The Whole Week on Me

Long weekends are nice…even when they are long weekends that are filled with work of all kinds. Hopefully some of the work will be artistic. That’s the plan anyway.

I picked up my quilts from the photographer after school…and then spent way too long trying to name one of them. I had a really good name at one point, but I didn’t write it down anyway, so it’s lost. This is Each Piece Belongs

It’s about 51″ square. I finished it relatively fast, considering all the other crap that was going on.

This is Desert Daughter, which I was working on earlier this summer and then the binding sat around unsewn for quite a long time until I realized it was easier to take two quilts to the photographer at once.

She’s 40” w x 34” h. I’ll get both of them posted in official places on here soon.

When I got back to the house, we kamikazed out to walk the beasts. I think in the long run, I need to transition back to walks on Mondays instead of Fridays. Fridays are tiring. Mondays are too, but I don’t have the whole week on me as well.

It was definitely warm out.

Some guy was wandering around with a backpack that had what looked like arrows poking out of it and a device that is not a pickaxe but looks like one to the ignorant, such as me. Boychild gave me a rundown on pickaxe-like equipment (it was not a pickaxe), which makes me wonder what he does in his copious spare time. We so rarely see people on this hike, and this guy was especially strange.

I had a to-do list a mile long last night: entered a show, packed up a quilt to be delivered today, wrote a bio for today (well, edited one), printed it, washed this and ironed it…then thought about the samples for the class in November, pulled some stuff out and then realized…

How deeply buried the stuff I needed was, and gave up. Tomorrow I will try again…or maybe tonight. This class thing is outside my wheelhouse. Not entirely, but it’s not how I normally roll. I’ll get there…it’s all about trying new things and seeing whether they can help support the artist as she ages. I can’t teach forever, but odds are, I will still need more money coming in for at least 10 years after I retire. Which is scary, sure. But at least I have some options. The Man says he’ll be a Walmart greeter. He is much nicer than I am, so that could be true.

I do have a drawing that I need to post on Patreon today. I had started it earlier this week, but last night, I sat down and watched some Orange Is the New Black and finished it up…with puppy assist.

Patreon patrons will be seeing this later today. It’s about the Amazon rainforest burning. Sigh. Stupid politicians who do stupid shit. Or allow stupid shit to happen.

OK, heading off now to the San Diego Quilt Show to sit in the SAQA booth this morning. Stop by and say hi…I’m bringing some embroidery with me, in case I have stitching time. A girl can dream.

Hauling My Tired Self…

It seems I have forgotten how to sleep. Maybe it was the heat last night. Maybe it was the panting dog who woke me up at 1:48 AM to pee. I’m not sure I had actually slept at that point. I know my brain is in overdrive. I finally got up early because I have to move about 170 textbooks and put them in numerical order and then write them down on a bunch of rosters, all before school starts. Just to clarify, I have to do this for books that are no longer relevant, because my district screwed up and started the textbook process way too late in the NGSS transition, so we have no relevant textbooks. Plus the state of California is in the Dark Ages. We will only use these at the end of the year as a safe place for kids to search up pictures and definitions for ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’, because even if you give them a safe place on the internet to do that, you know some kid is gonna go rogue.

Yesterday was still a lot of talking. I’d like to reduce the talking please. And then a 2-hour staff meeting. Note to bosses: we stop listening mostly after the first hour. It’s just too much. Luckily I have the agenda with the links, so I can go back and wander through it when I realize there’s something I was supposed to be doing and I forgot. Usually that’s an oh shit moment. Luckily my team will support me by telling me I should have been listening, because they were on a sugar high with all the candy he provided, and I didn’t eat any of it, so I was crashing.

After all that, I drove to the photographer’s and dropped off two quilts. No, I don’t know what I’m doing next. Well, that’s not true. I got asked to teach a short workshop in November and I need to make a couple of samples for that. I should do that.

I’m also trying to finish this…I’m so close…

It will be done. There’s only a little bit of stitching left.

After dinner, I did a little school stuff and then I copyedited for an hour and a half. I got a good chunk of it done, considering how late it was. I quit at 11, though, and went to meditate. See, I was trying to deal with all that shit in my head, and I did a good job of meditating with the dog on my lap (lapward dog pose)…

And I was looking over some art entries, shutting my brain down, when both dogs started barking like the world was ending (it wasn’t) and my heart rate skyrocketed for I think no reason at all, but maybe a raccoon on the roof? I just don’t know. Nothing worth that level of barking.

Dude. You were asleep.

And you are a tiny idiot…

Seriously, the leaves are not attacking us. Neither is the wind. Or rabbits. The rabbit army has arrived! Nope. Not. He looks cute, but he’s really kinda crazy.

So my adrenaline went through the roof. That might have been part of my issue with the sleep. So much for a quiet calm exit to the bed.

I did not MAKE any art, except for the few stitches I took. I knew this would be a rough week. But I had three things due and now I only have two. This is good.

Here’s where the cat was hiding yesterday. Can you see her?

Cats are weird. But much quieter than those two dogs.

Girlchild posted this yesterday. I was jealous.

Not that I should be eating a quarter of that…

I came home to this weird pack of butterflies…

They were all flying around each other, possibly mating, sure, but then they all settled down on the leaves. They took off as soon as I got closer. Do butterflies hang out in packs? I just don’t know. Something for the Wonder Wall…

OK, work today is all about safety. Yesterday I taught the difference between ‘quiet’ and ‘silence’. Exciting stuff. Tomorrow is Mars though! That is exciting. I will be copyediting some more tonight. And every night this week, I think. I might get to the gym tonight. That would be nice. I might decide what quilt I’m going to do next. Hard to say. I should probably decide what I’m doing with the class samples first. First, this morning, I head out to move books. Hauling my tired self in.

The 7,000 Things…

I created a post this morning and filled it with pictures, because I think I thought I would sit there at lunch or in a quiet moment at school, taking a break from the prep crazy, and I would write some short pithy (doesn’t pithy mean short? well, sort of) amazing blurbs to go along with the pictures. Oh yeah. Ha ha. Laugh all you like. It’s 5 PM and I’m writing it now. Welcome to my world.

I was up early, taking the girlchild to the airport, sending her back to Boston, which is her home, as is San Diego. We will miss her…especially this guy…

I had to be at school early anyway. My brain wasn’t working well though.

I forgot about this. One of the professional learning things last Friday was a few sessions on self-care. One of them was adult coloring. Well I didn’t think much of the coloring pages they gave us, so I drew on top of the one I grabbed.

Hey, one thing I KNOW is self care, dammit.

I finally finished the edges on this. Now it can go.

Ah yes. Coming home to sleep. I’m surprised there’s no puppy there.

This is how far I got on this on Friday…

Pretty good for one day. Of course, I was paying attention to all the talking. In fact, I pay BETTER attention when I’m drawing or stitching. So there.

Yesterday’s hawk in the tree outside my office window.

He was eating something. Ripping it to shreds. Hopefully it wasn’t the bunny who hangs out by the pool. That thing is large.

So my goal yesterday was to finish the stitch down on the quilt. I had started on Saturday. Or Friday. I don’t remember. I really only did the border parts.

My Patreon people will get to see me stitching on this week’s video. I’m not sure how exciting that is, because I didn’t sew through my finger. I have before, but not yesterday. So no blood.

This is what Kitten does while I sew.

It’s noisy. I stopped at the halfway mark and did some dinner prep for the parentals. Looks good, eh?

I always forget to take family photos. So there’s three generations of women and a male puppy. Who is turning 4 and is not a puppy at all.

I should remember to take more of those. That’s me, my daughter, and my mom, by the way. In case you don’t know.

Blurriness means movement. Boychild is trying to dehair the parental dog. Katie’s not having it.

She sheds these giant fluff balls. It’s disturbing. For all of us.

There’s dad in the background with an incredibly spoiled dog.

Oh yeah. He’ll miss her.

When we got back, I started on the second half. I was hoping to finish, and in fact, I sped through it…

Stitch down never takes very long, but in this case, it was only 3 1/2 hours. Nice.

The back is always interesting. (Oh yeah…I have some of the embroideries that I didn’t send to the guy who’s selling the patterns, and I think I’m going to try to either hoop them or finish them in some other way, if hooping doesn’t make sense. This is one of them. Although this one would hoop easily. I’ll put them on Etsy when I’m done. Although they were not fast, so they also aren’t cheap.)

See, you can see the other side in simplified format.

Crazy really. And then I cover it up.

This is officially the last big quilt that will have this fabric on the back of it. I had yardage that I found in a box in the girlchild’s room, and I think this is the third quilt that has it on the back.

It’s some batik from ages ago. Yeah, I had time to piece a backing and pinbaste it. Impressive.

AND I went to bed early. Because early wakeup call.

Well then school. I need another three days to be ready for kids. But they arrive on Wednesday. So that’s not happening. Could I have kids in my room tomorrow? No. Wednesday? It’ll be fine. I’m panicking slightly. I have 120 yards of blue tape. My co-teacher might have just bought 78,000 marshmallows. Neither of us should be allowed out into the world. It’ll be FINE. I’ve been saying it all summer. Tonight I’ll start quilting, but first I need to do like 7,000 things and then cook dinner. Plus breakfasts. And lunches. But I’ll start with the 7,000 things. Apparently someone thinks I should PAY for the car I bought. And then people keep emailing me. I don’t know why.

I Always Need It…

Twenty-four-hour break from most of the world. I did check email. I rolled on social media. But I wasn’t home, where the quilt and the copyediting are currently making me breathe fast and panic. It’ll be OK! Seriously, brain. You can do this.

Hey, Simba is OK. He was attacked by a coyote and suffered a little bruising and one puncture wound…

In his side, not the neck, which means he was doing that roll-away-from-you thing he does when we try to catch his fast roly-poly ass. Good choice, pup.

I suspect they will keep a closer eye on him at the other house now. He was barking before he was attacked, so knowing his tendency to bark at everything that is bigger and scarier than him, he was probably barking at the coyote. He hasn’t stopped doing that, as my one night in Arrowhead proved.

Anyway, so we left a little late on Wednesday to get to the mountains, but we got there…a quiet night…

Some embroidery…

Oh yeah, one more thing that needs to be done by the end of this month. I’m taking it with me today to the first day back to school…it’s all sitting and listening, things I’m not particularly good at on a splendid day, and today is not a splendid day. My high-school history teacher will tell you that this will not be the first time I’ve brought some sort of hand craft to keep me awake during the droning of professional learning, and it certainly won’t be the last.

We got up, I went in to get my boating license (I was the only expired boater), and then down to the dock…where Calli got what she really wanted…water time.

She’s on the leash because her back leg is still gimpy, and she doesn’t swim very well any more. You can’t tell HER that though. Girlchild helped…

We spent the morning there, alternating on the kayak and just sitting around reading…

The parentals will probably be selling the cabin and dock in the next year…so we should enjoy it while we can…not sure what will happen to the canoe and the kayak.

We took advantage of both…

Girlchild probably has a million picture of the dogs…

Our attempt to keep Simba’s wound clean was not so successful. Warm compresses helped though.

Boychild takes off on the kayak as the girlchild and Simba watch.

I love the kayak…

I also love to draw…

I should have been stitching, but couldn’t focus…girlchild in the kayak…

We came back and ate lunch, went to the village briefly, and then went back to the dock. Why not enjoy the water and the breeze?

Cute kids…

Calli was hurting by the end of all of it, mostly because of the climb down to the lake and back out, a few steps (more than a few!)…we all got some reading time in.

My dad was up there with us…manning the dock box and making sure everyone had wine…

I think he’ll miss this place.

I finished the drawing…I think. Working on awkward limb placement is always a challenge, especially when you run out of paper at the bottom…

In other news, here’s my piece Not Less Than at the 22nd International Open at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL…

Through the end of the month. Glad she made it there.

With that, I need to make it to school to start the 2019-2020 school year. Wish me luck. I always need it.

Both Sides of One Coin…

What a morning. I’m up! Not packed, not ready, showered, but the laundry wasn’t dry (long story, my fault for not changing the thingie and it took 10 minutes for me to figure out how to change it because I hadn’t had my tea yet). Simba got bit by a coyote this morning…not here, but at my ex’s. He’s OK, but I need puppy cuddles. We’ll pick him up from the vet later and hopefully he will run next time. Calli apparently went after the coyote (oh great, 10-year-old gimpy Golden Retriever). We do live with the wildlife here and need to respect it and then yell at it and spray it repeatedly with a hose so it won’t come back. I actually occasionally buy wolf urine pellets and sprinkle them about the edges of the property. I don’t know if it works…but I haven’t seen them on my property (just down at the end of the driveway) in a while. He’s OK! That’s the takeaway.

Not a current picture. I haven’t seen him yet. Today, we’re supposed to be driving to Lake Arrowhead. I’m only up for a day, because I have to be at school on Friday. Sigh. I was at school yesterday…got in there and had no desks, so I moved a few things out of the hallway and then started pulling stuff out of cupboards. At some point, one of the custodians started bringing desks in.

Ironic because I had already gotten an email from one of the Assistant Principals about using my tables to sort Chromebooks. I’m like SURE! What tables? Anyway. I’m not there today or tomorrow, so just don’t leave a mess.

We’re doing a portfolio thing this year, so I needed new things. New system. Originally they were not in rainbow order, but my brain rebelled and rainbowed them.

Can’t help it.

My boards aren’t done. I haven’t found everything. My tech isn’t set up. Did I mention I haven’t found everything?

I spent a couple of hours trying though…there’s two prep days next week, so hopefully I will be more prepared after that. Right now, it just feels like chaos. All this stuff and the stuff on the other side had to be locked up because of summer school.

The plus is that I toss stuff at the end of the year, and then I toss more stuff at the beginning of the year, because I’m like, why the fuck did I keep this? But then I keep stuff for 16 years and I don’t know what to do with it. Anyway. More to do. Honestly, it’s less about what I do to decorate and organize and more about what I do with the kids. I always remember that part.

As part of the new-year resolutions, I’m reading this book about burnout. It’s called Burnout and it’s by Emily Nagoski, but this caught my eye.

It’s the science part I like. A good way to start the new year anyway.

Calli agrees.

Resting up. Literally.

Two caterpillars yesterday on the milkweed. I haven’t seen a lot of caterpillars…lots of butterflies though, so that’s good.

Lots of aphids.

So I copyedited a good chunk of the afternoon. Lots more left to do. I’m copyediting a book about trauma-sensitive schools and one of the stories set me off yesterday. I work with a lot of traumatized kids. It’s hard sometimes. Hence the burnout book.

And then I ironed a bunch…

I was trying to finish last night…worked on the other side…

She was fussy…and I had to iron both sides together on the floor…it was too big for the ironing board.

Then I went back and did the hands. They’re holding hands. You can’t have light without dark. Not good and evil. Not good and bad. A spectrum. Working together. Both sides of one coin. Coyotes and domesticated dogs. Teaching and art. Or something like that. Anyway…I wanted to get it on a background, but I needed to piece that and it was already after midnight. And right now, I need to leave in about 15 minutes to deal with the girlchild’s hair and then hopefully get the puppy and go to the mountains. I might get to this Thursday night, depending on how late I get back. I NEED to get it done.

I honestly have no idea what I’m working on next. That’s weird. Huh. OK. Well then. I’ll have to think about that while I’m traveling. Lots of driving, that’s for sure.

In Fragmented Bursts

Up early for a class. Mostly my brain is working, but in too many directions at once. For example, I’m typing this while waiting for breakfast to cook, and I’m remembering something I didn’t put in my bag, plus I don’t know if the boychild ate my goldfish, but I can’t find them (the cracker ones, guys, chillax), but if I’m going to remember to put that thing in my bag, I need to stand up right now and do that, but that’s exactly what they tell you NOT to do, because multitasking like that, in fragmented bursts, is really inefficient and you really don’t get as much done, so I’m going to try REALLY HARD to remember to put that thing in my bag when I get up to get my breakfast, which will happen when the timer dings. In preparation for the ding and the remembering, my shoulders just tightened up and I stopped breathing, which is also not good for relaxing or remembering or anything really except keeping you from sucking in water if you just jumped into a pool.

I packed everything for this class but food yesterday. And that one thing that needs to go in my bag. Honestly, I’ve sort of been packed since last week, except for bits and pieces. I always wish they’d explain why you need stuff in workshops. Like when you say “paper towels”, is that a whole roll? Is it just one that I’ll need to wipe my face at the end of a long day? Is it for glue? Is it because you’re going to give me treats? WTF is it for? There’s nothing in this class list that explains the use of paper towels. And if I pack them and I don’t use them, I’m gonna be irritated.

Anyway, I’m driving across town and if I left right now, I’d be more than an hour early, but it would only take 30 minutes to get there. As I get closer to the time it actually starts, it takes longer and longer to get there. Weird time dynamics. I am looking forward to a burst of non-project-related creativity though. I’m not looking forward to working creatively with people I don’t know (I know the teacher)…that gives me anxiety. But I will get over it and may even enjoy some of them. That’s my hope anyway.

So yesterday, we had no access to our road…it’s a private road, which just means we have to maintain it (aka pay for it) and it’s not even really two lanes wide, which is fine, because mostly then people stay off of it.

So my car had to be parked down the hill and around the corner, which is a bit of a hike…I did that yesterday morning to go get the dogs for their post-surgery checkups. Simba is fine, feisty as usual. Doesn’t like the vet. Doesn’t like big dogs. Calli is still a little rough in the walking arena, but that’s arthritis and not the surgery, and she got her stitches out! Yay! No more cone…

As long as we can keep her off this area…(innovative uses for old soccer socks)…

Girlchild was not thrilled that we cut up her sock for this, but I figure after 4 years, if a soccer sock was left here, it’s not one she really cares about.

The guys also did my driveway, which hasn’t been sealed in probably 10 years…I’ve been patching cracks, but so did they…

And then they swooped in with the sealant and made quick work of my behemoth of a driveway…

Which reminds me, to get out of here, I’m gonna have to hike all the way down the hill in about 10 minutes. Yikes!

The rest of the day was filled up with minutiae and tasks and clearing the to-do list best as possible, but never enough, dontcha know that’s how it always is.

I did manage some of this…

The browns are different…although they don’t photograph well at night for that…

I totally went and got my breakfast because the timer dinged and I did not put the thing in the bag. SEE! See how much brain power I’m wasting on it right now. Sigh.

And then I drew on the Yin side for about an hour…getting closer to done. Maybe tonight?

I did actually plan to be done last night, but sometimes shit happens and you don’t get shit done. Welcome to my life.

OK, gotta get my butt in gear and get out of here…now the maps app is telling me 32 minutes, but the yellow areas are creeping up…hate traffic. Wish me luck. Wish me art.

You’re So Funny and I Kinda Like Your Band*

Happy Pride y’all! San Diego has two cool things every summer: ComicCon and the Pride parade. And I’m going to neither of them. Ah well. Enjoy if you’re there…

There’s something about the routine of school that keeps me more on task. I guess it’s because my available time is so short…and there are a lot of things that I just let fall by the wayside during the school year. I rescheduled one of today’s events, which is good, because I might just get most of what I NEED to get done before I leave for Palm Springs tomorrow…there’s things that have been on the to-do list all week that still won’t be done, but I can’t help that. It is what it is. I’m not packed for the trip, and the food is an issue, that and the temperatures. Ugh. Hot. I am ready and packed for my class next Thursday and Friday though…priorities! It’s an art class and I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t often take classes any more. This is my summer treat.

Anyway, before that, I need to get my teacher ass (and brain) to Palm Springs with appropriately casual and cool (temperature) clothing. More importantly, I need enough stitching for the the drive up and back. Seriously. That’s important.

Yesterday was busy, but productive. I’m trying to figure out my retirement…yes, it’s at least 10 years out, but I have bits and pieces of funds and plans all over the place from being self-employed, privately employed by multiple companies, and publicly employed. Talk about chaos. I just want to know if I will be able to afford to retire…like ever. So I’m working on that. Yesterday was the first step in getting that managed.

We walked the little dog…the big dog is still not physically up for that. It’s possible that she thinks she up for it, but that back leg is still not in compliance. It was pretty hot yesterday, so the boychild picked a location I hadn’t been to before, but that has a significant amount of shade. It’s good that it did, because the heat kicked my ass at one point.

I haven’t drawn the superhot hot flash woman yet. Maybe while I’m sitting in a hotel room at night? Who knows.

So this is Oakoasis County Preserve, which isn’t far from here and isn’t a long hike, around 2 1/2 miles, but that’s a good dog distance, especially when it’s hot.

There are still lots of flowers…

But things are definitely drying out. And there were bees buzzing so loudly it sounded dangerous…

The Cedar Fire came through here, so the brush is about 16 years old…

But the oaks for which it’s named are still standing…ah shade! It’s about 15 degrees cooler under there than out in the sun.

And fungus!

I’m fascinated by these…

The shapes and colors, plus their ability to grow on something that is dead in the full heat of East County.

Nature is so cool. That’s why I keep drawing it.

Some parts of the trail obviously have more access to water than others…

This tree is dead now, but forced itself out of the center of that rock…


We went in the late afternoon…there’s a peek of San Vicente Reservoir…

Nice to see water when it’s so hot out.

We haven’t been hiking…dogs recovering from surgery, plus hot, plus chaos. Next week is the worst for that (chaos) this summer…but on the 22nd, I think it all mellows out. A bit. So hopefully we’ll find some cooler weather and hike a bit more.

Nice meadows…

And flowers…

And more fascinating fungi…pretty sure the one below is a gall…so pretty though.

The boychild had seen California Horned Toads here a few weeks back, but we didn’t see any. They are funky little beasts.

So yeah, a short hike for the two of us who don’t like heat. We left this old lady behind.

She’s still searching out the best stick for throwing purposes. Even though none of us will throw anything for her at the moment.

Both of them want outside…

The two oldest in the house, I think…although a tie with Kitten, who’s turning 11 next month.

We got a lot of boxes yesterday…just for Satch.

He appreciates them…

I did eventually let the dogs out (I won’t babysit the cat outside…his daddy can do that) so I could try to draw the next embroidery pattern…I need something to stitch in the car.

Although it was warm out, the sun is not on the deck in the afternoon and it’s usually much cooler. There’s a breeze.

No. We won’t throw you a stick.

There’s a fire down on the border and we watched this helicopter transport water down there a few times…

The fire is 40% contained so far…mostly it’s on the Mexican side of the border. Good thing there isn’t a wall that would stop people from fighting the fire. Well, there might be in this part of the country. Walls don’t stop fires. People do. And defensible spaces. Anyway.

We came back and I did some of this during dinner. The never-ending embroidery.

It really is relaxing to stitch…I just know I need to get 6 done this summer, and I’m three weeks in and haven’t even finished one. Sigh.

So then I worked on that drawing again…

I added a snake and some other stuff later. I’m not sure I want everything I added though. So there might be some editing before I scan it for the pattern. Basically I’ll need to decide that today. I’m also going to add an embroidery page to my website so you can see them all. The patterns and kits with the threads I used are available on Global Artisans. Of the finished embroideries, one has sold and one is traveling with Global Artisans…the rest are available. They’re not cheap though…embroidery takes time.

It was late when I started working on the drawing for the next quilt. This is about 49″ square…

I wanted the bodies penciled in before I started in ink. I often just draw in ink with no pencil, but this is big and fussy enough that I wanted to be sure the main figures worked before I inked anything.

I added some ink last night, before realizing how late it was.

Oh yeah. Bedtime. Ugh. Too late. Animals don’t understand sleeping in. I think it’s because they just sleep when they want to…

Too bad really. I don’t know how much of this I’ll get done before I leave tomorrow, but hopefully some. I already have a post-it note with a list for today. I should get going on all that. Food, mop, pack, draw, computer stuff…

*The Fratellis, Stacie Anne