These Pieces Are Kinda Small…

So yesterday was 4/20, which if you’re a middle school teacher, you know why I’m bringing this up. Every year, it’s a Big Deal for middle schoolers that it’s 4/20 because pot and ha ha ha and do you get it wink wink. Teachers roll their eyes and explain this is not new, they are not amazeballs, and we move on. Yesterday was 4/20 and I didn’t even realize it (like most of you) until I was creating an invoice at the end of the day, and then I was like, HOLY CRAP. The last two years, I don’t think a single kid has said a freakin’ word about 4/20…or about pot in general. Like at all. So many of the annoying behaviors we see in the classroom just disappear online. Also, unfortunately, some of the kids just disappear online, but that’s another issue. So weird. No 4/20 this year.

The good school news is that they are hiring two more teachers and I will be losing around 20 students in 2 or 3 weeks. This will get me close to 150, the lowest all year. I’ve had 170+ students in previous years, but in a physical classroom with only one prep, science. This year, with the multiple preps and having to create so much curriculum from scratch that will actually work with online students has buried me like no other year. I’m walking exhaustion at the moment. Even hiking yesterday, my legs complained for the first mile (although my speed was good). I felt like I was dragging wood blocks through molasses. Ugh. Today I need to grade like the wind and be efficient, more than I was yesterday. I say that, but I worked all day, then worked through the SAQA conference after school, so I’m doing the things. They just feel really hard at the moment. MOMENT=all year.

The plus is that I did walk yesterday. It’s been warm and it looks it here, but it was starting to cool off.

It’s flower and also weird pod season. I see these every year and they are always fascinating.

I managed to trace another hour’s worth of Wonder Under both on Monday and Tuesday night…

I’m supposed to be trying to go to bed early, and I do look at the clock and make that attempt, but then I just lie there in bed, unable to fall asleep. Singularly frustrating. And that’s after meditating. Sigh. Bad sleeper, that’s me.

These pieces are kinda small.

I did through piece 600, so I have 290 pieces left to trace. Damn. I thought I was further along. Ugh. OK. It’s fine. If I’m efficient with grading today, since I finished the copyediting finally, I will have some extra time for tracing. It’s all good.

Couple things: the bees left the composter, so that’s good. Now I need to wash the wax off. They tried to start a hive and I don’t want them coming back. They will come back though. The bitchy neighbor in me wants to put a bee hive up on the slope where the neighbors want to build a fence. Sigh. They haven’t done it yet, but whatever. I don’t want a fence. Chain link. Ugly. And then she wants to plant bamboo, the ‘non-clumping kind’. Stupid. And blocks my light. Whatever. So annoyed by neighbors these days. And the movie Mary Shelley. Double ugh. Is that really her story? She did write Frankenstein at a really early age; impressive. But the story of Percy Shelley and their relationship just sucked. So it turns out that some of it was inaccurate. You can read about it here. Interesting that this Shelley researcher says the book Frankenstein focused on her anxieties while pregnant, and that they didn’t even use her words in the movie; they used her husband’s. Sigh. So I just finished reading nonfiction about teaching. I try to read some nonfiction. It’s not my favorite. Reading is escape, right? But I am trying a new Zoom book club, and I now need to read another nonfiction book by next Tuesday, and the book is good, but it will just boggle me and make me feminist angry (like I’m not already). It’s called Invisible Women and is about the data biases that disappear the entire gender in the world. It’s not that I don’t know about some of these things; they just irritate me. As well they should.

The man is still hiking…the boychild delivered a supply box yesterday, and now he has 70 miles to the next store. It’ll be a few days. I can’t see him this weekend; I’m buried in meetings and stuff, but hopefully the weekend after that. Although grades are due for progress reports; that complicates things. Sigh. Dumb job. He did text me about Derek Chauvin though…because he saw the news before I did. Tears to my eyes. America, let’s do this. Make it better. We’re not done.

Here’s a cat.

Here’s a bunny. We have lots of them.

And here are two more cats…

I think it must be nice to be a cat. They certainly get more sleep than I do. It’s probably not as nice to be a bunny. They always seem so scared, and we have tons of predators outside.

OK, efficient grading day. More tea to counteract the tiredness. It’s somewhat chilly today. I have pilates (yay) and then I can trace for a chunk of time. Maybe I will finish? Probably not, but maybe. I did get more Wonder Under, a whole bolt of it. That should last me a while. These are the plans. And the positives. Wonder Under. Tea. Pilates. Tracing.

My Other Other Job…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last night was too hot for cats…

Apparently flat spaces are good though.

This is the light table, cleared for cat occupancy.

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

Usually My Fault…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thinking about selling her car.

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

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

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

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

Damn Society and Its Norms

Yo. I started this a while ago, but boychild ended up on the roof and tools were involved and somehow I was also involved. That’s all you really need to know, except that the cable is now attached again and the palms are mostly trimmed. I also probably have a lot of dirt in my hair, which is awesome, because I had already showered and I have a dental appointment today and no, I’m not showering again. I also have about 17 million errands I need to run, which is nerve-wracking, because you know, virus from hell abounds. San Diego is a mess and I’m kinda glad I sent the girlchild away, because at least she’s in a sane place where people are not dumbasses about masks and sheltering in place, like WTF the beaches on the weekend? Anyway. Sigh. So there’s that.

I did drag the pup to the vet this morning too…he has to get his teeth cleaned so we don’t have to pull more like we did before. Brushing teeth isn’t really successful with him for so many reasons. He was sure we were going for a special mommy-doggy walk this morning…

Poor baby. So sorry. He cried when we pulled up to the vet and then climbed into my lap. I felt horrible. First I ship his favorite person to Boston, then I put him in the crate to sleep last night because the bed isn’t big enough for all the furry beasts who want to be on it, then I don’t feed him breakfast this morning, and then I take him to the vet. I am pure evil. I will give him love and treats when he returns.

So the 4th was pretty quiet here. I copyedited a bunch, and I made my first loaf of sourdough…

Just when most people have given up on it or have truly gotten into their bread groove, I’m just starting.

It needed about 5 more minutes, but it tastes wonderful toasted. Plus our parchment paper sucks, so I’ll have to work on that. Better parchment paper or more flour. Parchment paper is mostly edible.

I also went for a long walk on the 4th…locally, not in the wildlife reserve…although that might have been smart. It was super hot though…

I haven’t tried going back to the gym yet. They opened with limited times and slots last week.

For now, this works. I could go use the machines and then go across the street to the reserve and hike, instead of doing the cardio there. I still need a better face mask for exercising. Working on it.

It was a bright and beautiful day.

Really, I just needed to get out and walk off the week’s stress. After that, we ate dinner and drove over near my parents’ house for a better view of one of the few sanctioned fireworks displays…not that the neighbors didn’t set off a bunch of illegal crap. It’s a good thing nothing burned down. Everything is so dry.

Yesterday, I watered the dog…

I only let her swim a little bit. She gets too tired. But it also cools her off. And then we sit on the deck together (and even the little boy comes out to be a guard dog for all the bunnies on the property)…

It’s all good. Last night, I took some time and stitched while watching the last episode of Unforgotten, Season 3. I got the stuff stitched down for these two blocks, from Sue Spargo’s Homegrown Block of the Month…Kitten did not help. Yes, my windows are crooked.

I’m OK with that. This is mindless stuff, but also achievable. I’m into that right now…stuff that doesn’t take a lot of brain power.

Even this is like that…I stitched down for a couple of hours, with the fan pointed directly at me. Which reminds me, there are two fans in this room. I should plug the other one in too…

This room just gets warm. I should replace the sliding glass door for something more efficient. It’s old and hard to move. I have to go outside and fuck with it and then come inside, and worry about the cats getting out. Sigh. Anyway.

I got all of Figure 3 stitched down, and just need to do the landscape where the gravestone is and up behind her. Plus then finish Figure 2 and the two angels and the skelly and and and. There’s plenty left. I don’t think I’m halfway through yet.

Well, my dental appointment just got moved up two hours because people are canceling…interesting that it’s all last minute. And my laundry needs folding and the palms need trimming and I still have those 17 million errands and I haven’t copyedited anything today. Plus lunch…WTF am I going to do about that now? Sigh. OK. Well, it’s better getting the dentist over earlier and going to get my TB test right after, and then we’ll see what I can handle today. I’m tired as hell from not sleeping well last night (it was hot and I was anxious…welcome to my summer experience). I’m going to go make more tea, put a bra back on (damn society and its norms), and then figure out how to get shit done. Hopefully there will be some copyediting and artmaking at some point. We’ll see.

Something on That Magnitude…

Well, it’s been a rough week. Hopefully next week will feel better. The girlchild is finally in Boston, the sourdough starter and I have been close and complicated, and I have 9 new boxes of fabric. The boxes are new to me, the fabric is new to me, none of it is actually new.

Before you do anything else, watch this video. It’s the 4th of July, a weird one, to be sure, but this is video of Frederick Douglass’ speech about what the 4th means to him, read by his descendants. And it’s hard to hear, because so much hasn’t changed…but they all still have hope. I have hope. Didn’t mean I didn’t cry to hear the words, because honestly, it’s hard to know how to fix it all (burn it all down! and start over…). But watch them. It’s only 6 minutes of your lives. You can give them that.

Yeah. Told you they were awesome. In youth, I see hope.

So. It’s Independence Day. It’s warm, there will be fireworks, but we can’t see them from here, and we can’t gather…so we’re gonna take a drive to my parents’ house and see if we can see them from there. I spent yesterday mostly copyediting…I’m going to do more of that today. I set a goal to be done next Saturday, so I’m sticking to my 4-5 hours a day. Nothing else really needs to get done, although exercise would be nice.

I did finish all the blocks for the Abstract Arcs quilt on Thursday…

They all need to be trimmed and sized…

That’s next week.

I’m not great at piecing accurately. I don’t do it a lot. I did lay them all out and stare at them and move them around until I got this…

I’ll have to stare at it for a while and decide if that’s it. Right now, it looks mostly OK. My real goal was to get the piecing done so I could start the stitch down on the big honking thing that was on my ironing board…

You wanna talk meditative? It’s pushing and pulling this thing under the machine, stitching down every piece. And I did a good job attaching everything in that four hours I took, so it’s been really easy and trouble-free so far (knock on wood, because that’s not always the case).

I am running out of thread, though, and I haven’t considered the background. I don’t really WANT to go to JoAnns for thread (or anything), but it seems we’ve moved past the “only buy stuff online” stage that I was at with the last quilt, and now we are in the “you can go to stores, but be smart about it” stage. There’s probably another 7 hours of stitch down to go…

I am going out more now than I was 3.5 months ago. I don’t necessarily like it, but I try to be careful. I have something right now that needs to go to the post office, another thing where I can go to the post office with it or go to the actual store to return it. They warn that mailing it will take 4-6 weeks to refund. Hmmm. Then I need a TB test for school, which is two trips…one to get poked, one to get the poke seen. Maybe the second part can be a video call? Who knows. They were jerks when I called, so I will find out when I go in. Plus I have dentist next week. And today, I drove to a friend’s house…she’s moving and downsizing her fabric stash. So I benefited…

Oh yeah, that’s exciting. I really do like adopting other peoples’ stashes. I tend to buy the same types of fabrics, and this is a way of infusing my stash with another person’s eyeball. Stuff I never would have bought gets incorporated into my quilts. Now finding room for all this will be a challenge, but the boychild and I were talking about some of the stuff in my office that I never touch that could be boxed up. So now I need some big plastic boxes for the garage, I guess. Summer is all about organization.

It’s also about breadmaking. I started with sourdough starter back in March; then the girlchild came home and took over (I’m pretty sure she tossed my starter and started over). She’s kind of awesome and obsessive about cooking, whereas I am mostly lackadaisical. That’s probably not a great trait for baking bread. Many people have sent me links to easy recipes, but I’m following the one my daughter liked, which is A Beautiful Plate, her artisan sourdough. No, it’s not easy. But I have an expert I can text at any time.

This is useful to me. Plus there’s videos. Here’s my starter after being fed yesterday. Then I incorporated it into the autolyse…

And then I stopped taking pictures. I did a bunch of things to the dough yesterday afternoon and evening, and then it went into the fridge overnight, where it still is…doing its thing. Hopefully later today, that thing will be baking bread that is tasty and has the appropriate number and size of holes in it. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, it’s a thing I’m doing. Better than this…

Although that might be a stress reliever of sorts.

Calli needed pool time, so that’s up to me or the boychild now…

She’s old and now gets all the treats. She’s eating a pine cone and just happens to be lying on a plant runner that really should get trimmed the next time I sit out there with her.

She’s a good girl. I keep telling her that. She’s another thing that makes me cry this summer. Ah well. Lots of pets and dips in the pool and maybe even bits of bread, because she really likes bread. A lot.

Luna has picked a box and will be in it. Her feet are the best part.

All the cats have their spots. Kitten has claimed this green fabric drawer.

No one may have fabric from this drawer. Only her.

Here’s the bunny who lives under my front deck and thoroughly irritates the little dog and the cats with its presence.

It’s cute. Watch out for coyotes! We’ve got those, for sure.

OK, so the internet was an asshole while I was trying to write this, so I did some other things, like eat lunch and find the ricecakes the girlchild left here and no one else will eat. I might feel that way about the raisins too, but I’m willing to listen to the boychild on that. I really want to do some creative fabric things right now, but I’m being a responsible adult and will (a) process the video for my Patreon July post, and then (b) do some copyediting. And then we will figure out the whole dinner-on-a-holiday thing and drive to my parents’ house to see if we can observe fireworks. Then back here for sleep and all that. It’s not exciting, but it’s relatively safe, so there’s that. Next week, I will figure out how to buy thread and organize fabric and do all the things I’m supposed to do. Happy 4th for those who celebrate, and if you don’t because you are an American and it doesn’t feel very American, I’m sorry. I love fireworks and staring up into the dark blue sky to see them explode, and I hope you get to enjoy something on that magnitude.

Thread Change, Foot Change…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A brighter blue this time…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Summer Nova. Makes me want a hammock.

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

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

Hope Is Good…

Hmm. One of the things about life that being a mom and teacher have hammered home is that whatever you THINK is gonna happen, might happen, but just as easily could go sideways and into a ditch. Welcome to yesterday, when the girlchild was supposed to fly home to Boston and I was supposed to start copyediting for realz, and instead, she woke up with COVID symptoms, we canceled a flight, got her tested (waiting on results; will be incredibly OK if it is just a summer cold/flu and we overreacted. Honestly, more of the world needs to be overreacting right now), masked up, washed my hands a million times, became a cook for the cook (always hard…she has high expectations and I don’t cook that well…I’m a subsistence cook.), finished one part of the copyediting (the part I needed to finish), and tried not to think about what the next two weeks might look like if she tests positive. Meanwhile, San Diego is shutting bars and wineries and breweries down again unless they serve food, and won’t open anything else up until after August 1. Apparently our need to shove ourselves into drinking establishments after three months makes us all stupid. Oh yeah, and then my work needs me to get my TB test renewed in the next 30 days. Again, hopefully the test will be negative, we’ll rebook her flight, we’ll go buy sugar because we forgot that in the last grocery shop, and I’ll get my TB test done, plus take the dog to the vet etc.

You do have to wonder how many people just get on the plane anyway, because it’s true this option is a pain in the ass.

Anyway, at some point, I looked at the to-do list and freaked out, because there were many things on it, including a video for my Patreon (due like today…I usually would have done it over the weekend), and I kinda flailed. I finished an organizational read on the book I’m editing and sent it back (it’s sitting back again in my email right now, but I have other things I need to do first). And then I realized I could record ironing the quilt together for my Patreon. They’ve seen small bits, but nothing like this 80″-square monstrosity. Let’s do it! This is not a small time commitment at this point. I started with sewing the background together…it’s just over 80″ square. Then I ironed the whole thing as nice and flat as I could get it.

Then I mopped the entryway floor. I need a big flat (clean) space for this. The ironing board is not big enough (I’ve done that often). The floor in here is not big enough (also done that). So the entryway is as big as I can go in one piece. I had the main sections ironed together: the figure and background on the left, same on the right, and then the taller standing figure in the middle. There were some loose foreground pieces that couldn’t go on until the other three parts were ironed, and then there were the two angels, three COVID virions, a skelly head, and a weird hand thing. So I put the background down on the ground, the drawing propped up where I could see it (and cats could hide under it…honestly, this process is cat heaven)…

And then I ironed it all down.

Honestly, that makes it sound so easy, but it was four hours from sewing the background together to getting it totally ironed down. I got the main portions tacked down on the entryway floor, and then put it on the ironing board and steamed each bit for 30 seconds and then moved the iron slightly and steamed again for 30 seconds. That last part was at least 90 minutes…I know because I got through almost two episodes of Unforgotten. I still need to cut some pieces that disappeared on one of the COVID virions, but that won’t take long, and then I’ll start the stitch down. The total ironing took 25 1/2 hours.

I made a video for the Patreon of my placing the larger sections…and then I made a fun timelapse of my ironing…I’ll release that one to the public in the next few days. You can watch me crawling on the ground with an iron…in case you think this is all fun and games (I do often wonder how long I will be able to keep making the big ones because of that).

This quilt is not being made quickly. There’s too much other stuff going on for quick anything right now. But it will be good when it’s done.

OK, so what else has been going on? Well, I finished the damn Sue Spargo dots…Saturday night, I stayed up and took about 4 hours to finish the two dots I hadn’t done and two more I added…the first one was the abstract next to the lion.

It was Friday’s dot…

I was supposed to make the spokes go out farther past the dot, but I didn’t realize that until too late, so oh well.

It certainly wasn’t the first mistake I made on this thing.

Then Saturday’s dot was a bird…that thing took a long time.

The trellis stitch is not quick…halfway?

An hour later???

Just fit on the last dot…

And then I stitched down two more wool circles for the Black Lives Matter dot and my signature dot…

All copied from other people. The only creativity of mine in this thing is 1. I changed all the colors and didn’t do a grid. and 2. Fixing my mistakes.

So that’s 93 dots total. I need to figure out what size to make it, sandwich it, quilt it, and decide how to hang it. Oh yeah, and get all the cat and dog hair off of it. Ha!

What else? I’ve been embroidering my drawing…

Actually, I’ve done more than this, but it isn’t photographed. I worked on it at the Social Distance meeting my quilt guild had on Saturday, then at my parents’ house for a Social Distance dinner the night before the girlchild was supposed to leave, and then Sunday night a bit more.

We are outside and 6 feet apart, although it’s hard to get everyone to remember to stay away or mask up. We are trying. Boychild is hiding behind me. We also had all the dogs together…my parents’ Katy or Katie or Katey. I just don’t know. She answers to all of them.

Calli with her lumpy nose…

And Simba, who apparently has a thing for citrus…

Which is a strange thing for a dog…

He was definitely tired out after all that social distancing…

The cats don’t travel or social distance well…or maybe that’s what these two are doing?

Hard to say.

Cat in a box. Cat on a chair.

Not the same cat. OK, well, so we sit and wait for a phone call. They sent the man home from work (they’re essential) until results are in, so the house is full of people. I was not prepared for that…the grocery run was light this week because I thought I’d be using up things and not feeding a lot of people, so that has been interesting. Luckily last night’s and tonight’s dinner plans could be stretched to accommodate more folks. After tonight, it could get iffy.

For the rest of today, I’ve got some videos to process, a drawing to do for my Patreon, plus copyediting. The girlchild is feeling OK today, just really tired, although she rallied yesterday and then went downhill at night again…just like you do with any other illness, so there’s hope it’s not the COVID. For now, hope is good. We’ll just hold onto that until…well, forever really. Hope that we find a way to bring numbers back down, hope that everyone we love stays healthy, hope that change keeps happening with regards to being an antiracist planet, hope that nothing else pops up and slams us upside the head, as a family, as a state, as a country, as a planet. Like don’t even talk to me about that other swine flu thing right now. I can’t deal.

Update TOC

It’s so quiet this morning. I can hear some bug or bird outside, and the pool motor is relatively quiet today, for whatever random reason. Sometimes I enjoy the quiet. I used to always need noise. I think I’ve spent enough years listening to kid noise that quiet is sometimes a blessing of sorts. It’s still hot here. It’s not unbearable, but it’s not pleasant. Have you seen the Bahamas? I guess nobody hasn’t seen the destruction there. I have to admit to not knowing much about the Bahamas besides the trip destination part. I had no idea there were so many islands. I hope we help. Can I force my government to help countries in need? Well, no, no I can’t. It makes me sad, how stupid we are right now. Ignorant. That was part of the conversation at my stitching meeting last night: ignorant vs stupid. Willfully ignorant in some cases. Ask me how many of my students still think the Earth is flat due to some dumbass Youtuber. The world. Is disturbing. I’m sure it always has been, but it seems worse right now.

So yeah, I had my monthly stitching meeting last night…I’ve been meeting with these women (and more; over the years, we’ve shrunk) for over 20 years.

We were taking a group picture for a member who now lives many miles away and whose birthday it was yesterday. We drink caffeine and stitch or crochet or knit or sit and talk because getting anything out of the bag is too much hard work. We bring stuff to share, like patterns and magazines and books we’ve made (OK, that’s just one of us…the rest of us marvel at the bookmaking but don’t do it ourselves.). It’s a good thing, these meetings of the minds.

I worked on hand-stitching this…

I’ve got to send some info to the Mingei this weekend, I think. So I should get some stuff ready for that.

I came home and finished up the last of the copyediting, marrying the Bibliography, and making sure all the stupid formatting worked. One of the last tasks was to make the table of contents fix itself (the page numbering), and after 20 minutes or so of searching the internet, the answer appeared. Just hit the damn Update TOC button. Sure. It took a while to figure out how to get that button, but once I did, it was like magic.

She’s done. I read all those words. About 5 or 6 times each one. And now I’ll get paid and I’ll be able to get the big trees trimmed before one of them drops a big branch on my roof.

I came home and actually exercised while reading my next book. I was exhausted. I’m still exhausted. It took a lot of energy and willpower to not just go to bed. I thought about it. But once I was up, off the couch, I wanted to do something on the drawing. At our stitching meeting of the minds, while I was answering the question of what the hell is coming out the nipples of the woman I’m drawing (she’s an earth mother…that’s a stream going out to the ocean…it’ll make more sense in color), they were suggesting other things I could draw, so there’s a grey whale…

Or a penis, since that was also a suggestion, and honestly, whales are hard to depict like this. Hopefully it will read better in color. Less penisy.

I also did a sun on the opposite side from the moon…

I’ve got some desert plants that need to go in somewhere…legs? land? And a decision about how to finish it up. Getting closer. I might finish tonight. It’s possible. Then number it and start tracing. And SLEEP. Oh yeah, I have an opening tomorrow night…for The Big Story at Sophie’s Art Gallery in Kensington. It’s 5-8 PM…stop by. I’ll be there closer to 5:30…and probably gone before the end, just because I’ll need to eat. But it’s still a cool little show.

I Could Be Lonely with You*

Sometimes at the end of the day, when I feel too tired to move, but my brain is in overload, trying to get the corporeal self up off the couch, I wonder what exactly it is about my job that makes me feel so exhausted. Sure, I hit 10,000 steps before I left school, but why? What was I doing? It wasn’t even a lab day. I remember sitting through a meeting and sitting for lunch and sitting during prep while trying to figure out how to best support these kids who don’t actually do work. Oh yeah, I did tutoring yesterday. I remember now. An extra hour plus after school of interactions. Tonight it will be the dentist. Also tiring. More sitting. But my dental hygienist talks too much. Shhhh. I’m OK with not having a conversation. I still need to go to my parents and pack up that quilt…probably not tonight though.

Last night, I miraculously figured out how to update the table of contents in a Word doc. I love being 50-some-years old and filling up my brain with utterly useless stuff. It’s OK. I’ll have forgotten the details of that by the end of this month. Plus I know how to Google. I seriously think of Google as an extension of my brain. That’s the one thing I can teach my students. Use your resources!

After eating dinner, while watching Carnival Row (I need a glossary or appendix for this show), I worked on stitching stuff down on this.

I need to do two more samples. It’s a drop-in workshop, so I’ll probably have some pre-cut cotton backgrounds and some prefused fancy stuff, plus some thread and needles. An iron. Not much else. I’ll do one simple one, maybe a smaller landscape and a small flower or something. I’m not sure.

Yesterday morning’s sky…

We’ve had lots of humidity and weird clouds coming up from the south. It’s pretty, but hot and muggy. Even the animals are feeling it…

Kitten is whacking Calli with her tail. Calli doesn’t care. It must be hot.

After dinner, I copyedited a little bit…really, I married Frankensteinian bits of text and fought Word’s need to autoformat. I won! So far. Sheesh. Because sometimes I just open the file and it says shit that’s absolutely untrue. I did NOT fucking delete a bunch of bullet points, you asshole.

I have to admit to sitting around for a while after that. Well, not true. I did go on the stationary bike and finish my book. Maybe that contributed to my tiredness? Ironic that I need exercise after walking all day. But that’s not cardio…just exhausting.

THEN I managed to get up off the couch and draw…

I might be changing that curve. Or not. I don’t know. It’s a better bird than I had in the other version, that’s for sure. Riffing off the Fire and Water piece I finished last year…similar theme, I guess.

This is what it looks like when your cat watches Orange Is the New Black

She might just be hanging out with me…hard to say.

It does make it harder to draw. Or move the paper. So I tried to move her and she whacked me.

Yeah. Sweet beast. She wants to be with me, which is nice, because she doesn’t come out much, but the other cat was in my office, which is her normal hidey hole, and the dogs were gone, so she looked for her mommy. Pet the cat.

More drawing tonight? Well, I need to make another block or two of recycled things, plus the dentist and hopefully putting the rest of the copyedited stuff back together. It depends on how tired I am. As always. I know what I WANT to do…just don’t know if my body and brain will go along with it.

*lovelytheband, Broken

She’s Not Listening to Me…

Three-day weekends are nice, aren’t they? Unless they are filled with disaster television. I tried to stay away from that. So much out there in the world…guns and climate change and boat fires, for a few. I’m up this morning, feeling tired, not ready for this morning’s parent meeting (first of the year!), wondering how today’s lesson will go, because it requires self-motivated learning (yikes!). I think I’ll be spending a lot of time talking to each table today. Which is a good thing. Exhausting for this introvert, but invigorating as well.

Yesterday was busy…I had to wash a quilt to ship it…

Because cat dander is the issue, I do it at my parents’ house (no cats)…it’s always a little scary to wash one of these, but I toss some Retayne in there. Batiks are notorious for releasing dye. There was some color that came out in the wash, but not a lot. Here it’s rolled up in towels, which I used to squeeze all the excess water out…

Then I laid it out on their entryway floor…

I’ll go over sometime this week and iron it and pack it for shipping. It’s big. And it’s sold. So that’s cool.

Really, Katie thinks I’m there to see her.

Which is, of course, true. We also dumped a bunch of stuff from the pool shed in the parental dumpster. Useful.

I copyedited the Bibliography, which wasn’t long, but was messy. I’m closer to being done with this copyediting job. Like really almost done. Except I can’t figure out the table of contents references. Sigh. It’ll come.

For some reason, maybe because it’s been so muggy, I’m covered in bug bites today…mostly mosquito, but I think one is a spider bite. Always nice to think about. I was just thinking this year wasn’t as bad as last year. Wrong! We have all these clouds coming up from Mexico. They threatened rain yesterday, and certainly the mountains probably got some…there’s a double rainbow out there.

But it never made it here. So we’re just hot and humid instead. And buggy.

So one of the things I was working on yesterday was a recycled fabric block…I actually fused all this down…

It needs some stitching. I need to do a couple more samples, I think. And then embroider them. This takes me back to the crazy quilting days. In fact, that’s where I pulled all the fabrics, because a good chunk of them are recycled from clothing. If you’re on my Patreon, my process will be the first video of the month. If you’re not on my Patreon, join us.

And then I started another smaller drawing for this one show…I finally gave up drawing it smaller in the sketchbook, pulled some butcher paper off the roll, and did it large…

Much easier to see. Now comes all the details. This is where I needed to go. OK, meeting, school day, tutoring, maybe go pack up that quilt. Busy. Tiring. It’s a short week. Best wishes to the Bahamas. Hopefully we’ll see fit to help them, unlike Puerto Rico. Then maybe tonight I’ll get to draw some more. My art brain is frustrated. She needs to do some embroidery too, though. Tell her. Someone. She’s not listening to me.