Ode to a Shower…

Showers are wonderful y’all. I appreciate them even when they aren’t great. The water is warm, even hot? Check. It’s above me and there’s enough water to do the things? Check. BOOM. I’m in. Yes, I have been showerless for a few days. Bathroomless even, although there was one down the hill. I had a porta-potty nearby. The flies buzzing in close proximity to the gentler parts were a worry, but survivable.

We left Wednesday and went to see Alice Beasley’s 30-year retrospective show at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica. No, LA traffic has not changed. It was worth it though to see more of her work in person.

This is Isle of Dreams Revisited.

And the incredibly relevant From Russia with Love…

Definitely worth a drive up. No matter how much the Man complained about LA traffic. If you just accept that there will be traffic, it’s a lot easier to take.

From there, we headed to Ojai and the showerless campground. It was OK…nothing to write home about, but serviceable for our needs. A nice tree, some great views, and these weird tanks.

The view…in one direction…

And the other direction…

The Man has a thing for campfires, but occasionally we’ve had starting issues. Solution? Buy firestarters…

Totally worth it for my sanity. Oh yes, I draw while he fights the wood and the fire.

I started with the mountain ridge line and added the figure.

On Thursday, we picked what we thought would be a reasonable hike. You know how some 5-mile hikes feel longer than others?

Yeah, this was one of those. It was fine. I think we were both tired and hadn’t been exercising much (for me, in the last week…too much school crap and then going to Boston).

Depending on which app you were talking to, it was 5.5 or 5.6 miles with 1400+ feet of gain.

There’s some gain right there. It wasn’t horrible. It just took us a lot longer than we thought it would.

Lots of spring flowers and butterflies…

I came around the corner into a flock of these little blue butterflies.

You’ve heard of slowing down, slow stitching, slow cooking?

We slow hiked.

It’s not a race. Came back, hung out, had a drink to celebrate the end of the hike, stitched a bit, read a lot, took a nap…

Another fire…

Another drawing…shit, that’s what I could be doing while I wait for all these pictures to load…draw!

This morning, we slept in, then fed ourselves and packed up in just 90 minutes. Drove out of Ojai to Paso Robles, where we have an actual shower and stove and bed. OK we had all those things in the campsite except for the shower.

Tonight is art, tomorrow is hiking and some entertainment. Then book it out of here on Easter for Pinnacles National Park (has showers!). I know lots of people wanna know why I don’t hike the PCT with the Man. There are quite a few reasons (my job is one), but also…showers. My goodness, it has taken two hours with the slow internet here to get this written. Time for dinner and then art! Not sure when I’ll be able to write again. We’ll see. Rest assured that I will be reading, stitching, hiking, napping, and photographing…and trying to avoid thinking about school.

Refreshing Brain and Body…

Currently I’m lounging on the girlchild’s couch, listening to her work on some Zoom-like app. I only hear her side, so it’s a partial story. I’m not really fully awake. Although I’ve slept a decent number of hours in the last few days, I’m in Boston, so it’s the wrong time zone, and I think my body knows that.

I made it to the last day of the Gaia exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum; it was awesome to see the show in person after hearing many of the artists talk about their work on Zoom in the early days of the show. I think this started traveling right before COVID hit. Like many shows, it’s been in some places and canceled in others, but it was an honor to be included. I love this picture of me with Luana Rubin, who curated the show.

I flew on a redeye flight because we had a field trip at school on Friday, so I couldn’t take the day off. I dozed on the plane, arriving at 5 AM in Boston. I slept for about 4 hours in the morning and then we drove out to Lowell for Luana’s talk. She asked me to speak about my piece, which is just proof that I can do anything…talk about a piece with no prep and no sleep! Ah well.

I loved seeing this Cas Holmes piece in person…it’s so beautiful.

I was amazingly bad at taking photos there…probably due to massive lack of sleep. There was a bird exhibit too…this piece was by Linda Heatherley…

I really like the separation of spaces and graphic quality of this piece.

After the show, I got more caffeine (necessary) and briefly checked out this cool artsy space in Lowell…

Then back to the room for a nap before dinner. Rally! It’s nice to be here just with the girlchild. When she is in San Diego, there are many pulls on both our time, so I appreciate being the only one with her, even if it’s just a short time.

Sunday, she coached a soccer game and I watched. I spent 13 or so years sitting on soccer fields watching her play, either grading or stitching while I sat.

It’s a little different watching her coach, but not a lot. It was cold out there, but I did stitch…

Last night, we got takeout in my room and watched a movie, and I stitched some more…

These two blocks from March Homegrown (Sue Spargo) are done. I only finished the bottom one here. Not sure why I dragged a finished one across the country.

I also drew on Saturday.

Lots of zendoodly filling-in of space. Brainless.

I leave for the airport in about 90 minutes…gonna read and stitch until then. I get home tonight and tomorrow is shopping and packing for 8 or 9 days of mostly camping and hiking. Expect more nature photos, drawing, and stitching. Looking forward to it, but also, I’m tired. Hope I catch up on sleep at some point. It is Spring Break…not thinking about school is mostly happening. I did briefly grade warmups and I am set up to watch student videos if I feel like it. I might now ever feel like it. And that’s ok. I have 38 days of school left when break is over and there’s a bunch of stressful things coming up too. I need to refresh brain and body for all of that. So. Back to stitching for a while! See you back on the West Coast…

Can’t Fix That…

Got up, made lunch, went for blood draw, peed in a cup (when does science catch up with sci fi? They never had to pee in a cup on Star Trek), got food and caffeine, am at school…co-teacher hopefully on the way. Today we plan. Tomorrow we also plan.

I drew the last two nights…

Honestly, besides copyediting, that’s about all I’m doing.

Got up at 3:50 AM yesterday to drop the girlchild at the airport, then tried to sleep after that…

Mostly failed. Ordered gravel to be delivered today, then dodged raindrops for 4 miles of asphalt with Simba and the man.

Ducks!

Cats keep warm…the rest of us wear sweaters. I’ve seen the predicted gas bill for this month, so no, the heat is not going on during the day.

Lots of reading of scientific terms and the like…should be done later this week. Then maybe I can Quilt? Certainly I haven’t figured it out yet. And I know a jury duty thing is coming in the mail today…I saw it in the daily email. Not thrilled. Whatever. Can’t fix that shit.

Ditching School

I took a whopping two days off school since COVID started. Getting a sub for what I teach was difficult…sub plans for what I teach felt like writing a novel, then rewriting it because it was too long. It’s a tough call: how much do I need a break vs how much work is it to TAKE the break? A common teacher issue made worse by the sub shortage and kids who didn’t do normal school last year so sometimes learning is a challenge. But I had an art retreat coming up that I went to last year (without taking any time off) and I was determined to take a day. ONE day.

Whatever happened at school is fine. I got one kid email about kids deleting stuff…and they did. They were being dumbasses about it on Thursday with me. I’ll just torture them with it on Monday. It’ll be fine. Next week is short anyway for Veterans Day, and I can get them through what I need to. Zen and chill.

So where am I? Twentynine Palms, right outside of Joshua Tree National Park. We drove a back way to get up here, and it was delightful…no traffic, nice views. Then we came in the southern entrance of Joshua Tree and enjoyed the drive through, going on a couple of short hikes (mid to high 80s here still…)

There were too many people in some places, but the longer hike lost them all…

And it was outside, not teaching, didn’t have to be anywhere. Although I checked email when I had service.

Sometimes people are very hardass about disconnecting and not looking at their phones on vacation, and I just do what makes me feel comfortable. Sometimes my anxiety means I need to check email. Or school stuff. So I do it. One of my students had emailed me about the chaos in her class. No worries, kid, I got this.

We checked into our AirBnb, the same one we stayed in last year, ate dinner outside at a local place, met Kyle and tried his special sauce, shook hands with him (weird feeling that), then I headed over to my friend’s place for a fireside conversation about the future of our art group, which has grown in size, but not volunteers…unfortunately.

Dinner drawing. This morning, we’re up early so the man can hike and I can draw in a space with other artists for a while. Not sure what the rest of the day will bring, but I’m ok with that. I have two books on my iPad, three different sketchbooks, caffeine, and goldfish snacks. What more do I really need? Plus got news that one of my pieces will be at some art show in Torrance next October, which is a new venue for me…always cool.

All in all, sometimes ditching school is what teachers need to do. My district spouts self care constantly and then hands us more work to do and won’t give us a cost-of-living raise. So more hours for less pay? Eh. You don’t get buy-in that way. Anyway…drawing soon, if my brain lets me.

Can’t Find It

That is my motto for yesterday. Can’t find anything. I shoved it in cupboards last summer and it was a mess. Usually I toss stuff as I’m cleaning up for the year; it takes a few weeks. It’s sort of careful. Not last summer. I had one day; I didn’t know when I’d be back. So now I pay the price.

My coteacher helped with desks and doc cam setup, although I still need a dongle dammit. The rest is just overwhelming. Yesterday was mostly meetings, lots of wondering about why people weren’t masked, questioning some people’s understanding of herd immunity (it doesn’t matter if the teachers have it… there are a ton of kids and they aren’t vaccinated.). It scares me to be back, even though I am vaccinated.

So I stitched during the speechifying and finished the February blocks of Homegrown.

I made some mistakes and I’m ok with that.

I dyed fabric on Wednesday.

It looks good out of the washer, but I think I messed up my dryer. Which is problematic. I’m hoping the others who live here can fix it while I’m gone or the start of school will be even more complicated by repairs.

I also have no lights in the studio right now, which is what I’m typing this one-fingered on the iPad. Hopefully that will get handled this afternoon. I am tired of the daily trips to Home Depot.

Despite a lack of light, I rigged a few lights to finish ironing the yellows on Wednesday night. I still need to sort the fabrics and take my normal stash for the quilt photo.

I don’t know how many fabrics yet, but I do know it took a whopping 23 hours plus to pick them. Last night, after my stitching meeting, I started cutting them out…

It should take less than 23 hours. But I don’t have any daytime left for this. We are back on the work-sucks-all-the-hours schedule. I will get done though. I still have a deadline. Then the next quilt will use one of the crazy backgrounds I just dyed 😜. Ok. Gotta go to work now. More later.

Too Many Hours

Couple things about driving a million miles (not really) north to see the man:

1. Dear California: get the fuck over. If you’re not passing someone, get over. Seriously.

2. Google Maps needs a setting for mapping routes that takes into account the fact that I am a woman driving by myself in the middle of the night and I don’t want to be on an isolated two-lane road in the middle of nowhere unless there’s a damn good reason for it. Saving 5 minutes of drive time is not a good enough reason.

I’m in Tehachapi, California, hanging out with the hiking man for a few days. Yesterday’s drive was exhausting but totally worth it. I delivered new shoes and inserts (700 miles on the current pair), a smaller pair of pants, and a smaller hip belt for the backpack. Plus we get to hang out for a couple of days.

I did finish the outline quilting Wednesday night, so hopefully this quilt will get done in time for its deadline.

I have to figure out how to use at least one of those dyed blocks I did a few weeks back. They are part of the story. Maybe Monday? Hopefully.

I also stitched most of one of my Patreon rewards…

Hair is not a natural color. She looks angry. Not sure what’s up with that. Probably all the cat hair on the fabric. I’d be pissed. (No worries. I dehair and wash everything before it leaves the house.

Luna is talking to the birds.

Ok, well I’m hoping to do some drawing this weekend. Maybe draw the next quilt or two. Spend time making art this summer. Make up for the last year of too many hours spent on my day job. That would be good.

Jacuzzi?

Hi Spring Break. I’m in Fresno. It’s an exciting place to start my mini vacation, the last trip I’m going on before the man heads out on the Pacific Crest Trail. I graded for two days straight, copyedited another whole day (not done with that, no way, no how), and then we drove away from all of it, leaving the dead leaves, weeds, 5 animals, and all the leftovers in the house with the boychild, who is probably ecstatic to have the place to himself for once.

You know what? Copyediting (above) looks a lot like grading (below).

I have three assignments left to grade and nine chapters to copyedit.

We hiked on Saturday. It was supposed to be a nice, mostly flat walk around a lake. That didn’t happen. Instead, we hiked up a thing and then along a thing. Lots of wildflowers.

And a snake…

Yes, it had a few rattles.

I started drawing the next quilt…

And on Monday night, I went for ink.

Lots more to do. Got some experimental (for me) processes I’m going to try with this. Wish me luck.

I haven’t had some of this for a year, I think. It used to be a treat on the way home from a meeting I don’t go to any more. It’s on Zoom. No need to get In ‘N Out for a Zoom call.

I did some stitching in the car…been a while since I’ve done that.

The drive today was long and blah. Tomorrow, though, is Yosemite, camping, hiking, yay! Then Sequoia…half the trip we planned for last April, which all got canceled. We’re being safe, masked, hands sanitized, Clorox wipes, eating outside, but this staying in a hotel is a bit scary. There’s a jacuzzi in the room, though, and after I wipe it all down, I’m going to prepare my temple of a body for three days with no showers. Hallelujah for time off!

The Lone Crow

I’m more than a little frustrated by technology this morning. Nothing is working right…it’s either slow or nonexistent or doesn’t remember who I am (same same). My brain is mush from trying to (a) remember all the shit I’m supposed to do, (b) grade all the shit I’m supposed to grade, and (c) shit, I don’t even remember the last thing. I’m trying to type this on the iPad because my desktop and I are no longer friends and I’d really like to get this done before I start the long hellacious day ahead.

Must stop working on day job before 10 pm.

Tuesday I was smart and I walked. 3.65 miles. It’s a good walk. Our air is still unhealthy, but I have to admit that I didn’t track it before, so maybe it always was. The haze is not normal though. Those aren’t our fires…those are from somewhere else.

Walks are nice. They help. I should do more of them.

Working on that.

I managed some ironing at 11 pm or so…

The central figure with her cytokine storm.

Then last night, I got the other side done minus the forearm…

It was well after midnight. I forget that school starts earlier now and I have to get up earlier.

The heart, the lungs. Y’all, the news is so awful. Is the next quilt about wildfires, the stupidity of our leadership, or forced hysterectomies? I just don’t know where to start. Maybe I will make a nice landscape. Sigh.

I feel like this is one of the few things I can manage appropriately right now…laying pieces out in numerical order.

Got it! I can focus on that. The rest is too many pieces. Ironic…so many people think my quilts have so many pieces! Crazy! But those pieces have numbers on them, consecutive numbers, and there’s a master drawing with matching numbers and pieces. It all makes everything so easy. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but look at what I get at the end. My day job? None of that right now. Random numbers, no master drawing, nothing matches up, can’t even get my head around it some days.

And then I walk in on a late-night cat convention.

WTF y’all. WTF.

That’s me right now. The lone crow, squawking at the top of a denuded tree.

It’s OK. The leaves will come back. My murder is around, just not right there in my space…which is hard.

There’s blue up there.

In four minutes, I will walk to my classroom and try to focus on flowing water and flowing lava, and grading something, and maybe the future science I’ll be teaching. Then later I can iron stuff. Because it’s like meditation and I need that.

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.

Not My Thing…

‘Tis early and there is not enough caffeine in the world. And yet I rise. Not in a good way…just…I managed to get out of bed and get showered and dressed. A challenge met.

I’m driving to Long Beach today for my cousin’s funeral thing in a church. Not a burial, not a reception, just the church part. I don’t know when the rest is happening. No one does. I’m still pretty weirded out that she’s dead, but I know this shit happens, especially as we all start getting old. I’m starting to write this in my office in San Diego, but have to leave soon to drive the parentals, so that means I’ll probably either finish it up there, sitting, waiting (churches are really not my thing), or I’ll come home and finish.

Saturday we tried natural dyes…

The teacher prepped all the fabrics for us…

We did paper too…and a little stitching resist…

Some dye for that, logwood?

Pulling it out of the dye…

I unwrapped somebody else’s because she grabbed mine. I knew it wasn’t mine because I didn’t recognize the leaves…

These are still wet…

Drying at home…

The paper was more impressive…

Finished grading the projects…

Kitten cleaning kitten…

Saturday night drawing while watching a band…

Here it is…

Sunday pups…

And the old lady with Nova…

Sitting in a Starbucks…going to go to church soon. Not something you hear from me often. I’m tired…art tonight?