So Behind…

Woke up. Good plan. Should learn not to check email until I get to school. Yeah right. I check email right away. Hence school stress as soon as I got in the shower. I am so behind. What should I have done last Saturday? Graded all day. But nah, I quilted. I know it was the right choice, but right now it feels like I can’t balance the day job and the art, let alone things like watering plants and getting the cat’s meds. If I could remember/find time to make the phone call, someone else would go get them. I set an alarm on my calendar yesterday and totally didn’t see it. Ah well. Again today. But waking up and into an impending sense of doom is not helpful. Deep breaths. I will be efficient today. I was efficient yesterday…I just had more to do than I could get done. And 20,000 steps by the end of the day without a hike/walk.

The pro is that I got into another show with two pieces going to Chandler, Arizona in November. I shipped the piece to Quilts=Art=Quilts…tight turnaround on that one, so I stayed up late on Monday getting it boxed up. Should of done it over the weekend. Ah well. It will get there. I’m entering another couple this week, if I can get my act together. Plus this quilt is almost done…got the binding sewn on Monday night…

Calli has been licking her legs, so she got coned.

Last night, I pinned the 308 inches of binding and sleeves down and started the hand-stitching.

Because it’s awesome to have a quilt on your lap when it’s 98 degrees during the day. It will cool down tomorrow, but I’ll be almost done by then, I think. Photographer is set up for the weekend. I made the deadline. I didn’t think I would, but I did. Fucking miracle. Damn day job is kicking my ass. Yes, it has been for over a year now.

This picture of Haitians coming into the US (or going back into Mexico…could be either) just kills me. Yeah, I saw the horseman chasing the guy too, but seriously.

Why are we not the country that just opens our arms and takes care of people? Why do we suck so much? I’m so not OK with my country at the moment. Dumb policies. We are humans. We should take care of other humans.


OK, so I also watered everything last night in the almost dark. I’ve been looking for these guys on the lemon tree, because we had them last year…

Yeah, those are little baby ones. Here’s the ugly big ones that turn into Swallowtail butterflies…

Yes, they look like bird poop. Weird but true. Also, my lemons are growing!

Hopefully my first crop of them on this tree. Exciting.

So today is more labs, more running around, more trying to catch up. Then some actual exercise. And then a lot of hand stitching. And grading, honestly…I gotta do some of that. Sigh. It will get better…it always does. Knock on wood. I just have so many things I’m behind on…and I need to get caught up.

Running Low on Butter…

I had this terrifying (school) dream last night. I hate those. For some reason, I went out to lunch during the school day (so unrealistic…lunch is 30 minutes and includes peeing for the first time in 3+ hours and eating lunch after getting everyone out of your classroom), and ended up in some sort of weird protest/trip in a bus/possible performance art thing with a teacher I really don’t like and doesn’t even work at my school any more (shit, now y’alls are tryna figure out who THAT is) and she was all chill and meditative and so was I until I realized my class started in 10 minutes and we were miles away and how the fuck am I getting back and I’m running, literally RUNNING to class, but all of a sudden, I’m running up my childhood street (Mirasol!) and toward my old high school, but you know how when you’re running in a dream, it’s like the street is lengthening or you’re being held back or something crazy like that? And the phone rings, and it’s the AP Secretary wanting to know if she should get a sub for me, and I’m like NO, I’M COMING I SWEAR, just drop someone in there until I get there, but the street is like quicksand and I can’t even move.

So there’s that. Helluva a way to wake up this morning. Too early. The man is at work this week and I went to bed late because I wasn’t tired yet and I was on a stitching roll and I just didn’t want to (petulance noted). So I got woken out of this dream…nah…nightmare, groggy, WTF is that noise (the shower), and UGH. Yeah. Well. Should go to bed earlier, but I know my brain. Lying in bed, TRYING to fall asleep is not a thing. I mean, it’s a thing, but not a good thing.

Speaking of school, yesterday’s post hit a nerve with co-teachers, that’s for sure. I still have most of that one big assessment to grade and ALL of the other one. Oh well. And all the makeup work. It won’t all get done. I did end up going to the gym yesterday, which was lovely. I love the gym. I’ve missed the gym. Somehow I need to figure out how to balance the pilates and the gym and the hikes. There’s so little time for all of those. Boychild and I are trying to figure one last hike out for this week. I do have to go to school today. Well, I could go to the copy store or I could try to print rubrics here, or I could break into my co-teacher’s house and steal the extras she has, because we didn’t divide them evenly enough and I am 21 short. Fuuck. Also I need to go buy paper if I’m going to try this artist book thing for an upcoming exhibit. Plus the kittens have worms and the dogs eat their poop, so now I need to call the vet about whether to worry about THAT shit (shit…hehehe). Sigh. The answer is probably yes.

Yesterday’s drawing…

Very overlappy.

I got 3/4 of the binding done, so I have 1/4 and the two sleeves left.

Time to email the photographer.

Kitten has a special message for all of us…

I’m with her on that.

I woke up (the second time, after going back to sleep after the teacher nightmare) wanting to do an artist’s residency. I’ve thought about them for years, applied to a few. Realistically, I need electricity. I think. Maybe. I just don’t know. I need to be away. It has to be on a school break. It needs to be away from here. Somewhere different. Thinking about that. Always thinking about that. Sigh.

OK, do some stuff today. Get it done. Did I tell you I made 24 scones last night? Three batches…still need to do the blueberry ones. Had all the ingredients (running low on butter though). Froze them all up for the next month of school…if only I could do all the lunches and dinners too. I mean, I know I COULD…but would I want to? Eh.

Until the Cows Come Home…

Fires are back. Winds in California. Crazy stuff. Hope everyone is safe. It’s a pain to replace buildings, it’s sad to lose all your stuff, but people (and animals)…let’s keep them all safe. It’ll be interesting to see if PG&E is the cause of the fire in Sonoma after all their squawking about turning things off. Humans like to control things. Nature does too. So far, San Diego has not had a major fire…but we still have wind predicted today.

Something about the hot dry air messes with my head. I’m not headachy like usual…just fuzzy. OK, maybe that’s a long week and it’s Friday more than the Santa Ana winds. I did finish reading all the science essays. Well, I finished all the ones that were originally turned in. Now I need to go grade all the late ones. Ugh. I know what I’ll be doing all weekend. Grades. Yup. Well. Once I finish the quilt.

No, it’s not done. It’s almost done.

There’s something about having a huge quilt on your lap when it’s hot and dry (ugh) that is exactly no fun. But I got all the binding and one sleeve done. I have part of one sleeve yet, and then I need to ink, iron, and dehair. That’s tonight.

Kitten assist. She’s really not very helpful.

I am really tired this morning. This is not surprising.

Kitten gets to nap all day. But then she wants to hang out with me the rest of the time. These guys too. Unless my ex is here. They like him best. Something to do with food or play or IDK what.

Basically whoever comes in the door is their new best friend…especially if they run around with them a lot. I don’t think I’m walking dogs today. It’s still too hot. We’ll see.

So I came home and saw this. I was so tired, I looked at it and thought, well that’s an interesting design. Did the boychild find that in the shed?

I wonder how it works? Oh yeah. It’s broken. Duh.

He also broke this…

It’s just the shed roof. It’s fine. He was trying to clear fire danger from the house area, and we knew the roof was deteriorating. But I’m not ready to get rid of this shed. I will, but not yet.

OK, I’m going to survive today. Labs all day. Then come home and finish the quilt and find the other one that has to be delivered to a show tomorrow. The man is playing a short show, but I’m not going. I should tell him that. Then I’m going to grade until the cows come home…which is gonna be a while, because we don’t have any cows.

How to Store Cats…

I just found one of my cat’s hiding places. It’s amazing that when I think I have completely filled a bookshelf, a cat slides into a space I didn’t know was available. Her little eyes are barely visible…she’s hiding in there.

Well I was fairly successful this weekend: I finished the binding on two quilts and managed to copyedit one section of the book. There are two sections left, so guess what I’ll be doing the rest of the week. I finished quilting this on Saturday morning, then cleaned the floor (like you do) and trimmed the quilt.

I made a quick trip to the quilt store, where I indulged in more fabric, because apparently I can never have enough…

I think I already own that blue one three up from the right. It happens.

While I was waiting for the binding to be washed, I worked on the binding for the quilt I finished in July. It’s just been sitting around…

I spent a lot of time sitting around this weekend with quilts. That part didn’t feel particularly comfortable, but it was necessary.

Sunday was some copyediting, the grocery shopping, and some other stuff, but then I was back to poking holes in my fingers over and over again.

Nice puppy. At this point, I’m working on the big one, the most recent one. But when I finished that one, I went back to Desert Daughter

The big one doesn’t have a name yet. It will need one soon. Really soon. It took a little over 4 hours to finish all this up. Well, another hour was spent cleaning up cat and dog hair and ironing them and packing them up for the photographer. I spent about 5 hours quilting and binding on Saturday.

Do I know what I’m working on next? Nope. I have a couple of options. I need to take time to look at those tonight, but I also have a 2-hour staff meeting and I have to deliver the quilts to the photographer, plus do some copyediting tonight, so that will be a challenge. I feel tired already. OK, that might just be Monday.

We have a yard full of spider webs at the moment. Most of them are not in my face. I think the two spiders who were building webs across my path to the dog peeing area have figured out that I carry a broom for a reason.

I haven’t seen a web in that area for a few days. Spiders LEARN.

I store my cats in produce boxes. I don’t know about you, but they act like a vegetable sometimes.

This hawk has been hanging around for a while (he’s on top of the telephone pole). Lots of screeching.

He was staring at me for a while.

Lots of hummingbirds here.

I just listened to ten minutes explaining the difference between quiet and silence. Wow. So that makes me laugh. But it is something we have to explicitly teach. Even to 12-year-olds. Silence is rarely needed. Think lockdowns. Quiet is hard too. But more necessary.

OK, so I need to go to work. I need a plan for what I’m working on next. I need to do a drawing for my Patreon people, so that’s on the list for tonight. So is ruminating over what’s next. It’s weird to be done. But it’ll be OK. I’m good. I know how to work.

Apparently Adam and Eve…

So. I can’t show you the trimmed quilt. I can tell you some things about it though. First of all, apparently I made an Adam and Eve quilt. I guess that makes sense when you are looking at an image of gender equality and you have a society with all these images of Adam and Eve together, who really are not quite about gender equality (or ARE they…you don’t have to read the pictures with scripture supporting them), but the tree…I wasn’t thinking when I was drawing. I just like trees. But there are so many trees in the Adam and Eve paintings. I did leave the snake out! Interesting that, because I often include a snake. In fact, I just realized the snake in Love (not) probably has more symbolism than I even had thought about. This is why it’s kinda funny to watch the video my mom took at Celebrating Silver when the nice woman asks me what the skull symbolizes and I snarkily say Death, but I’m not even sure that’s the case. When I draw, there are things that have power, weight, meaning, that I plan on including for just those reasons, and then there are the things that sneak in when I’m not really thinking about it. Subconscious symbols just wandering around and plopping themselves on the paper. Because if it took both Adam and Eve to make all humanity, and that’s from the biblical times, before we understood the genetic implications of that, before we knew there were factors from Mom AND Dad that became a part of each human child, then at what time did one become more important than another in any part of the world? Why do women have to be the cookers and cleaners and the baby-minders? Why do men have to be the money-wranglers and decision-makers? Why does anyone have to be in charge? Why this perennial argument over who is REALLY in charge? I’m not really arguing about religion here, but about the images that religion has co-opted or paid for to support their doctrine (because a lot of religious paintings were paid for by the church, and you can’t piss off the boss, so you paint what you’re told unless you’re a rebel). Yes, I had to study all that stuff in school. Years and years of That’s All There Was…religious paintings. And they are fascinating in the ways they are different, but also in the ways they are the same. The Madonna, the baby Jesus, God in his sky, Adam and Eve on the ground, the tree, the animals, the snake.

So yeah, all that to tell you I made an archetypal Adam and Eve quilt. That you can’t see until January. It’s cool, though. Even the girlchild said so. I trimmed it (and ouch, I think I lost 3 inches with all that tight quilting, so don’t tell anyone, but I think it’s gonna be about 1/4 to 1/2″ too short. SHHH. I’ve never had one too small. Crazy.).

I wasn’t going to put the binding on right away. I was going to write first. But somehow, I just kept ironing, and then cutting, and somehow sewing, and then I might as well pin it…and it was done.
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I asked the girlchild to help me out by wrapping the UK Xmas gifts for me…did she finish? Fuck no. This happened…
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So it’s still not done. Sigh. Tonight.

I promised a photo of the skateboarding skellies…
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I’m in love with this, especially the guy who is skateboarding over skelly parts.

Tonight? Sewing bindings. Very exciting. Yup. Got bug videos to watch. Seriously. I do.

All That I Know Is I’m Breathing…*

Another maliversary approaches. I feel my brain retracting even…pulling away from whatever hurts it, trying to protect itself, curling up in a ball like a roly poly. I keep throwing things at it to fix it…a hike…damn knee really hurt in the last mile, so I sent a message to the doctor…basically along the lines of NO. I’m not willing to stop hiking. Because being outside is a good thing. I can breathe out there. I don’t have to be in a room with myself and all that evil depression poison gas just rolling around the room. I can breathe outside. I can look for miles and see the sun set and the bugs fly and the branches reach out and grab me and I trip over a rock. And that is REAL. And I can almost find Kathy in there. Because it’s hard for me to find her. I’ve been looking for a year, and maybe that’s what makes me cry. Because she’s lost and I can’t get her on a regular basis. I put my hand out and she tries to grab it and it just slips out and I lose her again. Over and over again. Every week or so, she’s gone again. Sometimes I find her in my sketchbook. I find her when I’m writing these days. Seriously. The same brain that draws also writes a book.

I wrote almost 2000 words tonight in less than 45 minutes. What the fuck IS that? I don’t even know where it comes from. I can’t manage it. I just sit and it vomits itself out of my head into Google Docs. At this rate, I might have a whole book ready for editing by Christmas. A book. Was I planning on writing a book? When did that happen? I’m writing a sci fi book. Weird shit.

So Tuesday before the hike, I trimmed four quilts and cut out the bindings and sleeves. Then I came home after the hike and managed to trim and cut out bindings and sleeves for the other six quilts.

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Yowza. Now that’s a binding (it’s actually in the quilt…in his feather tips). HEY. I like my fabric.

That’s actually quite crazy, because I didn’t start until after 10 PM. I was talking on the hike about having to reset my clock for school soon. I really can’t be doing these late nights. But I am having a hard time with that sleep thing. It’s 1:30 AM now and I am wide awake (I’m editing now and it’s after 2 AM). I know I need to be up at a reasonable hour tomorrow (it’s not tomorrow any more…it’s today), but I can’t get a handle on that part of my brain. It’s in major rebellion mode. It yells, “Fuck you!” on a regular basis. OK. Whatever. I had to be up early this morning, so I took a nap at some point, around 5 PM. Maybe 30 minutes. Then I got up and did stuff.

So I trimmed and picked bindings until after midnight.

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This one, this fabric, wasn’t in the quilt again. The darker blacks weren’t dark enough when it came to bindings. They were fussy or too linear. So I picked that weird cellular one again. It worked well…

This one, I tried the orange, but it was too much, so I went for the blue.

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That’s the bird from the Mammogram quilt.

Then this one. I wanted the darkest purple, which is actually the background fabric for the Mammogram quilt, but I couldn’t find my stash of it. I looked everywhere…for over half an hour. Finally I gave up and found a variegated batik that I think will work. The patterned one is for the sleeve. It wasn’t quite right for the binding.

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Purple is really fussy. It goes wrong really quickly. Is it some sort of irony that purple is one of my favorite colors? Nope. That’s like the core of me…I’m purple at the core.

This one obviously needed black…but which one?

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I have tons of this black fabric…it is in most of the eyeballs in my quilts for some reason…the hint of not-black, not-white. I have over a yard of it and the average quilt uses a square inch of this fabric. I will be 70 years old and still be using this fabric.

I hope I’m still making art at 70. Please let me still be making art then.

This one also wanted that purple that I couldn’t find, so I finally settled for the other purple…which honestly, was probably the better choice.

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You’ll know when I actually get it on there.

For quilts this small, I do a super-skinny binding, maybe 1/4″. Of course, to get an approximate 1/4″ binding, I cut 1 7/8″. Fold in half, because it’s easier to sew a binding like that anyway, and sew a scant 1/4″. A really SCANT 1/4″.

I did a lot of moving furniture and books and honestly a knick-knack culling this morning after my fillings. I think there’s a Home Depot or maybe even a Lowe’s trip in my future. With boychild. Because I think he will be in charge of something. Shelves and TV installation. I think we will put it on the wall on an arm thing rather than use a big honking piece of furniture. But that is MORE decision-making. Have I told you about my troubles with the decisionmaking thing? Yup. It’s an issue.

Then I started sewing bindings on right around when the plumber showed up. I had multiple problems and he handled all of them cheaply and efficiently. He’s my new best friend. Well, at least when it comes to plumbing. He’s cheap and quick and honest. Can’t beat that. Plus he can’t do math, so he trusts MINE. Is he NUTS? OK, there’s an app for that. (plumber math)

I got the first three done while he was here…

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It’s not like they’re huge, but I have to sew the bindings and the sleeves by machine and then pin everything down for hand-stitching…on average, these were taking about 15 minutes at this stage.

I got numbers 4 and 5 done before I needed to cook dinner…and then I did 6 after I did dinner, exercise bike, AND meditation. Gotta be impressed…

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I hate sewing bindings on. I do like how the orange looks on number 5.

The bigger ones were taking 20-22 minutes at this stage. Here’s 7 and 8…

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Yup. There’s two more. But it was after midnight at that point, and I wanted to write this blog. So I sat at the computer and got distracted by the damn storywriting. So I didn’t start this post until after 1 AM. Kinda crazy if you ask me. But I only wrote for about 45 minutes…and I wrote a LOT. Where is my brain? I really don’t know. It’s writing a book.

Part of this stage was pinning them all down.

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These are almost done. I have life drawing in the morning. Remember how I was going to go every week during summer? Yeah. I know. I’ve made it once. Tomorrow will be twice. I’ll try again a few times before school starts. So these are for my stitching meeting in the afternoon. I honestly don’t know how long it will take to hand-stitch one. That’s why I’ve been so crazy-anal about keeping track of the time for each quilt. I want to make sure I’m charging a reasonable price and NOT screwing myself over. What that means is that the smallest ones are at about 2 hours total work without the handsewing…and the larger ones are over 5 hours.

My plan is to finish all 10. Then photograph them and put them on this site with prices and sizes. Then the people who have expressed an interest will have a chance to purchase based on where they are in line. Then whatever’s left…I’ll put them up here and on Etsy if I have to. If there’s one that sells and someone else wants one like it (because reproducing the exact fabrics might be difficult), then I would do those as a commission, which is basically that you know the price ahead of time and you agree to pay it, because I’m not making any more of these unless there’s a guaranteed purchaser. No offense, but these don’t rock my boat.

Then again, not much DOES rock my boat. But I need to start quilting the other two. My goal is to get Mammogram AND Menopause (not its real name) quilted by August 2 (major soccer tournament that weekend). I might be a little crazy. I think I can do it though. I need to do the bindings for two more of these small ones, so maybe an hour tomorrow. Then I can start quilting Mammogram, which I expect to take about 7 hours or so. Then another 20 hours or so for Menopause. Then I can get the bindings started and contact my photographer, while I start tracing the gender equality quilt (yes, that means I need to finish the damn drawing. Yes. I know that.).

I had a name for one of the quilts that will come after gender equality, but I’ve lost it. Dammit.  It’s in the lyrics of something I was listening to tonight. (doesn’t help)

But I wrote 2000 words of the book. I’m not possessed when I write. I’m not here, certainly. I just fucking write. It’s all there in my head. Spilling out. How do I explain that to anyone? I just don’t know.

I can’t tell you how often I feel like I am an alien species.

The title of the blogpost came from Ingrid Michaelson’s Keep Breathing

I’m trying. I can do the breathing thing. Meditation helps, I guess. But it’s kind of amazing how little my brain is involved with drawing and writing. It’s not conscious. It just IS.