Hard Doesn’t Mean Impossible

I have a headache this morning. It’s partially caused by the concrete trucks and related noise from nextdoor’s new pool construction. I can’t really escape it, so it’s driving me more than a little bonkers. The rest of it is school-related. It seems I really shouldn’t go back to a classroom until there’s a vaccine or this virus disappears into the ether (hello COVID conspiracists…I am talking to you. Now leave. You won’t like it here.) I’m hoping not to disappear my job in the middle of all this, but since they were gonna co-opt one of the two bathrooms on the floor for my private use, and honestly, as healthy as I usually feel, any time you show me the list of high risks for COVID and I see mine on there, I get wibbly in my tummy and run to check that all the beneficiaries on all my accounts are still my children…well, I guess it totally sucks to be that person, but I am that person. Online teaching is not my favorite, but for now, I’m doing it with my team, so I will survive, as will we all. The going-back-in-person thing is the bad juju for my body. I also can’t afford to not work. I am glad that hopefully I will be able to do my job without the exposure. We’ll see. I’m thankful that it’s a possibility. I just don’t like it.

Monday night, my brain was just not working, for whatever reason, so I just cut and pasted the other drawing I had enlarged…

There will be too many COVID quilts from me? Maybe. It’s not done…but it’s the right size at least.

Last night, I got my act together and traced all the Patreon reward pieces on Wonder Under…

So that’s what 111 pieces look like. This is for a Patreon patron who gives me a significant amount of money a month, and I appreciate her support.

Then I started tracing Wonder Under for the COVID Daughter quilt…

I finished the first figure, which was about 100 pieces. It takes about an hour for 100 pieces. So I have about 7 1/2 hours to go. I stayed up way too late, mentally debating next steps for work and consequences and fears and all that good stuff, and now I am tired and headachy (my own fault) for lack of sleep. Bless those concrete trucks for their lovely noise. I have issues with noise, if you haven’t noticed. I can ignore children screaming (mostly) and lots of other noises, but construction noise drives me bonkers. Also the humming of fluorescent lights. And you tapping your fingernails together. Ick. Anyway, art progress has been made. I do feel remarkably (or not) unfocused about everything. My school team met yesterday for 2 hours and banged some shit out, and now I feel overwhelmed. That is normal for this time of year, though, so I’m rolling with it.

I bought a bunch of devices for hanging some of my finished small pieces (quilt and embroidery) that are not going to Patreons. My goal today and tomorrow is to get them finished on the devices, photographed, and uploaded to Etsy. The fence wood should be coming in Friday or Saturday, so we can finish the fence next week, right before school starts and I’m online for 7 hours a day (ugh). Progress with tasks.

I worked a little on this one…

The yellow is hard to see. Should have used the blue. Ah well. Blindness caused by embroidery.

I took a long walk yesterday to deal with some of the crap in my head. This was an unexpected addition to this spiky plant I’ve been walking past for months…

And there’s the view of the giant-ass hill I can either go up or down (there are two other hills I can also go up or down…I end up going up one, down this one, and then zigzag up the last one).

Walking tries to clear my head. It’s not always effective.

I try to stay off of Facebook to avoid the crazy shit, but there it is…

First of all, spelling. But I have friends who are good people who can’t spell, so OK. Second of all. Um. Antifa. I really don’t get why people think this is a thing. I consider myself anti-fascist. Now straight up, I studied all these -isms in school, but I had to go read up and make sure I was remembering correctly. Like who isn’t anti-fascist? Besides dictators and their best friends? And Marxism/Socialism, I know those scare people, but it’s just talking about capitalism not being the best for all the people, and maybe we should take care of all the people. I don’t understand why those things are scary. Because you earned your money by pulling up your bootstraps and everyone should have to do that? Well, I’m not telling you which friend this comes from, but I know she doesn’t work for a living. Hasn’t for a really long time. Her husband does though. Must be nice. No really, it must! But capitalism means that some people can’t get a leg up in society, especially with all the racist crap that’s embedded in our society about who gets jobs and who gets to live where and be paid how much. I didn’t respond to this woman because I knew she wouldn’t listen. I do unfriend a lot of these people, and I hovered over this one, but it’s useful to have one or two that I think are nuts so I can read their crazy. Also, protest doesn’t have to be peaceful. It can be angry, especially when us dumbass white folks aren’t listening. For years. But also, Portland isn’t burning down. So much drama.

OK. So there’s cats. They’re easier to deal with…this one is pretending to be flat.

She’s not very good at it.

This one has decided she will climb into the upper shelves of the closet and sleep on my quilt roll.

She dumps a bunch of stuff on the floor every time she clambers up there.

Here’s flat Nova again…

Dayum. Cats sleep a lot. Probably they are lazy and won’t hold down a job, which is why capitalism doesn’t work for them.

Stretchy Kitten. Goddamned socialist. Look at her suck at the tit of my hard work.

Update on the bird poop caterpillars. They are larger. And they have migrated to the stem/trunk of the tree.

I’m keeping track so I know when they go into chrysalis mode.

I’ve been reading here, on the deck…but it is where the concrete trucks are today.

Right over there. Causing headaches.

Yup. That. OK. So I need to do art things today. And school things (videos of mandated reporter and injury stuff and pest management because we will not even be in our classrooms). I might even give up and go take pain meds for the headache. Then try to be chill with my self. Honestly, I cried a lot yesterday and in the middle of the night about work, and I will probably cry again. OK. I have a job (for now). I’m not dying. I’m not sick. I’m not happy, but that’s a normal thing. It will all work out somehow. I should be glad I have some level of choice, even if it’s a hard one. Hard doesn’t mean impossible. It just means not easy.

At Least I Have One A…

Well hey there. It’s Monday. Apparently that’s how new weeks start these days. It’s the first day of my last full week off of school for a long time. I didn’t sleep much last night (thank you, brain. I really appreciate these hours we have together when I am tired and want to stop thinking and you do not agree). I was up earlyish because dogs. And cats. The boychild is up in the mountains helping the old folks (my parents would be offended. They are not old. They are well-seasoned.), so I am the only entertainment for 5 furry beasts. It must suck to be them. So sleep is something they do in the middle of the day…which is why they’re up at 7 AM looking for attention. Ah well. What is sleep? The thing I’m supposed to do more of…that’s what it is. Sigh. Classes I’m enrolled in right now: Sleep, Healthy Diet, Exercise, Sourdough Breadmaking, Artmaking, and Housework. I do pretty well with Healthy Diet and Exercise (although really hot days don’t help with either), so maybe a B there…proficient, but not above and beyond. I rock at Artmaking, straight As on that, definitely going above and beyond. Housework? Eh. A solid C. Same with Sourdough Breadmaking. Proficient? Not great though…maybe almost proficient? Approaching proficiency. Sleep? Fuck me. That’s a D on a good week, and there hasn’t been more than one good week this summer. Let’s not even think about that clusterfuck they called Distance Learning in the Spring. Needs Improvement! It’s not even Emerging or Basic. I guess I know how to do it; I just don’t do it well. At All. That’s me. Better get a work improvement plan going and meet with my parents to motivate my ass to get better at it.

At least I have one A.

So I started the last of the embroidery pieces, the small ones.

I’m going to figure out how to finish the embroideries…I think in hoops. And then the two leftover quilt tops I’ll make into small quilts. They’ll go on Etsy when I’m done. I need to get my act together.

I also drew and numbered the larger Patreon reward piece yesterday. The patron herself is a gardener and makes beautiful things in fabric…so I played off of that when I drew her piece.

It’ll be 10″ finished or so. There’s 111 pieces in it, which isn’t bad. The image itself is about 8 1/4″ square. I did start numbering these tiny flowers, but then decided to embroider them…

And then I was working on the next big quilt…finishing up the drawing…I added COVID in the air…

Flying around, like we now know they do. This drawing was originally done in April, about 30 days after the start of the Shelter-in-Place orders. Before we knew some of the stuff we know now about the disease. So I added some stuff to the bottom, because the original drawing cut off the arm and didn’t go into the ground, and I like to ground my pieces.

I worked on that last night and got it all done…

It’s about 44″ wide and 48″ high right now. Image only. It’ll be bigger than that finished.

Then numbered…

A mere 820 pieces. No worries.

So Wonder Under is the next step for both the big one and the little one.

Just had a discussion with the girlchild about the sourdough not rising enough…

Not enough big spaces…but getting there…

It tastes good though…

And on the gardening front, I planted all these offcuts from a succulent.

One has decided to grow. Hopefully the rest will too. We’ll see.

When the dogs leave on Saturday, there is often a cat convention.

They gather and sometimes play and romp. Sometimes they just want loves.

The dogs when it is hot…

The weekend was ugh warm. It’s cooler today.

Saturday evening’s sky was starting to be pretty…

Below is where my neighbors’ pool will be. We need to move some plants around to block views and noise, I think. It is taking them a long time to get to the next step. I’ll be trying to teach from home (hopefully) while their pool noise is happening? We’ll see.

And then the moon came out…

A lovely summer night. It’s been warm, but it cools off at night. My house doesn’t cool off very quickly unfortunately.

OK, so the day is half gone, but I’ve done some work and Pilates and it doesn’t feel like much, because I was interrupted a few times. I need to go to Costco this week, and I was going to do it today, but now I don’t know. Maybe I should just get it over with, because I find the days fill up and new tasks appear. I have a webinar at 3:30. I need to eat lunch, but I’m already late for that. I can’t remember what else I need to do (hence the bullet journal in the other room). I will be tracing Wonder Under tonight no matter what.

I feel this. I’m waiting for them to request emergency sub plans.

And this…

Cursive is no longer a thing. It’s a coded language we old people can use to confuzzle the youngers. OK. Whatever today is, I need to do some things…sooner rather than later. Gonna do some of that.

Help the Neurons…

Well. I’m so off schedule on everything, it’s like I don’t even have a schedule. I really don’t. I mean, I do, because the bread needs to be cooked and the sourdough starter fed, and I have two whole online Pilates classes a week that I paid for so I can’t miss those, and the occasional social thing where I have to remember what actual fucking day it is, but my phone mostly does all that for me and then I fill in the rest of the time with heating up my already cold tea (I never get to drink a whole cup without some shenanigans) and reading about my fragile white ass. Then I have conversations in my head about what to do about my fragile whiteness and I role play a lot of stuff in my head because there’s like no one to talk to some days except the cats and dogs, and I get in trouble for those conversations because it makes me sound crazy. So there we are. I’ve done a good job this summer of not just descending into totally escapist fiction reading…interspersing mind-opening nonfiction (and some of it is really mind-opening…my favorite part of whatever I read is stories of things that happen in real life and how to deal with them or view them differently or respond to them) every other book, although I think I’m going to have to do two nonfiction in a row, tossing in an online teaching book in between antiracist reading and fiction reading. The start date of school fucking LOOMS like an abominable snowman at the moment (remember that guy? He was sweet. I really liked him) and I have to be ready. For something. I don’t know what yet, but something. And dammit, I’ll be ready for it!

This was on the Teacher Misery Instagram (@teachermisery) today…

So let’s start with the random apostrophes in ‘teacher’s’. Or the hyphenation issues (yeah, you should have some). Yeah. You need a teacher. Second…all the bars are closed where I am, but I can tell you, that when normal school was in session, there was a bar within walking distance of school, and I certainly THOUGHT about, but never visited it, because you can’t teach drunk. I mean, I’m sure some people do, but I had a hard enough time keeping track of everything when ALL my brain cells were firing. Not enough caffeine would throw me off. THIRD, and this might be most important…um, fuck you. Really? WTF do you think we are doing? I know so many people think we get such short days and so many vacations and the WHOLE summer off (seriously, people, I haven’t been paid in over a month and I will start working as soon as someone tells me What The Fuck I’m supposed to be teaching and where and when and how, and that will be WELL before my next paycheck)…these are all the same people who are welcome to spend a day (but better if it’s a week or two) in my shoes (or my not-so-comfortable chair with my computer at an inappropriate height to apparently to start the year). I honestly think this has to be a joke, and if it’s not, if there are some people nodding their heads to this sentiment (they’re the same ones who want part of my paycheck), then I’m just assuming they are thinking what THEY would do if in our situation…again, ignorant of what most teachers are like and what most teachers do. I’m sure there’s some who do stupid shit, just like in every profession, and hopefully they’ll get caught out and fired, but really, I’m looking at how stressed and tied to a computer I was for the last two months of school, and wondering how I’m going to do the next four months. Or six. Or ten. Without killing someone. Or a close and personal relationship with a masseuse.

OK. It has to be a joke. I’m also wondering if parents will be available to discuss their student and their work during all hours of the day and night and over the weekend, because that’s when I answered their communications, as well as those of their children. No? It’s not OK to call at 1 AM? Ah. I see. OK then. (No one called me at 1 AM…kids did email me then, and sometimes I answered them, much to their surprise.)

There will be many opportunities for meditation this year. Just made sure my app was going to autorenew correctly.

So what am I doing with my time these days if I’m not (a) teaching and/or (b) drinking in a bar? Well, I delivered two quilts to the photographer, socially distanced and masked. A little weird, but OK. I also passed the CPR test…good thing. Most of it was online, but there was a 30-minute hands-on assessment that was pretty easy. So I don’t have to worry about that for two more years. Hopefully I won’t need it. I have some Patreon rewards I’m trying to finish…I only needed one, so I planned to make six? Don’t even ask. I ironed the three quilt ones down on Thursday…first onto a teflon sheet…

Then to a background fabric…

This part doesn’t take long…

On these small pieces, I’m keeping track of the time it takes to make them…

Just to know…whatever doesn’t go to Patreon will go to Etsy…

Everything I do is time-based…so I know how much to charge without getting sentimental.

Then I stitched them all down…and then here, I did the line I usually quilt with, although these aren’t three layers.

My sewing machine was being really cranky, so I had to rip out a bunch of stitches on the stitch down. It was a pain. I did the linework today during my quilt guild meeting.

My machine goes in for service in September. That’s a ways away.

Honestly, I don’t know why it behaves the way it does. It’s inconsistent.

I had absolutely no issues with it in that last monster of a quilt. None. It was amazing. These tiny things? It’s being a dumbass. It is hot, though, and sometimes that’s the issue. Whatever.

I also washed and ironed these…

So I’m going to give the one Patreon a choice and then decide how to finish the others and put them on Etsy.

They’re not big or fancy. I do have one embroidery left to do, but I also need to do a larger 10″ square quilt for one of my higher-tiered Patreon patrons, so that’s next. Well, that and the next quilt. I went and enlarged two drawings on Friday, and yesterday, spent some time putting one of them together…

I enlarged them from a 14×17″ drawing 250%. It’s a good size…

None of these cats are helping. I added some to the bottom because I had cut off part of the arm in the drawing and it just looked weird.

So I’m working on the bottom piece right now. Then I’ll number it and we’ll see where we’re at. It’s a COVID Daughter, so one of the Daughter-series quilts I’ve done, but a little bigger than the other two. OK, possibly a lot bigger, because I think I started the other two in my smaller sketchbook and enlarged them 200-300%? Yeah. Must be because one is only 28″ wide and the other is 40″ wide…we’ll see what this one ends up being.

It’s nice to go straight into another quilt. This last one took so long, four months long, and I need to get some more work done. I say this and work is about to blow up my schedule for the foreseeable future. Because I’ll be in BARS ALL THE TIME. Oh wait. No I won’t. I’ll be redesigning curriculum for online learning with a system I haven’t learned yet. No worries. Using a scope and sequence I will see ‘soon’. On a curricular system I have barely used. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Yeah. With about 150 students, I’m thinking. We’ll see how many go to charters or pull out of school completely…and then how many trickle back over the year. Our turnover is high in a normal year. I think this year will be a clusterfuck.

I still don’t even know if we will be allowed to choose where we teach, whether at home or in the classroom. Most days, I would choose to be here, unless the temperatures are too high or my internet is too sucky. Less exposure to humans is good right now. Right, Simba?

The dogs enjoy deck time with me after I let Calli in the pool…

Oh yeah, I did a drawing the other night too…

For my Patreon…I added more lines the next morning…

Scanned it, cleaned it up, and sent it out to them. I have enough for a coloring book, but no time or money to make that. Someday.

I finally gave up on passing the sourdough starter float test…it was doubling in size and bubbling like crazy. So I cooked this today…

We’ll see what the inside looks like later. Hopefully tasty.

These guys, bird poop caterpillars (precursor to the Swallowtail butterfly), showed up on my lemon tree…

The man thinks these are the small version of them…

Hard to say. For now, I let them live. Though they are ugly.

Have I mentioned that it’s hot here?

There are many animals just lying around, trying to get as flat as possible. We humans might be some of them.

Well, it’s almost dinner time on Saturday…I told you I was off my schedule. To my credit, I did Pilates on Zoom this morning, plus a guild meeting and all that other stuff. I’m doing OK. I don’t know what dinner looks like, but I know I’m not cooking it. I also need to finish a book before the library sucks it back, and maybe finish that drawing. We’ll see. Sunday might be more productive. It might not. It will be cooler though, and that will help the neurons fire a little faster. One hopes.

Following Me Around Like a Fly on a Scab…

Hey, Portland…I like your style. Now the veterans have shown up. Keep being you. We need to be able to protest wrongdoing, especially by the government. Hey, y’all, I’m deep in the summer teacher head of panic and lack of focus. We go back to school in THREE WEEKS. By back to school, I mean on a computer with a bunch of kids I’ve never met. With internet that is rampantly bitchy and flighty as hell. With who-knows-what curriculi. Yeah, I know that’s not a word. I just like it. It’s all good! We will survive. Hopefully. I mean, I say that, but there’s a pandemic on, so some of us (the larger Teacher Us) will not. Hopefully those I know and love will survive…and I’m already pissed off about those who have died and those who will die. I noticed that one of the teachers my kids had is retiring (probably early, probably because of all this)…I didn’t think she was much older than I am, if that…but if she’s been teaching since she got out of college, that would make sense. I’d walk away from it if I could afford it. I can’t though. So there we are. I love many things about teaching (and hate a few too, but mostly those are administrative)…and would totally miss it, but I don’t want to die because of it. No one does. And hospitals are much cleaner environments than middle schools, so don’t use that excuse. I think we should have pandemic-trained staff from a local hospital come train us on cleaning. I know I will be cleaning more because I won’t trust anyone else to have done it well enough. I want to do it well and right. In my spare time. In between planning and prepping and grading. Oh my.

OK, so enough of the worry and anxiety that is following me around like a fly on a scab. I didn’t get much done in the last 24 hours, except delivering a quilt and gaming for a few hours. We survived that…iffy wormhole and all. I stitched during gaming…it helps me concentrate when I’m not rolling dice and throwing out random suggestions for tractor beams and transporting to a fluctuating vehicle.

Green row done, started lighter blue. Hopefully I’ll finish tonight. I’ve got two more to do.

If you look back through my posts, you’ll see that I liked a foundation paper-pieced quilt called the Tattoo quilt, by Berene Campbell of Happy Sew Lucky. I briefly considered paper piecing the damn thing and quickly realized that my sanity is worth more to me than that. Don’t get me wrong, according to those making the quilt (there’s a group going on FB), Berene’s patterns, explanations, and videos are totally what I would need to do an awesome job on this, and the group is very helpful. I actually read a lot of the helping posts, because I like to know how to do things, but I just don’t have the patience for this right now. Plus it’s huge, and the last thing I need is another huge quilt in the house. So I got crazy and decided to do hand applique instead (I’m good at that) and to also shrink it to 50%. Yeah. I told you it was crazy. I redrew all the blocks at 50% for applique…last night, I finished up the last few…

And did the center block, which is larger…

And then inked and numbered all of them…

This one has 100 pieces, but most of them have a lot less than that. Plus yeah, they’re smaller…

Now I just need to see what I have that will work for a background for all of them and start picking fabrics. I do other people’s patterns all the time. It’s the vacation/hobby for the art brain. So when I’m flailing all over the place and can’t focus, this is what I can do. This is easy. So many people don’t understand why I don’t just make art all the time. I can’t. I need a break…sometimes I just need something that someone else designed. Despite my redraw for applique, this is Berene’s design, totally.

My bullet journal font for next week was totally stolen from someone else, and then I messed around with it, because I only had three letters to go from, and then they had a lot more space, so I had to adjust. I had some time this morning and just needed to doodle.

Today is all fabric. And a walk. Plus dinner and a movie. Here. In the home. Where there are no virions rolling around. Hopefully.

So no real quilt work yesterday. Too tired. Dealing with other things. Katie (my parents’ dog) is still here, and although she’s been pretty chill (except when the fire alarm went off to tell me it had a low battery), the kittens have been extremely wary.

Mostly Nova is hiding…

But see that wide-eyed stare? That’s because Katie just came in the room.

Luna’s stare is a little less psychotic-looking, but not by much…

Up high is safe. Today Katie is visiting the ex’s house for a 24-hour respite for the cats. Even my cat hides from Katie, but now they are all out and hopefully relaxing. It’s OK…Katie goes home tomorrow, but she’ll be back in August! Oh boy! Hopefully the cats will get used to her…eventually.

OK, I have a ton of watering to do today. I also need to pick fabrics for a bunch of small quilts and put the binding and sleeves on the big quilt. I should have plenty to work on while watching the movie that has not yet been chosen. I also think I’m supposed to make bread today. Or tomorrow. I think today or I will be hiking and that will be an issue…OK. Plans made. Do float test on starter. Pick some fabrics. No. Sew binding on first. Do the yucky things first. I hate the machine-sewing part on a big quilt. It just takes forever. The hand-sewing part is relaxing. I’m OK with that taking forever. I’ve got some couch time coming up…that’s a good thing.

Head-Clearing Events…

The big old lady dog is currently harassing me because she wants to go in the pool, but the pool guy was just here today and dumped chlorine in there, so it’s a no-pool day, lady.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will throw the pine cone in and you can fetch it. Four times, because more than that tires you out too much. This is the joy I give you in your last months, old lady. Water. Pine cones. The occasional piece of bread. Enjoy.

So Saturday was a tense day. I couldn’t get my head out of school. I finally went out on the deck and drew for a while…

This is the place where I should spend more time sitting. I forget. I was honestly feeling too tense to even draw. It was slow. I was pulling it out like extricating a tick from really juicy dog flesh.

I gave up at one point and went for a 3-mile walk. Hike. Not sure what to call these.

Head-clearing events. Came back, we dealt with dinner, which is more and more annoying. No, I don’t want more takeout. Sigh. Takeout it is. So I worked on this for a little bit.

Not hard. Just time-consuming. And then went back to the drawing, because I didn’t have the energy to quilt.

It’s pretty good, actually. I’m not sure what I’m doing on the other side, but it will be bad. I think. We’ll see. It took the walk for me to decide what needed to go on the top.

I also managed on Saturday to adjust sound to a portion of a video clip, the part where the dogs started rampantly barking.

Oh yeah. Them’s some barks. Success! This program is not always easy to use. Thanks to Google and YouTube for always having the answer. Or at least directions.

Last night, I did more of this…with the little boy.

He is sad that the girlchild is gone and mopes in a variety of places.

I also finally started quilting the background last night. I did one whole long side, plus a goodly chunk of the background at the top, on one side, but not above the angels. If that makes any sense at all.

I can’t say that I have 2 sides done, or even 1 1/2, because mostly I did stuff in the middle, but not all of it. If you get what I mean. There’s more. Lots more. Possibly no end in sight. No, not really. This is a good place, because the end is just right THERE. After three more sides and some more crap in the middle.

We keep finding dead things on the property. There was a dead baby bird. I don’t know where it went. Then this dead baby rodent, probably mouse or rat…

And this poor dragonfly…

It’s funny, because most bugs are yucky, so why aren’t dragonflies? Why are they so not yucky? Are they really that much prettier than a beetle? I just don’t know. Neither does Simba, but he was happily rubbing his head on the dead rodent before the boychild removed it.

So much for dog tastes.

The milkweed has gone to seed.

I didn’t see any self-seeded plants pop up from last year’s batch. Too bad. I wonder if I should collect and plant some? Or just let it all be natural. I’m inclined toward the latter. It’s easier.

I posted this on the SAQA So Ca/NV Instagram.

I was looking around at my own purchases. I’ve bought mostly online. I’ve been in two stores, one for the background and hopefully the binding on this beast. We’ll see. I haven’t tried them yet against the actual quilt. Then the siren song of fabric near my Pilates studio…masked and hand sanitized. I don’t usually buy very much fabric online, so that’s been different. That’s probably true for a lot of us though.

OK, so it’s late in the day. Boychild and I put two posts up for the privacy fence we’re building. I then ran errands, returns mostly, couldn’t get the wood and concrete I needed, so I came home. I’m doing a Zoom Pilates class, which is a little nerve-wracking. I did them from recorded classes before, but never live. We’ll see how it goes. Then off to buy more concrete so I can finish the two posts tonight and we can do two more tomorrow. I’m tired now. I also did a full klutz trip and fall in a parking lot today. Scraped up one knee. Got up, realized an entire car of older ladies was watching, so I did that arm thing they do at the end of a gymnastics routine. I’m sure there’s a name for that. No scores were posted. Yes, I am that weirdo. Hopefully quilting tonight. I want to be done. I want to do something new. Something smaller too.

Just Trying…

So hi y’all. I’m trying to listen to a webinar about teachers and ADA accommodations while typing this. Boychild and I bought wood and concrete and metal bits for the next bit of fence, which is more of a privacy fence. It’ll be shorter than the other one, and we don’t have to speed through it. This time, we have no dad or girlchild help, but we should be OK. I’m excited about all the progress we’ve made this year on the yard…probably being on quarantine has helped. When you are stuck at home for hours and days and weeks and months, you try to make where you live better, right? So that’s a positive effect of all this crazy shit. Tomorrow, we’ll start setting posts. The wood barely fits in my car, so we’ll have to go back for the next batch. I’m hoping we’ll be done next week sometime.

What else has been going on? Waiting for my sourdough starter to pass the float test. I was going to start bread again, but I’ll have to wait. It’s OK. Tomorrow will still be fine.

So Sunday night, I cleaned a floor. It wasn’t my turn, but I needed it clean. Then I pieced two giant pieces of fabric and laid them out.

Yeah. It’s big. I had to move the bench and all the crap that was on it to get wide enough on the floor.

The batting was next, and then the quilt top.

There was a lot of kneeling to do this, also two fans blowing on me the whole time. It was hot.

From there, I already had the thread and I put that whole huge beast on my lap and started quilting last night.

This thing is a behemoth and requires a lot of pushing and shoving. But it’s meditative. I was listening to “This Podcast Will Kill You” about radiation…

Interesting stuff. All while this old girl sitting behind me…

And this one to my right…

And this cat is very flat.

What else am I doing? I’m putting together the second video for my Patreon, about how I do the smaller Patreon rewards. I’ll be doing some as embroidery and some as tiny quilt tops.

The one on the left will be embroidery and the one on the right will be a quilt. I drew this one today and recorded it.

And then there is this…

The webinar ends with “Just trying to keep you safe and alive.” Ah yes. That. Dissonance with my coworkers. And other people. “Kids need to be in school” does not match up with “I need to take care of myself.” We’ll see what the school year looks like. Messy, I’m sure. Scary, absolutely. Sad and difficult and stressful.

So I need a walk tonight. And hopefully I’ll keep quilting tonight. It will take me 20 hours or so to do this whole thing, so it’ll be a while. I will hopefully even get to a point where I can quilt during the day, but I haven’t gotten there yet. Too many other tasks need doing. But it’s something I’m aiming for in the next few days.

My Other Other Job…

Well I am totally off my writing schedule at the moment. Blame my other job. No, wait…my other other job. My job is teaching. My other job is art. My other other job is copyediting. Good news! I’m done with that project, so I can finally take some time off and pretend to be on vacation. Well, as much as anyone can when it’s hot as hell and you can’t go anywhere. But we have our health! It’s interesting, because I keep hearing from people (locally and otherwise), “do you actually KNOW someone who’s gotten sick and/or died from this?” Well yes…to both. Secondarily knowing on the death part, so no need for condolences here…but if you’re sitting around on the beach in San Diego with your mojito and wondering what’s the big fucking deal…you’ll see eventually. It’s too bad you can’t listen to the experts and behave accordingly. Because there are at least two restaurants we won’t go back to for takeout because they weren’t enforcing mask rules, so now they have lost business. And there are a few other places I avoid for similar reasons. At this point, with numbers ramping up in Southern California, my goal is to stay out of the hospital and not get sick, so they won’t have to decide whether I get to live or not…because I won’t need to force them to make that choice.

So here I am, with another small fence that needs building (starting that this week, going a little slower, because it’s not a dog-escape issue), a quilt that needs finishing (batting arrived yesterday and is ready to go), a bunch of other art stuff that needs doing (bits and pieces of starting and finishing this and that), and a little more free time on my hands. That sounds good, because I need some serious meditation time coming up. I feel the future teacher anxiety on my shoulders, and I’m not even one of the four teachers going back to school tomorrow. Hell, I’m anxious for them. And the kids. This school year, though…deep breaths…gonna need my calm mojo (ha!)…wait, gonna need to make some calm mojo, because that’s not how I roll under stress, unfortunately.

Anyway, if you wonder about copyediting, here’s what I did…

Not bad. I deleted a lot of those comments too, because we resolved them before I sent it back. It’s just easier that way. Those were mostly reference issues. This is my 5th book with this author, which is nice, because it’s easier to figure out their patterns when you continue to work with them. Luckily, he likes what I do. I don’t do a lot of copyediting, usually only one or two projects a year, just to help with some of the additional expenses that come up. This money will be for tree trimming. I’m debating whether to get it done now (probably the best plan) or wait until after summer, when I know I won’t need the money for the summer. I don’t get paid for teaching again until the end of August, which is a little painful. I try to plan for it, but no one plans for a pandemic, right? Well, maybe we should from here on out.

Saturday was mostly copyediting, but I did need to make more pancakes using up the sourdough starter…trained by the girlchild…

No, I did not eat all those…I froze those puppies for breakfasts. Easy peasy.

Then in the afternoon, I had a quilt guild meeting…I forgot to take a picture during the meeting, so this is what you have…

I worked on this while watching the meeting. I don’t like sitting still; I guess that’s obvious.

Then I copyedited all the other minutes of the day, until dinner time or so…it was hot, so we did this…

Tonight’s dinner was very similar. It’s cooler outside than it is inside too, although there are bugs. Bitey bugs. I didn’t manage any bug bites the last two nights though, so that’s a plus. It’s too hot for the biters to come out. Interesting conundrum. Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler.

Then we sat around and listened to 80s music and hung out and I tried to finish the book that is due back to the library (electronically) tomorrow. Then I cut some 6″ pieces of paper and drew some things for Patreon rewards and/or Etsy. Did I embroider more? Hard to say.

So I’ll do one version in embroidery and one as a tiny quilt top. So that’s four more? I think I have one person who’s on this reward level, so once she chooses one (after I make them all), then I’ll put the others on Etsy I think. Then I need to do a 10″ design…a few versions…so I’m thinking of ideas for those.

For my next quilt, I think I’m going to do another daughter…so far, I only have two, right? I think? Time for another. I have a Rona Daughter already drawn. I’m still debating what an antiracist quilt by a white old lady would look like. What am I trying to say? I’m not saying it to BIPOC…I’m saying it to the white ladies who don’t get it. Some voted for Trump; some don’t vote. Some say racist things. Some just think them. Some are mostly OK people but have a few stereotypes that need to be banished from their minds. I’m second-guessing myself constantly at the moment, trying to figure my own brain issues out on that continuum. How do I show white privilege to those who don’t see it? So that’s percolating in my brain.

Meanwhile, I have batting and I just need to piece a backing, clean the entryway floor, lay the whole thing out, and pinbaste it. And if I’m smart, I’m gonna do that at night, when it’s notionally cooler.

Although it is night right now and I am sitting in the dark with a fan blowing on me, and I am still too hot.

Last night was too hot for cats…

Apparently flat spaces are good though.

This is the light table, cleared for cat occupancy.

OK, normally in this last paragraph is where I figure out my plan for the day, but it’s currently after 8 PM. I’m going to start by cleaning the floor where I would lay this all out, and then piecing a backing. Then I will decide how I feel and maybe drink a gallon of water to make up for all the sweating I’m going to do in the entryway that has no windows while kneeling on the floor and pinning things together. Then maybe I will collapse somewhere (hopefully not on the entryway floor due to heat exhaustion) and finish my book before the library sucks it back from me. You should wish me luck. Then tomorrow I can quilt! With two fans on me…because when it’s a million degrees is exactly when you should have an 80″-square quilt on your lap. Mmmmhmmm.

That’s What Summer Is for…

Ah yes. It’s late on Friday night. Well, not super late, but late enough that many of you have said goodbye to Friday (if you even know it’s Friday at all) and some are well into Saturday. Or Sunday. I can’t tell. Australia, you are crazy with the days and hours thing and it could be August by now for you all as far as I know. Plus it’s winter and that just blows my mind. In fact, I think I want to live there just for a year or so, just so I can come back and NOT think that August equals hot and February equals rain, but only a little bit, because we are Southern California in a drought for all eternity.

Why am I writing so late? Well, there was a chance on Wednesday of going to the zoo, and that didn’t happen, so today ended up being the only day available forever more that wouldn’t be a weekend, and when you’re trying to avoid people, weekends are not the way to go, so we got our butts out of bed at a reasonable hour and went to the zoo. More on that later, but it was a better social-distancing experiment than I think school will be, although there were times when I thought, oh yeah, this is JUST LIKE what school will be like, and it was mostly when I was around either people or primates. Wait. We’re primates. So it’s the damn primates. We don’t do this well. Although really, I’d rather hang with the orangutans. Not the baboons. Them’s vicious bastards. MORE LATER.

So I wrote on Wednesday last, and Wednesday night, I did some stitch down…

And I kind of got to this point where I said I would use the two meetings (both social, online) I had on Thursday to finish the stitchdown, because I had other stuff (sewing stuff) I had to finish and I needed the machine for that, and I hate switching needles and thread, so I just went for it…

It’s been hot. I have two fans I’m using in here.

And besides having to be the expert on whether or not we should open schools next month [um. If you won’t open a restaurant, why the fuck would you open a school? Because you hate teachers and want them to die? Don’t even ask me about the kids who will get sick and potentially die (none here in the age group I teach, which is great, but won’t continue if we open schools), and worse, take the disease home to family members.]. Wait, I was in the middle of a sentence. Besides having to be the expert on opening schools (no. don’t.), I just stitched.

And at 10 hours and 7 minutes…

I was done. The batting will be here tomorrow, but I had other things I had to get done, so my backing isn’t pieced yet…hopefully Sunday.

My quilt guild had a stitch along for the last 4 or 5 weeks (I can’t count. Please don’t make me.), and I needed to be done by midnight tonight. Yesterday, after finishing the stitchdown, I trimmed all the blocks…except one was too small.

Yup. That red one. I added a strip to make it work. And then I laid them all out again, and because I’d seen some other people spread them out more, I got a stupid bug up my butt and pulled 5 of the blocks out of the center bit, added more white/black, and pushed them into the border…

Because why make it easy? In fact, I have no need for an abstract quilt on the wall, so this needs to be even bigger. IDK what I will do about that, but I did piece the whole center together last night.

And then put the borders on today, after the zoo.

Looks good. All I need to do is decide how I will make it bigger, sandwich, quilt it, bind it, and then toss it on the couch for cats and dogs to sleep on it. Right? Sure. The point is that I finished it on time. The pattern is Abstract Arcs by Cotton and Bourbon. Look! I pieced something.

I’m still trying to finish all the grass on this, Folk Tails, by Sue Spargo. I found another spool of green thread and jokingly said I knew I was done with the grass when I’d run out of green thread. Um. No. So this was after Thursday’s second meeting of the day…

At this point, I think I’m done with the bottom three rows, but when I look at it like this, I see stuff that bugs me…so when I sewed these two blocks, they had the grass already on them, unlike the bits I’ve been adding. But it’s so obvious that it stops at the edge of the block that it bugs me…

So I had to go in and add more grass over the seams to make it look less like straight lines. Taking photos of this stuff helps see crazy things like that, which will drive me nuts if I don’t fix them. Then tonight during gaming, I kept going on the grass…yeah, I know there’s a cat on there, but I might be close to done with grass stitching.

I’m seeing maybe one or two places that need more. “MORE”, because if you look at her photo of it on the website, she added a gazillion more bits of grass from the pattern, and I don’t have that kind of patience. So the next step is to put the borders on. Wow. Another almost finished Sue Spargo Block of the Month. Well done.

So I also drew two more of the tattoo quilt blocks…

Again, these aren’t mine. I’m taking a paper-piecing pattern by Happy Sew Lucky and shrinking it and turning it into applique. I like the images, but I don’t like paper piecing. I also need to draw some stuff for the next Patreon rewards. Maybe that will also be tomorrow. We’ll see.

If you’ve met me more than once or twice, you know this about me.

Strangely, it does not translate to my on-video self.

OK, so the zoo. We were there for about 2 1/2 hours, and at the end, we were mostly done with people. There were more and more who were either lame as fuck about social distancing, or wouldn’t move out of the way so everyone could see the animals, or would get in our personal space, or flat out weren’t wearing a mask. That last category was pretty small, actually, which is a good thing. I feel like all school year, I will be saying, “Mask ON. Six FEET.” T-shirts to come. That said, it was outside and a walk and the baby animals are cute as hell…

The baby orangutan playing with the baby siamang.

They were adorable.

There were lots of sleeping cats…

It was a warm day.

Honestly, even mine sleep in this heat…

Except this guy…

A new dad who kept coming over to this fence to check out mom and babies…

She was, in the way of all new moms, fully into Fuck Off, You Did This to Me, and hanging with the babes.

So the baboons were yelling at each other and chasing each other around the enclosure.

Let me be clear, the ones with penises were chasing each other and everyone else was just running around either trying to figure out what was going on, or trying to avoid it. Just like in real life. So many things to feel about that. We never figured out what was really wrong…also like real life.

This baboon had the best hair.

I mean, I know they groom each other, but my hair NEVER looks that good. I was jealous.

Yes, this is a photo of a tapir peeing in the water. Not because it was peeing but because the pee was making this crystalline pattern in the water…

Which you can sort of see here, but it was much more impressive in person. Me wondering about the chemical properties of tapir pee. Really.

Secretary birds are just weird.

Some guy walked by and said they were ugly. Nah. Just fascinating.

I don’t find many animals ugly. Humans? Well, that’s another story, but it’s really the insides and not the outsides.

Lots of funny little birds to be seen.

This is hanging down bird…

And its twin…wait…it’s still a hanging bird, but this one is doing it wrong…

Or maybe it was called an upside-down bird. Can’t remember. That was its name though…the assumption that it was always upside down.

The flamingos are probably the most photographed bird at the zoo…

Because they’re bright and flashy and right up front.

Otis the hippo was born in 1976, I think.

He’s very still.

This tiger was finding food in hidden locations…

Kudos to the zoo keepers for keeping them hunting…

It was a nice morning out…well worth it. And I felt less violated by people than I do when going shopping, so that was a plus. I’d do it again.

Calli’s not sure.

I took her in the pool for a cooling-off swim…

Yes, Luna is even squishier than she was last time.

I don’t understand this.

We still have monarchs on the milkweed…

Always nice. Oh yeah, and I made blueberry cobbler to use up the berries before they went bad.

I think I like a crisp more than a cobbler, in case anyone is keeping track. There are more berries coming. I’ll make the crisp next week.

OK, it’s late and I’m tired. I’m going to do the dishes I got dirty and then go to bed. Tomorrow, I’ll finish the copyediting and go to the quilt guild zoom, and then see what else I have the energy for…maybe nothing. And that’s OK. I have been working pretty steadily all week. It’ll be nice not to be copyediting or doing school for once. But then we need to do the other fence…so that’s a different kind of work. And more art! I need to make more art. That’s what summer is for.

Usually My Fault…

Well I am mostly braindead today. My fault for going to bed late. It’s usually my fault, eh? Plus yesterday was mostly copyediting and not a lot else. I want to be done with it so I can just do art all the time. I’m getting close. The references were yesterday…today is up in the air. It’s the man’s birthday and we were going to go to the zoo, which is still open, yay, but he’s also braindead, so we’re debating doing it later or doing it another day. Sometimes sitting around and doing nothing all day is a thing. I personally feel like I do too much of that already, but then I remember that if I’m doing that (or doing silly things that don’t further my art or my work in some way), there’s a reason for it. My brain is pretty good at trying to give me space. Like stop reading Facebook or watching the news because all that shit about schools needing to open and withholding federal and state funding if you don’t…sigh, this country is fucked up at the moment. OK, it’s always fucked up, but this is beyond the usual fucked-up mess. Frustrating as hell.

Anyway, so on Monday, I was also not very functional, but it’s because I did the 17 million errands including the dentist and the TB test (which I have to get checked before 1:20 PM tomorrow…no, I don’t have it…how could I? I’m literally around almost no one on a regular basis), and I think that was the first time I had an almost-normal errand run in four months and it killed me. Not really, but I was tired and covered in hand sanitizer by the end of it. By the way, those automatic hand sanitizers? I’m lame when it comes to using those. They scare me. It keeps shooting the sanitizer out while I’m trying to get away from it. Oh yeah, and the dog had his teeth cleaned, so I spent about 2 hours dealing with the vet on either end of that. So it’s no wonder that I got very little else done. I did do a bunch of stitch down, because it was easy to do…

I am 6 hours into the stitch down…I guessed 9-10 hours total and I might be in that range. I am more than halfway now…I’m on the top half of the central figure and then have the two angels. Hopefully I’ll get some done tonight. I’m wavering on when to finish this one. I have to make a new smaller one and have it photographed by August 1. I think. Or I can choose to keep doing this one. I just don’t know. Today is not the day for decision making, that’s for sure. This whole week might be a goner for that.

Sometimes the back is really interesting too. I need to remember to cut pieces for that one corona virion where 4 of the parts disappeared. Maybe after writing this I will remember to do that.

So yesterday, after copyediting, I had no brain left. I just wanted to sit and stitch, but nothing hard. No decisions. So I pulled out the Sue Spargo Homegrown and finished stitching down the rest of February’s houses.

They are comforting in the process and bright colors. Although they are all wonky. I like wonky, luckily. I pulled out March this morning, so I could prep it for the next mental-fail day. Have I done any embellishment on these? No. No I have not. Don’t judge.

So the other crazy thing my brain decided on back in May was to do this Tattoo quilt by Happy Sew Lucky aka Berene Campbell. I sent you to read her reasons for making the blocks in the first place. I think that’s where I originally found her quilt, was in reading about quilt artists who make work in response to shit that’s going on. The graphic quality of her quilt spoke to me as well, and I bought the patterns. I knew they were foundation paper piecing (FPP), which I’ve done exactly one block of…ever. I think in the beginning I thought I might try it again, but no. I’m not. I’m really not. I also don’t want a huge quilt. I don’t have a lot of wall space and wouldn’t put this on a bed with the psychotic animals who live here, so I let it simmer in my brain for a LOOONG time. She’s doing a stitch along of sorts, one block a month; she sends out great info, these are awesome patterns, and the FB page where people are sharing their color versions is great inspiration. It doesn’t hurt that Tula Pink also made one using her fabrics, so people are swooning over it. If that gets Berene more income, I am totally for that. But here I am, not willing to FPP (my sanity is important), but wanting to make it, but not wanting it to be that big. Hmm. Respecting the artist’s work is also important to me, but I did buy all the patterns, so I am less worried about that at the moment. I’m not UNworried about my plans…just less worried.

So yeah. First I cut out a piece of paper the size of the image as she designed them. And I stared at that for a full 2 hours. Maybe. OK. I cut it out, looked at it, and walked away from it. Then came back. Then walked away again. Filed it in the part of my brain that processes art shit and let it do it’s thang.

And then came back and sized it in half. So a 10×16″ block image is now 5×8″. Uh huh. That’s tiny. But doable. Next step…redraw for applique. Yeah. Seriously. It’s my preferred way to make quilts, usually fused applique, but I think for this, it’s simple enough and I get enough satisfaction from the hand applique, that I should do that. I may hate myself after doing all those letters like A and R and P with the fucking tiny holes in them, but I’ve been hand appliqueing since I was in my early 20s and I’m pretty good at it, so whatever. And this is my quilt. I get to do what I want. I started with the block for July, Truth. A good one.

Ah, wonkiness, you are my bestest friend. I’ll go over this with pen and straighten some shit up. And then I did the next three months…

Some are easier to redraw logically than others. But I like it. I’m going to keep going. If you think these are cool, go buy all Berene’s patterns and make her happy too. I realize she might not be thrilled with what I’m doing…it’s hard to know how artists will go with redoing their stuff, like adding to it or using different colors, cool, but redrawing it into a different technique…I just don’t know. ALWAYS buy their stuff before you do anything like this. It’s definitely not cool if you don’t buy their stuff.

Damn, I miss this kid. She’s far away.

Thinking about selling her car.

This cat, thinking about nothing but being right where her mommy is.

Every time. She follows me all over the house. She’s in here now, occupying the green fabric drawer again…as Luna continues to occupy plastic.

She mostly fits in there. It doesn’t look comfortable, but I’m not a cat, so WTF do I know.

OK. I still have no idea what’s happening today, so I’ll start copyediting and see where we go from there. I’m also going to plan on doing some stitch down tonight (or even during the day, you just don’t know!) and maybe some prep on that Homegrown quilt, or maybe I’ll look at my drawn daughters and see if one could be a quilt. Honestly, it’s the 8th of July…could I finish another quilt before the end of the month anyway? I don’t know. I could if I could get my brain in gear and work more hours a day. Uh huh. Anyway. This post was interrupted by the girlchild and car things and lunch. Still nothing has been decided for today. It’s OK. I should go get my TB test looked at. Like now. OK. Plan for short term. Long term will follow.

Thread Change, Foot Change…

Well the news is good and my brain is fuzz. Not that the brain is fuzz is anything new, right?

Girlchild got a negative test result, so we all rejoiced and she ate toast and sat outside (this is a thing if you are stuck in your room) and then booked her a new flight to Boston at holy fuck in the morning tomorrow.

These were flight faces. Because American and United Airlines are dumbfucks who just got rid of social distancing. And our original carrier, JetBlue, had no cheap flights left, so it’s Delta…which is social distancing, thank you, Delta. She’ll have to self-quarantine for two weeks when she gets back, but so will half her apartment, so I don’t know what that looks like when there’s no food and someone didn’t clean the bathroom for three months.

So my brain has been fuzz. I wanted to finish piecing these blocks for my quilt guild before I did the stitch down on the big quilt, because once it’s on the machine, it’s a pain to switch back to normal stitching. Thread change, foot change, pain in the butt change. So on Tuesday night, I pieced some things…

I used the same templates but switched where I put the sections in color and the sections in black and white. I also added some brighter yellow (it’s the same fabric…just a different section of it)…

Because the other one didn’t seem bright enough. That got me to 18 blocks.

Then yesterday, I had an online union info meeting for an hour and a half, so I pieced 2 more…

A brighter blue this time…

Ah yeah, I need to square these suckers up. And cut 2 more in the purple…

Ready for my online stitching meeting today. I have 20 blocks…

Only 5 to go. Hopefully done today so I can start stitch down. I think I’ll do two more green blocks with a different green fabric and then IDK what the last one will be. Whatever’s left? We’ll see what it thinks it needs. LISTEN to the quilt.

This is one of those things my brain does at the beginning of summer, when I’m still in recovery from school. Plus copyediting is sucking up some valuable brainspace, so that’s not a bad thing.

This baby girl. Well, she’s 11+. I spent time on the phone with the oncologist yesterday. It’s not good.

But she’s not in pain and not having breathing problems, so we have some time. She gets lots of treats. And she’s a good girl. She wants to be wherever I am most of the day, so that’s cool.

I had to do the drawing on Tuesday evening for my Patreon…

It was fast and furious. Sometimes they are. It would make an interesting small quilt (not quite that small). Those root things are a pain in the butt in fabric. But they look cool.

Anyway…

Summer Nova. Makes me want a hammock.

It’s Thursday. I type that so I will remember. My new best friend (besides Calli) will be my sourdough starter. With the girlchild leaving, I am going to try to be a big girl and make bread. It’s fucking complicated, so I will have to spend more time with dough and starter than with any other human on the planet. It already feels that way…friends are far away, and with some of the stuff coming out about school, even the teacher friends will be far away and not necessarily on the same schedule as me. Go eat by yourself! Teach by yourself! (well, we always did that) Plan? You might be able to do that with someone 6 feet away. Book club and stitching and quilting? Nah. Still far away, on a Zoom call. I will miss my kid, for sure.

Today? I need to copyedit for a while, then finish the 5 blocks while on a social Zoom. Then IDK what. Stitch down? We’ll see. Moody today. Hopefully that will resolve. Maybe if I talk to my quilts more it will…