Finally Color!

Well the studio is straightened. It’s not clean. It’s really never clean like most people think of clean. There’s just too much stuff in there for it ever to be clean. Most summers I do try to straighten up more than the ‘between-quilt’ straightening, where I just put fabric away and sometimes sweep the floor. I didn’t do that this summer. There’s still papers everywhere (sigh) and general chaos on the floor. It’s just overwhelming to deal with all of it. I’ve got some electrical and sprinkler issues I’m trying to get done before school starts. Those are my priorities. That and a chiropractor. I haven’t been since March 2020. Ugh. But I did put all the fabric away, got most of the cat fur off the blue drawer she’s been sleeping in all summer, cleared off the white table, and swept the floor. So it’s ready for the next quilt.

I finished cutting everything out by cutting all day Monday…I started with the 3 hours of training videos we have to do for school…

So I got through those, and then had a little bit left to cut out (and yes, I still know all the things about pest management, sexual harassment, mandated reporter, and bloodborne pathogens…the trainings don’t change a lot every year)…so I started watching all the Quilt National Artist videos. I got through 16 out of 55.

Cutting everything out took 10 1/2 hours. Then I sorted for another 45 minutes…

They’re in boxes by the 100s…

It makes it easier for me to find things. I lay out 100 pieces at a time and iron those to fabrics…although I say that, and last night, I was already bouncing between the first 100 and the second 100 pieces to find the ones I needed. Because this quilt is nuts…

Overlapping this and that which has to be a different color but only a little different. I hope it looks OK when it’s done. We’ll see.

I didn’t get very far last night…mostly I was cleaning. But it’s a step in the right direction. Remember, I need to be done (hopefully) ironing to fabric by next Tuesday. Actually Monday, so I can pull all the stuff out of the closet. Yikes. That sounds challenging, looking at my week. Sigh. Well. I will have to be more productive in the heat than I have been.

I drew for my Patreon…will be scanning it this morning and getting it posted.

It’s the last Patreon drawing I’m doing. You can still sign up, but it’s reward free! I had a request for a way to just subscribe and not expect anything, so I’ll try to set that up and close down the other tiers.

A bug was on the drawing and I tried to shoo it away and killed it by accident. So it smeared itself across the drawing.

Bugs just suck.

I put a couple things on Etsy the other day, these two hoops…

I have other things that need to go on there…these small pieces just need hanging hoops on them…

And better pictures…these are really dark…

Also, I got into some shows…Earth Matters at the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji, Minnesota, from September 3-October 30. This is Damaging Earth’s Fabric

And then one of my older pieces got into SAQA’s Intersect Chicago booth, which will be open November 4-7. This is Part-Time Oasis

All good news. I had a run of rejections, which is always frustrating. But that seems to happen and then I get into things, and it’s all good. So hopefully that will continue. I will be putting the three newest pieces into the gallery next, and then maybe remembering to update the exhibitions sections. Yeah. I should do that. Uh huh.

OK, I’ve still got errands today, but hoping to do a chunk of ironing as well. It’s still hot here, and the studio has not been getting any breeze. Ugh. This is the time of year when I consider moving the ironing stages into the swimming pool, although the combination of electric iron and water is probably not a good thing. Sigh. Not gonna think about school for a while. Although there are things that need planning. I’m just not ready for them. At some point that won’t matter, but for today, I’m going to try to ignore them and iron away!

Never Ready

This is my last full week of Summer Break. We go back next week. Never ready. I’m not ready to teach…our site hasn’t even picked a schedule yet for next year. We get that Friday. We can’t plan without a schedule, although I’m guessing which one I think will pass the vote (shorter periods…all the others are over 106 minutes per class, which is just crazy cuckoo). I’m not ready to be in an enclosed space with multiple people for a long period of time. I haven’t done that AT ALL in 18 months or so. Well, except the gym. But even that’s not all day. Doors open, windows open. I’ll get used to it. The block schedule also screws up my blood sugar until I get a routine going. Four hours with no bathroom and no food break…welcome to our world. Last year was easier…I could get to the bathroom in my house in a really short period of time. Not so much at school. Plus getting kids out of the classroom on Zoom is a single button click, which is much easier than in real life. Then thinking about art supply storage and how to move materials between science and art classes. That’s complicated.

Adjustments to life are gonna happen. I’m hoping that planning is easier than last year. Certainly my co-teacher and I can do the same things again, and I don’t have to make everything digital access. I think. With quarantines still happening, the district hasn’t really told us their solution for how to get those kids curriculum. I think they believe the science curriculum is an easy digital source, but it’s not. So much supplementation and creation of assignments had to happen last year. We’ll see how that rolls, but local schools have quarantined kids on the third day of school, so it’s not like we can wait a while to figure that plan out.

That said, this week is NOT school. I do need to think about some of it, but hopefully more art time than school time will be happening. I have an electrician coming next Tuesday to do a bunch of things I’ve put off for months, nay, years in some cases. One of them may involve attic access, which is in my office/studio. In the closet. Which is filled with fabric. To get access, I have to remove half the fabric and one of the shelves so they can even get up there. So that needs to happen before next Tuesday. I’m currently trimming Wonder Under. The next step is to iron all the Wonder Under to fabric. It would be much easier to have everything done and ironed before the electrician comes. See? Now I have a deadline. It’s totally arbitrary and I could adjust, but this is the one I’m following right now.

I started cutting out on Friday during the Quilt National talk, and then finished a second yard that night…then cut another yard out on Saturday night…

It doesn’t look much different. Sunday’s yard was one of the most complicated ones. It had all the trees in it, so fussy pointy pieces.

So that’s what four yards of trimmed Wonder Under looks like. I have two to go. Today. I have a talk I’m listening to this morning, and hopefully can start cutting the easier yard; then I’m going to try to get the other yard done before nighttime, so I can sort tonight and maybe clean the studio today as well. We’ll see how that goes. It’s been hot, and that often sucks energy away from doing the things. But I have a plan and that helps. I’ve been cutting for about 7 1/2 hours so far, but some yards are more time-intensive than others. I’m assuming 3-4 hours of cutting today.

The girlchild was home for about 10 days, but working every day. As always, she brings home clothes that need fixing. This one was a bit of a pain…needed darts and had a lining and all that.

But it turned out well. I hope. The others were slightly less time-consuming. Certainly she should learn how to hem her pants when she rips out the hems. She left last night on a red-eye for home…

Boston at 3:30 AM our time. Yes, I was awake. I don’t know why.

I volunteered again for the Social Justice Sewing Academy embroidery, and got this block on Friday…

I volunteered in June 2020, so it took a while to get to me…there are some embroidery suggestions provided by the artist as well. So I’ll get started on that once I have all the Wonder Under cut out. Emily Lang made this block, and says “My block is about Ableism, how society seems to attach value and love only to health, thinness, and ability.”

I also got the Olga Norris quilt finally. Her husband was kind enough to mail it to me from the UK, and we watched it wander all over the US before it got to me.

It’s beautiful work…I need to decide where (and how) to hang it. I have a couple of pieces that need homes on the walls.

We walked on Friday, not too far, just a couple of miles. Still aiming for flat.

It was hot and muggy. Walking is hard in this weather.

Calli is hanging in there. She still wants to chew on pinecones that she drops in the pool.

She needs a little help with it. But it’s hot, so the pool is probably good for her.

So I have a plan that might get thrown by the weather, but hopefully it will work. I won’t think about school. I lie. We have three hours of training videos (bloodborne pathogens, pest management, sexual harassment, mandated reporter, etc.) that have to be done before the end of September. I always try to get them done before school starts. I’ve done the three shorter ones so far today. I can do them while doing other things, luckily. Annoying to do them every year, but whatever. Looks like I need to go down to Visions Art Museum too and see the exhibits there. I’ll add that to the list…along with fixing the sprinklers. Maybe I’ll think about making a syllabus after that…surely that won’t take long. Ha! Art. Make the art.

Cutting Things Out…

I have been asked a few times why I don’t use a cutting machine for my quilts, so I don’t have to cut out all the pieces of Wonder Under or fabric. I recently read Kestral Michaud’s description in SAQA’s magazine of how she uses a Cricut machine to create her quilts. It’s funny, because people always tell me what I do is crazy and I think what she does is crazy (well, it’s all relative, isn’t it?). She claims her process is faster…and maybe it is, but it doesn’t SOUND like it to me. That said, I haven’t compared the two physically and she has. I think my method is easier for choosing a wider array of fabrics, since I’m not having to decide and move pieces around on a computer screen, grouping them together. Otherwise, what she does is fairly similar to what I do…just more tech-infused. Kudos to her for figuring that out…I’m not headed that way soon. I don’t spend a million hours cutting out pieces…the current quilt took about 8 hours to cut out 620 or so pieces of fabric, and other 5 hours to cut out the Wonder Under. Looking at her most current piece, it’s using about 20 different fabrics; my most current quilt used almost 100 different fabrics. My hands are sore after a bout of cutting, but not any more sore than say my abs are after a Pilates workout? I don’t usually cut them all out in one day either…realistically, I have a pretty demanding day job most of the time, so I have limited artmaking time, which means my hands get to rest in between cutting sessions.

Speaking of the most recent quilt, I did finish cutting all the pieces out Wednesday night…

Like I said, about 8 hours to cut them out…they are small and fussy in this quilt.

Then I sorted them last night…

Now I’m ready to start ironing everything together. That part will take a while…lots of little fussy pieces. I do enjoy the process though…this is the first time I will see everything come together, because I don’t color the drawing beforehand…the coloring is all in my head. So expect some pictures after this weekend of that part of the process.

I’m still trying to finish quilting this piece…

I scheduled time yesterday during a stitching Zoom, and then got the call to help move fridges at my parents’ house…so I did that instead. I did a tiny bit before I left, and that’s where I realized that I’d accidentally let the backing fabric fold under on the back…

Whoops. I thought about cutting out all the quilting, but no. It’s not worth it. Some of it will get trimmed off before I bind, and I’ll just put a label on the back that either covers it or explains it…or both.

I also did this…

That left a loop on the front…yes, I could wriggle the safety pin out, but ended up having to rip out the bit that wasn’t working. I’m not a perfectionist quilter, if that isn’t apparent so far. I do spend lots of time making my quilts, but there are lines I am not willing to cross…a level of crazy I don’t need to attain. I respect those who do…I’m just not one of you. And no, I have no idea how I sewed over this without noticing.

So most of it is quilted…I just have a bit, less than a quarter of the top right, that needs doing, and some little filler spaces. Maybe today?

The pup is doing better…he’s eating chicken and rice with broth (fancy stuff) and drank a little water yesterday unprompted, so we think he’s on the mend. Still worrisome, but hopefully will continue to improve. We may never get him to eat regular kibble again, but we’ll see.

In other art news, I have a piece in a show that opens tomorrow in Escondido at the California Center for the Arts…you can see the quilt hanging on the wall in the back.

The piece is Sediment and was in Visions years ago. It was one of the few ‘family friendly’ pieces I have, which was a venue requirement. This is an Allied Craftsman show and the ceramic pieces in the front are all by Linda Litteral. The opening is supposed to be August 26 in the evening; I’ll update you on that when it becomes official. It will be open all summer through August 29.

The man is home, off the trail for now. He’s going to get some medical help and then decide what’s next. He could hop back on and do another portion of the trail once he’s healed.

I drew this last night while hanging out with him, trying to remember bits and pieces of songs that were in his head while he hiked.

I also hiked yesterday, almost 6 miles in Torrey Pines State Reserve…

It was only cloudy and cool for a short part of the hike, unfortunately. The marine layer did not stick around long.

There was a cool breeze for a good chunk of it though.

We did walk along the beach down there as well.

And then came up the steps…

I hiked with actual people! One of the hiking groups I used to hike with all the time did this on Meetup, so it was easy…I didn’t have to plan it myself.

It was a nice small group. So I got my exercise in. I’m currently fighting a nasty bout of heat rash in the armpits though from all the hiking. I get this sort of thing about once or twice a year, usually in summer. I’m usually better about getting it to go away. I get all crazy about dry pits and avoiding my deoderant, which I’m a little allergic to, even though it’s hypoallergenic. At this point, I’m debating whether it’s gone fungal instead of just heat rash. Cortisone doesn’t seem to be working, and it was bad enough last night that I took Benadryl to sleep. It hurts, tingles painfully, no itching. You know how you debate contacting your doctor’s office? I’m at that point. Maybe. Fun stuff. So I’m tired from not enough sleep on top of everything else.

These three (there are three cats…can you see them all?) are adjusting to the bed being more full…

But they’re glad to have the man home.

Ah, plant identification. This is a parasitic plant of some sort. I don’t think I ever saw it when it was alive, but it was all draped around a twisty pine tree…

Not sure what it is…it’s out now. The berries have good staining power too. ID if you can?

OK, so a shower and more caffeine are on the list, and then hopefully I can finish quilting that piece and figure out what binding to use and whether I’ll need to shop for that. Then ironing the other piece together. Maybe a nap. I’m tired. More yardwork? Yeah. Probably that.

Up and Down and All Around

I’ve been up since too early (based on when I actually fell asleep) with a number of people texting me with worrisome (and not-so-worrisome) stuff, so I’m still yawning. Haven’t finished the first cup of tea yet…it’s just taking me forever to knock some things out and get them done, including drinking that first cup. Things are up and down and all around. We have a sick pup who might be turning it around, hopefully. He finally ate something this morning. Not sure if that means we’re done. But I’m hoping. We did walk him on Monday…

It was a tad warm and up, but we watered and shaded and rested him often, and he was off his food before that…he even got a lift over the stream…

He’s not a water dog. Anyway, we’ve been to the vet and have anti-nausea meds and he’s had some subcutaneous fluids…so it’s really about us finding the foods he wants to eat right now, I’m hoping, and not something more serious (aka expensive). I love how the animals always need major stuff during the part of the year when I don’t get paid. Seriously, though, we love this dog and he needs to be OK.

The man’s knee is proving to be a more difficult problem than we had hoped, so he is heading back to Kennedy Meadows and then back home, hopefully for some physical therapy. This is not a quit…it’s a reschedule, although probably until next year at this rate, and I know it will be difficult for him to be done with this attempt. So be kind, if you see him.

This was what I could see on the Garmin the other day…those are trees down from an old burn.

Looks really weird from this view. So he’ll be back sometime soon. I don’t think I’ll have to go get him this time, but we’ll see. He did 712 miles, though, which is kind of amazing (more than I could ever do)…only 1838 to do the next time.

I’ve been doing some quilting on the background of this quilt…

I usually do an all-over pattern, but I wasn’t in the mood for that, so I’ve been adding some additional designs. I’ve done that before on smaller pieces, but not on one this big. I think it’s because it’s a lighter-colored background, so it shows up more. I usually use a dark background and no one would ever see it except really up close. Anyway, it’s not a fast thing to do, so I’ll keep chugging along on it when I get time.

I’m also still cutting out pieces for the newest quilt…

This is about 6 hours in…

Not much left to do on it. Maybe done tonight? Then sort pieces and iron it together. Sounds easy.

I spent some time with teacher friends yesterday…it was a long year of very few interactions, so this was nice…

OK, lots of yardwork to do today, and hopefully some art later. Plus healthy dog and healthy man. All those would be good.

I’m fairly sure I’ve posted this before…

It’s missing a jacuzzi, but maybe that’s outside. Getting to work now. Plants are calling.

I Must Need Rest…

Well the man is heading back to the trail. I’m not driving him this time. I didn’t have another 8-hour drive in me yet. Yes, I will be meeting him in about two weeks…and it will be a long drive up and back, but not in one day. My hopeful plan is to go up, camp, hike up to meet him, and then hang out for a day and a half before driving him back to where he can get up to the trail. That’s the plan anyway…can’t actually schedule anything until he’s hiking and he’s made it to Kennedy Meadows and maybe Whitney. Too many variables. Honestly, camping will be impossible on the earlier end of our hike-time guesstimate, because of the 4th of July. It’s OK. We’ll figure it out. So he’s driving up to Ridgecrest today and getting a bus to the campground, and then he’ll start hiking early tomorrow to beat the heat. It’s cooler than it was last week, but still warm.

We had a last dinner out together for a while…

I shaved his head the next day…not the beard though. Definitely not the beard.

He’s completed 652 miles (approximately) of the PCT so far…only 1998 miles to go. Yeah. I know. Plus even to get to where I’m picking him up next for resupply is an 8+-mile hike off the trail. So more than that.

Meanwhile, I’m on Summer Break, which is mostly me being braindead and trying to finish things and falling asleep on the couch…

It’s a pretty rare occurrence during the rest of the year, so I’m just going with it. I’m exhausted. I must need rest. I also need exercise and to finish shit, though, so we’ll see how that goes.

I’m not the only sleepy animal…

Ever.

I am progressing on the newest quilt…this was Friday night…

There are lots of small pieces, but they go quickly…I finished cutting them out on Saturday night…

Just under 5 hours on that part. Then I sorted them last night…

After dinner with my parents for Father’s Day. Nice to have that.

Today, I’m hoping to clean up the studio, put all the fabric away, and start ironing the Wonder Under down. I like to try to keep my mind off the man leaving and the four months left before he comes back.

Gotta have stuff to do, books to read, food to eat, things to watch or listen to. It was nice having him home for 2 weeks, but he wasn’t mentally ready for that much time here…silly climate change causing big heat waves. Yeah. Not so silly. There’s another one coming in 10 days apparently.

OK. Tired. Seriously still tired. Maybe daily naps is a thing now.

This isn’t done. Started before dinner on Saturday…they brought the food really quickly.

Sometimes it takes two dinners out to finish a drawing…although I’m not sure when I will next be eating dinner out…

OK, so I’m going to make another cup of tea and do some cleaning, and then go run some errands. I need a new chandelier…not sure where I’m going to get that, but I need to get the electrician scheduled to fix, add, and replace some shit, then tomorrow I’m starting on the deck…fixing it up, plants to block the neighbors, both sound and view, and I’m still reading. Can’t stop doing that. Nonfiction break though, so that might be hard with this Summer Break mindset. We’ll see. Maybe it’s one chapter nonfiction, two fiction? Seems fair.

Considering Humanity…

So the positive from yesterday is that I finished cutting out all those tiny pieces and then sorted them, so if I have the energy and/or brain power tonight, I can start ironing this quilt together. I’m actually behind on my scheduling…this thing has a deadline, so I’ve got to get my act together. Hello, Day Job, back the fuck off my personal time, eh? Yeah, I know. Whatever. Only 20-some days left of that crap. My co-teacher and I have labeled the weeks with what we’re teaching. All that’s left is biodiversity, Gorongosa National Park, frogs, the stupid lame tobacco curriculum, and some weird last week when who the fuck knows what we’re doing because grades are done and that’s when we usually do awards ceremonies and field trips because everyone is completely checked out. Five weeks. Five weeks of daily minor nervous breakdowns and feeling overwhelmed and not wanting to turn the computer on or sit in that chair. Then I can crawl into my pillow fort with all the books and try to figure out how to reset my brain over the summer. The next quilt is already in my head, but I might need to pump out a smaller one or two before that (man, this year has sucked so far for quilt completion…my head’s not in it, there’s so little time).

Wednesday night…Nova has been inhabiting the couch and my lap more and more these days.

She is the more adventurous (and chill) of the two younger cats. Luna is more chicken, more tense, more likely to take off, although she’s been hanging out behind the computer while I teach lately. I suspect that is bird related. The window looks out at a wire where the birds like to sit, hence to better poop on our cars.

Wednesday night…damn…I really wanted to be done, but it was late and I’m trying to keep to an earlier bedtime, so I stopped.

That was only another 25 minutes of cutting though…because I finished last night, easily.

That’s 11 hours and 14 minutes of cutting you’re looking at. With the man gone, I am spending more time on art at night. I guess that’s a good thing. Pros and cons.

I had a stitching meeting on Zoom last night, which I appreciated, because my brain was not happy with me. It was a few hours of not remembering the ugh. Afterwards, I sorted all the pieces out, so I’m ready to iron tonight…

There’s actually not a ton of pieces in this quilt…only 890. I think the next one will have more. These are all the 500s…in the flesh.

If I can manage to get most of my planning for next week done today, I can iron for most of the day tomorrow. I have some errands and I need to hike, but otherwise, I have nothing going on.

I also traced and numbered some smaller pieces for Patreon rewards. I have these small hoops leftover from something that I can mount them in…I think.

So those need to get traced tonight too. I’ll do some as small quilts and some as embroidery I think. We’ll see.

The cats are sort of getting along. As always. Guess where I sit!?

The man is working his way toward Wrightwood today. There’s a fire up in the mountains causing some smoky haze. I miss him lots.

He’s still up in the mountains, but the desert comes next. Water shortages and heat and all. A bunch of people have hiked this section backwards, because it’s all up. He’s not…he’s getting himself ready for the Sierras (smart move). Still another two weeks before I can see him again…hoping that works out, because after that, it’s gonna be a while, until after school gets out.

OK, I’m tired and not in the mood to teach. Doesn’t really matter if you’re in the mood, though. I do know that being physically in the classroom helps. Being around the kids, even when they’re being annoying twits, it refuels a teacher. I spend so much time sitting in silence, typing in the chat, staring at black screens…it just sucks. Next year will be better. Also, I’m still paranoid about masking/not masking and going out in my neighborhood. I’m vaccinated, but I’m just not comfortable with the unvaxxed masses that are in my neighborhood. “So don’t go outside,” they say. Fuck you. Get your damn vaccine. Give a shit about the rest of humanity. Yes, please, send their rejected vaccines to India or any other country that’s short and needs them. There are consequences to all this, y’all. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. Thanks for vaccinating. Thanks for considering humanity.

In the Void…

I think my brain is completely done with this school year. The adulting part of it is dragging the rest along, bribing it with walks and time with a book to get the shit done that has to be done. I’m so antsy in my work chair, I just want to get up and run out the front door, leaving all the kids on Zoom, or make a pillow fort under the desk and crawl into it with a book…not sure some days that they’d even notice I’d left. It’s all frustrating and hard and some of that is my brain not working right at the moment, but some of it is just because I am so done. I’m tired of excuses, of trying to get what I need out of the district, of parents who complain and kids who lie. I tell myself to look for the amazing kids, remember the thankful parents, remember when the district was helpful (OK, that one is a lot harder to do, but they gave us some extra money this year, so I’m trying to be thankful). Then I go read my book again or iron some fabric or cut something out and try not to let my day job be so present in my head. Hard to do. Really hard right now. I’m frustrated by everything, and I realize it’s feeling overwhelmed and tired and not having the normal connections with the Man…we get some texting in each day, but it’s not the same as sitting on the couch together or eating dinner together and talking. The texts are delayed sometimes, so you’re not sure whether they saw the other text? Sometimes I’ll ask questions that don’t get answered, so I figure he didn’t see it, or he’s often really tired at the end of the day. Yesterday was a long, difficult day, and he ended up sleeping on a picnic table. So I got one “I’m camping” text and then a few complaints about where he was camping (because humans suck and leave their trash everywhere because we are assholes), and then he was going to bed. I don’t blame him…it just sucks to be in the void on the other end.

This is what I see at the end of every day…

where he’s been, where he’s at. He’s been moving further each day lately, doing 18-mile days instead of 10-mile days. It’s a good thing. I have a date I’m hoping he’ll be home, and he will have to mile up (not speed up…he can’t hike faster…he just needs to hike longer each day) to get back. Plus the snow will eventually happen in Washington, whether he’s done or not.

Anyway, I’m hoping to see him on Memorial Day weekend, probably north of Lancaster…then not until after school, and the drives get much longer…not something I could do on a weekend. Sigh. At some point, I won’t be able to do it at all without flying and renting a car, which probably won’t work with going back to school in August. Although, at the moment, I give very few fucks about my job (not true; I still work my ass off. It’s just easier to say fuck it and take a day off…or it would be, if I didn’t have to do 5 hours of prep to make it work)…so maybe in September, I’ll just take a bunch of days off to get up north. Who knows. Right now, it just sounds complicated and difficult. By then, it might feel necessary.

Anyway, I try to ignore my moody bitch side as much as possible (it’s hard; she’s loud), and make sure I do some art every night and some exercise as often as possible. So I’ve been cutting things out…FOREVER, it seems like. Not really. This was Monday night…

The pile on the bottom right still needed cutting out…it’s a lot still. But last night, I seem to have found the bottom of the box.

Bottom left…look! I mean, that’s still at least an hour or two of cutting, but I can see the bottom. Woo hoo! Then sort it and hopefully ironing together by the weekend. My brain will be happier if I can spend a good chunk of time on Saturday just ironing things together. Good meditative state. Hoping for that.

Here’s the current art project my kids are doing…well my rough mockup of an illuminated letter.

They’re being slow as hell and not listening to directions and questioning shit and it’s just been fun. FUN, I tell you. Not really. I mean, I would have loved this project in school, but it’s harder to do online. I can’t really help like I would in the physical classroom. Which reminds me, looks like I won’t have to teach distance at all next year, only in person. Fucking miracle. Although I might have to teach an elective. Art? IDK. There is already an art teacher, but now the principal knows I can teach this, so who knows what he’ll make me do.

Gotta be better than this year. I don’t think the absolute isolation of this year is something I ever want to repeat. It was all about keeping me healthy and alive, and I’m still really paranoid about the unmasked and unvaccinated and the virus in general…not sure how to rid myself of that anxiety. I know my coworkers are dealing with massive behavior issues in physical school. Me? I just get checked-out kids. Nothing new here.

One of the school computers I use died. It isn’t because of Luna…who likes to hide behind the one that works.

They all hide around the computers…

Hello Kitten.

Nova has been coming nightly for pets…

Both of them like to be right in your face, sharp little claws in the boobs or belly. I have a ton of scratch marks on my body right now.

Luna likes the top two shelves in the closet too.

Sunday or Monday, she knocked the roll of quilts that’s on the top shelf down onto the floor. Rode it all the way down. Silly cat.

Yesterday’s walk was better than last week’s…not sure if I was dehydrated or just exhausted.

Tiny little flowers…

Sometimes I run into the ex and the boychild walking one or two of the dogs. Calli is really slowing down and not moving well, so sometimes we just walk the little one.

That one’s not native…it’s my neighbor’s. I saw it at the plant store and almost bought one, because they are so amazingly wonderful…

We’ll see. They are fascinating though.

I’ll finish up with the boychild’s amazing bread from Monday night…

He’s a really good cook. Useful skill. We’ll make him cook for the grandparents next. I find it amusing that I raised two kids who taught themselves cooking skills. I’m a Food Is Fuel cook. Just get it done. Sure, that’s because I was working full time and making art and raising kids and just trying to get them fed. I appreciate their cooking skills though.

OK, work work worky work, with a union meeting after worky work. After that, I cook (not so fancy, but utilitarian), and then finish cutting those pieces out, hopefully. I have a ton of things to grade and prep for school, but I can’t do those until some of the grading is done, so that’s my goal for today. I had one academic assignment yesterday that was just hurting my brain, so I made it about 2/3s of the way through and quit. I need to unquit today and finish it off. I also need more tea. Like now.

I’m Back in the Saddle Again…

Aerosmith song running through my head this morning. Actually, yesterday, from about 1 pm on, this song was in my head, as I was trying to finish all the things (I didn’t finish, in case you were wondering. I can just about teach what I need to today, although I need to make one assignment and one video, maybe two, before school starts. At 9 AM.). I did manage to do almost no school on Saturday…Friday was a bit hit or miss. I had plans to get some posts done before school and then leave by 9 AM, but there was a Zoomergency (an emergency involving Zoom, not a zoo) and I spent that time trying to get my guest teacher access to my online classes. So has the right eye stopped twitching? It has not. It probably will not until June 18. I’m trying.

I drove over 3 hours, through traffic, construction, up a mountain road, and then up a dirt road…

2.3 miles, where the PCT crosses, I found the man. He was kinda dirty and a little smelly (actually not too bad, considering), and has lost a lot of weight.

We ate some food and checked into our AirBnb, which overlooked an airstrip (it was kinda cool watching the little planes land and take off). The place we ate had Marilyn Monroe in the bathroom…

Like you do.

He showered and started laundry and we just sort of hung out together, because it’s hard to have full conversations via text and even worse via Garmin, because there’s a time lag, and you’re never really sure what conversation you’re on when you get an answer sometimes. So we needed to catch up and clarify.

Our AirBnb had a nosy neighbor…

Yup. That’s a goat.

The man did some planning and spacing out and talking and I did some cutting out of the new art quilt…

Dinner on the first night included these…

OK, we didn’t actually eat those. But laughed at them. Saturday, we drove to all the places to try to find him food (four places for that) and pants that were smaller that might stay up (no success there). We didn’t go to the lake or do any touristy things. We pretty much hung out. Like back in the day when you first started dating. Just hang out on the couch and talk and watch videos.

And for me, cut more stuff out. The flesh is all done. I’m down in the Earth stuff, which is a lot of little pieces and will take a while.

We went to dinner early, so we could hang out (some more) in the jacuzzi, which had a tad too much chlorine in it…

OK, a shit-ton too much chlorine. But it was warm and nice.

And then the next morning, we got up really early and had breakfast and saw three bald eagles fly over us as we walked back to the house, and then drove up this damn dirt road again and saw three deer. He hasn’t seen larger wildlife…just heard it. Ironic that we saw those in the car. I’m sure he’ll see them in the future.

It’s pretty up here…

Some part of me would love to just drop my job and get the hell out of this house and follow, but I can’t. I’m glad he’s doing it, because although he has bad days, low moments, shitty stuff that happens, in general, he’s finding peace in his head and trying to figure out his future. All good things. All big things.

He was smiling just before this. I swear. I think he was feeling the weight of 5 dinners and 4 liters of water in his pack and thinking about that.

And then he took off up the path. Both of us were sad about that part, but that is a good chunk of this trip, missing each other. Not much we can do about that part but keep trying to meet up (not an easy task as he gets further away, for sure). We have tentative plans for 3 weeks from now, and then it will be after school gets out. I’ll have some more leeway then, but the drives get significantly longer.

See, that’s the PCT face…he’s looking good, looking happy, enjoying (for the most part) the trail…and the trip. After I dropped him off, he did 14.8 miles and ended up here.

It’s a good thing…a hard thing for both of us, but good.

Meanwhile, I have to catch up on work this week (ugh) and keep cutting out pieces (not so ugh). I’m still tired…went to bed early last night and still don’t feel rested. Not great.

The animals were glad to see me back, though, so that’s a thing. I laid on the floor with the cats and watched birds for a bit with them.

Yeah. I know. Weird. I like seeing things from their viewpoint sometimes though.

OK, buried in work today. My guest teacher did fine, except he marked everyone absent who was actuallyin class, so I’m trying to go through that mess. Hopefully making it to the art stuff tonight though. We’ll see. And missing the man. Sigh. There’s a lot of that going on.

Plain Old Hanging Out

I am taking today off work. It’s the first day I’ve taken off all school year, mostly because the thought of doing it was daunting; the prep alone made me want to build a pillow fort around my school computer and torch it. But I want to see the man, and today is the day he comes off trail, so I’m trying to get some school stuff done quickly this morning, and then I’m driving to Big Bear. Long drive. It’s OK. It’s funny; I was looking at where he might be in three weeks, and if it’s Agua Dulce, it’s a shorter drive than Big Bear. Huh. Weird shit that. Anyway. We’ll see if that works. For now, I know he’s about 6 1/2 miles away from where I can pick him up, and he’s already left, but is planning on napping at the pickup point until I get there. No pressure! I still need to make 7 more posts (of 21) for what my science kids are doing tomorrow, plus warmups, plus all the art posts, and I’m fairly sure I need at least one video for art, but that’s gonna have to wait until Sunday when I get back. Everything else will have to wait until next week. Try telling that to a bunch of middle schoolers and their parents: WAIT! Yeah. It goes down well. So probably all of that is the right eye twitching…it’s been coming and going all week. It hasn’t quite settled in to stay, so that’s a good thing.

In awesome news, a piece of mine has been traveling with the For the Love of Gaia exhibit organized by Luana Rubin. She’s been finding new venues, and it will now be at the Birmingham UK Festival of Quilts at the end of July and at the New England Quilt Museum from January through April of 2022 (another good reason to visit the girlchild). My piece You Pollute Me is traveling with the exhibit.

That’s good news…exciting.

In the meantime, I’m still progressing, albeit slowly, on the current quilt. I finished picking all the fabrics and ironing all the Wonder Under down on Wednesday night.

I will admit to staying up too late, which might have contributed to the eye twitch. Oh well.

It took just over 15 hours to choose fabrics for 890 pieces, and there are 133 fabrics in this quilt. Impressive. Could be worse.

And last night, I started cutting out the pieces.

I’m totally on track…this was my plan, to be able to take this with me to Big Bear and sit on a deck and cut shit out while watching the sky change and talking to the man. Hopefully I’ll finish this weekend, and I can start ironing this thing together. I say that as the Work Brain is politely (is it polite?) knocking at the door of my Day Off Brain and saying, “Um. I know you said you were taking the day off, but have you SEEN your to-do list? I mean…”.

Yeah. I’ve seen it. I’ve also read three books in the last week, because my brain is freaking out. One of them was the first Friendship to the Max volume of Lumberjanes. I’d heard of them. I think I even got this a long time ago as a gift, and never got around to reading it. It was awesome, so awesome that I ordered the other 5 and they’re on their way to me.

Yeah. Me too. Although my three are extremely needy at the moment. Every time I sit or lie anywhere, there’s all of a sudden a cat on my leg or chest, poking tiny claws into me, or headbutting my black shirt, so it’s covered in cat hair. They do reduce my stress with all their need of petting though, so that’s a good thing.

OK, I need to post things, finish packing things, and get in the car and drive. Hopefully there will be calm photos of trees and mountains and things in my future. Strangely, the man does not want to hike with me while we are up there (unfortunate…I need exercise), but we will manage some food and jacuzzi and just plain old hanging out.

Clearing the Brain…

Clearing my brain before the work week starts? Before I start the next stage of the newest quilt in progress? It seems a useful thing, like meditating before I go to bed. I know the meditation app wants me to meditate in the morning, but I’m not a morning person and can’t get my head around it. It’s better to clear everything out and calm it down before I try to sleep. Even that leaves too much floating around in there some nights.

I spent most of the weekend trying to get bits and pieces of things done. I finally planted the milkweed seeds the boychild gave me for my birthday.

There’s 5 different varieties. If they all sprout, we’ll have milkweed for miles…which will make these guys happy…

My current three milkweed plants are not particularly healthy…

But they have caterpillars anyway.

I went to some of the SAQA conference this weekend, well, maybe most of it…

I cut out all the Wonder Under for the newest quilt in the last three days, mostly while listening to the conference webinars.

I think that was what I got done on Friday night…

And the rest on Saturday. After the conference, I sorted all the pieces…

So they’re ready for ironing to fabrics.

This guy is still hiking…

Yeah. Well. I got a few words and images of him. One phone call so far, one FaceTime. At some point, when he gets up to the Big Bear area, I might be able to meet up with him. It will take him a while to get all the way across those mountains, so I have a better chance of meeting him. He just made it to Idyllwild this afternoon, so with my having to work tomorrow, that doesn’t work at all.

The loss of the daily personal connection is really hard. He’s been gone for trips before for work, even going to Europe, but never for this long. And the vast expanse of time ahead with his continuing to be gone? I can’t say I’m dealing well with it. There’s a lot of connection already missing from my life due to COVID and teaching from home.

Anyway, my solution yesterday to an increasingly low mood was to shop for fabric.

Just to be clear, I don’t need any more fabric. I have plenty. And this piece I’m working on now will use some recycled fabric and donated fabric, but I was in a bad mood and fabric makes me happier. So there we are.

This was my weekly cat photo on Instagram for the Man.

I don’t know if he misses his cats. They miss him. They like me, and certainly, they are all over the bed at night (if only they would curl up like this and not hog the bed).

Ah sisters.

OK, well this is just really my procrastination over cleaning the studio. I don’t feel like cleaning. I did vacuum yesterday. Look! It’s like I’m a housewife or something (something. I’m definitely something.). I did a bunch of schoolwork this weekend, just because I need to stay on top of it. Grades are due next weekend, and although I’m losing 16 kids to in-person instruction, that means their grades have to be done early. Stress me out much? Yeah. So clean up, be ready to iron tonight. I’ll meditate, and hopefully sleep a little better? I don’t know. This coming week is a little crazy. Hopefully not in a bad way. There’s only so much fabric in the world. I can’t (and shouldn’t) buy all of it.