Self-Care…

I had a wondrous massage this morning. I feel like the next time my school district says anything about self-care, I’m sending them a bill for massage. I mean, y’all need to put your money where your mouth is. You want me to be more chill and relaxed about the crazy shit y’all throwing at me? Give me a massage every week. We might be able to talk after that. Also, less crazy shit. That would be good. Yes, the school nightmares have begun. I am trying to hold them off until next week, but I need to do a related Zoom today or tomorrow, and there are tons of questions already, so that doesn’t help. I did order all my folders for the year (or at least the first half of the year), so that’s done…plus pens. What teacher doesn’t like pens? Especially fun-colored pens. Yo, district! Buy us nice pens. And make them fun, not just the damn district logo. And those massages. I’m not kidding about those.

Yeah. It’s too bad the people in charge don’t listen to us flunkies.

In preparation for school fucking up my art life again, I’m trying to get this quilt into a good place. Whatever that means. I’ve been tracing every night. It’s harder during daytime…hot…and I am more tired during the day strangely.

They’re LED lights in the light table, luckily, so they don’t put out any extra heat, hallelujah. I bought LEDs for my office/studio, but still need to install them. I hate installing things. Kitten is not really helping here…with tracing or installing.

I’m almost to the 700s, so about 350 pieces to go. Not bad. I’m hoping to be done tracing by the weekend. I’m up into the mountains right now…the trees were really complicated and difficult to trace. I’ve found about 6 pieces I didn’t number so far. I just add ‘a’ to the number if I need to number new ones.

This part is pretty boring to watch or read about, but it’s really nice and meditative for me. I put some show on that I don’t really need to watch and just stand and trace for a couple of hours.

Kitten, as you can see, is helpful wherever I am.

Maybe I should dust my keyboard. She puts her head on the right side, so it’s not dusty there.

I’ve been doing a bunch of computer work lately…for two art groups that have regular posts, one daily on Instagram, which I was able to schedule out until mid-August, and one weekly on Facebook, which is dependent on people sending me info. I check it once a week, and usually it’s an easy setup using Business Suite, but these two were complicated. Ah humans. You complicate things. Plus I’m making a video and a slide presentation for my Quilt National talk this Friday. Taking more time than it should…as always.

I am trying to get back on a regular exercise schedule. The last few weeks have been wonky with travel and visiting folks, but yesterday, I did my normal 3.6-mile neighborhood walk.

There’s always something new to look at…

Mountains in the distance. Yeah, it’s warm here, but not as warm as it will be in a month. Get the hikes in before it’s awful. Gym, pilates, hike, repeat.

The man finally has gotten in to physical therapy and it sounds positive. He’s hoping to get back on the trail in the near future, so life will all be up in the air again, as usual, honestly. School starts in a couple weeks, man will be on trail, blah blah blah. You can see how my art is the constant calm through all of this. It’s night time? What stage of the process are you on? Go do some of it. Spend an hour tracing or cutting or ironing or quilting. It’s a good thing. It gives me a good end to any kind of day (unless the machine is being a big weenie). No I don’t have my machine back…I’m borrowing my mom’s to fix the girlchild’s clothes…I don’t think I can quilt with it. Let’s hope I have mine back before that’s an issue.

OK. Today is more than half over…I’m going to work some more on the stuff for Quilt National, then trace, then pilates, then trace some more. Looking forward to it.

Zen and Chill…

So I’m late writing again. Mondays are just not a thing I do well. I get all tied up in stuff that needs doing and all of a sudden it’s 5 PM and I forgot to eat lunch. OK, I remembered lunch today. I think I’m cooking dinner too, so that ought to be interesting. The plus is that I have new glasses. I mailed a Patreon reward out. I walked to Home Depot and blindly (no glasses) picked out a towel rack. My right eyelid is twitching…this is not a thing it normally does in August. This is an end-of-school-year thing. Sigh.

We got the first official school email. We have to do block schedule (ugh. sigh. I like it for art, but sometimes for science, it limits the number of things I can cover in a week). We won’t know exactly what schedule until about a week before school starts. Fun stuff. No master schedule yet…we think we know what we’re teaching, mostly. It could change. I’m trying to be all zen and chill about it. The eye twitch is probably an indicator that some part of me is not so zen and chill. That part needs to pivot.

Anyway, to remedy all that, I’m working on art stuff. As always. I thought I had finished drawing the current piece, but in the end, added COVID into the sky. It’s not gone.

Putting it in her gut makes sense to me. And then I started tracing…

It’s pretty slow going. There are lots of weirdly overlapping pieces, because the two female figures are blending in. So I have to think before I trace about what goes over or under what’s next to it.

Still, it’s meditative. I’m almost 8 hours in, but I’m only in the 400s.

Big complicated pieces take longer to trace. I’ll hit halfway tonight, I think.

Cats are no help. And the man sits on the couch behind the light table and I keep whacking him in the head with the drawing.

Not on purpose. We did a short walk on Friday. His knee was not happy.

Sigh. Frustrating for him, I know. He has one physical therapy session this week. Maybe they can help.

So many cats getting in the way.

Luna was going to grab Kitten’s tail, but I think she rethought that action.

Here’s Kitten lying in the lid of my embroidery box. So helpful.

Well, normally I use this as a place to figure out what I’m doing today, but today is almost over and I’m still slogging through the to-do list. I was supposed to finish a video for my Patreon yesterday and the website was down, so that still needs to happen. I would like to trace for another couple of hours or so. I did go to the gym today, so that was good. I think a fresh cup of tea and maybe a small snack is what I need, and then check the to-do list and cross some shit off of it (always a fun thing to do), and then get that damn video done. Then I can do art things. I can’t think about school right now (someone should tell my brain that part). We won’t know what block schedule we’ll have until August 6. We go back the 12th. Kids the 17th. I’d like to thank the universe for making us PIVOT again. At the last minute. Still gonna be doing that all year, I see. More art to be made in response.

Looks Like a Pillow Fort

The first thing I did this morning was talk to a very nice customer-service rep who was in South Carolina, at which point I realized that there is still a hurricane or stormlike thing (seriously, I don’t watch the news much so I had forgotten and she was asking if it was raining here and I was like heck no, it doesn’t rain in July here like ever almost never and then she told me where she was and I’m sitting there trying to remember about a hurricane or tropical storm and I felt really out of it. Good news…the customer service rep is FINE) or maybe it’s not a hurricane any more, but yeah, so removed from all of that, but really appreciate nice and helpful reps. It’s a shit job and I’m glad we were able to make each other smile today. Even though her company totally fucked up my order. Because she fixed it. And some poor woman somewhere is looking at my offbeat purple bras in her package and wondering why her perfectly normal old-lady white Playtex bras did not arrive. Me too, lady, me too; hopefully you got a nice customer-service person too.

I started not writing this yesterday, like normal. But then I did things yesterday and then the day was over and I hadn’t written. It happens. It will probably happen again some time. It is not the end of the world. I still made art, even SAW art yesterday (WTH?!) and I will write today instead.

Quilt progress! It’s happening. Tuesday I kept ironing…

And more on Tuesday night…

Finished the bottom, more complicated square…and started the top, the sky…

Last night, I ironed the rest of the sky together…

And ironed the whole thing down.

It’s not large. It’s just complicated. Hopefully I’ll start stitchdown today or tomorrow, although there’s lots of stuff on my calendar at the moment. People apparently want to see me. Not sure why.

On Tuesday, I went back to Torrey Pines and hiked with the niece…

I might have damaged her. It wasn’t a super short hike…

I didn’t make her limp, so that’s good. Or she’s faking it.

And then yesterday, we went to the California Center for the Arts in Escondido to see the Allied Craftsmen show there, Crafting Memory.

There’s my piece, Sediment, which was in Visions some years back. This is one of those venues that needs to be ‘family friendly’ but can’t really define what that means. Another art group I’m in is having a show there with a different theme, but I don’t have much that doesn’t have nudity in it, so I’m considering what to do…don’t enter? Enter what I have, which is mostly nudity and let them decide? Or make a new piece? Ugh. It’s a nice space…go see the shows that are there. Definitely worth it. There’s a teacher discount and a senior discount and a student discount. Probably military too.

We’ve been dining at the parents’ house while the niece is here…I walked two dogs with dad last night for the first time in a long time.

I’m tired. Always tired. My hip hurts and it’s hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. This sweet baby wanted to knead my arm with her claws last night…

Really not conducive to sleeping. I think I need some sort of cocoon for sleeping that keeps pokey cats out and cushions all the painful old parts of the body and blocks the sounds of dogs panting and mockingbirds chirping and neighbors dragging trashcans around and isn’t really hot or cold…I’m building this thing in my head and it’s got noise-canceling powers and looks like a pillow fort. Seriously.

OK. Not sure all that’s happening today. It’s the man’s birthday, so dinner out at least, and the niece leaves, so IDK whether we will see her today, and maybe I should shower and have more tea and that would help with the sleepy part. And maybe the brain-working part. Hard to say.

Cutting Things Out…

I have been asked a few times why I don’t use a cutting machine for my quilts, so I don’t have to cut out all the pieces of Wonder Under or fabric. I recently read Kestral Michaud’s description in SAQA’s magazine of how she uses a Cricut machine to create her quilts. It’s funny, because people always tell me what I do is crazy and I think what she does is crazy (well, it’s all relative, isn’t it?). She claims her process is faster…and maybe it is, but it doesn’t SOUND like it to me. That said, I haven’t compared the two physically and she has. I think my method is easier for choosing a wider array of fabrics, since I’m not having to decide and move pieces around on a computer screen, grouping them together. Otherwise, what she does is fairly similar to what I do…just more tech-infused. Kudos to her for figuring that out…I’m not headed that way soon. I don’t spend a million hours cutting out pieces…the current quilt took about 8 hours to cut out 620 or so pieces of fabric, and other 5 hours to cut out the Wonder Under. Looking at her most current piece, it’s using about 20 different fabrics; my most current quilt used almost 100 different fabrics. My hands are sore after a bout of cutting, but not any more sore than say my abs are after a Pilates workout? I don’t usually cut them all out in one day either…realistically, I have a pretty demanding day job most of the time, so I have limited artmaking time, which means my hands get to rest in between cutting sessions.

Speaking of the most recent quilt, I did finish cutting all the pieces out Wednesday night…

Like I said, about 8 hours to cut them out…they are small and fussy in this quilt.

Then I sorted them last night…

Now I’m ready to start ironing everything together. That part will take a while…lots of little fussy pieces. I do enjoy the process though…this is the first time I will see everything come together, because I don’t color the drawing beforehand…the coloring is all in my head. So expect some pictures after this weekend of that part of the process.

I’m still trying to finish quilting this piece…

I scheduled time yesterday during a stitching Zoom, and then got the call to help move fridges at my parents’ house…so I did that instead. I did a tiny bit before I left, and that’s where I realized that I’d accidentally let the backing fabric fold under on the back…

Whoops. I thought about cutting out all the quilting, but no. It’s not worth it. Some of it will get trimmed off before I bind, and I’ll just put a label on the back that either covers it or explains it…or both.

I also did this…

That left a loop on the front…yes, I could wriggle the safety pin out, but ended up having to rip out the bit that wasn’t working. I’m not a perfectionist quilter, if that isn’t apparent so far. I do spend lots of time making my quilts, but there are lines I am not willing to cross…a level of crazy I don’t need to attain. I respect those who do…I’m just not one of you. And no, I have no idea how I sewed over this without noticing.

So most of it is quilted…I just have a bit, less than a quarter of the top right, that needs doing, and some little filler spaces. Maybe today?

The pup is doing better…he’s eating chicken and rice with broth (fancy stuff) and drank a little water yesterday unprompted, so we think he’s on the mend. Still worrisome, but hopefully will continue to improve. We may never get him to eat regular kibble again, but we’ll see.

In other art news, I have a piece in a show that opens tomorrow in Escondido at the California Center for the Arts…you can see the quilt hanging on the wall in the back.

The piece is Sediment and was in Visions years ago. It was one of the few ‘family friendly’ pieces I have, which was a venue requirement. This is an Allied Craftsman show and the ceramic pieces in the front are all by Linda Litteral. The opening is supposed to be August 26 in the evening; I’ll update you on that when it becomes official. It will be open all summer through August 29.

The man is home, off the trail for now. He’s going to get some medical help and then decide what’s next. He could hop back on and do another portion of the trail once he’s healed.

I drew this last night while hanging out with him, trying to remember bits and pieces of songs that were in his head while he hiked.

I also hiked yesterday, almost 6 miles in Torrey Pines State Reserve…

It was only cloudy and cool for a short part of the hike, unfortunately. The marine layer did not stick around long.

There was a cool breeze for a good chunk of it though.

We did walk along the beach down there as well.

And then came up the steps…

I hiked with actual people! One of the hiking groups I used to hike with all the time did this on Meetup, so it was easy…I didn’t have to plan it myself.

It was a nice small group. So I got my exercise in. I’m currently fighting a nasty bout of heat rash in the armpits though from all the hiking. I get this sort of thing about once or twice a year, usually in summer. I’m usually better about getting it to go away. I get all crazy about dry pits and avoiding my deoderant, which I’m a little allergic to, even though it’s hypoallergenic. At this point, I’m debating whether it’s gone fungal instead of just heat rash. Cortisone doesn’t seem to be working, and it was bad enough last night that I took Benadryl to sleep. It hurts, tingles painfully, no itching. You know how you debate contacting your doctor’s office? I’m at that point. Maybe. Fun stuff. So I’m tired from not enough sleep on top of everything else.

These three (there are three cats…can you see them all?) are adjusting to the bed being more full…

But they’re glad to have the man home.

Ah, plant identification. This is a parasitic plant of some sort. I don’t think I ever saw it when it was alive, but it was all draped around a twisty pine tree…

Not sure what it is…it’s out now. The berries have good staining power too. ID if you can?

OK, so a shower and more caffeine are on the list, and then hopefully I can finish quilting that piece and figure out what binding to use and whether I’ll need to shop for that. Then ironing the other piece together. Maybe a nap. I’m tired. More yardwork? Yeah. Probably that.

Up and Down and All Around

I’ve been up since too early (based on when I actually fell asleep) with a number of people texting me with worrisome (and not-so-worrisome) stuff, so I’m still yawning. Haven’t finished the first cup of tea yet…it’s just taking me forever to knock some things out and get them done, including drinking that first cup. Things are up and down and all around. We have a sick pup who might be turning it around, hopefully. He finally ate something this morning. Not sure if that means we’re done. But I’m hoping. We did walk him on Monday…

It was a tad warm and up, but we watered and shaded and rested him often, and he was off his food before that…he even got a lift over the stream…

He’s not a water dog. Anyway, we’ve been to the vet and have anti-nausea meds and he’s had some subcutaneous fluids…so it’s really about us finding the foods he wants to eat right now, I’m hoping, and not something more serious (aka expensive). I love how the animals always need major stuff during the part of the year when I don’t get paid. Seriously, though, we love this dog and he needs to be OK.

The man’s knee is proving to be a more difficult problem than we had hoped, so he is heading back to Kennedy Meadows and then back home, hopefully for some physical therapy. This is not a quit…it’s a reschedule, although probably until next year at this rate, and I know it will be difficult for him to be done with this attempt. So be kind, if you see him.

This was what I could see on the Garmin the other day…those are trees down from an old burn.

Looks really weird from this view. So he’ll be back sometime soon. I don’t think I’ll have to go get him this time, but we’ll see. He did 712 miles, though, which is kind of amazing (more than I could ever do)…only 1838 to do the next time.

I’ve been doing some quilting on the background of this quilt…

I usually do an all-over pattern, but I wasn’t in the mood for that, so I’ve been adding some additional designs. I’ve done that before on smaller pieces, but not on one this big. I think it’s because it’s a lighter-colored background, so it shows up more. I usually use a dark background and no one would ever see it except really up close. Anyway, it’s not a fast thing to do, so I’ll keep chugging along on it when I get time.

I’m also still cutting out pieces for the newest quilt…

This is about 6 hours in…

Not much left to do on it. Maybe done tonight? Then sort pieces and iron it together. Sounds easy.

I spent some time with teacher friends yesterday…it was a long year of very few interactions, so this was nice…

OK, lots of yardwork to do today, and hopefully some art later. Plus healthy dog and healthy man. All those would be good.

I’m fairly sure I’ve posted this before…

It’s missing a jacuzzi, but maybe that’s outside. Getting to work now. Plants are calling.

Take a Break

I just got an email about a call for artists: the gallery is charging $40/entry for an online exhibit. Online. No catalog. Just online. This after two rejections last night. It’s OK. Rejection is part of the game. If you enter, you will be rejected more often than you are accepted. It’s normal. And more people entered than they were expecting. So there’s that. But I’m not willing to turn around and shell out more money (yes, every entry costs money, and not a small amount of it…remember shows with $10 and $15 entry fees? Proof that I am old.) for a show that only exists online. The gallery is nonprofit…usually entry fees pay jurors and provide food and drink for openings, plus keeping the gallery open and staffed. What is this entry fee for except the jurors? It’s not even on the gallery’s website? I don’t understand.

I get to this stage every once in a while, where I’m tired of paying out fees for themes that are just difficult for me to get my head around or for show after show where I can’t get in. It’s OK…then I just make a bunch of work and then eventually something gets in or some new opportunity pops up that doesn’t cost me any money (those are always nice, aren’t they?). I say that as I’m working on a piece for a show with a theme and probably a fee. Ah well. I’ll finish it and then see where my head is at. Right now, it’s hard to know where my head is at. The man is planning to start hiking again tomorrow. He’s been icing his knee (and his beer) at Kennedy Meadows since Friday, trying to decide whether or not to keep going. The knee has not stopped hurting, mind you, despite the rest. Meanwhile, I’m in a bit of limbo over some projects that need to start and scheduling some things, because I don’t know if I will need to (a) still meet him at Kearsarge Pass or (b) come pull him off the trail again. So I do cross things off the list and let a few things just sit there, waiting. I’m still tired…still occasionally grinding my teeth…still in recovery mode. Not sure when all that improves.

Actually, it kind of helps to write the blog and realize how many things I’m working on…so on Friday, I continued outline quilting on the 20-year-old quilt…

Which will eventually need a better name…but I did finish the outlining…

And started the background quilting, which is going to take a while. But it’s started.

I also did some ironing to fabric on the current quilt made for a themed show that will cost money to enter. This is my view while ironing, watching a recorded Zoom of something textile-related.

Can’t remember what. Picking out the sky fabrics here…this was Friday night, I think?

I lose track. Actually, I think it was a Zoom meeting. I had two on Friday and then I watched the recorded talk.

And then on Saturday night, I finished the rest of the ironing for this quilt and organized all the fabrics by color…

I used 99 fabrics and it took 9 hours and 45 minutes to pick them all and iron them to fabric. In general, this is a very muted quilt. The bright colors are in a few small locations. It’ll be interesting to see it all ironed together.

Then last night, I started trimming the pieces…

I haven’t gotten very far…the top left box is all trimmed. The bottom box is to-be-trimmed. It’s gonna be a while.

On Saturday night, when I was done ironing (which was pretty early), I finished up the hand-stitching on this piece, which I’ve been working on for a very long time. How long?

Hmmm. Looks to be around January 11 of this year that I started this. Not bad…I thought it was last year. Only 6 months. Honestly, it’s been almost done for a while. And it’s really not even almost done…everything is just stitched down and I got rid of all the pins. I actually want all of these (there are four now) to have a lot more hand sewing.

I did the first one, bottom left, in February or so of 2020…and the other two after that. They are from Anna Maria Horner shipments, using only the fabrics she sent that month. Hence the crazy combinations. I like them though. It’s a different kind of challenge. There are 6 shipments a year, so I didn’t finish last year’s quite, and now I have two…no three more this year. One just arrived and I cut the background fabric out already and it’s waiting…although I think there is a cat lying on it. Maybe someday I will finish these. Who knows. Maybe they are like sketchbook drawings…just little workings of the brain when other stuff is too hard.

On Saturday, I also went to an actual in-person meeting (outside, in a park, where I got sunburned again in a weird pattern on my back because I thought it was all covered up, but I was stitching and so I was bent over and…duh). It was one of my quilt guilds…and I worked on Sue Spargo’s Homegrown, finishing the third of four blocks for March.

Look! People! In a group! I know. It makes me nervous unless it’s outside. We’ll see how that goes in the future.

Ah yes, and I finished stitching hangers and a label on this one, so it’s off to it’s new owner later this month.

Took forever to finish this one…mostly my fault…combined with school and sewing machine issues. See, I did do a lot…plus bought shelves for the deck for plants to block the neighbor noise and view…working on the plants and pots part. Need more of both.

On Saturday, I hiked a little over 5 miles…it was hot. This is a kite…a bird kite, not a manmade one.

It’s a bird I only see at Sweetwater. Looks like a hawk but mostly white and a little gray. Stared at me.

I didn’t see anyone else out there. Granted, I was hiking during the dinner hour, I think, and it was warm even then.

There’s a lot of flowers still blooming.

I like hiking by myself mostly…

I do listen to music…

I wanted to go further, but the parking lot closes…

Sweetwater River Trail? Or Reservoir? Not sure.

Finally got to the water.

And then headed back…I like this succulent, although I’ve never been able to get it to grow from a cutting.

I don’t take it out of wild parks…just from side of the road bits where I can pick a leaf or a stem.

Maybe I should just figure out what it is and find it somewhere legit that costs money.

Lots of cat pictures…Nova cleaning Luna while I was trying to nap.

I did not nap. Luna then got cranky and started a fight.

Not nap friendly.

When I got back from the hike, Kitten decided my hat was a sleeping space.

Hmmm.

Nova checking out the living room last night…

So today…I’m in a Zoom, watching some art stuff, plus trying to write this. Then I should quilt some more, cut some more, walk some more, and IDK what else. I have a list. Fill the hummingbird feeders. Do some yard work. I need a list for that. I should do that. I should just take a break from expectations, right? Yeah, I’m not very good at that. I’ll keep trying. Without the fees and the rejections, yeah? Don’t enter; you won’t get rejected. But if your work needs to get out there, then you will have to take that chance, spend the money, get it out there.

Check Check Check…

There is an insistent cat head bumping my left elbow as I try to type. I managed to get her away from the keyboard, where she was before, but it’s possible that I’m not petting any of these cats ENOUGH for their preferences. OK, now she’s in front of the monitor, so any typos will have to be blamed on Kitten. And she just whacked me and I’m bleeding. So yeah. Cats. I’m also trying to listen to/watch this week’s artist talks for Quilt National and she’s not happy with my not paying attention to her, so now I’m trying to type with a paper towel held to my wrist so it will stop bleeding. Such a joy.

So somehow, the first week of Summer Break is gone. It’s always such a weird thing, that first week. I seem to waste a lot of time staring at things: books, space, social media, TV, the insides of my eyeballs. This year, I cooked a lot of things this week: wontons (very good), blueberry crisp (very good), lasagne from scratch (very good and will get frozen in batches for future eatings), and lemon bars (we had lemons…they fell apart last night, but they were still warm. I will in fact eat them with a fork if I have to). I’m still exhausted, which might be because I stayed up too late ironing last night and got up early(ish…for break, anyway) to watch the Quilt National thing. By the way, I will be participating in their weekly talks (signups are here) on July 30. You can also see me talk about my quilt here:

I don’t remember what I said. I’m going to watch all of them, honestly…just pick the playlist for this year’s quilts, and maybe even watch the ones from 2019. Why not?! It’s either that or I watch another badly dubbed movie like the last one I watched.

The damn cat is back, headbutting my elbow, decidedly nonapologetic about the divot in my wrist from biting me. My fault for having a calico cat. Feisty beasts.

So what have I been doing? Some errands, some garden stuff. Some house stuff. Some organizing. I can’t quite bring myself to clean out closets yet. I’ve found two things I want to get rid of…the rest is overwhelming. I’ve read a lot. I love reading. I’ve exercised for five days in a row…and my hips are complaining. I think that was from pilates on Wednesday, but I might take today off from exercise, since I know I will be hiking tomorrow hopefully (checks weather app…yes, I can hike tomorrow, as long as it’s not in the mountains, because they have a heat wave and I don’t? Whatever). I’ve also been doing art stuff in between all that, working on quilting a 20-year-old hand-appliqued quilt during the day…

I’m just doing the outlining right now; the background quilting will take a lot more thought and time. I’m not there yet.

I did a little embroidery on Sue Spargo’s Homegrown during book club…

Super slow moving on this one. But that’s OK.

And then I’ve been ironing at night, with a little bit yesterday during my quilt group Zoom.

Some bright colors were added for some small spaces in the quilt…

I’m about 6 1/2 hours into picking fabrics, and not done. It’s not an easy ironing job. So many muted colors that have to contrast with each other. I’m in the 300s somewhere, maybe almost done with them. Yah. Almost done, and I’ve already ironed some of the 400s, so I can safely say I’m at least halfway through. I’m hoping to be done with the ironing Sunday, but I’ve put a bunch of social stuff in the next few days, so I don’t know if that will really happen.

I’m meditating every night, mostly with the help of this cat.

Not help. She hasn’t whacked me for a while though…wait, that’s a lie. She scratched me two days ago because I dared to carry her past the little dog for her breakfast.

Yesterday’s walk almost didn’t happen. I finished making lasagne and then decided to walk.

Which is why I actually ate dinner at 9:22 PM. Not the smartest. Ah well. Routine is not my friend during summer.

This was me at pilates on Wednesday when the instructor told us we could do whatever we wanted with the balls we’d been using during class. Hmm. I did not throw it. I just thought really hard about why I was an adult and shouldn’t throw it.

Hey! There’s the girlchild.

Great picture. Love that face. Boston looks good too.

OK. I need more caffeine. And a shower. And to pick up a library book. Because I don’t have enough books to read. Plus make art. And check off about 20 things off the to-do list. By the end of the week, they freakin’ accumulate and I can’t handle it any more. Check check check. Plus tune out the neighbor woman behind me yelling at her screaming children. I’m thinking the ones below me must be at camp or something, because it is surprisingly quiet down there, except there’s the new house being built two properties below that, so there is NEVER NOT hammering going on except when it’s dark. Hallelujah for sending kids to camp though. I think I need to win some money and buy a second home somewhere with a massive amount of property, away from people and roads and builders and everything but nature. I would really appreciate the shit out of that space, but it would have to be real close…like up in our mountains, because otherwise I would never have time to go there. I could have a second studio there with a separate stash of fabrics, yeah? So I wouldn’t have to haul shit up there all the time. It could be the OTHER project that I only work on when I’m there. OR…get a little trailer and drive all over the US during breaks and make art in the trailer in campsites all over. Yeah. Both of those.

Good Wontons

My to-do list is still long, but it’s all house- and yard-related…and art. All good things and/or things that need doing. Calling an electrician is on my list for today. Not my favorite thing to deal with, but we’ve accumulated some electrical needs over the last year and I think it’s time. Installations and replacements…need to get done. We’re also rearranging the plant material on the deck and adding some new shelves to try to block more of the neighbors’ pool and kid noise. Probably not really possible to block the noise, but I want to try. But it means I need a lot more plants and smaller or shallower pots for the shelves. I’m starting by looking around my own property…I have lots of empty pots lying around and just need to find, move, add dirt, and locate plants. There’s plenty of work that needs doing…just trimming and weeding would take tons of time…add in planting and moving shit around. I also need to clean out my closet this summer. Really not looking forward to that. Everyone I know did it during COVID, but I didn’t feel motivated. I don’t really feel motivated now, except that I need more room and there’s only one way to get that. Get rid of stuff! Not a bad plan.

Last night was the first one with an empty house again…boychild at his dad’s, man on the trail. Just me and three cats, who were surprisingly quiet. Right now, one of them, Ms. Adventurous, is kamikazing through my fabric in the office as I type, tryna make trouble. The dogs aren’t here yet, so she’s just exploring. For Luna, exploring means knocking stuff over. This room needs organization and cleanup for sure. I have a remodeling plan for this room, and I technically could afford to do it this summer, but I’m not dealing with remodeling this year. Maybe next summer. It needs a new floor and shelves and the wallpaper gone and the popcorn ceiling gone. Lots of work. The work is moving everything OUT of the room (oh god) and then moving it back in. Terrifying thought. Not one I can handle this year.

So artwise, I have a list that I have kept copying over and over, every day, into my bullet journal since my machine had to go into the shop in March. I was on a roll and then I wasn’t. Then I had a deadline and everything else got pushed out of the way. One of the things that got pushed was this little commission…this is the one my machine died on.

All it needed was the quilting and a finish. So I finished the quilting on Monday night…

And I trimmed it and finished the edge as well…I just need a hanging device on the back and a little label, and it’s done.

There are two more here that are in various stages that need finishing…one at the quilting stage and one at the stitchdown stage. So that’s one of my goals for this week. Not necessarily finishing them, but progressing on them at least.

Then obviously I’m working on the next deadline…

It’s another climate change quilt. I’m a little obsessed, I guess. It’s also pollution and general human wastage of the land.

But because of the design, I need to keep all the colors muted. This is very hard for me.

I have to keep reminding myself to put down the bright colors. There are some small sections that will be bright, but mostly this is a muted quilt. The pieces are small…so it doesn’t look like much. I’m actually not sure how far I am, because I keep pulling from later bins. I know I’m in the 100s, but have ironed a chunk of 200s, 300s, and even a few 400s. It’s looking good so far, at least in my mind.

Kitten likes to sleep in the green fabric drawer.

No, that’s not the only green fabric drawer. There are way too many green fabric containers.

Kitten basically follows me wherever I go. This is when I was reading on the couch.

She’s kneading the blanket. She’s very happy.

The other two are adjusting to their dad being gone again.

They’re back to sleeping with me at night and finding me for food reminders. Hey lady! Feed me. Pet me.

We also walked the little dog…

It was hot. You can tell by his tongue shadow. More of that to come, I’m sure. We leave the old lady behind. She likes walks but can’t go very far.

It’s summer, so it’s all about exercise. Here was my second trip to the gym since March 2020.

It’s nice. I missed it. Yes, I’m still wearing a mask. Don’t trust people or variants. So yeah, my exercise plan for the summer is gym, pilates, and hiking. All good.

And on Monday, the boychild and I made one of my favorite meals, time-consuming as all hell.

Can you guess which pan I did and which pan the boychild did? Hint: I’m not neat at anything I do.

They taste good either way. And I get about 4 meals out of my batch. Totally worth it. I just don’t generally have time for it during the school year. Tomorrow, I’m doing lasagne from scratch…same deal. Lots of time in it, but tastes so good. And then I can freeze it and eat it on those nights when I’m the only one here. Maybe not ALL those nights, but some of them.

Good stuff.

OK, it’s late morning now. I did eat and do some stuff this morning…not that I remember what I did, but I did it! I’m still in recovery mode, y’all. It takes at least a week after school gets out before I relocate my brain and start to function well. I have more errands today and even book club tonight. More ironing of fabrics will happen, more reading, more quilting hopefully, and more plant-related stuff. All trying to remember what it looks like to NOT be an incredible stress monkey because of my day job. The last year completely burnt out my brain. I need a break. Planting things and fixing things and ironing things and sewing things…all help. So do good wontons.

The Weirdest Last Week?

This might be the weirdest last week of school…wait, except for last year? I don’t even remember last year’s last week of school…completely lost in the crazy that has been the last 16 months or so. My grades are done (yay!) except for two kids that have issues, one of whom has answered and one who won’t. Sigh. So managing the last week should be easier…I’m not doing anything with content, except a quiz thing for fun and prizes, which are hard to deal with on distance learning. I sent Amazon online gift cards last year, but some went to parent email addresses and you have to wonder if they let the kid use them or not. Then there’s mailing stuff, but that gets expensive. I don’t have a solution to that yet. And I have to go in and drop off all my tech stuff and make sure my room has everything put away. I can’t do that until Friday. So I’m essentially done, but I still have to be on Zoom all day for three days and a half day on Thursday. Doing what? Damn good question. Don’t ask the district that; they can’t answer. They’ll pull something out of their asses about teachers knowing best, but the last week of school, after grades are all done, has always been a crapshoot. We fill it with end-of-year field trips and awards ceremonies and field days for a reason. Hard to do online.

As I was finishing grades yesterday, grading the last assignment, I found myself getting overly emotional, and I think that’s just because the year is almost over and it’s been really overwhelming. I just want it to be done. We all want everything to go back to normal, whatever that is…just read an article about the Delta variant of COVID, but meanwhile, masks will be optional and everything will be open 100% as of tomorrow in California. I’m not ready for no mask, so I’ll just keep wearing mine for a while. Through the summer? I don’t know. Maybe. I haven’t had a cold or the flu for 16 months…there’s something to be said for that.

I do have some school stuff to get through today during prep…we have to calculate student engagement and input that. Ugh. It’s time-consuming and probably no one will ever look at it. Frustrating. But some politicians somewhere decided that’s how they would make teachers accountable, because it sure isn’t about making kids or parents accountable. I’m sure some teachers blew this year off; I don’t know any of them. Although I hear stories from some parents; I’d like to talk to those teachers to hear the other side.

This was me on Friday, trying to work around the cat.

She was adamant about being in class.

This is how I felt about the last graded assignment…

I gave lots of leeway in my grading, because there was limited time and no time to fix anything. I even told them to turn in unfinished stuff, but a chunk of kids just checked out. Frustrating, but normal for this time of year.

Saturday, the man and I headed out to find a hike (walk?) that wasn’t in the full heat…

So we headed to near the beach, to the Tijuana River Estuary.

It was super flat.

There were a few birds we saw, and it wasn’t incredibly hot…

It wasn’t super exciting, although watching the birds was, when we saw them.

And there was some interesting flora. Really it was just time to hang out before he gets back on the trail this week.

He’s heading into super hot, super climby, but eventually into the Sierras, which sounds nice. I’ll meet him in a few weeks, after Whitney and some more ups and downs.

I have been tracing most nights, not for super long. I traced too long last night because I like to do at least 100 pieces a night (it’s a goal), and I started late because I entered a show first.

Fully my fault for not starting earlier.

I did get photos back for the newest quilt, Damaging Earth’s Fabric

She’s got some vintage quilt blocks in there and lots of images of how we make textiles and how they can damage the Earth.

It sucks that what I love does so much damage.

Too many toxins, too much water, too much waste. I don’t have solutions…just goals to reuse more, buy less. It never seems to be enough. Unfortunately.

OK, well, I’m sure I’m forgetting something…probably many somethings at the moment. My brain is a sieve. I need to do laundry and that silly engagement thing, plus teach all day. Hopefully there will be more tracing tonight. I haven’t been sleeping well, so hopefully that will come back soon too, although with the heat wave that’s about to hit, maybe not. I’m hoping though…there’s that sweet spot when you’re so exhausted that you fall asleep because you don’t have a choice. I may be close to that. Peace to all this week, a good book for those who want it, a quiet nap for those who need it. I think I might need both.

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.