War! What Is It Good for?

August 10, 2017

I was not very efficient yesterday. It’s OK. It happens. We can’t always go go go every minute of every day. I wanted to be done quilting, and I’m not. I need to go buy binding today though. I’m done with the outlining and I started the background stuff. I don’t expect it to take very long…

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She has eyeballs! So I’m gonna finish that today and go get the binding fabric. Which means now I have to finish the other drawing. The drawing that has not fully coalesced in my head. The drawing that needs to come from somewhere difficult. Sigh. OK. So I need to find mental space for that. In between starting school and trying to finish up the bedroom and sending the boychild back to college. Hmmmm. OK. Yeah.

Drawing sounds nice actually. Sitting on the deck with some tea or wine and drawing. Music playing while the neighbor kids scream their tiny little guts out (oh wait). Turning the music up and making sure it has lots of swear words in it (I don’t actually do that…I just think about doing it.). Getting out the flamethrower…oh wait. Also not appropriate.

Right now I’m sitting here, reveling in the bird sounds, the sound of faraway dogs barking, the sound of my pool needing to have the filter cleaned. Aargh.

OK, I did some stitches around the hand, in between some of the buttonhole spiky bits. And lazy daisies in purple…still filling those in.

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And then I went to book club to discuss a book I didn’t finish. And they forgot to bring my food. It was interesting though…I think of war as a distinctly male thing…even when we’re talking about the queens in the past who have started wars, I kind of think their upbringing was distinctly male in some ways, to make sure they would react that way if needed, or maybe they weren’t really allowed to make decisions without approval by all these men around them. Or they were raised to be leaders of a country and that meant they should automatically consider war, no matter what. Or they are just anomalies.

I have this picture in my head of a world run by women where the first thing we do is NOT bomb the shit out of people. And maybe that’s just my age showing, because the younger members of the book club were arguing that it is not just a male thing, that women want war all the time too (I don’t know any of these women…but I don’t know a lot of men who want war either…product of my choice in friends I think.). I also blame religion for wars personally, or at least for this feeling that something needs to be other and other needs to be bad. But maybe that’s just human nature, a leftover of the brain aiming for survival. I think of wars as being pissing matches, this power against that power, and that feels very masculine to me, very testosterone-driven. If I were male, would I feel more warlike? Maybe not. I know men who aren’t. Did women-run societies run toward war? See the queens might have been in charge, but those weren’t female-run societies in the long run. So you do what you need to do to survive?

Anyway. As we sit here on the West Coast with two male dumbasses waving their peni at each other and us in the middle, it’s hard for me not to associate war and powermongering with a certain type of person.

Honestly though, that’s not helping me get through what I want to get through today. So I’ll think about my assumptions and maybe read some stuff and try to keep an open mind. While I build a bomb shelter in the backyard. That’s a drawing right there. Aack! Don’t have time for all this in my head…OK. I liked. I just went and bought a book on war and gender. Light reading for the back-to-school set.

Now let’s go back in time to 2004, when the girlchild was only 7, and consider the fact that she is now 20…


And she’s still always hanging out with dogs…miss that kid.

Last Hike of Summer Vacation

August 9, 2017

Today the boychild and I hiked to celebrate the girlchild’s 20th birthday, because she is 3000 miles away and wouldn’t have hiked that far with us if she were here. Or maybe it was just the last day of summer vacation where I could actually find the time to hike at a reasonable temperature (time is irrelevant in Southern California summers…temperature is the determinant factor of hiking time). Yeah, that’s it. Boychild leaves Monday and it’s been a while since we hiked for realz, so he picked one hike and I vetoed it because climbing mountains is not good for me right now, and then he and I decided we could figure out random trails (really, I figured that HE could figure it out, and he did) to try to make a loop out of something we’ve done as an out as far as the girlchild can possible stand it and then back (which usually ends up being 5 miles or so, but because she was only there in spirit, we managed just over 7 miles). AND…there was fog in the morning, which was abso-fucking-lutely delightful. Seriously. Cool wet fog. Who woulda thought?

But wait. Because I am chronological. Tuesday night, I did some of this in the feather stitching again…a fly stitch with a straight stitch…

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Kitten is more playful when the dogs are gone…

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Then I quilted…about 2 1/2 hours yesterday…

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Then Windows tried to auto-update and killed my computer…

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Boychild fixed it this morning.

More quilting…

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All I have left is the head and the rocket and the spaceship…and then the whole damn background. I was going to get some done today, but that hasn’t happened yet. It will.

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So we got up bloody early to beat the heat and went out to the Crestridge Ecological Reserve, which had mostly no people, a few coyotes, one tiny snake, and a shitload of bunnies.

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I haven’t been out here for a couple of summers…

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Yes, the sun eventually came out, but it wasn’t too hot out there. Sweaty, but not hot. And poison oak, yes. Right there. At one point where the trail was kinda not trail-like, I was inching around a poison oak bush and talking to it about not touching me.

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Yup. Proof the girlchild was with us in spirit. Left by the side of the trail.

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She whines on hikes. Unless there’s chocolate. And sometimes even if there IS chocolate. Lots of old trees…

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And some transmission towers for the noise effect.

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There’s those towers after hiking a mile further on…

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Pretty much this is always my view, behind the spiderweb destroyer…

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The trail had been hit hard by last winter’s rains…at least this part of it. This would be the off-the-beaten-path part of what we did.

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I think he has air!

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This part was blocked off…the ditches are taller than I am…

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I saw lots of whatever this is (Julie!)…

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More ditches…to be avoided so no broken ankles.

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We went around and up to and past that water tower…

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Up up up. Yeah. It’s warm. It’s near the end. He trudges on, happily. I’m tired.

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But I did it. Only an 800-foot gain though. That’s about right for the bad shape I’m in. A good end to the summer hiking with the boy. Man. Whatever. That kid of mine.

OK. Need to finish the quilting and put a binding on that sucker. But first? Chiropractor. He’ll be amused by my morning activity. I always wait until he does the first check and asks, so what the hell have you been doing? My back is fucked up differently based on whether I’ve been quilting, hiking, lifting weights, or grading papers. He loves it. Really.

This Could Be the End of Everything*

August 8, 2017

Ugh. Get act together. Mornings are hard. Yeah, I know it’s not early. I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing. Straight up, I’m not entirely sure WHAT I’ve been doing, so don’t ask me. There were maps and trails and boychild took over the mousing, and the girlchild called briefly, and there were dogs and cats and all that. Sometimes I think time just does a slippy thing and wanders away from me. Like when I’m quilting and I look up at the clock and go Holy Fuck. Gotta go to bed. But then I lie there and can’t sleep. Welcome to my world. Maybe I should have just quilted all night.

No, you know how with daylight savings time, they always tell you to adjust slowly over the next week, getting up a little earlier every morning so the day of isn’t a shock to your system? Yeah, well, I always try to do that with school too. I don’t like mornings and I stay up way too late normally, and during summer break, I stay up even later, but Friday I have to be at school before 8 AM, which is earlier than we actually start, but they key everything into the elementary schools, which start earlier than the middle schools. And there’s gonna be massive parking issues, because our lot is closed and there isn’t enough parking, so I don’t even wanna deal with that…to the tune of my considering riding a bike or walking to school (OK, it would take close to an hour to do that). Blaargh.

Anyway. Mornings. Nonfunctional. Not efficient at all. Art brain is completely offline. Seriously, do you ever hear me talking about drawing in the morning or making anything useful but a cup of tea in the AM? Fuck no. All you perky morning people, please just stay away from me. Until cup of tea number 2.

I did a bunch of stuff yesterday. Some of it was final shit on the garage. I’m calling it done, even though there’s a file cabinet and some storage stuff that needs to be managed. Boychild and I made another trip to the parental dumpster (no, they really have a dumpster…I don’t just drop shit at their house), plus I sold another thing on Craigslist and then did some stuff, including school shopping and dog food and the library, because ALL the books you’ve had on hold for 17 months WILL SHOW UP THE WEEK BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS. It happens every year. I might have to give up on one of them. I’m desperately trying to read the book for tomorrow night’s book club. I don’t think there’s an Audible version of The Left Hand of Darkness. Oh god. There probably is. I don’t Audible though. I stop paying attention when someone is reading to me.

So dinner was late. Dinner is often late in these circumstances. There also were a lot of animals lying around pretending to be very hot and tired.

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That eyeball…

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I did quilt in the afternoon for a bit. Not much.

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I started legs and stuff…

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Garage before we started. That’s solid crap in the center section, taller than me. It’s been like that for years. The boychild has been complaining about it for years as well. It was just so incredibly overwhelming. I couldn’t even deal. So with his help, we did it.

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Now I should have taken one after this one…because the pile of storage stuff in the middle is piled up elsewhere, and the school stuff on the right and behind is all in my car, to be delivered to school this morning. So the whole center is pretty much empty. For now. There’s another shelf thing being delivered on Thursday from one of my parents’ rentals. There are a few empty shelves in there, but maybe not enough.

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I haven’t fully solved the art storage issue, but it’s all up off the ground and out of my closets. I was a screenprinter before I became a quilt artist. Much harder to store that stuff. And there’s so much of it…

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And that big table is available for screenprinting if I decide to go back to that. I might. I liked it.

No. I’m not putting a car in there. That’s just silly.

More little stitches, mostly French knots, in the feather stitching up top.

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Then back to the machine…cat giving me the Other Eye this time.

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And more quilting…

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It’s very meditative…even all the little windows…

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I got to the top of the rocky crotch. It was close to midnight thirty then, so I quit.

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I was wide awake, but see note above about trying to shift sleep cycle for school. Ha! So I did all the legs…I’m definitely past the midpoint on outlining…

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That was all after dinner. Of course, there’s all the background stuff, which will take some time. So I’m hoping to do another 3 or 4 hours today, but that means I need to get out of here and do the stuff that needs doing…delivery to school, plus thrift shop again and smog the car. Hopefully. I don’t FEEL like doing any of that. I don’t even want to go NEAR school, but I have to get this shit out of my car somehow. And please don’t ask me about the bedroom…I’m definitely stalled on that. The deadline for that is a little ways out (OK, really only about 2 weeks), so it’s easier to ignore it, I guess. I knew with the garage that once school started I might not go in there for a while, and I didn’t want the art down on the ground if rain started.

OK. Get it done. That’s my plan for the day.

*Keane, Somewhere Only We Know

To Sew This Hole Up That You Ripped in My Head*

August 7, 2017

Decision overload. I have a broken drawer of fabric. It’s been broken for three months. I can’t replace it exactly…those drawers are a good 20 years old. So either I replace one stack of them, which means everything on top will no longer fit, because the two stacks will be different heights, or I replace two stacks, which means less room than I have now, because the new ones are slightly smaller (but on sale right now). Or I have this new vision, might be a crazy one, of a shelf unit in that space that goes to the ceiling and holds smaller containers. Or even just shelves…the ones that slot in, a la Home Depot…because I could put more in and have more storage than I have now. But that sounds like a major time and work commitment, and now is not the time for that. Seriously. Four days before I go back to school? But I don’t have to DO it now. I just have to commit to a plan.

You know, sometimes people ask why I write this blog, and it really isn’t for you (sorry). It’s a brain dump, a motivational device for getting stuff done, a way to make decisions. It’s like once the words are out of my head I don’t have to worry so much about what was said. I think the shelf system is the way to go. It’s harder and more time-consuming, but it’s also the best solution to the problem. I think. Aargh. For now.

So it won’t get done any time in the next month probably, because I’m upending everything here still. But there’s a semi-plan in place. I just did that in my head. Well…in the part of my head that I just spilled out into the interwebz.

I kept stitching down on Saturday…

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Sometimes I get antsy and I have to get up and walk around, sometimes dance a little in the hallway, yell out a bit, make another cup of tea or heat up the one I haven’t been drinking. I think my teacup is just an excuse to get up and move around…which is a good thing.

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I totally tense up while I’m doing this…

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Anyway, I had a plan to go see some art afterwards, so I HAD to finish (I really do much better with deadlines)…

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And I did. About 4 1/2 hours to stitch her down. Why less than I thought? Because lots of pieces means lots of time in the early stages, but not so much time now, because this is about distance more than quantity, and the distance is small.

I love seeing them from the back…

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I actually look at the back to see if I missed any pieces. I found one and fixed it. There might be more. Hard to say.

Kitten slept the entire fucking time.

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Then Sunday, the boychild and I went at the garage again. He was cutting things up for the dumpster/trash…and I was going through the last of the school stuff and moving all the art up and off the ground.

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I forgot to take a picture of that…really I should do a before/after thing, but we’re still piling stuff that needs to get out of here.

Nighttime found me on the entryway floor, laying her out, ready for pinbasting.

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I had a piece of fabric for the backing that was almost exactly the right size. I also had some batting that was the right size, but then I realized it hadn’t been washed. I use Warm and Natural, and it will shrink when washed. I have had to wash these before, so I always prewash batting. I got the leftover pieces from the community quilts, and that’s what wasn’t washed. So I pulled it all out of my stash and will put it in the bathtub today so it can go back in the stash and be ready to go.

I managed to find an older piece of washed batting that was the right size. And I pinbasted her…

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I did all of the ironing and pinning while I was listening to the annual trainings that teachers have to do: Blood-borne Pathogens, Pesticide Idiocy, and the Mandated Reporter stuff. I love how they blamed teachers for abuse at school. OK. It’s OK. I passed. There’s one more we have to do, but they haven’t MADE IT YET. Because I can blow off stuff until the last minute. OK. I actually can blow off SOME stuff until the last minute, but not without repercussions. Like not sleeping due to my brain worrying about shit over and over again. But don’t make me deal with video trainings once the new year starts. I hate that.

I was behind on this. I did three strands of feather stitching on the top, and then for the fourth night, I did lazy daisies in one of the feather strands. I just wanted some different lines up there.

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That’s 217 days of stitching. Yeah, I looked it up. So there are 148 days left (yes, I used a calculator).

Yes, I’m quilting today. Hopefully for a good chunk of time, although the shit is beginning to pile up…I want her quilted and the binding at least started or on before Friday. Seriously. I was really good yesterday and got almost all of the school stuff sent to the print shop, but I still have one more thing, plus stuff I need to do in the classroom, and the bedroom…holy god, the bedroom is still a freakish disaster. There’s So Much I got done and So Much I didn’t get done this summer. Nothing new there. The garage is a relief (I swear I’ll do a before/after photo thing). The bedroom will be a relief when it’s done.

But I need to start thinking about the next quilt. The drawing is barely started. I have all the ideas and concepts in my head, percolating, but an image hasn’t fully popped through. Hopefully it will some time this week.

OK. Need to get work. Enough thinking here. Need to do.

*Banks, Beggin for Thread

There’s a Secret Magic Past World*

August 5, 2017

My brain appears to be blank this morning. Or at least the part that’s available for writing is blank. There’s another huge part that’s trying to make a Saturday to-do list. I already know the boychild and I will be making a dumpster run, but he’s hiking right now. I didn’t have the energy to get up early to do that. I’m very protective of the right to sleep in…because I spent years getting up early for soccer games and driving to the middle of nowhere to sit on a wet field and wait for games to start. Plus sleep is this thing I’m always chasing…trying to do it right. Such a joke! Because one night of doing it right is never enough. So people tell me to go to bed earlier. OK. So then I can lie there for even longer, trying to fall asleep. This is not a new thing for me. My whole life has been about bad sleep.

So I had a number of hours in sleep mode last night, but I also had all 4 animals in the room. They were fussy after the boychild left to hike. And the neighbor’s workers showed up. Then Kitten had to boisterously clean all her parts and Calli started to whine about going out. Then Simba started with the snorts he does when he wants to get out of the crate. Sigh. Midnight was the only quiet one. So I’m sitting here, a little drugged on not-sleep, and Kitten is next to the computer, sound asleep. I guess I make her sleep through typing and The Cure, but it does not seem fair. Cat naps. Smart beasts.

So back to today. The last Saturday before school starts. (NOOOOOOOOO!!!!) Got some art stuff tonight. Just heard about another one of the art buildings we’ve visited multiple times…they’re kicking the artists out (Glashaus in Barrio Logan, for those who are local and maybe have gone there). Ripples from the horrendous Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. Artists kicked out before fixing problems? Hard to say what’s happening there, but I know it’s frustrating for the artists in 21 art studios there. The downtown studio I used to have is now all living spaces. They could make more money that way. I couldn’t afford a studio any more…gave mine up when I was pregnant with the boychild. But I loved those spaces, free from the house to-do list. No distractions. Just a pure workspace. I’m lucky to have space in my home and to make art that is safe to do in a house (although we set up the garage space so I can screenprint again if I choose to do so). People working in glass and metal or needing space for kilns or whatever, living in rentals…they absolutely need reasonably priced space to work and store materials. This town doesn’t support that…never has. Art is so important to our existence…I wish the money people would see that and make space for it.

I had a conversation with an artist friend the other day about how we create alone so much of the time. She’s older than I am and the going out and interacting with others gets harder, for sure. I’ve gone through times when I really don’t interact with other artists at all. I’m socially not the best in the world (hello introvert), so that doesn’t help. I can see as mobility and energy lessen that it would be more important to save what you had for making art. Hard to explain that to non artists. But these studio buildings help with that. Plus the exhibition space. I’m going to miss the openings there.

Yesterday, I did manage some stitch down at my last summer daytime quilt meeting…Susan is knitting something that is apparently very brain damaging…

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I got more than halfway done, which is good, although I’m still behind. And I’m not sure how much I’m gonna get done today. Gotta go move some trash.

I worked on this at gaming last night, mostly on the top…but I’m a little concerned about the vast difference in sizes. Hmmm.

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I’m pretty sure they should be the same size. Yikes.

Here’s the back of the stitchdown. I got above the midpoint…

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So that was about 2 1/2 hours. Bodes well for a quick finish, but first I need to load a bunch of crap in my car and try to dump it in my parents’ dumpster (I have permission…just trying to beat the neighbor). And pick up my Earth Stories quilt, which is home after a long trip around the United States without any protests, despite the fuss when I originally suggested a quilt that was about birth control and Planned Parenthood. Which is good…I have a show to enter where that would work.

OK, no matter what, I need to just get my act together. It helps that I’ve had a cup of tea while writing this. My brain responds to caffeine well. Luckily.

*Rocky Votolato, White Daisy Passing

Infiltrating My Brain

August 4, 2017

Awww school. You’ve infiltrated my brain dammit and now I’m in panic mode. I keep looking at the calendar and reminding myself that there are hours in there and I will get organized at some point. My brain is unraveling. I haven’t bought supplies, I don’t have my stuff into the print shop, my room is a disaster.

Walk away.

So I had my stitching meeting last night and started the next month’s blocks. This is May though and not April. April is not sewn down yet. I did stems and legs and grass. The legs are awesome…two couched threads with bullion knots over them.

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I have lots more to do on these. Obviously. And I should start sewing April down too.

When I got home, I finally started ironing more quilt parts together. I iron the eyes separately and then put them on the face.

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There they are. The eyes are the most important part of the quilt, I think.

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Aliens in my quilt, polluting my world.

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Seriously. Alien ships give off CO2, right?

Ironed the head/land to the rest. Most of it’s rolled up.

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But then I realized that I hadn’t washed the background fabric in Retayne, and the dark fabrics, especially the batiks, bleed like a motherfucker. And then they say not to use the high-efficiency washers to do that, so I stirred for 20 minutes.

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Which was good, because it didn’t bleed at all. Midnight did not fucking care.

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Then I finally got her ironed down. She’s taller than I am. Not that that’s hard.

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Head ironed. Woo hoo.

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Now I need to stitch the whole thing down. Like today. Ha! Well. It will probably take 5-11 hours, based on the last two quilts. Probably closer to 5 hours. But I need to do school stuff too and deal with the bedroom and the garage, all of which are stressing me out.

I’m glad I’m at this point though. She’s good. I’m good with her good. But now I need to go do shit so I can stop panicking.

For a Minute There I Lost Myself*

August 3, 2017

School today. Not the start, just the prep. The stuff we do every year that no one pays us to do but that has to be done. Sometimes I only do this stuff alone, at home, staring at a computer, but we’re trying to finesse what we built from scratch last year, and that takes both of us. Next year maybe we won’t have to meet beforehand. You miss the people…not the workload. Well. And not ALL the people. Just like any other job.

I wanted to be done with the ironing yesterday…COULD have been done, but ’twas not to be. I started well…doing all those stupid little windows in the morning…see how small they are? How many of them there are?

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Can you find the two cats? It’s hot and humid here. Cats don’t like hot and humid generally. At least that’s the impression I’m getting.

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Then I had a good visit with an artist friend but when I got back, it was apparent to me that thunder had happened. Calli doesn’t like thunder any more. At all.

She tried to dig out the hat tree in the corner of the entryway, she tried to go under my desk, and in doing so, knocked down the ironing board with the quilt and 17 thousand safety pins on it. She also tried to dig through the couch, in my bathroom, and on my bed. Poor baby. There’s more possible thunderstorms today. I’m debating bringing her with me to school, just in case. Not that she’ll be better there, but at least she won’t be alone. And destroy the house. I debate the thundershirt idea every year, but haven’t done it yet.

So she was semi-frantic when I got home and needed about 4 hours of petting and sleeping to get over it. Meanwhile, the internet disappeared, and then so did my time, because fixing that took about 4 1/2 hours and a trip to the not-so-local cable services store for a new modem. And four different guys. The last one was named Lloyd and he promised to fix it in three minutes and he did. That’s all I really need folks. Follow-through and accountability. Or something. Thanks Lloyd.

I did this while I was waiting…

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The white lazy daisies up on the top right plus the fern stitch. I also sewed 4 eyeballs down, but that’s not documented photographically. Just imagine the elephants from a couple days ago, but with no pins through their eyes.

Oh yeah, and I stopped by to see my exhibit, because it was near where I was visiting…just sat there and stared at it for about 5 minutes or so. It’s funny, because I walk in and start to explain who I am and they’re like, “We know who you are.” Oh. OK. Hi.

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It’s still weird to sit in there and see all my stuff.

Before I left the house, though, I had finished those windows…

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And ironed the arm from the night before on top of it all…

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Then after the internet fiasco, so many hours wasted on the phone and otherwise, because then the phone was not working once we replaced the modem…I went back to ironing and finished up the torso…which looks ever so strange without boobs, quite honestly.

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And then did the last bit of land…and a rocketship, and the wind behind her head. It’s a cheery landscape? No?

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Eventually I will iron these two together, once I finish the head.

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That’s today’s goal…along with stitching it all down. Hopefully. I have my quilt meeting tomorrow afternoon, and I might have nothing on this to take with me if I don’t catch up. There aren’t many pieces left, but it was enough at 12:30 last night that I was too tired to keep going, plus I knew I’d have to be up early for school today. Ugh. That phrase. Damn day job. I need another month. Seriously. Finish the quilt, the cleanup, the organization. Need more time. Always.

*Radiohead, Karma Police