Not Feeling Super Magical

I’m overwhelmed. It’s funny, because I’m not even going to work. We haven’t even started online teaching yet. I just went to two Zoom trainings yesterday and sat through explanations and zoned out, because that’s what a lot of random talking does to me…meanwhile my brain is like, “Well, how is THAT supposed to work?” “How am I going to do THAT?” “What is THAT going to look like?” Much like everyone now is doing about whatever it is they did before and now are doing differently.

Here’s how I Zoom train…

Seriously though, if I have problems concentrating in these things where people natter on for an hour plus and it’s useless, it makes me look seriously at what I might do with my kids. I don’t do a lot of direct instruction in science…because they zone out. But this is a different world. And I’m not just teaching science. I’m barely teaching science. I’m teaching a bunch of other stuff, some of which I think is really lame. Sigh. OK.

So I didn’t get to draw on Monday at all. There was a lot going on during the day and then the kids required family time. Well, the girlchild did…the boychild showed up as well, but he never really requires it. At least not verbally. So I stitched instead. The plus is that I finished the damn road on Folk Tails

So I need to embellish a monkey and a hut, do some guinea hen legs, and then add a ton of grass and flowers. And I’m not allowed to make fun of the characters in Pride and Prejudice…though how can you NOT?

Maybe then I will learn to quilt wool, because this will be the third one of these that I will be finishing. Not any time soon…it also has borders…pretty simple borders, honestly, but they do exist. The other two are pinbasted and ready to go.

Yoga/exercise is difficult in this house without the animals being involved.

We’re lying down. They’re lying down. Monday night also meant doing the top middle dot.

I think the new threads I ordered are coming soon. I hope.

Last night’s was the trellis stitch one…it was so nice before I added the stuff on top that I wanted to document it.

And all the cat/dog hair that this piece attracts. It still looks nice with the stuff on top…

And here’s all 16 so far…

On Tuesday nights, the kids leave for their dad’s house, and the man doesn’t get home until late, because he’s working crazy shifts…so I went for a walk by myself…

It was finally warm today…

I know I’ll complain about it later, but it felt good yesterday.

Here’s where part of the flume trail fell down the slope with all the rain last week.

I got to climb past some major equipment to get here. I did get my three miles in though. Felt good.

Then I started dinner…some potatoes needed using up, so they needed to boil. While that was happening, I did this…

The start of a COVID-19 Earth Daughter. Turning out well. Plus I played some music and tried to ignore the screaming children outside. They eventually went in to bed. Plus it was ‘cold’. I heard them yelling about that. When it’s nice and warm, I should do this more. It’s peaceful. It helped me NOT think about school and how to do things and what kids need and how to get them that. I’m not feeling super magical at the moment.

I did finally get to the big drawing around 11 PM. It’s quieter then. The cats are down or playing elsewhere. The adults are mostly gone to bed/room.

So progress on torso of one and head of the other. Her tattoo says Flatten the curve. I’m still debating the background.

He’s not debating anything.

Except whether the pets and loving make up for us wanting to comb out all his tangles.

Yesterday, after the first Zoom training, which was way too early, and yes, I stayed up way too late the night before, I tried to take a short nap…first one of the quarantine, but then this happened.

He’s on my chest y’all.

Kitten interacting with my sock…

Yes, pajamas. I did not take them off yesterday. I did shower. And put them back on. Whatever. I changed my shirt. And my underwear. Don’t judge.

Our sourdough starter is finally starting.

It’s hard when you don’t pay attention to it.

The mom of one of the girlchild’s friends is a food blogger, and apparently thought we needed these. We will appreciate them, that’s for sure.

She must like my kid a lot.

I found this while doing yardwork on Sunday…

Definitely a hummingbird nest.

So. Things are happening. As with all of you. We are healthy and fed. Some of us are cranky at times. We are all trying to coexist. I’m not sure what this will continue to look like, but for now, this is what it is. I’m distributing lunches again today and then doing a stitching Zoom, although I’m not sure what I’m actually going to work on for that. Or where. That’s the hardest part in this house is WHERE to Zoom. This room has iffy internet, but the other one has people who make noise and/or want to watch movies that yell FUCK all the time, and there’s going to be some issues next week I think. But we’ll figure it out.

Hopefully today I’ll get closer to done on the drawing, get another walk in, and I don’t know what else. That’s all I can commit to at the moment.

Mostly I’ve Been Drawing…

Mostly I’ve been drawing. I’ve also been stitching on wool. And currently I’m watching a hawk in the tree outside my window, because that’s more scientific than some of the stuff I’m supposed to be teaching starting next week. It’s OK. We’ll fix it. It’ll give us something to do. I’m thinking during my online office hours, I can offer short draw-a-longs instead of science…or video of the hawk outside my window. Or the hummingbird nest I found while doing yardwork yesterday. Tomorrow I have two trainings on some of the online stuff we’ll be doing for school. I need a plan. I might have a plan. I certainly made a video for my students yesterday about my plan…which is funny. Because I don’t think I have a plan.

Anyway. Life moves on. We seem to be staying healthy, San Diego is not hard hit (yet?) by this disease, and the grocery stores are getting closer to normal. Not normal, but closer. Still can’t buy flour. We managed toilet paper though for the first time in a month. It’s OK…we had a lot. Cat litter will be the next issue. Although I think I can order that online. It just won’t come for a while.

The weekend was quiet…I did go for a walk on Saturday…

It was a nice day out…there’s that plant that makes the dog smell like maple syrup.

This part of the path had turned into a small stream…

Luckily, mud doesn’t hurt hiking boots. I saw bunches of people out on the street, but on this section, there was no one. Nicer that way. Easier than negotiating what side of the road you’re walking on.

Before I walked, girlchild was smart and sat out and enjoyed the sun.

Hopefully there’ll be more of that this week. The dogs like it too. Although yesterday, the neighbors violated stay-at-home orders and had another family (I suspect cousins) and grandparents there, screaming for hours. Ah, Easter. When God wants you to infect your family. My mom stopped by to drop off handmade Easter cards…but she opened the door and dropped them in (where we disinfected them…not really) and then briefly talked to me from the deck/driveway conduit. Which is much more than 6 feet away. I’m afraid we’ll get them sick…we have two essential workers in constant contact here. I don’t want to be the viral conductor. And today, I’m going back to school to distribute lunches…now with a mask and gloves.

So drawing…I spent over 8 hours ‘drawing’. Because a lot of it is just staring at the paper and trying to decide what goes where next…not actually putting pen or pencil to paper. I am still sketching it out in pencil before I do the ink.

At some point on Sunday, the cats started trying to eat the paper. Because that makes sense…

So I have a bunch of taped bits now. Thanks to this sweet biatch…

She is a sweetheart. Really. Except with paper. Her sister is more predictably evil…

So we have a big piece of paper that looks a lot like a kitten playground.

Mostly fixable. I kept drawing Sunday…

Not my first bat…actually did a lot more on Sunday…

The thought process is slow…but it’s moving.

The top half is done…at least as far as I know, it is. Now I’m in the bottom half.

At some point, the drawing starts to talk to me, and this becomes easier. It’s talking now. I’m thinking another couple of days of drawing and I should be done. Tracing Wonder Under with these cats will be interesting. I do a lot of it when the kittens are asleep. It’s easier than fighting them over the excitement of the big paper. Speaking of excitement…

Well, there’s Calli. She’s old. Toys are exciting though.

Two more dots…the snail on the bottom right…

That cat is so helpful…

Every night, I clear a space for her to sit in all the stitchery madness. Here’s last night’s dot…

Top right, basket of flowers.

And I also worked on the road on Saturday night…

Got a good chunk done while watching True Detective. I just need to connect the bits now, then put some feet on that bird, embellish a monkey and a hut, and then add ten tons of grass and flowers. No worries.

OK, so today I distribute lunches, plus draw some more and make a mask for a desperate friend. Then exercise in some way and stitch some more and tomorrow get my ass out of bed early for some school training. Woo hoo!

After the Rain…

I once again meant to write yesterday. But I have no real schedule at the moment, so everything is just hard to fit in apparently. And it rained all day, nonstop, gray and dropping water from the sky, mostly a lot for us. We don’t need 2″ of rain in a day…let’s spread it out. Some years, that’s all we get. We’re over 19″ for the year. Today is lovely and sunny with big fluffy clouds, though, so I’d better be taking a walk at some point. Remember that thing. Walk. Hopefully that’s the last of the really bad rain. A little rain once in a while would be nice, but yesterday was just cold and wet and damp and never-ending. Well. Until it ended.

Speaking of, we walked on Wednesday…I remember that. Here’s where the kids are blaspheming against my taking pictures of them…

I think today I will be walking by myself. Which is OK. Although a local hiking area I’m often in had a guy with a gun threaten a young female runner. Because now that we’re all wearing masks, rape is OK? Or easier? There are still assholes out there. Always. I’m not actually hiking there now because we’re not supposed to drive places and then hike there. We’re supposed to stay in our neighborhoods. Yes, I’m tired of my neighborhood, but so be it.

I’m still stitching dots…one a day…like an apple but more fun. Wednesday on the right, top.

I finally caved yesterday afternoon and ordered some threads, so I can stop stealing from all the other unfinished kits. Thursday night top right, with cat butt.

She wouldn’t move. And then my favorite this week, Friday night’s on the top right…

That’s 12 done…78 to go. Ha! Makes tears come to my eyes. Someone asked about purchasing this. I don’t think that’s happening. Sue Spargo says it’s 30-45 minutes per dot, and some are, but some are much longer than that. So let’s just say 50+ hours of work. Yeah. At my normal rate, completely unaffordable. I’m OK with that…I’m just doing it to occupy time and my brain and give me a focus each day. And hopefully, when it’s done, 90 days from now, we won’t be quite so socially distant? Maybe? Sigh. That shit scares me. Send the teachers back to school, without testing to see who’s had it and who hasn’t? Nah. But they probably will.

In other news, I started the new drawing. I just randomly cut and taped paper to get this size. It’s a little big for moving around, but I wanted big. I want something in your face. I started drawing in pencil on this one. Couldn’t get my head around it in pen to start.

I usually start with a smaller drawing and enlarge it, and then add around it. But with no access to the copiers, this is what I’m doing. You can see bits and pieces of it have started to appear in ink (there is pencil on there as well). I spend most of the drawing time just staring at it…

Or yesterday, just staring out the window at the rain. So this drawing will take a while. Also, the kittens like to play with the paper, so I try to draw when they are asleep…it’s just easier. Nova already took a bite out of the middle. Art in the time of kittens. So expect to see me drawing this for at least a few more days.

I also continued working on this little quilt and the video of making it.

I think there’s about 20 videos I have to put together and then timelapse or something. I’m not actually sure. I do know it’s at least 2 hours of video…so something has to happen to it.

I did finish it yesterday, so now I can move on to something else. Or keep making little quilts. I don’t know.

All my socializing seems to end up in the end of the week…here was Thursday night’s stitching group…I was working on the road for Folk Tails, which needs a flat space.

I’m in the middle of the big piece right now, which is kind of a pain in the butt.

Then while gaming last night, I did one of the Spargo dots and stitched all these pieces down.

It’s brainless, so that’s easy. There were lots of pieces though. And now I can do embroidery or do more brainless stitchdown. Hard to say which is better for me right now.

This is what gaming looks like at the moment…

Puppy likes girlchild love…

At least he seems to…

Kitten follows me wherever I go. And plops down near me.

Girlchild finally made a dessert/bread without chocolate in it so I can eat it. It’s very good.

There’s been a lot of Bon Appetit in the house in the last few weeks.

OK, well, it’s Saturday. In my future is a walk, some video creation, some drawing, probably some more dot sewing. Tomorrow, we attempt the purchasing of toilet paper…we’ve made it this long without buying more, but now we need it. Hopefully it will not be an issue. Ha! Next week includes a bunch of school stuff in preparation for going online for realz on the 20th. That’ll be different. A schedule might be a good thing for me. We’ll see. Oh yeah, and my credit card had a fraudulent charge on it last night. Fun times. Remember what I said about people still being assholes? Yeah. And no, it wasn’t a grocery store…I’d have some sympathy for that. Anyway, it’s handled. Hope you all are staying well, getting exercise, making some stuff, whether fiber or food, and not stealing people’s credit card numbers. That would be wrong.

We Have Found the Sunz…

and we are lying in them.

I wish I had a kitten mindset…

Or an old lady dog mindset. But no. I am a worrisome adult human type. Although, this was Calli after the first thunder clap the other night…and me after getting an email from the teachers’ union.

It’s fine. I laid on the floor with her later that night for about an hour and a half, and she calmed down. The teacher stuff…it’ll be fine. I don’t agree with all of it, but it doesn’t really matter in the long run. It’s some routine, some normalcy. It might help the kids; might even help some of us.

I drew Thursday night…still trying to make different shapes and deal with spaces slightly differently.

When you have a recognizable style and you’re trying to fuck with it, your brain often goes back to what it’s comfortable doing. Which is good and bad. Stretch. A little. A lot? Always trying to stretch.

This is last night’s drawing…I think it went really well with the figure and maybe I should have stopped there and come back to it? I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.

I’m just drawing. I was trying to get that feeling in my head that things are so weird and surreal and I can’t get a handle on any of it. So the body is good. Maybe that’s something I’ll save for the next one. With the Coronawood sign. But bigger and higher and something. I don’t know. Just messing around. Late night with a brain that wouldn’t shut up.

I found that damn missing windmill. I was sweeping my office and it just appeared. Fucker.

Maybe it will get its own quilt. Who knows.

Speaking of quilts, I did a little quilting yesterday.

I’m going to do more today. The machine is behaving now and it’s a pretty smooth process.

Still mourning Australia’s devastating fires…

Suspect this will just be a year of mourning.

Girlchild set a video of pup post-bath to this…

He runs around and rubs his body all over the carpet, like he’s a furry vacuum. It’s amusing. He got a bath because he smelled like the salmon oil we put on the old lady’s food for her arthritis. Or her skin. Not sure which.

Last night, we also had gaming…on devices. Multiple devices. Kind of difficult in some ways…

I do always stitch through these…it helps me pay attention.

Got the random hut and monkey stitched on. Now they need embellishment.

Hi Kitten…

It’s Saturday. Our plan is to grocery shop early tomorrow, so list today. We’ll find out today if the kids are here for the next few weeks without trips to their dad’s…waiting on a test result. It’s a beautifully sunny day, so I’m thinking some minor yardwork. Some quilting. I’m going to try some yoga…it’s close enough to pilates. I’m doing something exercise-like every day. It doesn’t feel like enough, but I also know I’m not eating particularly well…unlike most people, I seem to be eating less…not enough food is not the best plan as a diabetic. Next week, I’ll get trained on the new teaching normal and do some planning apparently (no idea what that looks like). My original panic stemmed from an email that we would need to work our regular school day (but at home) every day next week. I cleared a desk, tried to think what staring at a computer for 7 hours straight would feel like. They’ve backed that down a lot in subsequent emails, which helps with the anxiety. It’s more of a go-with-the-flow thing that I can handle. Of course, they train us, and then we have ‘two weeks off’ for Spring Break. It’s just weird. All so weird.

Art today. Definitely. Art and exercise and less of the news.

The Missing Hand…

Yeah. I skipped a day of writing. I don’t know what day it was though, so that’s OK. Been watching NYC weather this pandemic shit and it’s scary. Sending good thoughts to the whole city and everywhere else it looks like that. Certainly, many of us are questioning any sore throat or dry cough or now, digestive issue (dammit, stop eating beans then!), wondering Was that it? Is this the start of it? I think here in San Diego, we haven’t really gotten the full brunt of the virus yet. Give it two weeks. With that, I’m leaving in a few minutes to go distribute lunches to my kids. We’re down to only two people at a time, so we can socially distance.

Tuesday, we walked the dogs…we’re gonna do it again today. My parents are up to twice a day with theirs, which would be fine by me, but the old lady dog can’t do it. She wants to, but it’s too much for her.

We have places we can walk locally…this is just out the front door and sort of through a neighbor’s yard, although they’ve never complained…but now the house has sold, so who knows. We just go quickly and quietly.

There are no actual grapevines here any more.

But I still like the signs.

Mostly empty. We didn’t see any people.

And a lot of plant material. It’s pretty green this year…we’re over 13 inches of rain, which is a lot for us. There’s more coming tonight apparently. But then I think we might be done for a while. It’s cold and windy today…next week, we’re supposed to hit the high 80s. It will be harder to keep people inside.

I got an email today from an exhibit I usually enter, warning us that there are just a few more days to the deadline. It’s weird thinking about future art shows when it seems like the world is about to burn down in a plague. But I guess that’s hope for the future…hope that the venue will still be viable, hope that we will still be able to have art shows. Hope that we’ll all still be here to send work and hang work and see work.

Here was Tuesday’s drawing. I didn’t draw yesterday. I did other stuff.

Maybe I will draw today. So Tuesday night, the man went to bed early, because he’s working these awful long shifts that basically leave time to sleep and eat and little else, so I finished the lettuces on the last of the October Folk Tails blocks.

Although this was the 2015 block of the month, I didn’t start working on it until March of 2016…so I’ve officially been working on it (on and off) for four years. Yeah. You read that right. A lot of times, I just worked on it once a month at my stitching meeting, and then last year, because I was doing the embroidery patterns, I barely worked on it at all.

Anyway, as I finished that grasshopper block (well, it’s missing a road and flowers), I realized it was time to stitch all of it together. Holy moley. I had some larger bits sewn together, but pinned some more parts…

Sewed them until I had two long strips…

There’s still plenty to do…that hen has no feet, for example.

I feel like I’m going to have to go back through all the instructions to fill in everything I’m missing. Plus it needs ten tons of grass sewn everywhere…

And the road needs to be continued down through the bottom three rows…

I stopped there, because I realized I needed to sew over onto the other blocks and they weren’t sewn together yet. Plus apparently a hut is supposed to go there. Uh huh. Barely fits.

And there’s a spare monkey too.

So there’s still plenty to work on. It’ll be another year. Plus borders! But it was exciting to get it to this stage.

Girlchild is still cooking up a storm…and posting artistic photos.

The result of that photo was cheddar scallion English muffin bread. Very good.

So yesterday, I did quilt for a while…although the machine was being cranky…

As always…

Luna was being a pain…kept trying to hide in the quilt and climb everything in the studio while I was on a video call with stitchy friends…

Trying to get the light right, so the computer has to be in a specific place. Interesting commentary for how I’m going to do this when we start for school. There are a limited number of places that are lit right, have seating, and stay quiet even when people are here. And there are a few people here. Four adults take up room. I’m lucky to have a variety of spaces for people to hang out in.

And cats. Cats can hang out too.

While I was on that call, I cleaned up the huge pile of papers and crap on my desk. Well. I cleaned up most of it. I’m not sure what to do with the other part of it.

Wait for another day. Although the word from on high is that I need to start grading things. All right. I’ll do that.

Then last night, I wanted to start the second one of the Applique Stories blocks…Anna Maria Horner sends 8 fabrics and no instructions basically, and then you make a block out of them. Of course, most people make this flowery bouquet-type things, and I make naked women. But I like this…the one on the right is from January’s fabrics and then on the left, you can see what she sent for March.

I picked the backgrounds…which was hard in itself, let me tell you. Trying to find a color that won’t overwhelm the given fabrics, or clash with them either…it’s difficult. The blocks are about 19×20″, a totally random size that I can’t explain. They could be finished together, but it probably makes more sense to finish them separately. I’m not fusing anything…just cutting pieces and then stitching them in place…and then doing some embroidery. Slow work.

That one fabric just damn well set itself up to be breasts…seriously. How could I NOT?

These are a challenge. I would never put these together. I like a challenge.

I wouldn’t even BUY half these fabrics. That’s what I love about this. Really. It’s fun.

I probably did this for 2 or 3 hours last night…walked away, walked back…added a bird. No starting drawing.

No nothing. No more fabrics than those 8. Honestly, those 8 are the challenge.

She was off balance, so I added the hand…here they both are…oh wait, the hand is still missing.

Must have added that later. Oh well. I can keep adding if I want. Tonight I have a Zoom stitching meeting, and my plan is to stitch stuff down during the meeting. The actual stitch down is easier to do while it’s flat, rather than trying to hoop it. The pieces are really only held in place by a few pins.

Anyway. So that was the last two days. I’m coping. I’m not sick (yet?), but question every cough and sore throat tickle. I know people who are sick. I hope everyone is OK. I know the world will be a different place when this is done. I’m sad about that…like all of you. And sitting and waiting is not my superpower…I’m glad I have the art to keep my brain occupied. Maybe tomorrow I’ll show you the missing hand…but I’m thinking she needs fingernails first…

In That We Flail…

So this is kind of like summer break for teachers, in that we flail and don’t know what to do next, but also not, because I can’t run all the errands I don’t run during the school year. Or go to the gym more. I did ‘work out’ this morning, best I could with three cats judging me. And trying to sniff me. And getting in the way in general. The world is weird. We’re all negotiating it from different places.

Saturday, I watched/listened to more of the SAQA virtual conference. It was interesting. I stitched during some of it…still working on the Folk Tails Block of the Month from Sue Spargo, 2015. I’m close to the stage where I can sew all of it together…

Which will be interesting. It’s why I was working on some different blocks, because although I’ve dragged this one around on at least three different camping trips, it’s getting too big for that. So I was prepping others for our Spring Break trip, which is now officially and sadly canceled. We might camp out in the front yard, but it won’t be the same. The man and I watched the CNN Pandemic show on Saturday night…probably not the cheeriest stuff at the moment, but we were interested…and I almost finished these two blocks, minus the road, grass, and flowers, which can’t be done until I sew the whole thing together and find the instructions for how to do the flowers…

I think I just have two lettuces to stitch in the vegetable garden. Then October is done and ready to stitch to everything else. I need to add a hut somewhere and a monkey somewhere else, and then IDK what else. It’s nowhere near ACTUALLY done…trust me.

Have you seen Kitten’s eyes? This is the look she gets when I’m convinced she’s staring at ghosts, because when I turn around to see what she’s looking at…

There’s never anything there.

I did a little stitch down after that…just an hour or so. Listened to a podcast about anxiety in a pandemic.

I should meditate more. Exercise more. Yeah, I know.

I’ve had a hard time with #marchmeetthemaker and #igquiltfest lately, but Saturday’s word for one was Change. Well. I do all the things. It feels chaotic and changey right now.

Change can be good or bad. Or both. This one just feels…changey.

Sunday morning dawned sunny-ish and I took myself out onto the deck and drew.

During Winter Break, I did a drawing a day. It’s possible that’s a good thing right now. Although the table needed cleaning (I did it later).

I even recorded some of this for my Patreon folks.

I also recorded video of my reading one chapter of the book that my co-teacher and I are reading to our kids. For those who are actually paying attention. She says there are 4 of them. Well. That’s interesting. I’m wondering if we go to online education on April 20, which seems likely, how many kids will actually show up.

I need to record the next one soon. Well. Before Thursday. I should be able to do that. I’m…not very booked up right now. I also set up my calendar for the new week. It’s mostly empty.

I’m still not grading things until I know if this trimester is going to count.

Sigh. This quilt…I got the catalog for Opposites Attract, which is supposed to open in Australia next month…at the moment, it won’t open in April…but it will eventually. Which is all we can hope for.

I have another quilt UPS is trying to deliver to a venue, shipped before the venue closed. They’re still going to hang the show, but they don’t know if the public will ever see it in person. OK. That’s what we’ve got right now. I said before that I’m lucky I’m not dependent on art income for survival. For now, my teacher salary is intact, so deep breaths. I know people in dire straits, but our household will survive for now.

#marchmeetthemaker yesterday was Tools and Materials…always starting with a sketchbook and pens, then Wonder Under (didn’t make the photo) and fabric, plus scissors and thread and a sewing machine. My gloves…

Seriously need washing…a different view…

You’ll be glad to know I finally got them in the wash today. Yay! They’re nice and clean now.

More stitch down last night…in fact, I finished.

Four hours and 40 minutes total to stitch it all down. Right now, I’m washing batting so I can pinbaste it. Hopefully before dinner.

A view of the back, to be hidden inside for eternity.

This is what kept me up until 1 AM.

Today has been relatively quiet. The man is working 13-hour shifts for three days, and then he’s off for four. He was up early. I wasn’t. By the way, this is the best cat toy ever. There’s one hole we cut in the top, plus the two you can see. They’ve played with this for weeks now.

I can’t even finish a book at the moment. Sad but true. I have a list of things to do, but my brain is fighting it.

This is the stash of glass from boychild digging planting holes in the backyard…it’s like a dump, about a foot or two deep. Old glass mostly…

Weird. We used to be the trash dump?

I sold a quilt on Etsy. Oh hey, I’m on Etsy…the link is in the sidebar. Not that there’s much on there any more…but one of the cat quilts sold, so I took myself and two wipes to the post office, wiped down the self-serve machine, and shipped that baby. I saw two people.

Ah yes, made bean soup. This is my lunch this week…with the additional of bread things.

Girlchild added an egg on top. She’s creative that way. Sounds good though. Beans taste good.

OK, so the day is more than half done. I have batting washing…then I’ll pinbaste. Ready to quilt. I want to draw again today. I’m tired. I think we’ll try to walk the dogs tomorrow. Or at least me. Because that’s two days inside, no, three, and I’m going a little bonkers. Maybe not so quietly. Music helps. I feel bad for canceling on my chiropractor…she’s a good person, trying to stay afloat, I’m sure, but I’m feeling like we’re quarantining mostly here…with girlchild having been on a plane. Maybe it’s pointless because the man is going to work…I just don’t know. It’s hard to know where to draw the line. I don’t want to get her sick if I’m exposed; then she really can’t work. I did go to the store yesterday, but I did my best to stay away from people. It’s hard when they don’t move sometimes. I talked to my neighbors on Friday from about 20 feet away. The pool guy showed up this morning and knocked on the door…it’s a new guy, and he wouldn’t back up. Aargh! People! More people I know are quarantining because of fevers and other symptoms. Stay healthy. Stay hydrated. Stay sane, whatever that looks like. Stay calm, as much as you can.

My Brain Needed Somewhere Else to Land…

Happy V Day to all! I want to say, well, except the assholes, but maybe they need a Happy V Day and that’s why they’re assholes. Now you see how I can teach middle school, although I already know (a) I didn’t get enough sleep because I got sidetracked by making things and (b) I’m missing one SECA today. So it’ll be a challenge, but I think I can do it. It’s not like I have a choice. But here are two examples of my day job. First, it’s the only place I can think of where the words “Then don’t smell the scissors” might come out of my mouth. Followed by this…

SIGH. I only have one period left of these to sit through. And there were some very good ones that restored my faith in humanity. And learning. And schools. And children. This was not one of them. This is what happens when you copy a bunch of shit off the internet that you don’t really understand and then you try to read it and instead of figuring out how to pronounce all the words you copied, you start each word nice and loud and then you are whispering at the end because you don’t have a clue how to say it. WIScon(si…).

I will hopefully be done with these tonight, and that will just leave a bunch of smaller things to grade and a pile of makeups, which will be even bigger by next Friday. Oh. Also an assessment they’re doing today. Shit. OK. Well. Hmmm. This weekend is a clusterfuck already. I guess it will be more of one.

This is why I stayed up way too late last night. My brain needed somewhere else to land or it would never fall asleep.

I did hang out with my stitching group last night, including one member who rarely shows up and another who had moved away for 13 years and came back. THIRTEEN YEARS. Wow. And we’re still meeting. That’s cool. I think I’ve been in this group since I was pregnant with the girlchild, and she’s 22 1/2 now. So that’s a thing. I got to work on Folk Tails, my Sue Spargo Block-of-the-Month from 2015 that might never ever get done…

The cheetah is almost done…but there’s some wiggy flowers that go in the block next. Then I might sew this to the larger bit? Or do I have to finish the other two October blocks to do that? I might. It’s not a fast quilt when you only work on it one night a month and then you didn’t do even that for most of 2019. It might travel to the National Parks with me in April…or it might be too big for that. Hmmm. Hard to say. We’ll see.

Then I came home and graded stuff, one more class of the projects. It was after 11 when I finished. But no way was I going to bed without something. The really lucky bit of going to my stitching meeting was my knowledgeable bookmaking friend, who gave me multiple solutions for how to connect the two pieces I’ve been working on. She was very helpful. So now I have to decide how to do it. Easy? Medium hard? Really hard? Sorta hard but kinda creative? We’ll see. I didn’t do that last night, though. More brain power than I had. Instead I meditatively stitched shit down…

Still working on just getting it all attached so I can take it off the cutting matt and do some more decorative stuff…although I guess I did a little on those leaves. Most of it is stitched down now, which is good, because something good should come of staying up too late. I just kept stitching, thinking “just one more” and then I looked at the time and went “oh shit, no more” and went to bed.

It’ll be fine. It’s Friday. It’s Valentine’s Day (makes middle-school kids crazy). It’s the day before another 3-day weekend. And we’re giving them an assessment that’s HARD. Well, unless you’ve been listening, in which case, it’s pretty damn easy. Gonna go buy a donut reward for the class that earned them, so at least one group of kids won’t totally hate me. Wait. The line at the donut store today might be hellacious. Sigh. We’ll see. I’ll do a driveby.

See Where That Goes…

Hey y’all. Two days of silence. Well, only here. The rest of my existence has been loud. I just didn’t have time to write in the last two days. But today, I am back to school, and this is part of my morning wakeup routine. I’m really not awake until after 9 AM, which is difficult, because I usually have students at 9. And they require interaction…energy I usually don’t have at 9 AM. Hence writing, which gets the word part of my brain in gear, plus also makes me reflect on the day and what I might need or want to get done.

Needs and wants are often very different, of course. I want to go back to sleep, because oh hells that was a shitty night’s sleep and I’m mostly braindead…but no, I get to sit through a few hours (or more) of meetings and professional development, which is pretty much the bane of my existence. I mean, I guess another colonoscopy would be worse, but I don’t need another one of those for like 10 years, so that’s a plus. These damn things come every week (although not the all-day version, which has its own special level of suckage). It is what it is. My day job pays the bills and is generally not boring and I even enjoy the teaching/kid parts (well, mostly), although not when I realize two of my top students were copying off each other. I’m disappointed in that.

I’m also sort of reeling still about finding out Saturday that my cousin Jennifer died. She was a sweet and quietly sarcastic woman and although she had been sick for a while, we all had hope that things would turn around. I did see her in October, but had plans to do that again…too late. So I’m sort of walking around in a daze with that one…trying to put something that makes sense in that hole in my head where she resided.

Saturday I was in Palm Springs for a class taught by Svetlana Shigroff…who I follow on Instagram. I’m not sure how I found her…Instagram has its algorithms…”you like this so your friends like that”. I had seen her work and then a video of her making the work, and I was fascinated by the process and the product. I feel like I should follow those urges to learn new things, so when I saw she had a class coming up (I actually missed the first one in November, couldn’t go then), I signed up. Yes, it’s a 2-hour drive. Each way. It was Winter Break. I felt like I could handle that.

And I could…the class was tufting, which is kind of like rug hooking…here’s the setup…

You can see the weird tool we used on the frame.

You work from the back…

It took me a while to get the loops regular and consistent…

This is still from the back. You can use a variety of fabrics, but I stuck to jersey because for me, it was more about the image than the texture.

There were about 13 people in class. I’m pretty sure I knew one of them from somewhere (odds of that)?

Still from the back. Definitely some new muscles using this beast.

I got as much done as I could…

Here’s the whole class with their pieces…

I’m famous! Nah. But if you want to follow the artist on Instagram, you can…

You can see I didn’t sit for this…

And she had a better picture of the group than I did.

I made it home by 5:30 and settled down for some cheery Chernobyl and brainless stitching.

The next day, I had an opening up at the beach…so you need to see the water…yeah?

I have two pieces in this show with Allied Craftsmen at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad, California. This is my work, Desert Daughter, in front of Arline Fisch’s cool metalwork.

And my snarky self with Some Like It Hot…which meant I got to explain menopause to two college students.

Home to kitten activity…and getting ready for school.

Sometimes they stop moving. On me.

Finally started drawing again…this thing will be done soon, with or without Luna’s help…

It’s coming. All good. Meanwhile, school is back in the schedule. I can be irritated by the lack of work I got done over break, but there’s no need or purpose for that. I am trying to process Jennifer’s absence. I have a lot of grading that’s still not done. I can’t fix all that. I can just start now and see where it all goes.

The Good Meditative Stuff.

It’s my first day of nine days off of school. There’s about 40 hours of grading in there, but let’s ignore that for now, eh? Honestly, all I really want to do at the moment is avoid human interactions. People. Anything needy. Well, except for kittens. Kittens are needy but fun, so I’ll deal with them. And I can deal with a few people. OK, maybe one. At a time. But not before 9 AM. So far today, I’ve done a pilates class (actually talked to three different humans. Maybe four. No, five. But most of it was short and sweet. Take my package. I had knee surgery. My name is Kathy.). I need to go sign all my paperwork for the loan to put solar in. That’s exciting. I will probably need to speak to one person for that. I need to buy milk. No need for speech, y’all. There should be an introvert line at the grocery store. No Need to Ask Me If I Found Everything OK. Seriously. Don’t speak. Yes, there’s self-service in some of the stores, but I’m aware of that taking away people’s jobs, so although I personally prefer the self checkout, sigh. Please just don’t make them talk to me.

After signing papers, I have hours of alone time with my grading and my ironing. Gonna do both. Might have to talk to people tonight. Or not. Maybe not. I just don’t know. I’m OK with not.

So I finished Figure 2 last night…and all the bits in and around her. I’m ready for Figure 3 this afternoon.

Then Figure 4 on Sunday, start cutting out. Be done by Tuesday? Night? Then start ironing together. I’d really like it all ironed together by the time I go to Lake Arrowhead on Friday. Sigh. Then I can draw the next one while I’m in Arrowhead. Get it ready. Because time…it flies. Erratically, yes, but flies.

My right eyelid is still twitching from last week. And people. People are making it twitch.

Sometimes I’m OK with people. I worked on this on Thursday night at my stitching meeting…started the lion…

And finished the tree…

This is Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails 2015 Block of the Month. Yeah. I’m slow. This is September’s blocks. I’m getting closer to done. There were three people there. They were fine.

You’re always getting closer to done if you keep working.

I spent some time with kittens and my book this morning…my toes are fascinating.

Then again, everything is fascinating when you are a kitten.

They love to play…

It’s hard to get good pictures because they are always moving. We are still mulling over names. This is hard.

How do we climb the curtains?

Devious little beasties.

They met Simba. There was fear and confusion all around. A little bit of hissing…

Hopefully they will all get along.

OK, off to the bank. Then back here to grade and iron. It sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, minus the grading, but let’s just understand that it has to happen. I’ll fit in the good meditative stuff around it. Make that eye twitch go away.

It Either Will, or It Won’t…

It’s been a rough week. Yesterday…had ups and downs…ups that remind you of how it can be. We did the cover page for Unit 2. We kinda know each other now, more than before. The kids drew, and I rolled my chair around to work with every table, stealing a colored pencil everywhere I went. I started up front, with the kids who don’t do anything or are off task or just plain don’t understand, but I made sure to make it to the back tables too. They’re all seated by their homework grades at the minute. It means some days I want to kill the front tables, but then I look back, and there they are, all the kids who work their butts off, working their butts off, staring up at me. Yeah. I’m good. And honestly, checking in with some of the knuckleheads was good too. I still have this one boy’s look in my head. For the warmup, I stole something from my co-teacher…”I wish my teacher knew…” and he had written about how nervous he is all the time. And he’s this big adult-looking kid who’s always either half asleep or something, and he’s got this sad look on his face, and now I worry even more, because how do I fix that? I don’t. I work with it. Aargh.

One way I know this year has been a rough start is that I never finished coloring my Unit 1 cover page. I’ve never NOT finished. Ever. So I was gonna finish Unit 2…and I did.

OK. There were a million other things I could have been doing in the classroom, but honestly, sitting with the kids and coloring with them was the best thing…both for me and for the group and for the individual kids. It was good. Plus in 8th period, this kid is showing me his drawing from across the room, and I’m trying to figure out WTF it is and I think it’s toes, and I’m trying to figure out what toes has to do with chemical reactions, and he’s a super needy kid and has this look on his face and I just lost it. Laughing so hard I’m crying. It’s OK, he didn’t mind, and I gave him a side hug and said thanks for the laugh, you might pick up some extra credit off that. My god it was awful. Still chortling on that one.

Satchemo is still with us, but he won’t eat. The hardest part of owning pets is knowing when they’re done…when there’s nothing else we can do.

Especially when there’s no warning.

I spent some time with my stitching friends last night…I took something easy and brainless to work on. It’s what I needed.

This is Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails block-of-the-month from 2015. It’s the third quilt of hers I’ve done. They are a nice filler for me. I don’t have to create anything or think about it. I just follow someone else’s instructions and do it and it’s relaxing and not stressful. I haven’t gotten much done on this all year because of all the embroidery patterns, so it’s nice to get back to it. It’s slow. But that’s OK.

I came back from stitching, entered a show, made food for the opening tonight…oh yeah, there’s an opening tonight in Liberty Station. I’ll be exhausted, but I’ll be there. And I have an opening tomorrow too. It’s going to be an interesting few days. So many things to do…so little time. Tonight is What She Said…Artists Speak Out, in Liberty Station, located behind the Solare restaurant, the Martha Pace Swift Gallery, from 5-8 PM. I have two quilts in that. And then tomorrow is the Mingei/Allied Craftsmen show Metamorphosis at City College Art Gallery. I have one big quilt in that. The Mingei is under construction at the moment, so they’re doing stuff in other places.

Then I sat and cut for an hour and a half. It doesn’t look like much…the pile on the left is done.

The stuff on the right still needs to be cut out. I honestly don’t know when I’ll be doing that. The man has a show Saturday night. I have a hundred things to grade. Well. Technically, way more than that due to the shitload of students I have. Woo! Love it. Ugh. Seriously, this weekend hurts to think about. Openings are cool, but when I’m stressed like this and just want to get work done, it’s hard to do what feels like wasting time. I’m considering taking a chair and stuff to cut out tonight. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. I’ll be sleeping in on Sunday. Trying not to think about the cat or the workload or how it will all get done. It either will or it won’t.