A Wonderful Place to Be

It’s pouring rain. It’s OK. For one, Southern California needs it. For another, it’s not like I could go anywhere…well, except for a hike, and that’s not happening. I took my second Craft Napa class today, and it was fun. Valerie Goodwin makes these cool map quilts and I’ve always been fascinated with them, so it was interesting to see how she makes them and hear how she thinks.

So yeah, this was kind of a pattern class. We all started with the same basic materials and pattern, but I enjoyed thinking about transparent layers more than I think I ever have…

The map lines use a fabric-cutting machine. My mom only has 2 or 3 of those. Not that I need to do maps. I was thinking scribbles and letters and cursive writing. But I do like maps.

There’s the Acropolis. So I’m still working on this. I had to stop stitching because the paint needed to dry…

Tons more hand stitching, plus machine stitching, plus IDK what else. A fun way to spend the day, anyway. I appreciate the online opportunities to hang out and do fabric stuff I’ve never done before. I don’t need more projects to finish, but there’s something really important in looking at your art in a different way, and looking at other people’s art. I miss that with no exhibits I can go to right now…or maybe just a few? Visions isn’t open…but I guess the show up at Front Porch Gallery has limited hours. Maybe next weekend.

I did get up early (for a Saturday) for that class. Now I am tired. It’s OK. I enjoyed it.

Thursday night, I quilted with my monthly quilting group on Zoom…got a good 2 hours in…

It’s a very detailed quilt, so nothing about this is quick.

But the thread has stopped its psychotic breaking, so that makes it much nicer.

Friday night, after gaming, I went back to the torso area, which has an insane amount of detail…

Got the ribcage and the heart done…

And moved on to the face. I thought we might use the machine for class today, so I stopped there and pulled her off the machine. I have all the sky section and the tree to do, which is a lot, but it also is more than halfway done. Hopefully I’ll get some more done tonight; we’ll see.

I have a bunch of schoolwork to do, as always. I did some of it while on the stationary bike on Thursday night…

It was just posting assignments in each of the classes. I knew this weekend would be kind of full; I usually do this on Sunday, but I have a meeting then. The plus is that it’s done. I still need to make a couple of videos and post all of the art stuff, but since I don’t know what half of that is yet, it’s hard to get it done ahead of time.

Speaking of art, we’re doing cardboard sculpture next, so I’ve been teaching them joining techniques…

I guess the plus is that I don’t have to build my own version of sculpture…just show them how to do the bits and pieces. Twice. Because I have two levels of art. Ugh.

Friday, we took the dogs on a short walk. Calli can’t do the longer ones any more.

But she loves them so much. Simba is a freak…this is his response to bikes.

He basically wants to kill them. Not recommended.

Calli post hike…

Kitten didn’t even go on a hike…

But she is one of the three old ladies in the house.

This cracks me up.

It’s a new world, y’all. Except it’s not. Too many angry upset people out there still. I talk about some of that (and who the hell knows what else!) in a podcast, the Unbroken Chain podcast. I was interviewed by Maura James last weekend and she asked lots of good questions…

If you know me personally, you know I can ramble for a good long time.

Actually, if you read my blog, you already know that.

It’s how my brain works. I have lots of words and lots of pictures and they all need to get out. Here’s a link. Hopefully. If I did it right.

https://www.maurajames.com/podcast/episode/2ffd4eb9/ep-88-not-here-to-make-pretty-pictures-w-kathy-nida

I appreciate her searching me out and caring enough to come up with good things to talk about. Certainly a lot of what I talked about is on my mind for the next quilt. So there’s that.

OK. I’m tired. I’m going to get more tea and decide what’s next. Still waiting for the paint to dry on Athens for me to do the machine stitching, plus I still have a quilt to finish, plus two videos to make for school, and probably there’s a bunch of other shit that needs doing that I’m just not remembering because my brain has been in artmaking mode all day, which is such a wonderful place to be. Yeah. Happy Saturday, all.

Go Well…

Ah yes. A country with someone in charge whose speeches I don’t have to diagram so that I can attempt to make any sense of them. A white guy, though. An old white guy. But our VP! Finally a woman, and a woman of color on top of it. So proud. So happy. So worried about those who still feel disenfranchised and ignored. That being-ignored feeling really sucks. I agree. Having people ignore your needs and desperate calls for acknowledgement…I mean, I’m a cis female, but white and educated, so inordinately privileged, but I get that for sure. And I worry about y’all. I don’t know what to do about it though; I don’t know how to talk to you, to help you see the world in a different way. I really try to see how you all are seeing, and I just can’t. It looks like fear and hate to me. So yeah. So many things in my head yesterday. I was lucky to see the swearing ins happen right before virtual school started…trying to watch video with kids on my computer/Zoom setup is not always a positive experience, so we talked a little about the inauguration, but then it was a normal day. Well, this crazy-ass pandemic version of normal.

I’ve been fighting my sewing machine for a few days. The thread kept breaking. I changed needles (twice), rethreaded everything (many times), cleaned out the bobbin area, used thread conditioner, sanded the throat plate, and then prayed to the goddess of the machine. Nothing helped. It improved slightly, but I was still breaking thread about every 6-10 inches of quilting. An incredibly frustrating experience.

I got to the point last night where I was like, shit, I’m going to have to take the machine in, but I’m trying to finish this quilt and I have another machine, but I’m not sure where exactly it is, and there’s a re-learning curve I don’t have the mental fortitude for right now…but sigh, how else?

And magically, really, IDK what changed, much like my blood sugar at the moment, magically, it all started to work. I could sew without the thread breaking.

For an hour. Holy moly. SO MUCH EASIER. It’s like I became a rich white man. Oh wait. No. Not quite. He wouldn’t be sewing. But you know what I mean! Things were easier, I felt like I could achieve something, the world felt like a new presidential team was in place. Yeah. That. Fuck. Yesterday was interesting. I posted this picture before…spot the Bernie.

I love the mitten story. And Bernie. And the dogs and old man in the photo, but that’s something else. This doofus…

OK. Well. I hiked on Tuesday in the wind and cold…

Apparently there’s more coming this weekend. These flowers are fascinatingly huge.

I still try to exercise every day. This is just from AllTrails, an app I use for hiking…

It doesn’t count everything I do, just the hikes I do with the app.

Yeah, my boots got over 150 miles since February, so there’s that. More to come.

Goofy cats.

I finished this…

Ready to clean it and hoop it up and send it off to its new owner.

My quilt guild is starting a UFO challenge. I needed to post at least one I could finish in the first quarter. This one, I started quilting, but gave up.

Wool is different than cotton, that’s all I can say. I can do it…but something else jumped the queue. There’s also this one…

And another one that needs pinbasting…all 3 are Sue Spargo quilts. I love the embroidery part, but IDK what I will do with them when they are done. Pick a Sue Spargo wall and switch out the three every few months? Maybe.

Ah mornings. You are not my friend.

Today is sunny at least. The crazy wind the last few days has been stressful to watch from my virtual school workspace. Today is much calmer. OK, but today, I am teaching stuff in art that I’ve never really done before (again), so that’ll be fun. FUN. And Zooming for meetings as well (one in 5 minutes). Hopefully quilting later tonight, with the new calm sewing machine behavior…maybe it will continue to go well.

Quilt with Wild Abandon…

It’s been a few days. I lost track of them, actually. The wonder of a 3-day weekend when I did things that weren’t schoolwork, right? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I worked a big chunk of Monday, grading shit, but mostly I ignored school. Mostly. Not in my head; just in my practice. It’s hard to do that, because the work has to get done sometime. In fact, a chunk of it needs to be done before school starts in 43 minutes, but it’ll happen. Somehow.

So Friday night was the last time I wrote. Since then, I participated in two Craft Napa events, and I have one coming up this weekend. I was waitlisted on one and offered today to take it, but um, yeah, so like, that’s a school day. So I picked another one instead. It’s OK. It’s really just a chance to hang out and do artsy stuff with other artsy people. The actual project doesn’t probably matter.

So Saturday night was a virtual wine tasting…

It was interesting and a good distraction for a Saturday night. We enjoyed it.

Then Sunday morning, I was up early for a recycled plastics sewing class with Natalya Khorover.

Let’s hope the girlchild doesn’t recognize the bag of hers I cut into. I don’t actually have a ton of plastic bags in the house. We have reusable bags, so not many plastic bags make it in here.

I was going to do this long quote, but decided against it…this was more doable.

I got all the letters stitched down. Need more embellishment. I’ll do that…

It was fun to take a class after months and months of not doing it. I’ve always wanted to go to Craft Napa in person, just as a break, but the timing with school is difficult, plus expense. This was very doable.

I did start quilting as well, but I’ve been plagued with thread breakages…

I’ve tried switching out the needles, conditioning the thread, cleaning everything…probably it’s a burr in the thread plate, so I’ll try to deal with that today.

So I got the bottom three layers done, the fire and rocks, basically…

Pretty damn frustrating, if you ask me.

I don’t really need more frustrating things right now.

What else? Dogs.

Lots of animals require attention here. I’m OK with that most of the time.

The man is getting his Pacific Coast Trail permit day today. We think. Hoping for the end of my Spring Break, so we can do a little camping/hiking together before he leaves for potentially 5 months.

I’m almost done with this thing…

A few more TV episodes after dinner and it will be done. Stick it in a frame and mail it to its new owner.

OK, now I can go do the school stuff I need to do and teach all day and then maybe hopefully go for a walk. Then sand down the potential burr on my needle plate and hopefully quilt with wild abandon tonight until I need to go to bed to repeat tomorrow…tomorrow, inauguration day, when hopefully the crazy insurrectionists won’t do something really stupid and irreversible. Sigh. We can all hope for some semblance of order and peace, ’til we return to trying to figure out how to mend a bunch of stuff in our country and help people accept more variety in their worlds than they’re used to. Whatever that looks like…because honestly, some days, I don’t know. Until then, I need to answer an email from a kid that came in at midnight (I ignored it) and do all the shit I forgot to do yesterday. Sigh.

Small Hands…

My earliest memory of sewing? I remember trying to embroider (badly), but I don’t remember how old I was. Somewhere in this house are a few pieces of half-done embroidery or cross stitch from that era…definitely younger than middle school. When I was 7 or 8, I used some of my mom’s curtain material, yellow for god’s sake (not a color I ever wear). You cut four rectangles. Two got lace all around the edges. The other two were sewn together on the sides to make a short fat tube, and then gathered at the top, and then somehow you attached the two rectangles to the top of that to make these wing sleeves.

Hell…this might have been the pattern…

My lord, that is ugly. In fact, I have a stash of clothing patterns, also hidden somewhere in this house, which has some pockets of black void that hide an endless number of bizarre things I will never use again. I sewed a lot of my own clothes for a time, even into high school, thus labeling me forever as a strange beast. Nothing has changed since then, except I sew quilts instead of my clothes, preferring to fritter my time away on art rather than making stuff I can wear that costs a ton of money.

I do remember sitting at the Jack and Jill desks my mom had in her weaving/sewing studio that my dad built her, and listening to Muzak versions of the Beatles and The Mamas and the Papas, while I coaxed my mom’s old 1962 Singer (still in my garage even now) up to about 100 miles per hour of straight lines with the occasional zigzag.

Nothing has changed. Well, mom still has the desks, and I sew at my own desk, so there’s that.

I made curtains, I made a couch cover, I’ve made bedding of sorts, lots of clothing, baby quilts, etc. But mostly art quilts. There are over 90 of them here. Storage is an issue.

Anyway. Last night, I finished ironing all the Wonder Under to fabric; it took just over 19 hours.

And 165 different fabrics…

Now I get to cut them all out.

I walked tonight. Made a new friend.

Presumably he doesn’t get out much. Small hands. Stopped at the ex’s house to check out his lights.

Actually, I really needed to pee. Then I put my headlamp on and did the last half mile to home. Cooked dinner, did some grading, tried to finish my book (it’s good!), and now I will start cutting. I might grade something else first. I’m trying to get ahead (you’re never ahead) so I don’t have to work most of break. Ah ha ha ha ha. It’ll never happen. But I’ll try.

Oldest What?

OK, the 6th day of this blog challenge is one of those topics that I feel like is more about project people than art people (and there’s some serious overlap there, y’all…art people sometimes just make projects, like me and the baby quilts, and project people sometimes make their own art)…Oldest UFO. I seriously don’t care if I have UFOs. Some of them will get done eventually, some of them will end up in another piece, and some were just so I could figure out how to do something (or how NOT to do something), and its existence in my current stash is really just because I hate to throw things out.

I know that somewhere in this house is an old cross stitch or embroidery from when I was a kid that I haven’t (and probably never will) finished. I’m OK with that. Also, some early quilts from when I was learning how to do things…that I will never finish…like this one.

There was some painting and some fusing and there must be some piecing that I don’t remember (I think there are directions somewhere, yo Susan, I think this was one of yours?)…

That is SOME cloud there. I don’t know that I will ever finish this, and I’m totally OK with that. I took a lot of classes when I started learning how to quilt and I have a bunch of unfinished stuff from it. This was when I learned how to do hand applique.

I did a lot of it for a few years. I think every single one of those quilts is unfinished. Sewing things together is not my forte, unless it’s one of my art quilts. There are only two unfinished art quilts, no three; the first two probably don’t need to be finished. They were experiments in a style that didn’t really work. The other one is hand applique and will eventually be finished. It takes so long to make an art quilt in my style by hand.

I also did a lot of crazy quilting for a while…

These are still in process. I think there are 20 of them…and they are all just hanging around, waiting to be stitched on. And maybe they will be finished in the future…

But like I said, the art quilts get done. I have a drive to finish them that beats all the projects I do as hobbies. I guess every drawing I make could be considered a UFO, since less than half of them become quilts. Some years I draw a lot and some a little (this is a little year…which sucks, but I can’t get my head out from under the day job and carve out more time and energy).

So the oldest UFO? Those are all old. Some older than others. I don’t really care about that. They will either get finished or not. I even have other people’s UFOs…unfinished quilts and blocks. UFOs come to me to live an unjudged life. I will love them, unfinished or not.

No art has happened in two days. I’ve been really tired and working a lot. I am making walking and exercising a priority, best I can, so Saturday afternoon was a long walk/hike thing outside. This is the Walker Preserve Trail in Santee…

It’s pretty flat…

Not very strenuous. Might have been all I could deal with. There was a line of painted rocks at one end of it.

A rock snake, as it were…

Interesting idea…I do like these signs…

I think lots of people need to see that sign.

Maybe not that one.

We did a little over 3 1/2 miles. Probably could have done more, but the man’s back started acting up. My next walk is hopefully Tuesday. Too many meetings this week. Too many things I have to do. I’m fairly sure I’ve forgotten some of them. I’m holding space in my head, a bubble, where I can feel OK with the world. I can’t stay in there for long, but it helps. Many things are hard right now. More walking, more art. Speaking of which, getting off this machine and onto the ironing board (not ME on the ironing board…the fabric y’all).

Mah Machina

OK, old music wandering through my brain. Today’s 31-days-of-rambling about my sewist existence topic is my machine. You know, the beast of burden that helps me make all the quilts. I started sewing on a 1962 Singer sewing machine, y’all. When I was 8 (I was not 8 in 1962, just to clarify). It’s still in the garage. From there, a Viking from the 70s, then a Viking from the 80s? Maybe 90s? I drove at least one of those into the ground. My repair guy sourced another Viking for parts. Until this last one (um, still a Viking), all my machines were hand-me-downs from my mom, which was fine, because they were good solid beasts and they were free. The last one…well, that was my Christmas present because I’d…um…well…I think I ran that one into the ground as well and mom didn’t have a hand-me-down available for me.

My repair guy says most people use their sewing machines like little old ladies use their vintage Buicks…only a few miles a week, and at a slow pace. I use mine like a Corvette, pedal to the medal, outracing the law. Across the country and back. In a race. Off road. In the rainy season.

This is a Viking Sapphire 855. She works.

She’s used. A nice little old lady driver used her before me. She goes in for service at least once a year. Because I’m hard on machines. I quilt at about 400 miles/hour.

Weird things about my machine. OK, they’re actually weird things about me that involve my machine. There is always a roll of tape on the top right.

I used it to get the pet hair off the fabric as I’m quilting or stitching stuff down. Always. I have 5 furry beasts in the house. They prolifically make and discard their hair. Quite annoyingly.

Arcane symbols that help me quilt.

This was on the last machine, and I moved it to this one. Yes, it makes sense to me. You’d think I could remember settings on the machine, but I can’t. So there.

Ah, so nice. I never use any of those.

Not ever. Nope. Uh uh.

Ironically, the only other pictures I have for this post are of something that has absolutely zero machine stitching on it.

All by hand. Hopefully there will be more.

I was hoping to iron stuff last night, but a wildfire popped up a couple miles from here and had us debating evacuation gathering (when you gather all your stuff in piles in case you have to evacuate in the middle of the night). I’m paranoid as hell since the fires down here that jumped 8-lane freeways. Plus the winds were crazy last night. In good news, the fire is contained and I think only one structure was completely destroyed…no humans lost, hopefully no animals as well. Scary though. The wind is one level of scary, because I have some massive trees on my property, and the fire is another level of scary. Mostly I think I got about 3 hours of sleep last night, and the boychild might have gotten less, because he was monitoring CalFire for us. And yes, I taught all day, ladidah. Like you do.

Tonight, I had a stitching meeting, where I worked on something I’m not allowed to show until they publish the book (not mine), and then I worked on school stuff, because although my new curriculum is “digital”, what that really means is “we have papers you can make into packets and sometimes there will be stuff online”. I am now way more of an expert on how to make shit drag and drop and draw and color code without a pen or pencil. Ugh. Hate this.

Other shit is still shit but might be hopeful shit but we don’t know shit. So explain that to my brain. I’m gonna have a nightcap and then bury my head in a pillow and hope it helps tomorrow.

Sewing Space

OK, those words together are something that I never call this room…or for that matter, my house, because I can honestly tell you that there are maybe three rooms in this house that don’t have sewing or art supplies in them, and only two of those are bathrooms.

This is my studio. Except when it’s my office. Because I’ve always had other jobs plus that school day job, and office-y type stuff needed to happen somewhere, so there’s a computer and a printer and a bunch of files (I tossed a lot of them) PLUS all the stuff I use to make art quilts. No, that’s a lie. I have stuff to make art quilts in a LOT of other rooms in the house. This might be the most concentrated area of stuff for making art quilts. Maybe. Not sure. Under the bed runs a close second.

So yeah, computer, printer, usually 2 chairs, but one went to my online teaching of middle-school kids space out in the living room, so only one chair, plus two desks and a table and three bookshelves and twenty billion fabrics. Maybe. And usually a cat. Tonight? A dog. It’s an 8×10′ room that has a sliding glass door that is rarely opened (because there’s a desk in front of it) and a view of the slope (best place to see a hawk eviscerating a mouse on the tree branch out there). The ironing board moves around to wherever it needs to be used.

I would love a larger studio. It’s not happening. Have I told you about the light table that lives in the living room? It’s 3×4′ and is currently also being used to stage tsunami demonstrations for middle-school science and a stuffed-animal drawing for middle-school art. Yeah.

I’ve been an artist forever and a fiber artist for almost that long. I’ve always worked in multiple rooms while living with cats, dogs, and kids, and that hasn’t changed. The entryway floor is great for pinbasting quilts (you can square a quilt up using the grout between the tiles), and the laundry room stores a bunch of dyeing supplies. Same with the kids’ bathroom.

So “Sewing Space” means the house, I guess. Oh shit. The garage. Um. I probably have sewing stuff in there too.

In other blog news, this quilt is in progress…

That was dirt and volcano day. Followed by grassy hill day.

Which came with wine in a sippy cup.

I don’t know how much is done at this point. I have some 300s and 400s that still need ironing, and almost all of the 500s, so maybe close to halfway? But probably not. Perhaps tonight.

This is part of a drawing for my Patreon.

It started with a cough.

I walked last night…

People have started decorating for the next holiday.

I’m still chasing sunset when I walk…too early.

So that’s MY Christmas tree…it lives on the deck during the year.

I think it grew about 2 feet this last year, maybe more.

I finished stitching this down during a district meeting that didn’t solve anything.

It needs more, but everything is at least basically attached.

Sigh. The words still suck. But at least I have topics now. Just follow the topics.

Renewed Sense…

The Friday before a week off is a difficult day. I’m looking forward to no Zooming. I have a ton of work to do, but that will happen when I want it to…still rolling my eyes at my boss who told me not to work for 9 days. Oh yeah, because if I do that, I’ll be totally prepared to teach coming back, right? And all the work will be graded, right? It won’t feel totally and completely overwhelming to come back on November 30 to the whole pile of shit I’m looking at right now? Sigh. So completely out of touch with reality. I would love to walk away from it for 9 days. Maybe some will, but I’m not willing to risk my December sanity for that level of crazy. Even in a normal year, I’d have to grade over Thanksgiving Break. So there’s that. My level of exhaustion is a little crazy at the moment too. I’m hoping some more sleep and reading of books and hiking will help with that? We’ll see. One week off, then three weeks on, then three weeks off. Please don’t make me think about 2021 yet. I think grades are due in December too, so blowing off grading makes even less sense.

I had a kid turn in 8 assignments last night (all late) within 5 minutes. So you know they’re blank. I had emailed parents earlier this week (bulk email for all the kids who hadn’t done anything), so I guess they’re paying attention. I emailed the kid this morning and gave her until the end of the day to unsubmit and do them for realz. Or I would email parents and let them know what she did. Unfortunately, most of these kids don’t read their email, so she won’t see it, and I don’t have her in class today…I might have her in Advisory, so I’ll say it then, in general, to everyone. In case someone else thinks that’s a solution. Certainly if I stopped contacting parents about their kids’ lack of work, I’d have more time to grade. I’m not sure at what point it’s OK to be a really shitty teacher because there isn’t time to be a really good one. That shit makes me cry. It’s not how I roll; this year, it just fucking sucks.

With that, I have a parent meeting in 26 minutes and I need to get more tea in me before then. iCloud is not syncing my photos to the computer after I upgraded my space, so I’m going to need to figure that out…so I have a few photos, but who the fuck knows where the rest of them are. I’ve been tracing Wonder Under every night, though, for sanity’s sake…

I’m currently on the fourth yard of Wonder Under, and on piece 711 of 1100-and-something. Not bad. I should finish in the next few days. And then start trimming the Wonder Under. Every night, I have to pull apart all the school stuff that lives on top of the light table (doc cam etc. for art) so I can do this, and then put it back after so I can teach the next day. It’s time consuming but always worth it.

The last two days have been vast expanses of working time, sitting or standing here. Nova surveys my view from behind the monitor…

We’re not allowed to update to Big Sur, so I don’t know if the picture changes. I’m assuming it does. Although I like Catalina.

After work yesterday, I had my monthly quilt group meeting on Zoom. I wanted to stand, because I’d been sitting all day, so I started stitching this thing down…

It’s not fancy, it’s not hard, it’s pretty mindless.

And it’s not done. No worries. It will get done eventually.

OK. Parent meeting, Zoom all day, completely exhausted and very little patience for kids who will do nothing. Hoping both teachers’ aides show up for science, because last Friday was a clusterfuck when they couldn’t. I don’t blame them, but certainly there are no subs, and today’s assignment will go better with some support. Gaming tonight…I might need a nap beforehand. I was going to try to walk before sitting some more, but I don’t know if I’ll have the energy. I certainly don’t right this minute. Looking forward to time off. To sleep. To lying down and walking around instead of sit sit sit. To a renewed brain…hoping for that a lot. A renewed sense of I can do it.

Clear My Brain

I do write to clear my brain. Otherwise the words pile up in there and cause havoc. It’s currently 10:20 PM on a Saturday night. I have words in my head and I’d like them out.

We hiked almost 7 miles this morning, and then I did some schoolwork, stitched down the rest of the quilt top, and sandwiched and pinbasted it. It’s been a busy day. There are piles of fabric in the girlchild’s room, and I happened to find something the right size and shape (a rectangle, by the way) for the backing.

I’d already checked for batting. Check!

I did a significant part of the stitch down on Friday night, but I knew we were getting up early to hike, so I quit.

In retrospect, I would have been up for another hour and a half if I’d kept going last night. It was easy enough to finish this afternoon.

Pinbasted in no time.

It’s what we do on a Saturday night. It’s good…it means I can quilt a bit every night this week. I do need to do some thread shopping tomorrow though.

Friday night, we gamed, and I graded some and stitched some.

The cat is no help while grading. Actually, this was my setup for science and art on Friday. Cleanup still happening for demo the day before, art ready to go, rocks in place.

This morning, we hiked Los Penasquitos Canyon, starting at the Mercy/Black Mountain end.

There were quite a few people…

It was much cooler than it has been, much cooler than it will be this week.

It’s mostly flat.

The man is training for the PCT, which will be mostly not flat.

I, however, am training for nothing.

Except regular exercise.

I had to put my phone in my bra for a bit because people don’t understand how to share the trail and there was some chance I’d fall into the water and I wanted my phone as high up on my body as possible.

I didn’t. Fall in, that is.

Anyway, stupid people on trails. What can you do?

Avoid them. The man getting his zen on.

We actually passed a half naked guy (young) meditating with a pointy zen hat on.

So there’s that. Rocks, sand, poison oak, and a baby rattlesnake.

No real rattles yet. The man moved him off the trail.

Good thing because the next group coming along had two small children.

Strange pods…

Pro: We were done by noon. Con: I’m exhausted right now.

This is a pretty suburban trail, right between two rows of houses. In two weeks, we go camping…and two weeks after, we’ll be near Joshua Tree, although I have an art thing to do, so mostly the man will hike and I will not.

I do enjoy hiking. There are limited numbers of hours in the day, though…so tomorrow holds a few hours of work in it. So I’m ready for the week.

This week is already full of meetings.

And hopefully quilting…

I so want to be a cat. I’d be less tired, I think. Hard to say. Interesting to clear one’s brain right before bed. Hopefully it will help with my current tendency to have weird-ass, scary dreams. Because that’s been the last two nights, and I’m kind of done.

Oh yeah, Fire and Water got into Quilt National. That’s cool.

It was the throwaway quilt. You pay the same for 2 or 3 entries. I needed a third. I figured the big one would get in, if anything. It didn’t. This one did. It’s a quilt that was made for another show and didn’t get in. So was the last Quilt National Entry. It’s weird…I get in every OTHER year. 2013. 2017. 2021. Freaky. OK, consider sleep. And whatever is sneakily walking out on the slope. And making more art.

Go Forth and Conquer

Hoo boy. Nasty nightmare in the middle of the night, NOT school related, shockingly. Also a cat who thinks that banging on the window and blinds is a way to communicate her dislike of the presence of some animal I never saw out there is acceptable 2 AM behavior. Trying to calm the breathing and heartbeat after that. At some point in time, I’m exhausted, so I sleep.

I keep looking at this one page on the science curriculum, hoping they update the thing I need that will find me an extra four hours a week or so. Or not. It helps me plan, and without it and without my partner, who is planning as well, but for a very different type of instruction, I have to try everything about 14 times, moving things, moving them again, moving them yet again. Is THIS logical? Or is THIS logical? None of it is fucking logical; that is the problem. The curriculum itself doesn’t always flow logically for me, so I tweak it and then tweak it again. Sigh. Next week, I find myself with too many quizzes and tests and not enough content. I will have to pillage from the following week to make it less about Take This Test and This One and This Other One that I will never have time to grade. Because that’s the other issue. What do I actually have time to SCORE? In between Zooming for hours a day and prepping for more hours a day, I never have time for phone calls or emails or catching up on late work that kids have turned in or grading new work that they’ve turned in. It’s all about planning for the next week, and never catching up with this one. It is definitely worse and harder than it was before everything switched. And I feel like the higher ups are more interested in pleasing parents and giving them what they need (they are our clients, I know) than realizing that they are burning out huge swathes of their staff. There has to be some give and take, and I’m not seeing that. I guess the crash and burn will happen at some point, or they’ll never see or hear the distance-learning staff, and the in-person staff (who has to be just as buried as we are) isn’t saying anything because they don’t have time to in between 10 classes of teaching the same shit over and over.

Speaking of teaching and voting, because my ballot is here and will get done this weekend…this guy is in my district and man oh man does he drive me crazy with his arrogant bullshit.

I almost took a Sharpie with me to the grocery store last week so I could have the man stop the car while I defaced one of these signs with “Not All”. I didn’t. But I thought about it. It’s good to see that someone found a legal way to do it. He’s certainly pissed off a goodly chunk of us. You vote how you want. And I hope he sees this and isn’t just defensive and dismissive. I think he will be, but I hope he’s not. I’m ever hopeful about politicians.

Well, most of them. This was the best part of the debate, besides Kamala Harris asserting her right to speak and seeing Pence’s face when that happened. Respect. To the fly. And Kamala.

On the art front, I’ve managed an hour or so of stitch down…

One night out of the two…not bad. Hopefully there will be more tonight and tomorrow, although there is a ton of planning I haven’t done and we have gaming and a hike in there as well. Plus apparently I need to grade shit. It won’t take long to do this part. I checked this morning and I have enough batting, and surely there’s enough fabric in this room for a backing.

Part of the reason I didn’t get any done last night is that I needed a moment. A long moment. It was about a 3-1/2-hour moment. I got out of the house and walked (oh hallelujah, some cooler weather)…

The neighbors are all doing Halloween, and maybe they always do and I just don’t notice because I would be walking elsewhere or at the gym.

My students have already asked if Halloween is safe, the candy part, because that’s the only part they care about. Personally, if the little screaming midgets in my neighborhood come around, I can throw candy at them from my deck. It’ll make up for all the screaming they do in general. Plus I won’t have to go near their not-socially-distanced havens for disease.

Yup, I’ve got that old lady thing DOWN. The second part of my break was Zooming with my stitching friends. I had zero brain power, so I just stitched things down.

No embroidery, no embellishment, just sticking it to the background with thread. After the pandemic, I will hopefully be able to embellish. Right now, I just don’t have the energy.

Speaking of energy, I’m trying to muster enough to get out of here and go to the other computer and figure out what I’m teaching today. I teach two science classes Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Thursday and Friday, I repeat what I did Tuesday and Wednesday, which means writing it all down, because my brain has already forgotten what it did two days ago. And I have to finish writing a rubric for Gestalt and Zeitgeist, which I’ve never taught, but I guess is in my head. Somewhere. Some would say not Gestalt, because there is never a Less is More aspect to my work. I definitely come from the Richard Scarry world of art…fill that rectangle with all the shit you’ve got and see what it looks like.

This bunny or one like it might have been what pissed off Kitten last night. She seriously whacks at the blinds until whatever it is leaves.

I’m surprised I’ve never found a bunny skull on my property. Those coyotes are slackers.

She looks all sweet here.

Because she’s gonna sleep all day while I work. So she doesn’t care if she kept me up for an hour or so last night, banging on the window.

Good things: It’s Friday, so there’s a break from Zooming for two days. We’re hiking tomorrow. The weather is cooler (don’t even look at next weeks’ temperatures; they will make you cry). I can finally vote and turn my ballot in and know that my state will protect my vote. I’m not sick. I have a job. I can do my job, even though it feels like I’m carrying a ton of bricks and people keep piling more on top. I might get to sleep in tomorrow morning. So there we are. Go forth and conquer Friday.