A Wonderful Place to Be

It’s pouring rain. It’s OK. For one, Southern California needs it. For another, it’s not like I could go anywhere…well, except for a hike, and that’s not happening. I took my second Craft Napa class today, and it was fun. Valerie Goodwin makes these cool map quilts and I’ve always been fascinated with them, so it was interesting to see how she makes them and hear how she thinks.

So yeah, this was kind of a pattern class. We all started with the same basic materials and pattern, but I enjoyed thinking about transparent layers more than I think I ever have…

The map lines use a fabric-cutting machine. My mom only has 2 or 3 of those. Not that I need to do maps. I was thinking scribbles and letters and cursive writing. But I do like maps.

There’s the Acropolis. So I’m still working on this. I had to stop stitching because the paint needed to dry…

Tons more hand stitching, plus machine stitching, plus IDK what else. A fun way to spend the day, anyway. I appreciate the online opportunities to hang out and do fabric stuff I’ve never done before. I don’t need more projects to finish, but there’s something really important in looking at your art in a different way, and looking at other people’s art. I miss that with no exhibits I can go to right now…or maybe just a few? Visions isn’t open…but I guess the show up at Front Porch Gallery has limited hours. Maybe next weekend.

I did get up early (for a Saturday) for that class. Now I am tired. It’s OK. I enjoyed it.

Thursday night, I quilted with my monthly quilting group on Zoom…got a good 2 hours in…

It’s a very detailed quilt, so nothing about this is quick.

But the thread has stopped its psychotic breaking, so that makes it much nicer.

Friday night, after gaming, I went back to the torso area, which has an insane amount of detail…

Got the ribcage and the heart done…

And moved on to the face. I thought we might use the machine for class today, so I stopped there and pulled her off the machine. I have all the sky section and the tree to do, which is a lot, but it also is more than halfway done. Hopefully I’ll get some more done tonight; we’ll see.

I have a bunch of schoolwork to do, as always. I did some of it while on the stationary bike on Thursday night…

It was just posting assignments in each of the classes. I knew this weekend would be kind of full; I usually do this on Sunday, but I have a meeting then. The plus is that it’s done. I still need to make a couple of videos and post all of the art stuff, but since I don’t know what half of that is yet, it’s hard to get it done ahead of time.

Speaking of art, we’re doing cardboard sculpture next, so I’ve been teaching them joining techniques…

I guess the plus is that I don’t have to build my own version of sculpture…just show them how to do the bits and pieces. Twice. Because I have two levels of art. Ugh.

Friday, we took the dogs on a short walk. Calli can’t do the longer ones any more.

But she loves them so much. Simba is a freak…this is his response to bikes.

He basically wants to kill them. Not recommended.

Calli post hike…

Kitten didn’t even go on a hike…

But she is one of the three old ladies in the house.

This cracks me up.

It’s a new world, y’all. Except it’s not. Too many angry upset people out there still. I talk about some of that (and who the hell knows what else!) in a podcast, the Unbroken Chain podcast. I was interviewed by Maura James last weekend and she asked lots of good questions…

If you know me personally, you know I can ramble for a good long time.

Actually, if you read my blog, you already know that.

It’s how my brain works. I have lots of words and lots of pictures and they all need to get out. Here’s a link. Hopefully. If I did it right.

https://www.maurajames.com/podcast/episode/2ffd4eb9/ep-88-not-here-to-make-pretty-pictures-w-kathy-nida

I appreciate her searching me out and caring enough to come up with good things to talk about. Certainly a lot of what I talked about is on my mind for the next quilt. So there’s that.

OK. I’m tired. I’m going to get more tea and decide what’s next. Still waiting for the paint to dry on Athens for me to do the machine stitching, plus I still have a quilt to finish, plus two videos to make for school, and probably there’s a bunch of other shit that needs doing that I’m just not remembering because my brain has been in artmaking mode all day, which is such a wonderful place to be. Yeah. Happy Saturday, all.

Go Well…

Ah yes. A country with someone in charge whose speeches I don’t have to diagram so that I can attempt to make any sense of them. A white guy, though. An old white guy. But our VP! Finally a woman, and a woman of color on top of it. So proud. So happy. So worried about those who still feel disenfranchised and ignored. That being-ignored feeling really sucks. I agree. Having people ignore your needs and desperate calls for acknowledgement…I mean, I’m a cis female, but white and educated, so inordinately privileged, but I get that for sure. And I worry about y’all. I don’t know what to do about it though; I don’t know how to talk to you, to help you see the world in a different way. I really try to see how you all are seeing, and I just can’t. It looks like fear and hate to me. So yeah. So many things in my head yesterday. I was lucky to see the swearing ins happen right before virtual school started…trying to watch video with kids on my computer/Zoom setup is not always a positive experience, so we talked a little about the inauguration, but then it was a normal day. Well, this crazy-ass pandemic version of normal.

I’ve been fighting my sewing machine for a few days. The thread kept breaking. I changed needles (twice), rethreaded everything (many times), cleaned out the bobbin area, used thread conditioner, sanded the throat plate, and then prayed to the goddess of the machine. Nothing helped. It improved slightly, but I was still breaking thread about every 6-10 inches of quilting. An incredibly frustrating experience.

I got to the point last night where I was like, shit, I’m going to have to take the machine in, but I’m trying to finish this quilt and I have another machine, but I’m not sure where exactly it is, and there’s a re-learning curve I don’t have the mental fortitude for right now…but sigh, how else?

And magically, really, IDK what changed, much like my blood sugar at the moment, magically, it all started to work. I could sew without the thread breaking.

For an hour. Holy moly. SO MUCH EASIER. It’s like I became a rich white man. Oh wait. No. Not quite. He wouldn’t be sewing. But you know what I mean! Things were easier, I felt like I could achieve something, the world felt like a new presidential team was in place. Yeah. That. Fuck. Yesterday was interesting. I posted this picture before…spot the Bernie.

I love the mitten story. And Bernie. And the dogs and old man in the photo, but that’s something else. This doofus…

OK. Well. I hiked on Tuesday in the wind and cold…

Apparently there’s more coming this weekend. These flowers are fascinatingly huge.

I still try to exercise every day. This is just from AllTrails, an app I use for hiking…

It doesn’t count everything I do, just the hikes I do with the app.

Yeah, my boots got over 150 miles since February, so there’s that. More to come.

Goofy cats.

I finished this…

Ready to clean it and hoop it up and send it off to its new owner.

My quilt guild is starting a UFO challenge. I needed to post at least one I could finish in the first quarter. This one, I started quilting, but gave up.

Wool is different than cotton, that’s all I can say. I can do it…but something else jumped the queue. There’s also this one…

And another one that needs pinbasting…all 3 are Sue Spargo quilts. I love the embroidery part, but IDK what I will do with them when they are done. Pick a Sue Spargo wall and switch out the three every few months? Maybe.

Ah mornings. You are not my friend.

Today is sunny at least. The crazy wind the last few days has been stressful to watch from my virtual school workspace. Today is much calmer. OK, but today, I am teaching stuff in art that I’ve never really done before (again), so that’ll be fun. FUN. And Zooming for meetings as well (one in 5 minutes). Hopefully quilting later tonight, with the new calm sewing machine behavior…maybe it will continue to go well.

Quilt with Wild Abandon…

It’s been a few days. I lost track of them, actually. The wonder of a 3-day weekend when I did things that weren’t schoolwork, right? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I worked a big chunk of Monday, grading shit, but mostly I ignored school. Mostly. Not in my head; just in my practice. It’s hard to do that, because the work has to get done sometime. In fact, a chunk of it needs to be done before school starts in 43 minutes, but it’ll happen. Somehow.

So Friday night was the last time I wrote. Since then, I participated in two Craft Napa events, and I have one coming up this weekend. I was waitlisted on one and offered today to take it, but um, yeah, so like, that’s a school day. So I picked another one instead. It’s OK. It’s really just a chance to hang out and do artsy stuff with other artsy people. The actual project doesn’t probably matter.

So Saturday night was a virtual wine tasting…

It was interesting and a good distraction for a Saturday night. We enjoyed it.

Then Sunday morning, I was up early for a recycled plastics sewing class with Natalya Khorover.

Let’s hope the girlchild doesn’t recognize the bag of hers I cut into. I don’t actually have a ton of plastic bags in the house. We have reusable bags, so not many plastic bags make it in here.

I was going to do this long quote, but decided against it…this was more doable.

I got all the letters stitched down. Need more embellishment. I’ll do that…

It was fun to take a class after months and months of not doing it. I’ve always wanted to go to Craft Napa in person, just as a break, but the timing with school is difficult, plus expense. This was very doable.

I did start quilting as well, but I’ve been plagued with thread breakages…

I’ve tried switching out the needles, conditioning the thread, cleaning everything…probably it’s a burr in the thread plate, so I’ll try to deal with that today.

So I got the bottom three layers done, the fire and rocks, basically…

Pretty damn frustrating, if you ask me.

I don’t really need more frustrating things right now.

What else? Dogs.

Lots of animals require attention here. I’m OK with that most of the time.

The man is getting his Pacific Coast Trail permit day today. We think. Hoping for the end of my Spring Break, so we can do a little camping/hiking together before he leaves for potentially 5 months.

I’m almost done with this thing…

A few more TV episodes after dinner and it will be done. Stick it in a frame and mail it to its new owner.

OK, now I can go do the school stuff I need to do and teach all day and then maybe hopefully go for a walk. Then sand down the potential burr on my needle plate and hopefully quilt with wild abandon tonight until I need to go to bed to repeat tomorrow…tomorrow, inauguration day, when hopefully the crazy insurrectionists won’t do something really stupid and irreversible. Sigh. We can all hope for some semblance of order and peace, ’til we return to trying to figure out how to mend a bunch of stuff in our country and help people accept more variety in their worlds than they’re used to. Whatever that looks like…because honestly, some days, I don’t know. Until then, I need to answer an email from a kid that came in at midnight (I ignored it) and do all the shit I forgot to do yesterday. Sigh.

Really Hard Dirt

I meant to write this in the morning, before school, but I worked instead. I thought about writing it in the afternoon, but I had to deliver art supplies to students who can’t leave their homes. I got home after that and had a little time before gaming tonight, but instead of writing this, I talked to my mom about my dad coming home in the next few weeks, which is good news, but a little frightening as well. I’m going to go see him this weekend; I get to talk to him through a window. I could go now, but it’s close to midnight and if I know my dad, he’s asleep. Hopefully. I might go to bed before I ever finish writing this. I was up late last night and didn’t sleep well; I had a really low blood sugar drop, no reason that we could see, and it really messed up my nighttime routine. You know, sleep and all. It took a while to come back up, and then I woke up a few times at night to check it. It’s happened once before, about a year ago, and the phone nurse just keeps asking me if I’m sick and did I eat. Well yeah, I did eat and no, I’m not sick. So I just took my insulin tonight and I’m kinda watching the clock and giving it some time to make sure everything is OK tonight. Hopefully. Because I need the sleep. And I need some time this weekend to get some work done, because I didn’t get any done tonight, art or otherwise. Good thing it’s a 3-day weekend.

Wednesday night, I finished the stitchdown on the current quilt…

It took just under 5 hours to do that…not bad…

I wasn’t sure I’d get her sandwiched and pinbasted last night…it was a long day, and it meant mopping the floor first, but I pulled it off…

Sometimes I have energy and I do shit.

It’s not actually a huge quilt…just has a lot of pieces in it for its size. I should be able to start quilting this weekend; we’ll see how that goes, because Craft Napa started on Wednesday. I was able to hang out in the Welcome group for about 50 minutes, until I had to go to a union meeting. I spent most of Wednesday’s prep period, 5th period while kids were working, the Craft Napa meeting, and the union meeting sorting art supplies for my 72 online art students.

I actually had a fairly impressive stash of colored paper. Anyway, I delivered those envelopes Wednesday night around 8 PM, and then today, hand delivered a few of them. In general, I make them go get them from school. As always, some kid three weeks from now will tell me they didn’t even know about this and it’s not their fault they couldn’t do the project. Sigh. I put a lot of time into my classes. Sometimes I don’t want to, but I really don’t know how to half-ass it. Although I lost my mind on Wednesday when they pushed one of my classes to 40 kids. Apparently that is my line: 40 kids in a class. They fixed it (the kid really was supposed to go to another teacher), but I’m still annoyed with myself that my mindset for the 2nd half of the year went out the window in just three days. That said, they flipped about 5 kids from hybrid to distance and back, and then gave me three additional students, so I suspect my crazy was somewhat justified.

Anyway, I have one Craft Napa class on Sunday and another next Saturday, plus the wine tasting tomorrow night, although after the blood sugar thing last night, I’m cautious about that. No, I wasn’t drinking either last night…you sound like the nurse. No no no no no. I wasn’t doing any of those things. Sigh. Stupid body. I hate when you feel like you can’t trust your body. It sucks. Anyway, knock on wood that it was a one-off. Again. The second time.

I’m still chugging away on this…

I might find the pattern designer at some point and post it with this. I might. I’m using stash. One of the designers I follow was asking if people preferred kits or PDF patterns, and it’s not that I don’t like kits, they’re easy, but I have all the floss in the world (I say that, but I had to buy 3 skeins for this one because they were using all the new colors) and besides, I have a dog who eats patterns, and if it was a kit, I would have to buy another one to get the pattern, unless the designer was really nice (dude, I would totally send pictures), but with a PDF file, you can just print another one.

Kitten agrees.

No art tonight. No energy either. I do however have excited sourdough starter.

Can’t argue with that. I’m making sourdough focaccia tomorrow. Or Sunday. Hard to say. I never get the timing right.

I’m teaching radial zendoodles for warmup this week.

These are the practice ones, which all look like hydras. Really, I’m teaching kids how to fold carefully, because that seems to be the bigger issue.

We got this freebie cat tent when the kittens came over a year ago. Nova would sleep on it. Luna would kamikaze all over it, but this is the first time anyone (Kitten) has slept in it.

We planted the Christmas tree…Calli for size.

Of course, that makes me sad, because in a year, when I check the size again, odds are Calli won’t be around. But she’s cute. I don’t know why I say “we” planted the tree. I whacked the bottom with the shovel to break up the roots and helped shove dirt into the hole, but the boychild did the rest, including digging a hole in rock. Or really hard dirt. Maybe really hard dirt is just rock.

OK, I’m feeling OK. It’s 45 minutes since the insulin. I’m going to test my blood and crawl into bed, hopefully for better sleep than last night. Wish me luck. Then do some exercise this weekend, hang out with some quilt artists, do some schoolwork, quilt a little, see my dad through a window, and hope the body and brain feel better at the end of it.

I See Things…

Impeach. Jail. Hey, have there been any cases yet in the courts brought by people who got COVID from assholes who refused to wear masks in their presence? I wonder. I’m thinking of Representatives Jayapal and Watson Coleman, who were sheltering in a space with Republican (what do you call them when they are House and Senate? The article said ‘lawmakers’, but I’m having a distinct issue with calling them that right now…let’s just call them…) assholes who refused to wear masks, and to quote Rep. Jayapal, “I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one.” MOCKED. Fuck them. She wants fines levied. I want them arrested. There are diseases out there that carry jail terms.

I’m saying this as my family sits on pins and needles, watching my dad for symptoms (none so far) and I listen to a friend who is losing her mom to this disease, and it’s hard to hear, because I know we’re all a step away, a fucking short step for some of us, from losing someone we love. This thing ain’t over yet. Buckle down and put your fucking masks on.

Do I think it’s worthwhile to impeach the president? Fuck yes. Make a point. Look at the law and how many broke it…in Congress too. You tweeted locations? You’re out. You opened doors? You’re out. You colluded in creating that chaos? GET THE FUCK OUT. The president and his flunkies thought it was funny to rile people up to attack the Capitol. Anyone who thinks arresting those people and putting them in jail or impeaching the president will make things worse…dayum, you have NOT been paying attention. If I, an educated white woman, with all the privilege that brings, am sitting around with a rock in my gut, worried about the state of my country, worried about people with guns who want a revolution (and just to say, I am not and never will be worried about BLM protestors…they aren’t the problem…they’re the voice of the fucking solution), worried about people who think THIS election was stolen, but the last one was somehow different? You don’t have to be woke to see that shit is going down right now, that unity is the last thing we’re getting right now. Unity with terrorists? Fuck that shit. WTF, people. WTF. And if that election was stolen (it wasn’t), there are some senators and congressmen who need to step down, because they weren’t really elected. Ted Cruz, I believe I’m talking to you…and a few others.

I’d love to see the Republican party clean house and go back to the semi-competence of years past, where we hated them for their stupid kneejerk policies about war and the environment and immigration that seem incredibly SANE after the last four years. I honestly think school should be called off for Inauguration Day, because I don’t see us getting through it without some crazy news from somewhere.

Still working on a quilt from all this, somehow. I had one draw itself in my head the other morning while I was in the shower. No time to draw right now. School is overwhelming and exhausting, and we’re only on Day 3. I’m not allowed to talk about any of the above stuff with my students, unless they bring it up, and then only in general terms, no politics. I know. I always roll that way. Although with some of what I teach, it’s hard for my political beliefs NOT to show. I say “where’s the evidence of that” a lot. I taught “coping with stress” yesterday as part of trying to touch on whatever they might be dealing with at home. Uncertainty should be next on my list…but the counseling department hasn’t released that slide show yet.

In the midst of all the political crap, I am trying to be sane about work. Ignoring parent and student emails if they come in after 5 PM…until the next morning. Taking some time at lunch to NOT work. Read my book instead. My book about fairy tales where women are taking the reins. Sigh. I wake up in the mornings to the alarm and I’m in the middle of dreams, dreams where I’m driving away from everything, but I’ve forgotten all the stuff I need, I’m breaking into houses where no one lives and trying to set up shop, but I’ve left my computer (which, by the way, is an Apple 2e from the 80s…no idea why I couldn’t dream a nice laptop instead) somewhere else and I have to go back into the unsafe zone to get it. I’m exhausted and it’s only Wednesday. Yeah OK. We’re back.

This made me laugh. Because hey, I’m Antifa, by the way…antifascist? Totally…

And I wear all black pretty often. So yeah. Blame me for those things that QAnon actually did. And posted all over social media.

I’ve been doing a little stitchdown every night. Actually, the first night, it was a whopping 15 minutes, but I managed 90 minutes Monday and Tuesday nights.

So I have about 3 1/2 hours done, and I made it up into the sky…

Just barely, but I haven’t finished the torso and head of the body…

The machine was being cranky last night after running super smoothly on Monday night. So I took everything apart a couple of times, tore some stitching out, and got it working well again. More tonight. Wait. I think. Honestly can’t remember what tonight is. Oh yeah, it’s Wednesday. Union meeting, pilates, need to deliver supplies to school, don’t know when the fuck I’m going to do that. Really need the art teacher to answer email. My frustration levels with the system are high.

But I should finish up the stitchdown sometime this week and hopefully get it pinbasted this weekend and start the quilting. I did sign up for Craft Napa this weekend, and am taking two classes (but one is next weekend), just for the experience with the teachers. I don’t really NEED to take classes, y’all, but sometimes it’s good to stretch your brain beyond what you’ve been doing.

I walked after work yesterday…

Into the sunset…

And into dusk…it’s staying lighter later…

Need to reinstate walking the dogs with the boychild…soon. Almost light enough for that.

Got a little more done of this…actually, I have more than this done.

Forgot to photograph it last night. Whoops. Oh well, you’ll see it soon enough. This is a pattern and it’s for someone, not me.

Girlchild sent a baby seal photo…

Hope mom is coming back for it.

OK, I’m panicking a little about school today, only because I need stuff decided for tomorrow OR I’m doing it all on my own with so little information. That’s kind of the story of the year. My superintendent reminding me not to politicize shit, but ALSO reminding me of my wellbeing and self-care, while the assistant superintendent sends a crazy (must have been a draft), badly written and honestly accusatory email about how we need to personally instruct each child at their level of reading. You know what? I invite her to teach my one class of 39 with 11 special education students (I have more than one class with 39 kids, by the way), and to show me what that would look like. A personal reading plan for each of those students with no working curriculum at their level. I’d really like to see that. You tell us this and then tell us we can’t have any reading material below a 4th-grade level…when the average reading level at my school is 2nd grade. Way to support us. Thanks.

I’m glad my dad is not showing symptoms. I hope that continues. I’m glad I’m finally at the stitchdown phase of this quilt. I hope I finish it. I hope I can find a way to draw the political turmoil for the next quilt. I want to get plenty of exercise and more sleep (ha!) and work on the rock in my gut. Today, I want the patience to deal with whatever comes up without feeling like I’m losing my mind. And I need another cup of tea. See? I have hope. I look into the future and I see things. Some very far away things, and some that might be this weekend, and in the case of the tea? About 10 minutes from now.

May I…

Well, that came up quickly. I have 5 minutes to write this post. There’s no way I can do that. What happened to the morning already? Oh yeah, I did 5 work things before I sat down to write. Duh. I still don’t know what I’m doing for my art warmup today…should figure that out. My brain is all over the place. AND tired. Not a good combination.

In art news, I finished painting the 4th background…

Saturday night? Because that’s what you do.

Hopefully I will now start drawing on them, instead of being terrified to do anything to them. We’ll see how that goes.

I cut the pieces out for one of my Applique Stories women.

She seems surprised. Need to stitch all this down.

And I finally started stitchdown on the current quilt.

I only got 15 minutes in last night before I persuaded myself to go to bed. Hopefully more tonight.

Kitten is a great support.

Saturday afternoon’s 4-mile walk was full of people…

But mostly flat, and that was requested, so there we are.

Ugh. I’m so tired. It’s OK. I’ll figure my shit out. Hopefully. First day back to school in 2021. May it go well. May I figure out what the hell I’m doing.

It Probably Will Involve Celery…

This week has been interesting. I’m all over the map on what to worry about. Maybe better to not worry. Make something in fabric. Except I don’t have anything ready for my art classes, minor issue, keep waiting for info, but I don’t have any, so I guess we’re making sculpture out of celery and cilantro. It’ll be fine. FINE. I can’t concentrate on much either, so that’s helpful, brain, thanks so much.

I will panic more about school tomorrow. Really. It probably will involve celery.

The quilt is ironed together and I’m ready to stitch it down.

That will hopefully be an easy task. Who knows, though.

I’ve also been trying to finish the painted backgrounds, because I need to clear off the light table for teaching this week. I added the figure for this one.

Again, gonna be drawing on top of them later. Then for the biggest one, I did the figure first…

Shiny wet in the middle. And then started to paint the background.

I have to wait for parts of it to dry before I can paint the next bit.

I’m almost done with it. I’ll be drawing all over this one.

Still cross-stitching this…

I have other things I’ve been working on while watching bits and pieces of non-news TV. Really nice to not watch the news. I also finished a book…because that seemed important at the time…

I wanted to know what happened. Calli did too.

Cat play time…I knocked all the boxes over…

The cats enjoy words like “under” and “in”…

I’m thinking a box fort for the next 76 days (Spring Break). For me. Not the cats. I mean, they can stop by, but I really need the space.

Also this. As art. Because I don’t have enough going on.

It’s OK. It probably won’t happen. My life is about to go into overdrive again. Probably also I need help with the art planning for school. I’m not gonna get it, but I need it.

Today, I’m hoping to finish that one big background, and to start the stitchdown on this quilt. I’m in a quilt guild meeting online right now, so as soon as I finish this, I’ll probably cut some fabric out on the applique stories piece I’m working on right now. I’m tired, but we should walk today and maybe play a game tonight. I think. And tomorrow, I’ll panic about school. For realz.

My Country

Sigh. Well. You know, the Man and I picked yesterday to finish the fifth hike in the Coast to Crest Challenge (and finish it we did), and then were on our way home and got a call from my mom that my dad now has COVID (fuckin’ a, man…he cannot catch a break) and is quarantined in skilled nursing for two weeks, and then while I’m on the phone with my mom, the Man has the news on, and I’m like, WTF is that, WTF is happening? You can’t really pick a day (New Year’s) and say OK, everything after this day is gonna be good, this year is gonna be better, I mean you CAN do that, but it’s silly to think that the flip of a calendar month or pinning up a new calendar (I did that) is going to make the world make sense. There are a lot of people who need to answer for their behavior yesterday, and none of them are Antifa or BLM protestors, and if you think they are, GET THE FUCK OFF MY BLOG. Seriously. I don’t even want you to look at my art. I don’t want you in my personal space or even my public one.

Sigh. Wait a minute. I do want you here, because if you’re here, there’s some part of your brain that must think something sane, right? You can’t possibly look at my work or enjoy what I write without some sense of what should happen in the world. Yes, in real life, I seesaw from anger to empathy to concern to anxiety. I’m checking my meditation app for “political coup plus aging and ill parent with COVID plus only four days until I go back to school” and there is no course of meditations for that, dammit. There SHOULD be. I guess I’ll stick to anxiety (control what you can…wait…WTF…that is literally NOTHING right now) and sleep for meditation.

No, I changed my mind. Get the fuck off my website. Wait No. If we don’t talk, you’ll never see how your attitudes and beliefs are hurting other people, hurting yourself. I don’t think you’ll ever see that, but I have to hope you can.

I live in East County…the eastern portion of San Diego County, where unfortunately, some of the deplorables from yesterday hail from, like the woman who died. We have our proud boys and our KKK here; my UPS driver the other day was wearing an AK-47 T-shirt. I should have complained about that one. He was also missing an arm. Fuck me. The world is so hurt right now; I don’t know how to fix any of it, and here I am, making a quilt about childbirth. I was considering the next quilt for a show I heard about, back to how I, as a privileged white woman (I am educated, I went to good schools, I can pay my bills) can make anything important or legitimate about the existence of people of color…and I can’t. I can only make something that is a story…I don’t know what that story is or what it looks like. I keep running through imagery in my head, and it feels like it’s not my story to tell. But then it is my story…to talk to the white women who think it’s OK to support Trump, who think it’s OK to be racist, who think it’s OK to tell others they can’t tell their stories. That’s my job. And I don’t know how to do that, because I don’t understand those women. At all. Fear? Fear of change? I don’t know. And now we have this…this terrorist event.

Processing, y’all. Processing. I do it here on the blog. Sorry. Not sorry.

So here’s what we did yesterday…the Lusardi Creek loop of the Coast to Crest Challenge…there are tons of invasive wild artichoke plants on this hike.

It feels like you are hiking through an alien landscape.

It’s probably much nicer in Spring, but right now, mostly everything was dead and dry and weird looking.

This hike is probably really hot in the summer. It was pretty hot yesterday, and it wasn’t really hot. There’s a few climbs in here that might merit its ‘moderate to strenuous’ rating. Mostly it’s fire roads though, with some steep inclines.

We took the fire road straight where the map wanted us to turn. That might not have been the best choice, because we then had a hill from hell to trudge up, so on the way back, we went the ‘correct’ way, which still had hills…

It wasn’t the most fun hike I’ve been on, but I prefer the wooded hikes personally.

My partner in hiking was not having a good time, and honestly, I just go very zen on the trail. I mean, this is the trail, we’re hiking it, and it’s not doing anything TO us, so we’re just going to hike it until it’s done. I find you can do just about anything if that’s your attitude, except for some hills, so I hiked away from him for a while. Let him get his anger at the trail out in his own mind. I can’t listen to his complaints. Everyone has to figure out their own relationship to hard trails. I can’t deal with his, so we spread out.

All this while white supremacist terrorists were storming the US Capitol building. That’s the weird part. We’re out on this really quiet hike, hardly any people, in this big wide-open space surrounded by million-dollar homes and there’s a coup going on, an attack on my country.

That might be my next quilt. My place in this country. I’m not sure where it is. Shifting ground. Lack of communication. Can we require therapy for the whole country? I think we should consider it. Worried about my students. Hey, there’s a hawk nest up there.

A nest for your babies in the middle of electrical wires.

So that’s it. We did all five hikes, we get the stickers, we get the patches. Whoop whoop! IDK what we’re doing next. Maybe the previous year’s challenge…there are still patches left for that one, apparently.

Meanwhile, more work is happening on the dry river bed…we dug it out more, the boychild and I…

Spreading the dirt around a bit more. Then we covered it with landscape fabric…

Now I need to get gravel and then river rocks and then plants and somehow make it all look natural. Or not. I just don’t know. It’s such a strange thing to be working on while worrying about dad and the nation and school.

The bees are happily getting nectar from the agave flower spike I got this year. Fascinating stuff.

This from Tuesday night’s walk…

My legs have been like lead blocks lately. So tired. I’m giving them a break today, I think. I need exercise, but I also need rest. Rest with kitties…

Still fucking up on the counting on this…

I actually have more than that done. But then Calli ate the pattern this morning. I found it on my computer (this is why you buy PDFs and not actual patterns, y’all) and printed it again. This is what my brain can handle…make an X. Now make another one.

I did iron Tuesday night, got 100 pieces of the torso done…

And then last night, walk away from the television, shut down the social media apps, and iron the rest…

Easier to iron the heart and face separate and then put them where they belong.

Same with the eyes.

And then got the whole thing in the center of the quilt…

Now I just need to iron it down to the background and start the stitch down. Progress. It’s such a complicated piece.

These guys last night…asleep together…

The two old ladies. No coup on their minds. No insurrection, no terrorism, no confusion about why yesterday’s ‘protestors’ were treated differently than the BLM protestors. We know why (cough cough racist fucking country, stupid police, stupid politicians, who the fuck is in charge). There’s a lot of questions that need answers, a president who needs to be removed right now, some politicians who need to quit, a large number of people who need to be charged with sedition, and probably, in a little while, a quilt for me to draw. I don’t solve anything but the chaos in my own mind when I do that, but I guess that is one thing I can do.

The Land of Fussy Ironing…

I moved my calendar. It’s now to the left of the computer instead of the right. I keep looking to the right, staring at the blank space, thinking “where the fuck is the calendar”, remembering, and looking to the left. I’m wondering how many days before I just remember to look to the right. Probably not a lot. We relearn simple shit like that, if our brains are in working order, pretty quickly. I feel like I’m unlearning how to teach this year. This is not how I like to teach. So much of it is direct instruction, cutting corners, just telling them stuff we’d normally have them figure out on their own in groups. Ugh. Don’t forget how to teach. Don’t forget what it feels like to be in the classroom. Seeing their faces. Responding to their understanding there instead of in the chat.

I made one longer video yesterday for school; 23 short ones to go, but I need to get the Man to stop watching survival TV long enough for me to do that. Later today, maybe. We delivered two quilts yesterday for a SAQA show, Here and Now: Now and Then, at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad. The show opens Sunday; 10 people are allowed in the gallery at a time. After that, I wanted a walk in a different part of town, so I persuaded the man to wander off into the Mount Calaveras area…we were expecting a chill walk by a lake. Not so much.

There was a steep downhill and then a steep uphill and then some bushwhacking crap and trails wandering all over…

We eventually found something that might have been a lake, but never got near it.

We backtracked a few times, had to follow the app to get us out. Found a fucking volcano (who knew? Actually, I vaguely remembered it existed…)…

No one should allow me to pick hikes.

To get back out, we had to go back up the hill we’d gone down. Weird how that works. There’s the volcano in the distance.

It was fine in the end. Finished it off with a trip to Costco (oooh exciting) and picking up my car, which needed an oil change, but broke some lug nut stud in the process (oops), so that cost more than I had thought it would. Poor car hasn’t gone hardly anywhere this year.

My goal is to finish up the background painting on all four of these this week.

Then I can draw on them in future weeks…

To draw on them, I don’t have to clear the entire work table, so that will be easier. I think that’s what kept me from doing these until now…work space. Although that doesn’t explain flailing over the summer. Nothing really explains that.

After doing that background, I set off to continue in the Land of Fussy Ironing.

I did get the entire background done, though…it took a while, but I did it…including the rocket ship.

All I have left now is the main female figure: her torso, arms, and head. LOTS of fussy little pieces. But I’m going to iron them all together separately and then hopefully just plop that mess on top of the existing background. I laid out the 900s last night, plus the 1000s and the 1100s. So still a bit under 300 to go. Slow as fuck, this one. Slow as fuck.

It’s OK; it will get done. It gets easier from here. Maybe give myself a break on the next one, less complicated. Yeah right. Today, I’m baking bread, like a good pioneer woman, plus making a bunch of videos, posting shit for school, can’t remember what else is on the to-do list, but it’s good and fat and long (ugh). Tomorrow, we’re doing the 5th and last hike in the Coast 2 Crest Challenge…hoping for chill weather. So many things need to happen before next Monday. So many things.

It’s a Wash

I’m a little slow on documenting stuff these days. I honestly keep losing days. How is it dark already? I remember getting up. What freaking day is it anyway?

I have one week of Winter Break left. I know I am lucky, because many teachers go back tomorrow, and I’d be really not ready to do that. I’m two weeks in to this ‘vacation’ and I’m still grinding my teeth. I think I stopped for two days, but that’s it. My to-do list is heinous. Then I get distracted, like today, obviously, and trim a bunch of plants that have been bugging me for two months, instead of crossing things OFF the to-do list. I mean, the plants didn’t even make it ON the list. Sigh. I think I focus better when I’m totally overwhelmed with teaching, simply because I have no choice. I have to do that…for survival’s sake.

So back to the 48 hours where we ditched the world. We got up the next morning, opened the front door of our Airbnb, and saw the chicken. The man says I have to call him a rooster, because it’s a definite sound difference, but I will argue that he is still a chicken. He kept trying to come in…

Finally shooed him out and figured out he wanted breakfast. I hope he liked it.

The place we stayed was definitely not the Ritz, but it was fun…this was in the bathroom…

And this was embedded in the floor…

What it lacked in niceties (a fireplace, working oven, consistent Wifi), it had in character in spades. After breakfast, we headed out to the Mecca Hills Recreation Area for some hiking. We’d hoped to go to one section, but my car wasn’t keen on the 9 miles of dirt (sand? ruts?) road out to it, so we headed for the Slot Canyon hikes on All Trails. The parking lot was definitely sand, but just off the road and pretty solid.

Again, hiking in washes…although we started in a really big one…

Signs of 4WD vehicles and shotgun shells for a while, but no people…

Eventually we turned into some smaller canyons where only people could go.

It was cold and windy most of the time, and kind of a trudge. Lots of sand and rocks and a slight uphill…

Very little wildlife to be seen, not even birds, and not a lot of living plants.

I like a good hike though. We got to a point where the canyon we were in would require climbing, and that was enough…I spent most of my brain power trying to figure out how to escape the water if it started raining (it wasn’t going to start raining, but I am the paranoid type)…

Weird cactus. So it was about 5.7 miles. Not bad. You have to like sparse desert landscapes and rocks for a hike like this.

We came back and wandered around Bombay Beach for a while to see the sights we’d missed the night before…the balls light up at night…it’s quite pretty…

It’s also an Airbnb. Same owner as ours, across the street. I like ours better because the yard was fenced. Lots of people wandering through the zigzag yard.

Not fancy. Quirky.

The trailers and sheds had art in them too. Interesting place.

Wall of TVS…turn right at the TVs to get to our place.

Down the road from there, is this wondrous beast…

Pretty sure it’s related to the one we saw in Joshua Tree back in February. Oh yeah, it is…Randy Polumbo did both. This is Lodestar; the other was Angel Queen. Fun stuff.

From there, we headed back to the beach, further down from where we were yesterday…

I enjoy random metal and concrete sculpture personally…

And a good sense of humor…

And some good colorful grafitti…

The museum was not open, unfortunately…

And pigeons lived here…

I’d seen photos of this online and was glad to find it…

The hardest part of all these installations is finding artist info to go with them…

All I can tell you is that it is in the Bombay Estates.

Back home for dinner, reading, and drawing, because no TV…fine by me.

Very 70s. That night’s drawing…

And morning chicken…

We stopped by the drive-in on the way out…

And then kamikazed back home after talking to almost no one.

Meanwhile, back here…after New Year’s, I proceeded to make 17 more mistakes on this…had to rip out an entire tree, because it was half a stitch off and that won’t work.

Nope. Wasn’t drinking. Promise.

I’ve been ironing…it feels like this quilt is taking forever. Because it is. I got this leg done so I could insert it into the landscape…

And then worked on building the stuff up on the other side…a cat and a quilt of a cat…

Ironed her separately and put her in the landscape as well.

Here’s some bits and pieces I had left to do…mostly snake and bird, I think.

Progress as of Friday…

Leg in place. It’s just a really detailed piece is all.

Then Saturday, I kept going…

Pain. In. The. Ass. Yeah well. I’ve done the 600s and the 800s and barely started the 700s, plus I think a few of the 900s are done as well. So I have about 300 pieces to go? Or 400? I don’t know.

Great Horned Owl…

Which brings me to one of my Xmas presents, now installed and ready for inhabitants…

My very own owl box. I’m happy. And it’s on a system that can be lowered for cleaning, hopefully not when owls are in it. Awkward maybe. We’ll see.

Other things that happened. This cake made a spaceship on top.

It was the boychild’s 25th birthday yesterday…

His cake request was intriguing. No, I was not smart enough to take a picture of the final product. Apparently it’s better warmed up. IDK. I’m allergic to chocolate.

Coyote print from the front yard. They are here, y’all…right here.

Couple photo from the Salton Sea, stolen from the man.

My eyes might be closed.

So back in March, I asked for paint pens for my birthday…or maybe Xmas last year? I can’t remember. And then when everything shut down, I ordered gessoed canvas. I had see some posts Judy Coates-Perez put on Instagram (it’s a guide on there; can’t remember how to find it, wait, no, go here to her Instagram and then click on highlights and you can get to it there.) for how she paints and then uses the pens to decorate her paintings, and I wanted to try it. It took forever to get the canvas, and then school sucked and summer came and stressed me out with all its We Don’t Know What School Will Look Like shit and then Real School happened and kicked my ass, although at some point, I cut up some of the canvas into smaller pieces with some ideas to make some different stuff. Well, y’all, it’s been on my to-do list since fucking April, and I’m finally doing things with all the paint and pens. OK…just the paint so far, but I’m hoping to get the complicated stuff that requires plastic and water done so I can draw in peace over the next month or so.

Luna inspecting the biggest one. I drew a faint outline of a human figure in pencil on this one…

And on the others. I prepped four of them.

I wanted to just block in some color shapes to start…

I’m not really a painter, but it’s OK, because I’m going to draw all over this, Nida style. I think. We’ll see. Because I usually only draw in black and white and these are colors.

Obviously, right? I’ve got some more painting to do first. But I think this will be a nice change for me. We’ll see how it goes.

Also still baking sourdough, y’all, although the girlchild gifted me a lame, so I can stop using the box cutter to score the bread, and this nice glass starter container, so I can stop using the crappy plastic container.

My starter is still super happy to be alive. So that’s a plus.

From the book I’m reading, Gods of Jade and Shadow

A good thing to remember for the new year. Well, like I said, I have a week before I go back, and now I need to actually do schoolwork (again) this week. I have one ungraded assignment, a few late assignments that kids have turned in, and a bunch of prep to do for all three classes. Science is mostly planned, but there’s details to get done. Art is a clusterfuck. Don’t even ask me, because I don’t know. Plus I’m dealing with the car, my teeth, and who knows what else this week. Making 23 videos about the elements (periodic table elements, not the other kind). And hopefully finishing the ironing of this quilt and the painting of those backgrounds, and somehow steeling myself for the next 6 months of teaching. UGH. I’m so not ready. Luckily I don’t have to be. Yet.