Thread Change, Foot Change…

Well the news is good and my brain is fuzz. Not that the brain is fuzz is anything new, right?

Girlchild got a negative test result, so we all rejoiced and she ate toast and sat outside (this is a thing if you are stuck in your room) and then booked her a new flight to Boston at holy fuck in the morning tomorrow.

These were flight faces. Because American and United Airlines are dumbfucks who just got rid of social distancing. And our original carrier, JetBlue, had no cheap flights left, so it’s Delta…which is social distancing, thank you, Delta. She’ll have to self-quarantine for two weeks when she gets back, but so will half her apartment, so I don’t know what that looks like when there’s no food and someone didn’t clean the bathroom for three months.

So my brain has been fuzz. I wanted to finish piecing these blocks for my quilt guild before I did the stitch down on the big quilt, because once it’s on the machine, it’s a pain to switch back to normal stitching. Thread change, foot change, pain in the butt change. So on Tuesday night, I pieced some things…

I used the same templates but switched where I put the sections in color and the sections in black and white. I also added some brighter yellow (it’s the same fabric…just a different section of it)…

Because the other one didn’t seem bright enough. That got me to 18 blocks.

Then yesterday, I had an online union info meeting for an hour and a half, so I pieced 2 more…

A brighter blue this time…

Ah yeah, I need to square these suckers up. And cut 2 more in the purple…

Ready for my online stitching meeting today. I have 20 blocks…

Only 5 to go. Hopefully done today so I can start stitch down. I think I’ll do two more green blocks with a different green fabric and then IDK what the last one will be. Whatever’s left? We’ll see what it thinks it needs. LISTEN to the quilt.

This is one of those things my brain does at the beginning of summer, when I’m still in recovery from school. Plus copyediting is sucking up some valuable brainspace, so that’s not a bad thing.

This baby girl. Well, she’s 11+. I spent time on the phone with the oncologist yesterday. It’s not good.

But she’s not in pain and not having breathing problems, so we have some time. She gets lots of treats. And she’s a good girl. She wants to be wherever I am most of the day, so that’s cool.

I had to do the drawing on Tuesday evening for my Patreon…

It was fast and furious. Sometimes they are. It would make an interesting small quilt (not quite that small). Those root things are a pain in the butt in fabric. But they look cool.

Anyway…

Summer Nova. Makes me want a hammock.

It’s Thursday. I type that so I will remember. My new best friend (besides Calli) will be my sourdough starter. With the girlchild leaving, I am going to try to be a big girl and make bread. It’s fucking complicated, so I will have to spend more time with dough and starter than with any other human on the planet. It already feels that way…friends are far away, and with some of the stuff coming out about school, even the teacher friends will be far away and not necessarily on the same schedule as me. Go eat by yourself! Teach by yourself! (well, we always did that) Plan? You might be able to do that with someone 6 feet away. Book club and stitching and quilting? Nah. Still far away, on a Zoom call. I will miss my kid, for sure.

Today? I need to copyedit for a while, then finish the 5 blocks while on a social Zoom. Then IDK what. Stitch down? We’ll see. Moody today. Hopefully that will resolve. Maybe if I talk to my quilts more it will…

Hope Is Good…

Hmm. One of the things about life that being a mom and teacher have hammered home is that whatever you THINK is gonna happen, might happen, but just as easily could go sideways and into a ditch. Welcome to yesterday, when the girlchild was supposed to fly home to Boston and I was supposed to start copyediting for realz, and instead, she woke up with COVID symptoms, we canceled a flight, got her tested (waiting on results; will be incredibly OK if it is just a summer cold/flu and we overreacted. Honestly, more of the world needs to be overreacting right now), masked up, washed my hands a million times, became a cook for the cook (always hard…she has high expectations and I don’t cook that well…I’m a subsistence cook.), finished one part of the copyediting (the part I needed to finish), and tried not to think about what the next two weeks might look like if she tests positive. Meanwhile, San Diego is shutting bars and wineries and breweries down again unless they serve food, and won’t open anything else up until after August 1. Apparently our need to shove ourselves into drinking establishments after three months makes us all stupid. Oh yeah, and then my work needs me to get my TB test renewed in the next 30 days. Again, hopefully the test will be negative, we’ll rebook her flight, we’ll go buy sugar because we forgot that in the last grocery shop, and I’ll get my TB test done, plus take the dog to the vet etc.

You do have to wonder how many people just get on the plane anyway, because it’s true this option is a pain in the ass.

Anyway, at some point, I looked at the to-do list and freaked out, because there were many things on it, including a video for my Patreon (due like today…I usually would have done it over the weekend), and I kinda flailed. I finished an organizational read on the book I’m editing and sent it back (it’s sitting back again in my email right now, but I have other things I need to do first). And then I realized I could record ironing the quilt together for my Patreon. They’ve seen small bits, but nothing like this 80″-square monstrosity. Let’s do it! This is not a small time commitment at this point. I started with sewing the background together…it’s just over 80″ square. Then I ironed the whole thing as nice and flat as I could get it.

Then I mopped the entryway floor. I need a big flat (clean) space for this. The ironing board is not big enough (I’ve done that often). The floor in here is not big enough (also done that). So the entryway is as big as I can go in one piece. I had the main sections ironed together: the figure and background on the left, same on the right, and then the taller standing figure in the middle. There were some loose foreground pieces that couldn’t go on until the other three parts were ironed, and then there were the two angels, three COVID virions, a skelly head, and a weird hand thing. So I put the background down on the ground, the drawing propped up where I could see it (and cats could hide under it…honestly, this process is cat heaven)…

And then I ironed it all down.

Honestly, that makes it sound so easy, but it was four hours from sewing the background together to getting it totally ironed down. I got the main portions tacked down on the entryway floor, and then put it on the ironing board and steamed each bit for 30 seconds and then moved the iron slightly and steamed again for 30 seconds. That last part was at least 90 minutes…I know because I got through almost two episodes of Unforgotten. I still need to cut some pieces that disappeared on one of the COVID virions, but that won’t take long, and then I’ll start the stitch down. The total ironing took 25 1/2 hours.

I made a video for the Patreon of my placing the larger sections…and then I made a fun timelapse of my ironing…I’ll release that one to the public in the next few days. You can watch me crawling on the ground with an iron…in case you think this is all fun and games (I do often wonder how long I will be able to keep making the big ones because of that).

This quilt is not being made quickly. There’s too much other stuff going on for quick anything right now. But it will be good when it’s done.

OK, so what else has been going on? Well, I finished the damn Sue Spargo dots…Saturday night, I stayed up and took about 4 hours to finish the two dots I hadn’t done and two more I added…the first one was the abstract next to the lion.

It was Friday’s dot…

I was supposed to make the spokes go out farther past the dot, but I didn’t realize that until too late, so oh well.

It certainly wasn’t the first mistake I made on this thing.

Then Saturday’s dot was a bird…that thing took a long time.

The trellis stitch is not quick…halfway?

An hour later???

Just fit on the last dot…

And then I stitched down two more wool circles for the Black Lives Matter dot and my signature dot…

All copied from other people. The only creativity of mine in this thing is 1. I changed all the colors and didn’t do a grid. and 2. Fixing my mistakes.

So that’s 93 dots total. I need to figure out what size to make it, sandwich it, quilt it, and decide how to hang it. Oh yeah, and get all the cat and dog hair off of it. Ha!

What else? I’ve been embroidering my drawing…

Actually, I’ve done more than this, but it isn’t photographed. I worked on it at the Social Distance meeting my quilt guild had on Saturday, then at my parents’ house for a Social Distance dinner the night before the girlchild was supposed to leave, and then Sunday night a bit more.

We are outside and 6 feet apart, although it’s hard to get everyone to remember to stay away or mask up. We are trying. Boychild is hiding behind me. We also had all the dogs together…my parents’ Katy or Katie or Katey. I just don’t know. She answers to all of them.

Calli with her lumpy nose…

And Simba, who apparently has a thing for citrus…

Which is a strange thing for a dog…

He was definitely tired out after all that social distancing…

The cats don’t travel or social distance well…or maybe that’s what these two are doing?

Hard to say.

Cat in a box. Cat on a chair.

Not the same cat. OK, well, so we sit and wait for a phone call. They sent the man home from work (they’re essential) until results are in, so the house is full of people. I was not prepared for that…the grocery run was light this week because I thought I’d be using up things and not feeding a lot of people, so that has been interesting. Luckily last night’s and tonight’s dinner plans could be stretched to accommodate more folks. After tonight, it could get iffy.

For the rest of today, I’ve got some videos to process, a drawing to do for my Patreon, plus copyediting. The girlchild is feeling OK today, just really tired, although she rallied yesterday and then went downhill at night again…just like you do with any other illness, so there’s hope it’s not the COVID. For now, hope is good. We’ll just hold onto that until…well, forever really. Hope that we find a way to bring numbers back down, hope that everyone we love stays healthy, hope that change keeps happening with regards to being an antiracist planet, hope that nothing else pops up and slams us upside the head, as a family, as a state, as a country, as a planet. Like don’t even talk to me about that other swine flu thing right now. I can’t deal.

I Will Wash Dishes…

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

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

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

My concrete footings are stupendous. Really.

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

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

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

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

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

I’m still doing these, albeit very slowly.

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

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

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

It had lots of colors in it.

And was pretty fun to do.

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

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

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

It turned out OK anyway.

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

I had to go bead hunting again.

And a cat lay upon it for a while…

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

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

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

Weird seed pods…and cudweed on its way out…

Someone is still painting rocks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Build a Fence…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hopefully the rest of them will hold the fence up.

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

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

Meanwhile, I ironed a little bit last night…

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

All this with a large Golden Retriever to step over…

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

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

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

This is the easy part, right?

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

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

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

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

She’s been reading like crazy these days…

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

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

Fun but time consuming…

All those legs…

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

The acorn…

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

And then Sunday night’s abstract…

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

This was a quick one…

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

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

Ugh. Sweet cat. Bad location.

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

And with Luna…

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

Amazing color…

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

Hello Summer 2020…

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

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

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

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

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

This is improv piecing, and then after that…

We move onto the piecing an actual block…

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

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

I also finished this during a meeting…

And started this one of my own design…

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

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

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

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

The old lady is having some issues…

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

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

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

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

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

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

While I was ironing the other night…

What’s she staring at? This guy…

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

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

I left for two minutes. Seriously.

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

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

However-Many-Weeks It’s Been…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And his face is a little hidden.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top right…

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

For this online lunch with students…

Getting closer to done with that embroidery.

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

She’s so silly.

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

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

Their toys…not their shit. Pretty funny.

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

Whatever DONE Means…

Hey Monday. I know there was a weekend, but I didn’t really feel it. I think it’s because I don’t leave the house any more. So work days feel like weekend days feel like work days. But it’s almost done, the school stuff. Well, whatever DONE means. I won’t have to do any more Advisory classes (until August). I do have more meetings this week, so there’s that. But grading things and chasing down scores on 11 different programs will be DONE.

I’ve been trying to listen to podcasts…I do really well for like the first 7-10 minutes and then my brain ignores everything that’s being sad. It’s possible that I do this during staff meetings as well. (Sorry. It’s true. My attention span is not great.). Just so you know, I do better at listening if I’m stitching or drawing. So I do try to do those two things during staff or other meetings. Even social stuff, I zone out unless it’s in person. I think it’s just how my brain works…it wanders off into art brain mode, which is trying to draw, design, color, and ignores everything else around it. I’m not sure that’s getting better with old age. Oh well.

Right now, I’m hot-flashing, but my feet are cold…so I want to take the slippers off, but the feet still feel cold, even though I’m on fire. Sigh. My mom tells me these will never stop. I feel like they should. They did go away for many months, but now they are back. It could be stress. Last year, they were horrendous from early May to the end of July. So I have another two months? Ugh.

Meanwhile…

Um. I’m totally the one on the left, except it’s all in boxes that might be labeled. Sort of. Not like on the right though. Nothing matches. Nothing is cute. It just is. I have to go back in to school on Thursday and deal with the last of the stuff. I got an email today from our AP who is leaving to be a principal that my room isn’t done. Sigh. The sarcasm he brings is needed, as is the male role modelness. Oh well.

One of my readers emailed me Saturday or yesterday about workers comp and COVID and how my district might deal with sick teachers. I’m hoping the union has some control over how the district handles it, but as my reader said, the optics of NOT taking care of your sick teachers when they got COVID coming back to work? Well, let’s hope people still care by the time that happens.

Speaking of teaching, IDK who thought Architect could be a verb, as in Architect Your Life, but that is fucked up, because it does not even make sense. Y’all: architect is a noun, but it “is increasingly common to hear it used as a verb, though usually in business or technical situations where jargon is very common.” I hate jargon. I especially hate teacher jargon. I keep having to look shit up and I’ve been teaching for a long time, and they keep changing it all. I cannot keep it all straight in my head. So this coming year? I will be an architect architecting. Even WordPress doesn’t think that’s a word. I architect, you architect, we all architect. Sigh.

OK, so I have a team lunch (with kids on Zoom) in 7 minutes, I have my Santa hat ready for holiday dress (don’t even ask, it’s a teacher thing, but it has nothing to do with architecting), and then IDK what’s happening after that.

And I’m back. Lunch is over. I should finish writing this. I’ve been ironing a little each day…hopefully more today? Maybe? Got into the torso, but needed to iron the heart separately…

None of this is fast, but it is engrossing…

And then put the heart where it belongs…

So I think this is where I got to on Saturday night…

She’s the largest figure in the quilt.

Then Sunday, I worked on arms…this one has a bat hanging from it, a reference to the first animal they blamed for COVID. I ironed it separately…too many small parts…

And then attached it…

If you’re one of my patrons on Patreon, I show some of this arm and hand in the video that will be posted later today. And then I did the other arm…

I’ve been ironing for about 9 1/2 hours and I’m halfway through the pieces…I think…wait, no I’m not. I’m in the high 600s. Close though. She just needs a cat and her head. Then on to Figure 3.

Also still doing dots…Saturday’s is just above the top spool.

It was pretty easy…

I don’t have much of the sparkly Dazzle thread, so it always has to be pink or red.

And last night’s…to the right of the yellow thread…

Is very similar to one we’ve already done, but with more space.

Getting closer and closer to done.

It will then take me two years to remove all the cat and dog hair from it.

I also picked the fabrics for the pieced thing I’m doing…

Because there isn’t enough crazy shit going on in my life right now. I needed something brainless. Although I have some stitching I’m doing that’s relatively brainless.

OK. What else? I hiked yesterday…well, walked around the neighborhood, which includes some good hills.

Sometimes I go up that one. Sometimes I go down. Always looking for new flowers…

These were all in the trees…

Messy but beautiful…

The neighbors are still building a pool. Did I mention that already? Dig Day 2: BEEP BEEP BEEP. Sigh.

Damn cat sleeps through everything.

Must be nice…

Old lady dog does too…

OK, note to self…this is gonna be hard for this old lady to see at night…

CAN ONLY STITCH ON THIS IN FULL SUNLIGHT.

I amuse myself. OK. I’ve got exercise, ironing, and a book to finish. It sounds like Summer vacation is getting really close. Tomorrow is meeting hell, but today is done. All good. Enjoy.

More Wine and Goldfish…

Late-night ironing assists: wine and goldfish. The cheddar cheese kind, not the swimming kind. Hey, Mr. Domestic is doing a fundraiser right now on Instagram, ends today though (hey, it’s been a busy week for me…I’m slow. IDK what even happened to this week.). But this thing…

this shirt, you can buy this at any time and he donates all proceeds to one of the anti-racist charities listed here. I hadn’t heard of Mr. Domestic until some brouhaha (oh my, so many of those online right now) over a quilt store I’d never heard of not saying they were anti-racist…or delaying saying that. In case that’s an issue, I am anti-racist. I am a semi-old white lady (ask my neighbor how old he thinks I am as I scramble up his slope on a rope) who has white privilege (but can’t spell that word to save my life without help from a dictionary) and grew up in a nice mostly white town with all the privileges of good schools and safe streets and all that. I teach mostly immigrants and BIPOC, always have, so my understanding of my own racist background has grown over the years. But we are always learning, always finding better ways of dealing with our own understanding. So I continue to read and consider my own artwork in the realm of the larger world of racism and sexism and all that stuff. We are not doing it right if we aren’t continuing to listen and learn.

A shirt doesn’t solve many problems…but it could start a useful conversation and puts money somewhere it might help. I just sent my address info in again to Social Justice Sewing Academy to embroider some blocks. I did that a while ago…but with summer break coming up and no major embroidery that I HAVE to do this summer, I can handle this again.

I am in this weird head space with school. The last academic assignments were today, but grades were due Wednesday. I have things I have to do next week for school, some even in person (masked and 6 feet apart), but the work part is done…until summer, when they start throwing shit at us again. I spent hours in Zoom meetings yesterday for school stuff, most of it frustrating and not ideal, but that will be at least the next year. I’m worried about all of it, but don’t know the solution. I can’t afford to quit or retire, so work I shall, in as safe a manner as I can. The end of the school year is always hard on my brain…the stress of finishing and then having a summer to-do list but not being able to mentally handle any of it. It’s hard to explain to non-teachers. Especially when facing the next school year, which is destined to be different than anything we’ve ever done. It will be hard and different and probably sad, and hopefully not heart-breaking. I am not good with uncertain futures. I like to know what’s coming. Here was our team at the beginning of the school year…

We’re losing two of these teachers and our next photo next week will be social distanced…but I’ll post that. Because a good team is a lifesaver, and this group has made this bearable. Hopefully this summer will allow us to get some rest for next year…because it will be hard.

So I’ve been ironing this quilt together, because that’s something I can control.

I got her face ironed down…

This is the bottom right corner with a gravestone to Covid…I did that while on a stitching Zoom…

This thing is huge. Have I mentioned how huge it is? I had all these background pieces lying around, so I just ironed them together for now, and I’ll combine them with Figure 3 when I get to her…

With the gravestone…she’s in the 700s, I think, and I’m only in the 200s at the moment. So I put those sections aside, and started ironing Figure 2…

She’s the largest figure and uses the mid-200s through the mid-700s, I think. Then I laid out the 300s, ready for tonight or this afternoon or whatever.

See? Wine. Goldfish were already eaten. So the trash is still lying around just in case, the top right box is the pieces I’ve ironed together already on the left and right of the large figure, ready to get ironed to her when she’s done. I have to cover all the laid-out pieces so cats won’t lie on them.

More to come on that this weekend. Hopefully.

Stressful meetings call for distractions…this is the science curriculum adoption meeting, where we realized we had no choices…

Ah well…so be it. I kept doing this during the school board meeting with all their pomposity and stupidity.

Yeah, it’s a pattern. I couldn’t handle decisions. Here’s the final resolution for next year from the school board…

Yup. There we are.

Dots! Almost done? Well…two weeks left at least. The flower to the right of the green spool.

Pretty easy to do…

Mostly covered the dot…

That was Wednesday night…here’s Thursday…the sand dollar above the blue spool.

This was actually super fast…

I’ve been stealing those gray threads from another Spargo BOM…I might run out? Maybe? Hard to say.

What else? The old lady likes to fetch (but not very far) pine cones out of the pool. This one is too far. she wants me to move it closer.

The little boy does not like the pool or water at all.

The old lady always wants more than she should actually have…she gets tired.

Cats…don’t like heat…

Neither do dogs…

This fly died after getting stuck in the pool fence…the coloring is fascinating.

I drew the other night as well…

A protest reaction. Hard to know how to process things right now, so I’ll just draw until I can make sense of it all.

View of smoke from a local fire. I think it’s under control today, but it wasn’t yesterday.

Winds don’t help with that. They’ve mostly died down today. Plus it’s much cooler.

My neighbors are digging a pool hole. It’s loud and annoying. Sigh. I understand though. It’s hot here. Of course you want a pool.

I just wish I could be at school so I wouldn’t have to listen to it.

And here’s the pens I’ve been using to keep track of kids’ grades since we went out. Green is science, red is computers/PE, blue is math, purple is Advisory, orange is history, pink is English and pencil is you did it, but you’re not proficient (less than 70%).

Have I mentioned that I’m a visual learner? Yeah. You know what’s easier? Only teaching the subject you’re credentialed and trained in. Although I suspect this multi-tasking shit will continue into next year as well. Sigh.

I’m doing a stitch-along. I think. Maybe. It involves templates. It’s not how I usually roll. We’ll see how that goes.

I’ve done this before…just not recently.

OK, it’s the middle of the day and I have one more class and something else I said I’d do and the pool digging is driving me nuts (it’ll be at least another day, if not more, then all the construction crap). And I burned my thumb while toasting frozen naan. Of course. That’s probably something I’ve never written before. Artmaking this weekend. A minor amount of school stuff. Getting ready to replace part of my fence. Thinking about art entries. Reading my book because book club is next week. More wine and goldfish. Definitely.

crazy wacky holy crappy

Sign petitions. Put money in the hands of groups and people making change. Put money in the hands of BIPOC makers. Start here on Etsy (although I think they have added non-Etsy shops in there). Commission some art from a BIPOC maker…many artists are hurting right now if that was their primary money-maker. Let’s support them. Get food at BIPOC-owned restaurants in your area. These lists are easy to find. And once you buy something, especially something handmade or homemade, post about it with links. You know how many of those links YOU click on. Click and like and spend. If you can. If you can’t spend, you can click, like, share, show up, speak up, write about it. I saw someone post about not using your introvertness as an excuse. Introversity? Introvertedness? Hmm. One of those. Many of us can still spend and create and write and post. In fact, many of us do that online because it’s easier for us than in person…certainly that fits the instructions right now.

Interestingly, I saw an embroiderer whose work I liked, and she admits to not having a website because she doesn’t have the bandwidth for dealing with that, but it was hard to know what was available and prices and all that, and I know we as artists often don’t do the business side of things. So the solution is to just ask, of course. And when they have a VenMo or Patreon or some other way to support them, then do it.

OK, I’ve spent hours in meetings today and am finally done for today. My brain is swimming. For some reason, meetings in person are easier to process. I don’t know why. So much job chaos right now. It’s a hot day, which isn’t helping. Plus I want cookies.

I already wrote the rest of this post, but the internet here gets ultra-sketchy when it’s hot, and hot it is, and the damn thing disappeared into the ether. So here we go. Again. This is 2020 all over the place.

I drew a little on Sunday night. I’ve got something in my head and this is the first iteration (of many, I’m sure) of one part of the whole…

It’s not right. There are many more iterations before it will be right.

I started ironing the big quilt together on Sunday night, my favorite part of the quilt process. Maybe. It’s all color and things coming together and the first time I see it whole. The damn thing is huge…

I put the drawing on the ironing board and then a Teflon sheet over it and start ironing down. I had to fold it back up over the ironing board during the day so it wasn’t in the way.

I started on the left side with the background pieces, and decided to keep working on the figure there, even though her pieces are in the 100s and 200s and I wasn’t done with the under-100s yet.

I decided to iron this whole section together and then the righthand section together. There’s a bottom piece and then maybe I’ll iron the center together and see if I can get them all to fit.

That’s the current plan anyway. I was imagining what a cytokine storm might look like, since they happen in COVID-19 cases, so I read about them and kind of drew what a bunch of cells spilling out chemicals that killed people would look like.

Tonight, hopefully, I’ll finish her fingers and her face, and then move on to the other side. Or the bottom. Or something.

I bought more fabric online when I was looking for something else.

No, I don’t need more fabric. Shut up.

Dots! I’m doing dots. If you’ll remember, I barely started Saturday before it was tired time, so on Sunday, I finished Saturday’s dot…to the left of the orange ball.

Tiny bugs…

With a million colors in them…

And then I continued on with Sunday’s dot…

This time to the right of the orange ball…that ball gets around…

This was a much more abstract dot…

And pretty simple, although sometimes they seem simple and take forever…

This is last-night’s dot, which was more on the forever continuum…above the red dot that hasn’t been stitched yet…

It was way too complicated and the cast-on bullions are an issue, but whatever…

It probably doesn’t matter in the long run…

That’s either 72 or 73. Can’t remember. Getting near the end.

I had a stressful work day yesterday. Hell, I had a stressful day today too, and tomorrow is looking to continue the roll, but yesterday, I needed a walk out in nature, away from people. It’s been hot though…around 95 degrees, and humidity at 6%…or “Lo”, as this said. It was hotter than that…this thing is inside.

I pushed the walk off as long as I could, to about 5 PM, and then set out with a full Camelbak. The local Santa Ana winds are hot, dry, destructive, and flammable…but you can see for miles.

There was a breeze, at least, and I drank almost all of my water. This tree was labeled…a new label.

No idea what it means.

Sun beating down on me. But sometimes, I get so antsy I can’t sit still any more and I need to get out of the house and away from humanity.

Funny, since there aren’t very many humans around me, not like when I’m teaching.

It was worth it. I’m in a better frame of mind today, although there are many stupid things going on for work.

People leave cuttings of plants out in boxes in their front yards. I keep picking them up.

Probably should have worn gloves with this one. Sharp bits in my fingers.

Dogs can’t read.

There wasn’t just one of these…there’s a whole line of them.

A lost hawk feather in my front yard…

So the hot makes the animals very slow-moving. I hear green fabrics are very chilling.

This one pulled down 7 shirts to find this space…

And this one just sits in front of the fan…

Oh yeah, I framed these finally…

I love that Quilt National prints these for you with details of your quilt. I bought a pack of three frames, so I’m ready to add 2021. Right?

OK, my plans include eating dinner, some sort of exercise, another dot, and some ironing. Grades went in today, so I officially don’t have to care about school…I just have to show up online when I’m supposed to and do the things I’m supposed to before it ends. School is going to be difficult in the Fall, but some things will hopefully be new and interesting, and if I’m on campus, at least I will see my friends and students (some of them, because the models they’ve been telling us about are crazy wacky holy crappy), and hopefully we won’t get sick. And the sun will shine and all that. Maybe I’ll even start sleeping again. You’d think with these schedules that I’d get more sleep. That didn’t happen. OK. Summer break (whatever that is in 2020) is almost here. And I got to wear a lot of pajamas and very few bras in the last three months, so there’s that. That probably won’t happen again until I retire, and that’s a long way off.

So There’s That…

Well. I think I just made more work for myself. As always. What’s new? The end of this school year is so weird, so surreal, but it is ending…in fire and disease, right? Well, not really. But I’m intrigued by how my students don’t want to talk about the protests and police, but they do want to talk about the beach and food and seeing their friends and being done with homework. And cheese. One kid only wants to talk about cheese. I think it would be different in person, in a different world, one where things weren’t so scary, but this is what we have right now…scary and different. It’s safe to talk to me about cheese.

Normally, I’d be one of the protesters, out marching, but I’m worried about the transmission of this virus. Really worried. For myself and others. I see too many unmasked people at the protests. Normally, standing with a large crowd of chanting marchers, holding signs, that’s a thing I can do…some friends don’t or can’t, and it’s OK, because I can. But when I get sick with this thing, and a lot of us will, I want it to be as far along in the process as possible. That is my privilege talking…I’m not getting shot at for my skin color or knelt upon or unfairly jailed. So I have to put my protest energy somewhere. I’m still reading, I’m still watching…finished When They See Us on Netflix last night…the episode with Korey Wise in jail is difficult to watch. But necessary. It’s been on my list for a year, since it came out. One of my few white, non-immigrant students told me to watch it. There’s nothing easy about watching our white dumbassery hurting anyone, especially kids, and there’s the reality of the families who went through this and those boys becoming men. It’s not enough for it to sicken our hearts and stomachs though…like the Breonna Taylor story does. Something has to change. We have to change. It was her birthday yesterday…

Go to @battmamzelle for links to how to Say Her Name and get Breonna and her family some justice. Check out @arielsinhaha for more amazing graphic art.

I’m still working on BIPOC embroiderers and fiber artists and other artists. Some I was already following because of their work popping up in my feed when a friend liked it, but that’s not good enough. I need to go search more out and find a way to support it.

Locally, we might still be on curfew. It’s hard to tell. Our neighboring city is, still with the National Guard. Fear is a hard one, y’all. We want everything to be nice and pretty and cleaned up, but the reality for most is that that police are not doing that for them. We must continue to protest until they really do protect and serve all of us.

I want to draw today; it helps my brain process, but I know how much other work I have going on. Grades are due. I had completed everything I thought I was going to do, and then I thought about how much more I could do…and so I emailed every kid that was missing enough to not get credit, and we’ll see what comes of that. Maybe nothing. Maybe they will do it. As a teacher, what I’m doing now is so far away from how I usually teach and want kids to process and learn, and yet I am lucky to have a job and a paycheck and a calling (however annoying it may be), so there’s that. Next year will be different. It will not necessarily be better. It will probably be hard. But hopefully I will do a better job of reaching kids…I say that every year. How many kids did you reach? Hard to say. That one. And maybe this one. And in 5 years, one will come back and tell me they were one I didn’t even know about. So there’s that too.

I’m almost done with cutting this thing out, this giant-ass quilt that has dominated my COVID not-time-off. Thursday’s meeting time…

You can see how much is left in the box…

There’s a whole bunch of flesh cut out…this is probably Figure 2…

And the pile grows…or shrinks…depending on which one you’re looking at.

That was Thursday night…here’s Friday night…I can see the bottom of the box!

I’m cutting out pieces of the background hillside. That’s cool. That’s close to the end.

That’s almost 19 hours of cutting. I said 20? It will probably be 21 or 22 hours, but I was close. Then sort, then iron. In the middle of all the grades and a million meetings next week. I love how my school district decides to just ADD meetings to the mix, two weeks before we’re done. Like y’all have no idea what we’re actually doing with our time. I finished the “7-hour” training (it wasn’t 7 hours), so that’s a thing. My classroom still needs some work, but I’m waiting for the floors to be done. I signed up for curriculum stuff. Because I can’t stand certain people deciding on the curriculum for my kids. My fault for caring.

But this quilt will eventually get done. I’m hoping by the end of the month, but it might just be July. Too many other things going on. Like yesterday, my niece graduated from high school!

Online, of course, but I hadn’t made plans to GO to the graduation (it’s a rough time of year for teachers), so it was cool to see what they did online.

Probably a better view than we normally see.

She should be going to college in the Fall…it remains to be seen what that will look like. That’s true for everything right now though.

Simba carefully watched the whole thing.

And the dots! We’re in the last few weeks of this crazy thing. I had another online meeting Thursday night and did my bee dot, just under the white ball. Which isn’t really white.

Some commentary there. I’m not actually sure why that ball is there. I didn’t use it. Whoops. Those bees are also fucking tiny.

So there’s that.

Two years ago, our 7th-grade science teacher motto was “Whatever.” This last year, it was (ironically now), “It’s Fine.” (It’s not. But you get it.). For next year? It probably involves cussing. But “So there’s that” might be a close second.

Last night’s dot was easy peasy…kitty corner to the left of the bottom spool.

Bullion knots no longer frighten me.

Although that was true before I started this project.

Twenty one to go.

Today is a day free from school work. Well, except for what I already did. I have a quilt guild meeting and I want to finish cutting out pieces and maybe sort them, and I need a long walk outside in nature. It’s a cool, cloudy, and slightly rainy day. Should make walking nice, unlike next week, when Satan arrives on his 95-degree-Fahrenheit horse. I might read or draw some too. But first, a shower and some more tea, because I didn’t sleep, yet again. Gotta love this old lady body and her stupid hormones. I mean, it’s all I got, so I gotta love it. Peace to all; protesters today, stay safe, but make change the obvious choice. And cops, knock it the fuck off. Quit your job. Go do something more humane. Sigh.