Mornings Are Loud…

Oh man, apparently a 5-day week is at least 3 days too long at the moment. I will be dissecting frogs today. I did a demo yesterday for a video and completely fucked it up, forgot what the heart looks like, missed a bunch of stuff, said some random stuff. So I deleted it. I’ll try again today for realz with the kids, hope I don’t mess this one up too badly. I’m going to go watch a video of some people who are way more awake and with it than I am. Not that it’s hard to be that. I’m going to bed at a reasonable hour…just can’t fall asleep or apparently stay asleep. Mornings are loud, y’all…really loud. The birds, the sun, just damn loud.

The plus in all this is that the next quilt drawing is coming along, mostly because I’m using the drawing I did in Tehachapi, all stream of consciousness while hanging with the man and watching weird stuff on the telly. Apocalyptic Love, Death, and Rockets, yeah? No, not Rockets…ROBOTS. Oh my. Hello brain. You want a scalpel today? Seems like a mistake, but sure…we’ll give you a scalpel. WTF. ANYWAY. I cut some paper to the right size and added the elements I needed for this theme, and then traced a goodly portion of the existing drawing…

I got the existing drawing transferred onto the new page, which is longer and skinnier, and now just need to do some filler and the sky tonight hopefully. Yes. Too many small pieces. It’s OK. I’ll be OK. I’ll complain about it later, but I’ll be OK.

This is why size of quilt isn’t as relevant to me for price as number of pieces is. I have one smaller piece with over 800 pieces in it that is really expensive…but if you think that each small piece needs to be drawn, traced, ironed, trimmed, and ironed down to the backing, you can see how number of pieces adds up. It’s OK for this one. Just when I get to commissions, it becomes an issue. Keep it simple! The quilt I just finished had 800 or so pieces in it…and it’s much bigger, but the cost will probably be similar to the small one I did a few years back. We’ll see. I haven’t calculated time yet on the new one. I’ve had no time to calculate time!

Anyway, it’s progress. It’s good.

I’ve hiked the last two days, Monday with the boychild and the dog…

The man will hike with me on Saturday.

He’s in recovery mode, which means going to hang out with a bunch of people and eating a lot of sugar. Funny stuff.

He’ll be back on trail next week, and then I’ll see him on the other side of Kearsarge Pass. Somehow. I’m debating hiking part of that, but acclimation could be an issue (starts at 9200 feet above sea level. I live at 400 feet above sea level). We’ll see. It’s supposed to be gorgeous though. I’d like a gorgeous hike or two this summer.

Here he is giving Luna some love.

He was afraid the cats wouldn’t remember him. They did. Right away. Even with all the smelly hiker clothes.

Because I’ve been hanging out with him at night, I’ve been embroidering on the Sue Spargo Homegrown blocks…finished another one of the March blocks…

Crazy little houses. One row of the roof shingles is the wrong thread. Not changing it. Nope.

OK, frogs today. Yup. Gonna go watch that video and make another cup of tea and keep creating random instruction for next week’s weirdness. Then do some exercise and draw some more. Try not to panic at any given time. Good plan.

Insert Pink Fluffy Flower…

Yesterday I talked my voice partially out of existence. What about? Um a tobacco curriculum that mostly (no, all of it) sucks, where I literally just read off slides and try to find the info that the company (STANFORD UNIVERSITY, WTF) put in the silly quiz. Wait. ANTI-tobacco curriculum. Sigh. My poor kids are putting up with it. And then teaching how to make pop-ups. Which I’ve never done before. Apparently for damn good reason. In the middle of all this, I get a call that I might be teaching a class of art next year too. To 6th graders. It always seems like a mistake to give me 6th graders. They’re even more sensitive than 7th graders and their parents are so protective. I’m like a bull in a china shop and then feel bad because I’m so used to the half-jaded 7th graders, as opposed to the fully jaded 8th graders. I’m not thinking about next year yet, because I can’t. I literally just can’t. Yesterday’s staff meeting got canceled and put in an email (a fucking miracle that) and this morning’s student meeting got moved later to while I’m teaching, so I don’t have to do it. Free time! Not really. I’m buried in classwork and grading and planning. I think I’m scrapping next week’s video final project for art for something that will grade faster…I like the idea and may use it next year, but not now. Not with everything else.

There are 10 days of school left. I can do this. I will need to sleep for a week, maybe two, after it’s all done, but I can do this.

I think.

OK, I did finish quilting the current quilt, good news. It was 10 1/2 hours of quilting in the end…not a small amount, plus an extra 30 minutes to quilt the quilt-block clouds on top. Wednesday night, I finished quilting and then trimmed the quilt before bed…

And cut the binding and sleeves, so I could be on top of it for Thursday…

Then Thursday, after picking up dead frogs and dissection kits from school, coming home and walking 3.69 miles, tasting mulberries for the first time ever (weird things those), and eating dinner…no wait! WHILE cooking and after dinner, I sewed on the bindings and the sleeves while the man was texting me from a hellacious day of climbing sand mountains and trying to decide whether he wanted to take a week off and come home (ah. That.), and then started the hand-sewing part.

Which I did not finish. But I have to finish tonight, because depending on whether I am driving 8 hours round trip to get the man, I will be dropping this quilt tomorrow at the photographer. (I’m hoping I’m not driving.)

IT’S GONNA BE FINE. EVERYTHING IS FINE.

I am so exhausted. Really. Yes, I would love for him to come home for a week. This coming week is ugly, but OK, we don’t always get to choose, right? And he is going back on trail after that. So it’s all good.

Insert pink fluffy flower to prove everything is good.

The other day, I asked the man WTF he was doing around 2 PM because I saw this…

Apparently that’s what it looks like when you are mid-afternoon napping and you keep having to move to get out of the sun. Now you know.

I told you I demo’d pop-ups yesterday…24 of them. I demonstrated 2 different techniques in 3 different ways in 2 different classes, 2 times for those in the back.

No voice. Exhausted. Still gotta talk a big chunk of today, reading stupid ANTI-tobacco powerpoint slides with speaker notes. Did you hear my forehead hit the desk? And then teach more pop-up stuff. I’m not demonstrating today. I’m explaining and then hopefully just answering questions as they work and I try to grade things in the background.

This year. Sheesh. Fuck me. If two weeks on a tropical beach with fruity cocktails brought by cabana girls and boys EVER appealed to me, this would be the year. (I don’t get paid in the summer…it’s not happening.)

Peace out all…at least it’s Friday, right?

Getting It Done…

The first week after I drop the man back on trail seems to always be hard. Maybe it will be less so when school is not part of the mix, hopefully…right now, I’m trying to catch up on planning and grading, which is time-consuming as hell…yesterday I started at 7:15 AM, continued through until after school, went for a lab test real fast, came back, worked some more, took about 90 minutes for Pilates and dinner, and then worked until about 9:45 PM. I’m calling it 12+ hours. And nowhere near done. I’ll get there. I mean, the last day of school is the 17th. Grades are due some time before that. It will all get done, for some definition of ALL. But no art happened yesterday. Some happened on Monday, luckily, so I’m not feeling totally inept. Just mostly.

Plus honestly, I just really miss him and it’s a damn long time before I’ll get to see him again. It’s trail-dependent…there are many days when he’s in the middle of nowhere and there aren’t even dirt roads to get there. The next section is particularly complicated for that. There’s some chance of one connection at Kearsarge Pass, but if that’s before school gets out, then it won’t be until Tuolomne Meadows. And that’s a long time from now. He’s been having water issues, plus a heat wave, but today was gifted deer footprints and a Gatorade and amazing views. So that’s how his days roll. They seem simpler (not easier…just simpler) than mine. I see the appeal. Especially with 12 days of school left and meetings every day this week. And just plain too much work.

I did manage a hike with the boychild and one dog on Monday…

I’m trying to type this with Kitten rubbing her head on my face and the computer monitor. Apparently I need to pet cats more. Seems unlikely. But I am not a cat, so what do I know?

The old lady is still hanging on. She sleeps a lot. Simba needs long walks, so we do that at least once a week.

I also need long walks, so it works out. Although he brings these home in his fur…

Those are some fun seed pods.

I got a lot of the background quilting done on Monday…

I started behind the clouds and got more than halfway done…

I think another hour tonight would do it…if I can find an hour tonight. Union meeting after school. Who knows how long that will go. I’m already exhausted though and I haven’t even officially started working today. I need to get the quilting done and the binding on. Sooner rather than later. I’d really like to deliver this to the photographer this weekend. I can’t email him though until I have the binding at least machine-stitched on…then I have some chance of making sure it can be done. It’s OK…I have no social life, so beyond school and exercise and watering the plants and occasionally talking to the boychild and petting ALL the animals, I should be able to get more art done. Ha! This is been such a shitshow for making art. Between the stress and anxiety of the last 16 months of school and COVID and other stuff, and the sheer number of HOURS my day job has sucked up in that time, I have made very little art. I have ideas, I have the need, I have the want…I just don’t have the TIME. This summer? We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully from June 17 on, this gets better. I can’t conceive of putting this amount of time and effort in endlessly. I will lose my mind.

I’d like to thank this evening sky, AND my neighbors for having all their screamers inside and not ruining it, for keeping some of my sanity last night. Yes. I just stared at it for a while.

Also I was trying to keep this innocent-looking beast from eating my succulents.

I was grading things. Luna was not helping. That plant in the middle looks like that because of cats.

And Monday night, while trying to meditate. Sometimes they are just not helpful.

It does appear that they missed me.

Ah. Missing people. I’m feeling totally overwhelmed and in a bad place right now. It’s OK. It will pass. I will start working and realize all the shit that needs doing and that will take over the emotional stuff until later today, when I will quilt that thing until it’s done. Hopefully. And maybe this weekend, I can start drawing the next one or two or however many it will take before I feel like I’m artistically back on track and my day job is under control or on hiatus for 8 weeks (along with my paychecks, ah well). Yeah. It’s a day. Happy June! Happy Pride actually…that is a positive thing for so many people. May society get their collective act together and stop making the world a shitty place for those who often make the world a more wonderful thing.

Tehachapi Weekend

I always appreciate a day off from teaching during the school year. I appreciate that I got to drive to see the hiking man and I still have a day to plan for school, because honestly, I have no clue what’s going on with 2 out of my 5 classes this week. Minor issue…I will figure it out. As soon as my brain wanders back from I’m Exhausted City. I appreciate that some people gave service in wars that changed our world, hopefully for the better, and I hope we have less need for said service and sacrifice in the future.

I did find out over the weekend that my piece at Quilt National sold. I do not know who bought it. I only saw the red dot (thanks to a friend for that). This is Fire and Water

On the far left. I finally found someone who posted a picture of it. Thank you! I am planning on going to the closing exhibition…just couldn’t swing the opening. Hopefully school will be less crazy in September. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, we stayed in a “beach house” (nowhere near any beach) in Tehachapi…full of interesting bits and pieces…

The man claims I pick quirky places, but really, I just pick what I can find most of the time…

And I don’t mind quirky. We were almost at the end of a road out of Tehachapi…

Nice views…including deer…

But yeah, some quirk…

I feel like the aliens are everywhere we go…

It was nice to have a home base out of town a bit…

We don’t actually do much…just hang out…

With our friends. Yeah, it’s a mannikin. I did some drawing in fits and starts…

He’s on the phone…not something he can do on the trail usually.

We saw this weird refraction happening in a cloud at dinner one night…

And we tried out a brewery…

I’m not actually drinking beer. The guy called it a seltzer? IDK what it really was…

I did some drawing…

And this one might have been at dinner…

I don’t understand the giant-flags-in-truck-beds phenomenon. I also didn’t understand this sign in the bathroom until the man explained it to me…

So yeah. I’m not really a gun/flag-in-your-truck person. Obviously.

The hardest part for me (well, for both of us) is dropping him back on the trail…

This is at mile 566. And that’s where he turned back to wave.

He had a rough day yesterday. Water is short in this section and it was bright and dry and warm. Plus he took some days off and it’s hard to get back into hiking. He just got more water, but there’s an upcoming stretch of heat wave plus areas where there are no streams or springs, just water cached by trail angels. Scary bit of miles. Plus his pack is heavy with food for about 8 days of hiking. Hoping it will all be OK. It’ll be at least 3 weeks, probably more, before I can see him. There’s one place he has a plan to be pulled out, but if it hits before I get out of school, I can’t do it. We have a friend who will, but then the access for me to be able to get to him is a bit iffy for a hundred miles or so. Sigh. At least I will be out of school. I plan to drive up a little early and do some hiking myself, relax a bit. We’ll see how that goes.

So I drove home yesterday and was mostly braindead. It’s hard to leave him and come back to what feels like hard work at the moment. I did pull out the quilt in progress, which needs to be done SOON, and placed the dyed blocks on top. These are old blocks I bought off eBay a million years ago, and I never did anything with them. I dyed a few of them about a month ago, and I was going to piece them into the background, but then I didn’t do that. Then I was just going to place them on top, but that looked weird, so yesterday I had the idea to cut them into cloud shapes and use them that way.

I put a few little squares of Wonder Under underneath some of the edges, pinned them down…

Then stitched near the edges, not zigzagging, like I normally do, and quilted them down. Hopefully I’ll get this quilted and bound before the weekend. That’s my plan anyway. Along with everything else.

Last night, we had dinner at my parents and I was working on this Sue Spargo block…

I did one how row in the wrong thread. I’m not pulling it out. I will probably be the only person who notices.

The cats were glad to have me back, apparently…Kitten giving me the eyeball….

I’ve had both Luna and Nova on my chest, poking holes in my flesh…

And some play time as well.

Ugh. I am still tired. More caffeine. Check the to-do list. There’s some art stuff to do first, then some art stuff for school. I might get a walk in later, and then quilting tonight. At least this week is a short one…and school is getting closer to done. I’m more than a little panicked about getting all the grading done in time, but that is what it is. I also need to get my Patreon rewards finished…they are in progress, but all this travel plus deadline on the big quilt is screwing up my schedule. Ah well. Eventually everything will get done, one way or another.

Too Many Hours

Couple things about driving a million miles (not really) north to see the man:

1. Dear California: get the fuck over. If you’re not passing someone, get over. Seriously.

2. Google Maps needs a setting for mapping routes that takes into account the fact that I am a woman driving by myself in the middle of the night and I don’t want to be on an isolated two-lane road in the middle of nowhere unless there’s a damn good reason for it. Saving 5 minutes of drive time is not a good enough reason.

I’m in Tehachapi, California, hanging out with the hiking man for a few days. Yesterday’s drive was exhausting but totally worth it. I delivered new shoes and inserts (700 miles on the current pair), a smaller pair of pants, and a smaller hip belt for the backpack. Plus we get to hang out for a couple of days.

I did finish the outline quilting Wednesday night, so hopefully this quilt will get done in time for its deadline.

I have to figure out how to use at least one of those dyed blocks I did a few weeks back. They are part of the story. Maybe Monday? Hopefully.

I also stitched most of one of my Patreon rewards…

Hair is not a natural color. She looks angry. Not sure what’s up with that. Probably all the cat hair on the fabric. I’d be pissed. (No worries. I dehair and wash everything before it leaves the house.

Luna is talking to the birds.

Ok, well I’m hoping to do some drawing this weekend. Maybe draw the next quilt or two. Spend time making art this summer. Make up for the last year of too many hours spent on my day job. That would be good.

Sleepy Slow Fire

I wish I felt like I was prepared to teach today. I actually have no clue what I’m teaching…usually I spend some time on Sunday getting my teacher brain straight, but I lost electricity for 12 hours on Saturday and somehow that befuddled my Saturday brain into Sunday, and Sunday brain is still asleep, so Monday brain, which is mostly useless and panics frustratingly, is in charge, and that’s just a mistake for everyone involved. I miss walking into the prep room and having my co-teacher say, “So…” and we would recap what we had planned for the day and Monday brain would have a chance of getting through. Pandemic teacher brain writes down a plan for each day by class, because gone are the days when you only taught one thing…at least art is on the same page, but I have no actual clue what we’re doing next week and I’m out of town this weekend. That could be problematic. Ah well. Wing it. Again. I have an extra day this weekend, well, technically two because I’m taking Friday off to drive north to the man, even though he will be stuck waiting for me. I can’t plan well enough with fire closures and parts he was gonna walk and then he didn’t and having to book in advance and get a sub in advance and all that crap, so it is what it is. Hopefully it will work better in the summer. This week, it will suck for him and I apologize, but I’m also bringing new shoes and pants that will fit, so there’s that.

I am exhausted this morning. The mockingbird is back and although it was in the periphery of my hearing, it was there. Plus cats wanting to clean all their parts in the middle of the night. On me. Unfortunate.

The pro? I only have to teach 4 days this week and 4 days next week. The con? I need to have everything prepped for a guest teacher who doesn’t currently exist. Minor issue. I’m sure someone besides me will figure that out. Meanwhile, I’m teaching ecosystem services and national parks and illuminated letters and paper engineering. And grading like crazy (still haven’t caught up from last week). And my district wants me to get my head around reflecting on what I’ve learned in the last year, and I don’t do that until I’ve been in a library-book pillow fort for at least two weeks after school ends. So good luck getting anything coherent out of me this week besides fuck you. I mean, that IS coherent, yeah?

OK, so some person fell asleep in their SUV and ran into a power pole with a transformer and knocked it over on Saturday morning (they’re OK), and that meant my power was out all day. I did have non-power-related things to do, like move rocks…

There’s still work to do, but I’m glad to have gotten most of the big stuff in. Some planting needs to happen too, but not during the summer, I think. We’ll see.

Then I went to the quilt store for binding fabric…they still require appointments (although they were fairly empty) and they aren’t open past 3 PM on a weekday, so Saturday is the only time I can go. So I have the binding fabric for my quilt. Then I came back and did some stuff around the house and went on my hike earlier than I would have. They actually closed my road, so the cone guy had to keep letting me out and in (sorry!). At some point, the electricity was planned to be back on at 1:30 PM, but by then, they had revised it to 5:30. Ugh. So I hiked…

It wasn’t actually super warm out there…low 70s and breezy…so perfect.

I found a path across the river that I didn’t know about before…

It’s kind of half-assed and definitely not official, so I’m sure it washes out every winter when there’s actual water, but it was a new path, so I took it.

My plan was to do 5-6 miles, but the new path shortened that to 4 1/2. Not bad for a Saturday though. I’m averaging about 11-13 miles a week at the moment. Not as much as the man does in a day, but I’m not trying to get to Canada and I do work full time, so I’ll take it as a win.

When I got home, I cleaned the entryway floor to get it ready for pinbasting. Oh wait. Why was I ready to pinbaste? Because I finished the stitchdown on Friday night…

So sandwiching was next…and I thought it through, but not all the way, because I was going to have to piece a backing, and there was no electricity, so I was about 5 minutes away from calling my parents to borrow their electricity and iron, and it came back on…which was good. It was 5:48 PM and they had been estimating 8 PM at that point. My camping lanterns were in the garage, accessed by electricity, so it was gonna get dark. It turned out OK in the end…I pieced a backing, laid it all out, shooed all the cats away…

And pinbasted her.

I also trimmed the small Patreon reward pieces…

And ironed them together…

Super small…

And then ironed them to fabric…

Which didn’t take long…

I’m a little behind on these…

But they go quickly…

So hopefully I’ll get them done this week, on top of everything else. I even started the embroidery version of one of them last night…

While standing. Like you do.

And then started quilting…with furry assistants.

That one on the chair is not helpful at all.

The details on this thing are tiny and complicated.

And time-consuming.

There was some cat entertainment in the breaks…

They appear to enjoy it.

So there’s that.

OK. Worky worky work. All day on fire. Sleepy slow fire, but fire nonetheless. Then a walk hopefully and dinnermaking. Plus more quilting. I have shit I need to get done. I can still hear the mockingbird. When the fuck does that bastard sleep? Sigh. Happy Monday y’all. It’ll be over soon enough.

Three Birds and an Eyeball…

Hello Wednesday. Pro? You have exercise options at the end of the day and it’s not my turn to cook dinner. Also, you are the third day of science, so mostly I explain the task and then help kids…I don’t have to do the hard stuff today. I say that, but because it’s the day we do the academic part of the assignment, it’s likely that there will be some panicking about not being able to find “the answer”. Because there isn’t one answer. I tried to set up the expectations yesterday, but I will probably have to repeat it about 3200 times. Sometimes that’s OK; sometimes I just find it onerous. Again, I think this is much easier to do in person than it is online. So many things are easier in person than online. Paying bills? Definitely easier online. Absolutely no reason to do it in person. There’s one that’s not easier in person.

So I’m close to being done with the ironing. I think there’s a damn good chance I’ll finish ironing pieces together tonight, and I might even get it all ironed down to the background. I’m sure somewhere in my amazing notebook of everything I’m doing that there is a small mockup of whether or not I have to piece the backing (I’m fairly sure I do), which will minorly slow the process down, but we’ll see.

On Monday night, I got the heart and lungs done and one whole arm.

It doesn’t look like much. I think I only had an hour before bedtime, and I went late, because I wanted to finish the fingers. Fingers are way more complicated than you would think…because I put in all the finger wrinkles.

Then last night, I did the other arm and the start of the head…

I only have about 50 pieces left, but they are tiny and fussy and will take a while.

Three birds and an eyeball, basically. So that’s tonight. And then hopefully get it on a background. So far, I’ve put about 11 hours into the ironing. Mostly I get about an hour to 90 minutes on a work night, especially this year, with trying to go to bed earlier. That second hour I used to iron is being used to meditate and sleep, on the off chance that it will help me balance my brain a bit. Not sure it is helping? But I’m trying. Last night’s meditation…I don’t even think I heard any of it. It’s trying to help me with stress and my brain was all tied up in sad. I’m sure there’s stress in there too, but sad was overwhelming.

Ah well. Moving on. The man is back on the trail today, back to a few terse texts a day, sometimes overtaking each other in satellite space, with lots missed and/or misunderstood. It’s been nice being able to converse more than usual because he had cell service, but I will see him in 9 days. It will be a long drive, but not as long as they will be, and I have a little more warning to plan lessons for next week for the day I will miss from school. Since COVID started, this will only be the second work day I have missed. I probably should have taken more mental health days, but there was nowhere to go to escape the work stuff. So I didn’t.

I’ve hiked over 12 miles in the last 4 days…not much for a PCTer, but for someone who is working full time, not bad.

We went up some hills.

This is how we tire out the little dog. The big dog gets much shorter walks than these.

There was a big up that we didn’t do…mostly because I said no.

I still had to cook dinner.

Long day…

But good hike.

Last night was the regular neighborhood hike…

Walked while the girlchild sent trivia questions via text for her weekly trivia night. We are part of the trivia team.

Luna came out to birdwatch while I was teaching yesterday. This is in fact her normal facial expression…sort of paranoid surprised?

Like, “what the fuck is happening next?!” She’s a strange one.

Nova is more chill…

Yes, all my clothes have cat hair on them. It’s inevitable.

On Monday, we finally got the bigger river rock delivered. I love the big rocks. I loved watching the dumptruck drop them on the ground.

I’m not so much loving lugging them over to the actual streambed, but that’s OK. We’ll do a bit at a time.

Still working on this for my art students. I use it for the demo, so little bits of it get done…

Honestly, I probably won’t finish it. Although I think I need it more finished than this for the next step. I do have a video from the art teacher. I could just use that? We’ll see.

OK, well it’s all science today and grading stuff, hopefully a healthy chunk of it so I don’t have to think about it all week like last week. We were smart and did group assignments last week, so only 7 sets of slides per class instead of 4 times that (although so many kids aren’t turning in work at the moment, so there’s that). I think even parents are checked out, because progress reports didn’t get hardly any emails or flurries of work being turned in. Ah well. It’s been a year. I can’t blame them. Although next year will be a shock for their kids I think, since most will be in person. For me too, I think. Anyway, after school is Pilates (my back will appreciate that) and then ironing after dinner. Hopefully finishing. Then start the stitch down tomorrow…my goal is to get this thing pinbasted over the weekend and start quilting it. I will need a binding fabric. I should think about that, since the local quilt store is still appointment only. I think. Ugh. Such a pain. I never have a big enough chunk for the binding. OK, well it’s in my head now and I will think about it today and decide what to do about it. Until then, thinking about biodiversity hotspots…science lesson.

That Feeling…

Sigh. Mornings. Monday mornings. Monday mornings with 5 weeks of school left. Yeah. You know what I’m talking about. That feeling. Mondays are hard days…school is rapid fire, shorter classes, all of them, boom boom boom no break, plus seesawing from art to science and back to art. My head spins at the end of it. And I never feel ready…even when I plan it all out. I managed to post all of the science stuff on Friday, because the district finally found me another computer I can use while teaching…well, minus some videos I had to do yesterday, explaining all the stuff I’d posted for the kids who (a) don’t come to class and probably won’t watch them anyway and (b) come to class but have shitty internet and/or weren’t listening because it’s Monday and school is hard and why do you want us to get out of bed anyway. Yeah. I’m with you at the moment. Seriously. Although I was awake this morning, because, again, sleeping is not my super power.

I had decided that Saturday was going to be a school-free zone…it’s not something I can pull off regularly, but I thought with the posts done, I could do it. I’m still behind on grading (when am I not?), but it’s not worth the pain and suffering to do it on a Saturday. So I got up and went and ordered the damn river rock for my streambed (I was paranoid about going there; not sure why). Then I came back and cleaned floors and the bathroom (it’s been on the list for a disturbingly long time now). I have one floor left to clean, but I will need to pinbaste a quilt on it, so I’ll clean it right before I do that…hopefully this week? Nah, probably next week. And then I settled down to iron for a good chunk of the day. Actually, first, I ironed on Monday night…I worked until dinner arrived and then ironed after that.

I had to iron all the fussy stuff off to the side and then put it on top of the background fabrics.

Way too fussy to do any other way…with dog underfoot…

She’s old. I just step over her a million times. So then I pulled that off the teflon sheet and put it on top of the dirt…

When everything fits, it’s nice. And then added the water…not clean water, unfortunately.

This quilt is about the damage we do to the Earth with making textiles…the thing I love. It’s a hard thing to think about. Yes, I could use all recycled fabrics, and I do use a lot of fabric that has been donated to me by people who don’t want/need it any more. But it’s hard to kick the fabric habit when it’s (a) your medium of choice and (b) your palette. Yes, I could dye my own, but that doesn’t really solve the problem. It’s agriculture, it’s water, it’s toxins. Sigh. The industries need to change.

On Saturday, I started up again with the right side of the Earth…

And then I went for a hike. But I came back and ironed some more after dinner…more weaving going on to the right…

And then making it fit…

Earth finished. Last night, Sunday, I worked on the figure…

I didn’t get as far as I would have liked, but it was a rough day…lots of work happened. School work. Not the fun artwork. I stopped here because it was getting late and I would have had to sort all the 600s to iron the lungs and heart down.

So that will be tonight. Almost 300 pieces left, so I’m 2/3s of the way through.

I’m hoping to finish ironing this week, then do stitch down by the weekend? Can I do that? Maybe? And then get it pinbasted and start quilting. I’d really like it quilted by the 3-day weekend, so I can do the binding while hanging out with the Man in two weeks, but I don’t think that will happen. Ah well. I will continue, no matter what.

Also, I’ve been working on my annual Patreon rewards. I traced the four small quilt options onto Wonder Under…

And then yesterday, I cut them out…

I’m trying to do a step a day…so today, I’ll iron them to fabrics. Slow and steady. I also marked the first one that will be embroidered…

I was going to start embroidering last night, but my brain shut down at some point. I was also going to draw the next quilt, even though it doesn’t fit any of the stupid themes I’m supposed to be doing for upcoming shows. Oh well. I’ll make it fit.

Saturday’s hike was interesting…I decided about midway to go further than I usually do. Why? Because I can and because I’d like to hike with my hiking group this summer, and their hikes are usually longer.

I started out fine, but got weirded out in an isolated area with just one guy ahead of me who decidedly didn’t look like he was hiking…

The wonder of being a woman hiking alone.

I played it safe and turned around, and then went up another trail.

More reason to hike with my group, I guess.

The timing doesn’t work right now…not until school gets out.

Honestly, I like hiking alone. I get some peace in my head. I don’t want it to be a social event. I’m an introvert. I need some time without interactions with humans. Maybe not as much time as I have right now, but time with people who don’t require anything from me socially is hard to find.

Hi, Simba.

Tummy rubs are nice.

Entertaining the cats is also nice.

OK, I have to start working. Again. After 4+ hours yesterday and who knows how many last week. Never-ending. Hours. Ugh.

In the Void…

I think my brain is completely done with this school year. The adulting part of it is dragging the rest along, bribing it with walks and time with a book to get the shit done that has to be done. I’m so antsy in my work chair, I just want to get up and run out the front door, leaving all the kids on Zoom, or make a pillow fort under the desk and crawl into it with a book…not sure some days that they’d even notice I’d left. It’s all frustrating and hard and some of that is my brain not working right at the moment, but some of it is just because I am so done. I’m tired of excuses, of trying to get what I need out of the district, of parents who complain and kids who lie. I tell myself to look for the amazing kids, remember the thankful parents, remember when the district was helpful (OK, that one is a lot harder to do, but they gave us some extra money this year, so I’m trying to be thankful). Then I go read my book again or iron some fabric or cut something out and try not to let my day job be so present in my head. Hard to do. Really hard right now. I’m frustrated by everything, and I realize it’s feeling overwhelmed and tired and not having the normal connections with the Man…we get some texting in each day, but it’s not the same as sitting on the couch together or eating dinner together and talking. The texts are delayed sometimes, so you’re not sure whether they saw the other text? Sometimes I’ll ask questions that don’t get answered, so I figure he didn’t see it, or he’s often really tired at the end of the day. Yesterday was a long, difficult day, and he ended up sleeping on a picnic table. So I got one “I’m camping” text and then a few complaints about where he was camping (because humans suck and leave their trash everywhere because we are assholes), and then he was going to bed. I don’t blame him…it just sucks to be in the void on the other end.

This is what I see at the end of every day…

where he’s been, where he’s at. He’s been moving further each day lately, doing 18-mile days instead of 10-mile days. It’s a good thing. I have a date I’m hoping he’ll be home, and he will have to mile up (not speed up…he can’t hike faster…he just needs to hike longer each day) to get back. Plus the snow will eventually happen in Washington, whether he’s done or not.

Anyway, I’m hoping to see him on Memorial Day weekend, probably north of Lancaster…then not until after school, and the drives get much longer…not something I could do on a weekend. Sigh. At some point, I won’t be able to do it at all without flying and renting a car, which probably won’t work with going back to school in August. Although, at the moment, I give very few fucks about my job (not true; I still work my ass off. It’s just easier to say fuck it and take a day off…or it would be, if I didn’t have to do 5 hours of prep to make it work)…so maybe in September, I’ll just take a bunch of days off to get up north. Who knows. Right now, it just sounds complicated and difficult. By then, it might feel necessary.

Anyway, I try to ignore my moody bitch side as much as possible (it’s hard; she’s loud), and make sure I do some art every night and some exercise as often as possible. So I’ve been cutting things out…FOREVER, it seems like. Not really. This was Monday night…

The pile on the bottom right still needed cutting out…it’s a lot still. But last night, I seem to have found the bottom of the box.

Bottom left…look! I mean, that’s still at least an hour or two of cutting, but I can see the bottom. Woo hoo! Then sort it and hopefully ironing together by the weekend. My brain will be happier if I can spend a good chunk of time on Saturday just ironing things together. Good meditative state. Hoping for that.

Here’s the current art project my kids are doing…well my rough mockup of an illuminated letter.

They’re being slow as hell and not listening to directions and questioning shit and it’s just been fun. FUN, I tell you. Not really. I mean, I would have loved this project in school, but it’s harder to do online. I can’t really help like I would in the physical classroom. Which reminds me, looks like I won’t have to teach distance at all next year, only in person. Fucking miracle. Although I might have to teach an elective. Art? IDK. There is already an art teacher, but now the principal knows I can teach this, so who knows what he’ll make me do.

Gotta be better than this year. I don’t think the absolute isolation of this year is something I ever want to repeat. It was all about keeping me healthy and alive, and I’m still really paranoid about the unmasked and unvaccinated and the virus in general…not sure how to rid myself of that anxiety. I know my coworkers are dealing with massive behavior issues in physical school. Me? I just get checked-out kids. Nothing new here.

One of the school computers I use died. It isn’t because of Luna…who likes to hide behind the one that works.

They all hide around the computers…

Hello Kitten.

Nova has been coming nightly for pets…

Both of them like to be right in your face, sharp little claws in the boobs or belly. I have a ton of scratch marks on my body right now.

Luna likes the top two shelves in the closet too.

Sunday or Monday, she knocked the roll of quilts that’s on the top shelf down onto the floor. Rode it all the way down. Silly cat.

Yesterday’s walk was better than last week’s…not sure if I was dehydrated or just exhausted.

Tiny little flowers…

Sometimes I run into the ex and the boychild walking one or two of the dogs. Calli is really slowing down and not moving well, so sometimes we just walk the little one.

That one’s not native…it’s my neighbor’s. I saw it at the plant store and almost bought one, because they are so amazingly wonderful…

We’ll see. They are fascinating though.

I’ll finish up with the boychild’s amazing bread from Monday night…

He’s a really good cook. Useful skill. We’ll make him cook for the grandparents next. I find it amusing that I raised two kids who taught themselves cooking skills. I’m a Food Is Fuel cook. Just get it done. Sure, that’s because I was working full time and making art and raising kids and just trying to get them fed. I appreciate their cooking skills though.

OK, work work worky work, with a union meeting after worky work. After that, I cook (not so fancy, but utilitarian), and then finish cutting those pieces out, hopefully. I have a ton of things to grade and prep for school, but I can’t do those until some of the grading is done, so that’s my goal for today. I had one academic assignment yesterday that was just hurting my brain, so I made it about 2/3s of the way through and quit. I need to unquit today and finish it off. I also need more tea. Like now.

I’m Back in the Saddle Again…

Aerosmith song running through my head this morning. Actually, yesterday, from about 1 pm on, this song was in my head, as I was trying to finish all the things (I didn’t finish, in case you were wondering. I can just about teach what I need to today, although I need to make one assignment and one video, maybe two, before school starts. At 9 AM.). I did manage to do almost no school on Saturday…Friday was a bit hit or miss. I had plans to get some posts done before school and then leave by 9 AM, but there was a Zoomergency (an emergency involving Zoom, not a zoo) and I spent that time trying to get my guest teacher access to my online classes. So has the right eye stopped twitching? It has not. It probably will not until June 18. I’m trying.

I drove over 3 hours, through traffic, construction, up a mountain road, and then up a dirt road…

2.3 miles, where the PCT crosses, I found the man. He was kinda dirty and a little smelly (actually not too bad, considering), and has lost a lot of weight.

We ate some food and checked into our AirBnb, which overlooked an airstrip (it was kinda cool watching the little planes land and take off). The place we ate had Marilyn Monroe in the bathroom…

Like you do.

He showered and started laundry and we just sort of hung out together, because it’s hard to have full conversations via text and even worse via Garmin, because there’s a time lag, and you’re never really sure what conversation you’re on when you get an answer sometimes. So we needed to catch up and clarify.

Our AirBnb had a nosy neighbor…

Yup. That’s a goat.

The man did some planning and spacing out and talking and I did some cutting out of the new art quilt…

Dinner on the first night included these…

OK, we didn’t actually eat those. But laughed at them. Saturday, we drove to all the places to try to find him food (four places for that) and pants that were smaller that might stay up (no success there). We didn’t go to the lake or do any touristy things. We pretty much hung out. Like back in the day when you first started dating. Just hang out on the couch and talk and watch videos.

And for me, cut more stuff out. The flesh is all done. I’m down in the Earth stuff, which is a lot of little pieces and will take a while.

We went to dinner early, so we could hang out (some more) in the jacuzzi, which had a tad too much chlorine in it…

OK, a shit-ton too much chlorine. But it was warm and nice.

And then the next morning, we got up really early and had breakfast and saw three bald eagles fly over us as we walked back to the house, and then drove up this damn dirt road again and saw three deer. He hasn’t seen larger wildlife…just heard it. Ironic that we saw those in the car. I’m sure he’ll see them in the future.

It’s pretty up here…

Some part of me would love to just drop my job and get the hell out of this house and follow, but I can’t. I’m glad he’s doing it, because although he has bad days, low moments, shitty stuff that happens, in general, he’s finding peace in his head and trying to figure out his future. All good things. All big things.

He was smiling just before this. I swear. I think he was feeling the weight of 5 dinners and 4 liters of water in his pack and thinking about that.

And then he took off up the path. Both of us were sad about that part, but that is a good chunk of this trip, missing each other. Not much we can do about that part but keep trying to meet up (not an easy task as he gets further away, for sure). We have tentative plans for 3 weeks from now, and then it will be after school gets out. I’ll have some more leeway then, but the drives get significantly longer.

See, that’s the PCT face…he’s looking good, looking happy, enjoying (for the most part) the trail…and the trip. After I dropped him off, he did 14.8 miles and ended up here.

It’s a good thing…a hard thing for both of us, but good.

Meanwhile, I have to catch up on work this week (ugh) and keep cutting out pieces (not so ugh). I’m still tired…went to bed early last night and still don’t feel rested. Not great.

The animals were glad to see me back, though, so that’s a thing. I laid on the floor with the cats and watched birds for a bit with them.

Yeah. I know. Weird. I like seeing things from their viewpoint sometimes though.

OK, buried in work today. My guest teacher did fine, except he marked everyone absent who was actuallyin class, so I’m trying to go through that mess. Hopefully making it to the art stuff tonight though. We’ll see. And missing the man. Sigh. There’s a lot of that going on.