Right Eyelid Is Twitching…

This is the last Friday of the school year. Well, the last Friday I have kids. I have to check out of school (ha ha ha, wow, might have already mentally done that, not really, because I’m still making stuff for next week and grades aren’t done) next Friday. I’m supposed to clean up my room, but I did that last year, so I guess I just have to make sure whoever’s been in there didn’t leave anything behind, plus drop off all my electronics and make people sign my paper about keys and shit. But TODAY is the last Friday I have students on Zoom. Hopefully EVER. Seriously. Zoom. Ugh. I need a long long long break from teaching, from creating curriculum from scratch with zero help from my district, from sitting in that chair that won’t even stay in the right position any more, because I’ve been sitting in it 5 days a week for a solid healthy chunk of the last 16 months. UGH.

I’m exhausted, but I always am. It feels more exhausted than usual, but that probably doesn’t matter. It feels more emotional than usual, but so has the entire year. I have grades almost done for 2/5 classes. The other 3 will be done by Tuesday. I have a lot going on before that, but I’m going to do my best to get them done quickly.

As you can see, I’m writing end-of-year quiz things and only have half my brain working.

I finished the science one on Wednesday; art is taking me longer. Harder to write those questions, because we didn’t so much study content as technique, and that’s harder to ask a question about with one right answer. So I’m getting there. I need them by Monday. It will be fine.

At the end of the day, I reward myself with artmaking…the drawing got done on Wednesday night…

And then I numbered it.

627 pieces for a quilt this small is a little crazy. Oh well.

At least the pieces are small, right?

And yes, that’s blood on the drawing. I have an owie on my elbow that won’t heal because I keep leaning on it. Maybe when I’m done teaching it will have time to heal up.

Last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under.

Yeah, I’m exhausted, but I feel better if I’ve done something non-school-related every day. Besides watering the plants and feeding the animals. So I do this. This stage is pretty brainless, which is good, because I don’t have much of a functional brain right now.

I had my Zoom stitching meeting last night and worked on (and fucked up on) this…

It’s OK…I didn’t read the instructions right so I’m stitching bullion knots over something I already stitched. No biggie. I did consider not stitching over what I’d done, but the bullions are a stronger line and it needs it.

It’s not the first time I’ve misread the instructions because I was tired and/or doing something else at the same time.

I also did the stitchdown and quilting on the Patreon rewards…

There’s 4 quilted ones and at the moment, one embroidered one.

I decided to quilt them with a layer of batting, but then had a brain fart moment about the batting in a hoop.

But my stitching group had a pretty obvious answer…obvious now that they say it…not so obvious before, because I had set my brain in Search Mode and it still hadn’t come up with an answer.

Anyway, I didn’t have the guts to attempt it last night (too tired, had to make dinner still), so tracing Wonder Under was the much easier option. They will get done next week though.

Wednesday night sky…

And Simba being cute…

His job is to let me pet him when I’m stressed. Which is often at the moment.

OK. Exhausted is still here, despite a full cup of tea in me. Not sure when it will be gone. Today is the last frog dissection too. At least I get to DO something in class instead of just waiting for questions. Teaching online has not been fun. Do not recommend. But please don’t tell me I didn’t do anything this year. I spent more time on my school job this year than I ever have in a million years of teaching, and I’m done. Totally done.

Well. Except I have to get through today and four days next week. Right eyelid is twitching. Uh huh. Friday. It’s Friday.

Mornings Are Loud…

Oh man, apparently a 5-day week is at least 3 days too long at the moment. I will be dissecting frogs today. I did a demo yesterday for a video and completely fucked it up, forgot what the heart looks like, missed a bunch of stuff, said some random stuff. So I deleted it. I’ll try again today for realz with the kids, hope I don’t mess this one up too badly. I’m going to go watch a video of some people who are way more awake and with it than I am. Not that it’s hard to be that. I’m going to bed at a reasonable hour…just can’t fall asleep or apparently stay asleep. Mornings are loud, y’all…really loud. The birds, the sun, just damn loud.

The plus in all this is that the next quilt drawing is coming along, mostly because I’m using the drawing I did in Tehachapi, all stream of consciousness while hanging with the man and watching weird stuff on the telly. Apocalyptic Love, Death, and Rockets, yeah? No, not Rockets…ROBOTS. Oh my. Hello brain. You want a scalpel today? Seems like a mistake, but sure…we’ll give you a scalpel. WTF. ANYWAY. I cut some paper to the right size and added the elements I needed for this theme, and then traced a goodly portion of the existing drawing…

I got the existing drawing transferred onto the new page, which is longer and skinnier, and now just need to do some filler and the sky tonight hopefully. Yes. Too many small pieces. It’s OK. I’ll be OK. I’ll complain about it later, but I’ll be OK.

This is why size of quilt isn’t as relevant to me for price as number of pieces is. I have one smaller piece with over 800 pieces in it that is really expensive…but if you think that each small piece needs to be drawn, traced, ironed, trimmed, and ironed down to the backing, you can see how number of pieces adds up. It’s OK for this one. Just when I get to commissions, it becomes an issue. Keep it simple! The quilt I just finished had 800 or so pieces in it…and it’s much bigger, but the cost will probably be similar to the small one I did a few years back. We’ll see. I haven’t calculated time yet on the new one. I’ve had no time to calculate time!

Anyway, it’s progress. It’s good.

I’ve hiked the last two days, Monday with the boychild and the dog…

The man will hike with me on Saturday.

He’s in recovery mode, which means going to hang out with a bunch of people and eating a lot of sugar. Funny stuff.

He’ll be back on trail next week, and then I’ll see him on the other side of Kearsarge Pass. Somehow. I’m debating hiking part of that, but acclimation could be an issue (starts at 9200 feet above sea level. I live at 400 feet above sea level). We’ll see. It’s supposed to be gorgeous though. I’d like a gorgeous hike or two this summer.

Here he is giving Luna some love.

He was afraid the cats wouldn’t remember him. They did. Right away. Even with all the smelly hiker clothes.

Because I’ve been hanging out with him at night, I’ve been embroidering on the Sue Spargo Homegrown blocks…finished another one of the March blocks…

Crazy little houses. One row of the roof shingles is the wrong thread. Not changing it. Nope.

OK, frogs today. Yup. Gonna go watch that video and make another cup of tea and keep creating random instruction for next week’s weirdness. Then do some exercise and draw some more. Try not to panic at any given time. Good plan.

The Art Option…

Monday! Surprise! Yeah, maybe not. You probably knew it was coming. So did I, but I hoped it would slope off in another direction and leave me alone for once. Sundays and Mondays feel SO different during the summer…Sundays especially. I’m always working on Sundays during the school year…trying to finish plans, make posts, make sure everything is ready and I’ve got my head around it (I rarely have my head around it, just to be clear). Today is the last week of academic work, because grades are due next Tuesday. I’m a little panicked about that, because I had a plan to grade a bunch of stuff on Saturday, and then I ended up driving. Yeah. That.

First of all, though, I did finish the binding and sleeves on the newest quilt by staying up too late on Friday, because I knew I might have to drive on Saturday…

I know I always say the cats are helping, but they’re really not. I know you people with cats know that. This one, Nova, spent a lot of time trying to crawl INTO the quilt, between the layers, with pins everywhere poking at her, before settling down to claw my belly rhythmically. I love cats, but they do not help.

I don’t have total hours on this quilt yet. They’re in the app on my phone and I haven’t gotten that organized yet. I will. Maybe later. I’m still playing catch-up.

I had a plan to deliver the quilt Saturday afternoon, because I needed time to clean it up and pack it up, plus I had a quilt guild meeting on Zoom. Yeah. So that didn’t happen. Well, it did, but differently. I got the quilt cleaned and packed up Saturday morning while waiting to hear if I was driving, and when I found out I was, I texted my photographer, who luckily was available, so I dropped it off early. It’s done! On time! A miracle! Not really. I’m pretty good about deadlines.

So the driving. The hiking man had a rough week…long and hot and not enough water…and he wanted to come home for a week off. NO, he’s not quitting (everyone keeps asking). He was just homesick and missed his cats and maybe even me (although he’d just seen me), and needed a chiropractor. So all that. He tried a variety of ways to get home and they all fell through, so I left the house at around 10:30 AM on Saturday, dropped off my quilt with the photographer, and drove 4+ hours to Ridgecrest…

A lot of the drive looked like that. Ugh. Boring. I did stay on my quilt guild Zoom until my first pee stop in Temecula, and then I lost service for Zoom. So yeah. I went from 80-degree temperatures to 106 degrees. That was warm. It was long. Then we got in the car and came back, but he drove, so I could finish stitching one of my Patreon rewards…

Yes, my windows are dirty. I just drove a million miles. Second time in a week. Ugh. But he’s home for a week, so that’s nice. Probably I will have to reset my missing-him-sadness next week when he leaves again. Double ugh. I’m not thinking about next week. I’m literally thinking about 20 minutes ahead at the moment. Welcome to the last two weeks of school.

Once I finished that thing, I just stitched on the Sue Spargo Homegrown block I’ve been slowly working on for months…because I didn’t have the time (or presence of mind) to prep another embroidered block before I had to get in the car and drive.

Super slow. But slow will get it done eventually. For a week, I have a dinner companion, so I’m sitting and stitching after we eat and until we finish an episode of whatever we’re watching. It’s nice. If it’s just me, I read, which is how I have read a million books in the last two months. It’s while eating by myself.

Anyway, so there’s that. It means I didn’t get all that grading done on Saturday, though, so I’m pretty far behind. I will get there. I will be exhausted for the next two weeks, though, while that happens and school ends, and if anyone knows what I should do on the last four days of school, please, for all that you love me and care about me, please let me know. I’m blank. At a loss. Don’t have any creativity left in me. Everything I’ve seen will require me on high-attention mode, which I just don’t have in me at the moment, or I need to do a bunch of editing.

Well, that’s not true. I’m drawing the next quilt. That’s creative. I think. I had done a drawing in Tehachapi that was sort of an idea in progress, and now I’m revising it for this entry.

We’ll see how that goes. Went to bed too late again. Silly. Probably part of the tired, but I hate going to bed when I haven’t made any art. It’s frustrating. I have all these things I want to make and then I have to work for 6 hours and I don’t get to do what I want. Silly job. I’m gonna work today on getting stuff done during the school day. That’s what’s (one of the things that’s) lame about this job…we are constantly trying to find time during the school day to get the work done so we don’t have to work 5 and 6 hours on a Sunday or after school. This job is a time suck.

Anyway. At the grocery store yesterday, Mother’s cookies has branched out from Circus Animal Cookies (which are awesome, although IDK if they still are? I know they changed the taste a while ago and got Way Too Sweet…not sure if they reverted back or not, because I’m scared to buy them and shouldn’t buy them anyway).

I find this amusing. Sparkly too. I would get these for students if I were in person. We could do a taste test on Monday, short periods, mythical vs circus animal. Yeah. But no. We’re on Zoom. So tired of Zoom.

OK, the plus is that I don’t have anything going on tonight, so hopefully I’ll be working on some Patreon rewards and the commissioned little quilt I’ve had going for ages, and then maybe some drawing. That’s the plan anyway. I might just fall asleep at 8 pm instead. Hoping for the art option.

Tehachapi Weekend

I always appreciate a day off from teaching during the school year. I appreciate that I got to drive to see the hiking man and I still have a day to plan for school, because honestly, I have no clue what’s going on with 2 out of my 5 classes this week. Minor issue…I will figure it out. As soon as my brain wanders back from I’m Exhausted City. I appreciate that some people gave service in wars that changed our world, hopefully for the better, and I hope we have less need for said service and sacrifice in the future.

I did find out over the weekend that my piece at Quilt National sold. I do not know who bought it. I only saw the red dot (thanks to a friend for that). This is Fire and Water

On the far left. I finally found someone who posted a picture of it. Thank you! I am planning on going to the closing exhibition…just couldn’t swing the opening. Hopefully school will be less crazy in September. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, we stayed in a “beach house” (nowhere near any beach) in Tehachapi…full of interesting bits and pieces…

The man claims I pick quirky places, but really, I just pick what I can find most of the time…

And I don’t mind quirky. We were almost at the end of a road out of Tehachapi…

Nice views…including deer…

But yeah, some quirk…

I feel like the aliens are everywhere we go…

It was nice to have a home base out of town a bit…

We don’t actually do much…just hang out…

With our friends. Yeah, it’s a mannikin. I did some drawing in fits and starts…

He’s on the phone…not something he can do on the trail usually.

We saw this weird refraction happening in a cloud at dinner one night…

And we tried out a brewery…

I’m not actually drinking beer. The guy called it a seltzer? IDK what it really was…

I did some drawing…

And this one might have been at dinner…

I don’t understand the giant-flags-in-truck-beds phenomenon. I also didn’t understand this sign in the bathroom until the man explained it to me…

So yeah. I’m not really a gun/flag-in-your-truck person. Obviously.

The hardest part for me (well, for both of us) is dropping him back on the trail…

This is at mile 566. And that’s where he turned back to wave.

He had a rough day yesterday. Water is short in this section and it was bright and dry and warm. Plus he took some days off and it’s hard to get back into hiking. He just got more water, but there’s an upcoming stretch of heat wave plus areas where there are no streams or springs, just water cached by trail angels. Scary bit of miles. Plus his pack is heavy with food for about 8 days of hiking. Hoping it will all be OK. It’ll be at least 3 weeks, probably more, before I can see him. There’s one place he has a plan to be pulled out, but if it hits before I get out of school, I can’t do it. We have a friend who will, but then the access for me to be able to get to him is a bit iffy for a hundred miles or so. Sigh. At least I will be out of school. I plan to drive up a little early and do some hiking myself, relax a bit. We’ll see how that goes.

So I drove home yesterday and was mostly braindead. It’s hard to leave him and come back to what feels like hard work at the moment. I did pull out the quilt in progress, which needs to be done SOON, and placed the dyed blocks on top. These are old blocks I bought off eBay a million years ago, and I never did anything with them. I dyed a few of them about a month ago, and I was going to piece them into the background, but then I didn’t do that. Then I was just going to place them on top, but that looked weird, so yesterday I had the idea to cut them into cloud shapes and use them that way.

I put a few little squares of Wonder Under underneath some of the edges, pinned them down…

Then stitched near the edges, not zigzagging, like I normally do, and quilted them down. Hopefully I’ll get this quilted and bound before the weekend. That’s my plan anyway. Along with everything else.

Last night, we had dinner at my parents and I was working on this Sue Spargo block…

I did one how row in the wrong thread. I’m not pulling it out. I will probably be the only person who notices.

The cats were glad to have me back, apparently…Kitten giving me the eyeball….

I’ve had both Luna and Nova on my chest, poking holes in my flesh…

And some play time as well.

Ugh. I am still tired. More caffeine. Check the to-do list. There’s some art stuff to do first, then some art stuff for school. I might get a walk in later, and then quilting tonight. At least this week is a short one…and school is getting closer to done. I’m more than a little panicked about getting all the grading done in time, but that is what it is. I also need to get my Patreon rewards finished…they are in progress, but all this travel plus deadline on the big quilt is screwing up my schedule. Ah well. Eventually everything will get done, one way or another.

That Feeling…

Sigh. Mornings. Monday mornings. Monday mornings with 5 weeks of school left. Yeah. You know what I’m talking about. That feeling. Mondays are hard days…school is rapid fire, shorter classes, all of them, boom boom boom no break, plus seesawing from art to science and back to art. My head spins at the end of it. And I never feel ready…even when I plan it all out. I managed to post all of the science stuff on Friday, because the district finally found me another computer I can use while teaching…well, minus some videos I had to do yesterday, explaining all the stuff I’d posted for the kids who (a) don’t come to class and probably won’t watch them anyway and (b) come to class but have shitty internet and/or weren’t listening because it’s Monday and school is hard and why do you want us to get out of bed anyway. Yeah. I’m with you at the moment. Seriously. Although I was awake this morning, because, again, sleeping is not my super power.

I had decided that Saturday was going to be a school-free zone…it’s not something I can pull off regularly, but I thought with the posts done, I could do it. I’m still behind on grading (when am I not?), but it’s not worth the pain and suffering to do it on a Saturday. So I got up and went and ordered the damn river rock for my streambed (I was paranoid about going there; not sure why). Then I came back and cleaned floors and the bathroom (it’s been on the list for a disturbingly long time now). I have one floor left to clean, but I will need to pinbaste a quilt on it, so I’ll clean it right before I do that…hopefully this week? Nah, probably next week. And then I settled down to iron for a good chunk of the day. Actually, first, I ironed on Monday night…I worked until dinner arrived and then ironed after that.

I had to iron all the fussy stuff off to the side and then put it on top of the background fabrics.

Way too fussy to do any other way…with dog underfoot…

She’s old. I just step over her a million times. So then I pulled that off the teflon sheet and put it on top of the dirt…

When everything fits, it’s nice. And then added the water…not clean water, unfortunately.

This quilt is about the damage we do to the Earth with making textiles…the thing I love. It’s a hard thing to think about. Yes, I could use all recycled fabrics, and I do use a lot of fabric that has been donated to me by people who don’t want/need it any more. But it’s hard to kick the fabric habit when it’s (a) your medium of choice and (b) your palette. Yes, I could dye my own, but that doesn’t really solve the problem. It’s agriculture, it’s water, it’s toxins. Sigh. The industries need to change.

On Saturday, I started up again with the right side of the Earth…

And then I went for a hike. But I came back and ironed some more after dinner…more weaving going on to the right…

And then making it fit…

Earth finished. Last night, Sunday, I worked on the figure…

I didn’t get as far as I would have liked, but it was a rough day…lots of work happened. School work. Not the fun artwork. I stopped here because it was getting late and I would have had to sort all the 600s to iron the lungs and heart down.

So that will be tonight. Almost 300 pieces left, so I’m 2/3s of the way through.

I’m hoping to finish ironing this week, then do stitch down by the weekend? Can I do that? Maybe? And then get it pinbasted and start quilting. I’d really like it quilted by the 3-day weekend, so I can do the binding while hanging out with the Man in two weeks, but I don’t think that will happen. Ah well. I will continue, no matter what.

Also, I’ve been working on my annual Patreon rewards. I traced the four small quilt options onto Wonder Under…

And then yesterday, I cut them out…

I’m trying to do a step a day…so today, I’ll iron them to fabrics. Slow and steady. I also marked the first one that will be embroidered…

I was going to start embroidering last night, but my brain shut down at some point. I was also going to draw the next quilt, even though it doesn’t fit any of the stupid themes I’m supposed to be doing for upcoming shows. Oh well. I’ll make it fit.

Saturday’s hike was interesting…I decided about midway to go further than I usually do. Why? Because I can and because I’d like to hike with my hiking group this summer, and their hikes are usually longer.

I started out fine, but got weirded out in an isolated area with just one guy ahead of me who decidedly didn’t look like he was hiking…

The wonder of being a woman hiking alone.

I played it safe and turned around, and then went up another trail.

More reason to hike with my group, I guess.

The timing doesn’t work right now…not until school gets out.

Honestly, I like hiking alone. I get some peace in my head. I don’t want it to be a social event. I’m an introvert. I need some time without interactions with humans. Maybe not as much time as I have right now, but time with people who don’t require anything from me socially is hard to find.

Hi, Simba.

Tummy rubs are nice.

Entertaining the cats is also nice.

OK, I have to start working. Again. After 4+ hours yesterday and who knows how many last week. Never-ending. Hours. Ugh.

Considering Humanity…

So the positive from yesterday is that I finished cutting out all those tiny pieces and then sorted them, so if I have the energy and/or brain power tonight, I can start ironing this quilt together. I’m actually behind on my scheduling…this thing has a deadline, so I’ve got to get my act together. Hello, Day Job, back the fuck off my personal time, eh? Yeah, I know. Whatever. Only 20-some days left of that crap. My co-teacher and I have labeled the weeks with what we’re teaching. All that’s left is biodiversity, Gorongosa National Park, frogs, the stupid lame tobacco curriculum, and some weird last week when who the fuck knows what we’re doing because grades are done and that’s when we usually do awards ceremonies and field trips because everyone is completely checked out. Five weeks. Five weeks of daily minor nervous breakdowns and feeling overwhelmed and not wanting to turn the computer on or sit in that chair. Then I can crawl into my pillow fort with all the books and try to figure out how to reset my brain over the summer. The next quilt is already in my head, but I might need to pump out a smaller one or two before that (man, this year has sucked so far for quilt completion…my head’s not in it, there’s so little time).

Wednesday night…Nova has been inhabiting the couch and my lap more and more these days.

She is the more adventurous (and chill) of the two younger cats. Luna is more chicken, more tense, more likely to take off, although she’s been hanging out behind the computer while I teach lately. I suspect that is bird related. The window looks out at a wire where the birds like to sit, hence to better poop on our cars.

Wednesday night…damn…I really wanted to be done, but it was late and I’m trying to keep to an earlier bedtime, so I stopped.

That was only another 25 minutes of cutting though…because I finished last night, easily.

That’s 11 hours and 14 minutes of cutting you’re looking at. With the man gone, I am spending more time on art at night. I guess that’s a good thing. Pros and cons.

I had a stitching meeting on Zoom last night, which I appreciated, because my brain was not happy with me. It was a few hours of not remembering the ugh. Afterwards, I sorted all the pieces out, so I’m ready to iron tonight…

There’s actually not a ton of pieces in this quilt…only 890. I think the next one will have more. These are all the 500s…in the flesh.

If I can manage to get most of my planning for next week done today, I can iron for most of the day tomorrow. I have some errands and I need to hike, but otherwise, I have nothing going on.

I also traced and numbered some smaller pieces for Patreon rewards. I have these small hoops leftover from something that I can mount them in…I think.

So those need to get traced tonight too. I’ll do some as small quilts and some as embroidery I think. We’ll see.

The cats are sort of getting along. As always. Guess where I sit!?

The man is working his way toward Wrightwood today. There’s a fire up in the mountains causing some smoky haze. I miss him lots.

He’s still up in the mountains, but the desert comes next. Water shortages and heat and all. A bunch of people have hiked this section backwards, because it’s all up. He’s not…he’s getting himself ready for the Sierras (smart move). Still another two weeks before I can see him again…hoping that works out, because after that, it’s gonna be a while, until after school gets out.

OK, I’m tired and not in the mood to teach. Doesn’t really matter if you’re in the mood, though. I do know that being physically in the classroom helps. Being around the kids, even when they’re being annoying twits, it refuels a teacher. I spend so much time sitting in silence, typing in the chat, staring at black screens…it just sucks. Next year will be better. Also, I’m still paranoid about masking/not masking and going out in my neighborhood. I’m vaccinated, but I’m just not comfortable with the unvaxxed masses that are in my neighborhood. “So don’t go outside,” they say. Fuck you. Get your damn vaccine. Give a shit about the rest of humanity. Yes, please, send their rejected vaccines to India or any other country that’s short and needs them. There are consequences to all this, y’all. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. Thanks for vaccinating. Thanks for considering humanity.

Less Cottony

Dear all my youngish neighbors with your little children who have now all installed really bright motion-sensor lights: Do you know that things that MOVE make your lights go on ALL NIGHT LONG…on the other side of the house, where you don’t even know about it, and the things that MOVE are animals, birds, and trees, sometimes bats. Seriously, the wind makes your stupid lights go on and you don’t really NEED them because you’re not out there in your side yard checking out what’s setting them off, BUT THEY ALL SHINE IN MY HOUSE. EVERY DAMN ONE OF THEM. Plus the damn fairy light strings everywhere. Yes, they are nice and pretty, but they don’t need to be on all night. I think they’re still on now and it’s broad daylight. Have you never heard of light pollution?

I hear my parents have a BB gun.

Yes, I am the crazy old lady neighbor. But seriously. So much lighting of spaces where there are no peoples.

Hey, well, it’s Thursday. Somehow I got off my every-other-day schedule and am trying to write on the days when I don’t normally write. Today is a staff meeting day AND a lab day, so this will be hopefully quick. What have I been doing? Well, working on a quilt, of course. And I needed to dye some old quilt blocks for the background of this one.

So I don’t know about you, but I have all the dye supplies ready to go in the cupboard, and can start a small dye job at 9:38 PM on a school night. I don’t usually do this, but it worked. I picked some of the old (really old, because I got them on Etsy a million years ago, but they aren’t in that great condition) blocks and tossed them in a mix of dyes that I thought would approximate the background fabric I already had picked. Left them for 24 hours and got this…

What’s funny about this is when I did the first rinse out of the dye bath, they all were that purply blue color…and by the time they got out of the washing machine, you can see that three were less cottony than I thought. OK. And I’m not sure the one on the bottom left will work…I don’t really want anything that has a lot of contrast. The 5 that worked are probably not enough (although they could be?) so I will probably try again. I did get the subtle changes that I wanted in about half of them, so that’s a success. Sort of.

Then I’ve been picking fabrics for an hour or so each night…

I find it really difficult to stop, actually. I just want to keep ironing. But I need to stick to my earlier bedtime, even though I don’t seem to be falling asleep much earlier. I’m sure I’m getting a little more? Maybe.

I’m averaging about 10-11 hours of artmaking a week at the moment…

That’s much better than the month of March, when I did a lot of nothing on art quilts. No sewing machine? I guess it was an issue. Plus overwork and exhaustion. Now I’m using the art to distract myself from isolation. But it’s also the artwork…and I love that normally. It’s not that I don’t love it now…it just isn’t giving me the same hit as usual.

I’ve been ironing for over 4 hours and I only have 200 pieces ironed down. Not super fast, y’all. There are a lot of fussy little decisions in the stuff on the Earth in this piece. Lots of overlapping colors and bits that require thought.

I finished appliqueing all the bits down to the April Homegrown blocks during one book club this week…

On to May. During the second book club (yes, I did that this week. Nights are deadly empty time.), I drew my Patreon drawing for the month…

And posted it. Talk about multitasking. I do it all the time. It works for me. I know it doesn’t work for some people. Certainly things like sewing and drawing occupy a different part of my mind than the meeting part. So it works. It’s not as effective during staff meetings, when I actually work on schoolwork through them. Those are overlapping parts of the brain and it means I sometimes miss stuff, but since 3/4s of what they talk about right now in staff meetings doesn’t apply to distance learning, I don’t really fucking care. I ask my team when I miss stuff.

I created that slide deck during the last staff meeting for the lab we did this week. And that calendar thing is so true at the moment.

I don’t even deal with one day. It’s sections of days. Morning. Afternoon. Evening. Night. Rinse. Repeat.

Here’s the lab we actually did…cellular respiration…

I have to do it one more time, today. It’s a pain in the butt, but it helps them think about the different types of food. Although then they think that sugar and food are the same thing. Not quite. I’m having a hard time getting a good chunk of them to listen at the moment. Normally, this is almost where we start sex ed and I have their full attention. I think this year will be harder at the end. I guess I will just roll with it. I don’t have control over so much of what goes on with their home lives, their attention spans, and their Wifi.

These two are sweet.

When Luna is not rampaging.

OK, hours of Zooming today followed hopefully by a good long walk and an already made dinner. Then more ironing. I think. Maybe I’ll get through more than 100 pieces in one night.

Everything’s Wonky

I don’t have a lot of words this morning. But here’s the current quilt getting ironed down.

Actually that’s the drawing hanging up so I can see it while I pick fabrics, with the old lady lying underneath. Here’s actual dirt being ironed down.

Night 1 was not very productive. Mostly I cleaned so I could get to this part.

Night 2 was slightly better, made it into the 100s, with some 200s tossed in for variety.

Ironic. Those colors are not my mood at the moment. Fake it until you make a rainbow! Yeah!

My brain.

Kind of irritated that the artist’s name is not on this. I will try to remedy that. OK. This is a meme. Who knows whose it is.

The boychild and I took the little dog for a walk yesterday…lots of flowers popping up. Haven’t seen this one before. I think.

Really, these are all for Julie, so she will go out and start seeing all the flowers.

Speaking of seeing, this dog likes bread.

And I finished this block. I should paint my house like this. Except the windows aren’t a good color.

I like that they’re crooked. Everything’s a little wonky. Well, more than a little. Well that’s a little too real right now for me. Moving on. More ironing tonight. Hopefully clarity. Or calm. Or something.

Clearing the Brain…

Clearing my brain before the work week starts? Before I start the next stage of the newest quilt in progress? It seems a useful thing, like meditating before I go to bed. I know the meditation app wants me to meditate in the morning, but I’m not a morning person and can’t get my head around it. It’s better to clear everything out and calm it down before I try to sleep. Even that leaves too much floating around in there some nights.

I spent most of the weekend trying to get bits and pieces of things done. I finally planted the milkweed seeds the boychild gave me for my birthday.

There’s 5 different varieties. If they all sprout, we’ll have milkweed for miles…which will make these guys happy…

My current three milkweed plants are not particularly healthy…

But they have caterpillars anyway.

I went to some of the SAQA conference this weekend, well, maybe most of it…

I cut out all the Wonder Under for the newest quilt in the last three days, mostly while listening to the conference webinars.

I think that was what I got done on Friday night…

And the rest on Saturday. After the conference, I sorted all the pieces…

So they’re ready for ironing to fabrics.

This guy is still hiking…

Yeah. Well. I got a few words and images of him. One phone call so far, one FaceTime. At some point, when he gets up to the Big Bear area, I might be able to meet up with him. It will take him a while to get all the way across those mountains, so I have a better chance of meeting him. He just made it to Idyllwild this afternoon, so with my having to work tomorrow, that doesn’t work at all.

The loss of the daily personal connection is really hard. He’s been gone for trips before for work, even going to Europe, but never for this long. And the vast expanse of time ahead with his continuing to be gone? I can’t say I’m dealing well with it. There’s a lot of connection already missing from my life due to COVID and teaching from home.

Anyway, my solution yesterday to an increasingly low mood was to shop for fabric.

Just to be clear, I don’t need any more fabric. I have plenty. And this piece I’m working on now will use some recycled fabric and donated fabric, but I was in a bad mood and fabric makes me happier. So there we are.

This was my weekly cat photo on Instagram for the Man.

I don’t know if he misses his cats. They miss him. They like me, and certainly, they are all over the bed at night (if only they would curl up like this and not hog the bed).

Ah sisters.

OK, well this is just really my procrastination over cleaning the studio. I don’t feel like cleaning. I did vacuum yesterday. Look! It’s like I’m a housewife or something (something. I’m definitely something.). I did a bunch of schoolwork this weekend, just because I need to stay on top of it. Grades are due next weekend, and although I’m losing 16 kids to in-person instruction, that means their grades have to be done early. Stress me out much? Yeah. So clean up, be ready to iron tonight. I’ll meditate, and hopefully sleep a little better? I don’t know. This coming week is a little crazy. Hopefully not in a bad way. There’s only so much fabric in the world. I can’t (and shouldn’t) buy all of it.

To the Other Side…

I guess the weekly exhaustion is now outweighing the nightly inability to sleep. Or the cats are standing on me in the middle of the night less? Hard to say. I evaluate nightly sleep on the number of times I get up and/or look at the clock. It was a one-clock, no-get-up night. Not bad.

I just walked away from the computer to heat up my tea (crucial to thought processes, the movement AND the tea), and had a bright idea about the jeans remnants that my daughter left on the ironing board for me. Sometimes I really love my creative brain. It is an incredible beast, working with almost nothing to create amazing things, or sometimes even just workable things (school). It’s the same brain that mires itself in anxiety and insecurity. That creativity can go both ways. That’s this morning in a nutshell. It’s a damn good thing it’s Friday. I’ve been so antsy in my work chair, so tired of sitting in front of Zoom and answering tiny little questions over and over and worrying about getting stuff graded and preparing the best stuff for my kids. I so appreciated last night’s Zoom with stitching friends, because it did let me get out of that shitty headspace for a couple of hours. SAQA conference is this afternoon and tomorrow, so hopefully that will also help.

I finished tracing the Wonder Under for the newest quilt last night…

I thought I was only on piece 600 Tuesday night; turns out, I had made it to 700, so Wednesday night, I did another 100 or so pieces, and then finished the final 100 last night. That’s almost 11 hours of tracing 890 pieces…not incredibly efficient, but OK.

Three full yards and one baby yard, not even full…in fact, I cut out all those pieces in the baby yard last night in 14 minutes.

Three full yards to go. And then it was time to meditate, clean up cat stuff, and go to bed. More tonight. Looks like I’ll be ironing to fabric next week, hopefully. That’s the plan anyway.

I worked on these during the Zoom call with stitching friends. It’s brainless stuff, just sewing wool and cotton down for the Sue Spargo Block-of-the-Month Homegrown.

It’s easy, I enjoy the stitching, and the bright colors are fun.

The man is heading for Idyllwild at the moment. He did his longest hike yesterday, 17.3 miles…

He has been hiking with a group, but half of them are not thru-hiking, and are almost done. He has to have a totally different mindset…he’s got a good 2500 miles to go. Yesterday was hard, but he did it, and I’m proud of him for persevering. I’m going nuts at home, but that’s me. Thirty nine days of school yet. Don’t even ask me how many days before I see him again…not sure when his trail will meet up with my weekends. And coming home? It’s a LOOONG time. Many too many many days.

Girlchild left yesterday. Here she is with my parents.

More family photos, y’all. I suck at taking them and should work harder at it.

OK. It’s Friday. My lessons for today are hard hard hard. Not really, but they will be hard to mentally get my own self through…well, maybe art will be OK. It’s always difficult when we start a new project. It’s hard to show things. I make videos to help, but not everyone will watch them. I have a bunch of new kids in art and I’m having a hard time getting them to produce trackable work, like my other kids have learned to do. I have some parents who don’t understand how I hold kids accountable for their in-class time. It’s just a lot of frustration. Plus the district gave us a new “required” curriculum that is not set up for distance learning at all, which I figured out last night and just about lost my mind over. It’s OK. I sent yet another bitchy email. It’s all I do these days: remind the powers-that-be that me and my students exist and that they all mostly suck at remembering that.

It will be better in August. It has to be. Or I might just decide another job is better for my sanity. I can see why people jump out of life and hike the PCT. I can’t afford to do it, so that’s a thing. But I get it.

Friday. Conquer it. Or at least get through it to the other side.