That’s What Summer Is for…

Ah yes. It’s late on Friday night. Well, not super late, but late enough that many of you have said goodbye to Friday (if you even know it’s Friday at all) and some are well into Saturday. Or Sunday. I can’t tell. Australia, you are crazy with the days and hours thing and it could be August by now for you all as far as I know. Plus it’s winter and that just blows my mind. In fact, I think I want to live there just for a year or so, just so I can come back and NOT think that August equals hot and February equals rain, but only a little bit, because we are Southern California in a drought for all eternity.

Why am I writing so late? Well, there was a chance on Wednesday of going to the zoo, and that didn’t happen, so today ended up being the only day available forever more that wouldn’t be a weekend, and when you’re trying to avoid people, weekends are not the way to go, so we got our butts out of bed at a reasonable hour and went to the zoo. More on that later, but it was a better social-distancing experiment than I think school will be, although there were times when I thought, oh yeah, this is JUST LIKE what school will be like, and it was mostly when I was around either people or primates. Wait. We’re primates. So it’s the damn primates. We don’t do this well. Although really, I’d rather hang with the orangutans. Not the baboons. Them’s vicious bastards. MORE LATER.

So I wrote on Wednesday last, and Wednesday night, I did some stitch down…

And I kind of got to this point where I said I would use the two meetings (both social, online) I had on Thursday to finish the stitchdown, because I had other stuff (sewing stuff) I had to finish and I needed the machine for that, and I hate switching needles and thread, so I just went for it…

It’s been hot. I have two fans I’m using in here.

And besides having to be the expert on whether or not we should open schools next month [um. If you won’t open a restaurant, why the fuck would you open a school? Because you hate teachers and want them to die? Don’t even ask me about the kids who will get sick and potentially die (none here in the age group I teach, which is great, but won’t continue if we open schools), and worse, take the disease home to family members.]. Wait, I was in the middle of a sentence. Besides having to be the expert on opening schools (no. don’t.), I just stitched.

And at 10 hours and 7 minutes…

I was done. The batting will be here tomorrow, but I had other things I had to get done, so my backing isn’t pieced yet…hopefully Sunday.

My quilt guild had a stitch along for the last 4 or 5 weeks (I can’t count. Please don’t make me.), and I needed to be done by midnight tonight. Yesterday, after finishing the stitchdown, I trimmed all the blocks…except one was too small.

Yup. That red one. I added a strip to make it work. And then I laid them all out again, and because I’d seen some other people spread them out more, I got a stupid bug up my butt and pulled 5 of the blocks out of the center bit, added more white/black, and pushed them into the border…

Because why make it easy? In fact, I have no need for an abstract quilt on the wall, so this needs to be even bigger. IDK what I will do about that, but I did piece the whole center together last night.

And then put the borders on today, after the zoo.

Looks good. All I need to do is decide how I will make it bigger, sandwich, quilt it, bind it, and then toss it on the couch for cats and dogs to sleep on it. Right? Sure. The point is that I finished it on time. The pattern is Abstract Arcs by Cotton and Bourbon. Look! I pieced something.

I’m still trying to finish all the grass on this, Folk Tails, by Sue Spargo. I found another spool of green thread and jokingly said I knew I was done with the grass when I’d run out of green thread. Um. No. So this was after Thursday’s second meeting of the day…

At this point, I think I’m done with the bottom three rows, but when I look at it like this, I see stuff that bugs me…so when I sewed these two blocks, they had the grass already on them, unlike the bits I’ve been adding. But it’s so obvious that it stops at the edge of the block that it bugs me…

So I had to go in and add more grass over the seams to make it look less like straight lines. Taking photos of this stuff helps see crazy things like that, which will drive me nuts if I don’t fix them. Then tonight during gaming, I kept going on the grass…yeah, I know there’s a cat on there, but I might be close to done with grass stitching.

I’m seeing maybe one or two places that need more. “MORE”, because if you look at her photo of it on the website, she added a gazillion more bits of grass from the pattern, and I don’t have that kind of patience. So the next step is to put the borders on. Wow. Another almost finished Sue Spargo Block of the Month. Well done.

So I also drew two more of the tattoo quilt blocks…

Again, these aren’t mine. I’m taking a paper-piecing pattern by Happy Sew Lucky and shrinking it and turning it into applique. I like the images, but I don’t like paper piecing. I also need to draw some stuff for the next Patreon rewards. Maybe that will also be tomorrow. We’ll see.

If you’ve met me more than once or twice, you know this about me.

Strangely, it does not translate to my on-video self.

OK, so the zoo. We were there for about 2 1/2 hours, and at the end, we were mostly done with people. There were more and more who were either lame as fuck about social distancing, or wouldn’t move out of the way so everyone could see the animals, or would get in our personal space, or flat out weren’t wearing a mask. That last category was pretty small, actually, which is a good thing. I feel like all school year, I will be saying, “Mask ON. Six FEET.” T-shirts to come. That said, it was outside and a walk and the baby animals are cute as hell…

The baby orangutan playing with the baby siamang.

They were adorable.

There were lots of sleeping cats…

It was a warm day.

Honestly, even mine sleep in this heat…

Except this guy…

A new dad who kept coming over to this fence to check out mom and babies…

She was, in the way of all new moms, fully into Fuck Off, You Did This to Me, and hanging with the babes.

So the baboons were yelling at each other and chasing each other around the enclosure.

Let me be clear, the ones with penises were chasing each other and everyone else was just running around either trying to figure out what was going on, or trying to avoid it. Just like in real life. So many things to feel about that. We never figured out what was really wrong…also like real life.

This baboon had the best hair.

I mean, I know they groom each other, but my hair NEVER looks that good. I was jealous.

Yes, this is a photo of a tapir peeing in the water. Not because it was peeing but because the pee was making this crystalline pattern in the water…

Which you can sort of see here, but it was much more impressive in person. Me wondering about the chemical properties of tapir pee. Really.

Secretary birds are just weird.

Some guy walked by and said they were ugly. Nah. Just fascinating.

I don’t find many animals ugly. Humans? Well, that’s another story, but it’s really the insides and not the outsides.

Lots of funny little birds to be seen.

This is hanging down bird…

And its twin…wait…it’s still a hanging bird, but this one is doing it wrong…

Or maybe it was called an upside-down bird. Can’t remember. That was its name though…the assumption that it was always upside down.

The flamingos are probably the most photographed bird at the zoo…

Because they’re bright and flashy and right up front.

Otis the hippo was born in 1976, I think.

He’s very still.

This tiger was finding food in hidden locations…

Kudos to the zoo keepers for keeping them hunting…

It was a nice morning out…well worth it. And I felt less violated by people than I do when going shopping, so that was a plus. I’d do it again.

Calli’s not sure.

I took her in the pool for a cooling-off swim…

Yes, Luna is even squishier than she was last time.

I don’t understand this.

We still have monarchs on the milkweed…

Always nice. Oh yeah, and I made blueberry cobbler to use up the berries before they went bad.

I think I like a crisp more than a cobbler, in case anyone is keeping track. There are more berries coming. I’ll make the crisp next week.

OK, it’s late and I’m tired. I’m going to do the dishes I got dirty and then go to bed. Tomorrow, I’ll finish the copyediting and go to the quilt guild zoom, and then see what else I have the energy for…maybe nothing. And that’s OK. I have been working pretty steadily all week. It’ll be nice not to be copyediting or doing school for once. But then we need to do the other fence…so that’s a different kind of work. And more art! I need to make more art. That’s what summer is for.

Something on That Magnitude…

Well, it’s been a rough week. Hopefully next week will feel better. The girlchild is finally in Boston, the sourdough starter and I have been close and complicated, and I have 9 new boxes of fabric. The boxes are new to me, the fabric is new to me, none of it is actually new.

Before you do anything else, watch this video. It’s the 4th of July, a weird one, to be sure, but this is video of Frederick Douglass’ speech about what the 4th means to him, read by his descendants. And it’s hard to hear, because so much hasn’t changed…but they all still have hope. I have hope. Didn’t mean I didn’t cry to hear the words, because honestly, it’s hard to know how to fix it all (burn it all down! and start over…). But watch them. It’s only 6 minutes of your lives. You can give them that.

Yeah. Told you they were awesome. In youth, I see hope.

So. It’s Independence Day. It’s warm, there will be fireworks, but we can’t see them from here, and we can’t gather…so we’re gonna take a drive to my parents’ house and see if we can see them from there. I spent yesterday mostly copyediting…I’m going to do more of that today. I set a goal to be done next Saturday, so I’m sticking to my 4-5 hours a day. Nothing else really needs to get done, although exercise would be nice.

I did finish all the blocks for the Abstract Arcs quilt on Thursday…

They all need to be trimmed and sized…

That’s next week.

I’m not great at piecing accurately. I don’t do it a lot. I did lay them all out and stare at them and move them around until I got this…

I’ll have to stare at it for a while and decide if that’s it. Right now, it looks mostly OK. My real goal was to get the piecing done so I could start the stitch down on the big honking thing that was on my ironing board…

You wanna talk meditative? It’s pushing and pulling this thing under the machine, stitching down every piece. And I did a good job attaching everything in that four hours I took, so it’s been really easy and trouble-free so far (knock on wood, because that’s not always the case).

I am running out of thread, though, and I haven’t considered the background. I don’t really WANT to go to JoAnns for thread (or anything), but it seems we’ve moved past the “only buy stuff online” stage that I was at with the last quilt, and now we are in the “you can go to stores, but be smart about it” stage. There’s probably another 7 hours of stitch down to go…

I am going out more now than I was 3.5 months ago. I don’t necessarily like it, but I try to be careful. I have something right now that needs to go to the post office, another thing where I can go to the post office with it or go to the actual store to return it. They warn that mailing it will take 4-6 weeks to refund. Hmmm. Then I need a TB test for school, which is two trips…one to get poked, one to get the poke seen. Maybe the second part can be a video call? Who knows. They were jerks when I called, so I will find out when I go in. Plus I have dentist next week. And today, I drove to a friend’s house…she’s moving and downsizing her fabric stash. So I benefited…

Oh yeah, that’s exciting. I really do like adopting other peoples’ stashes. I tend to buy the same types of fabrics, and this is a way of infusing my stash with another person’s eyeball. Stuff I never would have bought gets incorporated into my quilts. Now finding room for all this will be a challenge, but the boychild and I were talking about some of the stuff in my office that I never touch that could be boxed up. So now I need some big plastic boxes for the garage, I guess. Summer is all about organization.

It’s also about breadmaking. I started with sourdough starter back in March; then the girlchild came home and took over (I’m pretty sure she tossed my starter and started over). She’s kind of awesome and obsessive about cooking, whereas I am mostly lackadaisical. That’s probably not a great trait for baking bread. Many people have sent me links to easy recipes, but I’m following the one my daughter liked, which is A Beautiful Plate, her artisan sourdough. No, it’s not easy. But I have an expert I can text at any time.

This is useful to me. Plus there’s videos. Here’s my starter after being fed yesterday. Then I incorporated it into the autolyse…

And then I stopped taking pictures. I did a bunch of things to the dough yesterday afternoon and evening, and then it went into the fridge overnight, where it still is…doing its thing. Hopefully later today, that thing will be baking bread that is tasty and has the appropriate number and size of holes in it. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, it’s a thing I’m doing. Better than this…

Although that might be a stress reliever of sorts.

Calli needed pool time, so that’s up to me or the boychild now…

She’s old and now gets all the treats. She’s eating a pine cone and just happens to be lying on a plant runner that really should get trimmed the next time I sit out there with her.

She’s a good girl. I keep telling her that. She’s another thing that makes me cry this summer. Ah well. Lots of pets and dips in the pool and maybe even bits of bread, because she really likes bread. A lot.

Luna has picked a box and will be in it. Her feet are the best part.

All the cats have their spots. Kitten has claimed this green fabric drawer.

No one may have fabric from this drawer. Only her.

Here’s the bunny who lives under my front deck and thoroughly irritates the little dog and the cats with its presence.

It’s cute. Watch out for coyotes! We’ve got those, for sure.

OK, so the internet was an asshole while I was trying to write this, so I did some other things, like eat lunch and find the ricecakes the girlchild left here and no one else will eat. I might feel that way about the raisins too, but I’m willing to listen to the boychild on that. I really want to do some creative fabric things right now, but I’m being a responsible adult and will (a) process the video for my Patreon July post, and then (b) do some copyediting. And then we will figure out the whole dinner-on-a-holiday thing and drive to my parents’ house to see if we can observe fireworks. Then back here for sleep and all that. It’s not exciting, but it’s relatively safe, so there’s that. Next week, I will figure out how to buy thread and organize fabric and do all the things I’m supposed to do. Happy 4th for those who celebrate, and if you don’t because you are an American and it doesn’t feel very American, I’m sorry. I love fireworks and staring up into the dark blue sky to see them explode, and I hope you get to enjoy something on that magnitude.

I Will Wash Dishes…

Is anyone besides me getting a certain satisfaction out of the simple task of washing dishes? There’s hot water, there’s the order in which to wash so that the greasiest dish doesn’t destroy the water. There’s stacking them in the dish rack (mine is ancient and disgusting, but apparently nothing else will fit my sink) in some sort of logical manner, there’s the soap bubbles, there’s the satisfaction of things being dirty and then being clean. It’s so simple. Distracting. A thing I can do successfully that doesn’t just become something more all of a sudden. OK, it’s true that sometimes I’m annoyed by the dishwashing, but it seems in these pandemic days that dishwashing is one thing I can do and do relatively well, and if I fuck it up, I can just wash that dish again.

I am still so tired these days. I’ve been off school a week and usually it takes me two weeks to get into summer…plus we built a fence, which is why I’m late writing this. We were hoping for like 2 1/2 days and it took 3 1/2…although we still need to clean up. This was at the end of the third day…

We ended up being 4 boards short, so I had to make a run to two different stores yesterday. Of course.

My concrete footings are stupendous. Really.

And then a day later, when I’m sneezing randomly, I wonder if I now have COVID thanks to Home Depot.

OK 24 hours is probably not realistic. We did actually finish up the last bit after this photo. Fifty feet or so of new fence. We still need to get rid of all the old wood. And then build a privacy fence in the front yard. Later. In July. Seriously. I’m fenced out.

I’ve ironed a little bit…Tuesday night? I think?

Yeah, I think that’s the night I stayed up way too late. Angel number 1 in progress.

I have a quilting meeting in 13 minutes. I’m thinking I’ll work on this. Is the skin color good? Dead angels? I was trying for a dead look. We’ll see when I get the heads done how it really looks. I’m liking the dots though.

I’m still doing these, albeit very slowly.

I’ve got 10 done, and 2 more cut out and ready to sew…

And the fabric ready for two more. Then I need to prep more stuff to do the next 11. It’s OK. I’m on time. I think.

And dots! Monday night was the one to the left of the pink ball.

It had lots of colors in it.

And was pretty fun to do.

It’s more colorful than that in real life. All these nighttime photos.

Then Tuesday night’s…I didn’t have the energy to make the tool for it (out of card stock), so I just winged it…just under last night’s…

It wasn’t hard, just a little fussy because I was too lazy to find cardstock and cut it.

It turned out OK anyway.

And then last night’s…to the right of the pink spool…

I had to go bead hunting again.

And a cat lay upon it for a while…

Note cat hair. I think there are 3 left. Then I can work on other things as I try to figure out how to hang this. And where to hang it.

What else? It’s interesting…I don’t really leave the house much, but I do feel weird about leaving and being out. California’s viral numbers are going up. Damnit. Well. We’ll see where we’re at after 4th of July. People are stupid.

Ah yes, I walked on Tuesday…it was nice…

Weird seed pods…and cudweed on its way out…

Someone is still painting rocks.

I have one at school that says Be Brave…that one on the right was there before…now it has a friend.

I’m not sure what the friend is supposed to be.

There were crows on my walk…all on the path and then started hopping up to the fence…

Then the tree (I missed when there were 10 up there)…

I couldn’t see anything on the path that looked crow-worthy, but what do I know?

Last thing, I often order little stitched things I like (and then hoard them, because IDK what to do with them), and saw this one from Mixed Color, a talisman (we all need more of those)…

The Guardian. Now I need a plan for all these embroidered bits I have from all over. Really. I have some very nice ones, a good variety. Crazy quilt blocks? With more embroidery? I like that idea. Will work on that this summer. First I will need to find all the bits, but I can start with this one. Calli approves.

We made wontons again last night. Girlchild leaves Monday, but I have this recipe. I could make these on my own.

Calli did not get wontons. Poor Calli. Looks like we are dealing with cancer on this sweet girl.

She’s not in pain. We see an oncologist next week to see what’s best for her. She’s a good girl though.

OK, I need to do some ironing and sewing and ffs sleeping at some point. Be good! Be safe. Wear your mask (I’ve lost two in the last week…no idea where they are in the house…but they are somewhere in the house). Stay healthy.

To Build a Fence…

Hey. So we’re building a fence here. Hence I am exhausted. Why are we building a fence? Because there wasn’t much between the fence standing up and falling down. It was time. This was after the boychild and I removed the first section on the left, waiting for the man in charge (my dad) to show up.

Thing is, dad is almost 80 and has had heart issues, so we’re all masking up while doing this. No need to get anyone sick over a fence, right? Damn bushes have been pushing this thing over. We’re trying to take that back. Did some major chopping. They’ll come back. They always do.

We had hoped to just replace slats, but apparently with lumber mills being shut down due to the pandemic, those are hard to find. So we adjusted…

The lower yard needs work. It was a jungle for years before the boy went out and attacked the lavender star flower bushes. The one on the right is pretending to be a tree. We want the others to be more bush like.

We didn’t mean to start on Fathers’ Day…dad just misread my email. It’s OK…the first day, we put in three posts? Maybe four…

The first one took three hours because…it was the first one.

Today was the second day, and we got all the posts in. I was in charge of making the concrete on the top slope away from the posts. Well that’s definitely four posts in, three to go.

I don’t feel bad for the neighbors…all they do is construction. You can’t see the new playhouse to the right of this picture, or the pool in progress in the ground down there. It’s a lot.

We’re putting metal poles on all but one of these…just for sturdiness. The one without…it would have been a pain to get one close enough, so we didn’t.

Hopefully the rest of them will hold the fence up.

As of this afternoon, all the posts are in, top stringers in, and about half the bottom stringers…we needed concrete to firm up before doing more, and one section of wide slats is in. Tomorrow we finish, hopefully. So we can let the dogs out NOT on a leash. That will be nice. Plus I’m tired. It’s hard work in the sun and all. Kudos to those who do this all the time…if I’m out in the sun/heat for any period of time, I get dizzy. So then I drink more water. Probably bending over for 20 minutes, trying to make a concrete pyramid structure with a pointy thing that has a name that is totally not in my head at the moment (trowel…there it is) did not help.

Anyway…tomorrow, more stringers and lots more rails. Then done! Cleanup will take a while…lots of boards that need to have something done to them…either made into firewood or cut for the dumpster. We’ll see which.

Meanwhile, I ironed a little bit last night…

OK, it was actually two hours, not a little bit. Got her head done and the background stuck in behind her…and started on the skelly in the background…

All this with a large Golden Retriever to step over…

We’re waiting on test results for the old lady…she’s got a face swelling that could be an infection and could also be a lymphoma. She’s doing fine though, no symptoms, so hopefully it’s an easy fix. We’ll take antibiotics for the win!

I had some time before dinner yesterday to piece some more fabrics for the Abstract Arcs quilt…

I also cut out pieces for the next two blocks but didn’t get around to sewing them together yet.

This is the easy part, right?

I’ll probably need to make a few more combinations of these to get enough blocks for the whole piece.

This is in the evening light, so everything is very blue-toned…

The backgrounds are all actually white and black. Here they are with dog for size…

I sat outside and tried to read for a while with the girlchild…really, after working all day, my brain was mush for quite a while.

She’s been reading like crazy these days…

With puppy assist. I’m a little jealous of both those things, but know I’ll get some in a bit.

Dots! I finally caught up…Saturday night was the octopus…

Fun but time consuming…

All those legs…

And then I caught up on the acorn, which was Wednesday’s? I think? Can’t remember.

The acorn…

Someone did one with bullion knots on top, but in the end, I found a thread that worked.

And then Sunday night’s abstract…

They all start to look like flowers or microbes at some point…

This was a quick one…

Tonight’s is not. We’ll see if I finish.

Kitten has found her summer spot…where she will probably lie while I am trying to copyedit later this week.

Ugh. Sweet cat. Bad location.

Here’s Nova, also sweet, but not in front of my computer.

And with Luna…

Last…for those who don’t follow my Instagram. This dragonfly was around and then hung out for a while.

Amazing color…

So. Tomorrow? More fence, hopefully done. Although we need to build a new fence in the front yard. So that’s later. Then cleanup. Tonight? Dinner. Sew a dot. Hopefully either iron or piece some blocks, maybe both. Then a good night’s sleep. Sounds lovely. And happy birthday to my younger brother, who is smart and hires people to build fences. Actually, I’m pretty sure he’s done this with dad as well. It’s a thing.

She Needs a Head…

Does anyone know if sourdough starter is treated as a liquid by TSA? It’s not REALLY liquid…but if lotion is a ‘liquid’ to our airline security team, then starter probably is too. Girlchild is going home in just over a week, and apparently does not trust us to keep this shit alive (probably a realistic thing there…I think I can keep it alive over the summer, but who knows after that?). I’m gonna miss her (the girlchild, not the starter…we are keeping some of that here), not just for the cooking and weird late-night TV watching, but because she’s my kid and Boston is a long way away. Plus there’s a pandemic on, and you just want everyone close to you…at least within driving distance. She will, as always, provide proof of life by liking some (not all) of my Instagram posts, so that will have to do. It’s probably the longest time she’s been home since she went to college…strangely. These are strange times, though, and are bound to get stranger.

It’s officially the second day of summer break. We go back to school in 54 days. It’s horrible that I’m looking at that. I need to know where I stand. 54 days until true crazy starts? I’m thinking.

I ironed a lot yesterday…

All during a social Zoom…I finished her chest and other arm…

And then did the COVID arm behind her, coming to take her away.

Disproportionate numbers of BIPOC are affected by COVID. There are many reasons floating around out there, including some cultural ones, some socioeconomic ones, and some Why the Fuck Can’t We Just Give Everyone Good Healthcare ones. Either way, I wanted to document that in this quilt.

Now she needs a head…maybe tonight? The next few days are a little weird. We started pulling a piece of the backyard fence down this morning in preparation for replacing it. So I’ll be working some hard hours probably in the next few days. Not expecting much artmaking time. We’ll see though.

I also worked on this embroidery during the Zoom…

It’s from one of my own drawings, so it’s somewhere along the lines of insanely detailed. We had the designer for the pattern we’re using on a stitch-along stop by our Zoom and I wanted to actually listen to her, so I stitched while she was there.

I’ve made 6 blocks now for the stitch-along. I had to finally make a post-it for the basic sewing together, just so I wouldn’t have to keep looking it up in the pattern. And because my brain just cannot remember the difference between convex and concave, I labeled all the pieces with that too.

So I made two orange blocks…

I found a few more black and white prints that I thought would be OK for this…

I have a ton of black and white prints, but I’m looking for a shade of white plus a level of black vs white. I’m not sure about these yellow ones. They’re not as vibrant as the others.

But I also like how they fade out into the white. When I get all the blocks made, if they are an issue, I’ll make new ones.

I was supposed to have 5 done by tomorrow, so I’m doing OK. Next week, I need 10 more. Although I think I need 25 for the pattern, and we were told 5 + 10 + 5 and that ain’t 25. So I might need more. I don’t even know what I’m doing with this anyway, so I might need even more.

Speaking of quilts, I made this for that kid before she was born.

She’s 3 now? I think? Sheesh. They do last. This is the lightest, pinkest quilt I’ve ever made. Cats and math were the theme. I was told pink, gray, and white, and I added that wavy strip with extra colors just for some zing. Glad she still likes it.

I was seriously behind on dot-stitching, so I settled down around 10:30 last night to try to catch up…with Luna as witness.

I finished Friday’s first…under the yellow ball.

It was pretty easy.

That’s why I started with it.

Then I gave the lion a tail, because someone else did it and I liked it.

Although now maybe he needs feet and a body. Oh well.

Then I did Thursday’s ant, but I had been warned and given a picture, so I added two more legs and fattened him up more…

He was also pretty easy.

That’s a good ant color.

So now I’m two behind…today is an octopus and Wednesday was an acorn. I’ll get caught up eventually, no worries.

OK, well we have some Fathers’ Day-related social distancing to do, and then some decision about dinner probably. I didn’t get anything done today that I was supposed to artwise, just the fence and some watering…still have a bunch to do. That’s OK. I can piece and iron and stitch later. Or tomorrow. There’s time. Fifty-four days of it. Maybe. Well, you know how that goes. And yes, I’m still tired. I’ll get caught up eventually. I’ve been trying to use the meditation app before I go to bed…still have the issue of waking myself up with the actual GOING to bed. But otherwise I have to listen in bed with headphones on. Haven’t gotten there yet.

Hello Summer 2020…

I’m moving slowly today. Mentally and physically. School is officially out. I might have actually slept normally last night (after a 10-minute meditation app in bed, trying to persuade my brain to shut up), although I definitely remember parts of that repeating dream I have about being in a huge airport and trying to keep track of all my stuff, going back and forth to find things I’ve lost, tons of people, no masks, just weird-feeling. I’m three days behind on the Sue Spargo dots for the first time ever (I’ll catch up this weekend, no worries), I feel like a train hit me, and I’m trying to negotiate with my copyediting job and failing miserably. It’s OK…he wants to give me more work and I guess I can do it, and it means more money for tree-trimming, but I’m feeling like I need a break between school and more work, and I don’t think I’m going to get that. Oh well. I’ll do what I can.

Hello Summer 2020! Aren’t you a fucked-up mess! My summer plans include reading, hiking, quilting, building two fences, planting shit, drawing, embroidery, and sleep. Also there will be multiple school-related meetings and stressful emails, and a copyediting job or two. It will feel much shorter than normal summers. There will be no travel or weekend shenanigans, except within the confines of this house. My god! More of this house. Hopefully there will be a lot of quiet, but when you’re surrounded by little kids, it’s unlikely.

I do plan to finish this quilt in the next few weeks, although there are many hours still to go. I ironed this Wednesday night, putting me over the 50% mark. I’m hoping to get more of it done today and tomorrow.

Sunday is the start of fence-building, so that will take up a chunk of my time and energy.

I’ve also been working on a stitch along with my guild. I know I don’t usually piece, but I do know how…

This is improv piecing, and then after that…

We move onto the piecing an actual block…

The pattern is Abstract Arcs by Cotton and Bourbon. As of yesterday, I’ve made two whole blocks.

It’s OK…I’ve made the improv fabric for about 6 more, if I get around to piecing those today. I’m doing two blocks (so far) in each color run. There’s some plan to what I’m doing. I think. I won’t have enough blocks if that’s all I do, but I’ll go back and do something to get the remaining however-many-I-need, because I can’t count and so I just do until I have enough.

I also finished this during a meeting…

And started this one of my own design…

during online graduation yesterday. We also did a drive-thru graduation at school…

Masks on, supposed to be 6 feet apart…so many feels about this…

(sign says, “The year shit got real”)…so as 7th-grade teachers, we usually don’t get to be involved with graduation at all, so this was a nice change to see all the kids, even though they were in cars. But also, some people not wearing masks and not distancing appropriately…that stuff makes me feel really weird and anxious. I suspect we will see some illnesses coming out of this or out of all the drive-thru graduations. San Diego is on the border of having to shut down (at least partway) again. We’ve had too many community outbreaks in the last week, but still they open nail salons and massage parlors today (oh man, a massage sounds ideal for my completely trashed neck and shoulders). So I guess we will spend the next two weeks wondering if we’re sick or not. I hope not, but every time I do something that seems borderline risky, I come away thinking, oh hellz no, not doing that again. Except I work with these people and teach with them, so there’s only my own stuff I can control.

Things I can control over summer? Hike time…although we only took the little boy dog…

The old lady is having some issues…

Great weather for a hike though…not too hot, but nice and bright, although smoke/haze in the distance…not in this picture, though.

Afterwards, he needed his body checked for spiky things and ticks…

The old lady has something growing on her face that might be cancer, so we are worried…

She is old and lumpy as it is…hoping it’s just an infection and easily treatable, and she has no noticeable symptoms, so we are enjoying her dorky self still.

The old lady cat got herself stuck in the strings from the balloons I brought home yesterday.

She ran with the balloons after this. Pretty funny. I didn’t mean to bring balloons home. It just happened. It was safer than letting them go.

While I was ironing the other night…

What’s she staring at? This guy…

Gecko house. It’s very exciting for the cats.

She’s currently waiting for me to get out of this chair so she can sit in it again…

I left for two minutes. Seriously.

OK, also a woodpecker! Can you see it? Crappy through-screen pictures…

OK, I have pilates today, although I am still conflicted about that. It’s helping my back and neck though, so I’m dealing with it. Hopefully we can all stay healthy. Also plan to read my book and piece some more and maybe iron some stuff. And sleep. More sleep. Ugh. No school though. That’s a plus for right now. Nice to have a break, reflect on things that worked and things that didn’t, consider the things we won’t have control of over the next year or so, and figure out how to accept all of that.

However-Many-Weeks It’s Been…

It’s interesting what has made me change my blogging habits in the past. I’ve been blogging since 2003 or 2004, something like that, really it’s just my mental journal and some of you read it and hang out in the places my head has been. Or you just come for the pictures, which is A-OK, because I like me some pix as well. In the beginning, it was really random; some months had 10 posts and some had one. Then about 2 or 3 years in, I realized I should make a PRACTICE of it to get better at it, so I set a schedule of I think it was three days a week? I picked days when I tended to have more time, and I pretty much stuck to it…obviously, vacations made it more difficult, being back in the day when phones couldn’t do everything. YES, that was REAL. Then I had a minor (or not-so-minor) mental breakdown in 2013 and wrote every day except Sunday for about…um…let me think…almost 7 years?? Until Covid sent me home. And then I couldn’t do every day. Ironically, because I was home more, I couldn’t get up and write every day? So weird. I can’t explain what happens to time on Covid time, but it just disappears. Seriously, I get up, and then it’s midnight again, and I’m still tired. Summer is a little like that, but this has been much worse. I can’t keep my brain going in a straight line for more than about 15 minutes.

So with that, school is over as of tomorrow, whatever that looks like. It does mean no required wakeup times (well, except for stuff I’ve committed to, like rebuilding a fence with my dad, who regularly wakes up at 4 AM). It also means no required Zoom meetings, wait, that’s not true. There will still be work meetings over the summer, if just to iron out what next school year looks like. But there’s more freedom. I’m waiting for my copyediting job to show up, and I’m totally OK with it taking a while, although I’d like to be done with it before we go back to school (last year, it came really late in the summer and fucked me up in August and September). Will I go back to writing every day? Maybe? I tend to remember less of what I wanted to write about with a two-day schedule, which is kinda what I settled on over the last however-many-weeks it’s been (three months or so, anyway). It’s longer to write on a two-day schedule. I think I’d like to try to go back to every day except Sunday. It helps me clear my brain of the previous day and sleepy-time crap (I keep having nightmares that I’m out places and I’ve forgotten my mask…I’m probably not the only person). Plus it helps me plan the current day, keeps me accountable to my own goals and plans. So we’ll see how that goes. It is more computer time, but it’s pretty focused and quick usually. With no interruptions from Zoom calls and work texts and emails. Will those stop? Just don’t know. Probably not.

As far as work goes, my district looks like it will offer three options: full-time online, full-time in the classroom but socially distanced in some unknown ways, and a hybrid of the two…show up for class on campus a few days a week and do stuff at home a few days a week. Parents will get to choose, apparently, which will also be interesting. We’re expecting about 25% to stay home…not sure what all this will look like. I do have the option of getting a doctor’s note and opting for teaching online only, because I have diabetes and I’m not young, and I did check in with my doctor about it, but she said as long as it’s controlled (which it is) and I’m careful, it’s my decision. I may regret it later, but I think that would be true if I stayed home as well. Yes, I will be the teacher who walks around with a pool noodle and bops anyone who is inside the 6-foot radius of Nida.

Meanwhile, the ironing has been slow but steady. My woman has a face and a cat…as always, iron the eyes separately and then put them on…otherwise, they’ll end up crooked.

Totally feeling the rainbow these days. It is Pride Month. There we go.

She’s the Earth Mother in the piece, although even she can’t solve Covid. I didn’t get much done last night…tired and started late, but she has a cat playing with a Covid virion, although it’s missing some pieces…

They’re probably accidentally in another box, so I’ll figure that out as I keep ironing. I’m in the last half of the 700s, so just under halfway. Almost 11 hours of ironing so far. So it’s slow. Some of that is my being tired. So tired! Although I mostly got to sleep in to the alarm today, minus the man banging around to go to work and my dad banging around to drop off wood for the fence. Unlike yesterday, when the pool builders were out and about BEEP BEEP BEEPing at 7 AM. Ugh. Mornings hurt. I might get more done tonight. We’ll see. I have book club too.

I also have been piecing fabric to use for the stitch-along quilt I’m doing with my guild. More rainbows…

These are going to be cut using the templates you saw last week. I have a plan…

Mostly. We’ll see how it all works. I’m not that worried. It’s just for fun and mental exercise.

I’m planning on doing a few more of these pieced things today, so I can start cutting pieces with the templates and putting blocks together. I’m supposed to put 5 blocks together this week. Uh huh. OK. Doesn’t sound hard, right? Except the part where you have to “make” fabric first. Plus I am hemming napkins, the ones I cut out weeks ago, because we finally ran out of paper ones and I need fabric ones.

And of course, dots…the lion is above the yellow spool…

It took me 2 1/2 hours to stitch this…

And his face is a little hidden.

Then I wasn’t sure I would finish last night’s…because beads…below the yellow skein…

To get to the beads, I have to pull out a bunch of stuff…

But I did, and that’s probably why I started ironing so late.

I also exercised and spent 2 hours at the vet waiting for the two dogs. It was a long day.

What else besides school? The neighbors are still making a pool, but it’s been quiet for a day…

Unlike what it will be once they start swimming in it. Girlchild is done with kid sounds. I have issues with construction noise. Right now, it’s leaves in the wind and the occasional dog barking. A hawk in the tree outside my window (can you even see it?

Top right…

Monday was dress up for a holiday, so I did…

For this online lunch with students…

Getting closer to done with that embroidery.

Luna managed to get herself stuck on the closet shelf twice…

She’s so silly.

Girlchild is hanging with the dogs again. She’s going home in a week and a half. The dogs will be devastated.

Kitten has been inhabiting kitten spaces…this morning, she hung out and played with their shit…

Their toys…not their shit. Pretty funny.

OK. Tired. More tea. I need to finish watering things. I need to piece more pieces into fabric. We’re walking the dogs later. I have book club tonight for a book I didn’t really like. Not sure if my dislike was cultural or not? Interesting thing to talk about though. And then hopefully ironing. I also have a dot to work on and I’ll probably stitch during book club. Then tomorrow is graduation…so we’ll have a Zoom, then go into school to do final clean up, and then gather in front of school to give kids drive-through certificates and swag, socially distanced. Then a last drink with the team, who will be minus 2 next year, gaining a newbie from 6th grade. Then the 2019-2020 school year, which was a giant fucked-up mess before Covid even hit, will be over. Into the 2020-2021 year, which will be a different kind of mess, mostly unknown at this point. Unknown makes me grind my teeth. Gotta work on that.