Buy Art…

Someone asked me to post the pieces that got into Quilt National and Visions over the years.

2013 Quilt National: Spread Out on the Pavement

2017 Quilt National: Beyond the Concrete

2021 Quilt National (yes, it appears to be every four years…creepy, huh?): Fire and Water

And Visions 2012: Sediment

I enter both shows every time, if that helps you at all. Lots of rejections over the years. One year, the Visions reject made it into Quilt National; another year, vice versa. It’s all OK.

So today’s topic is Top 5 Gift Ideas. Y’all…go buy art. Small business art. They don’t have to be quilters…they can be printers or ceramicists or painters. Buy small if you have to. Commit to one piece of art a year, if you can. I buy one SAQA auction piece a year. It’s my donation, plus I’ve gotten small art by artists I really enjoy, some I knew of before the auction and some I didn’t. Buy prints if you can’t afford the art, or even cards. Send them to everyone you know. So many small businesses, especially in the arts, are struggling right now. I wish I could do more, but I try to buy some every year. This year, two of my family members are getting original art from people I know. It can be a knitted sweater or an embroidered landscape, or a drawing, a bowl, a mug, jewelry, whatever. Just buy art. This pandemic has been devastating to so many people. I know as an artist that so many depend on classes and conferences and show venues, and so much of that has dried up. Sign up for a class, if you don’t want to buy art. Find ways to put your money, even if it’s a small amount, in the hands of an artist.

I worked with my co-teacher today for four hours, masked, in a room, away from each other, with the door open.

We got January planned, although then I came home and spent like 3 hours making digital versions of stuff so my kids could do the same stuff as the kids in a physical classroom. I’m still ahead, though…further ahead than I’ve been all year. I’ve always been starting to plan on Thursday for the following week, usually finishing Sunday night. I need that to chill out a bit. I need to be a little ahead of the game. Tomorrow, we’re doing it again, trying to get February planned. At least the pieces will be in place. Details to follow. I need to make a bunch of videos.

Last night, I stayed up too late, but I finished trimming all the pieces.

That’s almost 16 hours of cutting in the last week. Tonight, I sorted them…

Took me about an hour and a half.

I can start ironing tonight. I won’t get much done; it’s already late, but I can start.

Last night, I drew…

Tonight, I did not. There’s a lot of stressful stuff going on. I’m not forcing myself to draw if I don’t have the mental space. I know there’s a place for that kind of thing; making myself draw when I’m not in the mood makes my brain be more creative, solve problems, but there’s a need for self-care at the moment. So I’m just going with it. I can draw tomorrow night if I want. There is absolutely no point in beating myself up about what I can and can’t handle at the moment.

Be like a cat.

Sleep well.

OK, well it’s already past 10 and I need to be up sort of early for lesson planning. Hopefully the rest of the day will let me get some grading done and get a walk in. Tonight, I’ll iron a bit and get my ass in bed earlier than last night. And hopefully I’ll sleep.

It Needed a Chandelier…

Day 20: Proudest Achievement…still making art after so many years? Nah, I do that to keep me sane. Oh yeah, they probably mean with quilting…I used to think that once I got into Quilt National and Visions (two big art quilt shows), that would be it. And I’ve done both…I’ve been in Quilt National three times now (the latest to be 2021) and Visions once, and they are prestigious shows and fun to meet all the artists and be part of the group (well, you know me and groups…I do my best, but sometimes I need to introvert for a while). So then what? Because yes, it’s cool and awesome to hit a goal, but are you just gonna stop making? So then it was wanting a solo show, and I’ve managed that twice plus another 2-person show with a sculptor, which I thought was pretty cool. Give up? You’ve done it? Nah. Still making. What should my next goal be? I think I’ve admitted to myself that I’m just going to keep making and entering shows and getting offers for interviews and videos and putting my work in shows, more invitational stuff, which has been happening more, and I fully appreciate those things, because they aren’t things I tried for or asked for…they just happen because people think of my work for those things. So that’s awesome too.

I’m not that good at proud, really. I’m proud of my kids and my students. Proud of myself is more complicated. It’s not in my nature. I do know to say ‘thank you’ when people say nice things about my work, instead of downplaying it or making excuses. I know how hard I have worked over the years and how much of me has gone into my pieces. So thanks to those who acknowledge that and tell me they like my work. Appreciated.

I’m having a rough weekend. I’m tired and family stuff is all around. Stressful. Work is hard too, even with days off…I have too much grading to do and I just want it done. I’ll feel better when more of it is done, let’s put it that way.

Last night’s drawing with fire in fireplace and really difficult movie on the telly (Tenet…the man watched it twice, the second time with closed-captioning on, and even then, I’m not sure he got it all)…

I didn’t have the patience for a second try…straight up. Started with the hair and somehow ended up with a chandelier. It needed a chandelier. I can’t explain why.

I thought I’d have everything cut out in the current quilt last night, but no…I still have some to go…

I’m watching total escapist television (The Wilds on Amazon Prime), so tonight, I’ll draw, watch some episodes, cut some more pieces out, hopefully all of them, and then ideally tomorrow will be better. I have work tomorrow, lesson planning, actually AT school, if I see you, I will spray you down, because I’m in super-paranoid mode at this point. By the way, if you know someone has anxious tendencies, telling them to stop worrying is really useless. It makes us feel worse, actually, like we don’t have a right to be anxious or worried…and we usually do, but maybe not about what we’re voicing our concerns…those are maybe easier to say than what we’re really worried about. You can say “don’t worry about it until it happens,” but you know, I’ve been this way for a long time, and one part of my brain is constantly saying that while another part of my brain is worrying, and sometimes one part wins out over the other, and I have to try to sway it back. I do that when I feel supported and loved, and not when I feel chastised for natural feelings. More helpful? “I’m sorry you feel that way. Is there anything I can do to help?” There probably isn’t, but I feel better when you say it. So there.

Yeah. Rough weekend. Gonna go draw it out.

Trusted the Brain…

There’s a definite weight off the shoulders. There’s still plenty of work to do, but knowing I don’t have to have 17 posts ready for Google Classroom by tomorrow night is a relief. Knowing I don’t have to be on Zoom and watched by parents and brothers and sisters is a relief. I can just sit quietly with myself if I want. Well, when I’m not around all the other people and animals in the house, right? It’s hard to get away from absolutely everybody, and I’m not sure I’d want that. I am alone here right now and it’s dark and I just heard something go over the gate. Or under it. Probably a bunny. But who knows; I’m in here freaking myself out about it. You’d think after living mostly alone for a goodly number of years while the kids were in college I’d be OK with it.

Today’s topic is “on the design wall.” Ah, so many assumptions in that topic…that everyone has or wants a design wall. It’s not how I work at all. I don’t ever pin something up and step back and look at it. Maybe I should, but I don’t have the space or the time, so I mostly always did without…trusted the brain to do the previewing and critiquing before things were all put together. Crazy, really. So yeah, I draw in a sketchbook and sometimes on a big sheet of paper, and then, when I’m ready to iron Wonder Under to fabric, when I’m at the color-choosing stage, that’s the closest I get to a design wall. I hang the drawing up and stare at where each piece is and stare at the fabrics I’ve already picked and stare at the background fabric, and that’s it. My brain does the work.

So there’s the drawing clipped up from when I did that. It will come down when I start ironing together next week, because I use it as the pattern: put the teflon sheet on top of it, so I can get the pieces in the right place.

No design wall. Sorry? Not sorry. It’s just now how I work. I did in the very beginning; I even had this big cubicle wall for a while that I was going to use for that, a leftover from somewhere, but there was never room for it in the house, so it went at some point…probably when we cleaned out the garage a few years back.

Speaking of the most current quilt, I’m almost done trimming all those bits and pieces…I had Calli for a while…

Simba too, but not photographed…and then Kitten…

I cut for almost 3 hours last night, quite happily.

There isn’t much left in the box on the left. Maybe I’ll be done tonight? Sort tomorrow night? We’ll see.

I also started my Winter Break tradition of a drawing a day…while gaming…

I was pretty tired, and I didn’t think very hard about any of it.

Certainly my glass ended up in the drawing…in fact, that’s where I started, with a hand around the glass.

Today’s been pretty quiet…some grading, some Pilates on Zoom with dog assist, plus a 4-mile hike…

Outside is always a good thing.

San Diego is currently full of idiots refusing to stay safe…so we go out here, where most people are sane. We think. It’s certainly not a restaurant full of people.

OK, so finish cutting, do a drawing, watch a movie. It’s supposed to be chilly tonight; maybe a fire in the fireplace, dinner from somewhere, not inside, not around people. Then sleep again, because I haven’t gotten enough of that in a good long time.

Stop Thinking for a While…

Hello vacation! Or break! Or NO ZOOM ZONE. Whatever you wanna call it, this teacher is on it for three weeks. Don’t get too excited. You should see my to-grade list for that time period…it’s massive. I’m hoping to bang through it quickly though. Although it includes 5 large art assignments. WTF was I thinking? Nothing. No, I was thinking that if they didn’t finish before break, they would throw them away, and no one would have them. So there we are. Anyway, wish me luck on that. I’d like to have everything planned for January (except art, because I need to wait for the other teacher to do some stuff) and graded by Christmas Eve. Could be impossible. We’ll see.

I’m stressed, I need sleep, I need to not be on Zoom a million hours a day. I need exercise and books and sewing and drawing and relaxing. We’re halfway through the longest school year I’ve ever experienced, and it will take everything I have in me to get through the next half. Sure, there’s a few 3-day weekends in there and 2 weeks of Spring Break, but mostly it’s a hellaciously long stretch of ugh. Meanwhile, my neighbors aren’t social distancing for shit, because they are young and apparently can’t get sick or die or get their relatives sick or anything. I don’t even know what to think about that. I think about every interaction I have, every time I leave the house, everything I do that is outside of here. And I’m paranoid as shit about it. Maybe it’s being high risk? Or just naturally paranoid? Anyway. They’re fucking nuts.

So the topic for today is “If I could sew with…”. Hmmm. Is this a person? If so, I want to sew with Queen Elizabeth. I know she learned how. And I’d like to talk to her and meet her dogs. And then I want to sew with Sue Spargo, just to see how her mind works; she’s incredibly creative. And then maybe the BadAssCrossStitch woman, Shannon, just because she sounds interesting and is trying to create community with stitching. Honestly, anyone who’s ever stitched the word “fuck” on fabric…I wanna have a big stitchalong with them. And then I’d like to stitch with about a million of the stitchers I follow on Instagram, because some of them have such interesting and different styles from what I do…I wanna watch them and try to do it that way and maybe just talk to them about birds and cats and pine needles. Or whatever.

Now the other way to look at this is “If I could sew with…” metal. Are we talking materials here? I have done a tiny bit of metal stitching, not the metallic thread, because that is always a pain in the ass, but the twisty stuff, damn, what’s it called, purl? AKA French bullion wire (because it looks like a bullion knot, but wire, not thread). I also have some metal mesh I always wanted to use. There isn’t much stopping me from using metal, but time and ideas…I got close when I stitched on window screen to make my COVID mask.

Not quite metal. Maybe just stitching with different things. Experiment more. In my spare time. Some day, I will have spare time that is not eaten up by grading 17 assignments in a week, and I will have more time to spend on experimentation. Or not.

It’s highly possible I should have looked at the list of blog topics before I signed up to do this. Speaking of, it’s the first day of Winter Break! I like to do a drawing a day over Winter Break. Shall I? Can I? Do I have the fortitude? I have the last two years. Hmmm. Gaming tonight…it’s possible to draw and game.

Meanwhile, I’ve been cutting tiny pieces out…I made it through all of the flesh last night…

I did a lot of it in a stitching meeting, totally exhausted.

Made it into the sky. I’m hoping to be done by Sunday so I can start ironing it together. We’ll see how it goes.

You gotta love your job a lot to answer an email like this…although the suggested answers are pretty valid.

I didn’t use one of them. I wanted to.

Remember back in November when we went up to 29 Palms to help construct that labyrinth? Well here’s a drone view of it…

Linda did an awesome job setting this up and building most of it. So cool.

Got some more artsy shit coming up over break too…mostly looking at other people’s art, but as artists, we need that connection to other people’s work.

But for now, find a sketchbook and a pen for drawing while gaming, plus probably need to see if I can grade a few things, and I need to find some supplies for these classes I’m taking in January, ironically need plastic bags, just the words off them, but I don’t have a lot of plastic because I don’t use it unless I really have to, plus some stabilizer I don’t use either. Maybe mom has some? Who knows. It feels a little lighter having no required work for three weeks…hopefully by the end of next week, it will be a lot lighter. Unlike the summer, I know mostly what the next 6 months of school look like…painful but doable. Summer was so stressful because we knew nothing at all. This is just stress that I know about.

OK. Find sketchbook. Stop thinking for a while.

Some Things Never Change

Welp. I finally missed a day. I meant to write last night, but I was so dang exhausted. I know I came in here to do it, but then IDK what happened. Plus I thought I was supposed to write about today’s topic, which I didn’t want to write about. So now I’m doing two in a day. I HAVE FAILED. Nah, it’s OK. Shit happens. Have you seen 2020? Case in point.

So yesterday was actually a good topic, Why do I sew? Well, I started because presumably my mom thought I should learn or she was doing it and I saw it and I wanted to learn. I don’t remember. I was young. So I learned how…so did a lot of my generation, and then the vast majority of them finished Home Ec and never looked at a sewing machine or a needle again.

I never stopped. I sewed stuff for art in college, I sewed stuff for the house in my 20s and 30s and less so in my 40s, and I started quilting at 23. And never stopped. Something about fabric calls to me. I started making art as a printmaker…I probably would have stuck with ceramics too if I’d had more access to equipment and people…but once I started seeing quilting as an art form, better yet, a portable, easy-to-drop-and-then-pick-back-up art form, then that was it. The tactile qualities of fabric, the design and pattern, the hand-dying, the stitching, having it in your hands, the 3D nature of a quilt on the wall. I was hooked.

Now today’s topic is the one I was avoiding, my favorite ‘sewlebrity.’ UGH. So a stitcher who’s famous? I’ve taken many classes from people who are famous in their own right…some were fascinating to learn from, some not so much. Is there someone I always watch or listen to or look for their Insta? Not really. There are LOTS of them: people who talk about their process, who keep making, who find a way to challenge what they’ve been doing. I know the purpose is to give you a name so you can check them out…eh…there’s a bunch in the blog roll on here (which I need to go check and cull this year…it’s been a while). I follow another million or so on Instagram…pictures seems to be the thing now. There are people I admire, not for their sewing prowess, but for their ability to get things done and PIVOT…hate that word: Pokey Bolton, making Craft Napa grow in a pandemic; Luana Rubin for advocating against climate change, for using her company to support art quilters and awesome causes; Carolyn Mazloomi for backing beautiful exhibits that showcase issues for BIPOC and BIPOC quilters. There are more, but it’s early and the tea hasn’t kicked in.

Keep your eyes and ears open. There are people out there using fabric and the quilt world to make some positive things happen.

Meanwhile, I’m slogging through my day job. Yesterday was exhausting, for me, but probably for the kids as well. They want to give up because it’s almost Winter Break, and so do I, but we can’t. I’m grading as fast as I can, so I don’t have a ton to do over break, but there’s no way to avoid some of it. Plus trying to get the kids through the last part of a project…some get the concepts and some are just so far away from them that I don’t know how to help them. Some just want the answers, and I want them to work for them. As always.

I started cutting stuff out for the newest quilt on Tuesday night…

Lots of tiny rocks in that box…it’s been cold, so we have had lots of animals on the couch with us…

Kitten tried to push that box off the couch at some point. And here’s last night’s cut…considerably less time. I had Zoom Pilates and Zoom book club and hit major exhaustion right after.

I did a very slow hour. That’s all flesh I’m cutting now. Kitten looks cranky…

Like she’s about to whack me. Because she is.

I did this…

One quilt is in there four times. She took a long time to make. Anyway. Thursday. Ugh. Long. Too much of you. We will get through. I tried to go to bed early last night and then ended up making plans to travel without seeing or talking to anyone except for the man, just for two nights outta here, because I’m going bonkers. Hiking and walking and just sitting around talking to a rooster. It’ll be fine. For now, I have a staff meeting, I’ve got to teach science and two levels of art today, and hopefully wake up a bit more. Then plan some science, meet with other sewists (better than sewers, y’all), and cut some more stuff out. Collapse in bed. Do it again tomorrow, minus some of it, with added Zooms. It will be nice NOT to Zoom for a few weeks. NOT to get up and walk to a computer and stare at three screens and try to type and get my internet to behave and answer a million questions in the chat and chase kids down for not doing any work and deal with 17 million emails. Really. It will. This year is different, but some things never change. Teachers need breaks. So do kids.

Three Pies…

Hope y’all have a good food day, whatever it looks like. Ours has three pies. I’m sure there are other things, certainly because I have some things I need to cook later today that AREN’T pie, but right now, all the kitchen is pie. Which is why I’m in here, because the other choice is at the work computer, grading those essays. I got through 29 of them yesterday before my brain completely shut down. There are 30 to go. I’ll get there. I promise. I have a schedule. I’m trying to stay on top of it.

The family is dealing with some major health stuff right now; it’s stressful for all and making it hard to concentrate on anything except pie construction and maybe reading a book (I say that, but I didn’t read much yesterday except kids trying to explain plate motion…remind me never to use this CER topic again…it sucked the first time around, and it still sucks the second time around.). But we will attempt to perform a Thanksgiving Day ritual because that is what we do on Thanksgiving. Peace to all of you and pie. There’s plenty of pie.

Standing and grading, so I can walk away in between every 4 or 5 essays.

In between trying to organize fabric, water plants, and grade shit, I have been steadily working on the current quilt. It’s the place I go at the end of the day. It’s mostly predictable, at least at this stage, and that’s a good place to be at the moment.

Apparently it’s a good place for Kitten to be as well.

She enjoys mommy time on the couch. She will also enjoy mommy time in the studio when I start ironing.

I finished watching the second season of The Bridge, and am now on the second season of Top of the Lake. Apparently murder mysteries and troubled cops are my thing right now.

Geez, my cat. She looks happy though. Yeah, no Hallmark happy Thanksgiving family romances for me. It’s all about dead bodies and kidnapping and sex trafficking. I can’t explain it. I stayed up too late (but it’s not a school night, so there) finishing the trimming…

That’s almost 8 hours of trimming there. It’ll take an hour or so to sort them, and another hour or so to clean my studio, because it’s a disaster. I went to Target yesterday and bought organizers for some of the fabric that’s accumulated, but am debating packing up the crazy quilt stuff more than it is? I don’t know. I still use it; I don’t want to get rid of it. I really just need a remodel of this space so it’s more useful. Not happening any time soon. It’s absolute chaos at the moment though. I should do something about that.

I sat on the couch for about 45 minutes last night and let this kitty knead my belly and the air and purr and it was OK to just do that.

Take the comfort and the kitty love wherever you can.

OK. I will check on the cooking/kitchen status and then go grade some shit. And eventually we’ll do the food thing. And hopefully things will get better on the other fronts. I want to draw but don’t know when or how that will happen. It is a beautiful day out: the chill of a Southern California autumn day with the smell of pie. Did I mention pie? Crows zooming around and squawking. A good book on the Kindle app. A reason to wear sweats and soft socks. Maybe it’s time for cider (but if I open it, I can’t fit the bottle in the fridge. Nix that for now). Peace to all.

Put That on the Calendar…

Whoa Nellie. Or is it Nelly? I hate how vacation weeks go so fast. Tuesday is almost over. I’m close to the halfway point, where I officially start to panic that I have nothing done. I may already be panicking. I may have never stopped panicking. Hard to say. I know I did no schoolwork until Sunday night. I know! Almost 48 hours without schoolwork! It was amazing. Not really. There’s been other stressful things going on that sucked up my brain and spat it out. But Sunday night, I realized I needed to get my act in gear in order to reach my goal of having everything that is possible to be done…DONE…by the time we start school again on the 30th. So I started grading. I did two assignments Sunday night, then three yesterday. I’m a third of the way through number 6 today so far, and when I’m done writing this, I’ll go finish that one. It’s one of the hard, thinky ones. I have one more of those to do for three classes, and then two hard, thinky, ARTY ones (this does not make it easier, let me tell you, I hate grading art assignments, IDK whether I’m being mean or too easy or WTF is going on) after that. Then some minor stuff and 17 thousand late assignments handed in by kids because I emailed their parents and told them they’d done NOTHING for weeks (my own fault. I should have kept my mouth shut and let them live with it, but no, I was a responsible teacher and tattled on them). Those will hurt. But OK. I’ll do it. Then planning is almost done for science for next week and (shhh, don’t tell anyone) not even started for art. Fuck me. I need an assist on that one. IT’S OK. I’LL FIGURE IT OUT.

So there we are. I’m working. My day job. That I currently am on vacation from. (From which that I am currently on vacation. Or something.) I have no choice. This is how we roll, 2020 school year, with a Fuck You here and a Fuck That there.

I have been dealing with Wonder Under. Sunday night, I finished tracing Wonder Under…

So technically, I think that’s 5 1/2 yards of Wonder Under. From what I can see. It took almost 17 hours to trace all that.

I was kinda slow. Oh well. Then I started cutting it out on Sunday night as well…

Kitten does not help. She just gets irritated that the boxes are in her way. Calli also does not help.

She wanted to be on the couch. Sometimes I let her, but Kitten was already there, so it just wasn’t going to go well. Monday night, she was on the other side.

I’ve only cut out a yard and a half, I think.

It doesn’t look like much.

More tonight. And the next night. And probably a few more nights. I need to clean the office/studio too, so when I’m ready to iron, I can. Because if I wait and try to do that once school is back in session, it won’t happen as quickly as I need it to.

The man and I are doing the Coast to Crest Challenge for 2020…we were going to do one of the longer hikes today, but we both needed to be in cell-phone range, so we chose the Lake Hodges section instead.

Neither of us had ever been here.

In general, this piece of the trail is pretty easy.

It would be really hot in summer though. There’s the dam…

And there were a lot of mountain bikers, which is annoying.

We only hiked about 4.5 miles…not bad for a Tuesday morning. Here’s the official photo so we can get the patch at the end of all this.

The man tested out his new hiking shirt. We both need better hiking hats. There was a cool telescope thing at the end. (Note, point it at the big yellow letters in the surrounding landscape.)

Not the most exciting hike in the world, but it was nice to be by water and see all the birds.

Three more to go. We will probably try to do another one on Friday? Maybe? Not sure.

Lots of work to do. School. Art: gonna finish trimming Wonder Under. Got some Thanksgiving cooking to do. Some yardwork. Housework. Cleaning. Fun stuff. I would like to do some drawing? I’ve got a few in my head. Put that on the calendar.

Everything Under the Sun

I try not to be the person who counts days from this to that, although I have a Countdown app that always has the holidays in it, the week off for Thanksgiving, three weeks for Winter Break (I know, lucky!), two weeks for Spring Break, eight weeks (unpaid those) for Summer. And then the trips…last year was the Arizona/Utah National Parks in Spring, a couple of winery trips (one right before everything shut down in March), a trip to Portland and another to Joshua Tree National Park. All good. But right now, the numbers in my head are how many days to the election? How many days I’ve been mostly stuck at home (it’s a lot, over 6 months, just like the rest of you)? And the big one, how many days until I can go back to school? It’ll be at least 365 more, I think. That’s the hard thing to contemplate. Up to now, I’ve had a teacher team to plan with, dealing with the same kids, the same schedules, the same curriculum. As of Monday, I have none of that. Or very little. I’ve felt incredibly isolated as it is, but this is throwing me. It’s OK…I’ll get through it. I’ll survive it. I have a job. I’m mostly competent at it. There’s too much right now and I’m so fucking sick of 15-hour days focused on school school school, but I will eventually either get a handle on that time suck or I will quit and copyedit full time while selling one loaf of sourdough bread a week, because that’s all I can manage to make. It’s hard to say how close I am to that moment. I’ll let you know.

So the artmaking is sporadic and I have to fight for that time and yesterday I was told I should be watching education-related videos WHILE I am making art, because that’s time I could spend on school stuff that I’m not. Eye-opening. And don’t think I haven’t considered it. But I’m already in a half state of crying on a daily basis, and I think that might push me over the edge.

This shit sucks, y’all.

And then I wake up this morning, not really sure what I’m teaching today. I’m sure it’s on a calendar or a post somewhere; I just didn’t review it yesterday like I usually do because I couldn’t. And I checked my email, and Bigger in the Outside was accepted into Excellence in Fibers VI

She’ll also be at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad after this weekend with two other pieces of mine. The Excellence in Fibers show was supposed to have a corresponding museum exhibit, but that’s postponed until we don’t know when…if ever. Like many things this year. I guess the acceptances motivate me to make more? They don’t actually at the moment. It’s more a matter of where to put my brain that ISN’T school. Making bread is just as useful a place. Maybe. I don’t know. I know I’m not getting any peace out of artmaking right now, but then, maybe I never did. It’s meditative, and maybe without it, I’d be jumping out the window and running as far and fast as I could. We just don’t know. Because I haven’t stopped making it.

The SJSA Remembrance block is still in progress…I traced it on Wonder Under a few nights ago…it only has 116 pieces, so it’s not horrendous. And then I started cutting them apart one night, Tuesday? And didn’t finish.

Last night was my now-biweekly stitching Zoom, so I quick cut the rest apart, and then after the Zoom call, started ironing them to fabric. It’s not ideal, because I still have the last 80 or so pieces from the COVID Daughter piece on my table, and it’s precariously on my ironing board, waiting for me to come back to it (I want to!), but I got about half the pieces ironed down to fabric.

I quit when I got to the flesh, because I knew I was tired and couldn’t handle it. And I also knew I needed to do schoolwork. Yes, I took a break from about 6-10 PM…and then went back to work. I did also make a trip to Home Depot for new roller blinds to block the AM sun from my work spot and to pick up and drop off stuff at school after hours. I saw two people and waved. That was all.

Anyway, I’ll finish ironing the pieces down sometime in the next 24 hours and then cut them out…I might actually do some of that during gaming tonight. It needs to be done by 10/3.

I’m still working on the clay vessel for the labyrinth…

If I do a little each night, it hardens enough by the next night to support the next few inches.

So after the Wonder Under was done last night, I pulled this out and got a few inches higher.

I’m not going to be able to go high enough to put a full torso in, but that’s OK. I was trying to fall asleep last night (ha! What a fucking joke) and my brain told me how to finish the top, wherever it is.

Here’s my fat cat odalisque.

I want to be more like her.

And the girlchild has been gone for almost three months now, but we are still finding remnants of her cooking experiments…

I obviously don’t clean anywhere near enough.

OK. It’s the Friday before everything switches again and I gain 40 students and two more preps and two more grade levels and minimal support from anywhere, whatever, and grades are due Sunday and I was grading last night at midnight, fuck this job and COVID and the stupid government for not doing its job and stupid people for not wearing masks and staying away from each other and I need to get some exercise this weekend, maybe even this afternoon, plus get everything under the sun done that needs to be done and maybe a little less of the crying stuff because I can’t see to type or grade shit when I’m doing that. Peace out y’all. It’ll be different in a few days.

Turning Worry Off Is Hard…

All my bad dreams feature me sitting in a place with a bunch of people I don’t know and suddenly coming to the realization that I forgot my mask and I am way too close to other people with no masks on, and then I wonder how long it will take us to get back to normal after all this…I mean those of us who are actually trying to follow the guidelines and not get other people sick. The alarm woke me up this morning out of a bad dream where I was sitting in a restaurant, shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers, no masks, and then I realized…

Thank you, alarm, for getting me out of that situation.

Back to school today…speaking of, I keep reading about back-to-school nights that schools are doing online and I hope my principal doesn’t ever see those posts. I’m hoping he’s so buried in trying to plan schedules for our school that he never thinks about it. In 2 1/2 weeks, we go hybrid and online. I keep online kids, no worries. I might just have multiple grades or multiple schools and no prep with my co-teacher. I don’t even have access to other grade levels in the program we’re in…or do I? I don’t know. I don’t have teacher manuals. I wonder if they’ll even give us those. Probably not. OK, well there’s 2 1/2 weeks before I have to worry about that. Actually, he said Friday. So then I can worry about it. Turning worry off is hard for me.

Yesterday, I ended up working almost all day, minus the hour and a half dealing with an incredibly inefficient UPS customer service center. If you’re only open 4 hours a day, maybe don’t send half your staff to lunch during those hours? Or make sure they’re covered? Yeah. No.

I tried to clean up grades, and then sent messages to all the kids (and their parents…I love our new communication system) about the big missing assignment. I think 4 responded by actually turning stuff in and one responded with OK and turned nothing in. It’s like this in real life too. No worries. I confirmed what we’re teaching this week…one week at a time! A short week even.

I went to Pilates and my body was so happy to stretch and work out properly, instead of the half-assed matt version I’ve been doing. It’s better than nothing, but not the best. I’m hoping the gyms can manage to stay open. Keep classes small and masked and clean. Please.

And best of all, I managed to get to the next step in the quiltmaking…I cut stuff out for about 2 1/2 hours…

I didn’t think I was that close to the bottom of the bin, but apparently I was…because then I was done.

And it was only 10:30 at night. Well, hell…let’s sort!

I got that all done in less than an hour, so now I’m ready to iron this together.

Fun stuff. But also, I got assigned a person for the SJSA Remembrance project (I sent in my info back in June, so of course I didn’t get it during the summer, when I had plenty of free time)…it’s OK. It won’t take long and it’s for a good cause. Plus the clay thing…so that’s two things that need to be done by the end of the month. Stop taking on new stuff! Yeah. I told me.

I wish the phone camera could deal with reds and magentas better…the morning’s sky.

Fire is still out there, but more under control and didn’t grow yesterday. All good. And the winds haven’t shown up here yet. We have all day to wait those out. Hopefully they’ll be absent. And my students will show up instead. Meanwhile, they’re doing construction with saws next door. I swear. My brain. Fuckers.

Yeah. That. A friend posted this last night…

She had me at “Help a raccoon…”.

OK, I’ve got work to do before school. Which means standing up from this computer and going to the other one. Turning the fan on because it’s muggy. Trying to figure out the stuff I can’t remember that I didn’t do from last night. Hoping I know what I’m doing for today. And who knows what tonight, because after school, I have a union meeting. More Zoom. All the time.

The Bottom of the Bin

Well the fire is still out there, although currently heading away from us and toward some of our favorite hiking spots and all the people who live out there. Scary. It’s over 17,000 acres right now, and the biggest worry is the winds that are supposed to pick up today. Wish the firefighters good weather conditions and a fire that wants to go out.

This was Sunday’s picture…

I think that was the last time we saw blue skies…

Weird orange/yellow light since then. Can’t smell the fire any more, but that might just be my nose getting used to it.

I’ve been working all weekend, very little down time. A big assignment was due Friday, so I’m grading those ASAP. Online is actually maybe a little easier for that. Then yesterday, on Labor Day, I went into school to secure all the new curriculum stuff that showed up. I had to shift some stuff around, brought home some books that are actually mine, and managed to shove 9 bins of stuff I can’t use until there’s a vaccine into the existing space. I moved a lot of textbooks around. I found the teacher’s editions for the new curriculum and brought them home. It was 3 exhausting hours that I usually do at the end of the year…and I was pretty sad about it. The thought of not being able to come back into my own room (and yeah, I know it’s not really mine) until there’s a vaccine is really depressing.

The rest of the teachers are required to be there today for the same thing, but I can’t be there today…because people won’t wear masks. Thanks to all the social media posts I saw over the weekend of people partying it up with people they don’t live with…means I can’t go back to school. I hate when people are so selfish that their attitude is that we high-risk peeps should just stay home so they can do whatever they want. Sigh. I really hope none of them get sick, but it won’t surprise me when they do.

Anyway, so I’m home, but I have 3 school-related meetings today, plus I did a good 5 hours yesterday between being at school and grading shit.

Bet the opposition isn’t running for teachers. Or labor unions. I don’t understand how fellow educators support that crazy orange man.

Damn, I have 11 minutes to finish this.

So cutting on Sunday night…

And Monday night…

The bottom of the bin is getting closer, but we’re still a ways out from finishing. Every night, at least an hour.

Calli’s foot is healed, so we’re back to our daily 4 throws of the pine cone.

So she can fetch it from the second step. She’s getting so old. I’m sad.

Ah, cats. Luna in a box.

Apparently they are right now waiting at the school computer for me to start the day. I have a routine? So do the cats?

OK, it’s a day where I don’t have to work as much, technically, because there are no kids. I work differently, I guess. I have grading to do. I need to take a quilt to UPS. I have Pilates today, in person, small group, all masked. My back and knees and shoulders need it. Hopefully the air quality will get better soon so I can hike again. And they can open the trails back up…between the heat and the fire, they’ve closed some chunks out there. And hopefully I’ll be cutting stuff out again tonight. Maybe I’ll even see the bottom of the bin.