New Bird…

There’s a new bird in my yard. I haven’t seen it; just heard it. Sounds like a violin being played by a half-competent child. I’ve never heard it before…every morning, I sit in here or at the table and it screeches happily for a while. Is it Spring? Is that why we have a new bird? I don’t know. I wish I knew more about the birds who live here. We focus on the big beautiful owls and hawks, and I truly despise the mockingbird, but all the little gray brown birds…I don’t know what they all are. My neighbor above has added a bird feeder I can see from this window, and there are tons of birds hanging out around there. It makes me wonder why we never did that. Oh wait. We did. It was hard to remember to refill it and eventually it got gross and the metal corroded and we may have thrown it out. Yeah. I have too many things to do already. When the man leaves on his hike again, I have to remember the hummingbird feeders…at least they tell you. They buzz around your head angrily to remind you to fill them.

So that’s in my head this morning. The birds.

Monday night, I decided to leave the belly area and work on the sky. I did a few versions of “where do I put the sun” or “is there a sun?” or whatever, and then filled in the rest.

So the belly area is still undone…I still can’t remember what I was supposed to do in there. Last night, I went to the gym (to finish a book that really pissed me off about halfway through, but also to exercise), so I was late back, late for dinner, and then we watched a bizarre movie and I was stitching through it, nothing complicated, just the Sue Spargo Chirp quilt from a couple years ago, and I couldn’t get inspired to draw the belly.

Every flower is so freakin’ complicated. And there are four of each type. And I may never finish. Very positive thoughts about this quilt right now. So I got to here, looked at the clock, and it was bedtime. Aargh. OK. Well. Tonight is book club, so maybe I’ll finish the drawing? I don’t know. I still don’t know what’s going in that space.

I finished the flying geese…

Although I say that, and I just randomly laid these out, and obviously, I need one more? Except who knows what else will be added to this and I don’t need to decide anything right now.

I also went through the next drawer of black fabrics and made donation piles and then cut pieces for the boro-type scarf I’m making.

Sorted them a little. I’ll go through the white fabrics for the other half of the spectrum too.

Meditating last night with the little beast.

Have to focus on my breathing and not her butt cleaning. Difficult task.

OK, I have two meetings this morning. Sent notes to one. Can’t do both. Plus I teach 4 things today…advisory, science block 1, art, science block 2. I graded all the art projects yesterday. There are a lot of Fs because this group just doesn’t turn work in. Unfortunate. But I’m not waiting for them any more. We’re starting the next project. Onward! Hopefully my brain will figure out the drawing by the time I get to 9 PM, yeah? It would be nice. The new bird has gone quiet…must be naptime.

As I Was Falling Asleep…

Proof I wasn’t ready to go back to school? What am I talking about? We’re always braindead on the weekends. I spent Friday night doing almost nothing but reading; Saturday, we hiked and I drew; Sunday, I panicked a little about school and did some grading and recorded a video, but I still have to post everything and check the calendar and finish up contracts for this week. I tested negative on Friday, but we’re pretty sure we had a positive case in the classroom on Thursday. They don’t even tell us anymore. Just assume? I’m hoping the omicron thing peaks soon so we can go back to whatever version of normal we were on in this iteration. Here’s one crazy thing in my head…don’t get tested in the morning on a lab day, because if they pull you out for testing positive, who the hell is gonna cover your labs? Some poor resource teacher who doesn’t have a clue? The superintendent? Yeah. Well, they are sending people out from the district office to cover our classes. Doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing.

Anyway, stay healthy, stay sane. And for MLK, let’s work on voting rights and white people.

The drawing is progressing, although I had to take a break last night, because I couldn’t figure out what to do with the next section, and I know I had an idea right as I was falling asleep, but I don’t remember what it was. It’s OK. It will come back. It’s in my brain somewhere.

On Saturday night, I managed all this…

Inked the rest of the arms and added a few creatures, then penciled in some animals below…and then moved half of them again and redrew most of the others because it was just kind of random placement and size and didn’t work at all, which is how I end up with freakishly tiny pieces.

Ah well. So yeah, moved and shrunk the tortoise, moved the bunny to the other side, redrew the bobcat because it was too fluffy and too diagonal.

The bunny was too big too. It’s still too big really, but I’m not sure I could go smaller. It will work.

The center part is the section I’m flailing on…

It’s OK. Whatever my brain had going will come back by tonight. So there’s just this bit and the sky to do, and that’s it. Then numbering all those pieces and into the tracing. Sounds lovely.

Nova is not sure about all that.

So I’m also doing the Molli Sparkles Cut It Up challenge, which is just some piecing stuff, cutting into fabrics that need love and that might be hard to cut into. I don’t usually have a problem cutting into fabrics, but I do have some that never get used because their details make them hard to use in an art quilt like the ones I make. So I’m trying to use those. So far, most of the fabrics I’ve cut into have never been used. Success! I did this block a few weeks ago…

And then the directions of the curves were bugging me. I thought if I pulled two of them off and switched them, then it wouldn’t look like each side was going the same way? I don’t know if you can even see that. My brain can’t UNSEE it. Anyway, I took one triangle off and tried holding it up to the other sides and there is no way to make this work with the triangles I have. I even did some fancy drawing to check…

Yup. That’s technological wizardry there. Anyway, I could recut triangles, or I could just accept this, because it will be in a quilt full of wildness and it won’t even matter. It’s a good thing I came to this conclusion, because the next step was making a bunch of flying geese, which I don’t think I’ve ever made before, but I didn’t work very hard at directional fabrics and I’m OK with what I have so far.

Oh honey, those aren’t very directional…

THERE we go. I have three more of these to make and I’m totally OK with how it’s going. Why do I do silly piecing and strange challenges when I have so much else going on? The very left brain activity of piecing helps my right brain relax a little and then I can focus on the other stuff, like what to draw in the belly space. Plus it’s something I can control. Well, obviously, not completely, because I can’t figure the directional stuff out, but let it the fuck go. I’m good. We’ll see how far I go with it.

I took my sewing stuff to school to fix a kid’s stuffed animal.

He didn’t seem as appreciative as I would have thought? Ah well. Whatever. Weird skills for a weird job.

Saturday’s hike included an exploratory bit where we tried to find another loop in this park…

But the little section to get down to the other road is apparently private. In the middle of nowhere. So we turned back.

More noticing of the things. It’s not spring yet.

Hey guys. What’s up?

Always being watched.

Saturday dinner drawing…

Not sure what was happening with the hands.

OK, so there’s a to-do list, like always. Some of it’s art-related, a lot is work-related, and there’s a bit of Go-for-a-Walk-related. So I’ll start with packing a quilt to be shipped and work out from there. Hopefully the missing idea from falling asleep will come back and maybe I’ll finish the drawing tonight. We’ll see. It’s nice to have the day off, either way. It’s also nice that the neighbors are quiet (for now).

Very Specific Dreams…

Damn. It’s a good thing it’s Friday. I’m exhausted. I haven’t been sleeping well…last night was a dream about a cleaning lady (man, that would be nice…) who looked a lot like our new science teacher, and she tracked me down because the vacuum died and charged me by the minute ($18.63) but I didn’t have any money, and in fact, I’d forgotten she was coming, so I sent the man to find some cash and I had to go to work, which somehow involved buying a roll of film from this weird store and then the line was too long, so I gave up, but after the cleaner tracked me down with her two ragged friends for the $18.63 that I didn’t have, I went back to the store (which really sold coffee and pastries) for the film, but I’d thrown it back at the cashier, yelling, I can’t wait in this line!, and she made me crawl around the back area where they were making fancy coffees, trying to find this roll of Kodak film…not the normal types, one of those really old cartridge types, and when I got home, I noticed the cleaner just gave up and only cleaned until the vacuum died, and there were so many things she could have cleaned without the vacuum and she didn’t do any of them.

I have very specific dreams.

Anyway. It’s Friday. I’ve survived three whole days of school, fire alarms going off after school (they were testing the system), which caused the 14th headache of the day, and IDK how many pandemic contracts for kids because I lost count and possibly my mind.

Meanwhile, a drawing is regurgitating out of my brain, the part that doesn’t have a headache, and it’s fast and easy enough that I have to remind myself to check the clock to go to bed. Late two nights running.

I am sketching things out in pencil and then using ink to completely change them as I draw them. Which is normal. So Wednesday night, I inked the hawk and then started looking up and figuring out plants.

The arms are holding a lot of the plants…

Although I changed some of this while inking, and I do need to add some animals to this layer.

So last night, I had the joy of mostly inking…

I’m getting in about an hour a night. I changed the hands three times now, which is why they aren’t inked, because I’m still not sure about them. Plus I want to add some animals and they might end up there? Most of them will be in the bottom layer, I think. Yes, this is longer than what you can see. Yes, there are lots of details. Yay! Yes, it will take me forever. What you see is about 4 hours.

Luna has not been particularly helpful with this stage.

Few cats are. Luna and Kitten like to stand on it. Nova likes to eat the paper. Not helpful.

Last night, we pivoted (ugh, hate that word) back to Zoom for our stitching meeting…I’m still trying to finish the 24 highly embellished flowers…

All I had to do was chain stitch last night, which was good, because I almost laid down on the couch for a nap during the meeting. I have all these plans for tonight; we’ll see if I have the energy for them. Thank goodness for a 3-day weekend. I have 78 million things to do this weekend. Pack up two quilts, ship one, deliver another to the photographer, finish moving gravel to the side of the house, hike, meet up with one friend about a commission and just to say hi, grade a ton of stuff, decide what quilts I’m going to put on sale this month, finish the drawing.

Unit 4 cover page for school…very disjointed and random.

I almost restarted it, but I figured future self deserved to know my brain situation in January 2022.

OK, so today’s science assignments are pretty easy. Today’s art assignments appear to just be a challenge for these sweet little widgets across the board. We start something different on Tuesday, thank goodness. I need to get tested at school…too many positive cases. I need to copy a bunch of stuff (hopefully there’s paper) and grade another bunch of stuff (hopefully there’s brainpower). Next week is also a short one. A blessing, for sure. Grades due soon. That’s all the shit in my head, now on the blog, so hopefully I can get things done today.

Good Goals

Hey, so I survived the first day with kids back. I didn’t have as many absent as I thought I would, until the last period (9 out of 27), and I’d seen some of them at school earlier. I remember my mom telling me when I was a kid that I wasn’t THAT sick, as she shoved me lovingly out the door to go to school. I probably did that to my own kids too, because who was going to watch them if they were sick? I was at work, their dad was at work, it was a pain to get a sub, all that stuff. Certainly I sent one kid to the nurse yesterday who didn’t look well, but I know some of them fake that stuff (not this kid) and some are just anxious as shit to be at school (I’m with ya, girl). I don’t want to BE sick. I don’t want to get someone sick. One of the many anxiety-creating mantras that have been in most of our heads for the last two years.

I only had 3 pandemic contracts for kids at the end of the day…we’ll see where we’re at by the end of today. Actually, it’s a week from now I’m thinking about…we’ll see where we’re at then. I’m trying to be really zen about all of it, just get the work done, you know kids will be out, this is supposed to peak by the end of the month, grades are due, it’ll all be fine, everything is fine. And then I cried on the way home from work yesterday. It’s not just work; there’s a lot of crazy going on and work is just part of it, and I’m tired (too many things disturbed my sleep on Monday night/Tuesday morning). Crying is a sign I need to read my book more, exercise more, draw more. SLEEP more. Ha. So what did I do? I finished grading the stressful assignment so it was done done done. I stitched a little. And I drew.

I have a pencil outline of the general shape, and there’s a hawk under the notebook, which just has lists of animals and plants from a variety of deserts. I need to make another earth mother. It’s where my head needs to be right now. I do love the last quilt…it’s all bound and sleeved and ready to be cleaned up for the photographer…

But the topic is stressful to see and feel over and over again, and I need some peace for the next one. Plus it took a long time to make that quilt, probably longer than it should have, because so much other stuff got in the way. I started drawing it in early October and didn’t finish until this week. And that’s it. I didn’t make any smaller quilts in between as filler. Effect of the day job, yeah? And the copyediting.

So my goal is to make this one faster, although it’s a similar size…maybe slightly smaller. And to stay sane and healthy. Good goals.

Pretty Damn Relevant…

Teacher, going back to school after Winter Break:

“Why is it so DARK out?”

“Can I unsubscribe from my district’s weekly motivating emails? Can I unsubscribe from ALL of my district’s emails?”

“I haven’t finished my BOOK.”

Now add Omicron to that mix. Yeah. Well, at least we don’t have kids today…it’s just us and our mushy brains that were panicking all weekend about how to prep for a ton of kids out and probably not having a prep period because teachers will be out and avoiding getting sick even with masks and vaccinations. Lots of us thinking all those things. There’s a pro to the getting up early…only one.

That’s it. The sky.

The quilt is almost done…

On Friday, I finished quilting, then kamikazed to the quilt store, which still closes at 3 PM and isn’t open on Sundays at all, so it’s a challenge to get there. Luckily, I wasn’t back to work yet, so I made it with 20 minutes until closing and the perfect binding leapt out of the shelves and into my arms, it was so excited to come home with me and be part of an anti-anti-abortion quilt.

On Saturday, I cleaned the floor and then went on a depressing hike, depressing due to so many things, but it was outside and a hike, and then I came home and trimmed this beast.

See? Depressing hike. OK, the land itself was not depressing. Sigh.

Then later that night, with a little wine in me, I sewed all the binding on by machine and started the hand stitching. I know some people do it all by machine or do a facing, and that’s fine…I like the meditation of the hand stitching and the binding acts as a frame to my often really busy quilts. Gives the eye somewhere to stop.

The binding is done and I’m onto the sleeves. Emailing the photographer today. That sleeve fabric is ancient…I used to have a lot of it and now I don’t.

I did start drawing the next quilt. I knew this week was gonna be hard, going back to school, so before it started, I wanted a drawing that had been started as well. This next quilt drew itself in my head about a month ago. I made a quick sketch with some notes (gee, Nida, it would be cool to see that, why yes it would. Oh well. I don’t have a photo of it. Maybe later.) and then did some research, because it needed some, and wrote down a million things. Really. A million. I could do this one from my head, but it would be better if I added in some real stuff. Or an approximation of real stuff. I started with a rough sketch of where the body was going, though…

Just one this time. I think. Hmmm. I may rethink that.

Other stupid shit I’ve been doing to try to keep from thinking about going back to school: I joined Molli Sparkles Cut It Up Quiltathon. What that really means is that I pieced a block while I was on my quilt guild’s Zoom on Saturday.

I need to rip out two of the triangles and make them go the other way. I think. It’s like an optical illusion nightmare in some ways. I like the block though. Only making one!

I also started going through the black fabric drawers (there are 4 big ones and two smaller ones)…

I’m still going through my fabric to put together some donation bags/boxes for some groups. But last year, at QuiltCon, I took a boro-style sashiko-kind-of scarf class, cut the backing, and promptly did nothing with it. Because school and time and life. But I knew I wanted to do black to white, so I started cutting swatches for that. I’m not sure about the spider. Might creep me out to have it on there. You look down and see a spider? Yeah. We’ll see.

And last, but not least, reading the last book of The Expanse series…well that’s WAY BETTER than the inspirational shit my district sent me this morning.

Pretty damn relevant, y’all. Yeah. OK. 2022. I’m here. I’m not ready, but I’m here. Gonna do the best I can.

My Apologies for the Stuff…

It is the last Friday of Winter Break. All hail the chaos ahead. I’m sifting through my plans for next week (especially art) and trying to adjust for possibly having up to 40% of my kids out. OK. With progress report grades due a week and a half later. I gave my art kids this coming week to finish the two projects that should have been done by Winter Break, because they weren’t going to be done. And now? They may still not be done. Gotta move on, y’all…gotta move on. But I will look at what’s on the calendar and see if I can shift any digital stuff to this week. I hate this year. Science is fine…I did this whole unit digitally last year, so I have the 23 videos of the elements already. It’s totally doable. Minor issue that I don’t have a table of contents yet…I’m hoping that solidifies on Monday. Ha! Yeah right.

SOME YEAR IN THE FUTURE school will be normal-ish again. It’s not this year, that’s for sure.

So I was hiking yesterday, out in the pristine (mostly) wilderness of the Cuyamacas, beautiful day…

No really, it was beautiful. A little warm at times, only saw four other people on the trail.

And I got a phone call. I thought we were out of range…certainly there wasn’t very much cell service. I didn’t answer, although it told me who it thought it was, and it was an art person, couldn’t remember which art place though, gallery, museum, whatever. You know how your phone tries to guess things sometimes? Well it guessed someone I’d talked to before.

In retrospect, I wish I’d answered, but oh well. No voice mail left, but when we got into town for our requisite post-hike snack and drink, I checked email…

That’s Dyar Springs by the way…our destination. Well, honestly, we did a big loop and the destination wasn’t really the point. Six miles though of out in the foresty/meadowy bits.

I like this hike…I’ve done it a few times before, but it’s been a while. We saw almost no wildlife on the hike, but were checking out footprints in the mud…

IDK. You tell me…

So possibly some wildlife in the area…although we saw these while leaving…

Crossing the road of course…instead of out in nature, where we’d been.

ANYWAY, the email was to tell me Womanscape had sold at Quilts=Art=Quilts

Wow. Did not expect that. I cried. Sigh. It’s been a rough year financially and I’ve been really stressed about some stuff that needs to happen, paying off college, trimming some big, dangerous, tend to drop shit trees, buying food over the summer. It’s why I took on the copyediting job over Winter Break, to pull in some extra cash. So this was a big deal. Also it’s a really cool, complicated, political quilt and I love that someone loved it enough to buy it. Plus this is a venue that has shown a lot of my work, so I feel good that they are benefiting from the sale as well, especially during the pandemic, when so many places are losing money and/or shutting down. We just got news that the Escondido opening is not happening. The show is still going on…just no super spreader event. That’s a good thing. Plus it was going to be a Thursday night and trying to get there after teaching is a pain.

Anyway. Thanks to the buyer. This piece has been in a bunch of shows and won an award and it’s a piece I really love. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to finish this other complicated beast…

I spent about 2 hours yesterday evening blasting music and quilting, and almost got done…

There’s a little bit of outlining left and then the borders, and then she’s good for binding…which is good, because my favorite quilt shop still has limited hours, so Saturdays are really the only day I can go during the school year. It’s today or tomorrow! I don’t think I have anything big enough to bind this thing. I might. I will look first.

While I quilt, Kitten likes to sit behind me and stick her claws in my ass.

Not a fan.

Simba got combed the other night…

He spends the time blissed out or trying to bite me.

The winter sun is hard to find these days…but just find the animals and it’s probably there…

Nova is a weirdo.

I did this drawing on Wednesday night…

I think that’s number 16? I’m not sure, honestly. I’ve missed a few nights…like last night, I didn’t draw because the Man wasn’t here, so I graded stuff (yeah, that’s still happening unfortunately) and then quilted.

While I was quilting, I was looking at these stacking drawers behind my machine…there’s a bunch of thread in there that I don’t really like, but I save it for when the girlchild comes home and needs me to hem something that’s a color besides white, black, or gray. But also, as I was looking at it last night, there’s a bunch of bobbins (and bobbin holders too) in there.

Shit, I don’t even think I have that machine any more. Like why am I keeping bobbins that don’t work in the current machine? You are probably like me, in that you have drawers or boxes full of stuff that you haven’t looked at or touched in years (seriously, many many years) and they all need cleaning out. I could do that right now, or I could quilt. I guess you know how THAT argument goes in my head, every single time. Sorry kids. I love you, but I also love making art. My apologies for the stuff.

May the Vax Be Strong…

I have exactly…wait…3 hours less than 5 days until I have to be at school. Plenty of time for everyone and their mother to get COVID this time around, right? The Man spent 2 hours yesterday waiting in line for a test. Ironically, he had no symptoms until yesterday. I suspect we’re all getting this version. May the vax be strong.

I was hoping to hike today, but I suspect it will be tomorrow. I finished copyediting on Monday and sent it all back today. It will be back in my inbox in March, but just for a short review…hopefully. Meanwhile, it’s done and that’s a relief. I started grading stuff on Monday, sort of in panic mode, because I’d mentally listed everything and completely forgot about one nonnegligible assignment. It will be fine, although grades are due in about two weeks, so I can’t forget that part. I know I have two art assignments due before that and I’ll need to go in to grade those. I worry about the kids who will be out with COVID next week…if they don’t come in and they haven’t finished those assignments…they’re on paper. It’s not like there’s a digital version. I do need a digital alternative for the inevitable COVID contracts though. So that’s on my panic list too. My solution to all this panic? Slowly, methodically grade everything. Do the little stuff on my list, one step at a time. Last night, I packed my daughter’s box of the shit she couldn’t fit in her luggage that she got for Christmas (mostly cookbooks). I also sewed on the missing button from my pants that have been in here since November. Does the button match? Nah. Not really. I’m OK with that. I also need to mend a sweater…not sure how exactly to do that, but it’s on the list. So is moving gravel, sanding the mailbox, and washing the hallway wall. Those are all doable things. One at a time. Cups of tea in between. Maybe shower. Not sure. Maybe not.

I need to get more quilting in during the next 5 days. I can do that. It’s slow and careful at the moment. Facial expressions are details that can’t be rushed…

But I spent most of yesterday in an apparent spa day: got a massage so the chiropractor could actually adjust my neck (copyediting hazard), then haircut (twice a year, whether I need it or not), then counseling. All good. So not much quilting has been happening, but there is progress.

I’m almost out of the bodies in color and into the sky, then the bodies in gray.

It’s good to have a goal…I’ll need binding for this, so that means a store, which means I need it by this weekend, or I won’t be able to get the binding on for another week. Ugh. Stupid store hours conflict with day job. It’s a goal.

I do know what quilt I’m making next, so I could start drawing that. Not here, but this is Drawing #15 of Winter Break.

Not every night…but most of them. Often with this guy cuddled up to me for warmth.

Then there’s Nova and her new box…

I think it was supposed to be for the girlchild’s stuff, but I decided to send those in two boxes.

So, UPS store today, plus either a hike or the gym, plus making my favorite wontons (without kid help this time, unfortunately), and quilting and drawing and grading. And gravel. And sanding. And washing. Just got busy, eh? What’s new? It is how I roll. But right now, I’m going to eat brunch and read my book…brunch because it’s almost lunchtime and I was doing other stuff until now. Yah. Fancy.

Miss Snyder Says Happy New Year…

Well. It’s a Monday. I love those. My current calendar still has Christmas on it (should fix that…I’m a visual person…need to see the days blocked out). I thought I’d be done copyediting last Saturday, but I got more material and then it didn’t get done. TODAY. TODAY IT IS DONE. Seriously, I made the mistake of emailing my author last night and giving him a list of the missing references so I could edit them for consistency…so now I need to do that as well as finish the bit I haven’t finished reading for the 4th or 5th time. It’s fine. I knew taking on work over break would suck, and for a job, it wasn’t a bad one…but it’s been a bit of a slog mentally, and it makes this week fun because now I have to grade all the things I didn’t grade in the last two weeks. It’s not hard, most of it…I just don’t have the right state of mind for it. I just want to watch cat videos and read my book, dammit. New Year’s resolutions for the best moments, yeah?

No, I really want to make art and conquer the job stuff and hike a lot and none of this is new…I say this every year. I do make art, I never conquer the job stuff because they keep making it harder, and I do hike…so there’s that.

Happy New Year! I still haven’t made my little thing of all the pieces I made last year…just the lame Insta one. I’ll put it on my list. You should see my list. It’s long.

So I did finally start quilting…I just didn’t have time until this weekend. And it started with a lot of thread breakage…

At first, I thought it was just because this thread is probably old…I’ve used this color before, but probably not for a while.

But when I started doing the outlining inside the image, it was breaking like crazy, so I started investigating all the things that make it break. It was tension. Thread is as tense as I am? Yeah. Anyway, this is the first time I’ve actually quilted on the new machine, and I was using a different thread, so it took a little fussing to get it right. I’m glad I got there though…because now I can just do a few hours at a time and get this thing done, yeah?

I’m gonna be here for a while, I think. Especially with all the other crap I still need to do this week. Yes, I am one of those lucky teachers who didn’t start back to school today. We have three weeks at Winter Break, which I’ve always appreciated…it means you can deal with all the family and holiday stuff and then still have a week to get back into school brain, which usually means massive denial until Friday before school starts, and then intense panic. It’s good. It works.

I also completed my quilt guild challenge to make a notebook cover…

It wasn’t hard. I enjoyed the stitching.

Did I NEED to spend a few hours on this? Of course not. But we often do things we don’t need to do.

It’s a lot more chill than what I usually do. Most of the fabrics were gifts this Christmas.

I’ve drawn 2 out of the last 3 nights…

We were supposed to go to a small gathering (us and 3 other vaxxed people) on NYE, but turns out the Man had an exposure before Christmas and we were being uber-cautious. We have no symptoms here, but there is a massive shortage of tests, so we can’t even check. I could go to school today and check…but we couldn’t schedule him a test at all. Sigh. I think everyone’s going to end up getting sick this time around. Get vaxxed! And boosted! The friend who got it was vaccinated but not boosted yet (hadn’t been 6 months yet)…so his case was mild…but we do know unvaxxed folks…and hope they will figure it out soon.

So we sat at home and I stitched and drew. New Year’s Day, we went and sat outside (cold night)…and I drew there.

I’ve done 14 drawings so far over Winter Break…I think I’ve missed 2 nights: Christmas Day and last night.

We hiked on New Years Day, but away from all the people. We left it late so we just went to one of our regular haunts…

Made a friend. We’re hoping to do something more interesting this week. The trails have dried out a little, hopefully, from last week’s rain.

In other news, based on 2020, I figured I wouldn’t have much time to read in 2021 (school takes that time away), but then the man was gone for 2 months on the PCT and I had no one to talk to, so I read a lot instead…totally beat my estimate.

Now I need to make an estimate for this year. School still sucks, but the Man is going to finish the PCT and the boychild will probably be on fire camp duty from July through October sometime, so I will be super alone and maybe should aim for 100 books? Or will the July jury duty suck reading time up? Sigh. IDK. It doesn’t really matter, but I like to be realistic. Last year, I made a goal of 45 and kicked it out of the park. I made the same goal in 2020 and only read 39 books (that year sucked). In 2019, I read 40 and my goal was 36. Hmm. In general, over the last 7 years, I tended to read between 35 and 45 books, except for this year and 2014 (which was a clusterfuck of a year), when I read 104. So probably 45 is still a good goal…maybe I’ll pick 50, just for fun. The girlchild set 125. Now I feel like a slacker. Ah well. Yes, I think too hard about these things.

The boychild turned 26 yesterday, making me feel old. I found this in a box somewhere and photographed it for posterity (plus the boychild doesn’t like his photo taken, so this is a stand-in for his 26-year-old self)…

I let him request a cake…my mistake…so many steps. This is Bon Appetit’s Blackout Cake, which apparently tastes really good…

It has all the chocolates in it. All of them. I’m allergic, so I have no idea how it tastes. I just know I touched all the chocolates over the 24 hours it took to make this thing. It actually wasn’t incredibly difficult…just time-consuming. Hopefully it was worth it.

We had the parentals and his dad over…

Simba was the youngest and cutest thing around, so he got all the attention.

I also am still working on Sue Spargo’s BOM from 2020, the mini/lite one, Chirp

I’m on the third type of six different flowers. There are four of each type. Not halfway yet, but getting there. The birds were fun to do. It’s just time-consuming. I find the stitching relaxing, believe it or not. It should be done in 2022. Not gonna commit further than that, honestly.

And this is what happens when you say my name in a Speech to Text program…

Gotta love my students. Whoever that Miss Snyder person is, well whatever. Maybe she’ll grade all the crap that’s here so I don’t have to.

OK. Well. So many things to do today. First, get the damn copyediting done. Get it out of here. Seriously. Then I can settle down to the other two jobs…finding a calendar for the current year is also important…I have the zoo calendar somewhere. That would be a good one. Happy 2022 all…I don’t have high expectations of the year…just hopes that the things I like are more important than the things I don’t.

2021…Get Out of Here…

Well hello the last day of 2021. You were supposed to be nicer. You promised. But we know how that goes, yah? I have no expectations of 2022. None. Nada. Nichts. Oh, except that I will have US District Court jury duty in July…because they wanted me to do a month-long trial in February and after sobbing to myself about lesson plans and grading, I called them and they moved it to July. I guess every three years I lose half my Summer Break to the court system. It’s seriously difficult to plan for all the doctors’ appointments and other shit I can’t do during the school year when you only have 3 weeks for that. I’m so irritated by the whole thing. BUT…I’m not doing it in February. Let’s not think about whether I’ll be able to meet the man on the trail at all in July. Seriously. Fuck.

So I am now about 2/3s of the way through my Winter Break. I have graded exactly nothing, we did finish the stupid tobacco curriculum yesterday (in case you wanna know, 5 lessons = 10 hours of work), and we planned the first week back. All good. Not great, just good. It had to happen and we were pretty damn efficient about it, but I was still awake at midnight last night thinking it needs another readthrough. There’s probably a mistake in it and I don’t wanna listen to some other teacher bitch about that, but I’m amazed at how shittily written the original curriculum was (from Stanford University, no less). I swore at Stanford a lot yesterday.

I am on my third readthrough on the book I’m copyediting, which I wanted to be done tomorrow, but then the author sent the missing bits yesterday, so yeah. I won’t be. I might be. I don’t fucking know if I will be. It depends on today. And tomorrow. And what I decide I need/want to do besides copyediting. My brain is just like gross foam on a latte that’s gone cold. Sorta sticky. Not good.

I haven’t started quilting yet, so there’s no way it will be done in 2021. That’s OK. I did crazy piece a notebook cover for my quilt guild’s 2022 challenge…

And then I embellished the front part…

I still need to do the lining and sew it so it will fit on the notebook…no worries. So yeah, totally brainless stuff. I drew last night too…

After watching the Witcher episode with that tree monster. Don’t ask me to explain what’s happening in the second season of the Witcher…I have no fucking clue.

I did finish the book that the library sucked back last night…stayed up late on Wednesday night to do it, of course, and then the library sent me ANOTHER big (but not THAT big) book I’ve been waiting for…

God, fuck copyediting and cleaning house and any NYE plans, right? Just read this. I actually went to the gym for a couple of hours and got a good start on it. I know what my brain can handle…and it’s not much.

It’s fine. My district gets three weeks for Winter Break. I can spend all next week grading shit, right? Ugh.

While I was at school, working, the Man photographed this from the house.

Missed it. Looks nice.

Yes, I am crankballs. Why do you ask?

So I finished 8 pieces in 2021…the 9th is in there too. I couldn’t get the Top Nine app to work or any of the others, so I just made my own.

I do usually do a page with all my pieces and titles…I’ll probably do that over the weekend, because most of these pieces don’t fit in a square. Much like us.

Well, the cat was happily ensconced on the chair behind me, purring away, then started scratching shit and bit me three times on the back. What the fuck. I do not believe I am bleeding. And then there was a huge spider on the floor. ALIVE. Not any more, you fucker. Fuck 2021 man. Get OUT of here. I am so done with you.

Deep breaths. I need a shower and more caffeine and some exercise. Plus some focus.

This is too close to the truth.

And if you don’t have a planning period, your lunch should be long enough.

Thanks to my co-teacher for these. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

OK. Going to go shower and then go to Costco. Probably not the best choice for today’s mood, but whatever. Also have some gravel to move. That’s exciting. We are going to a super small NYE gathering later tonight…everyone is boosted and seriously, there are only 5 of us including me and the Man…but yes, I am still nervous. Hoping my mood improves before then, but ugh. Gonna go yell at the cat a bit I think…WTF, she’s rubbing her head on my leg. She’s squawking her sorries at me. Fucking psycho. Aargh.

Naps and Books…

Hello Christmas Eve! Full of rain and groceries that haven’t been bought yet. I am frightened of the task before me. First, we need a meat. Any meat I think will do at this point. I admit to having lost all momentum last night on the food front…I’m not really in charge of food. I just pretend I am sometimes. Definitely not when the girlchild is here. I’m leaving in 24 minutes to deal with all the foodstuffs though. WITH her. No way am I doing that alone. Uh uh. Nope. I do have a list…it was a series of post-it notes, but I can’t deal with that in the store. I’d be wandering around for days. So I spent time last night transporting info on post-its to info on my regular printed list, which is organized to match the aisles in the store. Because I haz the left brains AND the right brains y’all. I do both. And I’m not really happy unless I’m doing both. So there’s that. Organize it and then chaos it. AT THE SAME TIME.

I did finish all the stitchdown the other night…

Kitten was useless.

Total stitchdown was 6 1/2 hours…

I find the back fascinating…

I do actually stare at it for a while to find where I didn’t stitch…I had about three things I’d missed. And then, fascinating as it is, it gets tucked away inside the quilt, never to be seen again.

Then last night, after friend Zoom, I cleaned the floors (they were bad), washed the batting, pieced a backing (it was complicated, but I used most of a fabric I had left over…I think there’s like 3″ left of it), and pinbasted the thing.

While listening to the rain. It’s ready for quilting now. Not sure when I’ll get to that. The next few days are kind of busy. Apparently people want to do shit. I’d be OK in a pillow fort with my book, but whatever. I actually took a 2-hour break in the middle of that paragraph to do the shopping. It wasn’t bad, but the girlchild needs to make puff pastry from scratch (no worries there) and I have to make eggnog from scratch (doesn’t look hard, at least). And there’s no basil. Apparently basil is an important holiday spice. I did not know. Oh yeah, closeup of safety pins…

Just to prove I was down on my knees, poking myself in my fingers at 10 PM last night.

What else? Still drawing each night…here’s Wednesday…

And Thursday…

I Zoomed with my stitching group last night…we were supposed to meet in person two weeks ago and it got rained out, but this was a nice thing. Very chill.

Missing Ann in the picture…she’s 2 or 3 hours ahead of us and had to get up early. I’ve been working on the Chirp quilt from Sue Spargo, which she recently published, so I can show it.

There are 24 flowers in the border, 4 of each type. I’ve done 2 types, 8 flowers. This is taking a long time. I wonder if that’s why this year’s “easy” block-of-the-month didn’t have a fancy border? I like it, but it’s time-consuming. Then again, for me it’s more about the process than the product.

Girlchild is enjoying Simba…

I think they like each other.

OK, I have two cards to do, technically my Xmas cards too (but whatever), plus make the eggnog to make the breakfast casserole, then make the breakfast casserole, plus more copyediting, and I really need caffeine, because I’m still not awake. (Just want to read my book…have I said that?). And a family event tonight, two tomorrow, another Sunday probably, and one Monday. Am I grading things? Not at the moment. That will catch up with me though. Got to sew some things up for the girlchild as well. Need a nap. Christmas Eve should involve naps and books and little else. That’s what I think. For my future self maybe.