Teaching Kittens to Fingerpaint

‘Tis Wednesday and I am trying to type this while a senior cat headbutts my chin and licks my hand. Also my right wrist hurts…and trying to figure out if it’s (a) all the computer grading I did yesterday, (b) lifting weights at the gym, or (c) tracing a few really big pieces of sky on Wonder Under is really pointless, because I think it’s all of them. Note to self: take computer off stand to grade. Also go find the wrist brace because last time you wore it for a day and things were better. My chiropractor is already going to have fun with my neck and upper back on Friday. Let’s not add other injuries from your silly job. Tiny little laptop keyboard plus bad angle of body and wrist. Silly.

So I’m not feeling like there’s much progress on the tracing, because I’m up in the big swoopy bits of the sky and the pieces are huge and a pain to fit onto the Wonder Under, so they take much longer to trace than all the small pieces I was doing over the weekend.

I think the first night, I only traced like 25 pieces. But they were big and fussy. Last night? Last night, I started on piece 411 and finished on 441. I’m still in the sky, but I’ve moved from the back right to the back left, and there’s not a lot of it left. So that’s a plus, because I’m used to doing about 100 pieces an hour and this does not feel like movement. I’m 8 hours in and still in the 400s. I’m only getting about an hour and 15 minutes of tracing each night during the week. I went to the gym last night, prepped breakfasts AND cooked dinner on Monday night. Tonight I have an art meeting on Zoom, tomorrow a stitching meeting on Zoom plus science planning. It’s hard to get time to make things right now. But exercise is important and so is the socializing. Most of them are back on Zoom for now, until omicron fucks off. I’m still getting a few quarantine contracts each day…wait. I don’t think I got any yesterday. Is that possible? Knock on wood, knock hard.

I will go back and fill in all those little spaces with the smaller pieces I’ll be tracing tonight or tomorrow night. I hate wasting Wonder Under. I save pieces that are bigger than 3″ square for when I need just a small piece to retrace something (happens all the time) or when I need to make a label for the back of a quilt.

Speaking of quilts, there are three in Escondido at the California Center for the Arts right now in the California Fibers’ exhibit Surface, Substance, StructureSo Cal Mama

I Can’t Be Your Superwoman

And Portrait of the Artist As a Young Woman

I haven’t made it up to the show yet. It’s up until March 6, so check it out.

And I also have a piece in the A Better World exhibit at Visions Art Museum, Bill! Bill! Bill!, a tribute to Bill Nye.

They’ve been closed for the last week or so; I haven’t seen this exhibit either, but I did see it in person when it was at Road to California? I think? Can’t remember where…it was pre-COVID, though, so fuzzy brain. It will be there until April 3. Lots of opportunities to see Nida originals! OK two opportunities.

I’m trying to finish up Sue Spargo’s Chirp before this year’s block of the month starts, ironically because I haven’t finished last year’s either. Silly, but a goal anyway. There are 24 flowers around the edge.

There are four of each type of flower. I have finished three of the types, so 12, so halfway! Woo! Wait, this also might have something to do with my wrist hurting today…those yellow cast-on bullions are a pain to do.

Every flower has them. I’m getting better at them. I guess that’s the plus. I did start the fourth flower type last night, but this is not a fast border to stitch. I suspect they got complaints, because last year’s easy BOM had a super basic border. I like a complicated border, but when you think you’re almost done and then there’s still 6 months of work (I do these slowly), it’s a hard mind thing.

OK. Time for me to get my ass out of here to school, where it’s a Wednesday, so I teach ALL the things, four different things, it’s like my hair is on fire…

Yeah. Welcome to my job in pandemic times. It’s never really a cake walk anyway, but this stuff just makes it harder. My morning science block will be like pulling teeth…I know because I did it with three classes yesterday. The afternoon block should be slightly better? Maybe? But then 6th graders in art. We are starting something new, though, so maybe that will help. It will feel less like teaching kittens to fingerpaint? Hard to say. Tracing the damn sky tonight though. That’s a thing.

Sexy Metal…

The alarm went off. In my dream, I was measuring out spaces for desks, but someone had moved my classroom outside, on cobblestones outside some very old (read, not found in California) building. There were sea lions nearby and a million places for kids to disappear into and a billion things for them to be distracted by, plus they were all coming from different places and we had to find room for all their luggage. Teacher dreams, man. Oh yeah, the desks had to be 6 feet apart, but ALL the school was outside, so I could only have this square of cobblestones and all the desks had to fit in that space. Ironically, I never had to do this last year, because I was in the hell they call Zoom classes, where all the desks are far apart or nonexistent and all the children are distracted.

So many levels of weirdass trauma with this pandemic.

Anyway, my weekend was busy, but I did finish all my progress report grades, although sometimes I wonder what I’m teaching and whether I’m effective or not…

Sixth metal? I’m hoping. Although I still don’t know what he’s talking about. Welcome to my world. The assignment I thought was so easy last week was apparently more confusing than I thought. Ah well. So be it. One of the wonders of teaching a school that is 90% or more English language learners.

So what else went on? Well, I traced a lot…over three hours on Saturday night…

We went to a friend’s birthday party early in the evening, and then the man watched his show and I listened to mine. When I’m tracing, I really need something that is mostly listening, not much watching.

No closed captioning, no foreign language, no action without words. Last night, I only got a little over an hour in…more like normal.

I am a quarter of the way through, but as I was tracing last night, I found a whole section I hadn’t numbered, so now, instead of 1329 pieces, I think there are 1372. Stay tuned for more brain farts.

This weekend was also the start of the Surface Design Association online conference, which I signed up for, and happily listened (and watched) to many artists talk about their work, one while driving to pilates, another while finishing grades, and one while prepping lunches. I miss most of it this week, because it’s all during school hours, but they will be recorded. And Saturday morning will be another batch of webinars I can listen to in real time. Not ideal, but doable. When I wasn’t grading or cooking, I was doing the brainless stuff I can handle at the moment…tracing stuff for blocks of the month, which keep me occupied when I don’t have the strength or energy to stand and trace.

That’s all freezer paper for a block of the month on mushrooms. I’m fully a year behind and totally OK with that. It’s a time filler. I don’t make art every hour of the day. My brain needs a break from ALL the things. Hence working on this in the evenings…

Still not done with the 3rd version of the flowers. Time-fucking-consuming. But relaxing as well. Do this stitch over and over again on 4 flowers. Then do the next stitch.

I also worked on this a little bit…a different part of my brain.

Look at the pile of fabrics provided. What do you see? How do they all go together? She needs an eye and IDK what else. More flowers. Perhaps that is a hat and not hair, and she still needs hair. A bird on her head maybe. I think they’re all facing one direction though. We’ll see. This one is different than the other ones…an entire scene instead of just a woman. Interesting.

I didn’t go to Road to California, but one of my quilts did…the left one in that block of five.

I also had a meeting of one of my art groups (on Zoom). I miss that group in person, but it was a really long meeting too. We juried new members in, so I had spent time earlier in the weekend reviewing their work and their statements and taking notes. Usually we jury just from work, but it was nice to hear them talk about their practice. Definitely a plus.

I have another art meeting (on Zoom) on Wednesday. Busy week. Long week. We’re back to 5 days of school finally. I’m just so tired all the time. I go to bed earlier than I used to, per doctor’s orders, but I don’t seem to sleep well…probably because I’m rearranging desks on cobblestones. YES, I know it sounds like rearranging chairs on the Titanic. Fully Fucking Aware of that. It’s fine. This week in science is demos and labs and rock stars. It all makes sense. Art is oil pastels. Hearing that I might have to continue to teach an elective next year…I wish I had one that was less labor- and brain-intensive. Art is hard. Teaching art is harder. I’m not sure I’m cut out for it. It’s not like teaching anything is particularly easy, but there’s this sense of talent/skill that plays in art and I just don’t have the energy for dealing with fixed mindset and art for only one period. If I didn’t have to do science as well? Maybe. We have an art teacher though and I don’t want to be her. Anyway. I get no choices on these things.

Yeah. That. You can’t tell that’s what I’m thinking because my mask is on. OK. Gotta go to school with pennies and magnets (lab!) and hopefully grade a bunch of things about balloons that don’t talk about sexy metals, and then meet with my team about field trips (what??? Finally!), and then come home and do more of that tracing thing. Plus bingewatch that show I’m listening to, because it disappears on January 31 and that isn’t that far away. Plus get enough sleep and exercise. Got it.

Cannot Verify Identity

It’s morning and Apple cannot confirm who I am. Same, Apple, same. I know I am exhausted after a 4-day week (and I haven’t lived through the 4th day yet). I have 78 thousand things happening in the next 4 days, including grades. I need to get tested today. I need to catch my kids up with my co-worker’s classes…IDK how we got so far behind. IDK a lot of things honestly. I can’t decide how to paint my house numbers on my newly painted mailbox. This seems crucial. I used regular acrylic paint last time and it was not a good thing. Honestly, of all the things I need to do in the next 4 days, that is the least of my worries.

Is COVID over yet? I have 3 more contracts to do this morning, and then IDK what’s going on with who’s come back and who hasn’t, but it looks like none of them have done any of their work. At all. So there’s that. Well, 2 of the girls did work. Everyone else thinks it’s a vacation.

I think I need a nap. I feel like if you live in a house with people, you should check your phone late at night to see if your partner texted you from the other room about how loud the television is. I had no energy to get out of bed and complain. It’s OK. I put the pillow over my head, and woke up 2 hours later with a cat half ON that pillow. Hence the feeling of suffocating.

Weekend. I see it. It’s full, but I see it. I won’t have to get up at 6:30 and be competent enough to teach about the kinetic energy of atoms. Unfortunately, today I DO have to do those things.

I finished the drawing. And I started numbering on Wednesday night…I also realized I didn’t take a picture of the whole thing. Whoops.

I only numbered the first 135 pieces Wednesday night…I had to go to bed. So I could get up at 6:30 and explain states of matter. That turtle is three states of matter…solid, liquid, and gas.

Last night, I had a quilt meeting on Zoom, so I finished numbering.

So it has 1329 pieces (assuming I didn’t miss any, which I probably did)…which isn’t too bad. I figured more than 1200 and less than 1500, so that was right on. It took a long time to number though…it’s complicated to figure out where pieces are going and where to number next.

Two and a half hours of numbering to be exact. That’s long. Also I was on Zoom, so that didn’t help. Probably that means I misnumbered somewhere and I’ll be screwed later. Also, it does not bode well for how fast tracing those same crazy pieces will go. Ah well. Luckily I don’t really care how long it takes as long as it ends at some point.

I had about 21 minutes before bedtime when I finished. OK, 21 minutes is pretty exact. So I started one of the applique stories pieces that’s been sitting on the light table for about a year.

Needs work. I’ll get there.

Ah at least it is Friday, yeah? Start tracing tonight? Also grades are due in 4 days. That. Ugh. Surface Design Association conference this weekend, though. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend some of it online and not just watch it all recorded (hopeful, ever hopeful). Anyway. Yeah. Probably first need to get this whole cup of tea in me and then another. Then maybe my eyes will open.

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.

As I Was Falling Asleep…

Proof I wasn’t ready to go back to school? What am I talking about? We’re always braindead on the weekends. I spent Friday night doing almost nothing but reading; Saturday, we hiked and I drew; Sunday, I panicked a little about school and did some grading and recorded a video, but I still have to post everything and check the calendar and finish up contracts for this week. I tested negative on Friday, but we’re pretty sure we had a positive case in the classroom on Thursday. They don’t even tell us anymore. Just assume? I’m hoping the omicron thing peaks soon so we can go back to whatever version of normal we were on in this iteration. Here’s one crazy thing in my head…don’t get tested in the morning on a lab day, because if they pull you out for testing positive, who the hell is gonna cover your labs? Some poor resource teacher who doesn’t have a clue? The superintendent? Yeah. Well, they are sending people out from the district office to cover our classes. Doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing.

Anyway, stay healthy, stay sane. And for MLK, let’s work on voting rights and white people.

The drawing is progressing, although I had to take a break last night, because I couldn’t figure out what to do with the next section, and I know I had an idea right as I was falling asleep, but I don’t remember what it was. It’s OK. It will come back. It’s in my brain somewhere.

On Saturday night, I managed all this…

Inked the rest of the arms and added a few creatures, then penciled in some animals below…and then moved half of them again and redrew most of the others because it was just kind of random placement and size and didn’t work at all, which is how I end up with freakishly tiny pieces.

Ah well. So yeah, moved and shrunk the tortoise, moved the bunny to the other side, redrew the bobcat because it was too fluffy and too diagonal.

The bunny was too big too. It’s still too big really, but I’m not sure I could go smaller. It will work.

The center part is the section I’m flailing on…

It’s OK. Whatever my brain had going will come back by tonight. So there’s just this bit and the sky to do, and that’s it. Then numbering all those pieces and into the tracing. Sounds lovely.

Nova is not sure about all that.

So I’m also doing the Molli Sparkles Cut It Up challenge, which is just some piecing stuff, cutting into fabrics that need love and that might be hard to cut into. I don’t usually have a problem cutting into fabrics, but I do have some that never get used because their details make them hard to use in an art quilt like the ones I make. So I’m trying to use those. So far, most of the fabrics I’ve cut into have never been used. Success! I did this block a few weeks ago…

And then the directions of the curves were bugging me. I thought if I pulled two of them off and switched them, then it wouldn’t look like each side was going the same way? I don’t know if you can even see that. My brain can’t UNSEE it. Anyway, I took one triangle off and tried holding it up to the other sides and there is no way to make this work with the triangles I have. I even did some fancy drawing to check…

Yup. That’s technological wizardry there. Anyway, I could recut triangles, or I could just accept this, because it will be in a quilt full of wildness and it won’t even matter. It’s a good thing I came to this conclusion, because the next step was making a bunch of flying geese, which I don’t think I’ve ever made before, but I didn’t work very hard at directional fabrics and I’m OK with what I have so far.

Oh honey, those aren’t very directional…

THERE we go. I have three more of these to make and I’m totally OK with how it’s going. Why do I do silly piecing and strange challenges when I have so much else going on? The very left brain activity of piecing helps my right brain relax a little and then I can focus on the other stuff, like what to draw in the belly space. Plus it’s something I can control. Well, obviously, not completely, because I can’t figure the directional stuff out, but let it the fuck go. I’m good. We’ll see how far I go with it.

I took my sewing stuff to school to fix a kid’s stuffed animal.

He didn’t seem as appreciative as I would have thought? Ah well. Whatever. Weird skills for a weird job.

Saturday’s hike included an exploratory bit where we tried to find another loop in this park…

But the little section to get down to the other road is apparently private. In the middle of nowhere. So we turned back.

More noticing of the things. It’s not spring yet.

Hey guys. What’s up?

Always being watched.

Saturday dinner drawing…

Not sure what was happening with the hands.

OK, so there’s a to-do list, like always. Some of it’s art-related, a lot is work-related, and there’s a bit of Go-for-a-Walk-related. So I’ll start with packing a quilt to be shipped and work out from there. Hopefully the missing idea from falling asleep will come back and maybe I’ll finish the drawing tonight. We’ll see. It’s nice to have the day off, either way. It’s also nice that the neighbors are quiet (for now).

Very Specific Dreams…

Damn. It’s a good thing it’s Friday. I’m exhausted. I haven’t been sleeping well…last night was a dream about a cleaning lady (man, that would be nice…) who looked a lot like our new science teacher, and she tracked me down because the vacuum died and charged me by the minute ($18.63) but I didn’t have any money, and in fact, I’d forgotten she was coming, so I sent the man to find some cash and I had to go to work, which somehow involved buying a roll of film from this weird store and then the line was too long, so I gave up, but after the cleaner tracked me down with her two ragged friends for the $18.63 that I didn’t have, I went back to the store (which really sold coffee and pastries) for the film, but I’d thrown it back at the cashier, yelling, I can’t wait in this line!, and she made me crawl around the back area where they were making fancy coffees, trying to find this roll of Kodak film…not the normal types, one of those really old cartridge types, and when I got home, I noticed the cleaner just gave up and only cleaned until the vacuum died, and there were so many things she could have cleaned without the vacuum and she didn’t do any of them.

I have very specific dreams.

Anyway. It’s Friday. I’ve survived three whole days of school, fire alarms going off after school (they were testing the system), which caused the 14th headache of the day, and IDK how many pandemic contracts for kids because I lost count and possibly my mind.

Meanwhile, a drawing is regurgitating out of my brain, the part that doesn’t have a headache, and it’s fast and easy enough that I have to remind myself to check the clock to go to bed. Late two nights running.

I am sketching things out in pencil and then using ink to completely change them as I draw them. Which is normal. So Wednesday night, I inked the hawk and then started looking up and figuring out plants.

The arms are holding a lot of the plants…

Although I changed some of this while inking, and I do need to add some animals to this layer.

So last night, I had the joy of mostly inking…

I’m getting in about an hour a night. I changed the hands three times now, which is why they aren’t inked, because I’m still not sure about them. Plus I want to add some animals and they might end up there? Most of them will be in the bottom layer, I think. Yes, this is longer than what you can see. Yes, there are lots of details. Yay! Yes, it will take me forever. What you see is about 4 hours.

Luna has not been particularly helpful with this stage.

Few cats are. Luna and Kitten like to stand on it. Nova likes to eat the paper. Not helpful.

Last night, we pivoted (ugh, hate that word) back to Zoom for our stitching meeting…I’m still trying to finish the 24 highly embellished flowers…

All I had to do was chain stitch last night, which was good, because I almost laid down on the couch for a nap during the meeting. I have all these plans for tonight; we’ll see if I have the energy for them. Thank goodness for a 3-day weekend. I have 78 million things to do this weekend. Pack up two quilts, ship one, deliver another to the photographer, finish moving gravel to the side of the house, hike, meet up with one friend about a commission and just to say hi, grade a ton of stuff, decide what quilts I’m going to put on sale this month, finish the drawing.

Unit 4 cover page for school…very disjointed and random.

I almost restarted it, but I figured future self deserved to know my brain situation in January 2022.

OK, so today’s science assignments are pretty easy. Today’s art assignments appear to just be a challenge for these sweet little widgets across the board. We start something different on Tuesday, thank goodness. I need to get tested at school…too many positive cases. I need to copy a bunch of stuff (hopefully there’s paper) and grade another bunch of stuff (hopefully there’s brainpower). Next week is also a short one. A blessing, for sure. Grades due soon. That’s all the shit in my head, now on the blog, so hopefully I can get things done today.

Good Goals

Hey, so I survived the first day with kids back. I didn’t have as many absent as I thought I would, until the last period (9 out of 27), and I’d seen some of them at school earlier. I remember my mom telling me when I was a kid that I wasn’t THAT sick, as she shoved me lovingly out the door to go to school. I probably did that to my own kids too, because who was going to watch them if they were sick? I was at work, their dad was at work, it was a pain to get a sub, all that stuff. Certainly I sent one kid to the nurse yesterday who didn’t look well, but I know some of them fake that stuff (not this kid) and some are just anxious as shit to be at school (I’m with ya, girl). I don’t want to BE sick. I don’t want to get someone sick. One of the many anxiety-creating mantras that have been in most of our heads for the last two years.

I only had 3 pandemic contracts for kids at the end of the day…we’ll see where we’re at by the end of today. Actually, it’s a week from now I’m thinking about…we’ll see where we’re at then. I’m trying to be really zen about all of it, just get the work done, you know kids will be out, this is supposed to peak by the end of the month, grades are due, it’ll all be fine, everything is fine. And then I cried on the way home from work yesterday. It’s not just work; there’s a lot of crazy going on and work is just part of it, and I’m tired (too many things disturbed my sleep on Monday night/Tuesday morning). Crying is a sign I need to read my book more, exercise more, draw more. SLEEP more. Ha. So what did I do? I finished grading the stressful assignment so it was done done done. I stitched a little. And I drew.

I have a pencil outline of the general shape, and there’s a hawk under the notebook, which just has lists of animals and plants from a variety of deserts. I need to make another earth mother. It’s where my head needs to be right now. I do love the last quilt…it’s all bound and sleeved and ready to be cleaned up for the photographer…

But the topic is stressful to see and feel over and over again, and I need some peace for the next one. Plus it took a long time to make that quilt, probably longer than it should have, because so much other stuff got in the way. I started drawing it in early October and didn’t finish until this week. And that’s it. I didn’t make any smaller quilts in between as filler. Effect of the day job, yeah? And the copyediting.

So my goal is to make this one faster, although it’s a similar size…maybe slightly smaller. And to stay sane and healthy. Good goals.

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.

My Apologies for the Stuff…

It is the last Friday of Winter Break. All hail the chaos ahead. I’m sifting through my plans for next week (especially art) and trying to adjust for possibly having up to 40% of my kids out. OK. With progress report grades due a week and a half later. I gave my art kids this coming week to finish the two projects that should have been done by Winter Break, because they weren’t going to be done. And now? They may still not be done. Gotta move on, y’all…gotta move on. But I will look at what’s on the calendar and see if I can shift any digital stuff to this week. I hate this year. Science is fine…I did this whole unit digitally last year, so I have the 23 videos of the elements already. It’s totally doable. Minor issue that I don’t have a table of contents yet…I’m hoping that solidifies on Monday. Ha! Yeah right.

SOME YEAR IN THE FUTURE school will be normal-ish again. It’s not this year, that’s for sure.

So I was hiking yesterday, out in the pristine (mostly) wilderness of the Cuyamacas, beautiful day…

No really, it was beautiful. A little warm at times, only saw four other people on the trail.

And I got a phone call. I thought we were out of range…certainly there wasn’t very much cell service. I didn’t answer, although it told me who it thought it was, and it was an art person, couldn’t remember which art place though, gallery, museum, whatever. You know how your phone tries to guess things sometimes? Well it guessed someone I’d talked to before.

In retrospect, I wish I’d answered, but oh well. No voice mail left, but when we got into town for our requisite post-hike snack and drink, I checked email…

That’s Dyar Springs by the way…our destination. Well, honestly, we did a big loop and the destination wasn’t really the point. Six miles though of out in the foresty/meadowy bits.

I like this hike…I’ve done it a few times before, but it’s been a while. We saw almost no wildlife on the hike, but were checking out footprints in the mud…

IDK. You tell me…

So possibly some wildlife in the area…although we saw these while leaving…

Crossing the road of course…instead of out in nature, where we’d been.

ANYWAY, the email was to tell me Womanscape had sold at Quilts=Art=Quilts

Wow. Did not expect that. I cried. Sigh. It’s been a rough year financially and I’ve been really stressed about some stuff that needs to happen, paying off college, trimming some big, dangerous, tend to drop shit trees, buying food over the summer. It’s why I took on the copyediting job over Winter Break, to pull in some extra cash. So this was a big deal. Also it’s a really cool, complicated, political quilt and I love that someone loved it enough to buy it. Plus this is a venue that has shown a lot of my work, so I feel good that they are benefiting from the sale as well, especially during the pandemic, when so many places are losing money and/or shutting down. We just got news that the Escondido opening is not happening. The show is still going on…just no super spreader event. That’s a good thing. Plus it was going to be a Thursday night and trying to get there after teaching is a pain.

Anyway. Thanks to the buyer. This piece has been in a bunch of shows and won an award and it’s a piece I really love. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to finish this other complicated beast…

I spent about 2 hours yesterday evening blasting music and quilting, and almost got done…

There’s a little bit of outlining left and then the borders, and then she’s good for binding…which is good, because my favorite quilt shop still has limited hours, so Saturdays are really the only day I can go during the school year. It’s today or tomorrow! I don’t think I have anything big enough to bind this thing. I might. I will look first.

While I quilt, Kitten likes to sit behind me and stick her claws in my ass.

Not a fan.

Simba got combed the other night…

He spends the time blissed out or trying to bite me.

The winter sun is hard to find these days…but just find the animals and it’s probably there…

Nova is a weirdo.

I did this drawing on Wednesday night…

I think that’s number 16? I’m not sure, honestly. I’ve missed a few nights…like last night, I didn’t draw because the Man wasn’t here, so I graded stuff (yeah, that’s still happening unfortunately) and then quilted.

While I was quilting, I was looking at these stacking drawers behind my machine…there’s a bunch of thread in there that I don’t really like, but I save it for when the girlchild comes home and needs me to hem something that’s a color besides white, black, or gray. But also, as I was looking at it last night, there’s a bunch of bobbins (and bobbin holders too) in there.

Shit, I don’t even think I have that machine any more. Like why am I keeping bobbins that don’t work in the current machine? You are probably like me, in that you have drawers or boxes full of stuff that you haven’t looked at or touched in years (seriously, many many years) and they all need cleaning out. I could do that right now, or I could quilt. I guess you know how THAT argument goes in my head, every single time. Sorry kids. I love you, but I also love making art. My apologies for the stuff.

May the Vax Be Strong…

I have exactly…wait…3 hours less than 5 days until I have to be at school. Plenty of time for everyone and their mother to get COVID this time around, right? The Man spent 2 hours yesterday waiting in line for a test. Ironically, he had no symptoms until yesterday. I suspect we’re all getting this version. May the vax be strong.

I was hoping to hike today, but I suspect it will be tomorrow. I finished copyediting on Monday and sent it all back today. It will be back in my inbox in March, but just for a short review…hopefully. Meanwhile, it’s done and that’s a relief. I started grading stuff on Monday, sort of in panic mode, because I’d mentally listed everything and completely forgot about one nonnegligible assignment. It will be fine, although grades are due in about two weeks, so I can’t forget that part. I know I have two art assignments due before that and I’ll need to go in to grade those. I worry about the kids who will be out with COVID next week…if they don’t come in and they haven’t finished those assignments…they’re on paper. It’s not like there’s a digital version. I do need a digital alternative for the inevitable COVID contracts though. So that’s on my panic list too. My solution to all this panic? Slowly, methodically grade everything. Do the little stuff on my list, one step at a time. Last night, I packed my daughter’s box of the shit she couldn’t fit in her luggage that she got for Christmas (mostly cookbooks). I also sewed on the missing button from my pants that have been in here since November. Does the button match? Nah. Not really. I’m OK with that. I also need to mend a sweater…not sure how exactly to do that, but it’s on the list. So is moving gravel, sanding the mailbox, and washing the hallway wall. Those are all doable things. One at a time. Cups of tea in between. Maybe shower. Not sure. Maybe not.

I need to get more quilting in during the next 5 days. I can do that. It’s slow and careful at the moment. Facial expressions are details that can’t be rushed…

But I spent most of yesterday in an apparent spa day: got a massage so the chiropractor could actually adjust my neck (copyediting hazard), then haircut (twice a year, whether I need it or not), then counseling. All good. So not much quilting has been happening, but there is progress.

I’m almost out of the bodies in color and into the sky, then the bodies in gray.

It’s good to have a goal…I’ll need binding for this, so that means a store, which means I need it by this weekend, or I won’t be able to get the binding on for another week. Ugh. Stupid store hours conflict with day job. It’s a goal.

I do know what quilt I’m making next, so I could start drawing that. Not here, but this is Drawing #15 of Winter Break.

Not every night…but most of them. Often with this guy cuddled up to me for warmth.

Then there’s Nova and her new box…

I think it was supposed to be for the girlchild’s stuff, but I decided to send those in two boxes.

So, UPS store today, plus either a hike or the gym, plus making my favorite wontons (without kid help this time, unfortunately), and quilting and drawing and grading. And gravel. And sanding. And washing. Just got busy, eh? What’s new? It is how I roll. But right now, I’m going to eat brunch and read my book…brunch because it’s almost lunchtime and I was doing other stuff until now. Yah. Fancy.