Everything Will Work Out

I did a lot yesterday. I marched. I stitched. I read. I ironed. A good day. I didn’t write, because I had to be out of here early, and I was not a responsible adult who went to bed early the night before, because…well…I can’t really explain that. I have stuff to do and it’s taking more time than I thought it would. As it always does.

I ended Friday with a kamikaze trip home after school to grab the dogs and run to the hills before we lost daylight…

With a little rain in the last few weeks, California gets green…so pretty. see the dog head down there.

It was still damp from a week’s worth of rain, but the skies were mostly clear.

We saw a million rabbits and hares, but only one coyote. Oh yeah, and this guy. Just sitting there as we walked past.

Yo. You’re supposed to be scared of people and dogs.

We were pushing it with the daylight thing, but it was a good walk for all involved.

The days are getting longer. This will get easier.

Saturday morning, I got up early and met a marching friend for brunch. I liked this cactus.

We went down and listened to music and speeches…sort of…while I stitched. I needed the mental down time. I didn’t want to stand. I’ve been standing all week. Two hours of standing is too much right now.

It felt good. Relaxing. Positive. And then we marched…because it’s important that we still represent…that the politicians can see that we’re still here and we’re still not happy with what’s happening, whether it’s immigration or women’s rights or issues of racism in our country.

I didn’t bring a sign this year. But I liked this one.

So true.

These were beautiful and heartbreaking. The immigrants who died in custody as they were trying to come here for safety. Children…

That’s not OK.

We need to be better than that. I hope we can be.

So I did some stitching Friday night during the movie watch…finishing up the August blocks…

So that whole section is done until I sew it to the next section, so I can finish the road and flowers on the other side of it.

I think I have to do the September blocks before that happens. Which I started at the march.

Didn’t get much done, but it’s a start. After dinner and some couple time, I came in here to iron…got another cat done…

And a snake…

And then the arm of Figure 4…

Along with a hurricane. I’m in the 900s. I’m getting closer to done. I’m hoping to work on it today as well, but I have school stuff, the slides for the talk tomorrow, and groceries. So I need to be efficient as hell to get to ironing as well. OK. Plan made. I also suspect I will need to iron Figure 4 by itself, instead of trying to fit it into what I’ve already ironed. It’s getting too large, too heavy, too unwieldy. But that’s OK. I’ll do Figure 4 and then see if I can add it to this. Or I might have to wait until I iron it to the background. It’ll be fine. Everything will work out. In time.

Art Tonight. Long Day First.

Back to work is a whole different world. Luckily, we started yesterday with no kids…professional development (I use that phrase lightly) in the morning and time to “plan” in the afternoon (aka get my room under control). That part was nice, because usually we have to either come in really early on Monday or come in the weekend before to set up and make sure we have everything. For instance, I forgot that I needed more folders because I misordered back in summer and got some with no metal prongs, and that ain’t gonna fly. I think I thought it MIGHT fly back in the summer? But no. So I have one class that will feel all left out because their new folders won’t arrive until Thursday. Well, Friday for them. They will survive.

Our district has this focus on healthy and happy kids, and although I don’t think that’s a bad idea in general, I know that for some people, happy isn’t really a thing. Being told to be healthy and happy can be really frustrating, like if we just tried a little harder, we could be those things, but when you know people who don’t have happy in their vocabulary, but they are content or passionate about something specific, then you balk at that word. And healthy is another issue…I have multiple students with health issues that are out of their control, and to force this concept of healthy without qualifying it…it’s not something I agree with. I’m more into being the best person you can be, wherever that is in the spectrum. Contribute positively to the world, whether it’s person by person or worldwide. Take care of yourself and your people, whether friends or family. Because some people’s families suck too. Anyway. I drew yesterday, but it wasn’t fun or interesting…I kind of think of this as teacher busywork, because I think the district already has decided what our best practices etc are, and they just want us to feel like we’re part of the process.

But I’m pretty cynical about school districts too. Maybe it really is meant to be collaborative. At some point, though, when the groups are made up of 30 people…I don’t think we’re doing anything productive with that. Others disagree with me. That’s OK.

So focus on the afternoon, when I got shit done. That was good. And it means I am more prepared (well, my room is) for today. My brain is still not on fleek. (wrong use. Totally.)

I booked out of school as fast as possible and headed out with the dogs and the boy to try to get an hour in. We failed to do all three miles (light fading and coyote incursion imminent), but we did close. We could have gone further probably. Plus we almost got the car stuck…even better.

Insert interesting pods…

And ferns I’ve never noticed before…

We were standing up slope with the dogs as people went by…I’m sure they’re there all the time.

When I got home, I graded for a while…trying to get caught up. Always trying, never succeeding, until June, when the final grades are due.

Then I cut out stuff for four hours straight. Because I couldn’t deal with anything else.

Definitely progress showing here. The box in the middle is all that’s left. It doesn’t look like much, but there’s a lot of little pieces in there. It will take a while. I’m honestly having a hard time getting my head into this. So that will change when I start ironing, I’m sure. And maybe once I get back into the routine of school. Maybe. Right now I’m not feeling it. But feel it or not, the work day starts in 42 minutes, so I’ve got to get going. Art tonight. Long day first.

Time Is Weird

Well happy New Years Eve, all. Or for some, you’re already in 2019 and that’s just weird. Time is weird though, so what’s new. Yesterday I didn’t write because I was hiking, which was cool. Today the kids leave for Lake Arrowhead…I will follow them tomorrow, when the wind gusts will kick up to 45 mph, so that will be a fun drive. Plus really cold up there for people who don’t own puffy coats. I have fleece. That’s it. Fleece and Uggs. Prepare to freeze.

It will be fine. I’m looking forward to some artmaking time today, but also to a diabetes educator appointment. My insulin isn’t working right. Or I’m not working right, which is more likely. So I got a last-minute appointment to go in. Apparently no one wants to go to the nurse on NYE, but me…I’m OK with that. I’d rather deal with it now than try to fit it in during school. It’s so difficult to get appointments of any kind around my job. Frustrating. So maybe we can figure out WTF is going on with my body as part of the new year.

But yesterday, we hiked to Eagle Rock, which is on part of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). I’ve been there a few times, and it’s a relatively easy hike, but not super short…I think we did 6 1/2 miles.

First we drove way the freak out to Warner Springs…

It was chilly at first, but exercise warmed us up enough to shed the outer layers, even in the shade of the oaks…

It was a beautiful clear day, no wind, just a bit of a breeze…welcome as we got out into the flat areas…

I call this hike mostly flat. My hiking partner did not agree. I think I just forget about the hills after I hike them.

Mostly flat.

There were a lot of people out there, but not too many. Most of them had dogs.

Ah! There’s the eagle in Eagle Rock…and my partner, glad to be halfway. When we started dating, he had written that he liked to hike…

I’m not sure he and I agree on what hiking is…but he’s a good sport about it. Here’s the view of the valley from the rock formation.

The hard rocks that survived erosion over the years…

Proof I was there!

The last time I hiked this was May 2014…more flowers then. More water too, strangely.

There’s this place in Ramona that looks like a total dive from the outside, but is pretty hip on the inside, so we stopped for some food and a drink before driving all the way home.

Came back to lounging tiredly around post-hike, with puppy, who did no hike at all…

He ran around a lot in the morning.

I took a long time to draw this…just tired, I guess.

Yes, that’s T. rex as a spirit animal.

Girlchild eventually showed up again.

Puppy likes her. Although I think he slept on everybody. I haven’t seen the kid much…friends in town.

I finally started cutting out, but late…

It was an Avengers night…but it doesn’t look like I got much done.

Seriously, that’s three hours of cutting. Sheesh.

This is what’s left. A lot.

I’ll do some of that tonight. I’m not a fan of big NYE partying. We have errands to do today and I have that collaboration piece I need to get done by next Sunday, so I should get going on that today. I’ll go to Arrowhead tomorrow with all my crap that needs doing, hang out with the kids etc. for a few days, and head back to face the fact that I’m going back to work. Stressful. Oh well. I had time off…I still have almost a week. Use it wisely.

If You Just Hold in Your Breath*

Another no-art day. Ah Christmas. You eat up my spare time with your neediness. Today will be different. I feel it. Christmas morning will be here at the house, so cleaning, plus we have to deal with grocery shopping for the festivities, but that’s not much…just some dusting, some floor cleaning, and an hour at the store, maybe more. Today I personally have no plans, although there is still a to-do list. I don’t have to do anything on it though…except my daily Winter Break drawing.

Yesterday. Yesterday was a lot of cleaning and cooking and then we walked the dogs to really tire them out…oh wait, but before that, I finished the present wrapping and there’s Kitten, guarding the tree.

She hasn’t gacked up any pine needles yet, but it’s not for wont of trying.

We took the dogs out to Crestridge Ecological Reserve…I keep forgetting about this one, because it’s a longer drive to get there.

It has a beautiful grove of old oak trees though. Obvious rain damage to the trail from the two batches of rain we got a few weeks ago.

We were trying to do 4 miles, but were just short. The weather was perfect…a little chilly even.

The last time I was here, it was too hot.

We wandered around a trail for a bit…

The dogs like to forage. Mostly. Here boychild went to explore a pile of stuff in the brush, and Simba refused to go with him. So we waited.

This is coyote country, so I do pay attention to Simba’s instincts. Although he’s also a rampant barker…but not on leash.

Even in winter, we get flowers…

Although not many. More of that rain damage.

Makes for interesting patterns on the ground. Remember that for the next drawing.

Anyway, then I bathed the big dog. She has skin issues and needed her special soap. Dinner. Picked up girlchild from the airport, which was hellish. Too many people. Three introverts in a car looking for the one extrovert. Then they dropped me at the music venue where my guy was playing last night.

And I upped my daily step count yet again. It was a nice way to end the day…short set, not too late, got a good view up front. Wine was horrendously expensive, so I gave up on that.

I did draw while waiting for the band to come out, though. Got some weird looks and some comments. I was there by myself, so I was OK with it.

This is one of the smallest sketchbooks. It fits in my purse. I did most of the drawing in the 20 minutes before the band came out (shitty lighting), and then finished it while waiting for the man to pack up his equipment. This is 6×9″ I think. I don’t like the bird, but the rest is fine. Filling spaces. Like I said, I enjoy the freedom of drawing without a purpose. One woman wanted to know why I didn’t do it earlier in the day, since I knew I was coming here. I was like, “I didn’t have time. Plus I knew I’d be standing here.” I think the idea of going somewhere by yourself was confusing to her. Maybe if I’d explained that I was with the band? She was all talking about how she had friends in both bands. OK. Well. I go to a lot of these and there’s a lot of waiting around and I like to have my brain busy. So I read or draw. I also danced for an hour, so I’m OK with that.

Meanwhile…did I get anything done on that quilt in progress? Fuck no, I did not. Nothing at all. That will change today. The kids are Christmas shopping and then they will go to their dad’s. The man is sick, so I’m suspecting dinner here or out and that’s it, and I’m OK with that. I’d like to start ironing this quilt to fabric today. I would like to get a big chunk of that done, like 4 or 5 hours. I’d like to do the same tomorrow, but tomorrow gets more complicated. I’d like this shingles vaccine rash to go away (I finally took Benadryl last night…it helped a little.). I’d like more sleep. All these things are possible. I want to finish grading the last of the science units. I got about a third of the way through the last period yesterday. I even did a few at 11 PM after the show, but I didn’t finish. Today I would like to finish, so I can pack that pile up and just deal with the computer stuff. I might change out of pajamas…but I might not. That’s a decision I can make later.

*Regina Spektor, Genius Next Door

I Suggest You Switch Your Mind State*

Well, my perfect-laid plans of finishing the ironing yesterday and starting the stitch down did not come true. A shock! Holy crap, is it Wednesday already? Sheesh. This quilt. Life! It takes time, doesn’t it? I’m debating a longer hike for Friday morning, but realistically, it depends on how much I get done between now and then as to whether I can do that. Sigh. Deadlines. Grades. Stuff.

Yesterday I ironed for close to 5 hours. I also graded one assignment and recorded another one that a program graded for me. We walked the dogs. I picked up two of my quilts. I didn’t do a lot of things.

Ironing this quilt has been a challenge. I numbered it in logical order for ironing Wonder Under to fabrics, but it doesn’t iron together in the same order. Hence having to iron the feet (in the 400s) into the 100s of the landscape. So that continued as I ironed upwards from the ground…I got the legs done up until the hips…

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And then started working on the rest of the hill to the right…

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Bobcat and mule deer…

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Some manzanita. And Satchemo…asleep in the sun. He’s there again now.

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Wait. I didn’t iron the cat.

The hill…minus the poison oak.

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The poison oak went in, bridging the hill to the leg…

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Then some dog walking…we did over 3 1/2 miles…

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Mostly trying to tire out the little one…

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Back to the ironing. So when I got to the torso, it was all in the 500s, but the plume of water and trash coming out of the chest is in the 800 and 900s. I couldn’t make sense of trying to iron the whole body without putting the plume in, so I started pulling from the last two boxes.

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And then continued the body above that plume. So I’m about halfway through the 600s, plus I’ve ironed all the 900s and about half of the 800s…although there are a few of those still floating around. Haven’t figured out where they belong yet.

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And I’m missing parts of two eyeballs. Plus a piece of a fish. Huh. Well, hopefully they’ll show up sometime today. So I think I have about 200 pieces left to iron. I think. Honestly, it’s hard to say. I’ve been ironing it together for 9 1/2 hours…at least 2 or 3 hours left, I think. So I should be able to finish ironing today and start stitching down. That’s the plan anyway. Plus grade an assignment or two. And maybe an errand. Sigh. I really don’t want to do anything else…but there’s stuff that needs doing. Hate that. Oh well. Moving on.

*K.Flay, So Fast, So Maybe

‘Cause There’s Beauty in the Breakdown*

You’d think after a day off, I’d be all rested and stuff, but apparently not eating for the first 6 hours plus of the day throws my body off. It’s still complaining. It will get over it. I did manage 4 hours of ironing and a dog walk in between all the work stuff I did…I wrote sub plans for the two days I’ll be in Boston, I graded half of the videos I needed to watch, I set up at least one post for today, and I finished next week’s warmups (which I have to remember to post while I’m gone). A lot of remembering will need to happen while I’m gone. If I’m smart, I’m going to calendar that shit so I don’t forget. I can schedule things on Google Classroom, but only one class at a time, which is a pain. I might do that anyway, though, because I don’t trust the remembering part of my brain to do it on time. That would be disastrous. The sub would hate me.

So the ultrasound seemed to be a lot of Hold Your Breath and the nice radiology lady wishing my ribs were not where they actually were. I’m only a little bruised this morning. It’ll be fine. I figure they’ll try calling me at work tomorrow and we’ll play phone tag all day, and I won’t get a hold of the doctor until I’m boarding a plane. So there we are. The blood tests have ruled out some of the scarier diagnoses so far, so I’m still betting on an alien. It hurts in exactly the same place it did when I was really pregnant with the girlchild and she was using my organs as soccer balls. (No, I’m not pregnant. That’s not happening. But aliens might.). Anyway. Waiting sucks. As you all know.

So ironing…fitting the flesh pieces together. There isn’t much of this fabric left.

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Then after the ultrasound and FOOD and water, we took the dogs out. It gets dark so early…

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Where the sun is…that’s where Calli and the boychild are…beating me up the hill.

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Calli’s tongue hanging out all over the place…

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So we’re on the way back and there’s this hawk facing away from us, but I start talking to us and it turns its head all the way around to look at us. Piercingly. Thinking WTF is that woman doing.

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Talking to you. That’s what I’m doing. Pretty bird. I don’t think I knew they could do that with their heads, although it makes sense.

I came back, did some work stuff, alphabetized purple and white pieces of paper so I could grade that section of the National Park Project more easily. Then made it back in here for another 2 hours of ironing. I finished all the innards (mostly) before the ultrasound…so then I started on the water plumes that are all over. Mostly I just did the water bits though. There were lots of them…

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This is all the stuff that’s IN the water or ON the water (oil slick etc.) that I haven’t done. That’s tonight, I’m hoping, although it’s a lot to do in one night. Lots of fussy little details.

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Plastic bottles and bags and fish nets and fishing boats and I think there’s a Humboldt squid in there as well. So that’s not a small amount of things that are left. I know I laid out all the pieces through number 991. I know I ironed down all the way through the 700s, and then a goodly chunk of the 800s and 900s were water, so they’re done. That leaves maybe 100 pieces? So maybe I can do it tonight.

Here’s the chaotic pile of stuff I worked on yesterday, plus everything that’s ready to be cut out.

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Then I organized. Much better. Deep breath. I can find stuff again. More color now. You can almost see my left brain fighting with my right brain over this stuff. My left brain wants to go back and organize better by color. My right brain says there’s no point, because we’re going to pull a lot of them back out tonight and mess it up again.

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Hi Kitten. You’re in my chair.

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Like she cares.

Simba is with the boychild, at the ex’s house, so Satchemo was free to sleep in Simba’s bed. The crate is open…I try to remember to check for Satch before I put Simba in there at night…

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Apparently it’s the best bed ever.

OK, high-maintenance school stuff today, waiting on results, tired already. Need to pack, need to finish prep for being gone, need to finish ironing.

*Frou Frou, Let Go

Anchored Down in Anchorage*

Have you noticed that mornings are darker? Yes, winter, and yes, daylight savings time is coming (or NOT daylight savings time…I’m never really sure when we are in REAL time and when we are in FAKE time or what any of that means). So it’s harder for me to wake up in the dark and it’s harder to not trip over the dogs on the stroll down the hallway to the place where all the pet foods are (I have a train of furry beasts in the morning). It’s not a stroll…they are rushing toward the food bowls as if it’s the end of the world…except for Calli, who stops to scratch. Her skin is awful right now. Lots of medicated baths.

Sometimes (because I live in Southern California) I have to stop and think explicitly about what season it is. Although I’ve started wearing a sweater to school every morning, so it’s not early Fall or late Spring. I know, shut up. I got that. I like my weather mostly.

Yesterday afternoon was delightful for walking. The poison oak knows it is Fall…all of a sudden, it’s changing color rapidly. There’s poison oak in my newest quilt.

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It was sunny in the morning, but the afternoon was lovely and cloudy and a bit chill, but not really. There’s wind out here.

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I always wish I knew more about the rocks and formations around my home. Strange rock outcroppings abound.

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We went all the way out to the water bridge. It’s old. It’s protected.

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It’s somewhat dangerous looking. The mountain lion signs are still up.

The dogs got tired. Really, that’s the purpose…plus me getting exercise. Perhaps getting out into nature.

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Calli was certainly tired out.

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I ate. I graded. And then I traced the last 170 or so pieces.

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Grading seems a never-ending thing. I’m getting close to caught up, if I ignore the major unit being turned in on Thursday, plus a comic strip, and then another project due the following Monday. Because I’m crazy. But we were smart enough not to assign any additional homework for two weeks. Because then we’d have to grade it.

I finished tracing just before midnight (I started late). It took almost 12 hours and ended up being about 5 yards of Wonder Under.

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Usually it takes me an hour to cut out one yard…so that’s the next two or three nights, I think. Depending on other stuff. So ironing to fabric by the weekend? It means I need to go buy background fabric. Or look at what’s in my stash and see if there’s enough of anything that will work.

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On to the next phase of this one. Getting close to the fun phase. It’s not that tracing Wonder Under isn’t fun…it’s meditative trying to fit all the pieces in while tracing. But sometimes it’s boring or tiring, depending on how much standing I’ve been doing. Progress is good though. I need to finish this one in a little over a month, which I can easily do, except there’s some traveling in there too…so that’s a constraint. Anyway…it’s going to be an awesome quilt even if I don’t finish it within the deadline. So there’s that.

*Michelle Shocked, Anchorage