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…

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.

Queen of Workarounds

I hope you all had a decent weekend, that you got outside and maybe did something you wouldn’t normally do, as long as it was safe and socially distant and you’re not in a 2-week quarantine right now, waiting out the consequences of the doing. I didn’t really do anything different…just checked things off the to-do list and grocery shopped and ate and did some schoolwork and some art. The schoolwork means my hands hurt today, after a lot of mousing cut-and-paste bullshit that is just annoying and could have been avoided if the district were smarter, but will help my students. Some formatting, some moving stuff around, some formatting challenges because some dumbass coded something stupid because they aren’t an end user. It’s fine. I’m the queen of workarounds at the moment. Or as always. I’ve got one more for this afternoon. Woohoo! Exciting.

We learn every day, if we’re paying attention.

I’m really close to being done with the fabric-choosing portion of this gigantic quilt…I made it to the angels…which I decided should be wearing red and white polka dots. Well, the dots are red and background is white, but I had a pretty good stash of them.

I had this vision while walking Saturday evening of this almost clownlike costume, but referring to angels in white spattered with blood. I know. Dark. But you read it here, so if I forget it when someone asks me about it in the future, you will know.

At the end of Sunday night’s ironing, here’s where I was…

Honestly, I’ve been starting the process pretty late, just because of other things happening. Last night, I did the angels’ fleshy bits…

Pale with a tendency toward green and gray. I have a ton of boxes out right now that are full of fabric, but I picked new ones for this. I didn’t want them to look like the still-living figures in the quilt.

Here was my setup last night, sans Golden Retriever…

But with Kitten. Sometimes Calli lies just at the end of the ironing board, and I have to step over her to get to any of the fabric on that side of the room. I guess it’s good practice for balancing.

These are all the pieces that are left…eyeballs, hair, halos, and some medical accoutrement.

No masks on these. Only thing wearing a mask in the whole quilt is the skeleton.

Angels don’t need masks. They’re supernatural. Or dead. However you visualize that.

Almost there.

Angel faces, ready to be cut out. Hopefully I’ll finish ironing tonight. That would be good.

Dots! Sunday night…below the green spool…

and a closeup…the pink one with the blue flower.

Wait. I took a real closeup in daylight.

Ah, the cat hair in this thing.

I also took closeups of the previous two dots…mutated ladder stitch…

And this…

Then last night was a watermelon slice…under the black and brown ball.

The seeds are large…

Getting close to 2/3s done.

I also stitched down and put in a quilting line on the two small quilt tops I made for the Patreon reward…

I’m going to clean them up and finish the edges, and then send them off to the first three patrons who are at reward level…after supporting me for a year, they deserve it.

I also redrew the drawing from last Wednesday, fixing the head, during an anniversary party online.

I need to scan it and upload it for this month’s Patreon drawing. I had dogs with me the whole time…

And the man for a little while…

He’s watching the hummingbirds buzz around the feeder.

As always, the animals are ever present…Nova likes to destroy paper bags…

Luna’s death glare after being wakened from a cat nap…

Much as I look in the same situation, I’m sure.

And Simba, who will do anything for cuddles…

Including song and dance routines. He will be devastated when the girlchild goes back to Boston.

And this guy, with no name…

Because honestly, he’s probably bird food by now. I see plenty of these but never the cocoons. Too many birds around for that, I think.

OK, well it’s warm here, but at least I’m cheating the energy company out of electric dollars. I have one more class today, and then hopefully I will walk when it cools down. I have no idea what’s for dinner, but it’s probably going to involve some sort of leftovers or frozen thing. I STILL want cookies (yes, I know I could solve this, but it’s better if I don’t). I will sew a dot tonight and hopefully finish ironing, and then spend 20 or so hours cutting pieces out before I get to the next stage. It’s quiet today. My neighbor isn’t mowing or sawing anything and there are no screams of tiny beings in the air. So I’ll turn the fan on and hope I don’t fall asleep and miss class (makes up for my inability to sleep until well after 1 AM)…

Spread-Out Thinking

OK, what’s weird about all this pandemic stuff is that time is still flying by and I don’t have enough of it to get everything done. In fact, I don’t know how my co-teachers are doing everything they’re doing, especially those with little kids, because I can’t even see straight some days, there are so many things on the to-do list. I did schoolwork yesterday for a good chunk of time, maybe 10 hours, with a break to empty one composter and have lunch. Then I was back at the computer stuff, which I finally put up on the ironing board, put some music on, and bounced around a little, because the loss of daily movement is annoying.

It helped a little. I ended up sitting a lot though, just because some things are easier that way, plus if you think about the correct posture and hand/arm positioning (as someone who had a tendonitis on the way to carpal tunnel syndrome, I wonder how all this bad office seating will affect people), sitting is easier for that. I did briefly consider a treadmill desk and/or a treadmill, but shut that down in the crazy brain.

Speaking of crazy, despite deaths continuing and the graph still reaching upwards, San Diego is opening restaurants and malls. We had this discussion at my meeting last night…how many are ready to go back? Outside? Maybe? Even then, big groups of people outside makes me nervous. The mall? Geez. No. Why? I’m sorry if you have a business that was negatively affected by this. I’m sorry for lots of things right now that I have no control over…people dying, kids in bad home situations who are stuck there, people losing their jobs, people who are still in the hospital, the elderly in homes who can’t see their family. But let’s not make it worse?

Yeah. That. Wednesday’s drawing during the staff meeting.

I’m going to redo it slightly today or tomorrow for my Patreon. Her head bugs me. We’ll see how that goes.

Or not. I just don’t know. I like it. I may do a large one. Just because.

I cut these out the other night, so I can iron these two little babies together.

Need to finish these two this weekend so I can give my Patreon patrons a choice.

I finally finished the back of the cross stitch…so it can hang up in here now somewhere that the students can’t see it.

Looks good.

Before I could start ironing last night, I finally had to organize by color. It was driving me bonkers. There’s a lot of different fabrics in this thing.

OK. I remember starting this. I think it was almost 9 hours ago. Seriously WTF where do the days go and how? My brain is all spread out trying to think about where I was and what I was thinking 9 hours ago. Fuck if I know. I went to school and stood around and directed kids to and from the locker rooms to empty their PE lockers. Then I went and scored enough flour for at least a month. Well. You’d think that, but then everyone made bread and the house smells like bread but I don’t think I’m allowed to eat any of it. I worked outside for a good long time and then came in and did math, English, and science in Office Hours. Then I completely forgot that my regular stitching Zoom had been rescheduled to whatever fucking day today is, I really don’t know, so I was late logging onto that. And I ironed some little quilts that I’ll show you later, and then ironed some more fabric down for this big monster of a quilt…

And now it is 5:40 PM and I am totally exhausted. This was last night though…a variety of weird medical things that are in the coffin that is in my quilt.

It’s not the first time I’ve put a coffin in a quilt unfortunately. So this was last night’s progress…

There’s been more today, but I’m hoping there will be even more tonight and maybe I’ll even finish tomorrow and get on with the next fucking step.

Dots? Oh yeah. More dots. You’ll miss them when they’re gone. It’s the one under the green spool…

It was pretty easy…ooh…now it’s to the right.

But not as easy as last night’s dot…under the yellow-green spool…

All chain stitch, only two colors, although I started and then had to redo it.

Yeah there we are.

I exercised yesterday. Luna was perturbed. Those are my art supplies, but that’s the girlchild’s pile.

Exercise is important. By the end of the week, I don’t get much of it. I want more. But I’m way too tired right now.

OK. So. My goals for the day have changed somewhat. I’d like to finish ironing this quilt, but I’m not sure I have the stamina for that. I need to make my dinner. I need to finish this monster asshole of a progress report plan that our team came up with and I could totally reject, and certainly thought about it, but it will be easier for the next three weeks if I DO do it, so I do it. And sleep. Can I haz sleep? Yeah. That would be good. Oh wait. I forgot the puppy picture.

There you go. Now everything is better.

Pros and Cons

Well I’ve been trying to get this written all day, but 17 hours of Zoom meetings and notetaking and adjusting shit and grading crap and dealing with my crashing blood sugar and only getting 3000 fucking steps today has gotten in my way. I did 32 minutes of Pilates though dammit and that’s it, I’m calling it, fuck this day, man. While eating Spoonsize Shredded Wheat before dinner because I need to eat and IDK what I did wrong. Except stop moving enough and stare at a computer (TWO computers and a phone at the moment) for way too long.

Pros: I finished things.

Cons: I didn’t finish other things.

Really I’m much more positive when I write this first thing in the morning. Right now, I just want to build a pillow fort and climb in there with an adult beverage. (I should admit that I didn’t finish this by 4 PM like I wanted to, and it is now 10:06 PM and I’ve had a margarita. I don’t drink margaritas except like once every two years. So that might tell you a little bit more about today.)

So ironing has happened. Here’s what that might look like. This is actually ironing the heart. Not really red.

A little red. This heart has flowers.

MMMM. Strawberry shortcake delivery.

Leftovers from my Mother’s Day thing. This was Monday night. I got the snake ironed and the lungs.

Big addition in colors. I’m still dealing with all the bits and pieces up into the 700s that are part of the larger figure; not done. Nope.

This is slow. Especially when I’m not starting until 11 at night.

Here’s some tattoos I made. Well. On her arm.

I guess I wanted it to use all the blacks and whites I could. I ironed some scissors, a scar, a uterus, a tree and leaves, or maybe that was the night before.

This is 12 hours and 41 minutes of ironing shit down and I’m still not halfway. Laughing hysterically here.

I’ve been trying to catch up on dots since last week sometime. I even started in the afternoon.

And kept working…this is the coneflower…just under the yellow spool.

Which makes me think I need a different yellow. There’s the coneflower…it was nice and pretty easy to do.

I did not use that extra time to get caught up, unfortunately.

Here’s a closeup of the chrysanthemum from last week. Lots of cat hair in this thing.

It will take me a while to get that all out.

Then Monday night was the cup to the left of the white spool.

Although I did it last night, not Monday. Last night I caught up on the last two. It’s a nice cup.

And then yesterday’s was this abstract flower…just to the right of the orange spool.

That’s 44 done.

Halfway after tonight.

I also cut out fabric napkins for the household…8 sets of two from fabrics that are often a million years old.

Now I just need to hem them all. IDK when the fuck that will happen. But it will. Before we run out of paper napkins, which will be soon.

Other artsy shit I’m working on includes doing some drawings for my Patreon patrons…some of them are coming up to their one-year anniversary of their tier, which means I make them a square, either embroidered or quilted. I’ve done two drawings, and will probably do the bird with something besides WTF in there as well. I did each one in embroidery format and quilt format.

I’ll give my patrons a choice on their anniversary as to which one they want. I haven’t thought about mailing these yet. I should be able to do it from the house. They’re small enough.

I went on two walks on Monday and Tuesday, but none today. Interesting things going on…

I can’t explain all of them. The kids were working on Monday and Tuesday, and the old lady was really tired (the dog, not me), so I just took the little energetic one on Monday.

He is a pain in the ass. Wants to walk in the middle of the road.

I’m still in flower discovery mode, as always.

Love flowers.

Don’t know what most of them are. No worries. Though I want to draw that one.

I’ve been watching this one for weeks. It’s near the end of the walk and I photograph less at the end. Plus you can’t see the big-ass boy dog woofing it up at me on the other side.

He’s wagging his tail too, but I worry about this one neighbor (not the dog owner) who has yelled at me before. So I go quickly through that area.

I think these are from Tuesday, when the dogs were at my ex’s with the kids. Views of El Cap.

Or is that El Cajon Mountain? Not hiking it either way, I think. Will just admire it from here.

Dead flowers among the living. Flowers are just amazing in all their forms. Another view of the valley.

I walk the same space on a regular basis, see something new every time. The cudweed is now drying out.

Makes your dog smell like maple syrup. Freakin’ amazing lavender? I think.

Fascinating things, flowers.

Today’s exercise was Pilates with two pillows, a matt, and these.

I need some in-between weights. I thought I had some but I can’t find them. I forget regularly how good Pilates makes me feel. Do more. While I have soup cans.

Somebody (the boychild) put Simba on the chair. He thinks he can’t get down. He can.

Cats asleep…well mostly.

They sleep a lot during the day. Until you poke at them.

They are definitely getting bigger.

And the old lady, relaxing on the deck with me.

Girlchild bribed her with the pool on Monday so she didn’t know I took the little boy on a walk without her.

Anyway. Wednesday. Thank you for all that. That is sarcasm. Straight up. I have a dot to sew, I might get to iron around 11, I didn’t finish all the grade inputting because the district was fucking with my access (straight up, they were), I had so many tech things go wrong and so many questions and conversations were happening at the same time via Zoom, email, text, and Google Classroom that my brain is quietly spinning in another room, waiting for me to go to bed so it can ruminate about how unsuccessful that all was. I have my finger on a LOT of buttons right now, and one might be the Explode It All button, and none of them is the Easy button. Tomorrow will be better. I might be better too.

Notice Something New…

It’s Friday. And I sold a quilt! Woo hoo! Someone from Arizona saw Desert Daughter at the Front Porch Gallery back in January some time, and recently contacted the gallery and it sold! I’m very excited…here it is with Arline Fisch’s wired art.

It’s nice to have people buying work right now…although I will turn around and pay off part of the girlchild’s college loan with it…getting close to done with that, and then all the income from these sales will go into the fund to remodel the bathrooms and kitchen, which really really really need it.

I need to make another Daughter quilt when I finish this big one, which is nicknamed Rona at the moment. I laid out all the Wonder Under I’d traced…

So that’s about 11 yards…one of them isn’t full, but the rest are. That’s a goodly amount.

I started cutting them apart Wednesday night…and luckily, the kittens weren’t interested.

Somewhere in the middle of cutting these out…well, at 1 AM that night, while I was trying to sleep, my brain started to fixate on how freakin’ big this quilt is and that there’s no way in hell I have a background big enough for this, and I don’t really want to piece it, because the quilt has so much detail on it that making the background busy is not a good plan. I hate buying fabric online in this situation because I can’t see the color properly. But one of my local quilt shops is doing one-on-one appointments. I can do that. I texted the owner and I have an appointment (with a mask and maybe gloves?) next Saturday. I need 5 yards for the background and if I’m smart, I’m going to find a couple of possible bindings and buy them too, because I’ll need a yard and a half for that. Fewer trips, better…much as I love fabric, it’s not necessary to be shopping regularly for it.

Thursday afternoon was my weekly stitch-in via Zoom. I actually did schoolwork for the first 45 minutes, but then sat there and cut out a yard of Wonder Under, yard number 2…

Not the most comfortable cutting space, but whatever…does two yards look different than one?

Hard to say…nighttime put me on the couch for yard number 3…

My hand hurts after switching to cutting, but it’s OK…only 8 yards to go…

Three yards seems to fill up the box a bit. I’ll probably get done with these sometime early next week, then sort them, clean my office, and start picking fabrics by next weekend. I’m hoping.

There’s been a ton of overwhelming work stuff going on this week, the second official week of teaching online. Wednesday and Thursday were crazy busy with work and meetings and to-do lists and texts. At some point, overwhelmed was all I felt. Today is better, but now I have to prep a ton of stuff and forms and shit for next week. I’m trying to keep Saturdays free of work, but that’s getting harder.

This was Thursday’s (? or was it Wednesday’s?) attempt to collect data from all the science assignments for all 160 kids…

There are pros to this…I remember how to be outside…although when the high 90-degree temps hit next week, I will NOT be out here.

Another pro…seeing kids in video! I totally miss this kid.

I was so happy to see her. And her happy brother.

I finished stitching the Nasty Woman cross stitch in staff meeting number 1 on Wednesday…

It’s been washed and needs to be ironed and finished into the hoop provided. Then it can go on the wall in my office under my Feminist AF hoop. Where the kids can’t see them.

I worked on this drawing a little bit during that meeting as well.

She has a head now…still not done. This is relaxing too. Seems like Calli is more relaxed than I am…

I had to go get her arthritis meds from the vet, who have a very good setup.

No interaction with other dog/cat parents. Super easy.

There’s not much on my destinations or events at the moment…

Although my phone knows when Summer Break is…it will feel much different this year.

Still sewing dots…Wednesday night was a butterfly…with the metallic thread being a pain in the ass…

Mine got all twisty and had to be stitched down.

And then last night’s…the dot wasn’t quite round, which became very apparent in the stitching…

I ripped the Palestrina knots out once, because I couldn’t get them to go down the middle…finally just left it the second time…

It’s the one on the far right…not round. Oh yeah. Oh well. Butterfly is wonky too.

OK. So what else? Girlchild is socializing with the puppy, who is kinda bitey.

All of us need a chiropractor and/or masseuse. I found an old electric massager (circa 1960-something…came with my house), but everyone is scared of it. I’m not. We also have an amazing stash of heat pads and creams for such types of pain.

This plant is in my yard. I don’t know what it is.

But it probably needs to be planted for real and not just half-assed shoved in a pot.

Speaking of that, I’ve walked three days this week, with the goal each time of noticing something new, a plant I haven’t seen or hasn’t been blooming…this was a great find…

We have agave, but not this type, so I shoved that babe in my pack.

Man that’s bright…

And this is sweet…

Gotta keep those eyeballs open…

Plus it’s good for me to get outside and moving after spending hours sitting in front of a computer.

These guys are either napping intensely or rampaging intensely.

It’s difficult to keep up.

So my goals today include trying to get all the schoolwork I can get done…done. Filling out forms, fixing typos, setting up online posts, attempting a new form of organization to support the kids (and me!). Also I need exercise today. Pilates would be a good choice. I’m also gaming tonight, but will be cutting out Wonder Under as well. Maybe I’ll draw. Maybe I’ll nap (that sounds really good at the moment…REALLY GOOD). Stay safe, stay well, buy some art, make some art, get outside if you can and just soak up some of that Vitamin D. With sunscreen. Seriously.

Taking Scallions for a Walk…

Good news! First of all, I finally finished all that tracing. I haven’t counted the yards of Wonder Under yet, but I will today…I suspect there’s at least 10 yards, maybe more. It was late when I finished last night, and I did have to spray a cat with water twice to finish the last 200 pieces, but I was motivated and she still liked me afterwards (because pets and belly scratches are nice), so we’re good.

I started tracing 11 days ago…

It took 23 hours and 25 minutes to trace 1541+ pieces…

I had to negotiate with kittens, working around my job and their naptimes.

Some days, I only traced for 40 minutes; some I traced for 4 hours.

The next step is to cut them all apart. That’s time-consuming, yes, but I’m hoping it will be less dependent on kitten behavior. We’ll see about that.

I also managed two Sue Spargo dots…still keeping up with one a day. Bottom left…

There’s supposed to be a tiny button in the middle, but…

I forgot about that and kinda like it the way it is. I might find an interesting bead that fits. I had to make it into a flower, because I miscounted the outer fly stitches. I was sure I had an even number. I was wrong. This is why you count twice.

Last night was number 30, the owl, so I am now one third of the way through this…

Here’s the owl again…

I didn’t think it was all going to fit…the key is to just make really small stitches.

My next step is to put all these away. I organized by color…they are (1) the fabrics from the last quilt, (2) stuff I bought just before we shut down, (3) stuff my SIL sent when she was cleaning out her cupboards, and (4) stuff I bought online in the last few weeks. Now to use it all!

Clean first. Use later.

I made it on two walks…it’s definitely cooler than last week, although still warm.

I’m tired of the road. I like walking out in nature. That kid bike was not there in the first picture, but was left there by the time we headed back.

The heat and distance were a bit much for the old lady…

So I let her swim a little afterward. This dog LOVES the pool.

I’m glad someone uses it.

Wildflowers are everywhere. Tuesday, I walked a bunch of scallions over to my daughter at her dad’s house. She’d forgotten them.

Take dogs for a walk? Or take scallions for a walk? Hard choice.

Weird seed pod…

It looks violent.

These cacti are starting to bloom.

But none of the flowers were close enough for pictures. These were…

It was the old lady’s 11th birthday yesterday…

She’s a good girl.

Although a little persistent about the pool thing.

So I’ve done two Zoom meetings so far today…three to go. Ugh. The next three are Boom Boom Boom.

I wish I could be a cat.

I think I’d be a better sleeper if I were a cat. Although apparently I’m not allowed to pee alone.

They really are like little kids. Although…my old lady is in here with me.

Because she follows me everywhere. She brought me three slippers last night.

I don’t know where the fourth one is.

OK, the girlchild is still cooking up a storm…she made English muffins from scratch and they are wonderful…

Especially this one she burned accidentally but that looks like a skull…

She also made cookies, and then photographed them…

Like you do.

And she made pancakes and froze them so I can have them for breakfast…which is awesome.

Plus she scored toilet paper at Costco this morning, so we are set for a couple of months, hallelujah, it’s all good.

OK, three meetings in a row, out by 5 PM? I freakin’ hope so. Then cut some stuff apart. Actually, I may start doing that in the last meeting, although I need to take notes. Ugh. Two computers? Stuck in my office? I’m hoping to do two of the meetings outside. Need some Vitamin D. Do Not Like These Meeting Wednesdays.

I Remember Ye Well…

Mondays are different now. They still feel like Mondays. Sundays are still crazy prep for school, can’t fall asleep because I keep running through how it will all go in my head, literally talking through the script to make sure I’ve got it. I write down the basics, a to-do list, in the morning before my first class, but it still feels crazy, like I’ve never done this before, like I’m gonna fuck it up. Seventeen years in. It’s fine. Really. I’m doing better this week than last week. We have learned from our travails. It will get easier. But normally, by this time of year, we’d have it down, we’d be teaching stuff we know backwards and forwards, and life would be chill. Well, as chill as it ever gets during the school year. Not so this year. This year, not so chill.

Saturday, I spent a good chunk of the day tracing Wonder Under for the new quilt…but first, I had to persuade this sweet asshole (the cat, not the man. He’s sweet. Not an asshole.) to get off the light table. I did record some of the tracing for my Patreon and posted that to my patrons yesterday, just to get an idea of how this works.

It was hot Saturday, so the cats did a lot of sleeping and let me do a lot of tracing…

Well. Eventually.

I’ve got about 8 yards of Wonder Under being filled up at the moment…I started in the 700s on Saturday…

Yes, sleep. Good kitty. And your little sister too…

Although Sunday, they were back to How Can We Be in the Way…

Sunday was a busy day, though, so I didn’t have a chance to trace anything until after 11 PM. Before that, I had an art group Zoom…

Where somehow I got corraled into posting a bunch of stuff…we’ll be doing an art exhibit of masks. So I’ll have to make another one. Apparently.

I also need to start making my Patreon rewards for sticking with me a year. Those are coming up soon. Back to the tracing…I have about 17 hours in and I made it to the low 1000s last night. Getting closer to done! But today is busy and needs to include exercise, plus three meetings/classes, so that’s a lot.

This is Saturday’s dot…it’s upside down in this picture. I really like this one.

Here it is again…right side up…the bottom one.

So much cat hair on black. Haven’t thought about how I will finish this…almost want to stretch it on a frame maybe. We’ll see. Quilting it would be a pain.

Then Sunday’s…wow. What a time-consuming bitch of a beautiful sunflower (you can’t see what I had to do to fix some of those picots).

Luna assisting…

My fingers smelled like the compost. Exciting stuff.

Nice sunflower. Took about 3 hours, I think. Maybe 2 1/2. Couching plus french knots plus picots. Wowza.

Here’s the month of May in my bullet journal, for those who like to see reality plus imperfection.

(The wine was not a factor…I did this earlier). Thursdays don’t really need bigger boxes. Plus document the shit we’re going through. This is how I keep track of life…monthly, weekly, daily. It keeps me on track.

Anyway, it’s all good. I also did some yard work. My goal was to fill two greenery trashcans a week, and I only got one filled, because of the heat. This week will be cooler. I can try again. My grading is done for now…one more thing to do after tonight. I want to be done with tracing by Friday…that’s about 100 pieces a night. That seems doable, although with the heat, the kittens are rampaging around when it cools down, which is when I have time to trace. After this, I cut things out, which will be much easier to do whenever and wherever. I need to decide if I have a suitable background fabric here soon, but ordering that stuff is so hard for me online. Colors are off. I bought a few before all this shut down…in person…ah, fabric stores. I remember ye well. Plus exercise today. I said that already, but I really need it. The heat really threw me. Hope ya’ll are well. I’m tired. We all are, for a variety of reasons. I’m lucky to have people around me who do things. Sometimes.

Stop Saying It…

It’s Saturday. I have declared it a Zoom-free day. Seriously Zoomed out. I do have school stuff to do, but I shifted it until tomorrow. Tomorrow has a Zoom meeting and grocery shopping, so it’s already messy. Today should just be clean and quiet and peaceful. I wish it were cooler so I could walk…maybe I will pull that off later, but it might interfere with dinner. Sigh. I haven’t walked since Tuesday, I think, because of the heat and circumstances of over-Zooming.

I’ve decided that no one can say “I think I had COVID-19 already”. No more. Stop saying it like it’s a good reason to go out and infect people or not. Unless you’ve been tested and you know. Two of the teachers at my school did a small parade for students, which is cool, but they did it IN THE SAME CAR. With no masks. Idiotas. Seriously. What are you thinking? Masks will be mandatory in public starting next Friday here…they’ve been mandatory for essential workers so far and suggested for the public. I’m glad…maybe my grocery store will enforce the sign about masks being required that is in the window now. I’m scared of this thing…scared for me and my friends and family. I hope we all get the super-easy version or even the not-so-super-easy version, where we just feel like shit for a month and then recover. That’s easier than the hospitalized version or the ventilator version or the dead version. But just because you’re healthy and only 30-something doesn’t mean you can’t get it. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

So yes, I remain paranoid. No news there.

I’m currently waiting for the kittens to nap. Yesterday they napped most of the day, and I managed tracing between Advisory and Office Hours for about an hour or so, and then a little bit in the afternoon before they woke up again. Bastards. Nah. They’re cute. Just annoying around big pieces of paper. This was Thursday afternoon’s Zoom, where I didn’t talk much but traced for about two hours. Luna was awake but that was at the end, so I put it all away again.

Calli hangs out with me when she’s here.

It’s gotten really warm in the last few days…this corner of the house gets hit by morning sun, so it can be really warm there.

I’m glad I put LED lights in, because they give off no heat.

I’m in the low 700s, so still not even halfway. It’s not a quick process. I am done with tracing Figure number 2 now, so it’s on to Figure 3.

Last night, I didn’t trace because nobody would chillax and nap. Kitten isn’t the issue. She won’t attack the paper and she moves when I tell her to. Luna? Not so much.

So there’s progress, but it’s slow.

I’ve moved school all over the house this week. Mostly I’m at the desk near the light table, but it was too hot on Friday for that…so I moved into the office. Two computers, only one with a webcam. Plus cat.

It’s crowded in here, not ideal.

I spent a good two hours dealing with video classrooms, then another couple hours putting together the parent email and organizing stuff for next week, making posts and fixing the playlist. So it’s notionally less time than with normal school, but it feels hard right now. I need a better routine. Trying to find everyone’s scores in four different programs, soon to be six? It’s a pain in the butt. Chasing kids down via text and email and phone calls? Also a pain. Explaining the same thing 42 times? No different than in the classroom. I just can’t point to it or show them how as easily. Plus sitting and not moving around is hard for me.

So there’s all the whining out. Again, glad to have a paycheck. Glad to see kids showing up and trying. Love hearing parents say stuff about us in Spanish. I feel for the kids who are dealing with baby brothers and sisters while trying to concentrate on probability and context clues. It’s hard.

Still doing dots…here’s Thursday night’s…

It was a lot of thread colors…just to the right of the cat head.

It took me about an hour and a half while on a stitching Zoom.

Then Friday’s, while on a teacher Zoom…social…apparently…sort of…

It was a simple one, hallelujah…the one right above the blue thread.

It’s a little blurry. Nighttime photography. Ugh. When I finished that, I worked on this some more. It’s not hard…

I’ve got to put some leaves in and I’m done.

On Thursday night, because the kittens weren’t chilling out, I started drawing my April Patreon drawing.

And finished it last night. Today I’ll scan it and clean it up, and post it soon.

I still need to figure out the video for this month and that Space Cat video. Haven’t had the time or mental energy for that.

We need to use the pool more…Simba doesn’t like it, but he does a good doggie paddle.

Calli loves it and would go in every day if she were allowed…

She doesn’t like hot.

I don’t either. I need a better bathing suit though. I don’t like mine.

Kitten enjoys mommy time every evening when I’m stitching or tracing.

These are growing in my yard…fascinating flowers. The leaves poke your eyes out though.

Last photo is the pile of Jane Sassaman fabrics I got in a box from her, mostly discontinued I think. She was cleaning out her studio/stash and offered these up (for money…she’s not crazy)…and I went, hells yeah. I tend not to buy a lot of this type of stuff, because it’s harder to use in the quilts I make, but I’m going to make an attempt.

Why not? Change it up.

So today…some exercise, some tracing, sew a dot, get a dinner from somewhere, and probably watch a movie. Don’t Zoom. Don’t think about school. Don’t think about stupid people who aren’t considering getting sick. Go look at some flowers. Maybe do some yardwork…at least pick up the stuff I cut last night while trying to get the sprinklers to work better. In the dark. Very effective. Stay well, y’all, and stay the fuck home.