Hard Doesn’t Mean Impossible

I have a headache this morning. It’s partially caused by the concrete trucks and related noise from nextdoor’s new pool construction. I can’t really escape it, so it’s driving me more than a little bonkers. The rest of it is school-related. It seems I really shouldn’t go back to a classroom until there’s a vaccine or this virus disappears into the ether (hello COVID conspiracists…I am talking to you. Now leave. You won’t like it here.) I’m hoping not to disappear my job in the middle of all this, but since they were gonna co-opt one of the two bathrooms on the floor for my private use, and honestly, as healthy as I usually feel, any time you show me the list of high risks for COVID and I see mine on there, I get wibbly in my tummy and run to check that all the beneficiaries on all my accounts are still my children…well, I guess it totally sucks to be that person, but I am that person. Online teaching is not my favorite, but for now, I’m doing it with my team, so I will survive, as will we all. The going-back-in-person thing is the bad juju for my body. I also can’t afford to not work. I am glad that hopefully I will be able to do my job without the exposure. We’ll see. I’m thankful that it’s a possibility. I just don’t like it.

Monday night, my brain was just not working, for whatever reason, so I just cut and pasted the other drawing I had enlarged…

There will be too many COVID quilts from me? Maybe. It’s not done…but it’s the right size at least.

Last night, I got my act together and traced all the Patreon reward pieces on Wonder Under…

So that’s what 111 pieces look like. This is for a Patreon patron who gives me a significant amount of money a month, and I appreciate her support.

Then I started tracing Wonder Under for the COVID Daughter quilt…

I finished the first figure, which was about 100 pieces. It takes about an hour for 100 pieces. So I have about 7 1/2 hours to go. I stayed up way too late, mentally debating next steps for work and consequences and fears and all that good stuff, and now I am tired and headachy (my own fault) for lack of sleep. Bless those concrete trucks for their lovely noise. I have issues with noise, if you haven’t noticed. I can ignore children screaming (mostly) and lots of other noises, but construction noise drives me bonkers. Also the humming of fluorescent lights. And you tapping your fingernails together. Ick. Anyway, art progress has been made. I do feel remarkably (or not) unfocused about everything. My school team met yesterday for 2 hours and banged some shit out, and now I feel overwhelmed. That is normal for this time of year, though, so I’m rolling with it.

I bought a bunch of devices for hanging some of my finished small pieces (quilt and embroidery) that are not going to Patreons. My goal today and tomorrow is to get them finished on the devices, photographed, and uploaded to Etsy. The fence wood should be coming in Friday or Saturday, so we can finish the fence next week, right before school starts and I’m online for 7 hours a day (ugh). Progress with tasks.

I worked a little on this one…

The yellow is hard to see. Should have used the blue. Ah well. Blindness caused by embroidery.

I took a long walk yesterday to deal with some of the crap in my head. This was an unexpected addition to this spiky plant I’ve been walking past for months…

And there’s the view of the giant-ass hill I can either go up or down (there are two other hills I can also go up or down…I end up going up one, down this one, and then zigzag up the last one).

Walking tries to clear my head. It’s not always effective.

I try to stay off of Facebook to avoid the crazy shit, but there it is…

First of all, spelling. But I have friends who are good people who can’t spell, so OK. Second of all. Um. Antifa. I really don’t get why people think this is a thing. I consider myself anti-fascist. Now straight up, I studied all these -isms in school, but I had to go read up and make sure I was remembering correctly. Like who isn’t anti-fascist? Besides dictators and their best friends? And Marxism/Socialism, I know those scare people, but it’s just talking about capitalism not being the best for all the people, and maybe we should take care of all the people. I don’t understand why those things are scary. Because you earned your money by pulling up your bootstraps and everyone should have to do that? Well, I’m not telling you which friend this comes from, but I know she doesn’t work for a living. Hasn’t for a really long time. Her husband does though. Must be nice. No really, it must! But capitalism means that some people can’t get a leg up in society, especially with all the racist crap that’s embedded in our society about who gets jobs and who gets to live where and be paid how much. I didn’t respond to this woman because I knew she wouldn’t listen. I do unfriend a lot of these people, and I hovered over this one, but it’s useful to have one or two that I think are nuts so I can read their crazy. Also, protest doesn’t have to be peaceful. It can be angry, especially when us dumbass white folks aren’t listening. For years. But also, Portland isn’t burning down. So much drama.

OK. So there’s cats. They’re easier to deal with…this one is pretending to be flat.

She’s not very good at it.

This one has decided she will climb into the upper shelves of the closet and sleep on my quilt roll.

She dumps a bunch of stuff on the floor every time she clambers up there.

Here’s flat Nova again…

Dayum. Cats sleep a lot. Probably they are lazy and won’t hold down a job, which is why capitalism doesn’t work for them.

Stretchy Kitten. Goddamned socialist. Look at her suck at the tit of my hard work.

Update on the bird poop caterpillars. They are larger. And they have migrated to the stem/trunk of the tree.

I’m keeping track so I know when they go into chrysalis mode.

I’ve been reading here, on the deck…but it is where the concrete trucks are today.

Right over there. Causing headaches.

Yup. That. OK. So I need to do art things today. And school things (videos of mandated reporter and injury stuff and pest management because we will not even be in our classrooms). I might even give up and go take pain meds for the headache. Then try to be chill with my self. Honestly, I cried a lot yesterday and in the middle of the night about work, and I will probably cry again. OK. I have a job (for now). I’m not dying. I’m not sick. I’m not happy, but that’s a normal thing. It will all work out somehow. I should be glad I have some level of choice, even if it’s a hard one. Hard doesn’t mean impossible. It just means not easy.

At Least I Have One A…

Well hey there. It’s Monday. Apparently that’s how new weeks start these days. It’s the first day of my last full week off of school for a long time. I didn’t sleep much last night (thank you, brain. I really appreciate these hours we have together when I am tired and want to stop thinking and you do not agree). I was up earlyish because dogs. And cats. The boychild is up in the mountains helping the old folks (my parents would be offended. They are not old. They are well-seasoned.), so I am the only entertainment for 5 furry beasts. It must suck to be them. So sleep is something they do in the middle of the day…which is why they’re up at 7 AM looking for attention. Ah well. What is sleep? The thing I’m supposed to do more of…that’s what it is. Sigh. Classes I’m enrolled in right now: Sleep, Healthy Diet, Exercise, Sourdough Breadmaking, Artmaking, and Housework. I do pretty well with Healthy Diet and Exercise (although really hot days don’t help with either), so maybe a B there…proficient, but not above and beyond. I rock at Artmaking, straight As on that, definitely going above and beyond. Housework? Eh. A solid C. Same with Sourdough Breadmaking. Proficient? Not great though…maybe almost proficient? Approaching proficiency. Sleep? Fuck me. That’s a D on a good week, and there hasn’t been more than one good week this summer. Let’s not even think about that clusterfuck they called Distance Learning in the Spring. Needs Improvement! It’s not even Emerging or Basic. I guess I know how to do it; I just don’t do it well. At All. That’s me. Better get a work improvement plan going and meet with my parents to motivate my ass to get better at it.

At least I have one A.

So I started the last of the embroidery pieces, the small ones.

I’m going to figure out how to finish the embroideries…I think in hoops. And then the two leftover quilt tops I’ll make into small quilts. They’ll go on Etsy when I’m done. I need to get my act together.

I also drew and numbered the larger Patreon reward piece yesterday. The patron herself is a gardener and makes beautiful things in fabric…so I played off of that when I drew her piece.

It’ll be 10″ finished or so. There’s 111 pieces in it, which isn’t bad. The image itself is about 8 1/4″ square. I did start numbering these tiny flowers, but then decided to embroider them…

And then I was working on the next big quilt…finishing up the drawing…I added COVID in the air…

Flying around, like we now know they do. This drawing was originally done in April, about 30 days after the start of the Shelter-in-Place orders. Before we knew some of the stuff we know now about the disease. So I added some stuff to the bottom, because the original drawing cut off the arm and didn’t go into the ground, and I like to ground my pieces.

I worked on that last night and got it all done…

It’s about 44″ wide and 48″ high right now. Image only. It’ll be bigger than that finished.

Then numbered…

A mere 820 pieces. No worries.

So Wonder Under is the next step for both the big one and the little one.

Just had a discussion with the girlchild about the sourdough not rising enough…

Not enough big spaces…but getting there…

It tastes good though…

And on the gardening front, I planted all these offcuts from a succulent.

One has decided to grow. Hopefully the rest will too. We’ll see.

When the dogs leave on Saturday, there is often a cat convention.

They gather and sometimes play and romp. Sometimes they just want loves.

The dogs when it is hot…

The weekend was ugh warm. It’s cooler today.

Saturday evening’s sky was starting to be pretty…

Below is where my neighbors’ pool will be. We need to move some plants around to block views and noise, I think. It is taking them a long time to get to the next step. I’ll be trying to teach from home (hopefully) while their pool noise is happening? We’ll see.

And then the moon came out…

A lovely summer night. It’s been warm, but it cools off at night. My house doesn’t cool off very quickly unfortunately.

OK, so the day is half gone, but I’ve done some work and Pilates and it doesn’t feel like much, because I was interrupted a few times. I need to go to Costco this week, and I was going to do it today, but now I don’t know. Maybe I should just get it over with, because I find the days fill up and new tasks appear. I have a webinar at 3:30. I need to eat lunch, but I’m already late for that. I can’t remember what else I need to do (hence the bullet journal in the other room). I will be tracing Wonder Under tonight no matter what.

I feel this. I’m waiting for them to request emergency sub plans.

And this…

Cursive is no longer a thing. It’s a coded language we old people can use to confuzzle the youngers. OK. Whatever today is, I need to do some things…sooner rather than later. Gonna do some of that.

Help the Neurons…

Well. I’m so off schedule on everything, it’s like I don’t even have a schedule. I really don’t. I mean, I do, because the bread needs to be cooked and the sourdough starter fed, and I have two whole online Pilates classes a week that I paid for so I can’t miss those, and the occasional social thing where I have to remember what actual fucking day it is, but my phone mostly does all that for me and then I fill in the rest of the time with heating up my already cold tea (I never get to drink a whole cup without some shenanigans) and reading about my fragile white ass. Then I have conversations in my head about what to do about my fragile whiteness and I role play a lot of stuff in my head because there’s like no one to talk to some days except the cats and dogs, and I get in trouble for those conversations because it makes me sound crazy. So there we are. I’ve done a good job this summer of not just descending into totally escapist fiction reading…interspersing mind-opening nonfiction (and some of it is really mind-opening…my favorite part of whatever I read is stories of things that happen in real life and how to deal with them or view them differently or respond to them) every other book, although I think I’m going to have to do two nonfiction in a row, tossing in an online teaching book in between antiracist reading and fiction reading. The start date of school fucking LOOMS like an abominable snowman at the moment (remember that guy? He was sweet. I really liked him) and I have to be ready. For something. I don’t know what yet, but something. And dammit, I’ll be ready for it!

This was on the Teacher Misery Instagram (@teachermisery) today…

So let’s start with the random apostrophes in ‘teacher’s’. Or the hyphenation issues (yeah, you should have some). Yeah. You need a teacher. Second…all the bars are closed where I am, but I can tell you, that when normal school was in session, there was a bar within walking distance of school, and I certainly THOUGHT about, but never visited it, because you can’t teach drunk. I mean, I’m sure some people do, but I had a hard enough time keeping track of everything when ALL my brain cells were firing. Not enough caffeine would throw me off. THIRD, and this might be most important…um, fuck you. Really? WTF do you think we are doing? I know so many people think we get such short days and so many vacations and the WHOLE summer off (seriously, people, I haven’t been paid in over a month and I will start working as soon as someone tells me What The Fuck I’m supposed to be teaching and where and when and how, and that will be WELL before my next paycheck)…these are all the same people who are welcome to spend a day (but better if it’s a week or two) in my shoes (or my not-so-comfortable chair with my computer at an inappropriate height to apparently to start the year). I honestly think this has to be a joke, and if it’s not, if there are some people nodding their heads to this sentiment (they’re the same ones who want part of my paycheck), then I’m just assuming they are thinking what THEY would do if in our situation…again, ignorant of what most teachers are like and what most teachers do. I’m sure there’s some who do stupid shit, just like in every profession, and hopefully they’ll get caught out and fired, but really, I’m looking at how stressed and tied to a computer I was for the last two months of school, and wondering how I’m going to do the next four months. Or six. Or ten. Without killing someone. Or a close and personal relationship with a masseuse.

OK. It has to be a joke. I’m also wondering if parents will be available to discuss their student and their work during all hours of the day and night and over the weekend, because that’s when I answered their communications, as well as those of their children. No? It’s not OK to call at 1 AM? Ah. I see. OK then. (No one called me at 1 AM…kids did email me then, and sometimes I answered them, much to their surprise.)

There will be many opportunities for meditation this year. Just made sure my app was going to autorenew correctly.

So what am I doing with my time these days if I’m not (a) teaching and/or (b) drinking in a bar? Well, I delivered two quilts to the photographer, socially distanced and masked. A little weird, but OK. I also passed the CPR test…good thing. Most of it was online, but there was a 30-minute hands-on assessment that was pretty easy. So I don’t have to worry about that for two more years. Hopefully I won’t need it. I have some Patreon rewards I’m trying to finish…I only needed one, so I planned to make six? Don’t even ask. I ironed the three quilt ones down on Thursday…first onto a teflon sheet…

Then to a background fabric…

This part doesn’t take long…

On these small pieces, I’m keeping track of the time it takes to make them…

Just to know…whatever doesn’t go to Patreon will go to Etsy…

Everything I do is time-based…so I know how much to charge without getting sentimental.

Then I stitched them all down…and then here, I did the line I usually quilt with, although these aren’t three layers.

My sewing machine was being really cranky, so I had to rip out a bunch of stitches on the stitch down. It was a pain. I did the linework today during my quilt guild meeting.

My machine goes in for service in September. That’s a ways away.

Honestly, I don’t know why it behaves the way it does. It’s inconsistent.

I had absolutely no issues with it in that last monster of a quilt. None. It was amazing. These tiny things? It’s being a dumbass. It is hot, though, and sometimes that’s the issue. Whatever.

I also washed and ironed these…

So I’m going to give the one Patreon a choice and then decide how to finish the others and put them on Etsy.

They’re not big or fancy. I do have one embroidery left to do, but I also need to do a larger 10″ square quilt for one of my higher-tiered Patreon patrons, so that’s next. Well, that and the next quilt. I went and enlarged two drawings on Friday, and yesterday, spent some time putting one of them together…

I enlarged them from a 14×17″ drawing 250%. It’s a good size…

None of these cats are helping. I added some to the bottom because I had cut off part of the arm in the drawing and it just looked weird.

So I’m working on the bottom piece right now. Then I’ll number it and we’ll see where we’re at. It’s a COVID Daughter, so one of the Daughter-series quilts I’ve done, but a little bigger than the other two. OK, possibly a lot bigger, because I think I started the other two in my smaller sketchbook and enlarged them 200-300%? Yeah. Must be because one is only 28″ wide and the other is 40″ wide…we’ll see what this one ends up being.

It’s nice to go straight into another quilt. This last one took so long, four months long, and I need to get some more work done. I say this and work is about to blow up my schedule for the foreseeable future. Because I’ll be in BARS ALL THE TIME. Oh wait. No I won’t. I’ll be redesigning curriculum for online learning with a system I haven’t learned yet. No worries. Using a scope and sequence I will see ‘soon’. On a curricular system I have barely used. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Yeah. With about 150 students, I’m thinking. We’ll see how many go to charters or pull out of school completely…and then how many trickle back over the year. Our turnover is high in a normal year. I think this year will be a clusterfuck.

I still don’t even know if we will be allowed to choose where we teach, whether at home or in the classroom. Most days, I would choose to be here, unless the temperatures are too high or my internet is too sucky. Less exposure to humans is good right now. Right, Simba?

The dogs enjoy deck time with me after I let Calli in the pool…

Oh yeah, I did a drawing the other night too…

For my Patreon…I added more lines the next morning…

Scanned it, cleaned it up, and sent it out to them. I have enough for a coloring book, but no time or money to make that. Someday.

I finally gave up on passing the sourdough starter float test…it was doubling in size and bubbling like crazy. So I cooked this today…

We’ll see what the inside looks like later. Hopefully tasty.

These guys, bird poop caterpillars (precursor to the Swallowtail butterfly), showed up on my lemon tree…

The man thinks these are the small version of them…

Hard to say. For now, I let them live. Though they are ugly.

Have I mentioned that it’s hot here?

There are many animals just lying around, trying to get as flat as possible. We humans might be some of them.

Well, it’s almost dinner time on Saturday…I told you I was off my schedule. To my credit, I did Pilates on Zoom this morning, plus a guild meeting and all that other stuff. I’m doing OK. I don’t know what dinner looks like, but I know I’m not cooking it. I also need to finish a book before the library sucks it back, and maybe finish that drawing. We’ll see. Sunday might be more productive. It might not. It will be cooler though, and that will help the neurons fire a little faster. One hopes.

Cat Butt Incursion…

There’s a cat butt keeping my keyboard from being in the right place. She squeaks every time I try to shove it further toward where it’s supposed to be. Man, I’m tired. Yes, I stayed up too late. Why? Well, ostensibly I was working on art things, but also was watching the end of the second season of Hidden and wanted to see the end. Way too fucking late. Bad summer behavior.

First of all, I FINISHED THE DAMN QUILT. There was a lot of binding.

And I did all of it. And then dropped the whole quilt on the couch.

I haven’t figured out the time it took yet. But I did email my photographer for the last two quilts. Hopefully he’ll be OK with that.

So there was about a 24-hour time period in the last few days when I was going to be teaching an unknown elective for this school year, but then that went away (oh good). I suggested social-justice quilting and pole-dancing, but since my principal was too scared to actually even contact me and tell me about the elective, I also thought he wouldn’t go for either of those. No worries, all, I would have just taught art. I’ve done it before. It would be hard with the online aspect, but not undoable. Just busy as shit. But it’s OK now…that’s gone.

But because of that, I needed a hike in nature…even though it was by myself.

Sweetwater Wildlife Reserve…with its vernal pool that is quite boisterous this summer.

It was hot…

Always happy to see the flowers…

I did 3 miles…

There’s a bunny out there…

Dear School: Knock it off. Seriously, so many of my hikes are because of outside stress. Yesterday included 3 hours of an online union meeting about what is coming. So stressful. Other people can work from home, but we teachers are lazy? Ah sigh.

What else? I’ve got Patreon things I’m working on…the last embroidery…needed a different transfer color…

And also worked on the quilt pieces…Calli was helping…

The Wonder Under was traced and cut out, and I needed to iron it down…and then I cut them out.

I was doing this well after midnight.

So all three are ready to be ironed together and onto something. That’ll be this afternoon.

I also cut all the backgrounds for the Tattoo quilt and ironed down the pieces for the first block.

I’m doing hand applique. I don’t know why. But I am. And then I added the borders to Folk Tails…

There are a bunch of squares and rectangles that need to be appliqued on and then embellished. And then I’m done with this one. Done seems like a good thing.

Hey, do you do Pilates with animals? I do.

Simba loves his dinosaur…

And here he is, getting involved in Pilates…

So I realized last year that I posted a bunch of meme things about stupid shit the President said last July. So I’m hoping if I post all these now, then I will hopefully see them a year from now and life will be easier. Or different. Or less Trumpy.

Maybe I won’t even remember any of this because of the crazy stuff that will have happened since then.

That one too. And then in a year, we’ll have more data about this…

Maybe DeVos (hopefully) will be gone by then.

And this. Will we still be wearing masks in a year? I suspect so. I hope not.

Well there’s that. So I think that’s all I have for today. Oh wait! The girlchild now has a blog, Reformed Veg, where she writes about food and gives recipes. And she has a podcast with her friend Alessia about…um…well, I’m not sure what it’s about, but it’s currently on Spotify and some other platforms and will eventually make it to Podcasts on the i-devices. It’s called Rideshare. I’ll try to figure out how to share a link to a podcast here before the next blogpost. If you follow her on Insta, it’s in her profile. That might be easier. There’s the Insta…

OK. The day disappears as I get all this stuff done. And now I should do more. So there. I will also need to study more CPR before tomorrow morning’s actual test. Usually we don’t have to do a test like this, so I’m nervous I’m going to forget something. Plus it’s early in the morning because I didn’t get to pick the time. Which sucks. So I will NOT stay up until 1 AM tonight. Or later. I won’t. First I’ll eat lunch.

Sitting in an Empty Mall

So I need new glasses…lenses actually. I went to the disinfected eye doctor successfully and got a new prescription, and the lenses are ready, so now they need an hour to pop them in my glasses. Fun. It’s an indoor mall, so it’s closed, but a few people are here and I’m sitting on a chair, blind as a bat, with the iPad about two inches from my face, typing this. My mask is on and I’m pretty sure I’m cross-eyed. This is the level of paranoia I will have at school. No. I will be more paranoid at school. I will be sitting in my classroom by myself for 7 hours a day in less than two weeks, yelling at anyone who tries to come in my room. Depressing and lonely. It is staying alive though. Hopefully.

So I’ve been getting a little art done. The days slip away so quickly. This binding will take a while.

I actually really like this part of the process…it’s relaxing, although the pins (and cats) are pokey.

There’s 470” to do of the binding and the sleeves. That is 13 yards. Really? Shit. That’s a lot. So Sunday I did two sides…four to go. I didn’t do any last night. I was working on Patreon embroideries. I finished one on Saturday or Sunday night (can’t remember which)…

Damn either she’s blurry or my eyes are getting worse. I’ll wash and iron and rephotograph when I can see. And when the blurry-eyes-tryna-focus headache goes away. I also started this one…

And finished it. Note to self: design more simply. That woman with the rainbow hair was complicated.

This was after dinner, when I was contemplating what to do with the rest of my evening.

Definitely needs a bath and attention from an iron.

Saturday, I managed to get the man to go with me on a walk at the beach…

We just hung out at Dog Beach…not a ton of people and a nice breeze.

We actually ignored the real beach and walked where there were fewer people. I enjoyed it. IDK about the man. His foot has been bugging him and his work is stressful. But he did it and that’s something. I know outdoors is more important to my moods and sanity than his. Although I think it would help him too, I know everyone has to be making their own choices willingly for that good outdoor feeling to work though.

With that in mind, my science co-teacher and I headed to Sunset Trail in the Lagunas yesterday for some much-needed planning and venting.

It was a little warm, but we did a fairly short hike…with her dog, Watson…

We both had masks and Watson’s leash is the requisite 6-feet long to help with visualizing appropriate distancing.

This is one of my favorite hikes. Not hard, great views.

We stopped for a while and took some notes about how to do school this year. Science will be a challenge. And then her shoe died.

The entire bottom sole came off. Folks, here’s my shoe PSA from someone who has had plantar fasciitis multiple times…new boots every 500 miles. New other shoes when the wear is obviously changing your stance. It’s OK…she’s going to REI today.

Water of the Woods…aka the cow pond…no cows today.

Watson got too hot or just plain tired after a while (note: his limit is about 2 miles, maybe more if it’s cooler), so he got a ride.

He didn’t seem to mind not walking…

Lucky dog…

Weird tree growths. We have ideas for videos from the trail and the kitchen or garden for school. It will be hard to implement those while sitting in my empty classroom. I’m going to apply for field trips. For me and my co-teacher. Even walking in the neighborhood of the school and looking for relevant stuff would be better than sitting in an empty room.

We have another hike planned for next week, adding another teacher to the mix.

All good things. Part of my sanity.

Right now, Calli wants to go in the pool, I have a bunch of quilty things I need to work on, but first, I’m eating a late lunch. I made pancakes with leftover sourdough starter earlier and froze them. The hardest part of going back to the physical classroom is not being able to get stuff done at home. It all gets shoved to the weekend. Grading comes back with a vengeance and all gets pushed online, so more computer time. Like I wasn’t already staring at a screen enough before. But it keeps us safer, so we will do it. I have to laugh at the people who thought we were only working 3 hours a day before…well, they’re welcome to try to do my job before they say how it should be. Hoping I get it all figured out in the next few weeks. This is the most unprepared I’ve felt since the first year I taught. Nice feeling.

Following Me Around Like a Fly on a Scab…

Hey, Portland…I like your style. Now the veterans have shown up. Keep being you. We need to be able to protest wrongdoing, especially by the government. Hey, y’all, I’m deep in the summer teacher head of panic and lack of focus. We go back to school in THREE WEEKS. By back to school, I mean on a computer with a bunch of kids I’ve never met. With internet that is rampantly bitchy and flighty as hell. With who-knows-what curriculi. Yeah, I know that’s not a word. I just like it. It’s all good! We will survive. Hopefully. I mean, I say that, but there’s a pandemic on, so some of us (the larger Teacher Us) will not. Hopefully those I know and love will survive…and I’m already pissed off about those who have died and those who will die. I noticed that one of the teachers my kids had is retiring (probably early, probably because of all this)…I didn’t think she was much older than I am, if that…but if she’s been teaching since she got out of college, that would make sense. I’d walk away from it if I could afford it. I can’t though. So there we are. I love many things about teaching (and hate a few too, but mostly those are administrative)…and would totally miss it, but I don’t want to die because of it. No one does. And hospitals are much cleaner environments than middle schools, so don’t use that excuse. I think we should have pandemic-trained staff from a local hospital come train us on cleaning. I know I will be cleaning more because I won’t trust anyone else to have done it well enough. I want to do it well and right. In my spare time. In between planning and prepping and grading. Oh my.

OK, so enough of the worry and anxiety that is following me around like a fly on a scab. I didn’t get much done in the last 24 hours, except delivering a quilt and gaming for a few hours. We survived that…iffy wormhole and all. I stitched during gaming…it helps me concentrate when I’m not rolling dice and throwing out random suggestions for tractor beams and transporting to a fluctuating vehicle.

Green row done, started lighter blue. Hopefully I’ll finish tonight. I’ve got two more to do.

If you look back through my posts, you’ll see that I liked a foundation paper-pieced quilt called the Tattoo quilt, by Berene Campbell of Happy Sew Lucky. I briefly considered paper piecing the damn thing and quickly realized that my sanity is worth more to me than that. Don’t get me wrong, according to those making the quilt (there’s a group going on FB), Berene’s patterns, explanations, and videos are totally what I would need to do an awesome job on this, and the group is very helpful. I actually read a lot of the helping posts, because I like to know how to do things, but I just don’t have the patience for this right now. Plus it’s huge, and the last thing I need is another huge quilt in the house. So I got crazy and decided to do hand applique instead (I’m good at that) and to also shrink it to 50%. Yeah. I told you it was crazy. I redrew all the blocks at 50% for applique…last night, I finished up the last few…

And did the center block, which is larger…

And then inked and numbered all of them…

This one has 100 pieces, but most of them have a lot less than that. Plus yeah, they’re smaller…

Now I just need to see what I have that will work for a background for all of them and start picking fabrics. I do other people’s patterns all the time. It’s the vacation/hobby for the art brain. So when I’m flailing all over the place and can’t focus, this is what I can do. This is easy. So many people don’t understand why I don’t just make art all the time. I can’t. I need a break…sometimes I just need something that someone else designed. Despite my redraw for applique, this is Berene’s design, totally.

My bullet journal font for next week was totally stolen from someone else, and then I messed around with it, because I only had three letters to go from, and then they had a lot more space, so I had to adjust. I had some time this morning and just needed to doodle.

Today is all fabric. And a walk. Plus dinner and a movie. Here. In the home. Where there are no virions rolling around. Hopefully.

So no real quilt work yesterday. Too tired. Dealing with other things. Katie (my parents’ dog) is still here, and although she’s been pretty chill (except when the fire alarm went off to tell me it had a low battery), the kittens have been extremely wary.

Mostly Nova is hiding…

But see that wide-eyed stare? That’s because Katie just came in the room.

Luna’s stare is a little less psychotic-looking, but not by much…

Up high is safe. Today Katie is visiting the ex’s house for a 24-hour respite for the cats. Even my cat hides from Katie, but now they are all out and hopefully relaxing. It’s OK…Katie goes home tomorrow, but she’ll be back in August! Oh boy! Hopefully the cats will get used to her…eventually.

OK, I have a ton of watering to do today. I also need to pick fabrics for a bunch of small quilts and put the binding and sleeves on the big quilt. I should have plenty to work on while watching the movie that has not yet been chosen. I also think I’m supposed to make bread today. Or tomorrow. I think today or I will be hiking and that will be an issue…OK. Plans made. Do float test on starter. Pick some fabrics. No. Sew binding on first. Do the yucky things first. I hate the machine-sewing part on a big quilt. It just takes forever. The hand-sewing part is relaxing. I’m OK with that taking forever. I’ve got some couch time coming up…that’s a good thing.

To Be Clear…

Sometimes it may seem that I am not paying attention to current events or politics or major issues in the world, but I surely am. They are sitting right there in my pop-up Google Glass brain, playing on repeat. I’m trying to process the images and ideas into work, mostly, or into sense, which is difficult. Portland, for example. Not Portland the city…Portland WTF is the federal government doing there. Like Albuquerque. I’m sure there are some terrified or politically different folks who are glad to see unmarked vans trolling around their city (a few blocks of it anyway) and grabbing those dangerous moms and dads of Portland or shooting tear gas at them to try to control them their singing and chanting of peace and love and change from the stupid practices that kill innocent people or even people who should have more rights, but I’m not one of them. I’m pretty sure my government is totally not my government at the moment. I’m glad to see Portland being proactive, both at a person-to-person level and at a governor-mayor-attorney-general level. And I’m sure you know this, because you read my blog, and IDK how you could if you were of a wildly different political persuasion than I, but Breonna Taylor’s killers are still free, they’re cops, they should be charged with murder, and those protesting her murder and the freedom of her killers were subjected to a lot worse than those cops. Which is so incredibly and amazingly wrong. Dead wrong, to be clear.

I honestly have a hard time watching or listening to much of the news these days. It hurts. And then I think, must be nice to be able to watch it from here, where we have no feds (yet), no cops breaking into my home, no fascist dictators (well, arguments to be had there)…I can vote, I can walk around and not be harassed by police (unless I go to Portland apparently), and no one is usually asking me for my ID in a park. It’s true. It is nice. And I want it to be that way for EVERYBODY. Including those who don’t politically believe what I do, but I’d like them to come over to our side too. Really. Let’s do this, people. White is not great. White is not right. White doesn’t even exist biologically, which makes it even stupider. More stupid. And yet the racism is there, the bullshit is there, the discrimination is there. No, I still don’t have an antiracist quilt drawn because I barely understand the people for whom I would be making it. I don’t know how to talk to them. I don’t know how to address their fears, because they just sound insane to me. Sad and crazy and insane and just plain wrong.

Keep it up, Portland. Chicago, Albuquerque, New York…be strong. White people…dayum. If you’re with me, cool. If you’re not…please explain. Because all I see is fear. And that’s not how we should be living our lives, making decisions that affect lots of people, pushing out hate and different and wrong. Oh yeah. Science! We should science more. And harder.

OK. So the last few days. The fence is kind of on hold. We’re waiting on wood slats…

They’re saying up to 2 weeks to get them, and then we get to plant. And be private? Well, who knows. This is from the road…and here is our little friend the praying mantis…

And another view…

Anyway, so more of that will happen.

This cat…

And the dogs…my parents’ dog is here…

My poor SIL and family are in a tire store in the middle of California after they blew a tire. They just called me to complain about California roads and Sacramento weather. I don’t envy them that part. I am jealous of the trip itself.

I spent some time Wednesday night just cleaning up, because I was tired and couldn’t think straight. I put all these away except for the pinks…

And I traced some stuff and cut it out for the small Patreon quilts.

I’m having a hard time with motivation. I’m tired and unfocused. I write down a to-do list every day so I can just look at it and cross things off. I should write a more specific one for these so I can get them done. They’re not hard…I just can’t focus. Although I’ve been working on this…

In meetings mostly. Zoomy meetings. She’s getting there.

Yesterday, I persuaded the boychild to hike Hollenbeck with me…

I’ve been doing shorter neighborhood hikes, but not my normal summer once-a-week bust-em-out hikes. This is still under 6 miles unless we add on…

Which I would’ve done if (a) it stayed nice and cloudy like that and (b) I didn’t have a shitload of other things I needed to get done. California horny toad there…

A little one…

There’s a hill hiding back there.

And then this thing that looked like either a fuzzy beetle or a landed bee…hard to say.

It was weird bug day.

It did get a little warmer, but not too bad for summer…low 80s.

Lots of woodpeckers and bunnies, all of which I did not manage to photograph…plus one coyote from a distance.

It was a really beautiful day.

Definitely worth it. Would recommend.

Then came home and trimmed this beast. Luckily it was pretty easy. I think I fixed three sides after the first cuts, which isn’t bad.

All while kneeling on that damn scabby knee from Monday. Ouch. Please remind me that this is too big. I should make things that are smaller than this. Really. She’s 78″ wide x 81″ high. She big.

Then I tested the binding fabrics I had…the green works…it does…

But the red makes the COVID virions, the angels, and the blood vessels pop…and that’s better…

In the end, the brighter red worked…I found a bunch of another darker red, but it doesn’t work as well. So the bright red it is.

I cut all the binding and sleeve fabrics Thursday afternoon, and then got too tired to sew them all together and on the quilt itself. Hopefully today?

We’ll see. I’m currently waiting for a really badly timed focaccia to finish cooking…

It rose nicely. I’m constantly confusing 12 and 24 hours. For whatever reason. Honestly, I’m constantly confusing a lot of things. It’s a late-afternoon focaccia instead of a dinnertime focaccia.

And I already delivered a quilt to the Oceanside Museum of Art for a show we might not be able to see. Sigh. It’s funny that the woman who works there (who I’ve worked with before) recognized me with a mask on. I’m always so impressed that she knows who I am. I got to see artist Katie Ruiz‘ rainbow of pompoms, albeit, on the floor and not on the outside wall…

But still nice.

OK, the day has disappeared, as always. I have a tree guy coming later, I have gaming tonight, the focaccia is good, hopefully my SIL and family (which, yes, includes my bro) make it to Yosemite tonight with tires complete, and maybe I’ll even get something done later. You never know. These summer days that kick you upside the head. Woo!

The Red Is Too Bright…

Ah summer 2020. You are a pokey sharp thing and not in a good way. So much stupid and stressful and not right. So many people who either don’t understand viral transmission or willfully ignore it. I so need a mountain cabin vacation on another fucking planet right now. A lot of us do. Honestly, the doctors and nurses get to go first. I know what I want for me, but then I think that’s selfish and there are so many other people who need it more.

So I try to do the things here that make me feel better. I had let the daily exercise routine slip a little. It was hot. I don’t like to exercise when it’s really hot. But I’m back to walking and the stationary bike, and my Pilates studio is doing online classes, so I’ve signed up for some of those. My real workout the last two days has been building the privacy fence though…

Although I think that’s just because I’m old. And doing a lot of bending over mixing concrete in the heat is uncomfortable…

That said, all four posts are still standing and seem to be level. And last night, I finished up all the tops so the water will hopefully swoosh away from the posts themselves.

“All the water.” Ha. It’s full summer here right now. It won’t rain for real for at least 6 months. Maybe more. But when it DOES rain, the water will swoosh away. We got the wood for the stringers yesterday. Buying wood lately has been a pain. The big fence companies swoop in and buy it all before I can even get there. I’m hoping to get slats in the next few days, although it might be two weeks. A lot of the lumber companies have shut down because of the pandemic, plus I think a lot of people are doing work on their houses who weren’t before. So there’s a shortage. It’ll get done eventually though. The slats are the easy part. This was the hard part. Although the stringers being parallel might be hard too. We’ll see.

So that’s been my days, mostly. That and taking this sweet old dumbass into the pool…

She’s waiting for me to get the broom so I can push the pinecone back toward her so she can get it. She used to swim way out, but she’s too old now. She still likes to be in the water and fetching the pinecone, though. I do it about 4-5 times and then she has to come out. She gets too tired. Usually we dry off on the deck for a bit while I read, but her skin is bad, so she needed a bath with the special shampoo.

She does not like that. Yes the wall is peeling. My remodeling fund is coming along, but we’re a good year plus out from being able to remodel the bathrooms or the kitchen. I just keep pulling more of it off.

My parents’ dog is here…Katie also needs a bath.

She’s making everyone a little nervous…

New dog. New cats. So stressful. It’s only a few days. We will all survive. I think.

Speaking of survival, I planted these cuttings from my parents’ house a month or so back. They seem to be doing OK…

The slope used to be covered with a groundcover that started dying all around here. I have very little of it left. Not sure why. So we’ve been replacing it in sections with other stuff.

So quilting…when I get to the background, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Dark blue at night. Good choice!

I have not had good luck with buying lighting to go on the machine…they don’t last or they just suck. I’m not sure what to do at the moment. Maybe just buy a standing table lamp and put it behind the machine.

But for now, I just suffer through it. I spent the last two nights listening to the Scene on Radio Season 2 podcasts on Seeing White. They’re good. Oh yeah, and quilting. I finished last night…18 hours and 17 minutes…

Not bad. I was thinking 20 hours again. Now I need to trim it, which means cleaning the floor again, and then pick a binding. When I bought the background, I picked two possible binding fabrics. Honestly, the red is too bright. The green might work, or I might need to raid my stash. I don’t think I have enough of any red that would be dark enough, but I might be able to piece it from multiple fabrics. We’ll see. If it needs to be red, I’ll figure it out. So close to done! Although it’s a month later than I thought it would be. I’ve had other shit I’ve been dealing with, though, so it’s OK. It has to be OK, because it is what it is.

I also worked a little bit on this last night. I really do need to do the other small quilts too…

I’m behind on the Patreon rewards. Need to get caught up this week. But I needed that quilt off the sewing machine to do that. So maybe today is trim big quilt and figure out binding, get it on, and then I can start the smaller quilts in the next couple of days. I need to put a label on a quilt that should be delivered Thursday or Friday, so there’s that too. Aack. Plus the fence. And worrying about school…

Yeah. Exactly. OK. I have purpose. I have tasks. I have not showered.

Head-Clearing Events…

The big old lady dog is currently harassing me because she wants to go in the pool, but the pool guy was just here today and dumped chlorine in there, so it’s a no-pool day, lady.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will throw the pine cone in and you can fetch it. Four times, because more than that tires you out too much. This is the joy I give you in your last months, old lady. Water. Pine cones. The occasional piece of bread. Enjoy.

So Saturday was a tense day. I couldn’t get my head out of school. I finally went out on the deck and drew for a while…

This is the place where I should spend more time sitting. I forget. I was honestly feeling too tense to even draw. It was slow. I was pulling it out like extricating a tick from really juicy dog flesh.

I gave up at one point and went for a 3-mile walk. Hike. Not sure what to call these.

Head-clearing events. Came back, we dealt with dinner, which is more and more annoying. No, I don’t want more takeout. Sigh. Takeout it is. So I worked on this for a little bit.

Not hard. Just time-consuming. And then went back to the drawing, because I didn’t have the energy to quilt.

It’s pretty good, actually. I’m not sure what I’m doing on the other side, but it will be bad. I think. We’ll see. It took the walk for me to decide what needed to go on the top.

I also managed on Saturday to adjust sound to a portion of a video clip, the part where the dogs started rampantly barking.

Oh yeah. Them’s some barks. Success! This program is not always easy to use. Thanks to Google and YouTube for always having the answer. Or at least directions.

Last night, I did more of this…with the little boy.

He is sad that the girlchild is gone and mopes in a variety of places.

I also finally started quilting the background last night. I did one whole long side, plus a goodly chunk of the background at the top, on one side, but not above the angels. If that makes any sense at all.

I can’t say that I have 2 sides done, or even 1 1/2, because mostly I did stuff in the middle, but not all of it. If you get what I mean. There’s more. Lots more. Possibly no end in sight. No, not really. This is a good place, because the end is just right THERE. After three more sides and some more crap in the middle.

We keep finding dead things on the property. There was a dead baby bird. I don’t know where it went. Then this dead baby rodent, probably mouse or rat…

And this poor dragonfly…

It’s funny, because most bugs are yucky, so why aren’t dragonflies? Why are they so not yucky? Are they really that much prettier than a beetle? I just don’t know. Neither does Simba, but he was happily rubbing his head on the dead rodent before the boychild removed it.

So much for dog tastes.

The milkweed has gone to seed.

I didn’t see any self-seeded plants pop up from last year’s batch. Too bad. I wonder if I should collect and plant some? Or just let it all be natural. I’m inclined toward the latter. It’s easier.

I posted this on the SAQA So Ca/NV Instagram.

I was looking around at my own purchases. I’ve bought mostly online. I’ve been in two stores, one for the background and hopefully the binding on this beast. We’ll see. I haven’t tried them yet against the actual quilt. Then the siren song of fabric near my Pilates studio…masked and hand sanitized. I don’t usually buy very much fabric online, so that’s been different. That’s probably true for a lot of us though.

OK, so it’s late in the day. Boychild and I put two posts up for the privacy fence we’re building. I then ran errands, returns mostly, couldn’t get the wood and concrete I needed, so I came home. I’m doing a Zoom Pilates class, which is a little nerve-wracking. I did them from recorded classes before, but never live. We’ll see how it goes. Then off to buy more concrete so I can finish the two posts tonight and we can do two more tomorrow. I’m tired now. I also did a full klutz trip and fall in a parking lot today. Scraped up one knee. Got up, realized an entire car of older ladies was watching, so I did that arm thing they do at the end of a gymnastics routine. I’m sure there’s a name for that. No scores were posted. Yes, I am that weirdo. Hopefully quilting tonight. I want to be done. I want to do something new. Something smaller too.

Ready, Brain.

Hey y’all. It’s Saturday, the day when I feel most like escaping the house and doing something semi-normal, like walking or seeing art or whatever. It’s also the day when the most people are out doing the same thing, and in my county, not doing a great job of wearing masks, although probably better than in some counties. Yesterday, the Governor of California mandated that schools couldn’t open in person until county infection numbers were on a downward trend for 14 days, something I believe is safe. I know some people think kids need to be in schools, and so do I, but I would like the county to be taking it seriously, and they’re not. That said, many of our new positive tests are in the 20-29 age range, which isn’t necessarily the group that is most invested in kids going to school, so that’s a tough one. There’s limited science out there on transmission in children, maybe partially because we pulled them out of school, so they’ve been less exposed than normal. Maybe not? This science is hopeful for schools reopening…I’d like be able to go back in person and feel somewhat safe. My biggest issue all along has been with the adults, though. I’ve seen adults at my school not social distancing, not wearing masks, and that is where we will get sick…through them. It’s not just our young teachers who don’t take it seriously; I don’t want to get sick and/or die because the adults on my campus are lackadaisical and let their guard down. I don’t trust them. I guess when we do go back (because we will be going back online in August no matter what), I want to be prepared to be an awesome online teacher (as awesome as is possible) and to be healthy and safe when we go back in person. I won’t be able to hide in my classroom and only socialize distantly with those I feel are following rules…I’ll have to move from classroom to classroom all day. More science please! I want all the sciencez.

Meanwhile, I’m quilting. It’s meditative. I always say that. Art is how I save myself from myself. Plus I’ve been revisiting iTunes. I spent a lot of time listening to Pandora, which is nice, because I don’t need to own the music, but my iTunes felt lonely. So I’m playing songs in order from most-listened to least. Some songs haven’t been ‘heard’ (on iTunes at least) since 2012. I feel bad for those songs. Like I’ve let them down.

I quilted a lot in the last few days, and I’m not done.

I quilted during my stitching meeting…Zoom…

I finished the third figure and went back to completing the taller figure in the middle.

I got one arm done and everything up to her head, and then decided it was bedtime.

Yesterday evening, I started on the other arm…

And got her hair done and the cat…with the help of Calli on the floor and Kitten in the other chair. Help might be a strong word.

Yes, I use a normal sewing machine to do this. I have neither the money nor the space for anything bigger or more useful.

Then I finished the angels. So all the outlining is done, with 12 1/2 hours in. I just need to fill in the background now. Maybe some of it will get done today. Considering my walk options. It’s hot. I still want to get out and move. I can’t stand all this sitting around inside. It drives me bonkers.

I also started one of the small Patreon embroideries…this is faster.

I need to get some done this week…embroidery and quilt.

What else? I tried making bread again…

It behaved better this time, and…

It looks good, but I lost all the airiness of the first one. Still a work in progress. No gumminess this time, though, so that’s a plus.

I walked a couple of days, because the gyms are closed down again…another painted rock…

And then when I come back, the cats fight over who gets to rub their head all over my boots.

It’s very strange. Almost as strange as Kitten fetching me slippers again. She meows really loud (with the slipper in her mouth) and brings it from the bedroom and then usually drops it about 6 feet from me.

Such bizarre behavior. Sometimes I put them all back in the bedroom for her, and sometimes she takes them back.

These two are waiting for their daddy to get out of the bathroom. They do that a lot.

They are really intrigued by our litter tray behavior.

Yesterday, I felt just wiped out, exhausted, so I attempted a short afternoon nap. But people kept interrupting…

Well, and cats (not this one) did too. So much for the nap culture here. The cats have it down.

Yesterday morning, the ex showed up with a chainsaw (like you do). I have this palm tree that is too large for the entryway and has been rubbing against the roof. We’ve talked before about trying to get rid of it, but it’s a really tight space, so digging it out would be an issue.

Well. There’s always this route…

It’s just too big for the space. And you can see what it was doing to the eaves and the roofline. He took it down a little farther than this (all his chainsaw could do)…

I’ll ask my tree guys to take it down to about a foot or so above ground and then put a pot on it. Or I will learn to carve palm trunks with a chainsaw. One of those two things. Whichever seems easiest.

Here’s the girlchild in Boston, about to get a new(er) car. Hers has been problematic…

It’s been a lot of phone calls and FaceTime, but I think she did it.

Oh yeah, to Trump and DeVos…

There is an argument to be had here. But since we know it’s really about money and votes, I guess that’s why. I want kids in school. I want them safe. I don’t know what classrooms will look like when we can’t work in groups and do labs and collaborate in the ways we did (yes, I know we can do it online…it’s not the same, y’all, you know it’s not)…I know it will be a difficult and often troubling and depressing year, so I’m trying to set myself up for success. I have a book about online teaching on its way to me, I’m trying to get my head in a space to plan for digital with kids I’ve never had…and more importantly, I’m trying to relax now to get my brain ready.