My Shoes Are Ready, But I Am Not…

Hello Last Day of Summer Break. You are hot and muggy and a bit breezy, which I appreciate. Summer was better than last year’s crazy mix of vomitous stress, although you could still work on the relaxing time away from the worry of pandemic. Also, more trips and art…like OTHER people’s art. Yeah. More of that. But you did help me finish three pieces and get a healthy start on a fourth, so there’s that. Maybe I’ll make a normal number of pieces this year, unlike last year. That would be nice.

Speaking of, although I hoped to be done ironing last night, I was stymied by broken flip flops and realizing that I hadn’t worn shoes to work for 18 months and I didn’t know WHERE MY SHOES WERE. You know, the shoes you wear to work because you’re not allowed to wear flip flops and slippers and Christmas socks, goddammit it what kind of civilization IS this where I have to wear a bra every day and shoes too what the fuck. So yeah. I bought shoes and I cleaned out my shoes and I found shoes and even washed some shoes. They were dusty. That makes me laugh. Certainly if you went to high school with me and/or have heard the stories of the Assistant Principal who threatened to suspend me for not wearing shoes, so I wrapped newspaper around my feet and taped it on, this does not surprise you. Dude. Seriously. Pick your battles.

So my shoes are ready, but I am not. Last night I dreamed that I was teaching and I forgot to wear a mask. A good chunk of my students can’t get vaccinated yet. One of the teachers I used to work with is fussing about having to get a vaccine, about mandates. Then don’t teach. You don’t have to get a vaccine, but you have to get tested every week if you don’t. Stop whining. Do it for the kids. Seriously, you’re walking into classrooms with (um, I don’t actually have classes yet…yes, school starts next Tuesday, whatever) with let’s guess about 150 students total and you aren’t vaccinated? What dumbassery is that. I don’t care if you’ve had the virus…you don’t have the right to get all those kids sick if you get it again. Sigh.

Moving on. The electricians were here yesterday and fixed some things that have needed fixing, but more happily, added a ceiling fan that I’ve wanted for the last 20 years. Oh my, does that thing make me happy? It does. Lots. I did have to clear out a space for one of them to get into the attic…

So all those fabric bins had to come out, a shelf had to come out. And I couldn’t iron for the morning yesterday.

I did iron the night before. This is ALL of the sky. What a mess. Top is real sky; bottom is sky with figure.

I ironed all the bottom ones Monday night, stayed up way too late, in the Nida way.

And then ironed the rest yesterday evening…

Sky done. Clouds too. I just need to do all the yellow bits…sun and stars and lightning. Which is why I didn’t finish last night…I was watching REAL lightning, which wasn’t really yellow. A crazy lightning storm with a bolt a second was passing east of us. Fascinating to watch…hopefully no fires.

I also walked last night…that hawk was harassing all the birds inside this amazing cage I walk by.

I only noticed because the birds inside are usually pretty quiet, but they were super loud. Because there was a predator on their house.

The sky was beautiful.

It was muggy.

So for today, my last day, I will try to avoid work, although I did watch the 9-minute COVID video required by the district. So all my mandatory training is done. Tomorrow I will deal with sitting in a church (yeah, a church) for our back-to-school speechifying. I will bring a book and some stitching for that crap. Then food and another long meeting. Then four days of panicked prepping for school. Yes, that includes a weekend. We’ll see how much I can get done without the weekend, but I know I will need to shop a little and I have nothing NOTHING planned for art. Sigh. I will also finish the ironing on this quilt and then install LEDs in here for cooler lighting. I will plant out the rest of my hardened milkweed and maybe plant more seeds (I think I killed another batch…they were coming up and now they’re not. I suck.). I started the dying process for a bunch of fabric and socks. I want to get those done too. We’ll see how that goes. Wish me luck. Then I will burn sage and maybe last year’s school notebook to clear the air for this school year, hoping for few quarantines, no COVID outbreaks at school, no COVID for me or my family, lots of vaccinated kids in the next few months, and hopefully cooler weather (ha! It’s real summer now y’all…here in Southern California, it’s not real summer until September/October, when we often hit over 100 degrees).

Fully Aware

OK. Well. It’s possible that I need to move away from all the people. One neighbor is Day 5 into a 2-day (yes you read that right) project to install a chain-link fence between us. It’s noisy, it’s ugly, I hate it. Ugh. The neighbor on the other side started a jackhammering project Saturday morning that gave me a monster headache, no warning. At least I had warning on the fence job, even if it’s gone on forever. Jackhammer neighbor doesn’t ever realize the noise pollution he creates, I think, until after he hears me ranting through the house at the top of my lungs (yes, I do that. Yes, the men who live with me wish I wouldn’t. It makes me feel better though.). He emailed 12 hours after it happened to tell me about it and how it wouldn’t continue on Sunday (it did). As a teacher, I kind of think of the last weekend before school starts as this sacrosanct time. No noise, just sleeping in and relaxing. The last weekend before I don’t have to put in 4 hours of work on Sunday every week (or last year, 8 hours). Then the neighbor behind us bought two jacaranda trees. I love jacarandas. They’re purple…what’s not to love? Except they seem to be planting it right next to our fence. So that jacaranda will be about 20 feet over my fenceline and dropping shit everywhere in a period of time. Sure, I might be dead by the time that happens. I just think they’re idiots not to consider a tree’s canopy when planting it.

So yeah. Twenty or thirty acres should do it for me. Not sure where or how I would afford it, but no more smells of spray paint, no more generator sounds, no more screaming at the kids or even just screaming kids. Just quiet and nature and yeah.

Yes, I know I start school in 4 days and quiet and nature will not be happening there either. Fully aware. I miss my old quiet neighbors…they had their quirks, but they were less stupid.

I’m in a great mood to start school by the way. The district has decided that gamifying our professional development is something we all need. I’m not sure how many screenshots I’ll need to do to prove I already did the things, or if I really have to prove I know how to use all the Googles (I do…it’s been years now). They say it provides CHOICE, but I don’t see a whole lot of that going on. Choice from their very elementary, and limited, scope of things. Being a middle-school science teacher in the middle of an elementary district is annoying when it comes to that…so much of what they do and say is irrelevant to what I need or do or see.

That said, we’re planning today and I’m getting a bunch of stuff out of the house and into my classroom. I am looking forward to being in a classroom again, although yes, the thought of filling it with the great unvaxxed makes me more than a little anxious. But hands-on is better than Zoom for me AND this crew, so that will be a good thing. And having my team around me, even if I barely see them and can’t plan with most of them…also good.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get the ironing done on this current quilt.

Deer.

Seriously a ton of browns in this thing…

The to-be-cut pile grows…

So sometimes weird shit happens. I do have another piece of Wonder Under that matches the drawing with 316 on it.

I’m just going to hold onto this until it makes sense, and if it never does, I will throw it out.

I think this is the tree…

Yeah, with fungus and bear claw marks.

I said I was going to bed before I cut out the green trees on Friday night, I think? And then I did it anyway.

The bottom row is the stuff in the figure; the top is all the ‘real’ stuff. So confusing.

More greens. Check out the dog’s feet and mine.

Now there’s a cat in that photo. I did more ironing…hard to say what here.

Then last night, I laid out all the green parts of the mountains. All marked out in my head. Could be a mistake.

But I got all that ironed too. So much for early to bed, early to rise.

I need to do all the rocks in the mountains now. This is chaos. I think I’m in the 700s but there’s a lot left to do, and the electrician comes tomorrow, so I need to move a bunch of stuff this afternoon/evening so he has access to the attic. Ugh. So I’m not finishing the ironing before I have to do that, unfortunately. I have at least 250 pieces left. We’ll see, but it doesn’t feel promising. I’ll get the ironing done, though, probably before I have to go back to school. That’s the plan anyway.

I’m also working on embroidery for a Social Justice Sewing Academy piece…

Just blanket stitching letters down first before embellishment. Need to make sure they will stay down.

Saturday included two meetings, one on Zoom and one in person. The one in person was to see a future exhibition space before entering…this is a piece by Anne Mudge. Fun.

Reminds me of pepper trees. Or atoms.

After that, we hiked again, only a little over 4 miles, but an extension of a trail we do often into an area we never have gone.

So that was cool.

The man is still training. Progress.

Yeah, this guy. That’s a female pole dancer.

The driver was older. I don’t know how you are in a relationship with anyone with that on your car, but maybe that’s the point.

Oh yeah! Happy birthday to the girlchild, who is 24 (holy crap) and was a smart woman and took the day off work.

I’m proud of her. Also love her. Miss her. All the things.

Anyway. I have ironing to do and school stuff and aack I need to eat lunch before counseling starts and then it’s go go go for probably 10 months straight. Art often. Art always.

But It’s a Thing…

Well. It’s been a morning. And into an afternoon. I’m not sure where the days go sometimes. We got up early to hike and then the Man didn’t feel well but then he was OK and then we hiked, but two hours later than we’d thought we would.

The plus is that physical therapy seems to be going well. We upped the mileage to almost 6, but still mostly flat, road walking instead of trail. Slow progress. No pain. His plan right now is to finish the two pieces of the trail he missed in the desert section due to the boulder that is now gone in the Idyllwild area and a now-open fire closure near Lake Hughes. But with all the fires up north, it doesn’t make sense to try to pick part of the trail to do before weather starts to be an issue, so that might be it for the PCT this year. Next year, another 4 months will hopefully finish it. Sigh. I know he wanted to do it in one year, but he did the Desert section! All 700+ miles! So there’s that.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on the current quilt, although my brain kind of gets tied up in knots by it. Usually, let’s say I’m doing a dirt section that needs a run of 4 fabrics, light to dark…then I pick the 4 fabrics, lay them out, and put the pieces that will be ironed on each fabric on top of it, checking the drawing for what numbers go where. Cool, right? Easy peasy. But now I shoved the female figure in there. I want her to show up but not drastically. So I pick a second run of 4 fabrics that are similar but not the same, and then when I check the drawing for level 1 (the lightest), I have to do a second check on whether it’s the body or the ground. It looks like this…

Yes, there’s an extra fabric above…there’s a reason for that.

Here’s the same idea but with the rocks…

I honestly don’t know how it will turn out. I hope it will be OK. Hard to visualize though…even for me, and I do this all the time. At one point yesterday, I had a run of 6 fabrics twice, a total of 12, and was trying to find all the pieces from the 100s through the 400s that were part of that section…meanwhile, pulling out all the pieces that were a rattlesnake, a Garmin, or a couple of deer. Confusing as hell. While on two Zooms…at least those weren’t at the same time. So I still need to do the snake, the Garmin, and the deer, plus a bushy stripe that went through the dirt areas, and then some water in the middle of it. It’s not going quickly, but the day is.

Here’s where I was Wednesday night…

And then, after 5 1/2 hours of ironing yesterday…

Lots of browns and grays so far. I’m going to do more today, hopefully get up into the trees. Which are mind-bogglingly complicated.

Meanwhile, we finally have a master schedule for school. Everything hurts my brain and we haven’t planned anything and we are back next Thursday. Yes. I am panicking. About everything. I did get some new masks that seem comfortable, although I haven’t worn them from 8:30-3:30 yet, so ask me how I feel in a few weeks. My neighbor finally is putting in a fence, and I’m not happy about looking at it or where it is or how it will block my light once they plant shit, or that they are considering planting bamboo (the clumping kind, at least) and I’m just irritated with all my neighbors. So there we are.

Tomorrow is a quilt guild meeting and an art group meeting…that one in person. And I got into another show, a SAQA local show, Domino Effect, which will be at The Studio Door in Hillcrest from September 2-26. The artist’s opening is September 4 from 6-9 PM. My piece is the recently finished A Losing Game

Kitten was upset that I took away the blue fabric drawer, so I gave her the lid to the paper box…

In other animal news, Simba is a dork.

He had to have his teeth cleaned, and they put the IV/catheter whatever in his leg, which he cannot leave alone, so now he has the not-cone, but pillow of shame.

Yeah, it’s under his mane.

And Kitten keeps following me wherever I go.

She’s a good kitty.

I drew at dinner last night…

I don’t think it’s done. But it’s a thing.

OK, I’m tired. I need more caffeine. I need to not think about school for a while, because I won’t get any more info about next week’s schedule until Monday. They really are pushing everything to the last minute again this year. I’m still burnt out from last year. I do not feel the normal, oh hey! school is starting! This is cool and interesting! feelings that I would normally have. I have apprehension and panic from not having anything ready. Fun stuff. I’m going to quickly order some stuff I’ll need and then get ironing for a few hours. Meditative artwork.

Never Ready

This is my last full week of Summer Break. We go back next week. Never ready. I’m not ready to teach…our site hasn’t even picked a schedule yet for next year. We get that Friday. We can’t plan without a schedule, although I’m guessing which one I think will pass the vote (shorter periods…all the others are over 106 minutes per class, which is just crazy cuckoo). I’m not ready to be in an enclosed space with multiple people for a long period of time. I haven’t done that AT ALL in 18 months or so. Well, except the gym. But even that’s not all day. Doors open, windows open. I’ll get used to it. The block schedule also screws up my blood sugar until I get a routine going. Four hours with no bathroom and no food break…welcome to our world. Last year was easier…I could get to the bathroom in my house in a really short period of time. Not so much at school. Plus getting kids out of the classroom on Zoom is a single button click, which is much easier than in real life. Then thinking about art supply storage and how to move materials between science and art classes. That’s complicated.

Adjustments to life are gonna happen. I’m hoping that planning is easier than last year. Certainly my co-teacher and I can do the same things again, and I don’t have to make everything digital access. I think. With quarantines still happening, the district hasn’t really told us their solution for how to get those kids curriculum. I think they believe the science curriculum is an easy digital source, but it’s not. So much supplementation and creation of assignments had to happen last year. We’ll see how that rolls, but local schools have quarantined kids on the third day of school, so it’s not like we can wait a while to figure that plan out.

That said, this week is NOT school. I do need to think about some of it, but hopefully more art time than school time will be happening. I have an electrician coming next Tuesday to do a bunch of things I’ve put off for months, nay, years in some cases. One of them may involve attic access, which is in my office/studio. In the closet. Which is filled with fabric. To get access, I have to remove half the fabric and one of the shelves so they can even get up there. So that needs to happen before next Tuesday. I’m currently trimming Wonder Under. The next step is to iron all the Wonder Under to fabric. It would be much easier to have everything done and ironed before the electrician comes. See? Now I have a deadline. It’s totally arbitrary and I could adjust, but this is the one I’m following right now.

I started cutting out on Friday during the Quilt National talk, and then finished a second yard that night…then cut another yard out on Saturday night…

It doesn’t look much different. Sunday’s yard was one of the most complicated ones. It had all the trees in it, so fussy pointy pieces.

So that’s what four yards of trimmed Wonder Under looks like. I have two to go. Today. I have a talk I’m listening to this morning, and hopefully can start cutting the easier yard; then I’m going to try to get the other yard done before nighttime, so I can sort tonight and maybe clean the studio today as well. We’ll see how that goes. It’s been hot, and that often sucks energy away from doing the things. But I have a plan and that helps. I’ve been cutting for about 7 1/2 hours so far, but some yards are more time-intensive than others. I’m assuming 3-4 hours of cutting today.

The girlchild was home for about 10 days, but working every day. As always, she brings home clothes that need fixing. This one was a bit of a pain…needed darts and had a lining and all that.

But it turned out well. I hope. The others were slightly less time-consuming. Certainly she should learn how to hem her pants when she rips out the hems. She left last night on a red-eye for home…

Boston at 3:30 AM our time. Yes, I was awake. I don’t know why.

I volunteered again for the Social Justice Sewing Academy embroidery, and got this block on Friday…

I volunteered in June 2020, so it took a while to get to me…there are some embroidery suggestions provided by the artist as well. So I’ll get started on that once I have all the Wonder Under cut out. Emily Lang made this block, and says “My block is about Ableism, how society seems to attach value and love only to health, thinness, and ability.”

I also got the Olga Norris quilt finally. Her husband was kind enough to mail it to me from the UK, and we watched it wander all over the US before it got to me.

It’s beautiful work…I need to decide where (and how) to hang it. I have a couple of pieces that need homes on the walls.

We walked on Friday, not too far, just a couple of miles. Still aiming for flat.

It was hot and muggy. Walking is hard in this weather.

Calli is hanging in there. She still wants to chew on pinecones that she drops in the pool.

She needs a little help with it. But it’s hot, so the pool is probably good for her.

So I have a plan that might get thrown by the weather, but hopefully it will work. I won’t think about school. I lie. We have three hours of training videos (bloodborne pathogens, pest management, sexual harassment, mandated reporter, etc.) that have to be done before the end of September. I always try to get them done before school starts. I’ve done the three shorter ones so far today. I can do them while doing other things, luckily. Annoying to do them every year, but whatever. Looks like I need to go down to Visions Art Museum too and see the exhibits there. I’ll add that to the list…along with fixing the sprinklers. Maybe I’ll think about making a syllabus after that…surely that won’t take long. Ha! Art. Make the art.

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.