND didn’t have to cook dinner, SCORE)…and made it to 792…

Definitely more than halfway. I was hoping to be done today, but it will be tomorrow. Then cut, then sort, then…damn, gotta go back to school and I don’t know that I can get away with trimming things at professional development crap. Unfortunately. I actually find it easier to think and pay attention when I am doing something with my hands at the same time. But the big people in charge find it a problem.

This is not the boychild, by the way.

Today will include a trip to the airport and to my parents’ house for the girlchild to say goodbye, so probably I won’t get as far on the tracing. Plus I’m still nursing an injured right arm…it was doing better, but I think my pilates class this morning did not help. Ah well.

Absolutely true…and might explain my need to make art.

This is also true…although I think it’s day 48 or something.

Also, my floor in my room at school is not done. At all. Nowhere close.

SO! First I will eat lunch (and read fantasy fiction), then proofread for a while, drive around with the girlchild as needed, then trace a million pieces. Dinner in there somewhere. Still not ready to deal with school (despite the texting and decisions and T-shirts and IDK what else). More caffeine too. That. And figure out this font thing with WordPress. So annoying. More magic. Would like that.

Adding to the Totals…

Today is officially the first day I usually think actively about going back to school. This year has been a clusterfuck for that. August 1 is also usually the day when I realize I’m going back to school soon and I blow off everything on the to-do list except art, because I realize how limited my time will be for that once school starts. It’s an odd place to be, mentally. Plus this year, I’m proofreading a book right now in the middle of that, and it’s something I want done before we go back. It takes time, though. So a little of that every day and a little of the to-do list every day and a little art every day.

I finished drawing the newest one…

Nice arm shadow there…taking pictures late at night on the floor. While I was trying to draw the last bit, Kitten gave it butt approval…

Then I numbered it…

I really tried to keep this simple. There’s so many things and details I didn’t add.

But then I covered two giant heads with words. I considered screenprinting them, but setting up a screen and getting that done in summer heat seemed like it would take longer than this. I’ve made quilts/fabric art in many different ways. For whatever reason, this method works the best for me. But simple? Not so much at 1359 pieces…

Could be worse, I guess. I do need to buy more Wonder Under today. Running low. Probably don’t have enough to finish this. I started tracing on Saturday, in between proofreading…

I’ve got over 3 hours in and hit the 300s last night. Not bad. Could be better.

Today, I’m finishing the quilting on the bed quilt…

We got to the bottom, but there are some areas near the top that need fill in, so that’s today. Then pull it off and put a binding on it! A miracle.

We had dinner at the parentals last night…girlchild cooked, which is always good…

I stitched a tiny bit on a Homegrown block that seems to never get done…

This week is the last full week of Summer Break. Sad but true. Next week is training and a super-spreader event. Should be painful. My desk here in the office still isn’t clean. I didn’t paint the hallway. My classroom is still having floors done so I can’t do anything in there. I have a preliminary calendar for the first few days of school for 8th grade; 7th grade is pretty stellar though. I did not clean out my closet. I didn’t plant the slope toward the neighbor’s house. I got some of the palm tree stuff off the backyard slope, but there’s a ton more. The trees are not trimmed. I did not clean out the garage. I did not get enough sleep. I didn’t exercise enough.

I did read 9 books. I did spend 116 hours doing most art (but some proofreading and copyediting in there). I finished one quilt. Not bad. I have a few more days to add to those totals. I seem to appreciate those last days as much as the first few…

Loading and Filling…

I spent a chunk of time on Etsy yesterday trying to get 8 new pieces on there. They are all pre-COVID pieces; they just needed to be mounted in a way that made them able to hang. You can find these on Etsy.

My friend Susan talked to me and crafted (she was supposed to be cleaning…but I think we’re always supposed to be cleaning when we craft unfortunately). Plus Kitten was trying to help me do the computer stuff…not.

I’ve been drawing every night…after doing other stuff during the day. Drawing brain seems to prefer nighttime.

I knew there would be swallowing heads in here…kind of a symbol for anxiety or being swallowed by society or government or a political party that doesn’t like women except when they do like them (pussies and pregnancy yes, autonomy and rights no)

I didn’t realize until the middle of the night while trying to sleep that the heads would be filled with words. And then I tried drawing that bottom left bit about 4 times and finally cut that section out and taped a new piece in. I’ll try the redraw tonight…and then it might be done.

Then I can start numbering.

We’re still quilting this beast. And the machine is still possessed. Plus we need to replace some O rings.

More signs of demonic possession.

Kitten is wherever I am.

Simba misses the boychild but appreciates his elephant.

I started this at home and have been trying to write while being at mom’s with the quilting machine. We got to the bottom and have to go back to the top to fill in some wide apart areas we had in the beginning. Not today. Gotta go proofread some stuff, ship one quilt, and deliver another. All good.

Headspace for Drawing…

I went to the eye doctor yesterday and he recommended a book for me, after having a long discussion about Comicon and our shared nerdiness. Gotta appreciate that. Especially as school LOOMS. I write every year about how it looms; usually it waits until August 1st, but not this year. LOOMING. And not in the good way with weaving warp and weft. In the dark and doomy way where it’s leaning over you and breathing hot and heavy onto your shoulder. Maybe even a little moist going on there. Yuck. All this followed by some truly disturbing dreams (not about school, for once, but like an alternative lifetime that was obviously wrong wrong wrong but was weirdly right in the dream, so fucking awful). Totally creeped out by last night’s attempt at sleep. Plus the boychild left for the Oak Fire yesterday, so Simba was in the bed all night, perturbed as fuck and hot and furry and then would randomly lick my leg and wake me up. I’m just not cut out for sleep. I need to be knocked out instantly and then zapped awake at the right time.

So Monday was delightful. I went to lunch and for a walk on the Silver Strand beach (away from all the people) with two friends from school and just really enjoyed walking, cool temperatures, and BIRDS!

Some of these birds have made it into my quilts. Wish I could tell you which ones…

Tiny snowy plovers…

We stalked the birds really…

And then the shells…these still had the snails in them, so we put them all back in the water.

Probably they would have been fine, but in a year when the climate is getting more and more fucked (thank you Republicans and the Supreme Court for continuing that shit), it felt good to do something that might be good for the environment.

Fascinating walk. This gull had a flatfish and was trying to alternately wash it and peck it.

Plus it kept running with the fish to get away from us.

Good times. We had some discussions of bizarre animals that humans made up and how it happened (found weird bit on beach, assumed animal was massive, hence our drawing it in the sand).

Like you do. Anyway. More of that this year. Less of the stressful shit.

I finally got the headspace to start drawing for real. Did a lot of sketching in pencil first as my brain got in the mood for this drawing…

Trying to keep it relatively simple. I keep wanting to add shading to the figure on the right, but my simpler brain is like NO IT DOES NOT NEED IT. Art brain is not convinced. Then last night, I inked everything that was in pencil…

And started adding more…

First time the Statue of Liberty has shown up in a quilt of mine…

Got more to do up here. That big head has some words going on it. Her arms need stuff. Stuff in her hands too. Getting there. Also, my proofreading project showed up last night…and I’m going to mom’s today and tomorrow to work on the bed quilt, plus the girlchild is coming in tonight for a visit, so I had to clean her room (not done) and the bathroom, because the boychild left for the fire yesterday. He works for the California Conservation Corps but is currently on a CalFire hand crew. Apparently you sleep in coffins (not really, just looks like one)…

He’s in Merced…heading in to the fire west of Yosemite.

He sends sunrise photos with fire trucks. Seems fine. Unfortunately, he got called out right before the girlchild comes to visit and probably won’t be back before she leaves. Bad timing, fire. WTF. I’m glad she’s coming though…not only because I haven’t seen her in a while, but also because Simba can sleep with her and she’s on Boston time, so he’ll be happy with wakeup time. I tried to explain to him that I was on summer break and got to sleep in. Did not care. Not a bit.

Last night, he just barked for hours at every sound, convinced it meant the boychild was home. His car was home (we went and got it), so the confusion was large. Massive really. Tiny brain in that dog.

We’re up to three caterpillars on the milkweed.

Exciting stuff…

I hope we get a chrysalis out of it.

This is part of the current drawing…at least the idea behind this.

And this is for my district…

I’d take Reduce Workload too. They’re gonna feed me lunch for three days. I would rather bring my own lunch and go home earlier, but that’s not how they roll. Luckily my district/principal don’t give a shit about jeans whenever…and we don’t get free coffee (wouldn’t care about that anyway). We do get the other shit though and it’s usually right before they tell us the 17 new things we have to do and why we have the wrong attitude if we’re not excited about them. Eh.

OK, so I’m going to aim to get Etsy stuff done tomorrow and Friday. Today is packed full of stuff, including getting the girlchild from the airport. I’m supposed to be at mom’s at 10 and I haven’t eaten or taken a shower. So I gotta go. Like now.

Disappearing Fast…

So Summer Break is disappearing fast. Lost two days to a training that could be done in two hours…welcome to the inefficiencies of my day job. Seriously though…wish we could figure that crap out. I’m willing to be professionally developed when it’s actually useful. Not sure this 12 hours will be. That said, this week is still Not School and so is next week. Breathing in and appreciating that. This week, I need to get going on the next art quilt on the off chance I can finish before another deadline (probably not, but I’m going to try). I also need to get some home-related stuff done and I need to get that bed quilt done.

I think we’re at 16.5 hours (which includes about 5.5 hours of practice on muslin). We finally got it to behave appropriately for I think two whole rows, no, two and a half, and then the bobbin thread ran out and then the NEW tablet (mom bought a new one) crashed and then we had to try to restart from there (the app needs a solution for starting mid-row when it crashes) and then the thread broke, so the last row took 45 minutes instead of 11 and a half. Yeah.

But before that, we had weird divots in the stitch and then it would randomly decide to move up instead of staying in a straight line.

I wasn’t kidding when I said the machine was possessed. Inconsistent? Yeah that too. Could very well be user error.

I know with any machine I’m sewing with, I have to get used to it and then I know how to make it work, even if the manual says otherwise. So we’re not there. But we are halfway through the quilting! Mom wanted to rip the straight line, and I’m like NO, we aren’t ripping anything if we don’t have to.

And when I say halfway, I mean I will have to go back and do some filler quilting in between some of the rows (or parts of rows due to demon possession) that are too far apart. But I figure that will be quick. Unlike the rest of it. So probably three more sessions at mom’s? Hopefully? Done this week? I just don’t know. I’ve got a proofreading job coming in this week too, so I need to be home to work on that.

The newest quilt is at the photographer…I did get photos back of Desert Mother though…gotta get her on the website.

I’ve had such a hard time finishing work in the last two years. The day job is a hog.

Every year I say I will work on that, and then I get overwhelmed.

There are lots of super tiny animals in this piece…

Which take forever…

But I love that they’re in there. I also love that I made this totally nonpolitical quilt this year in between what will be more political things because the world is so fucked up at the moment. I know I needed a break after the abortion rights quilt. So this was it…

I feel bad for making nonpolitical quilts sometimes. Plus then people are all OMG that quilt is amazing why don’t you just make those instead of those other ones. Eyeroll. Because the artist brain does not work like that.

Anyway, so there she is.

I did start the drawing on the next one about two weeks ago, pulling from a drawing I did back in November 2021 and then starting to modify it. I had written notes somewhere on what else needed to go on it, but I have no clue where those are. Of course. But I stared at it for a while on Friday night, then went to sleep, and woke up Saturday morning with a goodly chunk of it back in my head, which I wrote down in TWO places…

So as soon as I can get my head out of the exhaustion rut it’s in (too many early morning wakeups for me lately), I will get going on that. Hopefully in about 20 minutes.

Also, I finally finished mounting the last of the pieces that need to go on Etsy…

Trying to get some of these smaller pieces sold and out of here. So now I need to find all the photos I’ve taken as I’ve finished them over the last month, gather all the sizing and pricing info, and post those. I’ll let y’all know when that’s done, but hopefully this week. I also had a plan to put some of my older art quilts on sale…will need to get my act together on that too. You can see how summer/free time gets eaten up, yeah?

We hiked Saturday, but just flat because the Man has a broken toe…slammed it into a chair…

Probably he shouldn’t have hiked because now it hurts more, so also probably I will be hiking alone for the next 5 weeks.

Nova asleep in the heat…

The bunny who keeps eating the flowers of my native plant…

A very confused caterpillar…I’m not sure where it went from the cactus (the milkweed was right next to it)…but I can’t find it anymore.

Ah well.

Want some owl videos?

Three babies…

Haven’t seen the parents for a while (would I know? I don’t know if I would know…but they sound different). One seems to hang out here all the time; the other two seem to range around a bit more. Hoping they find a nest and/or learn to stop yelling all the time (much like the neighbor children?) relatively soon. But I’m glad to add them and their mouse/rat-catching to my ecosystem here.

So today: draw more, Etsy some stuff, go have lunch and hang out with teacher friends without thinking about school, read my book? (it’s nonfiction, but there’s a mystery and I suspect old white men are the perpetrators). Shit. I need to start the crockpot for dinner. Ugh. OK. Better now than having to cook later, right? Yes ma’am. It’s still summer. I am still sort of free from stuff (ha!). Working on Zen.

Get Away

It’s what I need to do sometimes so I can actually relax. The house is too full of things I need to do. The Man’s birthday was a week ago, so I booked us an Airbnb in Julian…not a long drive, but mountain reset. It was unfortunately hot hot hot (it will be hotter in August and September, but we are not acclimated), so the deck was not used as much as I would have liked, but we did appreciate the air conditioning, which we don’t have at home.

We played games…

I lost all of them. It’s OK. I usually lose. I’m at one with the losing.

We only went upstairs in the cabin once, to take this photo.

Why? Even with the A/C on, it was Hades up there.

We hiked…in the AM…not very far (3.7 miles)…it was too hot.

We often plan a bunch of hiking that doesn’t happen. Wild turkeys!

Why? Because we need the mental space more than we need the exercise. Lake!

I’m OK with all that. I know I will hike more. It was hotter in Julian than it was here at home in East County…

So more hiking wasn’t really something we were willing to do unless it was at midnight.

That is either a deer or a coyote.

In this picture, it seems more deerlike, but in real life, it was a toss up.

I’m betting coyote, because no shelter, broad daylight, no other deer around. More milkweed!

Being in the heart of some fairly conservative sentiments, we had conversations about intelligent design (that’s what we get for reading social media while traveling). The design of this flower for example. I think science and nature are mostly incredibly ordered…except when they’re not, and when they’re not, there’s a natural reason for it. Some people call that evidence that there is a god. I call it evidence that this is the way natural things work. Plant needs insects to reproduce. Flowers evolve that increase this particular plant’s ability to reproduce. The ones that failed are no longer around because they did not have that advantage. Maybe they were really chaotic milkweed plants that fought the bees off. So they aren’t here anymore.

No one who thinks a lot about how human pregnancy and/or the uterus works would consider that intelligent design. Certainly there’s a bunch of politicians who have never ever understood how that works.

Red-tailed hawk?

Anyway. We appreciated nature.

As you should.

We also appreciated some breweries and wineries and cideries…

And I especially appreciated the time and space to just draw for drawing’s sake…

We even listened to some music…

This one had those misting sprinklers. Pro: it was raining on us constantly. Con: can’t draw when it’s that wet.

Some of the music was really good (Berkley Hart).

Lots of drawings…

Some of it back at the cabin over a couple of days…

That one’s not done. Which is good.

My one time on the deck, before it got too hot.

Small but nice.

We contemplated the universe.

And all the things in it.

It’s OK if you don’t get that. It made us giggle. And then we came home to hot and to-do lists. It’s fine. Really. It was good while it lasted.

I had some huge batting issues on Friday…all my own fault really. So I had to buy new batting and wash it and ran out of time to pinbaste, so I did it yesterday with a fan blowing on me the whole time.

This is not a small quilt. I keep saying that. It was supposed to be smaller.

But I got her pinbasted and then managed almost two hours of quilting…

I have a deadline on this one and it’s tight. But I’m going to do it.

But first, today I have two science meetings, so I need to go make my lunch and pack up and take my meds and brush my teeth and make more tea and get the fuck out of here. Plus deal with all the things on the to-do list, which threaten to bury me even during the summer, when I’m not working the other job. Well. Except today I sort of am working the other job. So there’s that. It’s a good thing I took a weekend off from almost everything.

In My Heart

So. Progress on the quilt. She’s all ironed down. More about that below. Also, I don’t know what it feels like to watch the Uvalde video that was released yesterday if you’re NOT a teacher, but as a teacher, one who has done way too many lockdown drills with classrooms of 30+ kids and tried to keep them quiet while admin bangs on the door, simulating a shooter trying to get in, that was beyond horrible. I can unfortunately totally imagine being down on the floor with the kids (because we are, even in a drill), WAITING FOR THE COPS…for 77 minutes and hearing nothing but screams and kids asking for help. Makes me sick to my stomach. And yes, there’s a fine line between knowing when to shoot and and when to not shoot, and I would hope cops would be trained in that (they’re not…well, unless you count ‘we don’t shoot at white people even when they have guns’ and ‘we shoot at people of color even when we shouldn’t’…all training that I think should be trained out of them or they should be fired), but this is boggling. Three guys run down there with weapons, the ‘good guys with guns’ and then they run back? And nothing happens for an hour? Every teacher is curled up with her kids in their room, trying to keep them calm? In some classrooms, kids are dying and maybe could have been saved? I just don’t get it. I totally get being scared of being shot. I do. But I didn’t sign up for it…and cops did.

Y’all, I don’t pray. It’s not what moves me. If it does you, splendid. Do it. But I do hold all those kids and teachers in my heart, even though it makes me cry to do so. I’m not sure what’s worse: cops killing people who don’t deserve it in traffic stops or cops standing there in a school hallway, checking their phones, getting hand sanitizer, while little kids and their teachers lay there dying. They are both despicable. Both unacceptable. Plus the whole issue of guns being available to everyone. There’s a new gun for kids, a JR-15…the little kid version of an AR-15, so you can have one just like your parents. This country, this culture we have grown here, it makes me sick. And it makes an awful lot of people dead. Kids.

And in all that, I find some peace in the quiltmaking process. I’ve been lucky to still not have to go in for jury duty (two more days, knock on wood). Ironing this quilt together while bingewatching Netflix is somehow meditative. The bad things are still in my head, but they just end up in the quilt and I can walk away? I can’t really, but it’s a place to funnel the emotions. There are always moments when I wonder how safe my job is; I hope no one ever thinks to come on our campus to use a weapon…but every teacher thinks about it. I’ve seen the upcoming trainings for the new year, and active shooter training is part of it. Because my country hasn’t figured out how to keep schools safe. Get rid of guns, y’all. Start there. Easy.

So I ironed for quite a few hours on Monday…

Like four hours. Got all the arm and body stuff done and lined up. Just a head left.

Here’s the view from the top…

Plus some of the arm stuff…

Money money everywhere. Then yesterday, I managed to iron the head together…

And a bunch of things in the sky. Bombs actually. I had finished drawing this piece and was starting to trace it on Wonder Under when the Uvalde shooting happened, so I added that. It was before Roe v Wade fell, but there were rumors. And I had left COVID out, because it felt like I could, but it doesn’t any more. So many people still getting it, and now the news that getting it multiple times increases your risk for a bad outcome. So I added the Supreme Court with the clotheshanger and the COVID virion. Plus monkeypox! That looks like a fun virus, right? Not. It’s not in this drawing. It came later.

Anyway, then I pieced the background and ironed the whole thing down. It’s bigger than I thought it was…which is silly, because I drew it and I know exactly how big it is. I had the man hold it up so I could take a photo.

I made a comment on Instagram about cropping this…I meant the photo…to get all the extraneous life out of the picture…the dog toys on the ground, the other quilt in the background, my daughter’s high-school graduation photo. The milk crate I use for firewood (I’m so fancy). The Congratulations sign that my aunt found in my cousin’s house when she was cleaning it out (my cousin died in 2020, before the pandemic hit). But that is my life, my existence. I’m not making these quilts in a huge, beautiful, well-lit studio. I’m in a cramped room that has too much furniture in it, the linoleum is all torn up because I used to iron on the floor for the big pieces, it’s hot in summer and cold in winter (although cold in my part of Southern California does not include snow, so not REALLY cold, but hot is well over 100 degrees with no air conditioning). Still on my summer to-do list is cleaning up the computer space in here…by the end of the school year, it’s absolute chaos.

But it is my space. And I am lucky to be able to spread the artmaking out into the living room with my light table. I have people who will hold up my quilts for me, who will help me deliver and pick pieces up, who will buy my work and send me messages and tell me I’m making good work. So those are all good things.

Today I do the stitchdown. Notice I didn’t say START the stitchdown. I need to do it all today. I’m running out of time on this one. There’s a deadline. Yeah, I missed the last deadline. Ah well, but it would be good to make this one.

Also, I feel like we need to either plant this or compost it.

I don’t actually like sweet potatoes most of the time, although I had one in a salad on Saturday that was OK. But I think this one is done. I could be wrong. If the boychild were home more than the 7 hours he was home last night (one fire, then another one that got canceled, plus some sort of drill today), I could ask him if it’s OK to get rid of it.

The owls are still really active. I need to go out there and try to trim the branches in the way of the new camera location. It’s hard because I’m short and it’s on a slope.

So today. Sigh. Don’t watch the news. Stitchdown. Trim some branches. Probably plant some things and clean up some other things. Exercise. HERMIT. Still doing that as much as possible. It’s less than a month until school starts. I need every day of that month (I won’t get every day; I already know that, but I’m going to try) to be ready. Decide what to do with the sweet potato. You’d think that would be the easiest thing to do today, but I hate to waste food. Even food I don’t like. Deep breaths. Especially for Uvalde. Honestly, I feel for the cops too. I feel like there are certain jobs where you get in trouble if you don’t follow orders, and maybe this was that kind of situation. I’ve had principals that would micromanage the shit out of you and threaten your job, and not everyone can afford to just jump ship. I couldn’t. In that case, whoever was that ordering person, man, you’ve got some explaining to do.

So Off…

I’m so off. On days. On writing. On sleep. I guess that’s a good thing. Losing track of time is a positive part of summer. Mostly. Until you realize there was something you were supposed to do. Whoops! I’m doing my best, y’all. It doesn’t help that I’m having to check in every night about jury duty and then replan my day based on being free. Or not. So far…free is good. Trying to take advantage of it and not get so irritated by all the school stuff that intrudes. I realize I could ignore all that work email, but I think that ramps my anxiety even more…wondering what might be there or not. I know the other night, I lay there, hot, meditated, ready to sleep but brain definitely not, wrote an entire agenda in my head, considered texting my co-teacher (totally not doing that…she’s way better at the boundary between work and home than I am and I’m not fucking up HER summer for MY brain), then worried about other shit. Then made a goal to do art things the next day, which I followed through on, which is why there’s no Wednesday blogpost this week. Ah well. The earth continues to turn on its axis. I wish I understood how and why that happens, though, because I’m gonna have to teach that shit or something related to it this coming year. Occasionally I read a page or two about energy because I started the force and motion book and realized I needed to do energy before that. Still don’t have a good space science book. I think I need a comic book for it. That might be the only way it gets into my head in time. VISUAL LEARNER HERE.

Anyway. So I’m trying. That’s all I ever do.

The bed quilt is in progress. The borders are on and now the backing is pieced.

Oh my, that’s bright. But I didn’t have to buy anything because I bought it in 2008. Yay me! Thinking ahead. I’m waiting for the batting (which I did have to buy) and then I’ll learn the short-arm stuff at mom’s house.

Meanwhile, because sometimes I loan my computer out to people (well, just one person), I needed to have a project for the living room as well as one for my office. NO DOWN TIME ON ARTMAKING. Or something. When I’m in the mood. Which I am. So I had this drawing from November 2021 that I did on a semi-retreat with one of my art groups in 29 Palms. And I started trying to draw where my head is at with the Supreme Court and Roe and all the other stuff, realizing that many people already deal more head on with discrimination than I ever have to, plus climate change and that damn shooting in Highland Park. The 8-year-old who is now paralyzed. The 2-year-old who lost both parents. The dad of the shooter saying he’s not responsible. OMFG. I started to tear up, so away from the news and back in here. ANYWAY. The drawing isn’t right for all this, but it’s a start. Really this is an anxiety/world situation quilt because that’s what I need right now. I made the Roe v Wade quilt earlier this year. I didn’t want to make another. I couldn’t make another. So I started with that November drawing and blew it up 250% and started cutting and taping it together last night. Well, first I let Luna play with it a bit…

She’s not helpful at all. Then I cut and taped…

It’s a really busy drawing, though, and not all of it is relevant to what I want this quilt to do/be, so I decided to trace what worked onto a new paper…

And then change as I go. Or add, because I made it taller. A little wider, but mostly taller.

So you can see where I’m changing some stuff and not other stuff. Leaving some out. I’ll add more stuff too. Expect it to take a while. But that’s OK, because in the other room, I’m finally ironing the other quilt together!

I don’t usually work on more than one at a time, but desperate times call for desperate measures? OK, it’s not like I’m desperate to make quilts. I just want things to work on in two different rooms and this solves that problem. I feel like I might finally be on an art roll for summer. Except for jury duty. I’ve been lucky the last three days…may it continue for six more. The whole process of not knowing just makes me anxious. I’m a mess. I hate the not knowing. I’ve probably said that before, but it’s supremely true. About all of it.

Anyway, I’m also doing bits and pieces of work stuff, mostly just finding all the homework possibilities and getting them in our shared drives so they are easy to find. It’s all I can handle really. Occasionally reading a bit about science-related stuff that I might need to know. Having random panic attacks about things I can’t control like 2 days of professional development about stuff I already know. Ah yes. Stupid that.

OK, so it’s late Thursday and I finally wrote something. It’s a miracle! Now I can iron or draw for a while. I should check the to-do list first, just in case. Or read a chapter of my book…now there’s something that sounds reasonable. Reading is something I do a LOT of over breaks…and I’m glad to keep doing more of that.