All the Pieces

All the pieces are done, ironed together. I just need to make them fit. Ha! That’s always the issue. I love it when the quilt top is just one giant ironed-together piece with no holes in it, because it’s easier to get onto the background. Pieces like this with a little bit here and a little bit there, and they all have to fit together, which implies I ironed them together really well (ha!)…those are the hardest. I’ve got two big heads (here’s one of them from Friday night)…

Then there’s the head and upper torso of the main figure with the arms, then the lower torso with the rest of the three figures and the body of one of the big heads. They’re all attached in some way. It’ll be a challenge. It’s not a small piece, so doing it on the ironing board won’t work. I finished the Earth last night…

That was the last bit…and I found the missing ‘s’ finally. It was in the box of 1300s, even though it’s a 300. It has aspirations…

In other art news, Coronawood got into Quilts=Art=Quilts, which is cool. And I’ll be part of an artist talk on October 2 at the PHES Gallery in Carlsbad.

Should be interesting…a wide variety of work.

I spent a huge chunk of the weekend working on school, which is funny, because I only just got my nose above water and my mouth sometimes. Meaning 8th grade is planned through next Monday and is a disaster after that. I spent 5 hours on Sunday just dealing with that, and then the other 3-4 hours was grading stuff and posting stuff and trying to make sense of stuff. I brought home 5 things on paper that I didn’t touch, needed grading. I’m taking some of it to my other quilt guild meeting tonight. Valerie Goodwin is talking. I took a class from her last year on Zoom and wanted to hear/see her in person. Also I won’t be at school for two days this week, so hence my panic about school stuff. But I’ll be at SAQA Summit listening to artists talk and then taking a 2-day workshop. I still need to write sub plans.

That whole 5 hours yesterday was on this chair with this cat behind me…

It wasn’t particularly comfortable.

Later we walked the little dog. Not sure why I call him that, since he’s the only dog we have at the moment. I guess I have a wishful big dog.

We only did 2 miles because all of us were tired. The boychild has been gone a lot lately for work, so Simba has been needy. And a shitty sleeper. I’d like to thank the local coyotes for my lack of sleep today. Boychild may be back Wednesday…depends on local fires. He was on one over the weekend, but seems to be off it now. I told Simba; he understood nothing.

We managed dinner out…

So I drew something very basic that I’ve probably drawn some version of about a million times. Which was fine, because at least I was drawing.

This school year, man. I’m hoping I get a better handle on it soon. It’s been shit. I should say the 8th graders are mostly fine. They are a decent group of kids. I just don’t have the curriculum down until like 5 minutes before class. The 7th grade, I’ve taught this curriculum enough times that I’ve got it, but the kids are a challenge…and not all of them. Just a significant enough number of them that it is hard and exhausting and sometimes they behave and sometimes they are shitheads. Because they are kids, yes, but also because of COVID and not being in school and still figuring out how not to be immature and some of them don’t HAVE to behave at home, so why behave at school? Some days are good, most are ok or tolerable, and then some are just shit. And because I end the day with them, it just throws me. And then the curriculum is stupid, the stuff I’m using for 8th grade. Hate Amplify. It’s lame. So repetitive, only one right answer, hardly any hands-on stuff. There are simulations, but it’s not the same thing. The kids need something to put their hands on, to mess with. Hopefully the next unit is better. I guess it’s only as good as I am, and I don’t feel up to it by myself. I don’t have any other curriculum that I can do with them. And I don’t have time to go searching for stuff, or the brain power, because I would have to be able to get the big picture to do that, and I’d need like a 40-hour week of planning to get there.

On top of all this, some messy shit with adults happened last week at school that still is pissing me off. I need to drop it, let it go, but it’s shitty and I can’t get it out of my head. Thank you brain for that.

I did finish one book, read a whole ‘nother book (the Man hates it when I use ‘nother)…

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy…second book in a series, but basically I love anything by Becky Chambers. Reminds me of why I don’t hike the PCT as a thru-hiker.

Anyway. I’m on yet another book now. It feels good to read. I do love to read. And draw. And sleep. I love sleep so much and I suck so bad at it.

Today is chaos. I’m giving assessments to both classes, although 8th probably won’t finish today. 7th will if it kills me (and it might). Staff meeting after school, plus counseling, pick up the parental dog and bring her back, then off to the quilt guild meeting. I’m not sure I can do all that, but I’m going to try. I should eat something in there sometime. I’d like to say I’ll iron when I get home, but odds are that I will just collapse. We’ll see. A girl can hope.

The Dream

Am I ready for a full week of school? I’m never ready. I never get enough done on Sunday afternoon. I never feel like I’m ready. I have done many things to get myself and my stuff ready, but it never feels like enough. My biggest issue today is that I need a computer…mine was refusing to connect to the digital projector on Friday. I was able to limp along for the day, push stuff out and try to get kids in the right place without being able to show them, but today, I actually need them to see what’s on my screen and there’s no other way to easily push it out. There are no loaners that we know of. I might be using one of admin’s computers instead. Which is awkward and a pain. Not looking forward to it, no lie. Last year around this time, IT had to send my computer out to get a new battery. I told them then about the charging issues (because I think all this has to do with issues with my USB-C ports), and they chalked it up to the battery thing and then I spent all year trying to persuade my charger to seat correctly so the computer would actually charge. My computer is not due to be replaced until the next school year. The last loaner they gave me was so old that things wouldn’t load. I’m not looking forward to that either. I already tried compressed air in the ports, on the off chance that a big blob of dust was causing all this. No luck. Ah well…to be a fully funded teacher! What a dream!

I did follow my new plan of no work on Saturdays (actually did this most of last year too)…so I dealt with some art stuff, bought the compressed air (that’s all the work-related stuff I did), bought some slats for a piece that needs to be delivered next weekend…it needs a label too, so that’s on the list for this week. I entered a show, did some other art paperwork. I read my book a lot. And then I hiked for the first time in a long time…

My legs were not quite ready, post-COVID and no exercise for a bit, but I powered through. Felt pretty good after the first mile.

Saw a coyote…

No really, there’s a coyote in that picture. It was not happy about my presence.

I started late…but it was still warm. Also saw this tree face…

Probably hiked past that tree a few million times and never saw that. So the hiking was good.

I also finished cutting stuff out…

It took over 24 hours of cutting to do this thing…

And then last night, I started sorting, but I should have started earlier…why didn’t I? Because I was still doing school work. Probably did about 5 hours yesterday. Just trying to get organized and semi-caught up. You are never really caught up until the year is over.

I didn’t have much left to sort, but it was already late and I needed to go to bed…

It doesn’t look like much, but it would have been at least another 30-45 minutes. And I’m already the last one up here, so all the noise from the previous two wakes me up anyway. Don’t need to start the week more tired than necessary. Finish sorting tonight, and then start ironing this thing together.

The Man had a show at Stone Brewing Company on Saturday…

I did not go. It was a long way and a long time and I was tired. I needed some quiet me time.

They seemed to have fun though.

Meanwhile, I chilled with the cats…

OK, mostly they slept. It was fine.

I recently wrote an article about my work for Art Quilting Studio…it’s the Autumn issue…

I’ve been able to find it at Barnes & Noble, but it’s also available online.

I get paid a small amount for the article…but also it looks really good…

It’s nice to not be censored. Or remembered just for the dick that wasn’t there. And the internet just deleted the rest. And I need to go to school…so this is where we end. More tomorrow!

Headspace for Drawing…

I went to the eye doctor yesterday and he recommended a book for me, after having a long discussion about Comicon and our shared nerdiness. Gotta appreciate that. Especially as school LOOMS. I write every year about how it looms; usually it waits until August 1st, but not this year. LOOMING. And not in the good way with weaving warp and weft. In the dark and doomy way where it’s leaning over you and breathing hot and heavy onto your shoulder. Maybe even a little moist going on there. Yuck. All this followed by some truly disturbing dreams (not about school, for once, but like an alternative lifetime that was obviously wrong wrong wrong but was weirdly right in the dream, so fucking awful). Totally creeped out by last night’s attempt at sleep. Plus the boychild left for the Oak Fire yesterday, so Simba was in the bed all night, perturbed as fuck and hot and furry and then would randomly lick my leg and wake me up. I’m just not cut out for sleep. I need to be knocked out instantly and then zapped awake at the right time.

So Monday was delightful. I went to lunch and for a walk on the Silver Strand beach (away from all the people) with two friends from school and just really enjoyed walking, cool temperatures, and BIRDS!

Some of these birds have made it into my quilts. Wish I could tell you which ones…

Tiny snowy plovers…

We stalked the birds really…

And then the shells…these still had the snails in them, so we put them all back in the water.

Probably they would have been fine, but in a year when the climate is getting more and more fucked (thank you Republicans and the Supreme Court for continuing that shit), it felt good to do something that might be good for the environment.

Fascinating walk. This gull had a flatfish and was trying to alternately wash it and peck it.

Plus it kept running with the fish to get away from us.

Good times. We had some discussions of bizarre animals that humans made up and how it happened (found weird bit on beach, assumed animal was massive, hence our drawing it in the sand).

Like you do. Anyway. More of that this year. Less of the stressful shit.

I finally got the headspace to start drawing for real. Did a lot of sketching in pencil first as my brain got in the mood for this drawing…

Trying to keep it relatively simple. I keep wanting to add shading to the figure on the right, but my simpler brain is like NO IT DOES NOT NEED IT. Art brain is not convinced. Then last night, I inked everything that was in pencil…

And started adding more…

First time the Statue of Liberty has shown up in a quilt of mine…

Got more to do up here. That big head has some words going on it. Her arms need stuff. Stuff in her hands too. Getting there. Also, my proofreading project showed up last night…and I’m going to mom’s today and tomorrow to work on the bed quilt, plus the girlchild is coming in tonight for a visit, so I had to clean her room (not done) and the bathroom, because the boychild left for the fire yesterday. He works for the California Conservation Corps but is currently on a CalFire hand crew. Apparently you sleep in coffins (not really, just looks like one)…

He’s in Merced…heading in to the fire west of Yosemite.

He sends sunrise photos with fire trucks. Seems fine. Unfortunately, he got called out right before the girlchild comes to visit and probably won’t be back before she leaves. Bad timing, fire. WTF. I’m glad she’s coming though…not only because I haven’t seen her in a while, but also because Simba can sleep with her and she’s on Boston time, so he’ll be happy with wakeup time. I tried to explain to him that I was on summer break and got to sleep in. Did not care. Not a bit.

Last night, he just barked for hours at every sound, convinced it meant the boychild was home. His car was home (we went and got it), so the confusion was large. Massive really. Tiny brain in that dog.

We’re up to three caterpillars on the milkweed.

Exciting stuff…

I hope we get a chrysalis out of it.

This is part of the current drawing…at least the idea behind this.

And this is for my district…

I’d take Reduce Workload too. They’re gonna feed me lunch for three days. I would rather bring my own lunch and go home earlier, but that’s not how they roll. Luckily my district/principal don’t give a shit about jeans whenever…and we don’t get free coffee (wouldn’t care about that anyway). We do get the other shit though and it’s usually right before they tell us the 17 new things we have to do and why we have the wrong attitude if we’re not excited about them. Eh.

OK, so I’m going to aim to get Etsy stuff done tomorrow and Friday. Today is packed full of stuff, including getting the girlchild from the airport. I’m supposed to be at mom’s at 10 and I haven’t eaten or taken a shower. So I gotta go. Like now.

Disappearing Fast…

So Summer Break is disappearing fast. Lost two days to a training that could be done in two hours…welcome to the inefficiencies of my day job. Seriously though…wish we could figure that crap out. I’m willing to be professionally developed when it’s actually useful. Not sure this 12 hours will be. That said, this week is still Not School and so is next week. Breathing in and appreciating that. This week, I need to get going on the next art quilt on the off chance I can finish before another deadline (probably not, but I’m going to try). I also need to get some home-related stuff done and I need to get that bed quilt done.

I think we’re at 16.5 hours (which includes about 5.5 hours of practice on muslin). We finally got it to behave appropriately for I think two whole rows, no, two and a half, and then the bobbin thread ran out and then the NEW tablet (mom bought a new one) crashed and then we had to try to restart from there (the app needs a solution for starting mid-row when it crashes) and then the thread broke, so the last row took 45 minutes instead of 11 and a half. Yeah.

But before that, we had weird divots in the stitch and then it would randomly decide to move up instead of staying in a straight line.

I wasn’t kidding when I said the machine was possessed. Inconsistent? Yeah that too. Could very well be user error.

I know with any machine I’m sewing with, I have to get used to it and then I know how to make it work, even if the manual says otherwise. So we’re not there. But we are halfway through the quilting! Mom wanted to rip the straight line, and I’m like NO, we aren’t ripping anything if we don’t have to.

And when I say halfway, I mean I will have to go back and do some filler quilting in between some of the rows (or parts of rows due to demon possession) that are too far apart. But I figure that will be quick. Unlike the rest of it. So probably three more sessions at mom’s? Hopefully? Done this week? I just don’t know. I’ve got a proofreading job coming in this week too, so I need to be home to work on that.

The newest quilt is at the photographer…I did get photos back of Desert Mother though…gotta get her on the website.

I’ve had such a hard time finishing work in the last two years. The day job is a hog.

Every year I say I will work on that, and then I get overwhelmed.

There are lots of super tiny animals in this piece…

Which take forever…

But I love that they’re in there. I also love that I made this totally nonpolitical quilt this year in between what will be more political things because the world is so fucked up at the moment. I know I needed a break after the abortion rights quilt. So this was it…

I feel bad for making nonpolitical quilts sometimes. Plus then people are all OMG that quilt is amazing why don’t you just make those instead of those other ones. Eyeroll. Because the artist brain does not work like that.

Anyway, so there she is.

I did start the drawing on the next one about two weeks ago, pulling from a drawing I did back in November 2021 and then starting to modify it. I had written notes somewhere on what else needed to go on it, but I have no clue where those are. Of course. But I stared at it for a while on Friday night, then went to sleep, and woke up Saturday morning with a goodly chunk of it back in my head, which I wrote down in TWO places…

So as soon as I can get my head out of the exhaustion rut it’s in (too many early morning wakeups for me lately), I will get going on that. Hopefully in about 20 minutes.

Also, I finally finished mounting the last of the pieces that need to go on Etsy…

Trying to get some of these smaller pieces sold and out of here. So now I need to find all the photos I’ve taken as I’ve finished them over the last month, gather all the sizing and pricing info, and post those. I’ll let y’all know when that’s done, but hopefully this week. I also had a plan to put some of my older art quilts on sale…will need to get my act together on that too. You can see how summer/free time gets eaten up, yeah?

We hiked Saturday, but just flat because the Man has a broken toe…slammed it into a chair…

Probably he shouldn’t have hiked because now it hurts more, so also probably I will be hiking alone for the next 5 weeks.

Nova asleep in the heat…

The bunny who keeps eating the flowers of my native plant…

A very confused caterpillar…I’m not sure where it went from the cactus (the milkweed was right next to it)…but I can’t find it anymore.

Ah well.

Want some owl videos?

Three babies…

Haven’t seen the parents for a while (would I know? I don’t know if I would know…but they sound different). One seems to hang out here all the time; the other two seem to range around a bit more. Hoping they find a nest and/or learn to stop yelling all the time (much like the neighbor children?) relatively soon. But I’m glad to add them and their mouse/rat-catching to my ecosystem here.

So today: draw more, Etsy some stuff, go have lunch and hang out with teacher friends without thinking about school, read my book? (it’s nonfiction, but there’s a mystery and I suspect old white men are the perpetrators). Shit. I need to start the crockpot for dinner. Ugh. OK. Better now than having to cook later, right? Yes ma’am. It’s still summer. I am still sort of free from stuff (ha!). Working on Zen.

Get Away

It’s what I need to do sometimes so I can actually relax. The house is too full of things I need to do. The Man’s birthday was a week ago, so I booked us an Airbnb in Julian…not a long drive, but mountain reset. It was unfortunately hot hot hot (it will be hotter in August and September, but we are not acclimated), so the deck was not used as much as I would have liked, but we did appreciate the air conditioning, which we don’t have at home.

We played games…

I lost all of them. It’s OK. I usually lose. I’m at one with the losing.

We only went upstairs in the cabin once, to take this photo.

Why? Even with the A/C on, it was Hades up there.

We hiked…in the AM…not very far (3.7 miles)…it was too hot.

We often plan a bunch of hiking that doesn’t happen. Wild turkeys!

Why? Because we need the mental space more than we need the exercise. Lake!

I’m OK with all that. I know I will hike more. It was hotter in Julian than it was here at home in East County…

So more hiking wasn’t really something we were willing to do unless it was at midnight.

That is either a deer or a coyote.

In this picture, it seems more deerlike, but in real life, it was a toss up.

I’m betting coyote, because no shelter, broad daylight, no other deer around. More milkweed!

Being in the heart of some fairly conservative sentiments, we had conversations about intelligent design (that’s what we get for reading social media while traveling). The design of this flower for example. I think science and nature are mostly incredibly ordered…except when they’re not, and when they’re not, there’s a natural reason for it. Some people call that evidence that there is a god. I call it evidence that this is the way natural things work. Plant needs insects to reproduce. Flowers evolve that increase this particular plant’s ability to reproduce. The ones that failed are no longer around because they did not have that advantage. Maybe they were really chaotic milkweed plants that fought the bees off. So they aren’t here anymore.

No one who thinks a lot about how human pregnancy and/or the uterus works would consider that intelligent design. Certainly there’s a bunch of politicians who have never ever understood how that works.

Red-tailed hawk?

Anyway. We appreciated nature.

As you should.

We also appreciated some breweries and wineries and cideries…

And I especially appreciated the time and space to just draw for drawing’s sake…

We even listened to some music…

This one had those misting sprinklers. Pro: it was raining on us constantly. Con: can’t draw when it’s that wet.

Some of the music was really good (Berkley Hart).

Lots of drawings…

Some of it back at the cabin over a couple of days…

That one’s not done. Which is good.

My one time on the deck, before it got too hot.

Small but nice.

We contemplated the universe.

And all the things in it.

It’s OK if you don’t get that. It made us giggle. And then we came home to hot and to-do lists. It’s fine. Really. It was good while it lasted.

I had some huge batting issues on Friday…all my own fault really. So I had to buy new batting and wash it and ran out of time to pinbaste, so I did it yesterday with a fan blowing on me the whole time.

This is not a small quilt. I keep saying that. It was supposed to be smaller.

But I got her pinbasted and then managed almost two hours of quilting…

I have a deadline on this one and it’s tight. But I’m going to do it.

But first, today I have two science meetings, so I need to go make my lunch and pack up and take my meds and brush my teeth and make more tea and get the fuck out of here. Plus deal with all the things on the to-do list, which threaten to bury me even during the summer, when I’m not working the other job. Well. Except today I sort of am working the other job. So there’s that. It’s a good thing I took a weekend off from almost everything.

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.

If You’re Into It…

Hmm. Independence Day. I think that word does not mean what you think it means. Lots of people have always had issues with today…since it meant independence for some and not others. It seems worse this year, although for some, it is the same as before…not independent. 60 bullet wounds on a young black man in Ohio…seems unnecessary. And another shooting today in the Chicago area…so far, 6 are dead and many injured. Another one of those high-powered rifles no human really needs to own. It’s frustrating. It’s depressing. It’s disheartening. So yeah, not in the mood to celebrate anything today with a barbecue and a bunch of people. Not that I usually do that stuff…but even fireworks are irritating me at the moment…too many illegal fireworks locally, including on our street, setting off the Man’s car alarm. No fires so far, so that’s good, but sheesh. We have official fireworks…can’t you watch those? Oh no? You have to have your OWN fireworks. We are such a special country…I mean that oh so sarcastically.

I’m tired because I didn’t sleep well last night, and then got up early, so we could go hike in the mountains before it got too warm. It’s been days and days of too warm, so a few cooler days have been appreciated. No worries, it’ll be back to warm by the weekend.

So where are we at? It’s July. I’ve finished a bunch of embroidered and quilted pieces into objects that can be sold. I have two more to do and then I’ll put them all on Etsy and let you know. I finished cutting out all the pieces for the current quilt on Friday night…

putting in some solid hours Thursday and Friday…15 1/2 hours total of cutting things out. Then sorted on Saturday night in between a bunch of other stuff that included finally getting the last quilt photographed after embroidering two tiny snake eyeballs.

Sorting took just under an hour to do…

And now I’m ready to iron it down, but I decided to do some things that had to be sewn first…like all those embroidery finishes, and then I needed to put borders on a bed quilt I made for my own bed in 2008…well, it’s not a quilt yet. It was just a top that needed borders. Now it’s a top…

That needs a backing to be pieced (today probably) and then the batting gets here Wednesday and then sometime after that, we go to mom’s house and figure out how to short-arm quilt it. By ‘we’ I mean me and the quilt. And mom will help. Because she’s done it before and I haven’t. Because it’s a bed quilt and it doesn’t need to be fancy. Yes. It’s bright. And it has aliens all over it. I’m OK with that. Then I can put a binding on it and finish it 14 years after I started it.

Once the backing is pieced, I can start ironing the other one together, the actual art quilt. I tried drawing the next one last night but my brain is a fucked-up mess. I found a drawing I did back in November and I’m going to enlarge it, redraw some of it, and then add to it. For the next one. Yeah. I was going to look at some of the other deadlines, but hell…I’m just making what makes me feel better right now. Full of anger and sadness and political shit.

Sigh.

Yesterday, the boychild helped clean the roof off…too many leaves, plus rinsed the solar panels. I’m not sure if we have to do more than that.

Our solar production is up a bit today over yesterday, so that’s good. The next step would be to use soap and warm water and then rinse them off, and I don’t know that I can get him to go back up there and do that.

So back to the hike. We did Red-Tailed Roost and Agua Dulce, about 4.8 miles. It was pretty. There was some up, but not a lot. It was hot, but not that hot. We were there early, so that helped.

Neither of us had done this hike before…

In a couple of weeks, we’ll be back in the area to celebrate the Man’s birthday, which is this week.

There were lots of trees, although definitely a fairly recent burn up there. Looks like it was a controlled burn a few months ago, when I search it up online.

We saw a few bikes and a few hikers…pretty quiet for a holiday, but we got up there fairly early. The parking lot was filling up as we left…

It was nice to be out in nature.

Even with killer trees…

Didn’t spend a lot of time under that one…

So now I need a snack, a nap, and some time with my book…

Which is my idea of a holiday. Also, I’m wearing this…

My brother and SIL called and are dressed appropriately for the holiday as well in black and politically appropriate shirts. I was the only one in the family with a uterus shirt, shockingly. I debated between it and my ‘Up with the Matriarchy’ shirt…saving that one for jury duty, I guess. My SIL found an appropriately themed protest for the 4th…

She’s in Montana…which has good people. Much like we do here, although some days I wonder.

OK. So happy 4th if you’re into it. If you’re not, have a snack, a nap, and read your book. Dress appropriately. Make some art if you want. Or don’t. That’s my version of an independent day for this year.

Post-School Brain Fog…

Ah yes. I survived another year of teaching. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and want to cry most of the time, and I was awake at 4:38 AM this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep until I typed some things in a to-do list, but I’m not sure that shit’s not just normal Nida behavior. My co-teacher and I banged out a rough plan for 8th grade science while waiting for her to get her room checked out (I had mine signed off during the meeting where the parent didn’t show up). I have two huge piles of books I need to either read, learn, memorize, or use for next year. I still need a good college textbook for space science. A little light summer read. Apparently everything I’ve learned in Star Trek and The Expanse will not be transferable. Dammit. The weather is gorgeous here, I have science meetings already planned for the next two weeks, the Man is hiking again, and I might be able to see him in two weeks. Maybe. SIGH.

Look! It’s my team! Which will change and be bigger next year…

No stress. Just more changes. Lots of them. A fuckload of them.

Giant Ass Sigh. Hello summer. I needed you. Don’t get too hot.

OK, so I have been ironing Wonder Under to fabric, mostly in an exhausted fashion. This was Wednesday night.

I ironed a cannon. And some other stuff.

Then last night, after 3 hours with the same group of kids, then a bunch of cleaning, then a school party (only one drink), and then a Zoom meeting, I ironed more. I looked completely exhausted by then. The wonder of Zoom is that you SEE YOUR FACE.

Laid out some flesh colors…they look really peachy here.

I guess they are peachy.

Usually I try to lay out the whole body at once, since it’s all the same fabrics, but it was going to be the 200s and the 300s and then the 700 and 800s and maybe beyond. I couldn’t deal with it last night. I just did the legs and the torso. And then put those fabrics in a pile for when I get up to the torso. It’ll be OK…although I only have small amounts of a couple of them…might need to substitute. That’s why I usually lay them all out at once…in case I run out of one, so I can juggle things before I start ironing down. Ah well. Juggling fabric is something I can do pretty easily. I think I’ll be fine.

Or I will be swearing at myself in a couple of days time. Well, at least some of the flesh tones are in. I’m somewhere in the 200s…or 300s…hard to say because I haven’t finished either.

Meanwhile, the Man’s local temperatures are dropping to 22 degrees tonight (it’s delightful here…I did say that). He has a pass to go over today or tomorrow that hopefully isn’t too bad. I have a friend’s daughter’s wedding to go to tomorrow…need to clean the bird shit off the car and figure out which boots I’m wearing (it’s outside in the dirt). Also need to get a short massage so the chiropractor can budge my neck, take the dog to the vet, and cook dinner. I really need a nap…that 4:38-AM thing really threw my brain.

It’ll be two weeks before my brain is really working well again anyway. Post-school fog…commence!

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.

Five Days…

There’s a march tomorrow, one I’ve done before. March for Our Lives…about gun violence here in the US. I’m going to be there in spirit, while my body and brain grade stuff for the end of the school year. I watched a tiny bit of the testimony from the Uvalde families…it was the tiniest bit because I was at school and then had to spend all day teaching kids just two years older, and very much alive, and that’s all I could handle.

I have five more days of school, but grades are due Tuesday. I am behind in the teaching sex ed schedule because the behaviors are pretty immature and it takes a lot to deal with block scheduling…it’s too much. So we will get as far as we can. I have 17 kids opted out of sex ed, so their giant projects are due to me today. That’s gonna take a while to grade. All the art projects are due today. So many kids absent for COVID or field trips or camp and somehow they’re all still supposed to finish. AND I have to have stuff for the kids who are done. I’m done, honestly. Very done.

I appreciated meeting with friends last night…when I was dropping the Man off on the PCT, I had almost finished a Sue Spargo quilt I’ve been working on since 2020. I think I’ve been doing the borders for a year (they are complicated and I don’t work on them regularly). I had about 2 3/4 of the last stitch on the last 4 flowers to do, and I could have done it in the car on the way up to Kennedy Meadows, but then mentally I couldn’t. So it’s been sitting around. I was fairly sure last night would be the big finish, which is kinda cool, since they’ve been around (mostly on Zoom for the whole damn thing). And here we are!

All the embroidery is done; I just need to sandwich, quilt, and bind. Minor work…compared to the rest of it. It’s nice to have a finish. My quilt guild is doing the UFO thing again…so I made a list of the unfinished and it was long. I will need to pick a couple to do though. This will probably be one of them.

Speaking of the Man, he made it over Forester Pass yesterday. He’s coming off trail today to pick up his resupply package. I wish him luck. I think he’s feeling better (besides being sore and tired), so that is a plus. I still don’t know when or where I will be able to meet him. His mileage has been pretty low…I’m hoping for the two weeks after school gets out, but it’s looking complicated. As usual.

I am so close to done on cutting out Wonder Under. I did a goodly chunk on Wednesday night…

Had about 3/4 of a yard left to go. But last night, I was home late and only got 30 minutes in (had to finish a book. Crucial. Absolutely. If you’re at 95% and you DON’T finish, what is wrong with you?). So I’m still not done…

There’s probably 30-45 minutes left of cutting, but I picked sleep last night out of pure exhaustion. So tonight I will finish cutting and then sort. Ironing tomorrow? Hopefully.

Meanwhile, there are cat antics. Nova wants to hug geckos…

And Luna has been a psycho in bed.

No sleep for the weary.

OK, my voice is shot even with a microphone. Today is STDs. Always fun. Plus a ton of grading. Hopefully during prep and not just after school. We’ll see. Looking forward to a weekend, even if it is full of grading and inputting crap. There will be some down time.