I Suggest You Switch Your Mind State*

Well, my perfect-laid plans of finishing the ironing yesterday and starting the stitch down did not come true. A shock! Holy crap, is it Wednesday already? Sheesh. This quilt. Life! It takes time, doesn’t it? I’m debating a longer hike for Friday morning, but realistically, it depends on how much I get done between now and then as to whether I can do that. Sigh. Deadlines. Grades. Stuff.

Yesterday I ironed for close to 5 hours. I also graded one assignment and recorded another one that a program graded for me. We walked the dogs. I picked up two of my quilts. I didn’t do a lot of things.

Ironing this quilt has been a challenge. I numbered it in logical order for ironing Wonder Under to fabrics, but it doesn’t iron together in the same order. Hence having to iron the feet (in the 400s) into the 100s of the landscape. So that continued as I ironed upwards from the ground…I got the legs done up until the hips…

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And then started working on the rest of the hill to the right…

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Bobcat and mule deer…

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Some manzanita. And Satchemo…asleep in the sun. He’s there again now.

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Wait. I didn’t iron the cat.

The hill…minus the poison oak.

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The poison oak went in, bridging the hill to the leg…

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Then some dog walking…we did over 3 1/2 miles…

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Mostly trying to tire out the little one…

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Back to the ironing. So when I got to the torso, it was all in the 500s, but the plume of water and trash coming out of the chest is in the 800 and 900s. I couldn’t make sense of trying to iron the whole body without putting the plume in, so I started pulling from the last two boxes.

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And then continued the body above that plume. So I’m about halfway through the 600s, plus I’ve ironed all the 900s and about half of the 800s…although there are a few of those still floating around. Haven’t figured out where they belong yet.

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And I’m missing parts of two eyeballs. Plus a piece of a fish. Huh. Well, hopefully they’ll show up sometime today. So I think I have about 200 pieces left to iron. I think. Honestly, it’s hard to say. I’ve been ironing it together for 9 1/2 hours…at least 2 or 3 hours left, I think. So I should be able to finish ironing today and start stitching down. That’s the plan anyway. Plus grade an assignment or two. And maybe an errand. Sigh. I really don’t want to do anything else…but there’s stuff that needs doing. Hate that. Oh well. Moving on.

*K.Flay, So Fast, So Maybe

‘Cause There’s Beauty in the Breakdown*

You’d think after a day off, I’d be all rested and stuff, but apparently not eating for the first 6 hours plus of the day throws my body off. It’s still complaining. It will get over it. I did manage 4 hours of ironing and a dog walk in between all the work stuff I did…I wrote sub plans for the two days I’ll be in Boston, I graded half of the videos I needed to watch, I set up at least one post for today, and I finished next week’s warmups (which I have to remember to post while I’m gone). A lot of remembering will need to happen while I’m gone. If I’m smart, I’m going to calendar that shit so I don’t forget. I can schedule things on Google Classroom, but only one class at a time, which is a pain. I might do that anyway, though, because I don’t trust the remembering part of my brain to do it on time. That would be disastrous. The sub would hate me.

So the ultrasound seemed to be a lot of Hold Your Breath and the nice radiology lady wishing my ribs were not where they actually were. I’m only a little bruised this morning. It’ll be fine. I figure they’ll try calling me at work tomorrow and we’ll play phone tag all day, and I won’t get a hold of the doctor until I’m boarding a plane. So there we are. The blood tests have ruled out some of the scarier diagnoses so far, so I’m still betting on an alien. It hurts in exactly the same place it did when I was really pregnant with the girlchild and she was using my organs as soccer balls. (No, I’m not pregnant. That’s not happening. But aliens might.). Anyway. Waiting sucks. As you all know.

So ironing…fitting the flesh pieces together. There isn’t much of this fabric left.

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Then after the ultrasound and FOOD and water, we took the dogs out. It gets dark so early…

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Where the sun is…that’s where Calli and the boychild are…beating me up the hill.

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Calli’s tongue hanging out all over the place…

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So we’re on the way back and there’s this hawk facing away from us, but I start talking to us and it turns its head all the way around to look at us. Piercingly. Thinking WTF is that woman doing.

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Talking to you. That’s what I’m doing. Pretty bird. I don’t think I knew they could do that with their heads, although it makes sense.

I came back, did some work stuff, alphabetized purple and white pieces of paper so I could grade that section of the National Park Project more easily. Then made it back in here for another 2 hours of ironing. I finished all the innards (mostly) before the ultrasound…so then I started on the water plumes that are all over. Mostly I just did the water bits though. There were lots of them…

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This is all the stuff that’s IN the water or ON the water (oil slick etc.) that I haven’t done. That’s tonight, I’m hoping, although it’s a lot to do in one night. Lots of fussy little details.

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Plastic bottles and bags and fish nets and fishing boats and I think there’s a Humboldt squid in there as well. So that’s not a small amount of things that are left. I know I laid out all the pieces through number 991. I know I ironed down all the way through the 700s, and then a goodly chunk of the 800s and 900s were water, so they’re done. That leaves maybe 100 pieces? So maybe I can do it tonight.

Here’s the chaotic pile of stuff I worked on yesterday, plus everything that’s ready to be cut out.

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Then I organized. Much better. Deep breath. I can find stuff again. More color now. You can almost see my left brain fighting with my right brain over this stuff. My left brain wants to go back and organize better by color. My right brain says there’s no point, because we’re going to pull a lot of them back out tonight and mess it up again.

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Hi Kitten. You’re in my chair.

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Like she cares.

Simba is with the boychild, at the ex’s house, so Satchemo was free to sleep in Simba’s bed. The crate is open…I try to remember to check for Satch before I put Simba in there at night…

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Apparently it’s the best bed ever.

OK, high-maintenance school stuff today, waiting on results, tired already. Need to pack, need to finish prep for being gone, need to finish ironing.

*Frou Frou, Let Go

Anchored Down in Anchorage*

Have you noticed that mornings are darker? Yes, winter, and yes, daylight savings time is coming (or NOT daylight savings time…I’m never really sure when we are in REAL time and when we are in FAKE time or what any of that means). So it’s harder for me to wake up in the dark and it’s harder to not trip over the dogs on the stroll down the hallway to the place where all the pet foods are (I have a train of furry beasts in the morning). It’s not a stroll…they are rushing toward the food bowls as if it’s the end of the world…except for Calli, who stops to scratch. Her skin is awful right now. Lots of medicated baths.

Sometimes (because I live in Southern California) I have to stop and think explicitly about what season it is. Although I’ve started wearing a sweater to school every morning, so it’s not early Fall or late Spring. I know, shut up. I got that. I like my weather mostly.

Yesterday afternoon was delightful for walking. The poison oak knows it is Fall…all of a sudden, it’s changing color rapidly. There’s poison oak in my newest quilt.

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It was sunny in the morning, but the afternoon was lovely and cloudy and a bit chill, but not really. There’s wind out here.

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I always wish I knew more about the rocks and formations around my home. Strange rock outcroppings abound.

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We went all the way out to the water bridge. It’s old. It’s protected.

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It’s somewhat dangerous looking. The mountain lion signs are still up.

The dogs got tired. Really, that’s the purpose…plus me getting exercise. Perhaps getting out into nature.

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Calli was certainly tired out.

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I ate. I graded. And then I traced the last 170 or so pieces.

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Grading seems a never-ending thing. I’m getting close to caught up, if I ignore the major unit being turned in on Thursday, plus a comic strip, and then another project due the following Monday. Because I’m crazy. But we were smart enough not to assign any additional homework for two weeks. Because then we’d have to grade it.

I finished tracing just before midnight (I started late). It took almost 12 hours and ended up being about 5 yards of Wonder Under.

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Usually it takes me an hour to cut out one yard…so that’s the next two or three nights, I think. Depending on other stuff. So ironing to fabric by the weekend? It means I need to go buy background fabric. Or look at what’s in my stash and see if there’s enough of anything that will work.

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On to the next phase of this one. Getting close to the fun phase. It’s not that tracing Wonder Under isn’t fun…it’s meditative trying to fit all the pieces in while tracing. But sometimes it’s boring or tiring, depending on how much standing I’ve been doing. Progress is good though. I need to finish this one in a little over a month, which I can easily do, except there’s some traveling in there too…so that’s a constraint. Anyway…it’s going to be an awesome quilt even if I don’t finish it within the deadline. So there’s that.

*Michelle Shocked, Anchorage

Three-Dog Late Afternoon

Weekends are for catching up on sleep. For catching up on errands, although I did a pretty good job of that on Thursday. For catching up on grades, unfortunately. And hopefully for a little free time and relaxation. I’m going to see the Visions exhibit this evening…looking forward to that.

But before that, I gotta wake up. Ugh. My head.

I walked the dogs again on Friday…by myself this time…

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I took them over three miles, trying to tire them out. It worked. Tired me out too…but then I’d already had a long walking day at work. The kids played a rock cycle game and I always have a few who need me to walk them through it. It went well otherwise though. My legs were dead by the time I got to the dog-walking part of the day, but it was good for all of us.

After dinner, I eventually persuaded my legs to stand up again. I didn’t trace for long, because I didn’t realize how late it was…but I’m in the 300s now. I wanted to be much further along, as always. So tracing is on my list for today as well. A nice big fat chunk of it please.

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I sat for a bit…Satchemo love…and Simba putting up with the cat.

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Who knows whether he likes it. He always looks nervous. That cat has sharp pointy bits.

Anyway. Art tonight, by other people, hopefully making my own as well. Same for tomorrow. I’ll never get caught up with grading anyway.

Happy birthday to my dad, who is hopefully still in Spain (if he’s not, I don’t know where he is)…he’ll be home soon, and then his dog will be at HIS house, making all the caterwauling noises that she makes. Plus walking the dogs will be easier.

Brain Fuzz

I’m not finding any words in my head this morning. Part of it is that it’s early and I’m not functional yet. Another part is that my brain is drawing things out, testing out ideas, and that uses up a big chunk of available brainspace…apparently the part that comes up with words and coherent thoughts is a part of that. So I chug another large mouthful of tea, hoping my brain reappears sometime soon. Apparently the part that spells is here, because it’s correcting all the finger mistakes I’m making due to tiredness.

I have this one assignment that I’m having a hard time grading…it’s very draining and time-consuming, but there’s this one kid who keeps bugging me about when I’m going to grade it…it’s not like it will make or break him. I have to write a bunch of corrections when I grade them, so that’s why I avoid it. I’ll do it…it’s just taking me a while to get through it. I should just set a goal of a class worth of that every night until I’m done. I SHOULD. Or maybe just grade his so he’ll stop bugging me.

Walked the dogs. We haven’t been to this part for a while. There were signs up about a mountain lion sighting.

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Great. Well. Yeah, we hiked anyway.

I cooked dinner…and then worked on the binding for about 2 1/2 hours…

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While watching Dr. Who, amongst other things. Hooray for the female doctor. I still need to sew the sleeves on and then contact the photographer. Almost done.

Simba has been really cranky lately.

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Don’t know why.

I drew after that. The plan is to enlarge it today after school.

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Because I need to see the whole available space before I can do the rest. Makes sense. Maybe I can have some of my brain back once I’ve finished drawing. I will draw tonight, but I don’t think I’ll finish…but that’s OK. If I finish drawing by the weekend and start tracing, I should be OK. This one can’t be huge…big, but not huge. It would be nice to have my brain back before the weekend though.

OK, brain fuzz. Sheesh.

Make Good Choices

I’ve spent at least an hour in my head trying to figure out when to set up my classroom for tomorrow’s test. I need some of the materials on the desks for today, I have tutoring after school, and then chiropractor right after that. I guess it’s tomorrow morning. But that was the 4 AM brain. Like shut up, 4 AM brain. I could’ve figured that out today some time. I didn’t need to waste sleep time on that. Make good choices, man. Make good choices.

Speaking of good choices, I raced home from work and grabbed the dogs and the boychild and headed out. We have the outside edge of a tropical storm, was a hurricane, hanging around, making it muggy as shit and only 3 drops of rain are allowed to fall, which is crazy stupid. But the clouds look nice.

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We took yet another weird trail. Boychild doesn’t like to do the same path every time. He blames Simba. Maybe the dogs don’t either. They want different smells. Interestingly, if we’d done our normal path, we would have passed the coyote we saw later as well.

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Instead, we kamikazed up this hill…and picked up part of a different trail…

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But there he was, at the junction of the trail we’re normally on. I say he, like I did with the lizard, but maybe they’re both female. We just don’t know.

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It’s closer than I like being to them (I’m sure they’re closer than that on a regular basis, but somehow it’s better when you can’t see them watching you)…especially with the snack we call Simba. It’s easier when I’m not alone though. He stopped and stared at us a lot. I waved and yelled hi.

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Like you do. Hey Julie…does this belong out in the wild? There was more than one of them…the stem at back probably was the tall version before the flowers died. Lily-like.

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Probably doesn’t belong, but who knows. I’ve seen stranger things out there.

I came home and was tired…we did more than we usually do, and I think I was already done in before I started. Lab days with water! Take your life into your own hands. Boychild cooked dinner…’twas good. Then I should have graded some, but I was too tired. Eventually I found the energy to come in here and start quilting…

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But it took a long time to get the tension right, for some reason. I broke the thread like 4 times, re-threaded every time, changed out the needle, swore a bit, and finally got it functional…

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After fighting with it for so long, I didn’t have much patience or energy for continuing to fight the quilt around the machine. I know I got in a little more than an hour though, so that’s progress.

My trusty quilting companions…

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There was a cat in there too. And when I went into the other room, I had 4 out of the 5 with me…2 on the couch next to me. You cannot be alone in this house, not even in the bathroom.

Today is going to be a long day, but I’m hoping to get back in here and quilt some more. It’s honestly not very big, so it shouldn’t take very long. I’m not sure if I have thread for the background though. I should check that. Not right now, though. Right now, I need to get ready for work. Demo day…no down time. Fun stuff.

Crawling the Walls*

As I’ve been watching the Kavanaugh confirmation maelstrom erupt all over the news, all I can think is why? Why would we want anyone in that position who (a) doesn’t have the back of half the population of the country (seriously not thinking of women’s rights or needs, from what I’ve seen, unless you need me to be pregnant with no rights to my uterus) or (b) where there is any hint at all of sexual impropriety (Clarence Thomas, we’re talking to you right now). I keep hearing that it’s “normal” for boys to do stupid sex things when they’re kids…or even men, as adults…and it’s not normal. It’s not OK. It’s not in their genes. It’s not caused by testosterone. As one woman said, there are plenty of people in jail who did something stupid when they were 17…they just weren’t rich enough to get out of it.

As a woman, I’ve lived through my share of sexual crap, harassment and worse, all perpetrated by men. And my goal is that my daughter never ever has to go through that. She already has…both here in the US and in Madagascar. It’s everywhere. It’s one thing to fear for yourself, walking in the dark, keys between your fingers, poised to hit 911 on your phone. It’s an entirely different thing to think about your daughter in the same situation. Give up on him. Wait until after the midterm elections. The hypocrisy in the current administration is driving me nuts. There should be no question about this. Get Kavanaugh out.

It’s actually significantly hard to watch all this. It reminds me of how little women are regarded right now in this country…and that’s sad.

So all that’s in my head.

Yesterday, we walked the dogs. At one point, the little one got it into his head that he wanted to wander off the main trail into coyote country, so the boychild let him.

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He kept claiming we were on a truck trail. Uh huh. Right. Well, here, we are back on the main road. Turns out the puppy was trying out a shortcut.

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He cut a 1/4 mile out of our regular walk. He said he was tired. Probably we all have ticks now too.

I graded for a long while. I have a lot to get done and not much time in which to do it. But a little at a time works.

I only ironed for 45 minutes last night, but it was enough to find and cut out all these little leaves…

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Plus do the other arm (minus the hand)…and then start on the belly.

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Midnight came and told me to go to bed. Wow. I miss Midnight (the cat). Still. A year later. Anyway, Midnight the TIME told me to go to bed.

I paused…I’m watching Luther…but was fascinated by this picture when I paused…

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Off to bed, and there’s Katie, being a dork. Itchy nose, I think.

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I helped her with that. Oh yeah, and I forgot I packed a quilt last night to ship to a show this morning. Really, I got a lot of stuff done…it just wasn’t all in the artistic-making realm. Art has to get shipped. Science has to get graded. Dogs have to be walked. Making art is sort of the ugly stepchild…it goes last, gets the smallest helping sometimes.

OK, brain…you are off this morning. Still tired. Going to go to UPS now and then school and then tutoring…and then to watch another artist explain herself tonight. And hopefully by the end of the week, I’ll see my country screw its head back on. That would be a change from the last year and a half or so.

*Dave Gross, Crawling the Walls