Less Like a Zombie

OK, so I thought I was tired last week, but I’m so sore from walking around class AND exercising yesterday that this morning feels REALLY tired. And it’s only Wednesday. I’m sure I’ll walk it out pretty soon and start to feel more human and less like a zombie (um, maybe?). Today is that wacky day when I teach four different things and my brain partially explodes. It will be fine. Getting used to this schedule is going to take a few weeks (months?). Getting used to all the moving parts…need a different bathroom pass for art because they don’t get the same one as 7th grade does. OK. Making enlarged copies for one kid because of his vision needs. OK. Not actually sure what to do about that for today…it’s OK. I just wrote some stuff on a post-it so I’ll remember it when I get to school. I’m not sure what I would do without post-its…they save me.

Yesterday was long…I had duty before and after school, and then interviews for a new science teacher. I forgot to eat in between, and I ate lunch at 11 AM because of the block schedule, so by the time I hit home and was getting ready to walk, my blood sugar was somewhere well south of where it should have been. I was supposed to eat during prep, not lunch. On Tuesdays, my prep is right after lunch, so it makes sense to eat later. I forgot. So still getting used to this…yeah. I have pilates today after school, so will have to eat before I go. I’ll get used to it…it will just take me some time. I need a post-it telling me to eat maybe…although I’d ignore it. Sigh.

Anyway, as always, that level of tired from getting home late, leaving to hike at 6 PM, coming back and prepping dinner and eating…hard to get off the couch and do anything at that point. But I did. Not much though.

The night before, I got organized and sorted all the pieces…

Interestingly, they are sorted by number (by 100s), but the last four boxes look like they’re sorted by color. All the sun is in the last box. The sky is in the two boxes before, then the green of the mountains is the two or three boxes before that. Then the browns mostly before that. Usually all the colors are mixed up in all the boxes.

Anyway, that took about an hour to do, and then last night, honestly, I spent about four whole minutes sorting the first 100 pieces into piles of 10s.

And then I went to bed. Sometimes I’m really organized. I swear. Lots of rocks in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, and then into path and dirt. I’m really hoping to start ironing things together tonight. It’s hard to keep standing for another hour or so when you’ve been standing and walking all day. Really hard. But art is absolutely what keeps me sane and happy and like I’m doing something that matters. I know teaching does that too, but I’m not there yet with this year…I don’t know the kids enough yet (although we are getting there…you know, it’s really hard when you see them all day with masks on and then you do duty outside and the kids are unmasked and saying HI and you can’t match them up with the masked face in the classroom.). I have some sweethearts, some nonstop talkers, and some kids with giant chips on their shoulders. Just like normal. Some get angry or butthurt super easy and some are terrified to ask questions and some email you at all hours of the day or night and some never stop asking questions. Pretty normal. Working toward balance though…haven’t taken home grading, although I have done some school stuff on computers at home.

Oh yeah! We have our first official positive COVID case (not one of mine) and a few out on “pandemic concerns,” which just means they have symptoms that might be COVID but we don’t know. I’m going to get tested once a week or so, just to be sure I’m not bringing anything home. Yeah, we’re all vaccinated, but I have family that is immunocompromised and so am I. I’m not a fan of not knowing. I also have students with health issues and I don’t want to be the asymptomatic person who gets them sick. So add that to the post-it note.

Yesterday’s hike/walk (mostly streets) with amazing lenticular clouds that don’t show up super nicely in this photo…

Funky though. And an owl house!

Kitten keeps sleeping on my magazine AND stitching, so I can’t finish either. Also too tired (me) to finish.

Simba is a dork.

He is staring lovingly into the boychild’s eyes though.

OK, going to school with my pink to-do post-it for before school. Going to do Advisory, Science Block 1, Art, then Science Block 2. If I remember what all those things are. Which I might not. Then exercise, then art. Yeah. OK. A plan.

Nice of You to Show Up…

Hey Friday. Nice of you to show up. Appreciate it. I’m back to that world where I look forward to maybe sleeping in on Saturday morning (dependent on neighbor noise and animal incursions). I do already have stuff to grade. Ugh. How did that happen? Oh yeah. My own fault. I’m still trying to get my head around this crazy schedule we have. Mondays and Fridays are normally all the classes, but Monday is shorter. Tuesday through Thursday rotate through blocks of four classes a day, so some days I will have four different things I’m teaching and some days, I will only have two. Today I have three different classes and no prep period (because today is not a normal Friday because we started on Tuesday, don’t even ask, I honestly have a headache about that), so that sounds exhausting. I needed to pee after two classes (they’re LONG) yesterday…three in a row today might be an issue. Certainly, having art at the end of the day with 6th graders is difficult…that’s three days a week. I’m just tired from science teaching and then have to switch gears, from science brain to art brain. Art brain is like, what? I’m tired. Leave me alone.

But it’s nice being back in person (when I don’t think too hard about COVID exposure)…because we can do the things!

Ah science and art in person. What a concept.

Prepping for art is different too…it’s hard to know what they can do in person because I taught it all online last year. So lots of decisionmaking going on in my poor tired brain.

That said, the first week back is almost in the books, and (knock on wood) no one has been sent home yet. It’s a miracle, considering the number of kids who can’t keep a mask over their noses or mouths…

Artmaking has been OK this week, despite the tiredness. My goal is an hour a night, and last night, I managed two plus (because I was in a Zoom meeting for part of it). I’m still cutting things out…this is Wednesday, with Simba’s help…

I also did some embroidery on the Social Justice Sewing Academy block…still just getting everything attached.

My plan is some decorative embroidery in the letters, but I need to do a stethoscope too. Need to mark that this weekend.

Last night, I had a Zoom quilt meeting and cut out the Wonder Under for the one Patreon reward I have left.

So I can iron that to fabric this weekend. And then I cut a bunch…

Both on Zoom and later…

The middle box is getting emptier; the bottom box is getting more full. I watched some news…still trying to get my head around Afghanistan. I feel like I’ve spent 20 years trying to get my head around the Taliban and people like it. I have classrooms full of kids who fled regimes like that. I’m OK with that…they’re hopefully better off here, although sometimes I wonder.

Kitten shows a side view…

Yeah, there’s still a lot of pieces in that box. It probably won’t get done tonight…but hopefully this weekend, I’ll get them cut and sorted, and be ready to iron together next week…more standing after all day of standing. Well, it’s better than too much sitting, I’ll tell you that. Ironically, I still need more exercise at the end of the day; maybe today will be a walk. Tomorrow will definitely be a hike. Plus art. Plus grading. Plus IDK exactly what I’m teaching next week for art. I should figure that out. Plus I have a million posts to put together for classes…hopefully can get those done in class today. I’d like to keep weekends clear of work. I know it won’t happen, but I’m trying. Ha!

OK, off to work. Mornings are hard, y’all.

I Should Cut More Stuff Out…

Today, I gird my loins and conquer my classroom, which is an incredible disaster. I also figure out what the hell I’m doing tomorrow in class and make sure I have all the shit to do that. I might even sleep before tomorrow…certainly, hopefully, more than last night. I have never been so unprepared…wait, no, the year I started two weeks in because we were waiting for a background check and they wouldn’t even let me on campus…that year was worse. It’ll be fine. I’ll remember how to do this in person. Last year will stop clouding my brain. It’s PTSD over the workload more than anything. Ugh.

So I’m at school today until it’s done…or I collapse from exhaustion. Which might be by 9:30 AM. That’s what tea is for, yeah?

I finally organized all the fabrics for the current quilt. This is my documentation of the 185 fabrics I used…

Lots of earthy stuff.

I started cutting out Thursday night…continued on Friday…

Friday was fairly exhausting. Then Saturday, the neighbors have a wall being built, so there was jackhammering and Mexican polka. I had a headache most of the day, unfortunately. Tried to do some schoolwork and just couldn’t get my head around it (see distractions above) and ended up cutting out pieces for hours…

Seriously, like 5 hours of bingewatching and cutting.

I also drew a Patreon reward…

Numbered it…

I was trying to make it less complicated than last year’s…failed. Oh well.

And then I traced it on Wonder Under…

And then kept cutting out pieces on the other quilt. I’ll cut these out sometime this week and get going on that.

Then last night, I kept cutting.

I’ve been cutting trees for days. Seriously.

I finally got to some different stuff late last night. I might be halfway? I might not. It’s just hard to tell. I’m sure you’re looking at these and going, yeah, can’t see it. It’s not until I see the bottom of the box peeking out that I think I’m almost done…and I can’t see that yet. That’s about 10 1/2 hours of cutting there.

But it’s progress.

I also washed the dyed stuff out. I like the backgrounds, but I’m not sure what I will do with them.

Because I don’t want to cover any of it up.

Maybe I will have to draw something specifically for it. To fit into the background.

I think I missed one…there should be four, I think. Ah yes, my favorite.

The best thing in the world is ironing these and seeing all the interesting little bits of dye overlap. Anyway. We’ll see what happens next with these. I also did socks…

I need to clean out my sock drawer so they have room to breathe in there. I’m a bit of a sock whore. Ironic since I don’t wear even shoes for a good chunk of my existence. Anyway. I have socks.

I finally photographed all the January and February Homegrown blocks too…

Embroidery that keeps me sane in stupid meetings or on nights when I can’t deal with anything else.

Gophers killed one of my milkweed plants and I found this little guy wandering around on the dead one, so I moved it to the living one.

I have a bunch of baby milkweed plants that I’ve been trying to grow in a shady space, away from the bunnies. They won’t be ready for this caterpillar though. I hope there’s enough food.

I need this in a poster.

It’s been hot.

Petting animals is helpful for back-to-school anxiety…

We got up early Saturday and walked before it got hot…so many sidewalks were marked up.

Some sort of abstract art.

So many of the apps we use for school are not up and running yet. Ironic.

I have to be up and running, but with none of the things.

This is accurate.

Seriously accurate. OK. I have to go to school. I was going to meet with my principal in person and I was debating masks. He’s vaccinated but he has small children. So many decisions to be made. I might just stay masked all year. But now his kid’s class is quarantined (yeah, that shit is still happening), so we are doing it on Zoom. Then get keys to the art room (and supplies!) and meet with the art teacher. Attack my room with some sort of plan. Make lists. Eat lunch. Counseling. That’s necessary. More room attacking, more lists, possible shopping post school for the shit I don’t have. Probably not sleep well another night. I should put a walk or trip to the gym in there somewhere. Then tomorrow is the first day with kids. Oh yeah, I should cut more stuff out. Always.

But It’s a Thing…

Well. It’s been a morning. And into an afternoon. I’m not sure where the days go sometimes. We got up early to hike and then the Man didn’t feel well but then he was OK and then we hiked, but two hours later than we’d thought we would.

The plus is that physical therapy seems to be going well. We upped the mileage to almost 6, but still mostly flat, road walking instead of trail. Slow progress. No pain. His plan right now is to finish the two pieces of the trail he missed in the desert section due to the boulder that is now gone in the Idyllwild area and a now-open fire closure near Lake Hughes. But with all the fires up north, it doesn’t make sense to try to pick part of the trail to do before weather starts to be an issue, so that might be it for the PCT this year. Next year, another 4 months will hopefully finish it. Sigh. I know he wanted to do it in one year, but he did the Desert section! All 700+ miles! So there’s that.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on the current quilt, although my brain kind of gets tied up in knots by it. Usually, let’s say I’m doing a dirt section that needs a run of 4 fabrics, light to dark…then I pick the 4 fabrics, lay them out, and put the pieces that will be ironed on each fabric on top of it, checking the drawing for what numbers go where. Cool, right? Easy peasy. But now I shoved the female figure in there. I want her to show up but not drastically. So I pick a second run of 4 fabrics that are similar but not the same, and then when I check the drawing for level 1 (the lightest), I have to do a second check on whether it’s the body or the ground. It looks like this…

Yes, there’s an extra fabric above…there’s a reason for that.

Here’s the same idea but with the rocks…

I honestly don’t know how it will turn out. I hope it will be OK. Hard to visualize though…even for me, and I do this all the time. At one point yesterday, I had a run of 6 fabrics twice, a total of 12, and was trying to find all the pieces from the 100s through the 400s that were part of that section…meanwhile, pulling out all the pieces that were a rattlesnake, a Garmin, or a couple of deer. Confusing as hell. While on two Zooms…at least those weren’t at the same time. So I still need to do the snake, the Garmin, and the deer, plus a bushy stripe that went through the dirt areas, and then some water in the middle of it. It’s not going quickly, but the day is.

Here’s where I was Wednesday night…

And then, after 5 1/2 hours of ironing yesterday…

Lots of browns and grays so far. I’m going to do more today, hopefully get up into the trees. Which are mind-bogglingly complicated.

Meanwhile, we finally have a master schedule for school. Everything hurts my brain and we haven’t planned anything and we are back next Thursday. Yes. I am panicking. About everything. I did get some new masks that seem comfortable, although I haven’t worn them from 8:30-3:30 yet, so ask me how I feel in a few weeks. My neighbor finally is putting in a fence, and I’m not happy about looking at it or where it is or how it will block my light once they plant shit, or that they are considering planting bamboo (the clumping kind, at least) and I’m just irritated with all my neighbors. So there we are.

Tomorrow is a quilt guild meeting and an art group meeting…that one in person. And I got into another show, a SAQA local show, Domino Effect, which will be at The Studio Door in Hillcrest from September 2-26. The artist’s opening is September 4 from 6-9 PM. My piece is the recently finished A Losing Game

Kitten was upset that I took away the blue fabric drawer, so I gave her the lid to the paper box…

In other animal news, Simba is a dork.

He had to have his teeth cleaned, and they put the IV/catheter whatever in his leg, which he cannot leave alone, so now he has the not-cone, but pillow of shame.

Yeah, it’s under his mane.

And Kitten keeps following me wherever I go.

She’s a good kitty.

I drew at dinner last night…

I don’t think it’s done. But it’s a thing.

OK, I’m tired. I need more caffeine. I need to not think about school for a while, because I won’t get any more info about next week’s schedule until Monday. They really are pushing everything to the last minute again this year. I’m still burnt out from last year. I do not feel the normal, oh hey! school is starting! This is cool and interesting! feelings that I would normally have. I have apprehension and panic from not having anything ready. Fun stuff. I’m going to quickly order some stuff I’ll need and then get ironing for a few hours. Meditative artwork.

Never Ready

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fighting the Machine…

It’s the 12th. In a month, I go back to school. In person. To a room that I haven’t worked in since March 16, 2020. Where, most importantly, I don’t know where anything is because I didn’t have time to put it away logically. This actually doesn’t worry me. I’ll find it all eventually. I just found a cord they probably need in order to use my doc cam. It was under something. I can spend all year searching for stuff, and hopefully have the brains to throw out some stuff I don’t need any more. It’s hard not to hoard! Teaching lends itself to having a stash for when you decide to do some weird lab at the last minute.

I go back to school, though, in a time of ‘do we still wear masks?’ (In California, yes. At least for a while. For me, yes.) Critical race theory…to teach or not to teach? OK, so here’s the thing. Those people (and politicians, who may or may not be part of the human race) who are screeching about what we should be able to brainwash kids about in the classroom have never been in a middle-school classroom. I can’t persuade the flat-earthers and the God-made-all-the-animals-and-humans-aren’t-animals kids (most of the time) that what their parents and/or YouTube taught them isn’t true. It takes years and lots of brain growth and exposure to scientific concepts that disagree with your core beliefs (hey, that’s some brainwashing) before kids start to think…oh…wait a minute…that shit doesn’t make sense. And we don’t set out to teach about racism or sexism or gender or penis size (yup. Big worry amongst the 12-year-old male). It comes UP (OK, did not mean that joke about up and penis size). One boy is talking to the kid next to him about how girls can’t do science because they don’t have the brains for it (yeah, this kid did not come up with this idea on his own…please imagine where he got it from) and then I need to redirect. Strongly. With evidence. Racism? Same deal. Gender? Absolutely. And it was a good almost ten years ago when I said to a kid, “why do you care whether they are a he or a she or something else? Are you gonna date them? Then talk to them first.” This is not new. This is what we do. We facilitate conversations. We provide facts and evidence (y’all, I’m not making any shit up. I teach science, not faith.) and then let the kids go places with it. And then they LEARN TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES. That is my ultimate job…guiding them toward their own learning, showing them how research works, modeling appropriate discussions (unlike what our politicians do; Marjorie Taylor Greene, I’m talking to you). If they can’t do it in school, then where the fuck do you think they should be doing that? We encourage kids to take their ideas home and talk to their families (and then their dad calls me to tell me I’m an idiot because he personally saw the pig with a human face, so he knows humans and pigs can reproduce together) and figure things out. Would you rather have me say, “Sorry, the government won’t let me talk about that…” when it comes up in class? I do worry that some teachers don’t do this…don’t encourage thinking. Certainly, I draw the line when kids want to answer every science question with “God did that.” Explain plate tectonics. God did it. Explain photosynthesis. God did it. Well, OK, you have faith. Great. Move on. Let’s do science.

So yeah. I’m going to keep teaching kids to think. I’m going to keep encouraging them to talk about stuff, as long as they aren’t making someone else feel like shit while they do that, although sometimes that can be difficult. I’m pretty sure that kid who said girls can’t do science didn’t feel great that day, unfortunately. I’m hoping he eventually saw the light though. These conversations were harder to have on Zoom last year…they did happen, but not as often as they do in person. Sigh. School. Not ready for it. It’s a good thing I have another 30 days. I do need more masks though.

Meanwhile, the artmaking has been walloped by my sewing machine being a total asshole. I did most of the stitchdown on Saturday…

The tension was fine for the entire bottom section and half of the top section…

And then it randomly went to hell. I cleaned everything out, rethreaded, and then prayed to the Goddess of the Machine. Because it wasn’t going to behave. The needle kept moving further and further to the left. I would turn the machine off, let it rest, cool off, and then it would keep doing that or nesting thread on the back. Completely random shit. Tension that made no sense.

I’m thinking this machine is reaching the end of its useful stage for me. I did finish one big quilt since it went in to the shop in March…but only one.

I managed to bully it through the stitchdown, and then pinbasted the quilt.

I’ve had continuing problems with the machine, but as long as I take it in once a year and have it cleaned out and adjusted, it mostly works for me. Now it’s not even lasting four months with one quilt.

Then last night, I started the quilting…I was hoping since it was in a straight line, the issue with the needle moving would stop (it has). But instead, the thread keeps breaking.

I think the thread broke about 17 times in an hour. I rethreaded, cleaned everything, replaced the needle, adjusted everything, it’s not the damn thread…it’s the same thread that was just fine in the last quilt that I just finished. I don’t have time for it to go in…there’s a waiting list and I need this quilt done for a deadline. My other machine won’t behave either. I’m frustrated. There’s still things wrong…the feed dogs won’t stay down; they keep popping up, which affects the tension. I walked away from it last night, but will try again today. Unfortunately, sometimes the solution is to keep going and then it randomly and magically starts working. I don’t need a machine that is random and magical. Sigh. I need dependable and consistent.

So that was the weekend, with some other stuff interspersed, like my phone issues are still happening, after doing all the Apple things…so back to the Genius Bar. Sure, I’m lucky to have a phone and a sewing machine…well, I do work a time-consuming job to pay for those things, but not everyone has that opportunity, but if I have paid for those things, I would like them to work properly. None of that is going on at the moment.

I did some wool sewing last night. Just messed up the tree trunk, but let’s say it’s meant to be crooked.

Walked that little beastie with my parents’ dog.

So today. I have errands and I’m going to try to sew. I’ll switch out the spool maybe (although again, it worked fine on the quilt I just finished). I don’t know what else to do, so I’m just going to hope it works. I don’t want to learn another machine to quilt this thing…although I may have to. Mom’s house is just down the road. Although the last time I tried hers, it was impossible. Not sure why. I have a definite way I quilt and the machines are not always in agreement with that. They should be. There is a learning curve. Not sure I have the patience (or time) for that. This is not as stress-free and relaxing a summer as I’d like. I might just grab my book and go take a nap. Or something. Argh.

Looks Like a Pillow Fort

The first thing I did this morning was talk to a very nice customer-service rep who was in South Carolina, at which point I realized that there is still a hurricane or stormlike thing (seriously, I don’t watch the news much so I had forgotten and she was asking if it was raining here and I was like heck no, it doesn’t rain in July here like ever almost never and then she told me where she was and I’m sitting there trying to remember about a hurricane or tropical storm and I felt really out of it. Good news…the customer service rep is FINE) or maybe it’s not a hurricane any more, but yeah, so removed from all of that, but really appreciate nice and helpful reps. It’s a shit job and I’m glad we were able to make each other smile today. Even though her company totally fucked up my order. Because she fixed it. And some poor woman somewhere is looking at my offbeat purple bras in her package and wondering why her perfectly normal old-lady white Playtex bras did not arrive. Me too, lady, me too; hopefully you got a nice customer-service person too.

I started not writing this yesterday, like normal. But then I did things yesterday and then the day was over and I hadn’t written. It happens. It will probably happen again some time. It is not the end of the world. I still made art, even SAW art yesterday (WTH?!) and I will write today instead.

Quilt progress! It’s happening. Tuesday I kept ironing…

And more on Tuesday night…

Finished the bottom, more complicated square…and started the top, the sky…

Last night, I ironed the rest of the sky together…

And ironed the whole thing down.

It’s not large. It’s just complicated. Hopefully I’ll start stitchdown today or tomorrow, although there’s lots of stuff on my calendar at the moment. People apparently want to see me. Not sure why.

On Tuesday, I went back to Torrey Pines and hiked with the niece…

I might have damaged her. It wasn’t a super short hike…

I didn’t make her limp, so that’s good. Or she’s faking it.

And then yesterday, we went to the California Center for the Arts in Escondido to see the Allied Craftsmen show there, Crafting Memory.

There’s my piece, Sediment, which was in Visions some years back. This is one of those venues that needs to be ‘family friendly’ but can’t really define what that means. Another art group I’m in is having a show there with a different theme, but I don’t have much that doesn’t have nudity in it, so I’m considering what to do…don’t enter? Enter what I have, which is mostly nudity and let them decide? Or make a new piece? Ugh. It’s a nice space…go see the shows that are there. Definitely worth it. There’s a teacher discount and a senior discount and a student discount. Probably military too.

We’ve been dining at the parents’ house while the niece is here…I walked two dogs with dad last night for the first time in a long time.

I’m tired. Always tired. My hip hurts and it’s hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. This sweet baby wanted to knead my arm with her claws last night…

Really not conducive to sleeping. I think I need some sort of cocoon for sleeping that keeps pokey cats out and cushions all the painful old parts of the body and blocks the sounds of dogs panting and mockingbirds chirping and neighbors dragging trashcans around and isn’t really hot or cold…I’m building this thing in my head and it’s got noise-canceling powers and looks like a pillow fort. Seriously.

OK. Not sure all that’s happening today. It’s the man’s birthday, so dinner out at least, and the niece leaves, so IDK whether we will see her today, and maybe I should shower and have more tea and that would help with the sleepy part. And maybe the brain-working part. Hard to say.

Cutting Things Out…

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

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

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

Then I sorted them last night…

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

I’m still trying to finish quilting this piece…

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

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

I also did this…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We did walk along the beach down there as well.

And then came up the steps…

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

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

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

But they’re glad to have the man home.

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

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

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

Up and Down and All Around

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is about 6 hours in…

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

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

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

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

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

Good Wontons

My to-do list is still long, but it’s all house- and yard-related…and art. All good things and/or things that need doing. Calling an electrician is on my list for today. Not my favorite thing to deal with, but we’ve accumulated some electrical needs over the last year and I think it’s time. Installations and replacements…need to get done. We’re also rearranging the plant material on the deck and adding some new shelves to try to block more of the neighbors’ pool and kid noise. Probably not really possible to block the noise, but I want to try. But it means I need a lot more plants and smaller or shallower pots for the shelves. I’m starting by looking around my own property…I have lots of empty pots lying around and just need to find, move, add dirt, and locate plants. There’s plenty of work that needs doing…just trimming and weeding would take tons of time…add in planting and moving shit around. I also need to clean out my closet this summer. Really not looking forward to that. Everyone I know did it during COVID, but I didn’t feel motivated. I don’t really feel motivated now, except that I need more room and there’s only one way to get that. Get rid of stuff! Not a bad plan.

Last night was the first one with an empty house again…boychild at his dad’s, man on the trail. Just me and three cats, who were surprisingly quiet. Right now, one of them, Ms. Adventurous, is kamikazing through my fabric in the office as I type, tryna make trouble. The dogs aren’t here yet, so she’s just exploring. For Luna, exploring means knocking stuff over. This room needs organization and cleanup for sure. I have a remodeling plan for this room, and I technically could afford to do it this summer, but I’m not dealing with remodeling this year. Maybe next summer. It needs a new floor and shelves and the wallpaper gone and the popcorn ceiling gone. Lots of work. The work is moving everything OUT of the room (oh god) and then moving it back in. Terrifying thought. Not one I can handle this year.

So artwise, I have a list that I have kept copying over and over, every day, into my bullet journal since my machine had to go into the shop in March. I was on a roll and then I wasn’t. Then I had a deadline and everything else got pushed out of the way. One of the things that got pushed was this little commission…this is the one my machine died on.

All it needed was the quilting and a finish. So I finished the quilting on Monday night…

And I trimmed it and finished the edge as well…I just need a hanging device on the back and a little label, and it’s done.

There are two more here that are in various stages that need finishing…one at the quilting stage and one at the stitchdown stage. So that’s one of my goals for this week. Not necessarily finishing them, but progressing on them at least.

Then obviously I’m working on the next deadline…

It’s another climate change quilt. I’m a little obsessed, I guess. It’s also pollution and general human wastage of the land.

But because of the design, I need to keep all the colors muted. This is very hard for me.

I have to keep reminding myself to put down the bright colors. There are some small sections that will be bright, but mostly this is a muted quilt. The pieces are small…so it doesn’t look like much. I’m actually not sure how far I am, because I keep pulling from later bins. I know I’m in the 100s, but have ironed a chunk of 200s, 300s, and even a few 400s. It’s looking good so far, at least in my mind.

Kitten likes to sleep in the green fabric drawer.

No, that’s not the only green fabric drawer. There are way too many green fabric containers.

Kitten basically follows me wherever I go. This is when I was reading on the couch.

She’s kneading the blanket. She’s very happy.

The other two are adjusting to their dad being gone again.

They’re back to sleeping with me at night and finding me for food reminders. Hey lady! Feed me. Pet me.

We also walked the little dog…

It was hot. You can tell by his tongue shadow. More of that to come, I’m sure. We leave the old lady behind. She likes walks but can’t go very far.

It’s summer, so it’s all about exercise. Here was my second trip to the gym since March 2020.

It’s nice. I missed it. Yes, I’m still wearing a mask. Don’t trust people or variants. So yeah, my exercise plan for the summer is gym, pilates, and hiking. All good.

And on Monday, the boychild and I made one of my favorite meals, time-consuming as all hell.

Can you guess which pan I did and which pan the boychild did? Hint: I’m not neat at anything I do.

They taste good either way. And I get about 4 meals out of my batch. Totally worth it. I just don’t generally have time for it during the school year. Tomorrow, I’m doing lasagne from scratch…same deal. Lots of time in it, but tastes so good. And then I can freeze it and eat it on those nights when I’m the only one here. Maybe not ALL those nights, but some of them.

Good stuff.

OK, it’s late morning now. I did eat and do some stuff this morning…not that I remember what I did, but I did it! I’m still in recovery mode, y’all. It takes at least a week after school gets out before I relocate my brain and start to function well. I have more errands today and even book club tonight. More ironing of fabrics will happen, more reading, more quilting hopefully, and more plant-related stuff. All trying to remember what it looks like to NOT be an incredible stress monkey because of my day job. The last year completely burnt out my brain. I need a break. Planting things and fixing things and ironing things and sewing things…all help. So do good wontons.