2020…May It Be Full of Art…

It was a good New Year’s Day…I never got out of my pajamas…the only thing better would have been a hike, and we have that planned for tomorrow.

Today is the boychild’s birthday…

Wow. That hair. He’s much taller now, hair is longer. Pretty sure he started those bangs the girlchild has…after some revisions by mom. He makes better decisions now. Or at least asks first. He’ll spend some time with dogs and maybe kittens, relaxing. May 2020 be awesome for him, whatever that means.

We hiked with the dogs on Tuesday (yes, I am losing track of days). Simba needed a carry assist at some point…we thought he might have something in his paw, but it might have just been a pulled muscle.

We took them out 4 miles to try to tire the boy out…the boy dog, that is. He’s been in bark mode. Plus we think he misses the girlchild. It was a gorgeous day for a hike…

I love the outside. Plus there was lots of water to look at and stomp through…

Check out that tongue. We definitely tired her out…almost enough to ignore the fireworks on NYE.

I quilted a little bit every day…like one person’s worth…

It was a goal I could handle. Finish one person. Then you get a break.

It stayed that way, one a day, until yesterday…

Yesterday, I finished the requisite person and then had the background staring at me…

I stopped for dinner and then finished quilting the whole thing…

It only took 3 1/2 hours…

So Kitten/kitten play has been happening…a little…

Mostly around corners and under quilts…

There was no hissing here…just play bopping. And this was after Nova went after Kitten’s tail, which was swishing around quite temptingly.

I did my daily drawings…this one from NYE was a little strange…

Here’s the first drawing of 2020…

I always feel like this is such a good practice, drawing every day, but the reality of my days during school are less conducive to this. Unfortunately. I’ve tried instituting a drawing a week, like Friday night, but time is so limited when I’m teaching that I sacrifice the drawing time to actual artmaking instead.

Nova on my sketchbooks…

Not the best footing.

OK, I have two quilts to deliver, a binding fabric to buy (no, I don’t have enough of anything to use for binding), and pilates class…plus grading. I did one period of the UGH assignments (it’s really two assignments put together) yesterday. It took about 2 1/2 hours, but I wasn’t really paying attention well and I will get faster. Or not. I don’t know. Four more periods of those to go…really need to do one a day. Plus decide what art I’m making next. Oh yeah, recap of 2019…only 6 quilts, but 1 was huge…

All of them have been or are going to be in shows, which is cool. Two are traveling for at least a year. One won an award. All good. I feel like making work from my head is a good place right now. Although 4 of these were made for specific themes. My favorite, Swallow Me Whole, was not though. It was a thing in my head that needed to get out. So start 2020 with one of those, one I choose, no theme, just Nida.

Plus I did these last year…

These were a new thing…not sure how successful it was, but it was an interesting experience. I would stitch more of my drawings, but they take so much time, it’s hard to make it a profitable thing. Not that I make art for that…but maybe I’ll design a few for traveling/camping. They were good for that. You can find patterns and kits for these at Global Artisans

2020…may it be full of art and time for that shit.

How to Make It Better…

So many people already saying Happy New Year…I guess that’s legit for Australia, but all you Americans just need to wait a bit. Europe too. Chillax. We’ve got the rest of 2019 to survive.

Speaking of Australia…all the fires and the animals and the people and the crazy fire weather, which doesn’t make the news here hardly at all…my heart goes out to you. Hoping there’s a resolution soon and people can rest easy…although the future weather/drought issues there will still be a problem. I didn’t realize there was such a huge coal industry there. It’s so hard to balance the needs of the world in general in terms of slowing climate change while also making sure people still have jobs and food and homes. It’s a huge mind shift…one that America doesn’t seem to understand either. Our core job needs to be taking care of people…not making money. So many politicians are ignorant (willfully or ?) of the science behind what’s happening and how we humans are making it worse.

Also on my mind…attacks on Jewish people…I hate my current government (because it’s not just the President any more) for encouraging this environment where people are emboldened to attack anyone who is different than they are. Have we learned nothing over the years? I read a friend’s comment about how we are raised to respect others’ opinions, but she was clear in that we don’t have to respect racist or hate-based opinions. I don’t hate you because you are racist…I don’t understand you. I hate your actions toward others. I hate your speech toward others. You are human and so obviously frightened of what is different or what you perceive as taking away from your rights (such an ignorant and limited view of the world). You don’t have the right to hurt someone else because of that…even if the President says you do. This last year has been hard to watch. So much anger and wrongness.

So that’s where I’m ending 2019. Sometimes when I’m drawing or making quilts, I think “this piece of art isn’t going to fix the government or racism or climate change or hate or anything else…” and I get disheartened about what I’m making. It’s not enough. I’m using materials that are causing more pollution, I’m using electricity, my privilege allows me to create art because I’m not trying to find food for my children or clean water…I don’t have tons of money to donate to worthy causes or tons of time to volunteer in worthy places. I try to educate my students about things when I can…there are times when I can’t be political because I teach in a public school…but I can be scientific. I make art because it helps me stay sane. It’s a drive I can’t turn off. I have been trying to be more thoughtful about fabric use in the last year or so…using up weird pieces that have been around for a while. I don’t have a solution for the world right now…I just know large parts of it are messed up and need fixing.

Tomorrow will be all about Happy New Year and looking forward. Today I’m in reflection mode. Ironically, I’m doing this program to help me reduce my school work hours, and they had suggested making monthly goals for school and other stuff, and I don’t know why that sounded like a good idea, but I set up the spread in my journal (which I do use daily…the journal anyway)…

And then. Well. Realized I’m not good at setting monthly goals. I set weekly ones, even daily ones, and ones that stretch out the length of a unit of teaching science (the next one is volcanoes and earthquakes, I think). Also ones that stretch out for the length of a quilt. Sometimes for summer or winter break. Not this break so much…but this isn’t working for me. I can’t get my head around it. OK then. I think I do OK on goals in general, so I’m just going to write this up as Tried, but Didn’t Work.

I did quilt for a while yesterday, the 2nd figure. I’ll do more today, I hope…though my original goal to be quilted by now so I could trim and bind today?

Not happening. So this will be the first quilt of 2020.

I’m still grading almost every day. I prefer doing a little at a time to spending entire days working on it.

This kitten is not at all helpful. Neither is the pup.

I did finish this assignment completely, and stayed up way too late doing another one, but now all that’s left is the three hellacious assignments. I’m just going to bully through one period a day, maybe more if it makes sense. Take a day off when it makes sense. Get through as much as I can. I have 12 days before I go back, and ideally I’ll be done. Which means more than one a day, I think. Sigh. OK. Good to know.

It’s also OK to do some of it when I get back from break. No matter what I was grading, there was always a companion…

These two eventually got off my lap…with some assistance from me.

Although Nova apparently thinks she is cuter than her sister, and should be in all the photos…

Eventually she sat on Luna. It’s nice having siblings…they are amusing.

I did my daily drawing…

This type of imagery shows up often. I was tired. Couldn’t think of what to draw.

This is one of the shows my work is going to be in, coming up in January…

That’s one of my two pieces…the art center is in Ojai, California. I don’t know if I’m going to the opening…it’s a long way for one day. Thinking about it.

OK, time to stop thinking and start doing. I need to put away the Christmas stuff, pack up some boxes to ship, walk the dogs, grade some shit, quilt another person, and IDK what else. Draw. But it’s New Year’s Eve, so I’ll get time for that while having to watch crazy TV. Ugh. I’m not a fan of all the NYE television, and I don’t need to go out and party. I do need to think about how to make 2020 better. Not for me…for others.

Can't Be Bothered…

I hiked yesterday. I didn’t write because I hiked, so I was up early and then I came back and was exhausted. Plus I don’t know what day it is anymore. Neither does anyone else, so it’s all good.

Girlchild spent a lot of time spoiling dogs…

They love when she’s home…

Which is good for her too…

Although she put this one in timeout for barking too much…

Legit.

We had one family gaming night…

With kitten involvement…they were fascinated…

With laps and dice and little pieces everywhere…

I didn’t win. I really never win. It’s a good thing I don’t care about winning.

Girlchild left this morning. I’m trying to figure out when to go visit her in Boston. Maybe Spring?

Lots of kitten cuteness. I have no family pictures…just kitten pictures.

Lame. I know.

This morning, my cat (Kitten) ventured out and maybe attempted play with kittens…

Maybe. Hard to say. Yes, there’s a kitten up her butt.

It’s progress. We hope.

Yesterday’s hike was at Santa Ysabel Preserve West, out off the 78…there was ice in a puddle and a tiny bit of snow by the path…

It was beautiful…there were lots of cows…and the Coast to Crest Trail book is as always completely wrong about every hike I’ve done in there…

The mileage was right…just under 6 miles…

I’m just not sure how they calculate loss/gain of elevation, because they said 300 feet and I should have checked AllTrails instead, because I would have brought my poles for the mud alone and this beast of a hill…

Down was worse than up for me. The man will never hike this trail again. Only 1174 feet of gain. Or loss. Doesn’t really matter to your knees.

Snow on the nearish mountains…

Beautiful panoramas…and more cows…

Mama is staring at us quite intently. We did persuade her to go stand by her babies…the original trail went between mom and the calves. Not a great plan.

We visited our favorite dive bar on the way back for sustenance…and then collapsed for the rest of the day.

I quilted a little bit on Friday. Super slow progress…

I just have too much to do. I finished grading 4/5 of the larger assignments.

I’m hoping to quilt more today. I’m also hoping someone besides me will take the initiative on the grocery list/cooking plan today, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening. Basically, I don’t think we would go to the store if I didn’t plan it.

Sigh.

I have videos to compile for my Patreon today, plus a drawing to scan and clean up. But hopefully more quilting too.

This was Friday’s drawing…tech on my mind? Much?

And then last night’s…I started with kittens asleep over there…at some point, one headed for me.

It’s hard to draw with a kitten in your face.

But there it is. Join my Patreon for $5/month and you’ll get a high-res copy of the drawing for coloring or staring at or whatever. Just don’t sell it. One a month. Such a deal. At some point, I’ll make a coloring book, but not yet. Need funding.

The Patreon video this month is about my motivation to get stuff done at the moment. It’s lacking. So I’ll do some pondering and then figure my shit out. As always. Until then, maybe it’s sandwiches every night. Can’t be bothered. Welcome to the new year!

Fighting Broken Thread…

Solar guys are here early to hopefully finish the job. Did I go to bed early last night because I knew they were coming? Fuck no. I was too busy fighting broken threads on the current quilt to go to bed early. The parrots were also here this morning, migrating their asses all over my trees, squawking their green little parrot songs. Things I can’t sleep through: rain, wind, parrots, men stomping on my roof and screwing things down through metal. It’s actually a longer list than that…includes Calli licking her paws and Kitten cleaning her butt. Plus coyotes and TVs and light…can’t sleep when it’s light unless I’m dying of some illness…which luckily I’m not at the moment.

Every day right now is about how to get more energy and time for artmaking…and still get shit done. Yesterday was replacing the black boots that finally died…with the girlchild. Plus grading one class of the larger assignment. Honestly, though, if I only do one a day, I may never finish all the things I need to grade, so I might have to step it up to two a day. I don’t know. Sigh. Do you stuff a day full of grading? Or do a little bit each day? It’s hard to know which hurts less. Which annoys less. But at least one period will get done today. The girlchild needs her eyes checked, so that’s on the list. Continuing the drawing a day and quilting some more (hopefully with fewer breaks) is also on the list for today.

Kitten sisters love each other, but in a semi-violent way…

There’s a lot of play fighting that goes on here.

Calli only gets upset when someone tries to take her toy…

Calli was watching me grade stuff. Plus she was nervous about the weather, which is gone today! Beautiful blue skies…cold, but clear. We’ll take it! Tomorrow, we’re hiking…hopefully not in snow, but who knows? A lot fell in our mountains.

In the afternoon, post shoe-shopping and grading, I finished the stitchdown on this never-ending quilt, and then pieced a backing. I’m still using up what I have, best I can…

I ended up using some of the blue from the front and a piece of gray/black that I’ve had for a really long time…I think it was a hand-me-down from somewhere, but honestly, I don’t remember. I cleaned the floor just in time for the kids and dogs to leave…

And then pinbasted it…it’s not huge. I’m not sure what’s taking me so long right now. Best to let the brain do what it needs to do. Stop worrying about it and just do it.

I thought this was going to be an easy 2019 finish…but I think it’ll be the first quilt of 2020.

I generally finish about 6 decent-sized quilts a year…this one would have been number 7.

I still might finish it in time for it to be a 2019 quilt…but for show entries, it’s probably better to finish in 2020.

I need thread for the background…I don’t have that color of blue, I think. I will need binding at some point as well. And I need a decision about the next deadline.

I took a break for pilates and dinner and some TV plus drawing, which is hard to do with a kitten on your chest. But she was insistent…

So I dealt…until she started batting at the pen. Off my dear. Love you. Go somewhere else.

Bone garden…

The man went to bed…too many festivities, not enough sleep (he handles it by sleeping…a smart move, I must say)…and I started quilting. The thread broke at least 10 times in this little space. I changed the needle, rethreaded a million times, applied thread conditioner, changed the tension.

Then gave up and went to bed because who needs that? And sometimes it figures itself out overnight. I’ll try again today.

Here are my Instagram colors from 2019. That’s a lot of blue…

Interesting…because my photos are a lot of art and a lot of hiking and animals. That’s about it.

Plans for today? Shower. Ignore stomping on roof. A drawing, some quilting, grading an assignment, eye doctor with girlchild, thread purchasing, possibly Costco (is it too soon? It might be too soon…but I need stuff. Not a lot of stuff. It can probably wait until next week. I don’t like people right now. The grocery stores on the two days before Christmas were probably enough people for the next three weeks.). Introverting? Maybe. Might be at a show tonight, later. Just don’t know. Art though. Make art.

Not This Year…

Two days off from writing…as always with this time of year, it’s busy. I’m really tired too…not sleeping well. Last night was the sound of rain…isn’t that supposed to be soothing? It was a lot of rain. Over an inch. And wind. Not so soothing. I feel like yesterday was the end of all the not-sleep and over-activity. The family stuff is done (well, mostly) and the holiday crazy is over, so now I can just focus on art and sleep (maybe?) and getting work done. Perhaps some down time? That might be a good plan.

Monday, I packed up 4 quilts…some needed slats, some needed labels. It took a good chunk of the day to get my fuzzy holiday brain on task and get it done, but then I shipped them all on Tuesday morning, which was the good thing. Four fewer things to worry about.

Then we went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (no longer the Wild Animal Park) with the man’s family, on one of those safari caravan things, where you get to feed the animals. That was way cool…

I suck at names, but this giraffe is female and very food-oriented.

And only a little in your face…

I think we all enjoyed the tour…

We also got to feed a couple of rhinos and ask lots of questions…

Apparently I win on questions. Not suprisingly. I told her I was a science teacher.

Casual. Giraffe over shoulder. Plus the tour guide went through the master’s program with my co-teacher…small world.

Baby rhino!

Rhinos are the weirdest looking things…

I didn’t know about the prehensile lip thing…

I’d never seen one this close…

I kept asking about everyone’s teeth. The animals…not the people. Anyway. It was a very cool thing to do, followed by food and wine and then coming home and being too exhausted to do anything but space out and go to bed. So I didn’t draw on Christmas Eve. I thought about doubling up yesterday, so I would still get my 24-drawing count, but it’s not meant to be a law like that. So I let it slide.

Christmas Eve, we moved the tree off the hearth, because it was supposed to be cold on Christmas Day and we wanted a fire…

I think she can sit in the entryway for a couple more years before we have to plant her out…although she might want to get out of that plastic container before then.

Christmas morning, the kittens and Kitten were all in the same space without violence…

That’s a good sign…we’ve seen a few instances of co-existence. There’s hope for the old lady.

Christmas Day was a lot of presents and a lot of food…my mom and the girlchild giving Simba all the loves…

Which he totally deserves, yeah? He even got a present…

The animals all get presents, although we think someone ate a catnip mouse. Probably someone large…

Hmmm. Maybe.

My dad sits on a chair behind the couch and surveys the room…

It takes a while. We eat the foods. We clean up. Then we all do our own thing for a while…some cook, some sleep, some walk…

Some put cat trees together…

Stronger minds than mine…

I even sat down at the machine again…trying to finish the stitchdown so I can get this quilt done.

Realistically, the other January deadline I had is not gonna happen. Not sure what happened in late November/early December, but I kinda lost the creation mojo. Too tired, too overwhelmed with all the stuff that needed to happen. Not surprising. It’s fine. Someday this week I’ll reevaluate where I’m at and decide whether I’m going to just blow off deadlines or make something for something.

Christmas dinner was nice…girlchild did a good job…

I started a drawing while waiting for dinner…and added a bunch of leaves afterwards, mostly because I couldn’t think of anything else to draw. The wonder of a tired brain…

Weird dogs. OK, maybe just the one on the right.

After the drawing, I finished grading one assignment and input five into the online gradebook. It needed to be done, it’s brainless, and this one was asleep in one arm while I did it…

Sweet baby.

Today is one more family thing, and then I’m hoping to finish the stitchdown, pinbaste the quilt (which means cleaning the entryway floor), doing another drawing, SLEEPING. Yeah. Not. Because the solar people are coming back tomorrow morning, so they’ll be here early, stomping on the roof. Sigh. I do sometimes go back and read past years on the blog to remind myself that it always takes a week, easily, to get relaxed in winter. It’s just chaos until after Christmas. But this quilt will get done and another started, and the grading will get as far as it gets, and I will be ignoring that parent who wants me to call them until I actually go back to school, and then I will be happy to call them. Although it’s going to be the same shit I told the kid twice now, so I’m not sure where the conversation will go from there. I’m going to read some of the 17 books I got for Christmas and maybe do some yard stuff and some hikes and some drawing. It’s good. I’ll get there. The family stuff was good…it just doesn’t leave much energy for anything else. This year, anyway. Some years, I’ve been ironing Christmas Eve and quilting Christmas afternoon…but not this year. No judgement. Just reality. Hope everyone had the holiday they needed or wanted, and if not, you now are getting to do something you do want to do. Or feeding a giraffe…because that was pretty cool.

I'm Useless Right Now…

I’m tired. I had to get up early for jury duty. Once I was there, I panicked. They had three trials lined up with panels of 40 for each. I don’t think there were 120 people in the room. So I rescheduled for April, and will reschedule again for the summer after that. The nice woman said I could do that. I was afraid I’d get stuck on a jury for the next three days (minus Christmas), and we have big family stuff for tomorrow and hopefully hiking on Thursday. Whatever. I will still be irritated by jury duty in the summer, but at least I won’t be as limited or planned out then. I find the whole mess annoying, but whatever…at least I wasn’t the guy yelling, “This is fucked up!” in the jury lounge. I mean, I could’ve been that guy…

I made it to the grocery store again, this time with the boychild. Yesterday was the girlchild, but we didn’t get all the things. As it is, I still need one more thing. But it’s cold and rainy and I’d like to stay put for a while. Maybe I’ll go to the gym later. If I wake up.

Yesterday was a lot of errands and prepping stuff and now I need to pack up a bunch of quilts and ship them…gonna do that next. Absolutely NO PROGRESS on this damn quilt. My brain is off. Welcome to the teacher on break! My co-teacher is diligently grading quizzes, because she’s leaving the country in two days. I’m not…so I should make a plan for grading things, but my brain is fuzz. I have one assignment partially graded and another one mostly graded. Welcome to inconsistencies! Woo hoo!

OK, I plan to finish both of those today, as well as shite…am I making dinner tonight? I don’t remember. Fuck. The holidays kick my ass. NO. I am NOT cooking. Phew. OK, I also will pack up the three quilts that need to ship and the two that need to be delivered next week, which means I need to do two labels I think, and then put labels on the other one that needs to ship and just ship its ass outta here too.

Then maybe I can stitch down the current quilt. Or sleep in. Or something.

I’m still doing a drawing a day…this is Saturday night…

First time I’ve drawn pussy willows? Nah. I think my Sightlines quilt from a million years ago has pussy willows in it.

There are lots of kittenish things going on, mostly with them sleeping…

Because otherwise they are moving too fast to photograph.

Blurry. This went well until Luna sneezed.

I need to sleep more.

Dinner at the parentals last night…apparently Simba likes limes.

He made a face but went back for more…freak.

Tree is finally decorated. Sort of. I’m done with it anyway. Kitten is never done with it.

She’s on the lookout for needles to gack up.

OMG more sleeping…

They are cute. And entertaining. Even when they want to stand on the things I’m doing…which is really more Luna than Nova. Nova was watching the pen move.

I almost fell asleep many times while drawing this…

Which might explain a lot about it.

Anyway…more drawing tonight, lots of organizing stuff to ship this afternoon. I spent a chunk of time looking up all the Expanse novels I hadn’t read. Apparently I missed one. I have no idea how I did that. Right now? More caffeine please. And less rain. Eventually. Maybe a nap. Sheesh. I’m useless right now.

The Relaxation Part…

3 AM wakeup worry: need to make sure kids know tectonic plates don’t float on water. (Shut up, Teacher Brain!). It takes me a few days to get my brain to realize it’s on break. Sometimes it take it a whole week. I need a grading plan. I need a quiltmaking plan. I need a sanity plan. I brought home a huge pile of stuff. It’s unfortunate but necessary. This job…

I got home from a long day (it was gonna be long, no matter how long it was)…and there was an envelope from CraftForms with a catalog-type thing and a certificate, but also a check! That was nice. It took me a while to figure out what it all meant, which is funny…

My brain was not functioning. I should have just read the certificate. Could not focus. I’m taking all the awards I’m getting from now on and dumping them into the remodel account…because my studio is one of the rooms that needs work. Not a lot of work…well…I have ideas, but not all ideas that I can afford.

I went to pilates after…it was great. I am really liking the control and relaxation that comes with pilates. Weird, I know…and I still need hikes and the gym, but this is also good.

I didn’t grade anything at all last night. I often do on Fridays, because my brain is already in school mode, so it’s easier to bang out one assignment or class and get it out of the way, but I was too tired. I wasn’t the only one who was tired…

He ran around a lot yesterday at the other house…the solar got started today, but it’s not done…so the boychild kept him at the other house and he tired himself out.

Kittens are both lap cats…here’s Nova…

When they want to sleep, they want to be on you…I got Luna…

They nap for about 20 minutes, and then race around again.

After that, I started my Winter Break drawing practice, a drawing a night (or day…no judgement here). I don’t think too hard about these…it’s really just about the practice.

I did this last year and really enjoyed it.

So there’s 12/20…this is a 9×12″ sketchbook. And I really do just like to fill spaces, in case you’re wondering. So that’s 24 days of break (well, I included last night…there’s only 23 days), so 24 drawings. Sounds exciting!

I went to bed early. I was tired. I always give Simba special pets and then crate him (it keeps him quieter at night…he’s a barky asshole sometimes)…but Luna followed me down the hallway and then sat on his crate…causing perturbed puppy…

He’s like, um…mom…there’s a cat up there. I don’t like that.

The kittens haven’t been down the hallway to the bedroom much…so even Kitten was perturbed…

Hmmm. Well, at some point, the kittens probably won’t be crated at night and the bed will get more crowded, based on what we’ve seen so far. They are very people-oriented cats, which is nice.

So today is Saturday. I need to pick up a quilt, pack up three more for shows, then clean the girlchild’s room because she’s coming home tonight. I want to finish the stitchdown of the quilt. I will be doing one drawing. There’s a bunch of cleaning that needs to happen. I need to decide how much decorating I’m doing on the tree etc, and then put the rest of the stuff in the garage. I need to make a grading plan for the next three weeks. I have jury duty Monday, so that fucks things up. I have pilates tomorrow, grocery shopping for a holiday week, and the girlchild has a hair appointment that I usually go to as well. Dinner with the parents? I need to make that phone call. And Tuesday (hoping I don’t get on a jury) is a trip to the Wild Animal Park and then holiday party. Wednesday is the normal family stuff. Holy shit, that’s a lot! Yeah. This time of year is hard. There’s a lot going on. So I need to make time for the stuff that I find fun and relaxing. I have a book to read too. That’s important!

Hope you all are managing your time well, especially the relaxation part. That’s the harder part for me. Always. I’m working on it. Kitten pets and purring helps.