Disappearing Fast…

So Summer Break is disappearing fast. Lost two days to a training that could be done in two hours…welcome to the inefficiencies of my day job. Seriously though…wish we could figure that crap out. I’m willing to be professionally developed when it’s actually useful. Not sure this 12 hours will be. That said, this week is still Not School and so is next week. Breathing in and appreciating that. This week, I need to get going on the next art quilt on the off chance I can finish before another deadline (probably not, but I’m going to try). I also need to get some home-related stuff done and I need to get that bed quilt done.

I think we’re at 16.5 hours (which includes about 5.5 hours of practice on muslin). We finally got it to behave appropriately for I think two whole rows, no, two and a half, and then the bobbin thread ran out and then the NEW tablet (mom bought a new one) crashed and then we had to try to restart from there (the app needs a solution for starting mid-row when it crashes) and then the thread broke, so the last row took 45 minutes instead of 11 and a half. Yeah.

But before that, we had weird divots in the stitch and then it would randomly decide to move up instead of staying in a straight line.

I wasn’t kidding when I said the machine was possessed. Inconsistent? Yeah that too. Could very well be user error.

I know with any machine I’m sewing with, I have to get used to it and then I know how to make it work, even if the manual says otherwise. So we’re not there. But we are halfway through the quilting! Mom wanted to rip the straight line, and I’m like NO, we aren’t ripping anything if we don’t have to.

And when I say halfway, I mean I will have to go back and do some filler quilting in between some of the rows (or parts of rows due to demon possession) that are too far apart. But I figure that will be quick. Unlike the rest of it. So probably three more sessions at mom’s? Hopefully? Done this week? I just don’t know. I’ve got a proofreading job coming in this week too, so I need to be home to work on that.

The newest quilt is at the photographer…I did get photos back of Desert Mother though…gotta get her on the website.

I’ve had such a hard time finishing work in the last two years. The day job is a hog.

Every year I say I will work on that, and then I get overwhelmed.

There are lots of super tiny animals in this piece…

Which take forever…

But I love that they’re in there. I also love that I made this totally nonpolitical quilt this year in between what will be more political things because the world is so fucked up at the moment. I know I needed a break after the abortion rights quilt. So this was it…

I feel bad for making nonpolitical quilts sometimes. Plus then people are all OMG that quilt is amazing why don’t you just make those instead of those other ones. Eyeroll. Because the artist brain does not work like that.

Anyway, so there she is.

I did start the drawing on the next one about two weeks ago, pulling from a drawing I did back in November 2021 and then starting to modify it. I had written notes somewhere on what else needed to go on it, but I have no clue where those are. Of course. But I stared at it for a while on Friday night, then went to sleep, and woke up Saturday morning with a goodly chunk of it back in my head, which I wrote down in TWO places…

So as soon as I can get my head out of the exhaustion rut it’s in (too many early morning wakeups for me lately), I will get going on that. Hopefully in about 20 minutes.

Also, I finally finished mounting the last of the pieces that need to go on Etsy…

Trying to get some of these smaller pieces sold and out of here. So now I need to find all the photos I’ve taken as I’ve finished them over the last month, gather all the sizing and pricing info, and post those. I’ll let y’all know when that’s done, but hopefully this week. I also had a plan to put some of my older art quilts on sale…will need to get my act together on that too. You can see how summer/free time gets eaten up, yeah?

We hiked Saturday, but just flat because the Man has a broken toe…slammed it into a chair…

Probably he shouldn’t have hiked because now it hurts more, so also probably I will be hiking alone for the next 5 weeks.

Nova asleep in the heat…

The bunny who keeps eating the flowers of my native plant…

A very confused caterpillar…I’m not sure where it went from the cactus (the milkweed was right next to it)…but I can’t find it anymore.

Ah well.

Want some owl videos?

Three babies…

Haven’t seen the parents for a while (would I know? I don’t know if I would know…but they sound different). One seems to hang out here all the time; the other two seem to range around a bit more. Hoping they find a nest and/or learn to stop yelling all the time (much like the neighbor children?) relatively soon. But I’m glad to add them and their mouse/rat-catching to my ecosystem here.

So today: draw more, Etsy some stuff, go have lunch and hang out with teacher friends without thinking about school, read my book? (it’s nonfiction, but there’s a mystery and I suspect old white men are the perpetrators). Shit. I need to start the crockpot for dinner. Ugh. OK. Better now than having to cook later, right? Yes ma’am. It’s still summer. I am still sort of free from stuff (ha!). Working on Zen.

Get My Hand Back…

I think the quilt is done. No wait, I want to ink some of it and one of the snakes needs tiny handstitched eyeballs. Almost done. Then to the photographer.

Where he will do a better job than my throw it over the couch photo. Not hard to do better than that.

In awesome-sauce news, my car is fixed and I only had to pay a little bit. The dealers have to get money somewhere apparently. Ugh. Gotta love warranty fixes, but also wish they never had to exist.

I’m currently trying to type this with a cat sitting on one hand and headbutting my opposite shoulder. Because she is a calico, if you are too forceful with her, she will whack the crap out of you.

Got her to settle by the monitor. Kitty love. Sometimes annoying, occasionally painful. So this other drawing for one of the multitude of shows I am supposed to be entering in the next three months or so, has been in my head for almost a month…I did a predraw of it while we were camping, so last night, I tried to go for it for real.

Not totally sold on this. Might start over tonight. If it’s been a long time since I’ve drawn, sometimes I need a few tries to get my hand back under control of my brain. Plus I’ve been exhausted at night. Yesterday I had to sub during my prep period, and I’m incapable of just letting the boys at the back talk and be on their phones, so I stood back there to make sure they did their silly assignment, then forgot to eat, then it was an issue, so I’m dealing with dropping blood sugar in my next class, which is right before lunch. Ugh. Felt like crap for the rest of the day. I need a normal schedule. Ironically, yesterday we had all our classes instead of a block schedule, so that WOULD be a normal schedule…but the loss of prep really threw me off. Stress really affects my blood sugar, but routine is the savior. And I haven’t had that. So three incidences of low blood sugar in a week? Need to work on that.

Last night was my monthly stitching meeting…we didn’t meet in April in person because of many things (I was out of town), so it was nice to see everyone. I’m still working on the Sue Spargo Chirp flower border.

I’m on the 5th type of flower. It took almost two hours just to backstitch and whipstitch around two of the flowers. I did the other two when we met on Zoom a few weeks ago. Super fast. Not. Getting closer to done though.

And I drew a bird on one friend’s book of cool papers that she’s collaging and decorating.

Curious what it will say.

Anyway. It’s Friday. Friday the 13th. The kids have a pretty basic assignment to do, but that’s no guarantee of easy for me. My last science class yesterday was trying, the one before it was missing 18 kids for part of class due to test makeups (I was down to 5 actual bodies in the classroom), I have a bunch of sex ed stuff to copy, but my co-teacher already did the penises (wait, there’s a second set of penises…maybe she did those too), and a ton of grading to do. As always. I have a busy weekend, but hopefully some parts of it will be relaxing. We’ll see. Right now, though, I really do need to stand up, finish this cup of tea and make another, take my morning meds, put shoes on, and become a functional adult with a job where I’m responsible for a bunch of teenagers and pre-teens. I don’t WANT to do any of these things (except the tea parts), but I need to.

I Just Want to Be in a Richard Scarry Book

My plan this weekend was to be super efficient and get the quilt binding on (I managed that sort of) and finish all the grading (oh fuck no, didn’t even come close) and just get my life in control in general (ha ha ha ha aha aha hsdfdsf;ah;g). I did come close to finishing my book. I went grocery shopping and did the laundry. I bought dog food so we won’t run out. I had dinner with my parents, especially my mom, because well I would have anyway, it’s been a while, but it was Mother’s Day, so it seemed more important, you know? There’s a lot I didn’t do. And it’s fine, things will get done eventually, but there’s a lot of crazy going on with my car (because I need more massive expenses this year) and the Man (oh my) and school (nothing new there, it’s just a shitty couple of years).

I did finish quilting…

On Friday night, I finished all the outlining and barely started the border stitching.

Then I finished the borders on Saturday afternoon and trimmed it Saturday night…

Then last night, I put the borders and sleeves on; they still need handstitching. I can handle that. And I’ll probably do some inking, plus I think the snake needs handstitched eyeballs. Because they were gonna be too small to do in fabric. So no rush on that. I missed the deadline for this show by a good two weeks. No worries. She’ll go somewhere. The next one is mostly drawn in my head, so that’ll be good.

I did go to my quilt guild meeting and worked on this sashiko scarf for a bit…

It’s gonna take me a million years to finish this. Also, I don’t know how to stitch in even semi-straight lines. It’s just not in my vocabulary. I started with them and then devolved into whatever direction I felt like.

Kind of a metaphor for life.

What else is going on? Besides my car transmission? Damn car has less than 49,000 miles on it. I’m pissed. Sigh.

I planted freesias this year. I really like freesias.

You know who else likes freesias? Bunnies. Why am I feeding the bunnies? Probably so the barn owls in my owl box have food. Cycle of life that starts with my freesias. I think this is the one bloom that they allowed. Everything else chomped. Fuckers. Stupid cute dumb little fluffballs.

Found this in my classroom on Friday.

Usually it’s cockroaches. I kill those. The occasional spider. Depends on the size and location as to whether I kill them. This? I set her free outside on a lovely plant. Hopefully she survived the student incursions.

This was on my driveway. Not moving.

Suspect death. Cheery. Also beautiful. Hope the eggs got laid before this.

Walked the dog on Friday after school.

Boychild set a deadly pace. Both of us spent all day in a classroom, but he has considerably more energy than I do after that.

My Mother’s Day gift from the girlchild.

Apparently it’s named after me, but they spelled it wrong. It’s an air plant, so it will be really hard for me to kill it. Good plan, girlchild.

These two ducks somehow managed to cross four lanes, very slowly, as cars pulled up and avoided them. The male seemed to fall and/or lie down at one point.

They are not long for this world.

This was the man Friday or Saturday morning. Can’t remember which.

He’s been having a really hard time at his job. I’m going to say it’s a people thing. There might be a resolution to it today. Probably. But he needed a break, so he hiked out a few miles and slept away from ‘home’. I’m wishing him luck today. I’ve been wishing him luck every day for a week though.

Fuck me on this. Seriously. Leave the uteri alone.

I have no faith in the Supreme Court right now. No faith in my country. No faith in my government. It’s been such a clusterfuck. It’s continuing to be a clusterfuck.

I would love to do this.

I mean, I don’t need to have a pillow fight. I just want to be in a Richard Scarry book. But a non-sexist one, because he had some issues with that. Sign of the times? Yeah but you don’t have to be that.

OK, survive school (they have to work in groups, so that should be interesting). Do all the things after school. Finish grades. Ugh. That’s the hard part. Finish my book? Probably not tonight. But soon. Sleep again. Because I failed that task last night. Second chance!

Crumple. Disintegrate. Topple.

It’s been teacher appreciation week. I think. I haven’t really noticed. Seriously. And that’s fine. I don’t need cutesy shit for being a teacher. A wage that is appropriate to my education, experience, professional status, credentials, and HOURS WORKED would be lovely. Let’s work on that. THAT would be appreciation.

It’s also Friday. THANK THE UNION FOR THAT. Seriously. I don’t have another day in me. I might not even have today in me. We’ll see. It’s been rough. Next week is the first for state testing since 2019…fun stuff. Yesterday was the parent info meeting for sex ed (not bad, but stressful every single time). Grades are due TUESDAY. It’s fine. My co-teacher is on a plane coming back! OMG! I might cry over that. Dealing with subs and kid issues and the kid on a contract and the random kid dancing on a table who is joining my prep period because he can’t behave. Yeah. I’m done. Am I still wearing a mask at school? Fuck Yes. I don’t want to be out for 10 days during frog dissections or sex ed. Can’t even plan for that level of crazy.

Meanwhile, I have overlapping quilt stuff this weekend, plus I’m going to need binding for this quilt…which is a good problem to have. I’m almost done with the detailed part of it…haven’t had much time at night because I’ve been grading shit. But I finished the left side of the arm and head…

And then last night, I did the face and the right side of the arm/head.

All that’s left is the sky, and it’s mostly swoopy long lines that are easy to quilt, and then the tiny bit of outside border that won’t take long at all. The plan is to finish quilting tonight, buy binding tomorrow (because the quilt store STILL isn’t open late enough for me to go during the week after work), and get this thing done. Start the next one. Got deadlines. Got ideas. Need this to balance out (ha!) the insanity of work. 29 days of school left. The crazy is mounting up.

The man sent this cloud picture last night…

There’s nothing else up there but sky.

Nova is in need of pets…

I understand, Nova. Totally.

OK, it’s on. Make all the kids finish all the things (oh yeah, that’s funny). Grade all the things (also funny). Do NOT lose your mind (hilarious). Come home, collapse for a bit, walk the dog, eat leftovers with the boychild (well not really WITH the boychild), finish grades and quilting and what’s another word for collapse? Crumple. Disintegrate. Topple into bed to sleep hard until I have to be up kinda early. Got it.

It’ll Never Happen…

In a previous relationship, I suggested that the Republican right was out to get women, and I was told no, I’m wrong, it’ll never happen. Hmmm. Gaslight much? I’m frustrated with my country. I’m frustrated with the inequalities. I’m frustrated with the need for control over uteri and what they do. For fuck’s sake people, I HAVE one of them and it does not listen to me. Also why aren’t the sperm part of this lockdown on rights? Y’all waste so many of them. I feel like that’s an issue.

All joking aside, we can propose vasectomies for boys, education for boys, laws against men, OR we can just give everyone the right to choose what is right for them. Free will…it’s what’s for dinner. And what does it mean that I’m sitting here wondering what they don’t want us to see or notice that these documents were leaked? What ELSE is going on? What are they trying to distract us from? It’s sad to me that what I used to think of as the highest court in the country has been downgraded to a political puppet. It’s not about laws or rights…it’s about control. I’m not sure those proposing all these changes have any sort of long-term memory. It’s been like this before…and maybe they should read some dystopian novels…when you try to hold the people down, they will revolt.

I guess more quilts are in the works. It’s interesting…I did just finish the abortion rights quilt in January (see it at Visions Art Museum in October!). It was hard to make. Hard to draw. Hard to work on. Emotional. And I’m glad to have never had to have an abortion, never needed to make that decision, but I know women who have. And I’m glad they had the choice. So the quilt I’m working on now was supposed to be lighter, give my mind a break. But now I feel bad for working on a “light” quilt, one with no political or social message. (Rolls eyes at self). Well there are tons of deadlines coming up. Guess they will all be about wars…wars with tanks, wars on the body, wars on women…wait, no, wars on everyone who is not a rich white male. Wars on gender, sexuality, race, color, poverty. We have learned nothing. And damn, those pink hats aren’t gonna do it this time. I need Thor and his hammer or some equivalent.

Sigh. Meanwhile, I teach. It’s hard. Their attention is nil. It’s a fight with some classes. Pay attention! Listen! Get on task! Wake up! Heads up! Stop yelling out! Some days I feel like I’ve been in boxing matches all day.

The meditative quilting at the end of every day is a plus. It’s a relief. It’s a joy, even though it’s tiny and fussy and scrunched up.

A leaf-nosed bat…

It’s a slow process…Monday night, I did the rest of the torso, one of the pupfish on her breast, the bat, all of the plants on the bottom right, and a little bit of the sky.

That was a little over an hour, I think. Then last night, I did the rest of the plants, the quail, the other pupfish, the heart and lungs and other breast, and a bit more of the sky.

So tonight, I should be able to work on the arms and/or the head. It’s getting closer to being done. I’m going to need binding fabric. More importantly, I need to draw the next one. It was a rough draft in my brain. Sleeping last night made it much more clear. Also Roe v Wade made it more clear. And dumb people made it more clear. Controlling people. People who say I’m imagining a war on the uterus. Whatever. I roll my eyes at you.

Another thing I did last night was spend an hour plus on the phone with the Man, who I hadn’t talked to since I left him at Kennedy Meadows. We text, but it’s hard to keep a coherent conversation going between his work and mine, and his lack of Wifi at night. It was nice to hear him talk. It’s still 3 1/2 weeks until I see him.

After that, I did some plant reconnaissance…had two succulents I’d cut off a huge plant that I’m trying to establish elsewhere in the yard, and in doing that, I noticed some new flowers…this one has never flowered…

And I thought I’d killed this one…

I get two succulents mailed to me each month. It’s one of the things I started in quarantine to make me happy, and it continues to do so. I keep most of them alive. I have no idea what that offshoot is gonna look like, but I’m looking forward to checking it out.

And this one came from the ex’s house, fell off a rock. I didn’t know it flowered…and so BIG.

I need to transplant some of it back to his rock.

Meditations with cats…

Really, just this cat.

Oh and here are some Nida oldies…I don’t even remember painting this one for my cousin and her husband…

My cousin died in 2020 (not COVID) and this just showed back up at my house. Huh. Not sure what to do with it. This is circa 1987, in case you didn’t think I always did weird bodies. I did.

And this is high school…another gift…this to my great uncle.

I loved Vanity Fair magazine and would draw the models with my own take on it. I guess you can see the beginnings of my style peeking out here. Certainly I was looking at shadows and blocks of dark and light before I ever started working in fabric.

OK. Job calls. Car is still in the shop. Not sure what’s wrong with it. Work was hard yesterday. I’m hoping it’s less hard today. Ha! What a joke. I’m hoping I get to keep my prep period…I need it. Grades are due next week. I’m hoping for an easy, cheap car fix. Ha! OK. Work. Go.

Brain Back…

OK, Wednesday evening I finally got my brain back. Serious fog up until then. I’m not saying things have been easier, but certainly thinking has been easier. School is a dumpster fire at the moment, although I hammered stuff yesterday and managed to slog through part of the assignments. More slogging today. Because holy crap, how can I possibly expect the kids to work? It’s so close to summer! (rolls eyes). Also, to the mom who called because her kid texted her that I wouldn’t let her go to the bathroom, please tell me…would you rather that I make sure your kid hears the instructions, is on task, and is completing her work without wasting time? Or would you rather she gets to go to the bathroom whenever she wants? Because I can’t do both. Seems like the latter. Good luck with her grade then…that’s on you. Don’t email me about what she’s missing. You can figure that out on the grade program.

I’m so glad it’s Friday. I don’t have enough saved-up energy to deal with some of the things that are being thrown at me. Most of us don’t. I’m just trying to get prepped for next week, get caught up on grades (ha!), and get the stuff done that needs to be done. That’s it. Then come home and maybe walk the dog. Seems like a good day for it.

Wednesday night, I finally got the quilt pinbasted. I had to piece the backing and wash the batting…

She’s not even that big.

But there are lots of details that need line quilting to bring them out.

It won’t be fast…

But I will enjoy doing it.

Last night, I got all the way around the outside…

And then quilted a hare…

And a few flowers. That’s 45 minutes of work right there. So I’m gonna be here a while. I’m OK with that. I need to start drawing the next quilt though…deadlines. So many of them now that things are opening back up…which is good, but stressful with my workload.

Last night, I got 2 hours of stitching with friends.

In 2 hours, I stitched a whipped backstitch around two of these flowers. Two. That’s it. I’m slow. It’s also the second night this week I’ve eaten dinner at 9 PM. No one around to help cook on Tuesday and Thursday. Ah well.

I’m virtually attending this year’s SAQA conference and they offered a fish instead of a swag bag. I totally went for the fish.

Love this happy fluffy thing…from Goatfeathers Studio. They look like fun.

I’m back to meditating every night with an app and a cat instead of my sketchbook…

Can’t say the cat is particularly helpful, but at least last night, she wasn’t trying to sit on my face. The other cat is currently trying to headbutt my shoulder while I’m typing. Not a fan. Apparently I haven’t petted her enough today. WTF.

OK. I have to go to work. I need to get everything done that I can so I don’t have to bring it ALL home (grade file for progress reports opens next week). At least I get two days off to decompress a little, walk some, hike some, sleep some, quilt some. Maybe write more about our trip, because I don’t have time to do it now. Going to appreciate that…plus SAQA conference stuff tomorrow…wish more of the stuff during the week was late enough for me to see in real time, but that’s not a thing apparently. Ah well…

Booster Brain

My plan was to catch up on blogwriting on Saturday/Sunday, but I got my second COVID booster and ended up with booster brain. Fell asleep for a while. Also went to a meeting, which was 5+ hours, so that was some of it. I’ll get there. Just not probably today, since I go back to school and I’ve probably forgotten all the things. Certainly the dog has forgotten our morning routine. I’ve had to chase him down a few times to get him to come back, stop wandering off, get in the house.

I’m incredibly unready to go back. I’m still exhausted…camping does not lend to easy sleep for me. I did appreciate the time when all I could do was draw, hike, read, or stitch. But, and I knew this would happen, I have come back to all the things I haven’t done, plus a car issue on top of all that. Deep breaths. Count the days of school that are left. Don’t panic.

One of the things I did on the trip was finish the last two of Sue Spargo’s March Homegrown blocks…one of them has a rewrite on the part of my life…

Funny that almost exactly a year ago, I posted the four blocks from April that had all been appliqued down, ready for the embroidery. I don’t do these fast, y’all. I did finish the first block from April as well…it’ll show up in one of the blogposts, once I finish resizing all the photos.

I finally managed to sit down at the sewing machine for stitchdown. I had this idea that Friday before I flew to Boston I would be stitching, and probably Thursday as well, and then when I got home on Monday after, I’d spend time then stitching, maybe finishing on Tuesday as we packed and shopped for camping. None of that happened. The deadline for the show I was making this for will pass without it being finished, which is fine. It’s still a worthy quilt and will find a home somewhere in some show. So Saturday night, I finally got my brain where it needed to be and sat down at the machine…

About 2 hours in, the free motion foot broke. This is the second one I’ve broken. Understand that in the previous 10 years of quilting with this foot on my old machine, I think I broke one. I’ve now broken two in 5 months. Two quilts. So I googled it, and yes, this foot is an issue. So I tried one of the other free motion feet…

It works, but even though it’s see-through, I’m having a hard time seeing where I’m going if I’m going backwards. So it’s been a pain, but I’m doing it. I also ordered about 4 different feet that should work in my machine, plus 2 of the foot that breaks, because it’s a design fault…and it’s still easier than trying to use this other one. Frustrating though. Something the new machine does causes breakage? Yes, it’s installed correctly. It’s just a weak point in the foot. Anyway, I’ve done all of the body and below the head…just need to finish the sky tonight, then piece a backing and pinbaste it. Not sure I’ll get all that done tonight, but we’ll see.

I need to grade about a million things too. Trying not to think too hard about that. I took a pile with me to the meeting yesterday, but was so spaced out from the booster that I couldn’t even look at them. Not sure I can today either. The spaciness is gone…the mindset of ‘can’t deal’ is not.

I did a lot of reading over the last two weeks…this is from Kingdoms, which I haven’t finished yet, but had a lovely description of women in history.

“Expensive cows.” Yup. Interesting book. I read a lot more when the Man is gone…read through dinner and every other meal (OK, I always read through every other meal, except at work).

The cats miss him. Apparently they missed me too. I interrupted this clandestine meeting of sisters last night.

I believe it was about geckos on the windows. Can’t be sure though. They might be planning a coup.

OK, going to work. Going to be efficient and not cloudy brained. When I can leave (after being forced to watch a staff v student basketball game outside, wait, where’s the sunscreen?), I will come home and see what I am capable of…blogging? Stitchdown? Nap on the couch? Grading? In that order. Thirty-eight days of school left.


There is currently a cat head under my elbow. I’m not sure why. Kitten needs lots of attention these days. Usually she jumps up on the table, puts her butt in front of me for a second, and then moves on to the nice sleeping place behind the fabric. Today I get cat headbutts…she has now moved to the table and is headbutting my chin as I type. OK. Now she just bit me. Because I was petting her wrong. Sigh. Calicoes. They are cantankerous.

This weekend. Pro: finished a bunch of shit. Con: didn’t finish all of it. My quilt guild had their first in-person birthday…our first meeting was supposed to be in April of 2020. So it was our 2-year birthday when we finally had a party…

We did a little printing project, which was cool…

Also, on Saturday, I delivered two quilts that will be in the California Fibers’ show Inside Out that is opening at Visions Art Museum on April 16. I went to my guild meeting. I came home and mopped floors and did some other stuff, then went to another art meeting, came back, and hiked 3 miles.

The hike was good. The meetings were good. It was weird to see so many people in such a small space for the second meeting. So many unmasked people in a small space. And a few of the people who didn’t come emailed about testing positive. I’m getting on a plane this Friday…I don’t want to get sick before then…so I’m still one of the few teachers at school who is wearing a mask. Plus I saw my parents last night…sigh.

In quilt news, I got a little ironing in on Friday night…

More sky, a rocket ship, the stuff around the face.

Then Saturday night, I did the rest…

Got the face done…the hawk…

And the rest of the sky. Then last night, I pieced a background and ironed it all down…

I need to do a little more steaming before I do stitchdown, but that’s 22 hours of ironing there. As my dad said, it’s pretty colorful. I wasn’t expecting that, but the sky really had an effect on the piece. Yes it’s weird that I don’t really know what it looks like until I get to the end…and even now, all the outlining that will happen when I quilt it will change it again.

So revising my goals on this thing once again…get the stitchdown done this week and get it sandwiched and pinbasted before I leave for Boston (that’s 4 nights I have…ha! Oh my). Then I am home for exactly two days, if I’m lucky, before the end of Spring Break. Can I finish it before the deadline? I don’t know. Probably not? But I’ll try. I’ll finish it anyway, and it will go somewhere…but this school year is still kicking my butt. I’ll be glad to have a break next week. Some reading, some hiking, some stitching, some change of scenery. All good.

What an Hour Looks Like…

I’m constantly thinking in blocks of time. An hour for this, an hour for that. An hour looks like this…no wait, that was half an hour…

For one Joshua tree. An hour is the two of them…

Actually, I think it was only 45 minutes on Monday night…and I can’t remember if I’d already done the little bushes (creosote? no…something else) on her arm…

I think that was also Monday night. If it wasn’t clear by now, I decided to fill in the entire torso before moving up into the sky. So my numbering was not ideal. It’s OK. I’m working with it.

Last night, I got well into the 1100s…this is a little over an hour of cactus…

Lots of greens, lots of bits and pieces. Looks like tonight is more agave, lots more agave, and a lizard. Then I’ll need to pull all of this off the teflon sheets and reattach it so I can iron the top together. I’m getting there…much slower than I wanted to, but it will all be OK in the end. Eight more days of school until Spring Break, although I will have very little time to work on this over break. I rarely miss deadlines I choose (I sometimes miss them because I forget about them), but this might well be one of them.

When I go to the gym, this guy is there, sleeping in the parking lot.

I’m not sure why. He has a chair, nice hat and jacket ensemble. Cooler for his feet? I think? I wonder if his kid is practicing baseball on the field behind my car. Why not park closer? Why not sleep in your car? Not sure I understand. Maybe that’s not his car? I have questions.

I also think of this as The Panicking…but The Fuckening sounds better.

And this guy…he is apparently 7 years old.

I think of him as permanently The Puppy. Like Kitten…she is 13 and is going to the vet today for an ultrasound. I am worried about it; plus it costs a lot of money. I’m short money right now, but it will be on the next credit card bill, so I will just hope there is magical money by then. She is currently headbutting me because I didn’t feed her breakfast, per doc instructions. I’ve explained it to her, as you do, and she just does not understand. But she gets lots of pets instead.

So labs today…and a lost prep period (so many meetings). Plus shipping something, picking up the cat, exercise class. Then back to ironing. Another hour? I have other computer/art things I need to do tonight, so I can’t commit to more than an hour, unfortunately. We’ll see. If I’m not exhausted when I get home (I will be), maybe I will be more efficient (unlikely, but let’s not give up on that notion yet). Certainly I can finish the agave and that lizard tonight at least. Maybe more. One more hour’s worth.

Couldn’t Find the Fingernails…

After a million years of teaching (and being me), I’ve tracked down the tells that I am stressed, besides yelling out “I am stressed” in the car or the house, which I do often, unfortunately. My body clues me in by refusing to fall asleep even when exhausted, but making my eyelids twitch (haven’t hit that one yet, knock on wood), the inevitable teeth grinding (started in college; froze my jaw in Freshman year), and the random canker sores. I only get them when I’m stressed out. And they last a week and are quite uncomfortable, despite medications. I guess other people get stomach issues; is this better? I don’t know. I tend toward frustrated mutterings to myself that YES, I KNOW I’m stressed. I up the exercise and the artmaking and reading, trying to make it better, but really, I just need a break from school usually. The symptoms of stress do tend to show up before breaks, so that’s a thing. In this case, though (lack-of-sleep exhausted and canker-sored), I need to get through two whole weeks before I get a break.

The plus is that I finally finished my taxes. I had to add the art sales in as a separate thing, so that complicated shit this year. Normally I don’t, but I’m no longer head of household for the boychild (he’s too old! and employed), so I need to find tax breaks for the extra income. It’s not a lot, but I can’t afford to pay any taxes this year with the septic and all. I managed to mostly balance the state and federal taxes…hopefully the state will pay me in time to pay the feds. Perhaps the feds could take less of my money too…so many deductions they are no longer allowing. I guess the middle class and those with super tiny businesses on the side are not the blessed ones…haven’t been for a while. I hope the financially challenged are getting the breaks instead of me. But now that I know I need to keep track of that side business (as well as the copyediting one), I’ll be better about keeping track of deductions. It’s not a bad thing to have extra money coming in…I’d just like to not have to spend it all on emergency repairs and taxes.

I still have a couple semi-urgent things to get through this week, and next weekend is a cluster…how to be in ALL the places at once. And then I fly to Boston to see the girlchild. And then camping and hiking with the man. Need the break. Need time to think and sleep and read and draw. Need a day where I’m not focused on how much work I can get done before the next batch shows up. The power went out Saturday morning for a couple of hours, but the outage map was claiming all day, and I freaked out…so much to do and almost all of it required electricity and access to my desktop computer. It turned out OK, and I got some ironing and hiking in, so that was good.

Friday night’s ironing of an arm and some plants…

I couldn’t find the fingernails until I went through the trash pile (reasons why I don’t throw it out until the quilt is done…I often drop things in it that need to be cut out because I am not paying attention)…

Whoops. I also found the bush parts missing from the first 100 pieces (too late; already recut them) and another part I needed. Who knows what else is hiding in there?

Saturday afternoon, after grading a bunch and panicking a lot, I did a few more plants…

And then went on a 4-mile hike…a hike I needed.

Lots of tiny wildflowers about…

No poppies yet…usually they cover the hillsides…not enough water yet or still too cold.

Yes, some of the stones are under water…

I managed it without getting my socks wet…all good.

And then came back, made dinner, and ironed some more plants…

Oh yeah, and a bat. That got me into the 800s, or almost done with them. I still have half the 400s to do once I get back to the sky.

Last night, I only had a little time, just under 45 minutes, so I did some pupfish…

Barely into the 900s now. I keep revising my completion date. Definitely gonna be tight. If at all…ah well, deadlines are just a place at which to aim. If I miss it, I’ll enter it elsewhere.

But my plan this week is to finish ironing (that was last week’s plan) and stitchdown. Ha! That should be interesting. Saturday is already gone. Sunday is half gone. It’s fine. Everything is fine.

This week is three days of labs in a row plus starting a new art project while harassing kids to finish the two they already have. Plus grading all the things and trying not to stress more about school and money. Property taxes are also coming up. Pretty sure I can pay those once I get paid. Need to write a script for a lightning talk (plus record that…dunno when that’s happening). Need to find quilts to deliver for a show. Need to enter two things. Need to do some cleaning. Some grading. Yeah. All the things. Need to do some meditation in between all that. Wish me luck.