Y’all. Fabric Doesn’t Go Bad…

Damn. I was sure I wrote a blog post on Monday. I blame Daylight Savings…I lost an hour and I lost part of my brain with it, apparently. Still looking for it. Tell me if you see it. It doesn’t have any tags, but it’s running fast and zigzagging so you can’t shoot at it.

So yeah. What the fuck have I been doing anyway? Besides lesson planning and grading and screaming into the void? I still haz no sewing machine (I called. I was desperate. It’s not ready.). OK, I pulled out the old machine and 2 hours later, I found the pedal and the cord for it. It works fine for straight lines and basic stitching. I don’t want to attempt stitchdown or quilting on it. But it’s here for the crazy thing my quilt guild is doing, which involves these, and honestly, the crazy part is me because I wanted rainbows and wasn’t willing to just go with two fabrics.

More on that crazy shit later. When I can get any of it done. It’s straight lines (mostly) and brainless (sort of. there is math).

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to applique this thing by hand.

That fish fabric is some Matisse garden fabric from 20+ years ago. All these fabrics are from 20+ years ago.

(Y’all. Fabric doesn’t go bad.) Hey, so headless, missing fish parts, but getting there. Yes! Those are some Kaffe Fassett fabrics from back then. Even then, I loved his stuff. More on that below.

I’m getting down to the last bits, although this thing will need a bunch of embroidery, because I did that shit on my art quilts back then.

The fish are done. No, I can’t explain this quilt.

Seriously, it’s about childbirth and IDK what else. 21 years ago I had a 4-year-old and a 3-year-old and was working full time as a copyeditor and was still married. So another world, y’all. Another world.

I will finish her though. This year. Maybe even this month.

Back to Kaffe Fassett…I saw the new collection for 2021, started looking at what I wanted. Figured out that I wanted too many of them, so I used my birthday money (and some other money I got, thanks mom and dad) and bought a fat quarter package of all of them.

I will use these until I die. Or I run out. Hopefully the latter comes first. Yes, I washed and dried and folded all of them. I did not iron them. That’s crazy. I’ll iron them when I use them. I bought them from a quilt shop online that I haven’t shopped at before…and they were nice enough to send me a note…

Whoa. They know who I am. So that’s weird? Or cool. Anyway, check them out: StitchCraft. I just searched for that link and saw some other things that are catching my eye (MUST STOP). So I’ll think about those things. Support the indies! Yes, I could shop locally, and sometimes I do, but I also can’t leave the house much and this is faster and easier. Sigh. I miss shopping for fabric when I don’t actually need something specific, just wandering around the shop. I may schedule that.

School. Sigh. It has “this intoxicated thing inside of it.”

I have no idea what this kid is talking about. Although he mentioned atoms and balloons, which was on topic.

Also art. I’m going to have to do the start of a sketchbook page every day I teach art this week and next.

It’s OK. I do them during my prep period. I have to do two of them today, I think. And grade three assignments. Plus late work. It’s OK. Really. I’m sort of resigned to my online teaching existence right now. Because there are only 8 more working days until Spring Break. I may feel differently next week. Or even tomorrow. Or later today. My co-teachers who were recently quarantined (again) are feeling the pain of pivoting (hate that word) back to distance after being hybrid. I guess I’m used to it. It’s not like I have a choice. After break, they are going back to 5 days a week. That will probably be my reality in August. But I’ll be vaccinated and mostly feral. It’ll be fine.

I’m still walking, although I had to be non-strenuous (aka flat) until my stress test.

Lake Miramar has a dirt trail below the paved trail for most of the distance around the lake. Most? At least half.

It was muddy at times, but worth it to be off the pavement.

Almost 5 miles.

More than a little chilly. And breweries have opened up, so we stopped for a freezing outdoor cider before going home.

It was nice. Relaxing. Almost normal. Not really. But better. We were outside for dinner too…also cold.

I’ve been drawing before dinner. It’s good. To draw. I missed it.

Monday’s walk with the little dog, who had some pent-up energy.

Me too, little dog.

Dinner Monday night. Good food, but the recipe said 20-minute prep, and that was an hour.

I did make my own roasted peppers, but still y’all. ‘Twas not fast.

Oh yeah. Go to this link and read this article about how Michaels censored a cross-stitch artist’s book (Stephanie Rohr you can buy patterns there too) they ordered. During Women’s History Month. And then go buy her book from an indie book store. And if you have some extra cash, offer to buy one for someone who doesn’t. I just sent one to one of my daughter’s friends.

Ah Nova. You are the sweetest cat in the house.

OK. School today. Exercise. Hopefully some more poking holes in my fingers with needles (sewing. Nothing weird. Just sewing.).

Not a Prime Number

I turned 54 yesterday. It’s an OK number, divisible by 9 and 3, not a prime number, but it’s good. Yeah, numbers sit in my head in weird ways. What can I say? It was an acceptable birthday. I felt well, got enough sleep the night before for once, had a break from teaching in the middle of the day (prep period…can’t say I was particularly effective, but that happens), exploded some baking soda and vinegar for class, texted about 10 parents about their kids (one was FINALLY a positive, made me so happy; I have so little time for everything, that the positive contacts have been the first to go), went for a non-strenuous walk, and went out to dinner. My Assistant Principal was my waitress…first time I’ve seen her since some time last March, I think.

It’s weird how our brains are training themselves to recognize people with their masks on. So that was cool.

I did not work after 3:30 PM on school stuff. I probably should have, but the world will not end if I didn’t grade an assignment yesterday. It will end because of the patriarchy and/or human stupidity. Straight up.

Really, if there hadn’t been a pandemic, it would have been a great day to take off and hike, if I weren’t on hike restrictions at the moment and we weren’t doing chemistry labs. So there’s that.

In art, we did a little blind contour drawing…

Bowie is looking good.

I also finally pulled one of these out. I bought canvas last May, I think, wanting to try this. Finally painted backgrounds in December? January?

I have about 4 of these done. And the other night, I finally had the guts to draw on one of them.

It’s kind of fun. This isn’t done. And I need a better white. This one isn’t that good. Actually, I need about 700 more colors to make me really happy, but this is good for now.

I also decided to finish this old hand-applique art quilt. It’s been lying around for way too long, and my sewing machine is still at the shop.

It’s a bit of a mess in terms of tiny little pieces, but I haz the skillz. So far, I’m only missing one piece, which isn’t bad. I think I started this in 2000? Something like that. I’m not sure there’s documentation of anything that far back. I used to put dates on the drawings, but this is an enlarged photocopy and the date isn’t on it. I don’t know where the original drawing is. And it pre-dates my writing the blog. So who knows? I can just place it after the last one I know I finished, which was January 2000. After 21 years, it deserves to be finished.

Cat NOT helping with chemistry setup…

One of the reasons starting another quilt in my normal fashion is not really happening right now. Nowhere to do it. Which reminds me, I need to set up for more chemistry demos today. And tonight is a union meeting, and I really do need to grade some things. But hopefully, I’ll get back to either drawing on canvas (and trying to figure out how I will finish those pieces when I am done drawing) or working on the hand applique. May my 55th year on the planet be full of vaccinations, openings of the things that keep me sane (hello art and museums and music and the like), and a shitload of art.

Ah yes, and this guy…

Whose cute little face was poised under my plate the other night, ever hopeful that I will spill all the foods.

Remind Me Not to Do That Ever Again…

Well grades are done. For last trimester. Now I need to start grading the stuff from last week. But it’s a relief to have the big stuff done on time. It meant grading a ton of art stuff at the last minute, so remind me not to do that ever again. I wanted everything clear before the trimester switch. I was expecting a bunch of switching students, and in reality, two switched and I got three new kids. The school has only TOLD me about two of the new kids. I’m wondering if they will ever tell me about the third. This year sucks, y’all. It really does. Plus I have literally no idea what I’m supposed to teach in art today. I know what I’m doing Thursday and Friday, but today is a blank. I’m hoping something exists by my prep period, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be winging it. No stress! Seriously. I’m supposed to increase sleep and reduce stress, and those are proving difficult. This calendar my team gifted me is helping though…

I really need to get my brain in a better place for all of it. I started the daily meditation practice again…although I keep zoning out in the middle of it. I’m not sure that’s OK. Surely it means something. I realized the series I was on, I had started it so long ago that I couldn’t remember the prompts, so I went back to the first one, and zoned out on it too. Sigh. Thanks brain! I did get to a point with meditation where I was pretty comfortable just doing quick meditative check-ins with my brain/body without the daily lesson, but I figure I need more structure with it at the moment. 63 days of school left in this year. We’re 2/3s of the way through. I’m not sure which sounds better. Science and art are roughly planned through the next three weeks…and then there’s nothing! I love nothing. It’s my favorite when it comes to lesson planning.

Grading is a lot of this…

Well I’m still drawing, because I still don’t have my sewing machine and I’m hesitant to start another new piece. This one came from the other one…

Those swallowing heads again. I’ll probably come back to this drawing. I like the start of it.

At dinner on Saturday night, I did this one.

We do go out on Saturdays at the moment, but only to places that have outdoor seating. It’s still a little chilly here at night, but definitely not like back East, so totally doable with the right shoes and jacket on. Once the man leaves on his hike, I probably won’t be doing that for a while, so best to get out and try to have date nights while we can. I missed drawing the last year…it’s been almost a year since schools shut down, yeah? I tried doing a drawing a day or a week, and just couldn’t keep up. Some weeks, I’d be totally planned Sunday night, or even mostly planned Friday night, but lately, it’s been a last-minute rush using my prep periods to get ready for the class right after. Which sucks. So drawing suffered. Art has definitely suffered.

I pulled this out from a million years ago for the #IGQuiltFest Day 7 prompt of Lessons Learned. I’ve been flailing on those prompts as well. Oh well. I used to do hand applique, still do occasionally, but soon figured out that making art quilts this way would take just too damn long.

Although someday I will finish this one. I hope. Maybe this is something I could be doing while waiting for my machine, eh? See. Lesson NOT learned.

Saturday, we walked. I can’t hike until I have my stress test and some other stuff (IDK what the other stuff is right now), but I was antsy as hell on Saturday after finishing grades (I graded through an art group meeting and a quilt guild meeting), so we found a longish mostly flat hike walk to do.

I don’t really know the difference sometimes between a hike and a walk. But this was easy enough.

Long enough to get a decent amount of steps in, but not strenuous.

When I feel like this, I want to climb things and go up and down hills in the back country. But no.

That’s industrial crap in the background. Just look at the river side! Ah well. Hopefully all that will be done and solved soon and I can go back to climbing hills for fun.

Cats…

Kitten is hyperthyroid and needs daily meds now. Luckily she likes pill pockets.

These two were whacking at each other for a good 30 minutes on and off…

Sibling warfare. They do like each other though. Just not all the time. I understand that feeling.

This week is my birthday, and we had dinner with the parentals last night. Both have had their vaccines. I’ve had one, second one is coming up. We (the visitors) stayed masked for a goodly portion of it. But I wanted a photo with my parents. I always forget to take those kinds of photos, and with almost losing dad last year, I wanted to be sure to get a photo.

Look! Mom is still taller than I am! I am the midget of the family.

OK, well, I should go figure out what I’m doing today, especially in art. And hopefully I’ll do some art stuff of my own tonight. And grade stuff. Because that isn’t stopping for 63 more school days.

One at a Time…

Still no sewing machine. And still buried in grading. I’m getting there, but I’m not there yet. I’m also not feeling well and not getting enough sleep, so all that is building up. I’ve left the hardest project to grade until the last. I just couldn’t get my head around it until now. I’m hoping my rubric is strong and helps me through it.

With very little mental and physical energy after grading, I’ve been sitting down with my sketchbook for a while every night. Honestly, I mostly stare at the empty spaces and consider how to fill them, but it’s a thing. I’m doing it.

The swallowing heads has been a thing for me when I’m feeling lots of anxiety. I’m surprised there haven’t been more of those in drawings this year, but I honestly haven’t been drawing very much. All the increased schoolwork is taking a toll on my art output and time for that. I really like this swallowing head though.

And drawing in itself relieves anxiety. I’ve been having breathing and heart racing issues for a while now, and the doc is doing tests. This drawing is all about those feels. There’s my first COVID vaccine…

The arm licking…it’s weird, yeah? Yeah. It is. I don’t feel right. This drawing is about that.

Anyway. The health stuff will get worked out. Somehow. And I’ll get my sewing machine back. Worst part is that I can’t do any strenuous exercise for now, at least for a couple of weeks, and that’s a big stress releaser for me. I can walk, but I can’t hike. So walk I will. See me rolling my eyes? Ah well. It’s movement.

Here’s why I can’t really start another big quilt right now, at least until Spring Break. This is my light table. This week, we had matter demos…

Next week is full on chemistry, signs of chemical reactions, following week is flame tests and IDK what else. And I don’t even have art stuff on here yet for my art classes. That will be next week. It’s just easier not to have to take this all off, use the light table, and put it all back. At least for a while. I said I might do another smaller quilt. And I might. I don’t like starting new ones while others are still in process. My brain stays with the one piece and focuses on it, and I don’t like mixing those in my brain. Weird? I don’t know. It’s how I work. One at a time.

OK, well, school today, a challenge, but doable. Weekend? Lots of school work. Next week? I turn 54. Divisible by 3 and 9. Good numbers. Not as good as prime numbers, but it will do. Numbers do weird things in my head. They seem to have meaning. I don’t know why. More drawing tonight? Most definitely. I’ve missed it.

Not in the Mood.

It’s supposed to start raining here in the next 3 hours and I see no evidence of it. Strange. Normally the clouds would start to pile up and all that, but the house faces mostly north and east, and apparently this storm is coming from the west, over the hill and you can’t see it from here. It’s got wind advisories and a goodly amount of rain in a fairly short time, and it’s lurking over there somewhere; you can only see it on radar from here. But it’s coming.

I’m exhausted this morning. Some sort of weird body thing last night kept me up too late. Sometimes my body is not my friend. So I’m fuzzy-brained and nauseated this morning. A good start. Tomorrow I go to the doctor with a list of weird body things with the hope that she can figure it out. Diabetes gone whack? Something else? I don’t know, but I’m hoping there’s a solution. Most days, I feel fine, but when I don’t, ugh.

The sewing machine is still at the shop and I am still flailing here, also still buried in schoolwork. Grades are due a week from yesterday for report cards. I’ve made it through a little more than 2/3s of the major science assignment, haven’t touched the two major art assignments, and I still have 50 late-work emails to deal with. Plus planning for next week and grading this week’s stuff, but right now, I’ll just continue to panic about the stuff that has to be graded and input by next Tuesday.

I’ve been doing little bits and pieces of sewing things in the evenings, reading my book. Not motivated by anything really. I did draw last night, while half asleep.

Her arm just started rooting itself. I don’t know how that happened.

I did walk yesterday…

There’s a large hawk in that tree. Bottom right V, on the left side. Staring at me.

Fascinating seed pods.

Standing at the top of the hill I’m about to go down…

It’s Spring here. Things are starting to bloom.

The slope that collapsed last year is finally fixed? Maybe?

We’ll see what it looks like after today’s rain.

Puppy love. Not last night but Monday night.

He is a sweetheart, when he’s not barking his ass off during class. Sigh.

Teaching. Exhausted. Grading. Hopefully tonight will be better sleep. Maybe I’ll keep working on that drawing. Maybe I’ll do something more…whatever? I have other stuff to work on. I’m just not in the mood.

Maybe We All Need Repotting…

Somehow, the month of February whizzed by my head without fully whacking me unconscious, so here we are. In March. Four weeks closer to Spring Break. Another paycheck closer to Summer Break. And no paychecks. Love summer for that. Such a challenge. Every year. That said, it’s getting Spring-like, and that’s nice…new growth on plants, flowers popping up, weeds taking over the yard. All the things!

Well the biggest news, besides my sewing machine being in the shop because it wasn’t dropping the free-motion foot (it dropped feet when straight stitching, but not zigzag; talk about fussy), is that I got my first vaccine. I am a teacher, in case you didn’t know that, and the school I teach for (not AT at the moment, because I can’t go back without these shots) is in a high-infection area (which means that, yes, I live in a high-infection area), so we were first on the list. Got my email on Friday while my science kids were finishing their work; got an appointment for Saturday morning…with a few hundred other people. Seriously, this was the most people I’ve been around since before COVID. And in an enclosed space. Freaked me out.

Plus a shot. Finally getting closer to being safe. Hopefully. I forgot to take a picture when the doc injected me, and he forgot to give me a sticker. Ah well, my co-teacher came to the rescue and met me outside after they monitored me for 30 minutes due to my weirdo reactions to shots.

I’ve been fine, just a sore arm and maybe a headache and fatigue. Hard to say if those aren’t things that I would have felt anyway. Probably! On to the next shot in a few weeks. Exciting stuff.

Our weekly gaming with friends seems to have moved to Sunday night, but that leaves open a night to game in person at home with the two men…we had a new Settlers of Catan expansion, so we read all the instructions 17 times and played a couple rounds.

I almost won one without even noticing. I’m not that good at games. I like to play; I don’t need to win.

Saturday, we did a little hike after taking the sewing machine in.

It’s definitely Springlike.

But the weather is still cool and breezy, so hikes are nice.

We tried a new trail in a place we hike all the time. It had a little up in it.

But it was good. Only 3.5 miles though. No time for a longer hike…left too late.

Then because the sewing machine was being cranky, I did some hand-sewing for a while on Saturday night.

Just sewing things down.

There might be a time when I come back to these and add more stitching.

I enjoy it, but don’t usually make time for it.

I also started this drawing at dinner on Saturday night.

And then finished it last night. It’s small. This is actually a printout of it larger than it is in real life. I joke that now I have the nanites in me, so everything will be fine. Honestly, I’d be OK with the nanites. Fix me, you little machines. Fix me.

Otherwise, I’ve been buried in schoolwork. Posting things, redoing things, making videos of things, grading things, answering too many panicked emails and ignoring others. School is frustrating in the best of times. These are not the best of times. These guys don’t care. They just want pets.

So we pet them. Although Nova, the sweetheart on the right, caught my finger and ripped it open Saturday? Friday? when I was petting her and tried to stop. So it’s a little painful. Otherwise, they’re all good.

This plant finally flowered. I’ve never seen it flower.

I repotted it and it is obviously much happier. Interesting take on the world there. Maybe we all need repotting.

School all day, hopefully some exercise, hopefully some art. A lot of grading. Every day until I’m done.

I Hit Cancel

My sewing machine is having issues. At least I think it’s the machine. It might be the foot I’m using, because the regular straight-stitch foot is working fine, but the spring-loaded free-motion foot won’t go all the way down to the fabric. It’s hovering about 1/2 an inch above and won’t go down. I’m frustrated. I turned off the machine a few days ago and walked away from it, and then came back and sewed stripes because it can do that, hoping it would forget whatever was making it do that crazy shit. But no. I tried again last night, because I have one little thing to quilt and a slightly larger thing to stitch down, and it won’t do it. I tried the floating free-motion foot and I’m not a fan. While quilting, it would randomly decide it would put pressure down or not, and the inconsistency seemed to cause the thread to knot up on the back horrendously. Sigh. So I will call my machine guy (Jimmy. His name is Jimmy, so I will call him that, but also I will ask him to fix this beast or just tell me what button to push to make it work). But it means I’m kind of stalled on those two projects, and because school is such a whiny-ass bitch right now, I can’t focus enough to decide what else to work on. So I sewed more stripes…mirror stripe this time…

It’s too big, I think…too wide. But I will make another one smaller to make up for it. Maybe. I don’t know what I’m doing here. Nothing new. I have many in-process projects I could be working on. Sewing sort-of straight lines won last night at 11 PM when I was trying to decide what to do with my brain.

I also watched this talk by Ben Venom yesterday…

which eventually had me yelling at the iPad. I actually enjoyed the first part, and thought Ben himself, when he wasn’t answering stupid questions, to be quite knowledgeable. I enjoyed that part. His work is interesting and unique in its own way. Honestly, the Juxtapoz interviewer was more than a little ignorant of the quilt art world. No offense, Ben, but I don’t think your work is rebellious…but I’m not your standard quilter. You make skulls and birds and cool things out of recycled fabrics. Even though there’s a lot of heavy metal imagery, you’re cutting most of it up and using the fabric to make your shapes. And you’re a young white male, so I’m not sure what they think you’re rebelling against? You’re using what you like to make a pretty standard art quilt. They’re cool, don’t get me wrong, but you’re not rebelling…except that young white males generally don’t quilt. So there’s that. Anyway, ignore the silly questions about do you know what the Modern Quilt Guild is (who CARES???). I enjoyed what you had to say before all that. Work on!

I stitched with friends on Zoom, but I can’t show you that, because it’s not published yet. It’s not my pattern. But it’s relaxing.

The night before, I had book club. I also had a bug in my head about drawing, so I did that during book club.

I’m not sure I like it or that it was going the way I wanted it too, but it’s there. I might do more on it. It’s definitely not finished. I miss drawing and should do more of it. But it requires more brain power than I have most nights at the moment. I’ve been grading late work every night until 10:30 or so, and I still can’t catch up. Last night, after yelling at my computer repeatedly about a kid who was emailing me about why her grade was dropping because she turned her work in, I finally emailed her parents (and copied her), because she was turning in things blank and/or barely done. I’m pretty sure the other kid who was turning in stuff at midnight, 5 assignments in 2 minutes flat, she’s doing it so I won’t make her stay in class today to finish up. Except I’m in a mood now, so I’ll probably open all 5 of those assignments and see if they’re blank and then make her do them. Because they probably are blank. Or barely started. This is where distance learning is hard. OK, it’s not the only place…but it’s one of them.

School just sucks right now. And this is so true right now.

That’s part of my frustration. I am working harder than a lot of them. And then they get upset because “I turned everything in; why don’t I have an A?” Sigh. I will wake up Monday and feel differently, maybe. Because today is the deadline for all the late work. But also this…

Oh yeah, I hit cancel. And got a flash drive. And walked it to the other computer. It took much less than 764 hours.

I was teaching yesterday and a hawk landed in the tree in front of the window, ON the nest that is there.

Great photo, eh? Not so much. Luckily, no baby birds in that nest. Pretty sure it’s been empty for a while. But cool to see the hawk so close, even if I couldn’t manage a decent photo.

And yesterday morning’s weird fog in the valleys.

Very cool. I miss driving to school (which is in the valley), going from sunny up here, driving a whopping 2.5 miles to school, and being socked in by fog. Speaking of school, ours is on the list for the first official teacher vaccines in the county, so after being canceled out of the other vaccines we thought we were eligible for, we actually might get them in the next week. Finally. I’m glad for my teachers in the classroom, but also glad they didn’t leave me off the list. The only way I get to go back is with a vaccine. I’m so tired of teaching this way. I want to be able to go back in August.

OK, lots of things to manage today, and hopefully I’ll find a way to get my machine fixed too. Incredibly thankful to the people who are offering to pick up artwork at a variety of shows for me. I just don’t have the time to get to those pickups (and some are during school hours), so I appreciate their help. You know me, I like to be fully independent, but that’s not realistic right now. I’ll do some art tonight…whatever it will be…maybe some gaming with the fam as well. It can’t be All Grading All the Time. It just can’t.

A Weird Year…

February is such a weird month. So short. So full of 3-day weekends (which I fully appreciate). You try to use that extra day wisely, make sure you have some free time, time off from school stuff, time to just relax. Sundays just disappear into school and groceries for me, and now gaming has moved to Sundays for now, totally confuzzles my brain. So I need today, the extra day, mostly to catch up with whatever I didn’t get to on Saturday, because my brain just stopped working. Not really. I did grade things. In fact, I’ve graded every day, and before you tell me I should take a break today and not grade anything, I’ve already considered it and rejected it because of the number of things I have piled up. The reality is that we’re getting to the end of a trimester, and the art stuff and science stuff make it harder to grade, because I have to full on change my mindset to pop from one to another; same with going from the 6th-grade art class to the upper-level art class.

Anyway, after grading Saturday morning (while the man watched the impeachment), we hiked the Highland Valley Trail, part of the Coast to Crest challenge from 2019/2020. This is a pretty one, although you never really get away from houses and the road.

It looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere…

But in reality, above those deer is a house…

They don’t seem to mind.

And below us is a road…

It’s a pretty trail though. We could have gone further.

But it was getting late.

Just under 4 miles.

WordPress seems to be having font size issues today. Hmm. We’ll see how it posts. Right now, it looks tiny.

Friday night, I did a little ironing on the Desert Bunny quilt. Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it right now.

I’m sure it will change. I quit when it was flesh time…until last night at midnight. Because that seemed like a good time to pick fabrics for a big chunk of the quilt. I tried to pick fabrics I hadn’t used before or often. Success! At least two of them had never been used.

Coolio.

This is such a tiny quilt. I’m almost done ironing it to fabric. Then I get to trim it. I also finished the sleeves and binding on the Spargo quilt on Friday night, but I need someone to hold it up for me for photography. Maybe later today.

Where Kitten sits while I’m teaching…

So she can see me but not be in class.

I keep trying to relax…pajamas, pets…

Furry love.

I miss treats at school.

I can’t be bothered to get in the car before school starts and go buy a donut. Silly what you miss.

Still doing the bullet journal after IDK how many years. It helps focus my brain. I like to try new fonts. My favorites are the ones that are a pain in the ass to draw…

I mean, my favorites are the ones that are totally different for each letter.

Last week’s, I gave up trying to draw…because it was all plumbing. YES. A PLUMBING FONT. Who knew? A pain in the ass to do.

OK, I need to go pick up art from a show that closed. I entered one show last night and started entering another, which turned out to be another pain in the ass. I don’t have a lot of “family friendly” art…at least, I suspect what most people would call family friendly. Oh well. Everything I have for that show is OOOLLLDDD. So be it. Then more grading, prepping food for my mom’s 80th birthday. I missed my dad’s 80th due to a COVID exposure. So I’m bringing food, especially cake. And hopefully some art. Plus grading. Not hopefully on that. That has to happen. And then no more 3-day weekends for a long while. Spring Break is in 39 days though. That sounds almost doable. We have a short camping and hiking trip planned for break, and then the Man leaves to hike the PCT. For possibly 5-6 months. It’s a weird year, y’all. A weird year.

Manage This Better…

I am currently completely and totally procrastinating answering all the parent and kid school emails from this weekend. Some don’t need an answer; they were an appropriate acknowledgment to the weekly notifications I send about hey, y’all aren’t turning shit in. Unfortunately, some weren’t. I saw the first one roll in Friday night. I could say I ignored them, but I didn’t. I just didn’t answer them. So they’ve been sitting in my gut all weekend. Maybe that’s why I answer right away…so that doesn’t happen. Sure, I could be like some people and not have my email come to my phone…or my home computer…and I could never open my school computer during the weekend…HA HA HA…oh wait, that’s bullshit, because I can’t even come close to getting all my school work done in the 5 days of the week I’m paid to do it, who the fuck am I kidding? Anyway, it is my constant goal to manage this better, acknowledge my failure to do so, and move on. Those emails will get answered today; no one will like the answers, but oh well. The really annoying one from last weekend, the mom never emailed back and said, oh hey, I’m sorry for bitching you out for something you don’t even do, don’t have any control over, and tried to fix for me. No thanks, no sorry, no acknowledgment at all. Noted. Fully noted.

This job. Is. So. Hard. This. Year.

Luckily, when I went in to school on Friday, my co-teacher was still there and helped me (and my overwhelmed fuzzy brain) gather all the science-y stuff together for this week’s demos. Chemistry for all! It’s hard to make art around the job sometimes…literally, right now, I need the light table, and I have all this school stuff on it, so I’m trying to work around it. Or through it. Hard to say which.

Friday, I dropped my quilt at the photographer (pictures tomorrow!), then went to school, then to enlarge some drawings from December 2019-February 2020. You know, pre-COVID shit hitting the fan.

I only copied three drawings. They’re out of a 9×12″ sketchbook and I enlarged them 200%. I figured that was a good size for right now, when I don’t have much room on the light table or in my brain.

I think this was one of my Patreon drawings…maybe? Can’t remember.

This was one of the December drawings a day from 2019…because I didn’t even come close to doing that in 2020.

And this was from our Joshua Tree trip from February last year…

I sometimes go back and read previous year’s blogs for the same month as now, just to remind myself of the mindset at the time. It helps when I think things are out of control. I saw these drawings and thought they’d make good smaller quilts. I posted all three on Insta/FB, and there were a few votes for this one.

But I’d already picked the Joshua Tree one for the first quilt. I started tracing it last night and forgot to take any photos. I forgot a lot of things yesterday. I also stayed up way too late on Friday night trying to manage some of the stress in my head…stitching things down.

It didn’t really help. I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ll figure it out.

I wanted to hike Saturday, but with all the rain on Friday (we got over an inch in 24 hours, which is a lot for us), we didn’t want to stomp through a muddy trail and destroy it, so we picked an urban hike, the Seven Bridges Trail. I’ve done it a couple of times, but the Man hadn’t. It starts in Balboa Park, where there were lots of people…

Bridge number 1…

It’s not a difficult hike…fairly flat…bridge number 2…

Interesting views though…bridge number 3…

And some intriguingly bouncy bridges…OK, only one bouncy one…bridge number 4…

Came through Hillcrest, which is constantly evolving, and got off the official trail down a back alley of murals…

Which is probably how we got over the 6-mile mark…

It’s a little weird waiting for signals during a hike…

Bridge number 5…did I miss one??? Maybe.

Yeah, I didn’t photograph one. I don’t know which one. Bridge number 6…no wait, I did it right…

Some people will argue this is not a hike, because it’s not ‘out in nature’. Except there was nature all around. Hence the urban word. Not my preferred type of hike, but we still walked the whole time, didn’t stop and get ice cream (although it would have been OK if we had)…

Bridge number 7…

And I’ve never been able to figure out why it’s the Seven Bridge Walk, if there are eight bridges…

Another side trip adding to our mileage…

Through the cactus garden at Balboa Park…

Bridge number 8…

Like I said, over 6 miles. Tired. But good. Outside. Too peoply. Next weekend, we’ll do a hike on dirt with fewer people around.

Saturday night, I ironed all the fabrics for the tiny owl quilt I’m making…

And then cut them out…

After doing the January Patreon drawing…

And numbering the third of the smaller quilt drawings…

Plenty of art happening. Plenty of work happening. It’s February now. I have 17 emails to answer before school.

I mean, my school district actually has kids in physical school too, but I have kids in school, every freakin’ school day, and yeah. Working my ass off. Stressed out. Overwhelmed. Buried. Don’t tell me I’m not working.

Cats…

They handle everything better than I do.

OK, work, then exercise, then art.

It’s a Wash

I’m a little slow on documenting stuff these days. I honestly keep losing days. How is it dark already? I remember getting up. What freaking day is it anyway?

I have one week of Winter Break left. I know I am lucky, because many teachers go back tomorrow, and I’d be really not ready to do that. I’m two weeks in to this ‘vacation’ and I’m still grinding my teeth. I think I stopped for two days, but that’s it. My to-do list is heinous. Then I get distracted, like today, obviously, and trim a bunch of plants that have been bugging me for two months, instead of crossing things OFF the to-do list. I mean, the plants didn’t even make it ON the list. Sigh. I think I focus better when I’m totally overwhelmed with teaching, simply because I have no choice. I have to do that…for survival’s sake.

So back to the 48 hours where we ditched the world. We got up the next morning, opened the front door of our Airbnb, and saw the chicken. The man says I have to call him a rooster, because it’s a definite sound difference, but I will argue that he is still a chicken. He kept trying to come in…

Finally shooed him out and figured out he wanted breakfast. I hope he liked it.

The place we stayed was definitely not the Ritz, but it was fun…this was in the bathroom…

And this was embedded in the floor…

What it lacked in niceties (a fireplace, working oven, consistent Wifi), it had in character in spades. After breakfast, we headed out to the Mecca Hills Recreation Area for some hiking. We’d hoped to go to one section, but my car wasn’t keen on the 9 miles of dirt (sand? ruts?) road out to it, so we headed for the Slot Canyon hikes on All Trails. The parking lot was definitely sand, but just off the road and pretty solid.

Again, hiking in washes…although we started in a really big one…

Signs of 4WD vehicles and shotgun shells for a while, but no people…

Eventually we turned into some smaller canyons where only people could go.

It was cold and windy most of the time, and kind of a trudge. Lots of sand and rocks and a slight uphill…

Very little wildlife to be seen, not even birds, and not a lot of living plants.

I like a good hike though. We got to a point where the canyon we were in would require climbing, and that was enough…I spent most of my brain power trying to figure out how to escape the water if it started raining (it wasn’t going to start raining, but I am the paranoid type)…

Weird cactus. So it was about 5.7 miles. Not bad. You have to like sparse desert landscapes and rocks for a hike like this.

We came back and wandered around Bombay Beach for a while to see the sights we’d missed the night before…the balls light up at night…it’s quite pretty…

It’s also an Airbnb. Same owner as ours, across the street. I like ours better because the yard was fenced. Lots of people wandering through the zigzag yard.

Not fancy. Quirky.

The trailers and sheds had art in them too. Interesting place.

Wall of TVS…turn right at the TVs to get to our place.

Down the road from there, is this wondrous beast…

Pretty sure it’s related to the one we saw in Joshua Tree back in February. Oh yeah, it is…Randy Polumbo did both. This is Lodestar; the other was Angel Queen. Fun stuff.

From there, we headed back to the beach, further down from where we were yesterday…

I enjoy random metal and concrete sculpture personally…

And a good sense of humor…

And some good colorful grafitti…

The museum was not open, unfortunately…

And pigeons lived here…

I’d seen photos of this online and was glad to find it…

The hardest part of all these installations is finding artist info to go with them…

All I can tell you is that it is in the Bombay Estates.

Back home for dinner, reading, and drawing, because no TV…fine by me.

Very 70s. That night’s drawing…

And morning chicken…

We stopped by the drive-in on the way out…

And then kamikazed back home after talking to almost no one.

Meanwhile, back here…after New Year’s, I proceeded to make 17 more mistakes on this…had to rip out an entire tree, because it was half a stitch off and that won’t work.

Nope. Wasn’t drinking. Promise.

I’ve been ironing…it feels like this quilt is taking forever. Because it is. I got this leg done so I could insert it into the landscape…

And then worked on building the stuff up on the other side…a cat and a quilt of a cat…

Ironed her separately and put her in the landscape as well.

Here’s some bits and pieces I had left to do…mostly snake and bird, I think.

Progress as of Friday…

Leg in place. It’s just a really detailed piece is all.

Then Saturday, I kept going…

Pain. In. The. Ass. Yeah well. I’ve done the 600s and the 800s and barely started the 700s, plus I think a few of the 900s are done as well. So I have about 300 pieces to go? Or 400? I don’t know.

Great Horned Owl…

Which brings me to one of my Xmas presents, now installed and ready for inhabitants…

My very own owl box. I’m happy. And it’s on a system that can be lowered for cleaning, hopefully not when owls are in it. Awkward maybe. We’ll see.

Other things that happened. This cake made a spaceship on top.

It was the boychild’s 25th birthday yesterday…

His cake request was intriguing. No, I was not smart enough to take a picture of the final product. Apparently it’s better warmed up. IDK. I’m allergic to chocolate.

Coyote print from the front yard. They are here, y’all…right here.

Couple photo from the Salton Sea, stolen from the man.

My eyes might be closed.

So back in March, I asked for paint pens for my birthday…or maybe Xmas last year? I can’t remember. And then when everything shut down, I ordered gessoed canvas. I had see some posts Judy Coates-Perez put on Instagram (it’s a guide on there; can’t remember how to find it, wait, no, go here to her Instagram and then click on highlights and you can get to it there.) for how she paints and then uses the pens to decorate her paintings, and I wanted to try it. It took forever to get the canvas, and then school sucked and summer came and stressed me out with all its We Don’t Know What School Will Look Like shit and then Real School happened and kicked my ass, although at some point, I cut up some of the canvas into smaller pieces with some ideas to make some different stuff. Well, y’all, it’s been on my to-do list since fucking April, and I’m finally doing things with all the paint and pens. OK…just the paint so far, but I’m hoping to get the complicated stuff that requires plastic and water done so I can draw in peace over the next month or so.

Luna inspecting the biggest one. I drew a faint outline of a human figure in pencil on this one…

And on the others. I prepped four of them.

I wanted to just block in some color shapes to start…

I’m not really a painter, but it’s OK, because I’m going to draw all over this, Nida style. I think. We’ll see. Because I usually only draw in black and white and these are colors.

Obviously, right? I’ve got some more painting to do first. But I think this will be a nice change for me. We’ll see how it goes.

Also still baking sourdough, y’all, although the girlchild gifted me a lame, so I can stop using the box cutter to score the bread, and this nice glass starter container, so I can stop using the crappy plastic container.

My starter is still super happy to be alive. So that’s a plus.

From the book I’m reading, Gods of Jade and Shadow

A good thing to remember for the new year. Well, like I said, I have a week before I go back, and now I need to actually do schoolwork (again) this week. I have one ungraded assignment, a few late assignments that kids have turned in, and a bunch of prep to do for all three classes. Science is mostly planned, but there’s details to get done. Art is a clusterfuck. Don’t even ask me, because I don’t know. Plus I’m dealing with the car, my teeth, and who knows what else this week. Making 23 videos about the elements (periodic table elements, not the other kind). And hopefully finishing the ironing of this quilt and the painting of those backgrounds, and somehow steeling myself for the next 6 months of teaching. UGH. I’m so not ready. Luckily I don’t have to be. Yet.