We Have to…

I’ve been thinking about the risks we take as artists…first, there are of course the risks of making the work. A lot of us have another job that pays the bills and then we make art “on the side.” Someone actually called teaching my side job the other day and I laughed. Because it is…and it isn’t. It takes too much time to be the side job. I don’t think of EITHER of them as the side job…copyediting is the side job. Anyway, so there’s a risk there of not putting enough time into either to be good at either. Plus the work I do has occasionally gotten me in trouble at my job…although I am mostly protected, my district could probably come up with some reason to fire me for my art…other districts have done that to other artists. If you are a full-time artist, kudos to you, but that is also a risk…if you don’t sell enough, you are constantly trying to fill in your income with classes or teaching positions or books or some other way to pay the bills. We’ve all donated to a GoFundMe somewhere for an artist who got sick or injured and can’t pay the bills. There’s no insurance that covers that. Then there’s the risk of sending your work out into the world: the risk of shipping it or delivering it, having it hang somewhere else, having someone else be responsible for it, of having it damaged there or on the way there or back. There’s stories of work being knocked over, of bleach being thrown at work, of work being stolen. All these are terrifying to the artist who spends so much time and energy to make the work. And as my son reminded me today, a lot of the work we make is flammable…if this house goes up in flames, what’s left? Artists have faced that in wildfires, in bushfires, in single house or studio fires. It’s devastating.

So Why the FUCK do we keep doing this risky thing? Well, because we have to. We have a brain that requires the art to be made, that means we have to spend the time, the money, the energy, the risk, the threat of loss or damage. We have to. Hopefully we understand the risks and we do our best to protect against those…and I’m amazingly lucky that my quilt was found before I ever knew it was lost. Sure, I could make it again (would I? Probably not). I have the drawing. I have photos. One of my smaller older quilts was burned in the Cedar Fire. The owner contacted me about fixing it…or really, about preserving it. I sent her the information I could (eventually, over time, it will not last). That’s a survival story. Certainly with all the fires we have here and with what Australia is experiencing, I expect more stories of damage to art and quilts and lives. There’s even a bit of a link here to the President’s threats to bomb Iran’s cultural sites. Because that’s a threat to a cultural artifacts that doesn’t need to be made. But that’s a whole ‘nother issue, isn’t it? Sigh.

Reflection on the practice of art. I drew this on Saturday night…

Trying to escape all the shit in my head and destruction on my planet.

By Sunday night, I was done with escaping…

I still don’t see solutions, but I realize we can’t go anywhere. This might be the start of the next big quilt, although I’m staring at one of my older quilts on the wall, about the Japanese tsunami of 2011. And the themes are similar. Sigh. The missiles are new. Isn’t that fun?

I really haven’t done a good job of making art this break. I’ve full-on sucked at it. I figure there’s a reason. My brain isn’t there. That said, I finally stitched the binding on with the machine last night…

And now I can sit and sew by hand for a while. I also went through a bunch of drawings over the last two days. I have two shows coming up that will require no nudity, and I don’t have a lot of those right now. I’m going to need to make a few of those. But not next. I don’t think. I don’t know. I have a week left before I have to go back to school. I’m trying to stay on top of the to-do list, but honestly, I just start panicking. My weekend coming up is totally full, so I have to be proactive about school stuff. I’ve been working all break, a little at a time. But ugh. This view.

Sometimes I sit on the couch and do it while watching TV; sometimes I sit here. It doesn’t help. I have to get up regularly and do something else. I can’t grade less right now. These are assessments. They require me to pay attention and focus on real answers and feedback. I can’t just throw them out. This is where I realize that I didn’t teach the kids some things, or even that I DID teach them and they didn’t retain it. It’s frustrating. But it has to be done. And it’s time-consuming. There’s no real way to figure out what they know with a multiple-choice test. There’s three different ways for them to show me here. And some got perfect scores. Some didn’t.

So I need to finish those and another assignment. Even though it hurts my head.

Today is a lot of errands though. Gonna get them out of the way and hope for some gym time and a hike later this week. Plus I need to read the book for book club. Minor issue. And pick the next quilt to make. Either I’m drawing a new big one that’s timely (that’s what I’m leaning toward) or I’m drawing a smaller one with no nudity (eh. Later.).

We always have cute kittens…

Even when they’re rampaging around, destroying things. Which is something they do. When they’re not considering playing with the old lady cat…

It’s a work in progress, that…

There’s nowhere to sit sometimes because so many furry things are sleeping. Which is nice. They certainly help clear the mind sometimes.

OK. Speaking of clearing minds, I need Motrin. And more tea. Off to the vet and who-knows-where-else.

People Who Do the Right Thing

Yesterday was awesome and stressful and exhausting, not all at the same time. Awesome hike and time spent in nature. Stressful incident with one of my quilts that ended well because some people are awesome, even if they don’t know you. Exhausting because of the hike and then exercise in the afternoon (not best planned) with emotional stress from the quilt thing. I ended up not getting much done, certainly not what I had planned to get done. It’s OK. There’s time. It was frustrating. I had plans. My brain intervened. So today, I’m feeling overwhelmed with to-do stuff, even though I still have a week of break left. It’s never enough.

I like chronology. The day started with a hike up Volcan Mountain, my first time…it has a great trailhead…

It was a bit chilly going up, but not too bad. More of the trailhead art…

We had read that the trail had ice, snow, and mud, so we brought poles this time…

It was a beautiful day…it’s a mountain, though, so there is a lot of up.

Up can be hard. There was some snow, ice, and mud, but it wasn’t too bad, and we avoided this section on the way down by taking the alternate Five Oaks trail down (I wouldn’t want to take that one UP, but down was nice).

My solution after last week’s UP hike (it wasn’t a mountain, so the up was parceled out throughout the entire hike) was to suggest my hiking partner pick the hike this time. Years of raising children and teaching middle school has taught me that ownership moderates the complaining. I was right. And we were rewarded with beautiful trees…

A million acorns underfoot…

And eventually an awesome view from the top…

More mud, not anywhere near as bad as last week’s.

Actually, there were multiple viewpoints…

And the plus is, it was down for the second half.

There are pros and cons to mountains. Our first hike of 2020 in the books.

See, we’re smiling! Because we know it’s downhill from here? Perhaps. May there be many more hikes as the year unfolds.

Although I could do without the snow.

This isn’t bad at all, actually. There’s Cuyamaca, Middle, and Stonewall peaks out there…

They had more snow, I think.

I’m still in love with manzanita, by the way.

Gonna plant some here. One bush. Far away from the house, since they are a fire danger.

Finished the hike with a drink and a burger. That was a seriously healthy wine pour. Santa still hanging out here in the mountains.

We came back and showered and I was going to start grading when I got a phone call from someone I didn’t know asking me if I meant to throw out my art.

Um. No? Serious stomach flutters on that call. She found it in a trashcan in front of San Diego Gymnastics in Liberty Station here in San Diego. She pulled it out because it was beautiful and then (this is why all your contact info goes on your label, people) she called me to see if I had meant to throw it away. She didn’t leave it in the trash. She didn’t keep it without contacting me. She did the right thing. This piece, Portrait of a Young Woman As an Artist, has been hanging in Liberty Station in a show since early November. Here’s where it was hanging…

The asshole(s?) who pulled it down and trashed it pulled hard enough to unbolt it from the wall on the one side. It was pretty high up on the wall too…so they had to work at it. I’m surprised they didn’t damage the piece. I’m so glad this woman called me. I drove out there and handed her cash and she tried to say I didn’t have to, and I’m like, I’m rewarding good people. I had some cash lying around from a friend who is paying installments on one of my quilts, and this pays that goodness forward.

By the way, the asshole(s) who pulled it down? There are cameras. We had an issue with another piece, they tracked the offender down and threatened them with the police. They returned the piece. This one? Well it would have been in the trash and discarded if this woman hadn’t done such a good deed. I was so stressed and freaked out that I didn’t even get her name. Duh. Oh well. It’s done. It’s saved. All is good. I did not go rehang it though. The show comes down next weekend. I’m good. The rest of the pieces in the show are all still there, undamaged, so that’s just another piece of humanity I have to wonder about. The good versus the bad? I hate to think of people as being bad…their behavior is bad. I’d love an explanation, I guess. I probably won’t get one.

After all that, I went to my already scheduled (couldn’t reschedule it, dammit) Pilates class and exercised my already tired body. I came back and was unable to focus on anything. I ate dinner. I finished my book. And then I drew…

I was watching more Craft in America episodes. Interesting stuff.

I couldn’t manage to sew a binding on or grade anything. My brain was overwhelmed with WHY and HOW and WTF and Australia on fire and war on Iran or WWIII or the draft (I have kids…I worry) and even this wouldn’t shut it up…

Although boychild and I shopped online for houses in the Julian area and mentally purchased a 20-acre horse ranch with stables and arena and hot tub. We’ll be doing something out there…as soon as we win the lottery and have 2.5 million dollars to spare. I guess that was my brain trying NOT to stress out.

I should be like the furries.

Just play and sleep and don’t worry about it. I am unfortunately a worrisome human, so that’s harder for me.

Today is busy and all over the place and I don’t even know if I’ll have time to do anything on the to-do list, and in fact, I just made the to-do list longer with all the crap that needs cleaning and organizing because it’s stressing me out. So there’s that.

Quilt is back, safe and sound. My body is strong and can kick a mountain’s ass. Do mountains have asses? And I still have a week to manage all the shit that’s piled up around me, literally and figuratively. Let’s hope for rain in Australia and a quick solution to the warmongering stupidity and many more good people who do the right thing.

2020…May It Be Full of Art…

It was a good New Year’s Day…I never got out of my pajamas…the only thing better would have been a hike, and we have that planned for tomorrow.

Today is the boychild’s birthday…

Wow. That hair. He’s much taller now, hair is longer. Pretty sure he started those bangs the girlchild has…after some revisions by mom. He makes better decisions now. Or at least asks first. He’ll spend some time with dogs and maybe kittens, relaxing. May 2020 be awesome for him, whatever that means.

We hiked with the dogs on Tuesday (yes, I am losing track of days). Simba needed a carry assist at some point…we thought he might have something in his paw, but it might have just been a pulled muscle.

We took them out 4 miles to try to tire the boy out…the boy dog, that is. He’s been in bark mode. Plus we think he misses the girlchild. It was a gorgeous day for a hike…

I love the outside. Plus there was lots of water to look at and stomp through…

Check out that tongue. We definitely tired her out…almost enough to ignore the fireworks on NYE.

I quilted a little bit every day…like one person’s worth…

It was a goal I could handle. Finish one person. Then you get a break.

It stayed that way, one a day, until yesterday…

Yesterday, I finished the requisite person and then had the background staring at me…

I stopped for dinner and then finished quilting the whole thing…

It only took 3 1/2 hours…

So Kitten/kitten play has been happening…a little…

Mostly around corners and under quilts…

There was no hissing here…just play bopping. And this was after Nova went after Kitten’s tail, which was swishing around quite temptingly.

I did my daily drawings…this one from NYE was a little strange…

Here’s the first drawing of 2020…

I always feel like this is such a good practice, drawing every day, but the reality of my days during school are less conducive to this. Unfortunately. I’ve tried instituting a drawing a week, like Friday night, but time is so limited when I’m teaching that I sacrifice the drawing time to actual artmaking instead.

Nova on my sketchbooks…

Not the best footing.

OK, I have two quilts to deliver, a binding fabric to buy (no, I don’t have enough of anything to use for binding), and pilates class…plus grading. I did one period of the UGH assignments (it’s really two assignments put together) yesterday. It took about 2 1/2 hours, but I wasn’t really paying attention well and I will get faster. Or not. I don’t know. Four more periods of those to go…really need to do one a day. Plus decide what art I’m making next. Oh yeah, recap of 2019…only 6 quilts, but 1 was huge…

All of them have been or are going to be in shows, which is cool. Two are traveling for at least a year. One won an award. All good. I feel like making work from my head is a good place right now. Although 4 of these were made for specific themes. My favorite, Swallow Me Whole, was not though. It was a thing in my head that needed to get out. So start 2020 with one of those, one I choose, no theme, just Nida.

Plus I did these last year…

These were a new thing…not sure how successful it was, but it was an interesting experience. I would stitch more of my drawings, but they take so much time, it’s hard to make it a profitable thing. Not that I make art for that…but maybe I’ll design a few for traveling/camping. They were good for that. You can find patterns and kits for these at Global Artisans

2020…may it be full of art and time for that shit.

How to Make It Better…

So many people already saying Happy New Year…I guess that’s legit for Australia, but all you Americans just need to wait a bit. Europe too. Chillax. We’ve got the rest of 2019 to survive.

Speaking of Australia…all the fires and the animals and the people and the crazy fire weather, which doesn’t make the news here hardly at all…my heart goes out to you. Hoping there’s a resolution soon and people can rest easy…although the future weather/drought issues there will still be a problem. I didn’t realize there was such a huge coal industry there. It’s so hard to balance the needs of the world in general in terms of slowing climate change while also making sure people still have jobs and food and homes. It’s a huge mind shift…one that America doesn’t seem to understand either. Our core job needs to be taking care of people…not making money. So many politicians are ignorant (willfully or ?) of the science behind what’s happening and how we humans are making it worse.

Also on my mind…attacks on Jewish people…I hate my current government (because it’s not just the President any more) for encouraging this environment where people are emboldened to attack anyone who is different than they are. Have we learned nothing over the years? I read a friend’s comment about how we are raised to respect others’ opinions, but she was clear in that we don’t have to respect racist or hate-based opinions. I don’t hate you because you are racist…I don’t understand you. I hate your actions toward others. I hate your speech toward others. You are human and so obviously frightened of what is different or what you perceive as taking away from your rights (such an ignorant and limited view of the world). You don’t have the right to hurt someone else because of that…even if the President says you do. This last year has been hard to watch. So much anger and wrongness.

So that’s where I’m ending 2019. Sometimes when I’m drawing or making quilts, I think “this piece of art isn’t going to fix the government or racism or climate change or hate or anything else…” and I get disheartened about what I’m making. It’s not enough. I’m using materials that are causing more pollution, I’m using electricity, my privilege allows me to create art because I’m not trying to find food for my children or clean water…I don’t have tons of money to donate to worthy causes or tons of time to volunteer in worthy places. I try to educate my students about things when I can…there are times when I can’t be political because I teach in a public school…but I can be scientific. I make art because it helps me stay sane. It’s a drive I can’t turn off. I have been trying to be more thoughtful about fabric use in the last year or so…using up weird pieces that have been around for a while. I don’t have a solution for the world right now…I just know large parts of it are messed up and need fixing.

Tomorrow will be all about Happy New Year and looking forward. Today I’m in reflection mode. Ironically, I’m doing this program to help me reduce my school work hours, and they had suggested making monthly goals for school and other stuff, and I don’t know why that sounded like a good idea, but I set up the spread in my journal (which I do use daily…the journal anyway)…

And then. Well. Realized I’m not good at setting monthly goals. I set weekly ones, even daily ones, and ones that stretch out the length of a unit of teaching science (the next one is volcanoes and earthquakes, I think). Also ones that stretch out for the length of a quilt. Sometimes for summer or winter break. Not this break so much…but this isn’t working for me. I can’t get my head around it. OK then. I think I do OK on goals in general, so I’m just going to write this up as Tried, but Didn’t Work.

I did quilt for a while yesterday, the 2nd figure. I’ll do more today, I hope…though my original goal to be quilted by now so I could trim and bind today?

Not happening. So this will be the first quilt of 2020.

I’m still grading almost every day. I prefer doing a little at a time to spending entire days working on it.

This kitten is not at all helpful. Neither is the pup.

I did finish this assignment completely, and stayed up way too late doing another one, but now all that’s left is the three hellacious assignments. I’m just going to bully through one period a day, maybe more if it makes sense. Take a day off when it makes sense. Get through as much as I can. I have 12 days before I go back, and ideally I’ll be done. Which means more than one a day, I think. Sigh. OK. Good to know.

It’s also OK to do some of it when I get back from break. No matter what I was grading, there was always a companion…

These two eventually got off my lap…with some assistance from me.

Although Nova apparently thinks she is cuter than her sister, and should be in all the photos…

Eventually she sat on Luna. It’s nice having siblings…they are amusing.

I did my daily drawing…

This type of imagery shows up often. I was tired. Couldn’t think of what to draw.

This is one of the shows my work is going to be in, coming up in January…

That’s one of my two pieces…the art center is in Ojai, California. I don’t know if I’m going to the opening…it’s a long way for one day. Thinking about it.

OK, time to stop thinking and start doing. I need to put away the Christmas stuff, pack up some boxes to ship, walk the dogs, grade some shit, quilt another person, and IDK what else. Draw. But it’s New Year’s Eve, so I’ll get time for that while having to watch crazy TV. Ugh. I’m not a fan of all the NYE television, and I don’t need to go out and party. I do need to think about how to make 2020 better. Not for me…for others.

Can't Be Bothered…

I hiked yesterday. I didn’t write because I hiked, so I was up early and then I came back and was exhausted. Plus I don’t know what day it is anymore. Neither does anyone else, so it’s all good.

Girlchild spent a lot of time spoiling dogs…

They love when she’s home…

Which is good for her too…

Although she put this one in timeout for barking too much…

Legit.

We had one family gaming night…

With kitten involvement…they were fascinated…

With laps and dice and little pieces everywhere…

I didn’t win. I really never win. It’s a good thing I don’t care about winning.

Girlchild left this morning. I’m trying to figure out when to go visit her in Boston. Maybe Spring?

Lots of kitten cuteness. I have no family pictures…just kitten pictures.

Lame. I know.

This morning, my cat (Kitten) ventured out and maybe attempted play with kittens…

Maybe. Hard to say. Yes, there’s a kitten up her butt.

It’s progress. We hope.

Yesterday’s hike was at Santa Ysabel Preserve West, out off the 78…there was ice in a puddle and a tiny bit of snow by the path…

It was beautiful…there were lots of cows…and the Coast to Crest Trail book is as always completely wrong about every hike I’ve done in there…

The mileage was right…just under 6 miles…

I’m just not sure how they calculate loss/gain of elevation, because they said 300 feet and I should have checked AllTrails instead, because I would have brought my poles for the mud alone and this beast of a hill…

Down was worse than up for me. The man will never hike this trail again. Only 1174 feet of gain. Or loss. Doesn’t really matter to your knees.

Snow on the nearish mountains…

Beautiful panoramas…and more cows…

Mama is staring at us quite intently. We did persuade her to go stand by her babies…the original trail went between mom and the calves. Not a great plan.

We visited our favorite dive bar on the way back for sustenance…and then collapsed for the rest of the day.

I quilted a little bit on Friday. Super slow progress…

I just have too much to do. I finished grading 4/5 of the larger assignments.

I’m hoping to quilt more today. I’m also hoping someone besides me will take the initiative on the grocery list/cooking plan today, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening. Basically, I don’t think we would go to the store if I didn’t plan it.

Sigh.

I have videos to compile for my Patreon today, plus a drawing to scan and clean up. But hopefully more quilting too.

This was Friday’s drawing…tech on my mind? Much?

And then last night’s…I started with kittens asleep over there…at some point, one headed for me.

It’s hard to draw with a kitten in your face.

But there it is. Join my Patreon for $5/month and you’ll get a high-res copy of the drawing for coloring or staring at or whatever. Just don’t sell it. One a month. Such a deal. At some point, I’ll make a coloring book, but not yet. Need funding.

The Patreon video this month is about my motivation to get stuff done at the moment. It’s lacking. So I’ll do some pondering and then figure my shit out. As always. Until then, maybe it’s sandwiches every night. Can’t be bothered. Welcome to the new year!

Fighting Broken Thread…

Solar guys are here early to hopefully finish the job. Did I go to bed early last night because I knew they were coming? Fuck no. I was too busy fighting broken threads on the current quilt to go to bed early. The parrots were also here this morning, migrating their asses all over my trees, squawking their green little parrot songs. Things I can’t sleep through: rain, wind, parrots, men stomping on my roof and screwing things down through metal. It’s actually a longer list than that…includes Calli licking her paws and Kitten cleaning her butt. Plus coyotes and TVs and light…can’t sleep when it’s light unless I’m dying of some illness…which luckily I’m not at the moment.

Every day right now is about how to get more energy and time for artmaking…and still get shit done. Yesterday was replacing the black boots that finally died…with the girlchild. Plus grading one class of the larger assignment. Honestly, though, if I only do one a day, I may never finish all the things I need to grade, so I might have to step it up to two a day. I don’t know. Sigh. Do you stuff a day full of grading? Or do a little bit each day? It’s hard to know which hurts less. Which annoys less. But at least one period will get done today. The girlchild needs her eyes checked, so that’s on the list. Continuing the drawing a day and quilting some more (hopefully with fewer breaks) is also on the list for today.

Kitten sisters love each other, but in a semi-violent way…

There’s a lot of play fighting that goes on here.

Calli only gets upset when someone tries to take her toy…

Calli was watching me grade stuff. Plus she was nervous about the weather, which is gone today! Beautiful blue skies…cold, but clear. We’ll take it! Tomorrow, we’re hiking…hopefully not in snow, but who knows? A lot fell in our mountains.

In the afternoon, post shoe-shopping and grading, I finished the stitchdown on this never-ending quilt, and then pieced a backing. I’m still using up what I have, best I can…

I ended up using some of the blue from the front and a piece of gray/black that I’ve had for a really long time…I think it was a hand-me-down from somewhere, but honestly, I don’t remember. I cleaned the floor just in time for the kids and dogs to leave…

And then pinbasted it…it’s not huge. I’m not sure what’s taking me so long right now. Best to let the brain do what it needs to do. Stop worrying about it and just do it.

I thought this was going to be an easy 2019 finish…but I think it’ll be the first quilt of 2020.

I generally finish about 6 decent-sized quilts a year…this one would have been number 7.

I still might finish it in time for it to be a 2019 quilt…but for show entries, it’s probably better to finish in 2020.

I need thread for the background…I don’t have that color of blue, I think. I will need binding at some point as well. And I need a decision about the next deadline.

I took a break for pilates and dinner and some TV plus drawing, which is hard to do with a kitten on your chest. But she was insistent…

So I dealt…until she started batting at the pen. Off my dear. Love you. Go somewhere else.

Bone garden…

The man went to bed…too many festivities, not enough sleep (he handles it by sleeping…a smart move, I must say)…and I started quilting. The thread broke at least 10 times in this little space. I changed the needle, rethreaded a million times, applied thread conditioner, changed the tension.

Then gave up and went to bed because who needs that? And sometimes it figures itself out overnight. I’ll try again today.

Here are my Instagram colors from 2019. That’s a lot of blue…

Interesting…because my photos are a lot of art and a lot of hiking and animals. That’s about it.

Plans for today? Shower. Ignore stomping on roof. A drawing, some quilting, grading an assignment, eye doctor with girlchild, thread purchasing, possibly Costco (is it too soon? It might be too soon…but I need stuff. Not a lot of stuff. It can probably wait until next week. I don’t like people right now. The grocery stores on the two days before Christmas were probably enough people for the next three weeks.). Introverting? Maybe. Might be at a show tonight, later. Just don’t know. Art though. Make art.

Not This Year…

Two days off from writing…as always with this time of year, it’s busy. I’m really tired too…not sleeping well. Last night was the sound of rain…isn’t that supposed to be soothing? It was a lot of rain. Over an inch. And wind. Not so soothing. I feel like yesterday was the end of all the not-sleep and over-activity. The family stuff is done (well, mostly) and the holiday crazy is over, so now I can just focus on art and sleep (maybe?) and getting work done. Perhaps some down time? That might be a good plan.

Monday, I packed up 4 quilts…some needed slats, some needed labels. It took a good chunk of the day to get my fuzzy holiday brain on task and get it done, but then I shipped them all on Tuesday morning, which was the good thing. Four fewer things to worry about.

Then we went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (no longer the Wild Animal Park) with the man’s family, on one of those safari caravan things, where you get to feed the animals. That was way cool…

I suck at names, but this giraffe is female and very food-oriented.

And only a little in your face…

I think we all enjoyed the tour…

We also got to feed a couple of rhinos and ask lots of questions…

Apparently I win on questions. Not suprisingly. I told her I was a science teacher.

Casual. Giraffe over shoulder. Plus the tour guide went through the master’s program with my co-teacher…small world.

Baby rhino!

Rhinos are the weirdest looking things…

I didn’t know about the prehensile lip thing…

I’d never seen one this close…

I kept asking about everyone’s teeth. The animals…not the people. Anyway. It was a very cool thing to do, followed by food and wine and then coming home and being too exhausted to do anything but space out and go to bed. So I didn’t draw on Christmas Eve. I thought about doubling up yesterday, so I would still get my 24-drawing count, but it’s not meant to be a law like that. So I let it slide.

Christmas Eve, we moved the tree off the hearth, because it was supposed to be cold on Christmas Day and we wanted a fire…

I think she can sit in the entryway for a couple more years before we have to plant her out…although she might want to get out of that plastic container before then.

Christmas morning, the kittens and Kitten were all in the same space without violence…

That’s a good sign…we’ve seen a few instances of co-existence. There’s hope for the old lady.

Christmas Day was a lot of presents and a lot of food…my mom and the girlchild giving Simba all the loves…

Which he totally deserves, yeah? He even got a present…

The animals all get presents, although we think someone ate a catnip mouse. Probably someone large…

Hmmm. Maybe.

My dad sits on a chair behind the couch and surveys the room…

It takes a while. We eat the foods. We clean up. Then we all do our own thing for a while…some cook, some sleep, some walk…

Some put cat trees together…

Stronger minds than mine…

I even sat down at the machine again…trying to finish the stitchdown so I can get this quilt done.

Realistically, the other January deadline I had is not gonna happen. Not sure what happened in late November/early December, but I kinda lost the creation mojo. Too tired, too overwhelmed with all the stuff that needed to happen. Not surprising. It’s fine. Someday this week I’ll reevaluate where I’m at and decide whether I’m going to just blow off deadlines or make something for something.

Christmas dinner was nice…girlchild did a good job…

I started a drawing while waiting for dinner…and added a bunch of leaves afterwards, mostly because I couldn’t think of anything else to draw. The wonder of a tired brain…

Weird dogs. OK, maybe just the one on the right.

After the drawing, I finished grading one assignment and input five into the online gradebook. It needed to be done, it’s brainless, and this one was asleep in one arm while I did it…

Sweet baby.

Today is one more family thing, and then I’m hoping to finish the stitchdown, pinbaste the quilt (which means cleaning the entryway floor), doing another drawing, SLEEPING. Yeah. Not. Because the solar people are coming back tomorrow morning, so they’ll be here early, stomping on the roof. Sigh. I do sometimes go back and read past years on the blog to remind myself that it always takes a week, easily, to get relaxed in winter. It’s just chaos until after Christmas. But this quilt will get done and another started, and the grading will get as far as it gets, and I will be ignoring that parent who wants me to call them until I actually go back to school, and then I will be happy to call them. Although it’s going to be the same shit I told the kid twice now, so I’m not sure where the conversation will go from there. I’m going to read some of the 17 books I got for Christmas and maybe do some yard stuff and some hikes and some drawing. It’s good. I’ll get there. The family stuff was good…it just doesn’t leave much energy for anything else. This year, anyway. Some years, I’ve been ironing Christmas Eve and quilting Christmas afternoon…but not this year. No judgement. Just reality. Hope everyone had the holiday they needed or wanted, and if not, you now are getting to do something you do want to do. Or feeding a giraffe…because that was pretty cool.