What’s Up…

Well. Here we are. Hello America, in all your stages of pandemic closures or not. Here in San Diego, schools and libraries are closed. Restaurants are supposed to seat people far apart, 50% capacity. Bars, nightclubs, etc are supposed to stay closed. They haven’t closed gyms and fitness centers…yet. Businesses are still open, but emptyish. I did some errands yesterday…tried to stay away from people, but some haven’t figured out that social distancing also means not standing right behind me in a line. Sigh. The man is at work. I called the parents and offered my delivery services, and they laughed it off. It’s a weird world.

I’ve been doing a lot of prep work on brainless block-of-the-month applique stuff that I can just sit and stitch without thinking. That’s sometimes all I can do. I’m reading a book. I’m petting a lot of furry beasts. I haven’t been able to get my head around grading anything or school stuff yet. I did post one video Friday night for the kids who missed a lab station last week, and then sent a parent email from all the team for things they could do over the break…

I’ll get to grading eventually. Maybe today. Start with something easy.

When we heard the libraries were closing today, I persuaded the man to come out to the downtown library Saturday for an exhibit I’m in that just opened. I took pictures and will post a link once I’ve written/resized all that.

I’d never been to the downtown library until last week. It’s an interesting space.

I posted about help and studio friends for #igquiltfest and #marchmeetthemaker. I have a core group of about 4 or 5 stitching friends. Some I’ve known for 30 years and even when they move away, we try to ‘meet’.

Sometimes in person…sometimes not. Even as an introvert, we need the connections. For most recent finish (can’t remember if that’s #igquiltfest or #marchmeetthemaker)…is this one…Connected at the Hips

And my current project as it was on Saturday…

I straight up didn’t get much done on Saturday. My brain was in a nose dive. I ironed maybe 100 pieces…

Sunday, I got almost three hours in…much better…

I also got some video done for my Patreon…should get processed and posted today…

This is the space I need to be in…

So many shows and openings are being canceled or are up in the air…

But I can still make. I’ve got about another 125 pieces to go on this. So yes, I ran out yesterday and did this…

I use a lot of blue for outlining.

And I did lots of cat/dog watching…Luna watching birds as I watch her…

I guess my paper roll has multiple uses now.

Nova in sleepy mode…

Plans for today? Thrift shop, assuming it’s open, to get rid of some clothes that have been lying around…

Luna when you close the bathroom door…

No privacy here…

Nova destroying another piece of furniture…

They are destructive beasts…when they’re not adorably sleeping together…

Yin/yang cats. I think we’re going to a plant nursery to get a plant for the big hole in the back yard. Then walk the dogs.

Out in the middle of nowhere. My dentist called this morning and we rescheduled to July. I have a jury duty notice coming (oh that’s funny). Book Club rescheduled to April. So now I have time to finish the book. Not sure what’s happening to gaming…that’s Friday. As of tomorrow, I’m distributing food at school three days a week. Let’s see how this goes.

Stay well. Stay sane. Love you all.

I Guess I’m on Vacation…

Wow. So it’s a surreal world today, isn’t it? My principal announced in the last five minutes of 2nd period yesterday that school would be out for the next 5 weeks (the last 2 weeks are our Spring Break anyway) and the crowd went wild. Literally. Like wild animals. Fun stuff. By the end of the day, each class was down 7-10 kids, which made it much easier to teach. Some kids cried, some whined, some were planning trips to venues that will most definitely close down in the next few days. The teachers were torn…on the one hand, this last week was really difficult and the 3-week stretch to Spring Break seemed endless. On the other hand, holy crap, had to get my classroom ready for deep cleaning before I left, post a video of the lab 1/3 of my students missed, make sure I had everything I needed out of the classroom, fill a big bag with stuff to grade, and then start processing it all last night. My kids who need the free breakfasts and lunches every day. The kids on suicide watch. The kids who prefer to be with their friends. How to come back after 5 weeks and get them back into the middle of a unit. How to behave for the next 5 weeks. I’m pretty good at self-isolation in general, but I do run errands and go to the gym and all that. How crazy do we get? Hard to know. Weird shit.

OK. Well. First of all, I have two shows that are essentially closed down, one for three weeks. That’s the Southwestern show. I think they reopen April 5. The library show is open today and tomorrow, and then the libraries close Monday until April 6. So I’m going to try to see it today. At some point, I have to ship two pieces out of here…but I think I have a week or two to deal with that. My head is whirling between what I SHOULD do, and what I CAN do, and what I NEED to do. My Spring Break is usually pretty straightforward: spend a day or two getting the errands done and then drive away from San Diego with a bunch of camping equipment. I have three weeks until we hit that, and who knows what will be happening then. So I can spend three weeks grading stuff, exercising, and making art. Sleeping in. Peeing when I want to. Trying not to worry.

This is the show at Southwestern College, which should be open after their Spring Break…you can see my two pieces on each side of the sculptures…

Looks good. Wish I could see it in person…but I will hopefully be traveling. To campgrounds. With a lot of cleaning supplies.

Ah, who knows what is happening in three weeks.

I’ll try to take pictures at the library today.

I was so bamboozled last night that I just sat on the couch, petted animals, and downloaded books from the library.

Eventually I came in the office and processed the video I needed to put together for my students. I stayed late at school yesterday and recorded all the pieces.

At one point, I was sandwiched between a warm and purring Luna…

And a warm and not-purring Simba…

Which helped enough to get my brain where it needed to be to come into the safe place…

Where the iron (and Kitten) was. I ironed and talked to my SIL (who is in Seattle, a week of self-isolation ahead of us, but with 3 kids cooped up with her). My niece, a senior in high school, has dropped her first official song on the world, on Spotify and iTunes…check her out.

My favorite part is when she sings about how she’s not dramatic. But dramatically. There’s also a great video of her and her mom dancing to the song while my brother reads. Which is about how it always is.

We all find ways to entertain ourselves. Boychild and I have a hike planned for Monday. Or walking the dogs. Same deal. It’s the only day with no rain.

I got all the 300s ironed together…I think it’s time to start ironing the flesh together.

I also woke up at like 2 AM with an entire drawing in my head. So there’s that. Tonight maybe?

Calli. You are a goofball. OK, well, again, wash your hands, stay safe, whatever that looks like for you. Stop buying all the toilet paper and rice. There are other healthier grains out there, people. I’m going to go shower now and venture to the post office and then hopefully to the library show. I don’t know what’s happening beyond that. Can’t process it. I guess I’m on vacation.

As Are We All…

It’s hard not to start today with the REM song It’s the End of the World in your head, even though it’s not. The world continues whether we get tested or get sick or die or not. These are stressful times. I know that if I’d made the time to make art last night, that would have been good, but I couldn’t get my head there. That’s the same head that kept me up until after midnight and woke me up at 5:15 (or was that the rain?). It’s an anxious head, so I do what I can to mellow its ass out. I should have meditated. Ironically, most of the stress is coming from school and kids who are reacting to the rain and Daylight Savings (being tired) and probably also to their parents’ stress over coronavirus and probably their jobs and the same stuff we teachers are feeling. But they turn into umbrella-poking, pencil-throwing, off-task, selfish dipwads. Wait. So do the adults. Sigh. Not all of them. Just enough to make it difficult.

It was a day. I left school. I delivered some art. Then I came home and the boychild and I made a grocery list for enough basics to get us through a few weeks (or possibly longer). I bought dog food (essentials) and then stood in a long line at the store, which was pretty well stocked with everything except rice. And wipes. I don’t understand how half the county will only be eating white rice for the next month, but whatever. There were plenty of other grains and frozen vegetables and some meat (not much chicken choice) and a bunch of toilet paper. That’s the thing I didn’t buy, because we have enough and I don’t understand that panic. I already got all my meds, so that’s good. Probably there are still some things we need, but even in Italy, the stores aren’t closed. Girlchild reports that Boston stores are wiped out…not even frozen veggies are available. Weird. Well, lots of humans in a small space? Anyway. It’s not the apocalypse and dammit there aren’t even zombies, but people are starting to think about what this might look like and canceling things left and right and that’s probably a good thing. It doesn’t FEEL good at the time, but in the long run, I think it will be better for our future sick people if we start to close shit down now.

Speaking of canceling, I suspect San Diego County schools will be closed starting next week, which is a whole ‘nother issue. We don’t know what that looks like, but I did order more batting last night…hopefully it will get here or I will be piecing what I have in my stash or making some smaller and long, thin pieces during the next few weeks. I’m trying to look forward to some time with no students (this year has been rough) and nothing to do (except grade about 6 things, two of which are not fun), but I’m worried about family and friends and what the next month or so might look like. As are we all. Well, except for my students, some of whom think this is the best thing ever! Until they realize all the fun stuff is closed and they can’t go hang out with people and even their games aren’t that interesting for that long. Or maybe they are. Some of them won’t get enough food or will be left home alone for too long, and that worries me with some of them.

I should focus on artmaking in a pandemic.

I don’t think I’m saying anything y’all haven’t already whispered to someone else or heard in your head or flat out yelled at the top of your lungs in a Starbucks.

Here’s the view from the top of the downtown library…somewhere I’d never been until yesterday.

That opening is canceled. The art is there and you can see it, but no large gatherings.

And here are blurry playing cats…which I may see a lot of over the next few weeks…

I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering what to do about vacation plans…I think social distancing includes hikes in the middle of nowhere, don’t you? But our trip to the National Parks in April is probably not happening unfortunately. Do we cancel? Do we wait and eat the money? Do we just go to the Airbnb stuff and not camp? Is that even an option? I don’t know the answers to any of that.

Anyway. Be well. I said that yesterday. Stay safe. Take care of yourselves. I’m hoping I’m writing about art tomorrow morning, because this stuff…I just need a break…all of us do and it’s not happening any time soon. (But imagine doing this years ago without the internet and Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and Spotify and books on your device and all the other things that entertain us! Now that sounds awful.)

Be Well, Y’all…

So we have this prediction in the house that March 21 is the day the US will hit the point of pandemic crisis that Italy just hit, with so many cases they can’t help anyone. That gives me 9 days to prepare…a grocery list, mostly for the animals; meds are in house, except one we need for the dog (calling on that today); I counted the toilet paper rolls…I think we’re OK (and I’m not waiting in line at Costco, because that’s just stupid). But more importantly…do I have enough Wonder Under, batting, and thread if I need to make a few quilts. Because I’m assuming schools will close at some point. San Diego is pretty clear of the virus (that we know of) so far…we’re behind the rest of the West Coast anyway. So I think we have that time.

Yesterday was a cluster for making art. I had a meeting run long, and then the grocery store was empty. Made dinner, graded an assignment, and that was basically it. SUCKED. I hate that. Tonight? Ugh. Maybe. Got one assignment done, though. Thanks Kitten for your oversight.

I have a pile of stuff that needs grading, and I know the next five days at school are high-maintenance, so there won’t be any of that happening there. Calli also is closely regulating what I was doing.

Sigh.

#Marchmeetthemaker was about range. It’s true I mostly make art quilts in a specific way about women’s issues and environmental issues. I do branch out though. I draw all the time, and recently made an artist book. I’m messing around with some new ways of making art quilts. I taught a class last year in embroidery on small art quilt blocks. I designed 9 embroidery patterns last year as well.

So all that was new and different. I’m challenged by some of the groups I’m in to do different things, and that is a good thing…although I seem to continue to come back to what I love…which leads to #igquiltfest…why do I quilt?

Ah. Well. Fabric obsession since young childhood. I remember pulling my mom’s box of fabrics she had from pajamas and dresses she’d made out of the cupboard, just to rummage through them. I have an art degree and gravitated to screenprinting, but when I got pregnant, it got too difficult to find the time to make screens, pull prints, clean screens. I never got a full hour or two to do such things, so I flipped to fabric. So much easier to carry around, drop if you needed to, etc. Plus the tactile quality of the fabric…the amazing patterns and colors available. It was a good thing for me. Still is.

Don’t know what she’s saying…but it’s probably along the lines of Pet Me.

OK, off to school. I have so much going on today…hope I make it home at some point. I realize social distancing is a thing, but I’m at school all day and life goes on. I won’t shake people’s hands? I did yesterday. Sigh. OK. Be well, y’all. Stitch on. Stay safe.

My Authentic Space…

I have a couple of shows opening this week…one is an artist book show with a group I’m in, Feminist Image Group (aka FIG).

The opening is this Saturday.

This was kind of a weird thing for me…but I like a challenge. I actually made three pages and rejected one. This is called Ominous Nature

Each page is a box. I’m not sure why I wanted to do that, but I did. Anyway, the opening is this Saturday from 12-2. The exhibition is on the ground floor in the Dickinson Popular Library, but the reception is on the 9th floor in the Art Gallery’s Valerias Sculptural Garden. I haven’t been to the downtown library ever, so this should be interesting. I have to kamikaze down there after school to deliver the piece…should also be interesting.

The other show is Contingent Upon at Southwestern College, with the group Allied Craftsmen…

It opens tomorrow and includes Portrait of the Artist As a Young Woman…and And Then There Was One

So that’s cool. Meanwhile, I’m making the next piece…it’s coming together slowly. I have the first 300 pieces (mostly) ironed together…including all these tiny little cars…

And these tumbling birds, which started showing up in drawings in December, I think.

They’re in that artist book above too. I do seem to repeat images for a while…sometimes a Long While. And then I did the swathe of space behind them and the Earth.

I do the Earth next, I think. I can’t remember when I drew this, but if I drew it today, there’d be coronavirus added to it. Certainly there’s war and pollution and fires and climate change already there. I haven’t been drawing much lately, but my brain certainly has been talking to me about drawing. It’s the one thing I wanted to do over the weekend and didn’t do. There’s never enough time for everything I want to do.

Yesterday was exhausting too. I taught a difficult (not really, but the kids made it that way) lesson…kids just not engaged in a fairly simple task. Not processing information. Hopefully today will be better (sigh. It’s unlikely.). I went to tutoring. Then to a school board meeting as a union rep. I got home around 6:30 PM, totally exhausted, made dinner, and read my book for a while. It’s due Friday and I don’t think I can finish in time, unfortunately. I’d like to, and I can re-request it, but there are already two people waiting for it. It’s good too…I just needed to input some grades and then I wanted to iron things together. Art drive. It’s loud.

The #marchmeetthemaker prompt yesterday was my authentic space. Here’s where I do a lot of my work…the studio/office.

It’s about 10 x 10′, which is a little small for everything I have in there…

especially when the ironing board is set up in the middle for me to iron…but I’m grateful to have had it all these years. MY ROOM.

There’s a lot of fabric in this room, yes. Never enough. Here was the setup while I was ironing, to give you a good idea of how little room there really is in there.

It works well though. I would love to remodel this room, pull out the old, holey floor, redo the wallpaper, put in real storage, put in a bigger window and maybe a room air conditioner, replace or fix the sliding glass door so I can open it more easily, get rid of the popcorn ceiling. All that is a healthy chunk of money though, and that’s not in the budget yet…I think the bathrooms and kitchen are higher up on the list.

I don’t just work in there though. I have a large light table in the living room, and a few stages of making involve sitting on the couch and cutting shit out. So this is also part of my maker space.

Where I often have helpers…

Yeah. Not helping.

Anyway. Today. Get through assessment, hope it’s at least quiet and productive. Go to union meeting after school. Hope it’s quick and productive. Go to grocery store for tomorrow morning’s breakfast items…hope that’s quick (yes, and productive). Then cook dinner, maybe grade some stuff (ugh), and then iron some more. If I’m still awake. Daylight Savings is kicking my tired ass. Maybe skip the grading and iron instead. Seems like a plan.

Bunny Incursion

These post-Daylight Savings mornings are painful. My brain is still asleep. My eyes too. I feel like I’m constantly trying to go to bed early these days to get more rest, and it’s not working. Although I did a better job last night of falling asleep, so that’s a plus. The little dog is currently losing his mind over a bunny in the front yard. Although honestly, if there was a mountain lion in the front yard, he’d sound the same. I just know the last time I looked, it was a bunny. The same bunny Kitten wants to kill. She whacks the blinds when she sees it. Like she’s gonna whack IT if she ever gets to it. The bunny incursions on our property are much more serious than I consider them. To both of these guys.

I didn’t bring any work home last night…a birthday present to myself. Also the staff meeting kinda got canceled because of cake. Long story…but worth it. I had a good exercise class and sewed a little, and then came in here and started ironing the newest quilt…

I only got the first 100 pieces done. I didn’t even lay out the next 100, because the current state of the kittens is that they get into everything and it’s not good to leave a lot of pieces lying around without supervision. But it’s progress. I have a lot of meetings and stuff to do at night this week, so I’m not expecting to get a lot done this week, but a chunk would be good.

#igquiltfest’s topic for yesterday was your favorite pattern, which is funny, because I only have one commercial pattern I’ve ever done, and it’s only for baby quilts, and I don’t even remember the name of it…it’s been so long since I’ve done one. I draw my own stuff…dontcha know?

#marchmeetthemaker was rough/mock up. So I guess these are those too…although I probably have more rough drawings than these, before I enlarge stuff…all the fuckups I have before I get here. Sometimes more than others.

Hell all you have to do is watch this space. I show them all.

Birthday socks from the parents. Appropriate.

I wore them yesterday. A birthday at a middle school is kinda sweet…lots of bad singing and kids who normally hate you (not really, but you know how 12 is) telling you happy birthday and wanting to know why you didn’t take the day off and what you’re doing tonight (avoiding people?) and what you’re getting. Is your mom getting you a new phone? I’m like, um, pretty much my mom doesn’t buy my phone for me any more. The 12-year-old brain…it’s an interesting beast. They also were all excited that school might get canceled for coronavirus, until I started explaining how it would really work. Sigh.

Calli gets it. And she wants you to rub her belly.

Today will be rough…starting an assessment, plus tutoring, plus school board meeting (apparently with media present), plus tired. TIRED. Yeah. Well. I’ll iron some more tonight. That’s something I can look forward to. The 100 tiny car pieces that need ironing. That was another reason why I quit last night…tiny little car pieces. Who designed this thing? Oh yeah. Me.

OK, parent meeting this morning. I wish parents could look online and see, “oh, my kid has this grade because they don’t turn their shit in” and then I wouldn’t have to be the one who tells them that. They could just get on their case and leave me out of it. But no. So in I go.

Momentous, Not Calamitous

Ah yes, that feeling of the first morning after the time change. The pro? This…

Good morning March 9. You look good. For now. I realize you will turn into clouds and rain later, but we need that, so I’ll accept it. It’s my 53rd birthday today…a suitably prime number. I’ll accept that too.

The sheep where we stayed this weekend.

The man picked a place within walking distance of a few wineries…one was closed until July, though, and the road for a few of the others was a little iffy, but we did it. The first one, Highland Valley, came with Nate…

Dogs are always a plus for us. They have a nice, small, personable setup with a great view…

And we carried a bottle away for later. We actually stayed in an Airbnb directly across from here (not that house…that house was crazy huge).

We found out later that I actually knew someone down the road from where we stayed, three houses down, and I’d been there years ago, but it was all avocados then…now it is more grapes. The fires came through here unfortunately. We saw some evidence of that.

Poor Nate. Works so hard.

A good winery has something that brings you back besides the wine, eh?

Not a lot of greenery yet…

There was an actual barn owl in that owl box, but the sun was right behind it, so I couldn’t get a picture of it.

I am regretting our delay in getting an owl box up, because the owl has left and I’ve heard the mockingbird a few times. No mockingbird. Want owl instead. Does not keep me awake with his/her gentle hoots.

We walked back to where we were staying to drop off the bottle and grab a backpack. The next winery was further out…this is where we met the property’s cat…

We persuaded her to stop before leaving with us…and walked the mile to Domaine Artefact.

It was much busier, more of a business and less personable. But they had food and we needed lunch.

There was another one in the area, but at that point, we decided to take a break. It’s supposed to be a 1-ounce pour for a tasting, so maybe the equivalent of two glasses of wine at that point, but I’m guessing they were more than that. Plus a 2-mile hike in there. So back to the residence for the man to nap and me to read my book.

This is the road we were walking on…recently resurfaced with no lines…so not the safest in the world…

It was fine in daylight. Probably they don’t expect people to be walking it. Certainly we were the only ones. I’m laughing about it, but it was fine.

At night we headed out to Cordiano Winery, which was huge and very busy. We found a table and had some wine and dinner…

And then headed outside for another glass and a chilly view. They have blankets and these guys…

So we were fine. Back to the home base for sleep…we had planned a trip to the Safari Park in the morning, but the man was feeling like he was coming down with something (no fever, so probably not COVID-19, but he still didn’t feel well), so we had breakfast and headed home to try to catch up on stuff (laundry, groceries, email)…the children missed us.

Maybe. We had dinner at my parents, where I received this mutant cheesecake slice…

Hopefully a portent (momentous, not calamitous) for the year. Hey, cheesecake is pretty good no matter what it looks like. I cannot complain. And then yes, I did grades. And answered school emails. Then I sorted all those pieces I finished cutting last week…finally!

Kitten was not assisting. I find cats very unhelpful in most stages of quiltmaking…all sorted.

I made it to bed a little early, although the time change confuzzled my brain and wouldn’t let me fall asleep. Gotta love a new day with not enough sleep! My faithful companion…

I did a little wool stitching that I can’t show you before I went to bed. I’m up now. School today. My birthday includes a 2-hour staff meeting, which seems remarkably unfair. Then exercise and someone else making dinner. I’ll refrain from grading today, out of respect for myself, and then will start ironing! Which is exciting, I must say. May the 53rd year have a lot of art and beautiful landscapes…