Mysteries of Our Disguise Revolve*

We each have our method for dealing with stress…mine was hiking for 5 1/2 miles on Saturday evening. I was going to be waiting around for the social stuff to happen anyway. I had worked all day, either on school or art. I need more exercise. I wanted to see how far I could get…I could have gone farther, but in the end, it was good that I turned around when I did…the timing was better.

I do this hike all the time with the dogs…we go about a mile and a half out and then come back.

IMG_7408 small

Scarily, that is a coyote, completely ignoring my presence, about 20 feet from the path. Where I usually walk the dogs.

IMG_7411 small

Boychild says only one adult fatality from coyotes. Thanks kid. Appreciate it.

OK, well then. I was hiking late afternoon, trying to beat the heat…it was warm.

IMG_7412 small

Here’s the weird bridge that’s not really a bridge.

IMG_7426 small

It’s California. There’s always cactus.

IMG_7432 small

It took like 20 minutes for my incredibly slow computer internet to load these photos. But here are the birds that I haven’t looked up yet (heron? egret?) that I saw at the turnaround point…the point where I realized I’d been out for an hour and needed to turn back if I was going to get any dinner.

IMG_7449 small

The birds were totally worth it.

IMG_7460 small

It was a nice hike. Yes, I always worry about hiking alone. I told two people where I was going. I told one of them to call the police if I wasn’t back by 7.

IMG_7466 small

It was an awesome hike. Didn’t affect my blood sugar at all, unfortunately. My body is confused.

Before all that, I did do some ironing. I left this chaotic pile of fabrics…

IMG_7405 small

With only these pieces left to iron on Saturday (it didn’t happen)…

IMG_7406 small

And the to-be-cut pile like this…

IMG_7407 small

Oh yeah, so I painted this birdhouse about a million years ago when one of the big fires was trashing San Diego County…it has flames and a dead tree. Boychild finally nailed it to a tree.

IMG_7476 small

Hey! Remember these? Never going to get done at this rate. I have 10 left. I got 2 done last night. Sad, really.

IMG_7478 small

And then after grading a good chunk of the day (I think I worked for about 10 hours this weekend on school stuff), I finally went in and finished ironing the fabric for this quilt.

IMG_7479 small

There’s about 8 1/2 hours of ironing in here, plus 93 colors. I like lots of fabrics, apparently.

IMG_7480 small

And here’s the pile that now needs to be cut out. I finished the new season of Call the Midwife, plus at least two YA movies that made me cry. Hell, Call the Midwife made me cry. I think I cried on the hike too. Obviously some shit in my head that needs to get out somehow.

IMG_7481 small

So then I headed out to the living room, the couch, with dogs, to cut out pieces…I didn’t get very far, but it’s a start. Happy that…

IMG_7482 small

Tried to pick something to watch that wouldn’t make me cry. I don’t really do comedy. So killing it is! Watching The Sinner…don’t tell me it will make me cry. I don’t wanna know.

More tonight. By then, I’ll know if I’m copyediting 102 hours over the next 5 weeks or not. Stress!

*Portishead, Sour Times

Might Have Known What You Would Find*

There was a quote in my head last night when I went to bed from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the movie, which I watched last night…possibly for the second time or maybe not, while I was packing up quilts). I wrote it down somewhere. It wasn’t the whale or the petunias who said it…definitely it was Marvin. Now I can’t find it. Perhaps I wrote it down in my sleep and dreamed the whole thing?

I got home yesterday and the plumber showed up to deal with the water pressure thingie and some other doodad wasn’t attached right (who knows who the hell did that) and all of a sudden, the place was jumping and water was flowing down the driveway quite boisterously but eventually everything got back in place and people could flush toilets again. Very important. Plus the boychild cooked dinner, which is always a wondrous thing. Somewhere, if I were smart and/or organized, I would keep track of all these random contraptions that get installed and then go bad with no warning. I need a house that thinks a lot harder than me. Or remembers stuff, because I can’t.

I have 4 quilts that have to be delivered Saturday so they can be installed next week up in Orange County. One needed a label, two needed slats and hardware, they all needed ironing and dehairing, plus I needed to figure out how to pack them up. None of that sounds like fun, because honestly, it isn’t. I have been putting it off. I forced myself to deal with most of it last night. I now have two rolls that need to be put in boxes…

IMG_7201 small

And then I need to write (or find) statements, but otherwise, they’re ready to go. So that’s good. It took a while though.

Before that, during the dinner TV hour, which is more like 43 minutes, I was working on these. I think there’s about 15 more of the dark orange balls to go.

IMG_7198 small

So that’s 5 or 6 nights of embellishing, but not the next 4 nights, because I won’t be home for any of those. Impressive, eh?

Puppy helped. He’s three today, so no longer a puppy.

IMG_7200 small

As you can see, turning 3 is exhausting.

So it wasn’t until 10:30 PM that I was ready to trace. Ugh. This was supposed to be faster. Oh well. Life does what it does. I got another hour in…

IMG_7203 small

I am still filling up the second yard. I’m at piece 437, which is the neck. So I have the head, the tree, and the cat/bird…otherwise known as about 250 pieces. I have a meeting tonight, but maybe I’ll be able to trace afterwards. Gaming tomorrow, another maybe after…at some point, I am not as tired after school. I can’t remember when that is…October? Maybe. The weekend is getting busy too. But I’ll get there. Not as fast as my brain wants me to, but I will.

*The Church, Under the Milky Way

Drive Until You Lose the Road*

It’s a shorter work week…normally someone would make me do back-to-school night this week too, but it’s next week for some reason. I actually might have some brains this week. Who knows? I’m feeling a little rough this morning, but I know I didn’t sleep well. The brain wouldn’t turn off and I couldn’t get comfortable, either mentally or physically. I’ve had crazy dreams the last three nights. Can’t remember what they are…just that they’re crazy and they wake me up and I’m lying there with hot flashes or shivering (make up your mind…), trying to remember why it was so bad in my head. At least if I remember the dream, I can parse it out, make some sense of it. Not remembering seems worse.

I’m sitting here, trying to remember what I’m teaching today. Oh yeah! I’m giving a quiz. It’s OK…it’s open note. They’ll survive. We’re still short computers, though, so that’s an issue. Everything online has to be printed out…ironically, I’m teaching digital citizenship and some kids will be doing it on paper. Sigh. Deadlines though! I have to get everyone in my homeroom through the lessons and passing the test by a certain date, and it always comes up faster than you’d think.

Anyway. School. So much mental energy goes there.

I’m still doing these. Who knows if I will ever finish? Well, I only have 1 1/2 of the pink balls left to embellish…

IMG_7182 small

So there’s progress again. I have no idea what stitch I’m supposed to do on the orange balls. I left it last, so it must be complicated. Maybe. Who knows. I’ll find out tonight, I guess. After my prediction that I’d be done with these by the end of July, I’m hesitant to set another date…but end of September? Seems reasonable. So did the end of July, though.

Yesterday, after the hike, I basically ran around doing bits and pieces of things. I found the four quilts I need to pack up for Saturday. One needs a label. I pulled that one. I found wood slats for the quilts that didn’t have them. I’m one short, unfortunately, so that’s a trip to Home Depot after school…today I have tutoring, so I might be dead by then. I paused all that until the wood is purchased. I started using the new composter…the old one needs to sit for a while. There’s too much stuff in it. I’m going to let it go for a while, turn it occasionally, and then empty it onto the front yard dirt. The logistics of that might be somewhat complicated. How to get dirt from Point A to Point B. Through the house. I have a couple months to figure that out. I took my sewing machine over to my mom, so she can drop it off this week. I did some school stuff, setting up those digital citizenship lessons, at least through this week. I read my book for a while! I love being able to do that. It’s a good book too. It’s my book club book…and I probably won’t be able to go to book club for a second month in a row. Oh well.

And then finally, I started tracing Wonder Under. This piece won’t take long. I mean, it will be weeks, but I could probably finish tracing Wonder Under tonight. I could have done more last night, but the hike did my feet in. They were tired. Standing can be hard.

IMG_7183 small

I got to piece 194, but that’s when I realized that there were two of them. I really don’t know how my brain skips backwards while I’m numbering. Maybe I walked away from it. But there’s duplicates from number 183-192. Hmmm. Thanks brain. Your dedication to your job is noted. So I’m about a third of the way through, with only an hour and a half in. I could easily finish tonight.

I keep track of all my time…last week, I only did about 4 hours of quilt stuff…compared to the previous week, with 15 1/2 hours. Then the week before school started, I got almost 22 hours in. Four hours is a little light, but that’s mostly because I was between quilts…I drew some, but I don’t count those hours until I enlarge a piece. Then any further drawing time counts toward the final total. Anyway, I’m not expecting a lot of hours this week, with gaming and tutoring and a meeting and who knows what else I’ve committed to in my head that I’m not remembering right now. I’m caught up on grades until Friday. But I think I can get the Wonder Under traced between now and the weekend…and I should be able to start cutting it out as well. So hopefully I’ll be ironing to fabric by next week. That’s the current plan anyway. You know how those change.

*The Fray, How to Save a Life

Tell by the Way That You Switch and Walk*

I’m posting a little late today, because honestly, I didn’t do anything last night except try to finish my book because it’s overdue (I didn’t finish it yet, and now two more are at the library to pick up…the horror!) and cook dinner and import a bunch of email addresses for school and try to make sense of what my students typed in the form in the first place. Oh my. I’m not done with that mess. Although it was better than typing them all in myself.

But after a decent night’s sleep, I was ready to do some art stuff. Although then I remembered the hand stitching that I was going to do on the quilt I dropped off at the photographer’s last night. Whoops. Oh well.

Actually, here’s what I did in class yesterday…the first unit cover page for the new year.

IMG_7117 small

How to alternately scare and fascinate your students in one go! Yeah!

Then I worked on this again. More embellishment of balls. Remember how I was going to do 3 a night and be done at the end of July? Yeah I remember that too.

IMG_7123 small

Laughing hysterically at that one. I was also going to quilt that wool quilt…and honestly, I need to take my machine in. In fact, I should call about that right now. Hmmm.

OK, I called. She’s going in this week. The feed dogs refusing to stay dropped is what persuaded him. Cool.

Meanwhile, I enlarged a drawing that I originally thought needed redrawing, but now I think it just needs more. Then I taped it together this morning…

IMG_7124 small

Looked at the size, since there are limits…

IMG_7125 small

And added some to the bottom and the left (needed room for the tree’s leaves)…

IMG_7126 small

Then debated, and added some more to the top. I’ve got some drawing to do now.

IMG_7128 small

So I started.

IMG_7129 small

It needs to percolate in my head more. My nature friend Julie is currently wracking her brain for what animal I just drew. Who knows? It’s fuzzy or spiky and has naked legs and a naked tail and a pointy little nose. And it likes cherries. Who doesn’t like cherries? Well…half my household, that’s who. Or some of them only like maraschino cherries, which make me gag. So there’s that. But y’all know I totally made up that animal.

OK, the plan for today involves wineries. So that’s good. It may or may not be conducive to drawing. Hard to say. But this quilt is gonna get a significant start this long weekend, that’s for sure. I also need to clean up and pack 4 quilts and 2 boxes for the Soka show that will open in September. Yikes. That’s work. Plus deal with all those emails. Sigh.

*Violent Femmes, Gone Daddy Gone

Working on It…

Ah, my head is filled with things. I have to admit to being a hermit when I’m head down, making a piece. I don’t watch the news, I rarely read it, I barely surface for meals, I don’t leave the house if I can help it. Sometimes bits and pieces of it surface when the people around me say something, and then I fall down a Google rabbit hole. I heard about Nia Wilson a few days ago, but didn’t follow up until this morning. Young woman of color, killed randomly (or not? probably not.). Shit. This world sucks for women in general, but add color to the mix and it explodes in their faces. Imagine as a mom…I worry about my kids all the time, but they’re white. It’s a million times safer to send them out into the world than if they were of color. It’s interesting (or telling, maybe) that so many times, we hear that the white murderer has mental issues…does this make it OK? Sure, the US does not manage psych issues well…there are very few ways to get some people help, but still…WHY did he murder a young black girl and try to kill her sister? Sigh. There is so much violence. None of it is OK, but it’s hard to believe racism wasn’t part of this death. If you raise your children to be blind to racism (and perhaps I didn’t do enough there…I constantly check myself in the classroom, with race, culture, religion, and gender…did I do enough?), then you are part of the problem. It isn’t enough to treat all races, cultures, religions, and genders the same (is equality enough? No, equity is the aim…make up for the privilege)…you have to acknowledge that there are stereotypes and incorrect beliefs in play. Constantly. I know this is something I try to do All the Time in my classroom. Do I do it everywhere else? Nope. I’m sure I don’t. Working on it.

So that’s in my head as I’m starting to pick out fabrics for this new quilt, which is hard to explain in terms of theme, but has more distinct human figures in it than any quilt I’ve ever made (they’re all female…which is another issue I keep going over in my head…the thought of gender and how it determines what we are, or not, and how to portray alternate gender issues from my perspective, which seems woefully incomplete). In my last multiple-women quilt, I had a long moment where I was troubled by my own whitewashing of experience. So much of my work is interior, based on my experience, not quite autobiographical, but mostly…yeah…me. So self-centered, white, but we do what we know? I can’t speak for others. But this quilt is about a wider experience of female, about viewpoints and issues and saving the Earth…really, it’s my brain on the news, a small portion of the news. Not all the women in the quilt are meant to be white. More of a universal womanscape…so my brain is percolating over whether it’s even OK for me to talk about immigration when it doesn’t affect me directly, unless you consider my students who are affected by it. But I won’t be deported. I won’t be torn away from my children (this pains me so greatly, those parents who were sent back without their children…WTF are the people in charge thinking, and if you say to me that those parents DESERVE that because they brought their kids up here, I will let loose in a rant about safety and asylum so verbose that the words might bury you). But there is immigration in the quilt. And pollution. And birth. And loss. And abortion. And breastfeeding in public. And the male gaze. Dick pics. Geez. And how to portray women of color in a way that doesn’t perpetuate racism or stereotypes or assumptions. I’m working on it.

It’s not pretty. It probably won’t get into the show for which I’m making it. That’s OK. I think sometimes I have to make these just to get some of this shit out of my head. Although getting this…Nia?…out of my head? Not happening. Love to her family. May she receive justice, although I don’t think that ever makes up for a death. If John Cowell is really mentally ill, maybe he will get the help he needs, but that will never make up for killing an 18-year-old woman.

Nia_Wilson.0 small

We have to speak up. Us white folks, we have to hold the world accountable, best we can. Better than we can.

With all that in my head, here’s a rattlesnake skin picked up on the last hike…

IMG_6030 small

Yeah, I just left it on the hat rack. Like you do.

I started ironing yesterday with the oil slicks. I got fabric for that.

IMG_6032 small

Hell, I’ve got fabric for everything. Who am I kidding?

Then all the water…this took a while, both to pick and to iron.

IMG_6033 small

I took a break. Satchemo enjoying the breeze with the second tower of Wonder Under pieces. Hopefully he won’t knock that over.

IMG_6035 small

Boychild made dinner. This incorporation of three people into meal choices can be difficult.

IMG_6039 small

‘Twas tasty.

Then I saw this message in multiple places explaining the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo’s official reason for removing the Threads of Resistance exhibit from their last two shows…


Um. Yeah. Right. (cough…bullshit). Hey, I don’t have a problem with your pulling it because your sponsors and vendors objected and threatened to pull out…but be honest about it, please? Sure, your vendors and sponsors don’t want to be called out, but hell, this world would be a better place with some sincere honesty. Then I can look at the sponsors and decide if that’s where I need to focus my efforts next (there are three sponsors listed whose products I use all the time…). I find that often the negative comments are so loud that vendors and organizers can’t hear the positive comments. Maybe they need to hear those. Louder. Like, I made my Threads of Resistance quilts USING YOUR PRODUCTS. I have a Viking sewing machine. I use Sulky threads. I use Wonder Under. I buy fabric from just about ALL the companies. My batting is Warm and Natural. There. Those guys. (By the way, none of them have given me anything for free…)

I’m back to this, although having a wool quilt on your lap in summer is still an issue. I haven’t been working on it at all.

IMG_6041 small

Time to get the balls done. Seriously.

Then back to ironing. I set a goal for yesterday of 6-8 hours of ironing…I made 6. Every time I took a rest (from standing and the heat in here of ironing under bright lights with little air flow), I would let myself sit for a bit and then I would say, I need to go back to ironing. It worked.

Here’s the mermaid earth mother…all in greens and purples.

IMG_6042 small

I still need to do her internal organs and her hair. I quit just after midnight. I was tired.

So I’m in the 400s, but there are some of the 300s that aren’t ironed yet. The pile of stuff to be cut out and the pile of fabrics used so far.

IMG_6043 small

Based on yesterday, it’s going to take more than 25 hours, but not much more. Today’s goal? Another 6-8 hours…hopefully on the longer end of it, because I’m starting earlier. Although I might need to leave the house. I can’t handle anything else when I’m in this space, in this head space. Careful introspection of how to depict women of color in this quilt. Sometimes I just want to make them all rainbows, but that’s a cop out too. Working on it.