They Just Keep Coming…

Sheesh. Another Monday. It’s like they just keep coming, one after the other. I couldn’t find the shirt I wanted to wear. I have some tweaked muscle in my right hip. My right hand is sore…from tracing things, I guess. Muscles I use and then don’t use and then they complain about it. Not sure what the hip is about…probably some exercise I don’t even remember that got it just there.

So Monday…this Monday is all weird. My schedule is all whacked for today. Things I normally don’t do on a Monday are happening today. State testing again this week, but math. That’s always a challenge. Math is harder for a lot of kids. I personally think math is pretty easy, because you know there’s an answer. You just have to figure it out. It’s not like you have to engage the reading comprehension part if you’re not quite awake. The creative part.

Speaking of that creative part, I wrote an article on Saturday morning. Hopefully it’s decent enough. Who knows. I don’t remember what I wrote. I’ll let you know when it publishes.

Is my brain wandering all over the place? Yes, yes it is. I was awakened last night around 12:49 AM (pretty specific actually) by a screech sounding somewhat like a child’s cry of pain. Probably an owl…but not a sound I’d heard from them before. It wasn’t coming from the owl box, but it was a terrifying noise. Woke me and the cat right up. I don’t think anyone else did more than stir in their sleep. Weird. Really incredibly weird.

OK, so in the I’m Making Stuff world, I finished the drawing on Thursday night…

No wait, I did everything but the last bit of the sky. I knew I wanted something, but not a lot, and I wasn’t sure of what, so I went to bed Thursday night and posted on Instagram that the sky needed something. I already had some ideas in mind, and I wasn’t asking for help, but you know how the internet is…a lot of people wanted to help. So I got a bunch of suggestions, mostly to leave it empty (nah…) for the eye to rest (double nah) and I drew what I had been bouncing around in my head already. Amusing though. I don’t do critique groups either. I trust what’s in my head, and although I realize that people are not wrong about eyes resting and/or whatever might come up in a group critique, I just don’t work that way. In fact, it irritates me. Enough that I have to talk myself out of never posting pictures again (don’t worry…it keeps me accountable to do so…so I will continue.). If you put your work out there, people will comment and that’s OK. Not sure where that interior response comes from (probably a couple of art teachers in the past).

And then I numbered the pieces, although I missed the sun.

So I guess it’s 1065 pieces…

Not too bad. I tried to keep it simpler. I know it doesn’t look that way to the viewer, but I know what I meant.

Saturday night, I started tracing, although I didn’t get very far…

But last night, I made it to piece 232. So not bad. Probably got another 8 hours of tracing to do. It’s very meditative. Calming. A good place to be right now.

Saturday afternoon, we did an almost normal pre-COVID thing and went to two exhibits, one the California Fibers’ show at Visions Art Museum, where two of my pieces are hanging.

That’s Hold On in its first exhibit. I started this before COVID and finished it in quarantine.

And this is All Stacked Up with Linda Anderson’s piece Perceptions of Life

The show is up through July 3.

Then we headed to the Oceanside Museum of Art to see James Watts’ exhibit there. I love his stuff. It’s fun, it’s deep, it’s so touchable…

You should go see it. Totally.

I spent a little time stitching on this…so close to done.

Finished all of the type 5 flowers and moved on to type 6…

The backstitching is easy but will take forever because of all the petals. Nothing quick about this border…I’ve been working on it for over a year.

Nova likes to lie on whatever is on top of my drawing…

I cover it so she won’t nibble on it, as she has done in the past…

That cat is a weirdo.

OK. So tracing all week. Math testing for two long days. A bunch of meetings, although today’s was canceled. Sex ed this week includes Yes Means Yes, anatomy, and puberty. All good. Easy peasy. Stuff I know. What a relief. Although there was an issue with one class that is heavy on boys…entitled boys…boys who really don’t get it…sigh. We’ll see how today goes when I introduce the law that doesn’t let them be entitled…well, you know, even that law doesn’t work right. But at least it tries. Tired. I’m still tired. We’re getting close to the end though. Close to the end of a very long, very tiring year. May next year be better.

Rollin’ Along…

May seems to just be rollin’ along, gathering steam, about to slam head on into June. I’m good with that. I mean, trying to keep up with the rollin’ is difficult, I stumble a bit, and the grading is still not done (it rarely is), but I need this year to be done done done. Nineteen days left. Frogs are done, cat just headbutted me in my glasses, we started teaching sex ed (ahem, Human Relationships and Sexual something or other), and it all feels semi-familiar. There’s some crazy shit happening in the rest of the school, but mostly the classroom stuff is stuff I sort of remember from 2019. I mention the crazy shit only because it’s like a shitstorm raging around the classroom that I really try to ignore, but one of my co-teachers just tested positive and yeah, here we go again. I’m not even sure how many teachers are supposed to be out today but it’s a ton. So if you’re thinking we’re done? We’re not. Half the team has symptoms, but has been testing negative. I think they should just close school. Seriously, I’m half crying right now. Imagine how she’s feeling.

So. In other news, I’ve been drawing every night…sometimes only 36 minutes (damn, that’s specific), but last night, over 2 hours…because I had a stitching meeting on Zoom and needed to do something artsy. So no, I didn’t grade after school yesterday (but I planned until 4:30 so that’s enough work for the day). Only 9 hours yesterday…might be a record.

Hi Nova…

I did a little bit on Wednesday night after I got back from book club…

And then last night, I finished all the bottom parts…the portal…

I cut about 6″ off the bottom to shorten it up…

It was a little on the long side anyway.

Once I did all that, I laid it on the ground…because I think I need a few things in the sky and it’s easier to tell from further away. It looks naked up there. In the sky. Empty. Of course, she is naked.

Anyway. So that’ll be tonight, and then I can number it. See how bad it will be. I did add some tiny stuff at the end. Like you do.

Ugh. Not because of the drawing. Because of school.

Cat conference.

Oh! Speaking of conferences, I signed up for the SAQA Summit that will be here in San Diego in September. The signup time was 9 AM, the exact moment I start teaching…and the link didn’t pop up right away, so I was trying to take attendance, start the broadcast, get a bandaid for a kid, all while refreshing the page on my phone. And then it wanted a password, and I’m like, oh fuck, I hope my phone knows this, because I don’t. It did. And I got the class I wanted, which is super awesome. Yes, it means missing two days of school, but whatever. I hardly ever take time off and this is worth it. The kids will survive. Hopefully the sub will too.

Simba was making a face yesterday…

Sometimes he just looks really dorky.

Oh my. Whoops. I haven’t done all those things yet. Better get on it.

I forgot about this shell I found in the driveway…

Pretty color. OK, also better get on with going to school. Face the music. Think I will lose my prep again? Seems like it. Maybe not. I’m so tired. All I can think about right now is coming home and going to bed. I took a nap last Friday. Might do it again this Friday. We’ll see. Meanwhile, the cat is still headbutting me. And I really would just rather read my book. Yeah. Later.

Happy Stuff…

Well. Wednesday. Hi. I survived Tuesday, with 30 frogs dissected in my room. Nobody vomited. Nobody died (the frogs were already dead; invasive species frogs, so you know, helping an ecosystem somewhere). Kids were excited and interested and probably a little grossed out. Much like they will be for the rest of the year probably (we teach sex ed next). It was good, until we got the texts that one of the students had walked off with frog parts and was throwing them at other kids. Uh huh. That pretty much sums up the year. No worries; there are consequences. And cameras. The dumbassery continues! I think there are supposed to be six? teachers out from school today. No way will there be enough subs. I subbed my prep last Thursday. I seriously haven’t had a prep to myself, to actually PREP things and grade things, since before Spring Break. I need to prep something for art today and I don’t know when I will be able to do that. I won’t. Not before I actually teach art. Let’s be real. It’ll have to be tomorrow. And that’s assuming I don’t have to cover one of those six teachers today. I’m so frustrated with this school year.

I just finished the second quilt of the year. I started it in January and it took me almost 5 months to finish it. I should be able to do more things on my own time than grade and lesson plan. I am still drawing quilt number 3…although I wonder if I am doing too much? Nah. Not thinking that way. I’m doing exactly the right amount.

I keep erasing and then drawing it bigger. Not sure more detail is necessary with this one. Although then last night, even AFTER erasing and drawing it bigger…

Yeah. Got some details there. I went to sleep drawing more of it in my head. I have book club tonight, so I don’t know how much more I’ll get done today. Some hopefully.

Nova helping to hold the drawing in place.

Not really. Same with Luna trying to run under the part that’s rolled down on the floor. Not helpful cats.

The Man watches the news and programs that comment on the news, and it inflames my brain, making the drawing populate with even more angry things than what was originally in my brain. Not sure that’s a good thing, and I do put headphones in my ears sometimes to drown some of it out, but obviously not enough.

I’m not even sure about the one foot in reality. Today I have a doctor’s appointment where my doctor will once again suggest that I pick a new profession. Yeah that’s not a stressful thing. She will say my stress affects my blood sugar, which it absolutely does. But I feel like being unemployed might do that too. I’m lucky to have a good team backing me up at school, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. I see that I am getting that damn jury duty notification in my mail today. Dear US District Court: You are making it worse. Stop.

I just need a summer where I don’t have to do all the things. Well, besides learn 8th-grade science. Ha! Yeah. I want to make art all day, but that never happens. I wish it did. I remember spending 5-6 hours a day in the summer working on art. Not in the last three years though.

We all should have that freedom. Church too. And school. Honestly everywhere. We’re not at war here, like the Ukraine…we’re not fighting for our country (oh yeah, I know some crazy white people think we are, but they forget we weren’t here first either). My Google Search history includes “bullets for an AR-15”. I wish it never had to.

It’s possible I really need a vacation…one without jury duty. And honestly, without the to-do list I’ve accumulated while working nasty hours for my day job. That would be nice. All the doctor’s appointments and errands and fixing things and yardwork. Those things all need to happen someday. With some money. Ha! Don’t have that part either.

Deep breaths. It is Wednesday. I have one more class of frogs, then art, then I start sex ed. Then hopefully I get my prep period. I’m looking forward to seeing my book club friends in person. I miss them. The Man is going on another practice hike and will be gone tonight. Hopefully he will do fine and be ready for the Sierras in a week and a half. My car got fixed without major costs. That’s a plus. I have an article I need to write, but that’s a good thing…being asked to write for a magazine? Yeah. Coolio. Focus on those things and not on the annoying shit. Come home from book club and draw the happy stuff in the portal instead of the angry stuff on the outside. That’s my goal for the day. Zen and survive and chill and then meditate with my pen.

She Must Be Exactly the Right Size…

Hmmm. Lunar eclipse happened. Russia is still attacking the Ukraine. Rich white guys are still attacking women of all colors, soon to move on to white boys (and others) who don’t share their cis hetero tendencies. And those who don’t fit neatly into their idea of gender. So many books I read have a mystical, mythological element to them, and a blood moon with a lunar eclipse should have been read as some sort of major message…I’m reading it as STOP, go back, y’all are doing it wrong! Russia needs to go back to their own country. Those rich white guys need to go fishing or play golf or something…maybe work on racist extremist supremacy here (oh wait, they are, just not how I want them to) so we don’t have people killed in grocery stores while stocking up on food for the next week. Maybe we could just work on feeding those who live here and dealing with the gun issue? Instead of trying to make sure there are more kids who are starving? I don’t know. Just a thought. A big thought, sure, but a good one.

In the midst of all this, I just keep making. This drawing was originally pretty chill. I did one over Spring Break in some campground and there’s a lovely world hiding in her vagina that I was seeing as a portal to this other world. In reality, the vagina is kind of a portal, but mostly things are coming out. But I kinda think of these as earth goddesses, I draw them a lot, and certainly some people have seen the sheela na gig in this drawing. This is not the first time I’ve drawn this type of figure…it’s been in my vernacular for a good long while. So I did one Thursday night and rejected it because of the ankles. Or the angle of the arms. Or something.

And so Friday, I went back and looked at the smaller drawing from Spring Break and started a third version…

It filled the page. Without a head. I have been drawing things too big for the page since I was in 5th grade. Maybe earlier. So I decided to enlarge it before I drew any more…

Got her taped together on Saturday night, and then Sunday night, taped more around the edges so she could have elbows and eventually a head. She got a lot bigger.

But there’s the start. I’ve got some drawing to do now. Thinking of my deadlines, she might be too big, but then I am focused more on deadlines than on what I want to make. Which shouldn’t be how I make. So there we are. She must be exactly the right size.

Saturday morning, I took a Zoom class from Carolina Oneto, who was in Peru, on curves and color transparencies.

The curves are pretty easy from years of clothesmaking…although making them flat instead of curving around a shoulder is different. I didn’t realize I had enough solids to make all the color overlaps, but I did.

It went together pretty well.

So not like what I usually make, yeah? Agreed. But interesting enough in its own right.

Saturday afternoon, I walked the dog.

No one else wanted to come with me. It was hot.

But there were lots of wildflowers and it was outside…

And I needed the exercise.

A friend came to visit on Sunday and we hung out in a park for a while. That was nice. And then the weekend was mostly over. Which is how it works. I never get enough done. I graded 1 1/2 assignments, posted some stuff for school, laid awake last night at 11 PM worrying through some stuff for this week, and today I’ll try to get everything done that I didn’t do last week or over the weekend. Ha! Never happens. Never efficient enough.

Yeah this…

Which is why I can’t do jury duty for the entire month of July. I’ve already worked a full year. I need a break. Plus I have to plan for next year, which is two grades of science instead of one. Some stuff I’ve never ever taught before. Again. For the third year running. Ugh. Maybe more years than that. Also 300 hours for grading off the clock is really low.

Found a cat in a box.

This is why we can’t recycle things in a timely manner.

Ah yes, blurry night photo of blood moon eclipse.

It was cool to see in person…cooler than this photo.

OK. It’s still Monday. There’s still a multitude of wars on humanity that shouldn’t be happening. This week at school is frog dissections and the beginning of human reproduction for the first time since May 2019. With a block schedule, which might kill me. 79 minutes of direct instruction is not my idea of fun. Luckily we voted that out for next year. But this year, I have to figure out how to survive it. Microphone for the voice. Lots of drawing or coloring for the breaks? We’ll see. Human reproduction coloring books? Could be.

Get My Hand Back…

I think the quilt is done. No wait, I want to ink some of it and one of the snakes needs tiny handstitched eyeballs. Almost done. Then to the photographer.

Where he will do a better job than my throw it over the couch photo. Not hard to do better than that.

In awesome-sauce news, my car is fixed and I only had to pay a little bit. The dealers have to get money somewhere apparently. Ugh. Gotta love warranty fixes, but also wish they never had to exist.

I’m currently trying to type this with a cat sitting on one hand and headbutting my opposite shoulder. Because she is a calico, if you are too forceful with her, she will whack the crap out of you.

Got her to settle by the monitor. Kitty love. Sometimes annoying, occasionally painful. So this other drawing for one of the multitude of shows I am supposed to be entering in the next three months or so, has been in my head for almost a month…I did a predraw of it while we were camping, so last night, I tried to go for it for real.

Not totally sold on this. Might start over tonight. If it’s been a long time since I’ve drawn, sometimes I need a few tries to get my hand back under control of my brain. Plus I’ve been exhausted at night. Yesterday I had to sub during my prep period, and I’m incapable of just letting the boys at the back talk and be on their phones, so I stood back there to make sure they did their silly assignment, then forgot to eat, then it was an issue, so I’m dealing with dropping blood sugar in my next class, which is right before lunch. Ugh. Felt like crap for the rest of the day. I need a normal schedule. Ironically, yesterday we had all our classes instead of a block schedule, so that WOULD be a normal schedule…but the loss of prep really threw me off. Stress really affects my blood sugar, but routine is the savior. And I haven’t had that. So three incidences of low blood sugar in a week? Need to work on that.

Last night was my monthly stitching meeting…we didn’t meet in April in person because of many things (I was out of town), so it was nice to see everyone. I’m still working on the Sue Spargo Chirp flower border.

I’m on the 5th type of flower. It took almost two hours just to backstitch and whipstitch around two of the flowers. I did the other two when we met on Zoom a few weeks ago. Super fast. Not. Getting closer to done though.

And I drew a bird on one friend’s book of cool papers that she’s collaging and decorating.

Curious what it will say.

Anyway. It’s Friday. Friday the 13th. The kids have a pretty basic assignment to do, but that’s no guarantee of easy for me. My last science class yesterday was trying, the one before it was missing 18 kids for part of class due to test makeups (I was down to 5 actual bodies in the classroom), I have a bunch of sex ed stuff to copy, but my co-teacher already did the penises (wait, there’s a second set of penises…maybe she did those too), and a ton of grading to do. As always. I have a busy weekend, but hopefully some parts of it will be relaxing. We’ll see. Right now, though, I really do need to stand up, finish this cup of tea and make another, take my morning meds, put shoes on, and become a functional adult with a job where I’m responsible for a bunch of teenagers and pre-teens. I don’t WANT to do any of these things (except the tea parts), but I need to.

It’ll Never Happen…

In a previous relationship, I suggested that the Republican right was out to get women, and I was told no, I’m wrong, it’ll never happen. Hmmm. Gaslight much? I’m frustrated with my country. I’m frustrated with the inequalities. I’m frustrated with the need for control over uteri and what they do. For fuck’s sake people, I HAVE one of them and it does not listen to me. Also why aren’t the sperm part of this lockdown on rights? Y’all waste so many of them. I feel like that’s an issue.

All joking aside, we can propose vasectomies for boys, education for boys, laws against men, OR we can just give everyone the right to choose what is right for them. Free will…it’s what’s for dinner. And what does it mean that I’m sitting here wondering what they don’t want us to see or notice that these documents were leaked? What ELSE is going on? What are they trying to distract us from? It’s sad to me that what I used to think of as the highest court in the country has been downgraded to a political puppet. It’s not about laws or rights…it’s about control. I’m not sure those proposing all these changes have any sort of long-term memory. It’s been like this before…and maybe they should read some dystopian novels…when you try to hold the people down, they will revolt.

I guess more quilts are in the works. It’s interesting…I did just finish the abortion rights quilt in January (see it at Visions Art Museum in October!). It was hard to make. Hard to draw. Hard to work on. Emotional. And I’m glad to have never had to have an abortion, never needed to make that decision, but I know women who have. And I’m glad they had the choice. So the quilt I’m working on now was supposed to be lighter, give my mind a break. But now I feel bad for working on a “light” quilt, one with no political or social message. (Rolls eyes at self). Well there are tons of deadlines coming up. Guess they will all be about wars…wars with tanks, wars on the body, wars on women…wait, no, wars on everyone who is not a rich white male. Wars on gender, sexuality, race, color, poverty. We have learned nothing. And damn, those pink hats aren’t gonna do it this time. I need Thor and his hammer or some equivalent.

Sigh. Meanwhile, I teach. It’s hard. Their attention is nil. It’s a fight with some classes. Pay attention! Listen! Get on task! Wake up! Heads up! Stop yelling out! Some days I feel like I’ve been in boxing matches all day.

The meditative quilting at the end of every day is a plus. It’s a relief. It’s a joy, even though it’s tiny and fussy and scrunched up.

A leaf-nosed bat…

It’s a slow process…Monday night, I did the rest of the torso, one of the pupfish on her breast, the bat, all of the plants on the bottom right, and a little bit of the sky.

That was a little over an hour, I think. Then last night, I did the rest of the plants, the quail, the other pupfish, the heart and lungs and other breast, and a bit more of the sky.

So tonight, I should be able to work on the arms and/or the head. It’s getting closer to being done. I’m going to need binding fabric. More importantly, I need to draw the next one. It was a rough draft in my brain. Sleeping last night made it much more clear. Also Roe v Wade made it more clear. And dumb people made it more clear. Controlling people. People who say I’m imagining a war on the uterus. Whatever. I roll my eyes at you.

Another thing I did last night was spend an hour plus on the phone with the Man, who I hadn’t talked to since I left him at Kennedy Meadows. We text, but it’s hard to keep a coherent conversation going between his work and mine, and his lack of Wifi at night. It was nice to hear him talk. It’s still 3 1/2 weeks until I see him.

After that, I did some plant reconnaissance…had two succulents I’d cut off a huge plant that I’m trying to establish elsewhere in the yard, and in doing that, I noticed some new flowers…this one has never flowered…

And I thought I’d killed this one…

I get two succulents mailed to me each month. It’s one of the things I started in quarantine to make me happy, and it continues to do so. I keep most of them alive. I have no idea what that offshoot is gonna look like, but I’m looking forward to checking it out.

And this one came from the ex’s house, fell off a rock. I didn’t know it flowered…and so BIG.

I need to transplant some of it back to his rock.

Meditations with cats…

Really, just this cat.

Oh and here are some Nida oldies…I don’t even remember painting this one for my cousin and her husband…

My cousin died in 2020 (not COVID) and this just showed back up at my house. Huh. Not sure what to do with it. This is circa 1987, in case you didn’t think I always did weird bodies. I did.

And this is high school…another gift…this to my great uncle.

I loved Vanity Fair magazine and would draw the models with my own take on it. I guess you can see the beginnings of my style peeking out here. Certainly I was looking at shadows and blocks of dark and light before I ever started working in fabric.

OK. Job calls. Car is still in the shop. Not sure what’s wrong with it. Work was hard yesterday. I’m hoping it’s less hard today. Ha! What a joke. I’m hoping I get to keep my prep period…I need it. Grades are due next week. I’m hoping for an easy, cheap car fix. Ha! OK. Work. Go.

Hard Landing…

You know how sometimes a plane lands really hard? Like BANG. When I came back from Boston, we landed hard, and then we fishtailed. Kind of nerve wracking, honestly. But we were fine. That’s what coming back after Spring Break has been like. I’m still exhausted. The booster shot is still kicking my ass. I feel completely off, both mentally and physically. Trying to give myself some grace, just get through a day at a time. Trying not to get angry at the teacher who randomly transferred a kid into my class without talking to me. This is a kid who already had that class last trimester, so it makes no sense to give him back to me? Whatever. He failed mine before…he can do all the things he didn’t do last trimester. But maybe talk to me next time? However tired and irritable I am, I wouldn’t do that to another teacher. 36 days.

I Zoomed with my co-teacher to plan since she is still stuck in Germany. It was OK, although I still need to figure out what I’m actually posting and how to make the printer work with my computer, because it stopped. That’s today’s plan. Hopefully. And grade things. Because I’m still massively behind.

In other news, I finished the stitchdown (finally!) on the desert piece.

Only 7 hours and 44 minutes. Not bad, considering the killing of a free-motion foot. I bought a variety of feet that I didn’t have for the new machine, just to see if something else would work better, because the one I used after I broke the one I like was not my favorite.

Somehow I ordered 5 of the littlest one. IDK how. Late-night Amazoning. Always an issue. Bought two of the one that broke. That was on purpose. I’ll try the others too. There’s one other one I could try if I can find it online. Meanwhile, hey Husqvarna…fix your badly designed foot! It’s funny…I’d only broken one of those in years on the last machine. Anyway. Problem solved. Hopefully.

I was hoping to pinbaste last night, but I made the decision to go to the gym last night, and it ended up being late, and then I cooked dinner, and ate it, and then it was 9:30 PM. And moving my ass off the couch became difficult. I did though…ironed the whole top and found an entire arm that wasn’t stitched down. It’s not uncommon for me to miss a small section while I’m stitching, but a footlong piece? A little more rare. So I need to do that. And then I realized I didn’t have a big enough piece of batting that was already washed.

And then it was 10:30 PM. Not staying up another hour for that. So it will get done tonight, I guess. Although I have to cook again tonight. It’s never-ending! That’s not totally true…I mean, yes, it’s never-ending, but I have leftovers set up for tomorrow and Friday night, and honestly, probably Saturday too. Maybe. We’ll see if there’s any left by then. Slow quilt. This one is slow. I blame the day job.

Yeah, there’s been a lot of that lately. Yesterday was kind of one of those. Certainly it was a “No, you’re not crying on the way to work. Oh wait, yes you are.” day. It’s fine. I’m just tired and feeling overwhelmed. It’ll get better.

Saw a hawk on the neighbor’s swingset that is just on the other side of my fence…

Pretty bird.

I think the only way I’m going to get through the vacation photos is a little bit at a time. We had shitty wifi in Paso Robles, so that was the last bit I posted and it took forever. The first night, we went to something called the Light Fields at Sensorio, which is an artist installation of all these LED lights over the fields near Paso Robles. It was cool…

Also cool that the moon was out…

There were an awful lot of people, though, so realize that. And it’s not cheap.

I did really enjoy the light show though…some of them change colors as you’re watching. But the non-lit landscape was also cool.

The next day, we were going to hike but it rained all morning and we couldn’t get our acts together, so we read and tried to watch TV (see bad wifi) and I stitched some…

Those little bees were pretty fun to make…

Even though my cast-on stitches are not perfect. I’m OK with not perfect.

When it cleared up, we headed out to an area called Tin City that is all winery tasting rooms and a few breweries, packed full of people and dogs, and we hung out at one brewery for a few hours, people- and dog-watching, plus I drew, and we ate dinner.

It was entertaining enough. When it got cold, we left…next day? Pinnacles.

OK, going to work now. Today I teach all the things. Should be interesting. I’m not ready. I’m rarely ready, but these days, really I’m not feeling it. Let’s hope prep period is productive and I get a ton done and feel successful and on top of things. That would be nice.

Drawing on Vacation

I’m back! I haven’t had WiFi for a week, obviously. I had enough cell coverage to post Instagram photos, but then my phone died and refused to charge for a bit. There’s so many photos and stories from the last week that I can’t even deal. Maybe a little at a time. Let’s start with the drawings…because I basically did one a day. That’s the best part of being away from the house on vacation…I can’t distract myself with the to-do list that’s here. I can read, I can stitch, I can hike, or I can draw. So I draw mostly at night with a headlamp while the Man builds (and stares deeply into) a fire. It’s my form of staring deeply into a fire, I guess.

The first drawing is actually from the trip to Boston to see the girlchild. She needed a nap and I needed some down time, so I went back to my AirBnb and drew and watched some Marvel movie I thought I hadn’t seen (I think I only hadn’t seen the beginning…like I was grading during the beginning of the movie?)…

When I’m really tired, just drawing concentric or parallel lines is one thing I can do.

Then I was home for about 36 hours (max) and we left to go camping. The first two nights, we were in Ojai, California.

Everyone asks why Ojai? I don’t know. It was on the map and had hikes and campsites. We are short on money right now, so no fancy restaurants and wine tastings. Well, we did one, but not in Ojai. I used the ridgeline to start her back and then filled in from there.

This was the second night in Ojai, after a particularly difficult (it shouldn’t have been, but it was) hike…

I drew a bunch of the stuff I’d seen on the hike, plus the campfire and the mountains and the oaks.

The next night, we made it to Paso Robles and our one stay inside. The first night, we went to see Sensorio (more on that later). I didn’t actually draw that night…this was the next day, when it was a bit drizzly in the morning and we decided against the hike we’d planned.

Then later that day, we headed out to a winery with a bunch of sculpture and had a (very expensive) wine tasting.

Still focusing on the landscape; lots of trees and grapevines in this one. I didn’t finish this one, actually, until later in the day. We headed over to Tin City, which has lots of winery tasting rooms. We picked a brewery instead, because it had a food truck, and we hung out there for a while, watching the people (some) and dogs (mostly). I finished that drawing and started another…

Although I did most of the embellishment on this one the next night in the campground at Pinnacles National Park, after a 6-mile afternoon hike (mostly flat).

The next night, I drew this one…

After seeing condors just sitting on a rock and in a tree. Amazing stuff.

From there, we drove through Morro Bay and down to Pismo Beach, where we stayed in the Oceano Campground. Another fire, another drawing…

The sea otter showed up from hanging out by the bay. It’s a relief to be able to just draw and draw. My school days have been so full and heavy that drawing for no purpose but to draw is just not happening. I’m too tired and have no mental energy, unless I’m working on a specific project. Then I make written lists of things and figure out how to fit them in a drawing. It’s not like these, where I just doodle my brain out on the paper.

The last night in Pismo Beach, we had talked about my leaving the Man in Kennedy Meadows the next day to avoid the snow that was supposed to be coming in. Plus honestly, I was tired. I don’t sleep well with weird noises, and we had two nights of frogs, really loud, inconsistent frogs, and then one night of some big squawky birds (heron, egret, or cormorant…not sure which), and my foot had been hurting and I was tired of not eating enough vegetables. Seriously. I just had a salad. It was delightful. I think I just wanted to be home and sleep in a bed. I wasn’t ready to camp in snow and wind.

So I drew this…

Which was literally us sitting around the campfire. I knew he wanted me to stay another night in Kennedy Meadows, but bad weather and driving alone stress me out, and I need to be back at school on Monday, and there are a bunch of things that need to happen before then. So I made the decision to drive home yesterday. I’m still exhausted today, and probably will be tomorrow. And there wasn’t as much snow up there as predicted, but I know I wouldn’t have slept for yet another night. So I made the best decision I could.

I’ll be back up there at the end of May to pick up all the equipment he doesn’t need on the PCT, so I’ll get to camp there then. I am hoping to find some drawing time between now and then, but going into the end of the school year is not usually an easy time no matter what. We’ll see how it goes. Why did I leave him there? He’s working up there until he hikes, trying to put away some money so he can hike further. Potentially he’ll be gone through the end of July, knock on wood and barring any injuries.

More tomorrow, assuming I can get my head around it.

Ode to a Shower…

Showers are wonderful y’all. I appreciate them even when they aren’t great. The water is warm, even hot? Check. It’s above me and there’s enough water to do the things? Check. BOOM. I’m in. Yes, I have been showerless for a few days. Bathroomless even, although there was one down the hill. I had a porta-potty nearby. The flies buzzing in close proximity to the gentler parts were a worry, but survivable.

We left Wednesday and went to see Alice Beasley’s 30-year retrospective show at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica. No, LA traffic has not changed. It was worth it though to see more of her work in person.

This is Isle of Dreams Revisited.

And the incredibly relevant From Russia with Love…

Definitely worth a drive up. No matter how much the Man complained about LA traffic. If you just accept that there will be traffic, it’s a lot easier to take.

From there, we headed to Ojai and the showerless campground. It was OK…nothing to write home about, but serviceable for our needs. A nice tree, some great views, and these weird tanks.

The view…in one direction…

And the other direction…

The Man has a thing for campfires, but occasionally we’ve had starting issues. Solution? Buy firestarters…

Totally worth it for my sanity. Oh yes, I draw while he fights the wood and the fire.

I started with the mountain ridge line and added the figure.

On Thursday, we picked what we thought would be a reasonable hike. You know how some 5-mile hikes feel longer than others?

Yeah, this was one of those. It was fine. I think we were both tired and hadn’t been exercising much (for me, in the last week…too much school crap and then going to Boston).

Depending on which app you were talking to, it was 5.5 or 5.6 miles with 1400+ feet of gain.

There’s some gain right there. It wasn’t horrible. It just took us a lot longer than we thought it would.

Lots of spring flowers and butterflies…

I came around the corner into a flock of these little blue butterflies.

You’ve heard of slowing down, slow stitching, slow cooking?

We slow hiked.

It’s not a race. Came back, hung out, had a drink to celebrate the end of the hike, stitched a bit, read a lot, took a nap…

Another fire…

Another drawing…shit, that’s what I could be doing while I wait for all these pictures to load…draw!

This morning, we slept in, then fed ourselves and packed up in just 90 minutes. Drove out of Ojai to Paso Robles, where we have an actual shower and stove and bed. OK we had all those things in the campsite except for the shower.

Tonight is art, tomorrow is hiking and some entertainment. Then book it out of here on Easter for Pinnacles National Park (has showers!). I know lots of people wanna know why I don’t hike the PCT with the Man. There are quite a few reasons (my job is one), but also…showers. My goodness, it has taken two hours with the slow internet here to get this written. Time for dinner and then art! Not sure when I’ll be able to write again. We’ll see. Rest assured that I will be reading, stitching, hiking, napping, and photographing…and trying to avoid thinking about school.

Refreshing Brain and Body…

Currently I’m lounging on the girlchild’s couch, listening to her work on some Zoom-like app. I only hear her side, so it’s a partial story. I’m not really fully awake. Although I’ve slept a decent number of hours in the last few days, I’m in Boston, so it’s the wrong time zone, and I think my body knows that.

I made it to the last day of the Gaia exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum; it was awesome to see the show in person after hearing many of the artists talk about their work on Zoom in the early days of the show. I think this started traveling right before COVID hit. Like many shows, it’s been in some places and canceled in others, but it was an honor to be included. I love this picture of me with Luana Rubin, who curated the show.

I flew on a redeye flight because we had a field trip at school on Friday, so I couldn’t take the day off. I dozed on the plane, arriving at 5 AM in Boston. I slept for about 4 hours in the morning and then we drove out to Lowell for Luana’s talk. She asked me to speak about my piece, which is just proof that I can do anything…talk about a piece with no prep and no sleep! Ah well.

I loved seeing this Cas Holmes piece in person…it’s so beautiful.

I was amazingly bad at taking photos there…probably due to massive lack of sleep. There was a bird exhibit too…this piece was by Linda Heatherley…

I really like the separation of spaces and graphic quality of this piece.

After the show, I got more caffeine (necessary) and briefly checked out this cool artsy space in Lowell…

Then back to the room for a nap before dinner. Rally! It’s nice to be here just with the girlchild. When she is in San Diego, there are many pulls on both our time, so I appreciate being the only one with her, even if it’s just a short time.

Sunday, she coached a soccer game and I watched. I spent 13 or so years sitting on soccer fields watching her play, either grading or stitching while I sat.

It’s a little different watching her coach, but not a lot. It was cold out there, but I did stitch…

Last night, we got takeout in my room and watched a movie, and I stitched some more…

These two blocks from March Homegrown (Sue Spargo) are done. I only finished the bottom one here. Not sure why I dragged a finished one across the country.

I also drew on Saturday.

Lots of zendoodly filling-in of space. Brainless.

I leave for the airport in about 90 minutes…gonna read and stitch until then. I get home tonight and tomorrow is shopping and packing for 8 or 9 days of mostly camping and hiking. Expect more nature photos, drawing, and stitching. Looking forward to it, but also, I’m tired. Hope I catch up on sleep at some point. It is Spring Break…not thinking about school is mostly happening. I did briefly grade warmups and I am set up to watch student videos if I feel like it. I might now ever feel like it. And that’s ok. I have 38 days of school left when break is over and there’s a bunch of stressful things coming up too. I need to refresh brain and body for all of that. So. Back to stitching for a while! See you back on the West Coast…