Until Nature.

Bless a 3-day weekend. Although I made stress for myself by deciding to go camping. My knee is cranky as shit, it’s gonna be cold as shit. And then I was like…there’s no wifi. You can sit in your chair in front of a fire, all bundled up, and read your fucking book. Or draw. Or stitch. In nature. Like fuck the rest of it. If I don’t attain an amazing hike because my knee is being an old lady, IT’S OK. I have three books on my iPad. THREE. Like what more do I need? (secretly puts an actual paper book in her bag, just in case). CAN’T do work. Yes. YES it will be stressful Sunday when I realize how much I need to do, but it was going to be stressful anyway. So yeah.

That said, I’m stressed this morning trying to get it all done. Tried to pack last night, Luna said no.

NOT NOW LADY. I WANNA BE IN YOUR BAG.

OK then. No packy. Pack later. Also signed up for an exercise class this morning. It made sense at the time. I thought I would have all day to do schoolwork, but no. Exercise is good though. It will be fine. And the cat has to go to the vet. And I still need to PACK. OK. Shhhh.

I finished the quilt Wednesday night, by the way. I have not calculated hours yet, but it’s a lot. I started drawing it in July? I think. Yes. July 23. Finished November 9. Fuck me. Insane year. Here’s the unofficial, standing on the fireplace hearth picture…

They don’t always have names right away, but this has been Same As It Ever Was since the very beginning. My old-white-lady educated self was horrified (still is horrified) by Roe V Wade falling, and then the following climate change policy dumbassery perpetrated by the not-my-Supreme Court, but really, if you’re young, of color, trans, LGBTQ in any way, poor, anything the old white guys don’t see as A-OK, then nothing has really changed. You still don’t have equal rights. Which sucks. And will continue to suck for a while, although the midterm elections were heartening. Hopeful. Not locally, unfortunately, but in general, trying to think positively and not go down the rabbithole of holy shit, when do I buy my own island and move there with my friends and family. Some of them. Yeah that.

I went out stitching with friends last night…finished the block on the left finally and started the one on the right…Sue Spargo’s Homegrown.

Perfect for when I can’t think straight.

Which I couldn’t. Rough day at work. Really, three out of the four this week were rough. Frustrating. Kinda done with this year. Only 23 weeks to go.

I’m reading a wonderful book though…almost done…Cloud Cuckoo Land by IDK, go Google it, oh wait, I guess I’ll do that for you, Anthony Doerr. It’s lovely, time-spanning, core story, nice thoughts even though also hard thoughts. Damn those, but they are good nonetheless. Mind-boggling at times. Yelling NOOOO in your head at times. Love that.

Yeah. Read it. I really can’t wait to sit on a chair in a campsite and finish it. That’s later today. But now? Now I need to pack, exercise, transport cat, pack some more, plan some school, blah blah blah. Until Nature. Thanks to veterans for what you’ve done, although my political nature isn’t a fan of some of it (and don’t tell me you’re protecting my freedoms…because you haven’t done that here…but that’s all a problematic conversation that we can have another day)…today, take some time, remember a veteran, enjoy the day in their honor.

Something Manageable

I need to start the next quilt. I apparently thought I had until March. I do not. I have until January. Uh huh. OK. Oh yeah. It needs to be SMALLER, Nida. Seriously. No freaking big monsters of a quilt right now. Something MANAGEABLE (unlike maybe my day job). I have it half drawn in my head. Can I do it without intense detail? I mean, I can make things smaller and STILL put 3000 pieces in them unfortunately. It’s OK. I got this. I might lose my mind while doing it, but I got this.

So it’s been a remarkably shitty week for making art. I still haven’t put the binding on the current quilt. I keep track of my daily hours on specific art tasks, although I don’t count sewing on labels or other prep to send stuff to shows, and that’s all I’ve done this week. In the last 7 days, I’ve spent barely an hour on art stuff and that just fucking sucks. I know I’ve done some fun stuff this week too that has taken up my available time (the cat just deleted that whole sentence by laying her head on the keyboard, and then was offended when I pulled it out from under her), but it still feels shitty. Grades are due Tuesday and I was hoping to keep this weekend free…excuse me while I hysterically laugh myself under the desk because I have so much grading to do and I haven’t even really lesson planned next week for 8th grade, and we’re camping next weekend, so I need to be able to plan out the following week as well, OMG, I can’t breathe. This weekend is fucked. All the weekends are fucked. So are the random holidays, even the week off, it’s fucked.

In good news, I did manage to get that label on the quilt I need to ship…

Took me almost all damn week just to label it, clean the cat hair off of it, cut slats, roll it, and box it up. Sad but true. The bindings for the other two quilts are still sitting over here, waiting to be sewn on. Hopefully tonight and tomorrow. Handsewing is easier to do in little chunks. I have to commit a big chunk of time to sew bindings on. I don’t want to stop halfway to go to bed. I guess I could, but it seems silly.

Wednesday night…I graded stuff and then dehaired the quilt. Thursday night I went to the Jurassic World Exhibition…free educator night (they want us to bring field trips)…

You know me, I’m finding typos…check out the Data Chanel…

It was cool. I had a really shitty day with the kids, really hard, walk away and try not to cry, quit your job, and go work somewhere that you don’t have to bring home with you every day kinda day. But the dinos made it better…

Also might have been hanging out with coworkers in a less stressful environment. Yes, dinosaur attacks are way less stressful than middle school classrooms right now. So that helped last night. Then spent a couple hours talking to stitching friends…and actually doing some stitching! WTF. I know. All I did was the curtains…

They’re fancy. Buttonhole stitch needle lace thingies. Luna was impressed.

Then I speed graded after that. And then came in and packed the quilt into a box, got a UPS label, and went to bed.

Today repeat. Well. No dinosaurs, but art opening tonight in Liberty Station. Then dinner out. Then hopefully some quick grading and some bindings to sew. I AM going to my quilt guild meeting tomorrow. I will bring the iPad and speed grade on that. Brainless effort stuff. Super fast. I want to hike tomorrow too. It’s been a while. Driving me crazy not getting out into nature and exerting myself. Then start drawing the next quilt. Make it fit on one page for once. I used to know how to do that.

I appreciate the colorful mornings right now. I realize I will lose them again after Sunday’s time change, but I will appreciate the fuck out of that extra hour.

And next week…hopefully there will be more art (sketchbook while camping!) and fewer stressful days at school. It’s been easier in the last few weeks, but the last two days were shit. Wish me luck today. I don’t have a lot of hope for it, unfortunately, but that’s because we’re making kids do hard things, and this group I have has a hard time with hard things. Sigh.

No Additional Time…

Yo! Busy weekend, mostly cool stuff. Work (day job) takes up too much time, as usual, and too much of my trying-to-sleep-dammit brain. But I got a bunch of fiber and art in there this weekend.

Quiltwise, didn’t get much done…didn’t iron at all on Friday night, and then did an hour or so each Saturday and Sunday nights…so this is part of Saturday…

Did the lower torso that is above the arm…then realized the whole damn thing was too heavy to keep on the ironing board, so pulled another Teflon sheet and started the upper torso on that.

It’ll all fit together at some point. Last night, I continued on the upper torso…

At this point, I have some arms to do. I’m in the 800s, almost done with them, I think. So more than halfway finally. Still a lot to do…another big head, her head, the arms, and some stuff in the background. Not a fast iron.

Friday night was a no-iron night because I went to see the Man’s band play…here he is pretending to be Exene of X.

That’s some neon green there. Pretty exhausting show for both of us, though. Friday nights are hard. I managed to get up and go to my quilt guild meeting the next morning to listen to Sara Trail of Social Justice Sewing Academy talk. Great talk, very inspiring. Put it on my calendar to do another remembrance block when I get a break from school. There are 50 or so here in San Diego County that need to be done, so volunteer! (wherever you are, there are unfortunately people who have been killed for a variety of sketchy reasons who need to be documented and remembered…).

I stitched while she talked…been a while since I worked on this, but I got a chunk done.

Mostly boobs.

On Sunday, I went up to the PHES Gallery to see the opening of FIG’s Portals show.

I need to post all those pictures sometime this week…but it is the first time I saw mine hanging. It’s much bigger than I had originally planned it to be.

Definitely commands attention. I’ll be participating in an artists’ talk on October 2 at 5 PM at the gallery with two other artists.

I drew some things for school…this was the hairy gravestone reject.

They were good until I put the hair on them. Don’t even ask.

I was really excited to see a monarch caterpillar in pre-cocoon mode…

But 12 hours later, it hadn’t done anything new and looked mostly dead. And this morning, it was gone…with three more green tomatoes. I know I have a tomato stealer; apparently they like caterpillars too.

I did find another one on there, so maybe there’s hope.

We have a lot of birds though. So I’m not incredibly hopeful.

So it’s Monday. Y’all know that. It’s a busy week: union meeting AND back-to-school night. Plus all the other stuff. I rewrote the whole 8th-grade month in my head while trying to fall asleep last night. Should really stop doing that, but it’s amazing what my brain is capable of when it should be sleeping. The weather has cooled off a bit, although it’s still muggy. The boychild left this morning for his new CalFire posting; not sure when he’ll be back, because there are crews on fires and his new one may need to do something. So either he’ll be back Wednesday or who-knows-when. I need to get to school and hope a copier is running somewhere.

Wonky It Is…

The rain is here…Hurricane Kay is throwing us clouds and rain and eventually wind (not a fan of that…haven’t been able to afford trimming the trees on the slope…been on the list for a year, but the septic redo took all the available cash). The pro is that we need the rain (although not flood level) and it’s cooler today than it has been…still humid though. I have duty after school at the corner light…trying to find an umbrella (it might be in the car). The Man is hoping traffic isn’t bad this morning, and the Boychild is doing his (hopefully) final training tests for CalFire today. In the rain. But it’s rain! We need it. I’m still dripping sweat this morning though. Ugh.

I’ve gotten about an hour each night to iron…that’s it. Working on one of the two big heads…

That’s the first hour…

And this is the second hour…

The next step is the main figure’s torso, I think. I’m around piece 570 or so. Not even halfway. The Man has a show tonight, so I was going to go see that. Tomorrow is a bunch of quilt stuff. The next day is an art opening. Busy weekend. But hopefully I’ll get some more done. Slow but sure.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a meeting this morning (another one!), a ton of work to do for school, overwhelmed by all of it. The level of kid crazy I had to deal with yesterday was not appreciated. After school was all contacting parents and admin and writing stuff up. Very little “get work done”. I’m realizing this morning that I don’t really know what I’m doing for 8th grade…I was supposed to review it sometime this week, and I literally haven’t had time. So I’m searching for the videos that explain it as I drive to school? Possibly.

Last night, I enjoyed hanging with my stitching friends and doing a tiny bit of stitching…

Slow as molasses on this. And god forbid I actually measure and mark like she suggests. I’m pro-wonky in hand-stitched stuff. Good thing, because wonky it is.

OK, may the wind be kind, the rain spread out, the kids chill (oh that’s unlikely). May I find my umbrella and be super efficient today so I can feel better about next week before it happens. Also, it’s my half birthday, so where is my cake.

It’s All About Energy…

Today is a holiday for some, not all, as the boychild went off to training today, earlier than I wanted to be up, so then all the animals were ready for me to be up, in fact, I think Luna purposely got herself stuck under the dresser just so I’d get up (and then got herself remarkably unstuck) and the boys next door have new toy machine guns (seriously. I’m not kidding you) that they run around shooting at each other, rat-a-tat-tat, which is not conducive to sleep or thinking or anything but rage, honestly, or maybe less rage and more WTF toward their parents. Religious as fuck but machine guns. Anti-Satan (gasp!) but OK with killing. They seem like nice people. I just don’t get it.

ANYWAY. So I’m up earlier than I want to be, which has been the case since before the kids were born, so you’d think I’d be used to it. It’s still hot here, which make everyone cranky, although I think yesterday was cooler. We had clouds a lot of the day, and sure, they were monsoon clouds, so it’s humid, but not as bad as Saturday. Today dawned clear and hot, though…so all the fans are on and I’m in here typing before it hits 95 degrees inside. Even the internet is cranky in the heat. I was trying to do school work yesterday afternoon, and that was a no-go. Slow as hell and kept freezing. Could be the new loaner computer though. Either way, it gave me an excuse to quit working and iron instead. For whatever reason, my studio was cooler than the living room. There was actually a breeze yesterday. Not so much today…a little air movement, but not much.

So I finished the one figure…her right hand and face were all that I needed to do…

Then I started on the figure next to her…

That’s when I took a break to try to do schoolwork. Waste of time really. We went over to the parentals for dinner, brought side dishes and dessert (what requires the least amount of time in the kitchen)…then came back, it was dark and night and a little cooler, so I got the third figure done…

And started the large figure on the right, after the broken Statue of Liberty…

Some of my drawings are more stream of consciousness than others…I think of them as brain dumps or an anxiety drawing, how do I just get it all out of my head and onto paper. This is one of those. Whatever my concerns and anxieties are, for some groups of people (BIPOC/LGBTQ), this shit is way worse and doesn’t seem like it will ever go away. My old-white-lady concerns are ten million times worse for them. Anyway. I love that I made progress…hopefully there will be more today, but first, I really need to do schoolwork. Way fucking behind.

Friday night, we went to see the Threads of Inspiration show at Inspirations Gallery in Liberty Station. Here is my quilt Bill! Bill! Bill! about Bill Nye…who not only made all those awesome videos we know and love, but continues to advocate for the planet.

This quilt was part of the A Better World exhibit pre-COVID about people who make this a better world. So he’s traveled a bit. A friend of mine sent me this…

So I believe I am 4 or 5 degrees separated from Bill…which feels good. I hope he laughed.

The show is up through the end of September, so check it out, because there are some cool pieces…

It is a SAQA local show, so Southern California and Nevada…

If you’re coming the the first day of the SAQA Summit, the official artists’ opening will be that night.

I will be there for that. I will also probably be exhausted, but what’s new?

Lots of color in the show…

Some fun work…

If you want to see each of these pieces with all the artist info, I’ll be posting them on the SAQA SoCA/NV instagram page @saqa_soca-nv once I get done posting about Desert Diversity, the local show in Phoenix, Arizona, right now. Or stop by on Thursday, September 22, from 6:30-8:30. I think otherwise it’s open only by appointment.

The next opening is next Sunday, from 2-4 PM…

I delivered that piece Saturday. First time out in the world with that one. I will probably be at the opening earlier rather than later, depending on when the grocery shopping gets done. Sundays are a little crazy usually. This coming weekend is a little more packed than I like them. I like some down time, some art time, some reading time, some hiking time. Which means it needs to cool the fuck down enough to hike. Not happening today. Maybe Saturday.

I drew before we ate out on Friday night…it was definitely cooler at Liberty Station. Hungry man…

Didn’t feel like a serious drawing. So whimsical it was.

The view of clouds on Saturday reflected in the pool where I kept putting my feet to cool off.

I couldn’t find the energy to put on a bathing suit and go all the way in…so up to the knees it was. With my book.

Other bits and pieces from the week…I thought this drawing was a pretty effective explanation of yo-yos and energy.

Made me laugh anyway. And here’s the apples I brought home to compost from the apple batteries…they were getting buggy after four days…

Seems like a waste of food, but the kids learn a lot from this. Mostly they’re a little mind-boggled that apples have energy.

I keep finding caterpillars on the milkweed and on the citrus trees, but no cocoons so far…on either.

I think I have too many birds for the caterpillars to survive. Something has been stealing the tomatoes again too…I had one almost ripe one and it’s gone. Probably rats.

This…true…

What can I say? Black is versatile. Hides the spills.

This one was at my parents’ house, just hanging out on the grass.

Probably close to dying, but it was pretty.

I worked a tiny bit on Sue Spargo’s Homegrown. I think I’m still doing April’s blocks.

I had to read the instructions four times and then turn the book with the embroidery stitch instructions upside down to help me get this far.

This. Sigh.

And finally this…

Kitten is doing OK. She’s not great. We’ve been switching her meds around, trying to make her more comfortable, but also increase her appetite with giving her horrendous diarrhea. I think we’re closer to a solution, but I will be happy when I can stop giving her the medicine that makes her foam at the mouth.

OK, so all the things that need to happen today, on my holiday: cook lunches for the week (meat is in the crockpot already), laundry (I did not get to the washing machine first, so I will have to wait…also to shower), grade a bunch of stuff, post things for this coming week, pay some bills, get some posts ready for SAQA’s instagram, fix my website current shows and recent work sections, read my book (maybe), iron some art (definitely), and get ready in general for a short but packed week at school. I’m finally getting my lost filling replaced, got two parent-teacher meetings and one “how-the-fuck-do-we-manage-this-parent” meeting, got one stitching meeting, chiropractor with mini-massage before (that’s a necessity), plus a Pilates class. I think that’s it. I’m not counting next weekend. I wanted to hike but it’s too damn hot. So I’ll aim for next weekend for that. Plus there’s some stuff on my to-do list for the day that I’ve already forgotten, even though I only wrote it down like an hour ago. Hence why I write it down! At least this is a day off…I appreciate that, even if I haven’t been very efficient with my time. Hopefully the heat won’t be too bad today and I can get things done. I will feel better going into the week if I can.

I feel like this whole post is about energy, which is what I’m teaching the 8th graders. Less what I am teaching and more what they are learning. I just throw a bunch of materials at them and then they figure out the things with a little bit of help from me. Which is the way it should be.

Appreciate Those…

Isn’t this beautiful?

One of two pros to early morning wakeup in August: beauty in my eyeballs courtesy of the sky, and cooler temperatures, although I already have a fan on me (this room does not cool down until October). Today is the official first day back for teachers. I have a mask (2500 people in one room), two books on my iPad (might be ambitious), my small sketchbook, a Keen bar…no wait, Keen are shoes…a Kind bar. (I am neither this morning, keen or kind…I am kranky.)

I need to leave in about 25 minutes. I need to finish eating breakfast, drinking one cup of tea, prepping another one, take meds, WAKE THE FUCK UP. Yeah. That last one.

I am still proofreading around all this school stuff. I want to be done with it. It’s not hard…I’m just trying to be careful, because the copyeditor was inconsistent as hell. Next time, I will know to say something before now. Ah well. Learning experience.

I have been ironing a bit at night, but this room is still in the high 80s and stuffy as hell. I have one fan that runs below ironing-board height, which is better than nothing, but in reality, it’s just hot in here. On Wednesday night, I managed some water and things in the water…

Only in the 200s, though. Things need to go faster for me to meet my deadline.

Last night, I started into the flesh of the large figure and also one of the big heads in the quilt.

So now I’m in the 300s but also the 500s. Better, but not great.

There are six figures in this quilt…more than usual. So lots of flesh tones so far and not much else. Now that I’ve actually chosen what flesh tones I’m using, it should go a little faster…I’m hoping.

I met my stitching friends last night…finished one of April’s Homegrown (Sue Spargo) blocks, the bottom left. Then started the top one.

Carefully measured quarter inches there (not). I enjoy working on these. I’d take them with me today if I thought I could get away with it, but it’s going to be crowded and I won’t have room to spread out threads and scissors.

Yes, I am constantly thinking about how to be creative in whatever venue I am stuck.

The Man has a show tonight, but it’s at the Music Box, and I have a choice tonight about being stuck in a room with a ton of people…unlike today. I guess my choice could have been calling in sick. But I do always feel, as a union rep, that I need to hear the stuff from the mouths of the people in charge. So I put on my school shirt (sweating through it right now), pack my bag, and drive to where my carpool will pick me up, go to this thing, debate eating in a room with all those people. I will have to eat. And rejoice in coming home to proofreading and ironing tonight in a house with very few people. It’s all I can do.

Hey, it’s the girlchild! Loving a tree.

Cool. Peace out, Summer Break. You were OK. I appreciated the 11 books, 6 seasons of bingewatching Shameless, 1 big quilt done and the start of another, more sleep than usual (but never enough), the owls! (OK, that started before summer), quilting a bed quilt (that still isn’t done), some time for yardwork (also never done), and naps. Did I mention naps?

Yesterday’s quick nap (I set a timer) with Luna after training and before I started proofreading again. Appreciate those.

Adding to the Totals…

Today is officially the first day I usually think actively about going back to school. This year has been a clusterfuck for that. August 1 is also usually the day when I realize I’m going back to school soon and I blow off everything on the to-do list except art, because I realize how limited my time will be for that once school starts. It’s an odd place to be, mentally. Plus this year, I’m proofreading a book right now in the middle of that, and it’s something I want done before we go back. It takes time, though. So a little of that every day and a little of the to-do list every day and a little art every day.

I finished drawing the newest one…

Nice arm shadow there…taking pictures late at night on the floor. While I was trying to draw the last bit, Kitten gave it butt approval…

Then I numbered it…

I really tried to keep this simple. There’s so many things and details I didn’t add.

But then I covered two giant heads with words. I considered screenprinting them, but setting up a screen and getting that done in summer heat seemed like it would take longer than this. I’ve made quilts/fabric art in many different ways. For whatever reason, this method works the best for me. But simple? Not so much at 1359 pieces…

Could be worse, I guess. I do need to buy more Wonder Under today. Running low. Probably don’t have enough to finish this. I started tracing on Saturday, in between proofreading…

I’ve got over 3 hours in and hit the 300s last night. Not bad. Could be better.

Today, I’m finishing the quilting on the bed quilt…

We got to the bottom, but there are some areas near the top that need fill in, so that’s today. Then pull it off and put a binding on it! A miracle.

We had dinner at the parentals last night…girlchild cooked, which is always good…

I stitched a tiny bit on a Homegrown block that seems to never get done…

This week is the last full week of Summer Break. Sad but true. Next week is training and a super-spreader event. Should be painful. My desk here in the office still isn’t clean. I didn’t paint the hallway. My classroom is still having floors done so I can’t do anything in there. I have a preliminary calendar for the first few days of school for 8th grade; 7th grade is pretty stellar though. I did not clean out my closet. I didn’t plant the slope toward the neighbor’s house. I got some of the palm tree stuff off the backyard slope, but there’s a ton more. The trees are not trimmed. I did not clean out the garage. I did not get enough sleep. I didn’t exercise enough.

I did read 9 books. I did spend 116 hours doing most art (but some proofreading and copyediting in there). I finished one quilt. Not bad. I have a few more days to add to those totals. I seem to appreciate those last days as much as the first few…

So Much…

OK, let’s pretend I have a schedule and I follow it. Let’s also pretend I know what day it is without looking at a calendar and counting things. Saturday might have been a reset…I did ALL the things on Saturday and I know what day that was because the calendar kept telling me, and so today is two days past that, so it must be Monday. Plus the inept pool guy came this morning…wait, no, he hasn’t consistently been coming on Mondays. Geez. Can’t count on anything. Must be summer. Good thing because I’m trying to get some quilts done.

I’m 12 hours into ironing the newest one together…

I think I missed some pictures. Just know I’ve been ironing since last week sometime. This is Thursday I think…I’m pretty sure I was on Zoom with my friend Susan while I was ironing the cannon. And the handmaid. So I’ve seen the stuff about not using the handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s book, and I understand it, because she did borrow a lot of ideas from real-life happenings with women of color and slavery and native women. And certainly white women have had advantages due to their race and maybe even because white men value white women (annoying shit really, but reality). I was thinking of this part of the quilt as being like the Salem witch trials, burning us at the stake for our viewpoints. There are other handmaids in this quilt, and I guess I will just have to own them. That book had a significant effect on me when it first came out. I have been a serious Atwood fan since early college if not before. So I will own my white privilege on that. As I age, I realize and try to educate myself more on the inequality of our supposedly free (#notfree) country. The handmaids are a symbol…maybe not the best one, but the one I had for the moment.

This was at the end of Thursday night’s ironing…

On Friday, I did the center bit, the portal, skipping numbers from the 300s to the 800 and 900s because it made sense to do that bit now.

I lost one of the crow’s legs. I’m sure I’ll find it at some point. I just made a new one. It was easier.

From here, I started ironing all the things that line up the arms…

Including these two guys.

And then started on the hands. So I have both arms, the upper torso, and the head left, plus some stuff in the sky. I’m in the middle of the 600s, but I’ve already done 100 pieces in the 800 and 900s…so more than halfway…maybe 400 pieces left? Hard to know. I could do that in a couple of days. I’m hoping to.

I’ve been lucky with jury duty so far…just keep calling in and they say no. My biggest worry at the moment is getting put on a trial now that lasts longer than this week. I moved everything to next week…three meetings, a vet appointment, and a copyediting job. I’m gonna freak out if I have to go in now. I think my biggest anxiety with all this is the not knowing. I don’t deal with the unknown well. Anyway, knock on wood that they’ll keep releasing me, one freakin’ day at a time.

Saturday was a crazy day. Every meeting in July apparently happened on the 9th. I had planned a hike and potluck with my hiking group, because originally The Man was going to be on the PCT, so I figured socializing would be a good thing. The hike was awesome…

Saw some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while…

We were up in the Lagunas, which was still pretty warm, but not too bad…upper 80s. The meadows felt the warmest…

But there was a bit of a breeze. We started on Sunset Trail, which I’ve done a million times, but then went off on a different batch of trails to get back. Chico Ravine? Plus Old County. Here’s the familiar Water of the Woods…

I was really worried about this hike because my knee had been really cranky all week to the point of limping on Friday. So I drove up on my own so I’d have an exit vehicle if I had to bail out, and I had a knee brace and my poles. Totally needed none of that. Knee was fine. Not sure what was up with all that. Maybe I did something to it at the gym that lasted for 3 days but on the 4th was fine? Weird. Old bodies are annoying.

This is Wooly Pod Milkweed.

Never seen it in bloom. Very cool looking.

Anyway, then I went to the potluck, the first of THREE. You know how potlucks always have a weird grouping of food? Lots of funky salads, some bits and pieces of a real meal? And of course, you pick weird combos…tend to be heavy on carbs, although the hiking potluck was very heavy on interesting salads, which was nice. There were LOTS of people there…they sent 4 or 5 hikes out and then everyone from all those hikes met up for the potluck. It was cool to see some people I hadn’t seen for a while, but overwhelming in the long run. But that’s me. Lots of people I didn’t know. I should hike more with them though.

I made it home, showered (very important), then left like 45 minutes later for one of my art group meetings…which was, you guessed it, a potluck! I didn’t bring anything to that one because they are very heavily foodies and I cannot compete. So after having all those healthy salads, I settled on a slice of homemade bread and a tiny cupcake (what meal is between lunch and dinner? Tea? I didn’t drink tea…just sparkling water). I listened and watched presentations and stitched on this slow-stitch scarf for a while.

It’s going to take three million years to finish it, so don’t worry…you’ll see lots of it. I started it at QuiltCon 2021 (online). But then I didn’t have all the materials I needed, so it languished…as things do. But it’s all basted and all I have to do is pick it up and keep stitching at this point. Easy peasy.

Then I went home again for about 20 minutes, grabbed the rest of the cookies that hadn’t been eaten at the first potluck, and took them to the third one, which was the annual Burn the Sex Ed Cards Bonfire…little did we know that it was the second Eid (I didn’t know there was more than one) and everyone who celebrated it would be at the park where the bonfire was. Parking was a challenge; so was avoiding being seen by anyone I might have taught in the last few years. My co-teacher and I brought all the cards the kids write for our anonymous question box and let the rest of the people at the bonfire read them and then burn them. It’s cleansing. And funny.

This was the pizza and s’mores potluck. I don’t do s’mores because of chocolate, but there was yet another interesting salad! I don’t eat a wide variety of salads unless the girlchild is home. I don’t have the energy for it, so it’s nice when others do. I also did not have the energy to stay for fireworks…headed home and was in bed by 10:30, completely zonked out. Didn’t even hear The Man come home from his show at the Belly Up.

Sunday was all about recovery. I ironed most of the day. Also read a lot. I like to hermit over the summer. Saturday was not very hermit-like, so I will have to make up for it the rest of this week and possibly longer. Seriously, so much socializing and potlucking.

I’ve been doing a little bit of school stuff, just searching for and/or scanning homework assignments from this series. The cat loves my co-teacher’s bag. She will be sad when I return it.

I only have one book left to scan/search. Then I need to sort all the assignments into where they belong. Waiting for some lame professional development to do that.

This other cat spent Saturday night trying to punch a gecko through the window…

A lot of staring at windows goes on at night around here. They are fascinated by the geckos, who are just there for the moths who are attracted by the light coming through the windows.

In other news, the New Legacies exhibit opened this weekend at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. I stole these photos from someone I don’t know on Facebook, because I will not be going to this exhibit…too far.

But there’s my piece So Cal Mama!

Always nice to see them out in the wild. Speaking of the wild, the baby owls are fledging! Noisy as hell, but also practicing flying at night. We’re not sure which are babies and which are parents, because at this stage, the babies are as big as the adults, but here’s three…

Last night, I moved the camera…not sure if there will be a better view or not. We’ll see. Certainly they are very active (and loud) at the moment. Apparently the parents will help get them food for a while longer, but they should be finding a new home by the end of the summer. After Halloween, we should be able to safely drop the box and clean it out for next year. We’ve heard and seen them in all the trees around the box, which is really cool, and found a few feathers in the yard. So there’s at least one baby…possibly two or three.

OK, so apparently I will be picking up some plants later today, plus ironing. And drinking more tea. And probably a shower and food would be helpful to my brain processing information. And then maybe I’ll do this again on Wednesday, like I normally do. And maybe the quilt will be ironed down and ready for stitching. I’m hopeful.

My New Podcast

Not really. Don’t get excited. I don’t have time for a podcast…I’m too busy making art. Well…ha! Trying to make art. I did make a video Monday about 7 hours into an eventually 10.5-hour drive (luckily I didn’t drive the last two hours…I was done) and mentally titled it “What the Fuck Am I Doing. Where the Fuck Am I. And Why the Fuck Am I Here.” It’s a really long title for a podcast, but it seemed appropriate at the time. I’ll post the video here once it’s done processing. I actually made TWO videos (they are so lame and unprofessional, but thought process! Yes that.) and then put them together (mad skillz) and now that’s uploading. So yeah.

I think I made the video to entertain myself more than anything, which is why I write this blog…well, to document my brain in time. I do go back and reread months sometimes when I’m having a really hard time, and it reminds me that certain things cycle through life. The beginning of school is always hard. So is the end. So are the two weeks right after school get out. It’s a reset. And this one has been a kind of crazy one.

If you’ve watched the video, you don’t know what happened! The Man has had 3 weeks of elevation sickness while hiking the Sierras. It’s been beautiful but incredibly hard. So he had to make a decision, and I drove up to see him after 3+ weeks of not seeing him and to support him in his decision, either by sticking him on a bus north or driving him north or bringing him home. In the end, adulting and money issues brought him home, which sucks and is sad, but also a relief I think for both of us. It doesn’t mean he’s done. It just means he’s done for a while. It’s job time. I love him for trying over and over again to do this hard thing and for deciding it’s time to stop for now.

It has meant that I haven’t gotten much art done. Packed Sunday and tried to set up everything I needed to. Drove Monday all day. Tuesday, drove back home. I’m exhausted. Still. Plus add a friend’s daughter’s wedding on Saturday, Fathers’ Day stuff on Sunday…I haven’t had much time to focus on recovery yet.

Friday night, after checking out of school, trying to reset my neck again at the chiropractor (slightly more movement), and taking the dog to the vet, I ironed for a bit.

Watched How to Train Your Dragon…no, never had time to watch it before.

So that was after Friday night, almost 2 hours of ironing. I was tired, but ready to iron on Saturday and Sunday! So motivated. Ha!

Saturday was a lot of running around and then a wedding. And then when I got home, I started getting texts from the Man about quitting and coming to get him, and mine back saying are you sure, what about just starting further north, and it was kind of a mess. I didn’t iron at all. Sunday morning, he had processed his feelings and just wanted to see me, which had been in the plan for the next week, but this would work…I just wasn’t mentally prepared for it. So most of Sunday was trying to get stuff watered and packed and purchased and all that. I did iron for just under an hour Sunday night…not my original plan for the weekend, but whatever…

Doesn’t look a lot different…but I had ironed the cat (the fabric cat, not the real cat) and more of the legs I think. Not sure.

Monday was nothing. I wasn’t here. I thought about taking the already ironed pieces with me so I could cut them out, but it was a lot of prep for the time I thought I’d have available…and in the long run, I wouldn’t have had the energy. Monday night, I laid on the bed and read my book. That’s it. We did get home last night around 5 PM after driving a good chunk of the day…ah LA…your traffic sucks. And at some point, I’d had enough caffeine to come back in here and iron some more…

I’ve finished most of the 400s and done some of the 500s, so still not halfway. It’s slow right now. My brain is slow. I’m tired. I did about 2 hours last night and only got 100 pieces ironed. I’ve got almost 10 hours in. SO SLOW. It’s OK. It’s what I need…more time. Hard to choose things. Lots of staring. I’m hoping I can speed it up this week…get it going!

I’m supposed to be doing an artist talk kind of thing (really just hanging out by my work and working and talking to anyone who comes in) on Saturday at the Visions Museum of Textile Art

And it would be good to have stuff to cut out while waiting/standing/whatever. I’ll be there from 11-2 if you want to see the show and talk to some of the artists. This is in San Diego, California, if you don’t know…and will be Saturday June 25.

So my goal is to be all ironed down before then. Well before then. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to find my brain. Wish me luck. There have been some beautiful skies lately though…lenticular cloud at sunset.

Storm clouds last night…

I did a tiny bit of stitching on the trip down from Fresno yesterday…

Again, this is Sue Spargo’s design Homegrown…I really like stitching her stuff for relaxation, especially while traveling. That’s the Grapevine heading toward Los Angeles. I could do without driving that for a while.

This is Nova watching me water everything before I left…

I’d like to think the boychild would do all that, and he might, if he weren’t on a fire crew right now. At the border…

I can’t say having your kid fight fires is the least stressful thing in the world, but he has a brain that remembers all the things, so I think he’ll be OK. But he didn’t make it home last night…so this poor little guy is feeling all lost…

He looks super sad.

Well, one of the things on my to-do list for Sunday was to write this post. I obviously failed. And then that moved to Monday (nah, exhaustion) and Tuesday (nah, let’s just go home instead). So here we are, the first day I’ve had any semblance of brain power for writing. Now I need to take a shower, go buy some boxes, pack up a quilt, ship it, plant some things, wash the hallway for future painting, IRON FABRICS, and IDK what else. Finish my book. Check on the Man. Pet the pup. All those things. Figure out what day it is. That would help.

Just a Little Longer

Hey. It’s the last Monday of the school year. I feel like with just 4 and a bit days left that I might actually survive (actually briefly felt very ill this morning, so hopefully that was some sort of dream remnant). But I’m not positive about that survival shit yet. I’ll get there. But my grades aren’t done yet, so that’s fueling some level of panic. Plus I think I have three meetings today and then IDK how many more because people keep wanting meetings and I just want to crawl into bed, put my pillow over my head, and stay there until July.

Ah well. So in the artmaking realm, I finished cutting out all the Wonder Under on Friday night (a total of 9 hours and 15 minutes) and then sorted it…

Which doesn’t take very long…

Well, just under an hour for this quilt…

And then I realized to start ironing, I would need to clean up all the stuff from the last quilt, so Saturday night, after working most of the day, I made an attempt and got everything piled up by color…

And last night, after working most of the day again, could not muster the energy to go in there and start putting them away. Which is fine. I’m tired. I’m stressed. Cleaning is not one of my go-tos during those times. It will happen. Everything is ready for the next step of the quilt…except for me.

I spent most of the weekend grading. On Friday, I stayed late and graded all the late work and one last assignment for art…

Then Saturday, I started on the last of the science assignments…this was my seat most of the weekend…

Could be worse. Nova sat on the computer at some point and added to one kid’s assignment…

Undo! Undo! I probably graded for about 5 hours on Saturday. Took a break around 5 PM and walked the dog with the boychild, who is here until his dad tests negative or is 10 days out…

It was warm out…

We only did 2 miles. Then back to grading.

My Advisory class is all graded and done.

Luckily they occasionally make me laugh.

Sunday, I spent another 7 hours grading, with breaks in between to fold laundry and go to the grocery store. Ugh. I finished the science stuff and then had to grade the alternative assignments for the kids whose parents opt them out of sex ed. That was some level of torture. First, there are 17 of them (but two didn’t hand anything in, so that’s fun); second, about half didn’t read instructions and/or thought the instructions were “Copy everything from Google.” So I’m frustrated and irritated and need to change that assignment. In my spare time. We spend more time planning the beginning of the year. By the time we get to the end, we are brain dead and can’t deal. Hopefully we can do some backwards planning this year for next year.

Am I done? No, I’m not fucking done. I still need to input final grades and behavior and effort and all that crazy shit. Hopefully I will have a prep period today, because there are three meetings and I want to come home and collapse (after buying cat food).

My quilt guild is doing a UFO finishing challenge, luckily starting in the summer this time instead of in January. Teachers need a chunk of time to finish brainless stuff like this…I put this on my list last year and didn’t finish it. It only needs quilting and a binding. Wouldn’t take long. This is Sue Spargo’s Bird Dance, which I stitched on for years at soccer games.

This one is a new finish on the embroidery…needs to be sandwiched, quilted, and bound, but it’s smaller than the other one…this is Sue Spargo’s Chirp.

I guess you can see what my hobby stitching of choice is. Totally different from what I normally make.

Then in 2008, I started making a quilt for my bed. I know! WTH. I got the top done, minus the borders…

It’s all alien fabrics, super bright. It would make me happy to finish it and put it on my bed. But I need to learn how to use mom’s longarm for this. I could do it on the regular machine, but it would be a pain. I even have the border and backing fabrics, so I just need time. I already called mom, and she’s in. So those three. No worries. Lots of brainless for a while.

Well hopefully I will be done with grades before I get home tonight, and I can just read my book. Because it’s due Thursday and I don’t want to wait until it’s ready for me again to finish it. So I need to read a little faster. Or more. Something. One day at a time. I’ve been one-daying it for about 2 months now. Just a little longer.